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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:34 am 
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Posts: 137
Could someone give me a list of the best to worst road groupsets? If you feel like it, point out the particular parts of that set that standout?

I know Campagnolo is good, but has a rice premium. I am thinking because they are made in Italy, which I support.

I hear nothing but good things about dura ace. I don't think anyone doesn't like dura ace. I don't know why Shimano refuses to use carbon though, I like carbon.

SRAM seems to be personal preference. Some people say they are behind, and some people love it. I'm under the impression they break down such:

Super Record EPS
Dura Ace Di
Super Record
Chorus EPS
Red
Record
Dura Ace
Chorus
Ultegra Di
Force
Ultegra
Athena
Centaur
Rival
105
Veloce
Apex

Is that about right? Who's doing what best. I've heard the electronics from Shimano are better than Campagnolo. Red is the lightest. Shimano shifts the smoothest. Shimano has the worst cranks, best brakes. That sorta thing.


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Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:34 am 


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:37 am 
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They're all great. They shift the gears.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:55 am 
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They all have their strengths and weaknesses' but most is just preference really. Our team gets to ride Record, I love it, Its great, but do I think it gives me a performance edge over someone riding 105, or Rival? Absolutely not. If I'm building up a bike with my own money the last thing I'd break the bank on is a top tier groupset, and I'm pretty picky with my equipment too.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:10 am 
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Everyone will have a different list. Period.

There is no Chorus EPS.

Shimano does not refuse to use carbon, they just don't see it necessary for crank applications. They use it in the rear derailleur cage on the dura ace level (as far as I am aware of), in their pedals, wheels, shoes... They are known for their extensive research in aluminum forging. Personally I prefer the feeling of an aluminum crank. Oh and where the heck did you hear Shimano has the WORST cranks? Seriously? They shift great and are stiff enough for many many people. I am furiously typing this because you seem just to be making assumptions about things you don't know much about. Go ride the groups and make your own list.

Campagnolo put a lot of money into research as well. Can price here be related to supply and demand?!?!?!!? Their stuff is not expensive just because it is made in Italy. Some of it isn't even made in Italy (China ooooo).

I'm stopping my rant now.

Wouldn't be surprised if this is locked/deleted very very soon.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:53 am 
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I am making assumptions. Because I don't know much. That's why I asked the question, so I will know more.

Let's change the wording of shimano refuses to use carbon, to shimano uses alot less carbon in their groupsets(we're not talking about shoes)

locked? are we not allowed to talk about road bike parts on a forum whose express purpose is talking about road bike parts?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:22 am 
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jmilliron wrote:
They're all great. They shift the gears.


Perfect response. :thumbup:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:41 am 
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I quite like veloce, cheap and light for money spent.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:57 am 
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This might be the best fix - that is, keep the brands separate and appreciate their ranking within their own 'vertical'. Added only the foremost-attributes for the brand as a whole, because let's keep this positive. A brand not having that attribute listed next to it *does not* mean that brand is not known for that attribute. At some point anyone can argue ad nausea in one way or another that one brand has the other's attributes and so forth. As jmilliron stated, they all work well, they are all great, and they all do what they are supposed to do: they shift, and they each shift very well when they are set up properly.

Shimano - durability, technology, availability
Dura Ace Di
Dura Ace
Ultegra Di
Ultegra
105
Tiagra
Sora
(and many, many numbers of 'unnamed' lower tier levels that work just fine in a well tuned drivetrain)


Campagnolo - elegance, history, reliability
Super Record EPS
Super Record
Chorus EPS
Record
Chorus
Athena
Centaur
Veloce


SRAM - weight, value, tuning
Red
Force
Rival
Apex


Keep them separate. Try them out. Love what you ride, don't hate on others choice of equipment. Hating a 'drivetrain' choice on one bike vs. another is as imbecile as people getting into fist-fights at a motor race that they are not actually racing in Australia over a debate between two car companies. It really is ridiculous. Competition between brands is a very, very good thing as it encourages innovation and pricing comparison in the marketplace - let the manufacturers/brands compete and fight it out for our attention, but let's not get it between us.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:10 am 
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Quite right. I would add technology to the Campagnolo card as well. I've had no probs with the Chorus g/set over three years, and it retains it's elegance. But there all good. Ignore the Campagnoloist verses Shimanoist eternal civil war, and Boutros Boutros Galli (sic) Sram trying to act as peace mediator...or maybe you'd like a bit of Boutros.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:46 am 
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German 'tour' magazine plubished a overview of all group sets in there last electronic magazine, avab from itunes..


