Sram gruppos differences: Rival vs Force vs Red

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by speks22

I know this has probably been talked about a billion times, but my search didn't come up with much. So, breaking it down as basically as possible I believe the only REAL differences between the three, by looking at RD, FD, brakes and shifters; are:

Red- is the lightest and comes with gore ride on cables and zero-loss on both shifters.

Force- a little heavier, zero loss left shifter only

Rival- even heavier in comparison to the other two, zero loss left shifter only

Is this correct? Do the upgraded RD, FD, or bakes provide any REAL difference in performance, (comparible to "zero-loss" type technology, etc).

So for example a full rival build with red shifters and really good cables would be the "best bang for buck"

Please discuss!

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by fa63

It sounds like you have it all nailed down. Personally, I cannot tell a difference between Rival and Red (I have both).

by Weenie

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by jmilliron

I've got full Red, full Rival and one bike that's a mix (Red shifters, Force BB30 cranks and Rival derailleurs). I don't notice a difference between the full Red and the Red/Rival mix. Full Rival works just fine though. Shifting isn't as smooth and effortless but I suspect that's mostly cables.
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by roca rule

also red rd is lighter and has ceramic. i think there is a slight difference in it, if not in performance in feel.

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by djconnel

Ceramic pulleys? They help, but only if the pulleys are clean.

Rival has a medium cage derailleur option. Apex also has medium cage.

Apex, I believe, is like Rival medium cage, just a bit heavier. The derailleur was good enough for Contador on Zoncolan, although he no doubt had ceramic pulleys.

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by prendrefeu

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by USofChay

Would someone mind explaining "zero loss" shifters?

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by nitropowered

Rival has a plastic lower knuckle on the RD.

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by scott_racer

Red FD has Ti cage and bolts, but if you go for the steel cage option (like most pros) it actually turns into a Force FD.

And as far as I can tell the Rival and Force FD are pretty much identical (maybe hardware difference?)

So unless you want the Ti cage, buy a Rival FD and add a Ti mounting bolt :thumbup:
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by HeluvaSkier

USofChay wrote:Would someone mind explaining "zero loss" shifters?

I only use Force and Rival (Force on 3 bikes, Rival on one), and the difference on the left side between my 2010 Force and my 2008 Force is that as soon as you move the lever to shift, it pulls cable. There is no "play" in the lever where it doesn't pull cable when you hit it. On the early versions of SRAM there was a slight amount of play in the lever before cable was actually pulled. Red employs this on both sides, but I've ridden Red and only found a slight difference between that and 2010 Force - and it wasn't enough to cause me to buy Red the second time around.

I think Rival is the best bang for your buck group going. Mechanically the lower end SRAM groups give up very little to Red. So unless weight is a serious consideration (I've built two 16lb bikes with Rival), or you need BB30 [and a matching group set], Rival is a great buy. Now that I think about it, the Force BB30 group is a good buy too...

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by js

USofChay wrote:Would someone mind explaining "zero loss" shifters?

As Heluv explained above, zeroloss does seem to make a nice difference to the left-hand/front shifting, which is probably why it's been incorporated across the line. The differences in the RH/rear shifting are harder to notice.

One of the biggest reasons for this is that you only get a true 'zero loss' shift from the first shift position. On the front, this means from the little ring (you will have some slack to get out of the line when you're shifting from the big-ring's inner trim position to the outmost position), but on the rear, it means that you only have a completely slack-free shift when coming off the 11 (or 12 if that's your smallest cog). All other shifts will have some slack, a few mm of free movement, at the start of them.

I believe the RH/rear shifting on Red is still a bit shorter-throw thereafter, but it's very tough to notice that difference. Certainly the internals are a bit different though too, as I haven't ever heard of anyone having the RH double-tap paddle break off on a Red shifter, whereas it did seem to be happening quite a bit for both Force and Rival a while back.

Finally, with regards to Apex, the lever blades are alloy and the shift bodies are a lower composite material versus Force/Rival (Red is one step up in this category). The Apex crank is a non OCT (ie. hollow) design, so it's heavier then even Rival in that category (without the massive stiffness numbers Rival offers), and the brakes are long-reach for larger tires... but you still have to love how 'concentrated' the SRAM line-up is. I can't imagine any Shimano sponsored pros ever considering running Tiagra for an important mountain stage!!

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by twoangstroms

Are there any extra-special tips on clearning Red pulleys? As opposed to other pulleys, I guess. And I admit that given the touch RD springs involved (getting a rear wheel in and out is always tougher on a Red bike), I'm a bit reluctant to start removing the pulleys.

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by rruff

speks22 wrote:Please discuss!

Can anyone comment on long term durability?

In the past I've had cheaper rear derailleurs (Shimano) develop pivot slop pretty quickly. They apparently don't have harder metal bushings, but rather just have pins riding on the aluminum. I finally bought a Dura Ace though (7700) and that thing has been through ~50k miles and lots of rain and is still like new. It was well worth the extra money for the durability alone.

I don't know about the Sram stuff, but at least with Shimano, there might be little difference in performance when new, but down the road it gets bigger.

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by djconnel

My 2007 Rival has gotten sloppy. On the other hand I've been sloppy about keeping it lubed.

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by Leviathan

Rival Paddles certainly snap, the metal fitting has a slot which acts as a stress concentration point, Ive had two rival paddles now fail there. Ive now got a RED right shifter and we'll see if its more durable, but for me its a pretty big no no for the next bike I buy such that Id take, I dunno, Centaur or Chorus over Rival.

by Weenie

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