Shimano vs Campag vs Sram

by Noelieboy   January 15, 2013  

Shimano vs Campag vs Sram

can anyone help to explain what's the difference, apart from the pricing...


10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Campagnolo is best. The other two fight it out amongst themselves. End.

othello's picture

posted by othello [327 posts]
15th January 2013 - 15:44


They all do the same thing slightly differently but to an equally fine standard.

I have 105 on my winter bike and Force on my race bike, both do a fantastic job, they feel a bit different and change gear in a different manner but they're both pleasant to use.

Best thing is to try each one out and decide for yourself which you feel comfortable using. I know my preference, but it's not enough to make me want to use it exclusively or to denounce other systems!

Twitter: @velosam

SamShaw's picture

posted by SamShaw [297 posts]
15th January 2013 - 15:48


There's a book in this.

However, some things to consider are interoperability (Campag gear only really works with Campag, chains & cassettes for SRAM and Shimano can be swapped, for example), method of STI activation (Two levers vs Lever and Thumb Trigger vs Doubletap) is another biggie. Then there's electronic shifting in its various incarnations to consider. Apart from SRAM, they don't do it.

All have strengths and weaknesses, and certainly as you get into the mid-range and above the performance is great from all of them. It becomes more of a stylistic and brand choice, IMO. I run Shimano 105 on both my bikes and think it's great. I've demoed a bike with 11-spd Campag and liked that too.

Oh and people who say that one make is "always" better than another are normally talking guff. Big Grin

posted by thereandbackagain [159 posts]
15th January 2013 - 15:48


The main functional difference in my view is the way the shifters operate; Shimano has two independent levers, one in the brake, one behind, SRAM has one lever with a double tap system and Campag has one lever and a little 'release' tab.

Another noticeable difference in my view is that Campag's range is more mid to ultra high-end than SRAM or Shimano's ultra high-end through to bargain basement ranges.

To be honest there is nothing good, or bad, about any of this. All three companies produce extremely high quality and refined products which are well worth the money. I use Shimano simply because the first bike I got was Shimano and I find it easier to maintain and less to learn if I just have one manufacturer.

posted by jackh [113 posts]
15th January 2013 - 19:30


My mate reckons you can categorise each manufacturer by looking at the country of origin.

Shimano are true to the Japanese stereotype. Hard working, reliable and not too expensive to own, although what goes on under the surface may be more complex than you first thought. The Shimano Inscrutable is their best-selling product.

SRAM is the epitome of good old US thinking, with its straightforward engineering and slightly trashy appearance. The fact that much of their design originated elsewhere never seems to trouble their confidence. Best seller is the SRAM 7.62mm self-loader.

Campagnolo has a heritage going back to the Roman empire, when they allegedly introduced the first 11-speed racing chariot. And they continue to cater primarily for the racing fraternity with few concessions to commuters and leisure cyclists. Speed is in their blood, beauty is their goal. Like all Italians. Top seller probably the Campagnolo Asti Spumante.

Hope that helps.


mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [308 posts]
15th January 2013 - 19:39


Doubletap is so intuitive.

Then, the joke is that Shimano Sora is essentially the same as Super Record, both have the little thumb clicker. Smile

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
15th January 2013 - 21:47


I have Ultegra, Dura ace & SRAM Red on three bikes.
The SRAM Red is the best and simplest to ride.
- Its delicious if you need a lot of gear changes


spragger's picture

posted by spragger [26 posts]
15th January 2013 - 22:54


Raleigh wrote:
Doubletap is so intuitive.

Then, the joke is that Shimano Sora is essentially the same as Super Record, both have the little thumb clicker. Smile

Not anymore, they've gone double-lever this year. To get Super Record shifting you now have to drop down to Shimano 2300 Wink

posted by thereandbackagain [159 posts]
15th January 2013 - 23:57


I know Othello is a Campag lover (and with good reason) but I wanted to echo the thoughts of others in that 'They're all good, try them and find the one you like"

In the last year or two I've been using SRAM and Shimano a lot:

Shimano Ultegra shifts really smoothly and easily - never have to worry about it. The lever ergonomics don't suit me as well as SRAM though, I find braking from the hoods much easier and more powerful on my SRAM Apex than the Ultegra (both properly set up by LBS). SRAM Apex also feels like a higher build quality than Shimano 105, but I've had a lot of issues with the front derailleur on SRAM - dropping the chain under pressure when you need it the most. I've heard others with the same problem. Thats the only downside I've had with SRAM though - it shifts nicely (downshifts not as effortless as Shimano, but good) and you can mix and match Apex/Rival/Force/Red well. Double tap is easy to get used to.

I'm going to to try and grab Othello's bike to try out his Campy next, as I have a feeling the hood shape will suit me best! Wink

posted by Hicksdesign [10 posts]
17th January 2013 - 11:43


Thanks very much for all your help guys.
will try & demo some bikes that have all the set ups.

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [93 posts]
17th January 2013 - 17:50