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 am 
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Well said prendrefeu. The thread can end here.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:19 am 
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prendrefeu wrote:
Campagnolo - elegance, history, reliability
Super Record EPS
Super Record
Chorus EPS
Record
Chorus
Athena
Centaur
Veloce


There _ is _ no _ Chorus _ EPS.

Suggested revised list:

Super Record EPS
Record EPS
Athena EPS
Super Record
Record
Chorus
Athena
Centaur
Veloce

Anyone that thinks Super Record (mechanical) is 'better' than any EPS system needs a reality check.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:24 am 
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I think the most important element is how your hands fit into the shifters and your riding style. Sprinting from the drops and shifting does not favour campag due to placement of the thumb shifter but most will find them very comfortable on the hoods, esp eps.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:28 pm 
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to the OP: you seem to be slightly confused about groupsets, so let me give you an engineers laymans discussion about groupsets.

Groupsets may either be mechanical, hydraulic-mechanical ( in the case of some mountain bike groupsets and some new Time trial brakes, ahem) or electronic.

mechanical- run on your standard steel cables. this technology has been around for decades and sets the bar for servicability, durability, no-nonsense. all your mentioned groupsets, except Di2, and EPS, are mechanical. note that brakes will ALWAYS be mechanical (or hydraulic.) there is no discussion. the chance of failure of an electronic brake is simply much higher than the chance of failure of a mechanical brake, and I'm sure you want your braeks to work close to 100% of the time.

how does mechanical work? well, simple. they work by something called cable pull. when you pull your brake lever, you are at the same time pulling the brake cable, which is now being stretched. ( in tension, the engineers term). because the other end is attached to one of your brake arms, this pulls your brake shut.
similarly, when you push the shift lever, the shift cable is either pulled or released (dependinf if you shift up or down). the other end of your shift cable is attached to your derailleur, and in your derailleur are springs. the spring allows the deraileur to move according to the tension in the cable, and position your derailleur where it needs to be relative to the cog/crank. the derailleur 'pushes' the chain when it moves, allowing you to shift cogs.
Different companies have different cable pull ratio- i.e. the amount of cable that is 'pulled' when you shift. shimano and sram 10-speed are pretty much the same, and hence their cassettes and to a limited extent, their shifters and derailleurs are compatible. campy is different.

How does electronic work? the brakes are the same. but electronic works by sending 'signals' when you press the shift lever.. a tiny computer processes this signal, then tells the derailleur to 'move'. a motor in the derailleur then moves the derailleur the required distance. how much to move are all determined by software that is programmed into the computer. because it doesn't run on wire tension, it 'needs' less maintenance ( although you need to charge a battery.) it also works in all conditions - e.g. shifitng under high load, which might not be so great on mechanical. do note that electirc is still widely less available ( and less well known by mechanics) than mechanical groupsets.


So, what are the differences in groupsets? well, how well a groupset works depends mainly on how well it's set up. a poorly set up Campagnolo super record EPS will be worse than a well set up tiagra groupset. this is even more stark when comparing mechanical groupsets- any kinks in the cables, smooth lubrication , etcetera will affect it. especially with internally cabled bikes. a groupset that is shifting the gears is doing the job it was designed to do, and IMO of 5 years of riding differences in 'shift quality' between any mid level groupset and up can really not be felt by a rider. braking however, is a different story- some brakes are definitely better than others, for example I feel shimano brakes have better stopping power than sram. but this is a personal preference thing. you'll have to try it out yourself. that said I have sram brakes on my race bike, they work perfectly fine.

to my knowledge, a higher price in groupset is not buying you much except weight savings, and possibly a marginal design improvement. to my knowledge, the mechanism inside each company's groupsets remaisn largely the same, with minor adjustments- i.e. the mechanism in rival is the same as sram red, they work exactly the same way. red just uses more exotic materials like carbon, titanium, etc, to save weight. the same applies to shimano and campagnolo- e.g. super record works just as well as record, you're really saving just a few grams here and there.

