Is SRAM Red as good as the hype suggests?

May 6, 2009
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I see a lot of people riding bikes with SRAM Red, and a lot of PT teams are switching to SRAM Red (Garmin, Liquigas, and Katusha to name three), and my housemate who works in a bike shop absolutely hates it, and would probably kill me if I bought a bike with a SRAM Red groupset. I've only ever used Shimano, so what did people think of SRAM Red? Do you have any positive comments, or just a piece of crap?

I would say SRAM Red is a well marketed product, and what it comes down too.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Been using SRAM Red all season and no complaints whatsoever. As a long time Campy user I'm glad SRAM designed their lever ergonomics to mimic Campy's Ergopower, the feel is almost identical. The Doubletap shifting takes no time at all to get used to, I'd say it even resembles the clunky mechanical feel of Campy, also which I'm most used to. Shifting isn't as smooth as Shimano. SRAM is cheap, helluva lot more if you're in the industry or can get a bro deal, that's the selling point, but it works great. I'm in contact with a multitude of shops all over the world and the general consensus is that if you're on a budget SRAM works just fine for a disposable grouppo, some don't like it but most do.

P.S. Don't take what you're housemate said too seriously, most bike shop wrenches are extremely biased, unreasonable, and totally mental. I should know, used to be one. ;)
 
Jul 11, 2010
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At least in the US, SRAM has an EXCELLENT reputation for support. The group may be "disposable" but getting spares is much easier than Shimano, at least with the few wrenches I know.

I really prefer the shifters being separate from the brake levers. It's not that I wouldn't ride Shimano b/c of it, but if I have a choice I'd go SRAM again. Also the springs in the SRAM rear derailleur are apparently stronger than Shimano and that seems to make them a lot more fault-tolerant. I've had much better luck keeping the SRAM in tune.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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craig1985 said:
I see a lot of people riding bikes with SRAM Red, and a lot of PT teams are switching to SRAM Red (Garmin, Liquigas, and Katusha to name three).
They are switching because SRAM is paying teams a lot of money to switch.

SRAM is following the same business model as Shimano, which is selling gruppos to bike companies for a fraction of the price that you would have to pay retail. If I had to guess I would guess that the OEM price for a top end Shimano or SRAM group is $400 to $500, maybe even less.

Campy has never pursued this business model, and it has severely limited their acceptance in a country like the U.S. If I see someone in the U.S. on Campy it is always seems to be because they speced a high end bike from the frame up at a really ritzy bike shop or they built it themself from a bare frame.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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..... and, what's happening in regard to the heavy SRAM sponsorship of Pro Tour teams is a direct result of the worldwide economic downturn. SRAM is able to offer more support than Shimano or Campy at this point, so I believe that's why you're seeing such a mass migration to SRAM amongst the pros.

and what BroDeal said.
 

oldborn

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May 14, 2010
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Here in Croatia Sram group on road bikes are same as you have boy friend (gay one, no other thoughts and discrimination purpose) but you are too shiny to say in public:D, it is hard to see it on road bikes. MTB Sram group are well known and no one complaint to much about it.

Never try it, having Campagnolo Chorus and Deore on MTB which going well so far.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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If you scour the last 12 months of bike reviews in magazines, you'll see that what Bro Deal is saying is correct. The vast majority of pre-packaged bikes run with either SRAM or Shimano with Campy lagging behind a distant third.

Its the same with in-store bikes. Having campy usually means an aftermarket upgrade at your own cost.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
..... and, what's happening in regard to the heavy SRAM sponsorship of Pro Tour teams is a direct result of the worldwide economic downturn. SRAM is able to offer more support than Shimano or Campy at this point, so I believe that's why you're seeing such a mass migration to SRAM amongst the pros.

and what BroDeal said.
Seriously mate you talk alot of sh_t.

Group sets on PRO bikes is a business that SRAM are desperate to win, no matter what the price. It's bunnies like you that get sucked in by it.

