Sram Red vs Shimano Dura Ace

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by nemeseri

I need some first hand experiences. I've been riding shimano ultegra mechanical for 3 years now and I'm pretty happy with it. The only minor complaint is that it's not the lightest and I like the idea of a lighter bike. Now I'm about to buy a new bike and I will buy it either with Red or DA. I've never tried anything from sram for more than a parking lot ride so I have no idea how it compares to DA.

My friend has a bike with Sram Force and I didn't find it too impressive. The shifting seemed to be clunky, the brake modulation and feedback on the levers didn't feel as good as my ultegra. Maybe it's just different, I don't know.

On the other hand some of my riding buddies are on Sram Red now and they say they love it. One of them even said that he liked it much better than their previous DA (he had 7800 before).

I'd appreciate any inputs.

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by RussellS

You need to go for a day long ride on SRAM to figure out if you can tolerate it. It shifts very differently than Shimano or Campagnolo. One lever, the same lever, does both up shifting and down shifting. And some times, many times, you get the wrong one during a shift.

by Weenie

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by fa63

I agree with the above, really best to try for yourself if you can. Some call Sram's shifting clunky (it is firmer and noisier), but I actually prefer it over Shimano which can a bit vague. The above poster is also correct about the possibility of downshifting instead of upshifting with Double Tap, but to be honest it happened so rarely that it wasn't an issue.

Brakes were a wash for me, didn't think one was better than the other (using the same pads).

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by eric

With Red I get an upshift when I wanted a downshift a couple times a ride, especaially if it's a long ride and I'm tired. But I have thin climbers arms.
Sram has the old standard 3:1 brake cable leverage ratio. Newer Shimano is 4:1. Their brakes have longer lever arms to suit the shorter cable travel. But if you're using someone else's brakes it may make some difference. I like very light brake action, if you don't care so much then it's probably not an issue.

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by Marin

I had 2 bikes with Force/Red/Rival mix and 1 with Ultegra. Now I have 3 with Sram, Shimano parts are waiting in the bin.

Shimano feels a -bit- softer/smoother/nicer, but for me Sram works just as well, and it's a lot lighter and looks better to me.

Some Rival parts are lighter than their Dura Ace equivalent FFS.

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by Sacke

Shimano shifting is definitely smoother, but there are a couple of things that I prefer with SRAM.

1. "pre-loading" the shifter in sprints by clicking the shift lever, but not letting it go back out. That way the shift doesn't happen, until the lever clicks back out. I could pull the lever close to the bars when starting to sprint, click in, and then just let the lever go back out if the sprint is long, and the upshift would happen, without having to reach for a lever. Just about as good as it gets with mechanical shifting, not far from the practicality of sprint shifters with Di2.

2. Hood ergonomics. The wider tops on the SRAM fit my hands better.

3. Riding in "praying mantis" position with forearms leaning on handlebar tops. Since the Shimano levers move inwards, hooking the pinkies, or more fingers from the inside around the levers for extra stability, is not very practical.

4. The clunk sounds. Sometimes with Shimano, I can't tell if the gear changed correctly or not, but with SRAM, there is no doubt. It's not a big deal, but sometimes when being really tired, it can be hard to tell from the perceived effort if the gear change happened or not. Just the fact that there is doubt sometimes, isn't very nice.

Summa summarum... I would say that if you are a leisure rider more than a racer, Shimanos smoothness is definitely in a class of its own. If on the other hand, you race a lot, SRAM does provide some benefits in situations that in leisurly riding do not matter.

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by prendrefeu

Choose whatever you prefer. Weigh your priorities (aesthetics, tunability, availability, price, mass, comfort, UI) and make your own decision for yourself.
The Shimano vs. Campagnolo vs. SRAM debates quickly turn into fanboy affairs.

Don't judge other riders for their preference, whether it be mixed or complete group. Each to their own.
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

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by Kongbop

Shimano works more smoother than Sram
Sram works just as well and LIGHT!

But, I'm using 6870 now ;-)

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by pdlpsher1

Since we are comparing Red against Dura Ace I'd like to point out the differences in warranty (D.A. = 3 years vs. Red 2 years). I have had to use the Shimano warranty on two occasions, one D.A. part and one Ultegra part. And my Sram Red front brake caliper broke but it was outside of the two year warranty. Even top-end parts break under heavy use so the Shimano three-year warranty is a peace of mind. Lastly I have found Shimano very easy to deal with when it comes to warranty request. They didn't ask for me to send back the defective part nor did they asked me a lot of questions, including asking for a sales receipt. They just get my home address and a replacement part is sent very quickly.

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by stockae92

I have Ultegra 2x9 for many years, then switched to a new bike with SRAM Force 22 last year.

I think the shifting and lever (shift and brake) are smoother on the Ultegra. The Force still works and I am fine with it but I don't like it as much as Ultegra, except I think the Force group is about 200g lighter than the Ultegra (which I like).

And the shifting is louder, so my ridding buddies KNOW when I am going to give it more go. :D

I found shifting in the drop is easier for me with SRAM. and also, the shift feels crisp which is nice.

I have to do it all over again, I might do Ultegra just because its smoother and quieter, and I like the brake feel on the old Ultegra better (but that may have something to do with the internal cable routing vs having cable stop).

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by Valbrona

Campagnolo Athena compares quite well to Dura-Ace and SRAM Red, and the price is quite reasonable.

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by oldnslow2


Simple shifting and my bike got lighter when I switched from mechanical

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by nemeseri

oldnslow2 wrote:eTap

Simple shifting and my bike got lighter when I switched from mechanical

How long have you been riding Dura Ace before eTap and which series (7800/7900/9000)?
How does eTap compare to that?

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by Rick

I came off DA 7800 to SRAM Red, but also have an Ultegra 6700 bike.
Honestly, DA is much smoother, lighter and quieter. RED is acceptable, lighter and cheaper, so there are some trade-offs.
When i go from my SRAM to my Ultegra bike, I am still impressed at how much smoother and quieter the shimano is.
When I go from Ultegra to RED, I feel like the shifting is stiff, clunky, loud and "plasticky feeling".
But after riding for only about 15 min, I forget all that and the RED is perfectly fine. I don't have any problems with missed shifts or erroneous upshift/downshifts. I actually like the concept of the single lever better.
So, I am totally satisfied with Red, but if I get a new bike I would probably go back to DA.
Either way, you will be happy. They are both very good with just quirky differences.

by Weenie

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by nemeseri

I just came back from a little bit longer test ride with Red. I was impressed with the rear shifting performance, I'd say I liked it at the end quite much (maybe better than my ultegra). The braking seemed to be pretty much the same. What I disliked was the front shifting from small to big ring. I needed much more power and movement than what I need on my ultegra. Apart from this it was crispy and felt good.

Probably I will stick with DA this year, but now I completely get it why people like it a lot.

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