Do NOT assume using more exotic materials like carbon and titanium is always good for you. will it be lighter? certianly, yes. will it be more expensive? will it be superior? well, it depends. will it be more durable? probably not. previous posters have posted about shimano cranks being the best in the business despite them being aluminium, compared to campy's carbon cranks. This is true. one of the best cranks ever made, the cannondale hollowgraw SiSL, is also aluminium. Shimano is good because of a special cold-forging technique ( a manufacturing technique) that is a shimano trade secret. Aluminium , as a material, is much more predictable and consistent than carbon fiber, which is why you hear of one off cases of carbon cranks sometimes failing (rare, but it happens.) this almost never happens with aluminium. it's much more durable, can be made really stiff, resistant to damage. and shimano is able to manufacture thousands of them at the same consistently good quality. shimano chainrings are also the ebst in the business, becasue of the forging they use. everyone else in the industry (except praxis, but they're tiny) uses machining to make their chainrings, which is inherently not as good as forging. are shimano cranks good?yes they are. they are super stiff, durable, shift well, reliable, easy to service, and resistant to damage. are they slightly heavier than campy or sram cranks? yes. but that depends. shimano didn't think lightness was their main consideration in designing the crank. do you see what I'm getting at?

in some cases, such as campy or dura ace 9000, you may get more gears ( 10 versus 11) as you move up the levels of groupset. this is only temporary- eventually this technology 'trickles down' to the lower tech. most 'mordern' groupsets are at least 10 speeds.

do note you can also usually 'mix' groupsets- e.g. you can have a dura ace crank and brakes with ultegra shifters and derailleurs. this si true for most groups within the same company.

so what are the REAL differences between groupsets? well, here are some distinct differences that may help you make up your mind:

1) shifters- campagnolo shifters, for the most part are rebuildable- i.e. if some small part in the shifter fails, you can repair it, or send it off to someone who can. Sram is also rebuildable, but I do not know of anyone who offers this service. and I've tried, but you'd have to be really skilled or have a watchmakers finesse to do this. shimano shifters are not rebuildable.
also, shifter shape. each brand has their own take on the shape, and this is a personal preference. different people will like different hood shapes better.
shift lever design- each company shifts slightly differently, campy and shimano have 2 levers, sram just one shift lever. as an engineer, heres some props to shimano- they're proabably mechanically, the most reliable and sound. I've taken apart sram shifters and their inherent design leaves them much more susceptible to suffering critical damage in crashes or accidents. not so shimano. sram is lighter because of that, but is this a risk you're willing to take? I havent taken apart campag shifters before, so no comment there.

2) shift 'feel'. all groupsets shift the gears. but some feel abit more differently than others. shimano shifting is really smooth, so smooth that you may not 'know' you've shifted. sram and campy are more 'tactile' ( i.e. think manual sports car), and sram is definitely abit noisier ( I havent used the latest iteration of 2012 sram red, which is claimed to be quieter.) here it's up to you really.

3) interchangeability and availability: sram and shimano parts are by and large interchangeable ( except the rear shifter and derailleurs.) campag is not. do note that wheels for a campagnolo groupset are also not interchangeable with sram/shimano, nless you have special casettes or in rare circumstances. shimano replacement parts are the most widely available.

4) look: campagnolo certainly wins here, being the most artistically designed and beautiful to look at. but it's a personal thing. they also ahve a storied history and know how to market it well.

5) maintenance and reliability. : here it really depends on the conditions you ride in . I find shimano to be the least finicky, and sram to be the most. campag is sort of in the middle, because it doesnt need much maintenance, but it's usually a bitch to do it.
personally, for me, shimano is the most reliable, followed by campy and then sram.

6) cost. sram is the cheapest, barring other options like microshift. campag is definitely the most expensive.

7) gearing options, and compact or standard crank? or a triple? . not all options may be available for all groupses- e.g. you won't find a campag record triple crank. sram doesn't do triple cranks either, because they have WiFli. the new shimano 9000 series will eliminate the need for compact or standard cranks anyway.

so, don't sweat your shifter choice. buy what you can afford, and what you like, they all do the job well. a well set up groupset, properly serviced, is more than good enough for any protour level rider. you won't be losing a race because of it.

hope this helps you!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Our sport is elegant, hence I like Campy. Plus durability, soul, pleasure in long term ownership, performance and heritage. But they all perform so try 'em out.


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Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:57 pm 


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