Maybe a better view of what really is the business would be to see what Ex-Pros choose to use on their own bikes once the cheques stop rolling in? It aint SRAM.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Why the agression? :rolleyes: I think you can make your point without that sort of language, think of it as a first and last warning, alright.

Anyway,,,? I'd like to see some long term testing since SRAM Red has really only been on the road for about 3 years. If everything holds together on my rig for another 5 or 7 seasons, and depending how long I keep it I'll be pleasantly surprised.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Damn awesome, SRAM. love it. Shifting is perfect compared to Shimano. Love the clunky feel as gears shift.

In my opinion though, go SRAM Red Levers, but SRAM Force everything else. Save yourself the $$. They are quite similar. Or wait for the 2011 Sram Red. heard it's got a few surprises.

I'd also change the chain to a KMC XL or something similar. SRAM chains aren't the best.
 
Mar 26, 2009
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This was my 2nd year on Red and no problems and in past I've used both Shimano and Campy.

The good points of Sram Red are the good price and the light weight compared to other top groupsets.
 
craig1985 said:
I see a lot of people riding bikes with SRAM Red, and a lot of PT teams are switching to SRAM Red (Garmin, Liquigas, and Katusha to name three), and my housemate who works in a bike shop absolutely hates it, and would probably kill me if I bought a bike with a SRAM Red groupset. I've only ever used Shimano, so what did people think of SRAM Red? Do you have any positive comments, or just a piece of crap?

I would say SRAM Red is a well marketed product, and what it comes down too.
As Valentino Campagnolo said, an average product marketed really well. Not very durable(broken shift levers, toasted red BBs, in spite of ceramic), soft chainrings, questionable chains...As has been mentioned, a cheap, light, throwaway groupset.
 
BroDeal said:
They are switching because SRAM is paying teams a lot of money to switch.

SRAM is following the same business model as Shimano, which is selling gruppos to bike companies for a fraction of the price that you would have to pay retail. If I had to guess I would guess that the OEM price for a top end Shimano or SRAM group is $400 to $500, maybe even less.

Campy has never pursued this business model, and it has severely limited their acceptance in a country like the U.S. If I see someone in the U.S. on Campy it is always seems to be because they speced a high end bike from the frame up at a really ritzy bike shop or they built it themself from a bare frame.
What he said, agree completely. It's about money, when a pro teams decides to use anything. Look, with a legion of mechanics and a truck full of spares, all works well(except for Andy's bike I guess).
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Bustedknuckle said:
What he said, agree completely. It's about money, when a pro teams decides to use anything. Look, with a legion of mechanics and a truck full of spares, all works well(except for Andy's bike I guess).
Guy I know who wrenches for a ProTour team told me a couple of years back that one of the reasons that there were less Campag equipped teams is that Shimano gave the teams gruppos and spares, whereas Campag made the teams buy the equipment - admittedly at greatly less than we all pay at the LBS/on the net. When he told me that, he had moved not long before from a smaller Campag equipped team to one of the top, Shimano equipped teams ...

So, maybe that's the case still and is the model SRAM is also following?

And to in part answer fiftyfour eleven's question about what pros ride themselves - when another friend who is a current PT rider and has raced Shimano for his entire career (although will be onto a SRAM equipped team this year) helped his wife set up a bike, he made sure that she got something with Campag on it because to his mind it was by far the better product ...

Oh, and back to the SRAM Red topic - is it just me, or do you guys get sick of reading the line in CN pro bike reviews about "pro issue only steel caged Red front derailleur" (or whatever exactly the phrase is)? I mean, why can't the authors just say "Force badged as Red" like they did a couple of years back (eg., review of Tim Johnson's cross bike in 2008)??? :confused:
 

oldborn

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May 14, 2010
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For 2010 (22 pro teams), 8 of them were Campagnolo equiped, 7 Sram, and 7 Shimano equiped.

