SRAM RD - Red or Force?

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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by nayr497

Hey there,

Been having a tough time with the cross bike this season. One thing has broken, I'll fix it, then something else breaks. Crankset, shifter, now my RD. Was riding on a gravel path today, didn't see any sticks, and suddenly my crank arms were locked and my RD was snapped off. I stopped pedaling as soon as I could, but the damage was done. Also bent my hanger, but the frame, chain, cassette all look good, so could have been worse.

This was a Force 10-s RD from 2010. I recently swapped out my Force shifters for Red and the shifting slickness has been a noticeable improvement, at least in my opinion.

I need to replace my RD. Would there be a functional upgrade if I went with Red? Or, should I just stick with Force? I think I could probably pick up a new Force RD for about the price of a lightly used Red RD.

A SRAM tech said the Red shifters would work with Force, Apex, Rival, Red Black, and Red 2012.

If it is just a weight savings, not worth it to me (I do know where I am!), but like I said, Red shifters are nicer in my opinion, so if the Red RD shifts nicer, I'd go for it.

A good day becomes a better day with a bicycle ride.

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by Juanmoretime

Tough call. I run Red on my road bike and its light and functions well, Red shifters too. I run Apex shifters and Rival derailleur front and back on my crossbike. The right side works just as well as the Red. The throw of the left shift is lighter, shorter and quicker then the Apex and Rival but no a deal breaker either.

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by nayr497

Hey Juan,

Thanks for the reply.

I don't know if I had a bad Force shifter (it was new) or what, but I put on a Red right a few weeks ago and the ease and smoothness is very noticeable. I used to kinda guess if I was upshifting, downshifting, going two cogs in or what with the Force shifter. I really dig the Red shifter. No guessing.

As this is a cross bike that I train and race on, it's gonna get beat up. Not unnecessarily, but that just happens. That's why, as you write, tough call.

I think I'd go for either Force or Red, as the price drop of Rival or Apex isn't a huge one in my book.

Hey, you didn't help me at all! (joking, I know this is a tough one to answer, no right or wrong).

2*C here in NC today, very cold for us, but no snow. I thought a ride sounded good, and it was, until that unseen stick put my RD to rest. I'm sure I sound lucky to a guy as far north as you.
A good day becomes a better day with a bicycle ride.

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by Ragamuffin

I've run all levels of 10-speed Sram, and will echo what Juan has said. The biggest upgrades between the groups appears to be the levers and can be attributed to the zero-loss system.

I run Apex in the back on my cross bike and have had zero issues this season and I could care less if crash and break it since replacement will be relatively cheap. You get a lighter mech with ceramic bearings going from Force to Red, and honestly, you probably won't notice any difference when you're training and racing. Aesthetics matching aside, I would just go for the Force unless your pockets are really deep and can afford to replace Red derailleurs in case it breaks again.

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by nayr497

Thanks, Ragamuffin!

A lot of thought and good sense in that reply and I appreciate it. you having me thing about the 'pex!

Thanks you two for sorting me out, either a good deal on a Force or maybe just Apex. Road bikes I kinda care too much about parts and such, but on a cross bike I love that it's a tool to just bomb around. It's gonna break, so don't get too attached to it, buy what works, and fix what you need to at minimal outlays. It'll likely break down soon.

Thank ya!!
A good day becomes a better day with a bicycle ride.

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by grover

Another thought. Use a mtb derailleur? Tougher, get's rid of the cable loop. I've been using an X.0 type 2 rear mech with red shifters and loving the extra chain retention the stiffer spring provides. It did make the shift feel a bit heavier though.

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by aaric

Red adds ceramic bearings, and titanium hardware. The newer red runs quieter as well.

If you aren't looking for quieter or lighter, no point going with red IMO. Could even go down to rival honestly - great bang for the buck there.

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by elmar schrauth

One Crash, or one Time clogged with to much Mud and your RD is broken
So : Force

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by FlemishCompact

I'm running red shifters, force FD, and a force RD. I know plenty of people who race rival RD's too. I'm voting force.

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