Build a better bike - SRAM Vs Shimano

by pishtie   June 3, 2014  

Hi all,

I'm looking for some thoughts to help me decide what to put on the bike I am building. When finished, I'm going to be using the bike for longer multi-day rides here in Australia, so it will need ot be pretty robust, and not too shabby for hitting the hills.

In light of the hills, I'm being a little bit contrary with the frameset; I've got a 2014 Genesis Equilibrium in cherry red (soooo pretty), and have added Fulcrum Race 5 wheels. I don't trust myself with carbon, and can't yet afford titanium. My other bike is an aluminium alloy, so I didn't want to get that again.

However, my next major decision is the gruppo. I am swithering between Shimano 105 and SRAM Rival primarily in the build, using 10 speeds at the rear with a compact at the front. My question is - Shimano or SRAM? I've primarily used Shimano in the past, but used SRAM on my wife's Boardman Comp and enjoyed it. I think I read somewhere that SRAM needs a bit more TLC than Shimano...

Any help anyone can fire would be appreciated.

9 user comments

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see .... you can't have gruppo !

Shimano - Groupsan
SRAM - GroupBro
Campag - Gruppo


Anyway seriously ... Having ridden all 3 I'd go for Shimano as you'll be able to
get it looked at in most if not all bike shops should it need attention, which is
defo not the case with Campag. I've had 3 SRAM setups all of which have had
problems within a fairly short period of time - currently running Chorus which
is (so far) flawless !!

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [925 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 8:08


My rule is SRAM for anything with a flat bar, Shimano for drop bars, but thats my rule...its mine and no one is allowed to have it Smile

SRAM does not need any more TLC than Shimano, so no fear on that either. But if it helps, you can use my rule Smile

posted by jason.timothy.jones [305 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 8:31


I now prefer SRAM Red over Dura Ace. I'd say that it takes longer to set SRAM up but it seems to have remained set up for longer.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [487 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 12:22

1 Like

I rather SRAM to Shim, have had no mechanicals with either to be honest just rather the shifting and doubletap. If I can justify it my workhorse will be SRAM'd this winter [replacing Shim]

posted by ct [131 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 12:36


I've ridden all three and have SRAM on four of my bikes (three of which are drop bar Red/Force). It's my favourite for ergonomics, function and weight. I have no issues with excessive fettling - pretty much fit and forget.

The only shifter failures I have had in 20 years have been Shimano - 1x 105 left and 2x Deore (left and right).

posted by Pauldmorgan [211 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 12:50

1 Like

What's the price of groupsets down in aus?

posted by Charles_Hunter [123 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 12:57


I've used all three at the lower end and also built up bikes with them. I've only one 11-spd, so my comments refer to 10-speed groups. First - much of a sameness - they all work fine for a non-racer like me. 105 is my least-favourite Shimano group. It's hard to install the shifters (compared to Tiagra, which actually shifts better IMHO). Ultegra is nice. I've not been able to afford DA.

Sram's Apex, Rival and Force seem almost identical. Looking at RDs side-by-side you can see slight differences but not like comparing a Tiagra RD to Ultegra. I would say Apex is just fine (and handles large cassette spreads standard, which is important to me). SRAM shifters, though, are made from gold and twice the price of a Shimano equivalent. I know, I broke one (Rival). I like SRAM on a working bike - winter, touring, commuter and certainly anything flat bar.

I've only built one bike with Campy, using Veloce with the WTF hard-to-remove left side crank. Nice looking but not user friendly. Campy mechs and chainsets look classy, but the shifters seem primitive to me. I like alloy Campy for a classic frame update.

For the money, Tiagra is the best deal for me. I actually like the look of the exposed shift cables. You can use a 105 RD (often available cheap separately). The only problem is those dorky shift indicators. I wish Shimano would make a 10-speed shifter without them - something like their generic trade-only offerings. You can often buy an entire Tiagra groupset in the UK for just over £200

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [230 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:13

1 Like

Thanks all. My gut was saying to head in an SRAM direction for this bike; my other one will be converted to a town-thrasher bike, flat-barred and single-chainringed, updating the Gruppsan on it currently.

Hey Charles, I'm investigating prices, but as a Brit here I am more used to paying UK prices for me goods, so I'll probably import the parts on the whole.

pishtie's picture

posted by pishtie [3 posts]
4th June 2014 - 3:49


Might be a price drop on Campag now the new stuff is coming on line for 2014.

I know it's not SRAM or Shimano like you asked, but it just won the Giro and is lighter than the Shimano.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [893 posts]
4th June 2014 - 22:24