It will be great to see 2011. For me beside money involved it is also tradition. Italian bikes (if we can say it) in 2010 Pro tour; Willier, Colnago exlusion of Kuota with Sram and Pinarello with Shimano in Sky (Pinarello in Caisse d Espargne has Campagnolo) are all on Campagnolo. I can not imagine Cervelo on Campagnolo:rolleyes:
 
Mar 4, 2009
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kiwirider said:
Oh, and back to the SRAM Red topic - is it just me, or do you guys get sick of reading the line in CN pro bike reviews about "pro issue only steel caged Red front derailleur" (or whatever exactly the phrase is)? I mean, why can't the authors just say "Force badged as Red" like they did a couple of years back (eg., review of Tim Johnson's cross bike in 2008)??? :confused:
kiwirider:

It's because that steel-caged Red front derailleur is an actual product offered by SRAM for its OE and team customers. In all fairness, Rival, Force and Red front derailleurs all share common forgings so I could technically refer to those "pro only" Red derailleurs as Force ones but if that were the case then the anodizing finish would be different as well.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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James Huang said:
kiwirider:

It's because that steel-caged Red front derailleur is an actual product offered by SRAM for its OE and team customers. In all fairness, Rival, Force and Red front derailleurs all share common forgings so I could technically refer to those "pro only" Red derailleurs as Force ones but if that were the case then the anodizing finish would be different as well.
Thanks for the clarification - I'll stand corrected and apologise accordingly.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Echoing what others have said, I'm on year 4 of my Red shifters and derailleurs and haven't had a problem with them yet. Also, in 2009 I wrenched for a pro team that used Sram gear, a mix of Red and Force on race bikes and Rival on training bikes, and it all held up fine over the course of the season, with a couple of exceptions. As "Indurain" said above, stay away from the Sram chains, Shimano and KMC XL shift better and last longer. Also, the Sram chainrings pretty much suck (too flexible for fast shifts), and the BB's have mediocre seals so they don't last very long.

My suggestion: Use Red shifter, derailleurs, cranks, brakes and cassettes, but swap out the chainrings and chain for Shimano, and the BB for Chris King or some other higher quality model.
 
Greyhound Velo said:
Echoing what others have said, I'm on year 4 of my Red shifters and derailleurs and haven't had a problem with them yet. Also, in 2009 I wrenched for a pro team that used Sram gear, a mix of Red and Force on race bikes and Rival on training bikes, and it all held up fine over the course of the season, with a couple of exceptions. As "Indurain" said above, stay away from the Sram chains, Shimano and KMC XL shift better and last longer. Also, the Sram chainrings pretty much suck (too flexible for fast shifts), and the BB's have mediocre seals so they don't last very long.

My suggestion: Use Red shifter, derailleurs, cranks, brakes and cassettes, but swap out the chainrings and chain for Shimano, and the BB for Chris King or some other higher quality model.
So when you wrenched for a pro team with sram and you say 'it held up fine', well except for the chains, chainrings and BBs and don't forget the forgettable red front der...

Can't imagine a shimano or Campagnolo equipped team opting for say sram cogsets or brakes or sram chains or anything else. I think a measure of their technology, finesse and desire to make truly pro level stuff...rather than just market mediocre stuff as 'pro/racing' level.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Greyhound Velo said:
Echoing what others have said, I'm on year 4 of my Red shifters and derailleurs and haven't had a problem with them yet.
4 years, are you sure? SRAM Red has only been available even to the most deeply entrenched in the industry since the spring of '07, was tested in the TDF that year for the first time, and made it's Interbike debut that fall.
 
Jun 30, 2009
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Ive been riding SRAM for a while now, had first gen force and rival, in fact that 4 year old rival group is still on my cx bike. I have about 2 years on my red group at this point and it has held up great. As others have said I do run a force fd, shimano cassettes and kmc chains. High points for me are the ergonomics are great, its relatively inexpensive compared to record/dura ace and SRAM offers great support.

If cost was no object Id probably ride record though.
 
Ok got it.

So apart from the chains, the chain rings, the levers, the shifting, the rebadged derailleurs and the bottom brackets.... they're an absolutely fantastic throwaway groupset.

Monty Python you have a lot to answer for.
 

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