SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

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earlberteoni
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Joined: 15 Nov 2012, 10:37am

SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby earlberteoni » 15 Nov 2012, 10:48am

About to take the plunge on a new bike for light touring - well, the aim is a trip to Switzerland, so not that light, I suppose. But not camping, so not big loads. 631 steel frame, carbon forks, drops. Initial reading suggests Shimano 105 is some sort of standard to aspire to but my local shop is recommending a 50/34 chainset and 12/34 cassette with SRAM Apex. I hope that makes sense - I'm new to the technicalities - and for that same reason would be interested in any views on the pros and cons of Shimano v Apex. I'm 61 and not cycling fit yet but hope to be before I set off!

emil
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Joined: 31 Jan 2011, 4:19pm

Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby emil » 15 Nov 2012, 3:33pm

Hi, no direct knowledge of SRAM Apex but there was a thread on this forum, and I think it highlighed some difficulties. I have a Tiagra compact 50-34 with a 12-30 cassette and this covers much of the same range as the SRAM, but not quite as low. Shimano are bringing out a 105 rear mech that will handle the 12-30 cassette. Dont' worry about your age of 61, I am 78( and a bit!) so you are OK for some time yet! Good luck on the trip.

Just remembered I do have a Sirrus hybrid with flat bars and a SRAM groupset it has 48-34 and 12-36 cassette. Climbs walls!

Brucey
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby Brucey » 15 Nov 2012, 4:27pm

mechanically both gruppos are similar in terms of what they will do in theory. However I would strongly advise a test ride on each, since the gear controls on dropped bars are rather different. SRAM have a so-called 'doubletap' shifter on many of their groupsets (one paddle, different types of push for shifts up and down) and shimano have their STI system (push brake lever sideways for 'cable pull' shifts onto bigger chainrings and sprockets, push little paddle for shifts the other way).

Not everyone likes the SRAM system; common complaints include that you don't always get the shift you wanted (which can stop you dead on a steep hill) and that the action can require a fairly hefty push. However others say it is fine; you'll have to make your own mind up.

Plenty of people have rejected STIs and their ilk altogether and have reverted to bar-end shifters, Kelly Take-offs, or other means of mounting the gear levers within easy reach of the tops, BTW. This is not only more ergonomic for some people's riding style, but is often considerably less expensive.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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foxyrider
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby foxyrider » 15 Nov 2012, 5:03pm

You could look at Campag too - i run some very extreme set ups without issues plus the brake levers are just that, the gear shift is a seperate system.

I'll be taking my Campy 10 x 3 set up with 19" - 104" gear range (i will be camping and pass storming) to Switzerland next summer so maybe we'll cross! :D
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

crimble
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby crimble » 15 Nov 2012, 5:33pm

anecdotal evidence from friends and aquaintances suggest shimano levers have a longer and more reliable life span than SRAM. I was speaking to someone today who claimed his SRAM levers died within two years.

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easyroller
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby easyroller » 15 Nov 2012, 5:45pm

Definitely test ride SRAM's doubletap system VS Shimano's wobbly brake shifters!

If you choose SRAM's WiFli you'll get a lowest of 34:32 as standard. There's some talk of being able to fit their 11-36 MTB cassette but I've never seen it done. A Shimano compact double won't be as low, but a 105 triple will get you down to a 30:30 gearing, even lower if you go with some mountain bike parts. I've got a stupidly low bottom gear of 28:32 on my hybrid which is much, much lower than I need - but nice to have on occasion!

Personally, I'd love SRAM to come out with a road triple...

What do you currently ride?

ChrisButch
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby ChrisButch » 15 Nov 2012, 6:23pm

easyroller wrote:Personally, I'd love SRAM to come out with a road triple...


Given the faith they clearly have in the Apex system, having now extended it throughout their groupset range as the WiFli option, that looks improbable any time soon.

earlberteoni
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Joined: 15 Nov 2012, 10:37am

Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby earlberteoni » 15 Nov 2012, 6:57pm

easyroller wrote:What do you currently ride?


Thanks for the replies so far. I shall certainly attempt to compare the two in the flesh, as it were.

Not sure what I currently ride is very interesting - it's a Ridgeback Adventure hybrid that did years of commuting service. Can't say I've ever really liked it - aluminium, too many vibrations - but it's sturdy. I have a Brompton too, for the shops and for putting in the back of the car.

Jay Gee
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby Jay Gee » 15 Nov 2012, 7:25pm

I did LEJOG a couple of months ago on a SRAM apex equipped bike. I bought a 34 tooth cassette (instead of the recommended 32 max) by mistake but it works fine. I don't mind the double tap system, but the gear shifts definitely require more effort than the shimano tiagra levers on my other bike. My biggest worry is reliability. I bought the bike from new last January, and probably done less than 1000 miles training on it, but during LEJOG the rear shift lever snapped off completely. An expensive repair! If I'd been at home with time to spare, I would have replaced the groupset with Shimano rather than buying another set of SRAM shifters. I was on an organised ride, the tour leader said that he'd seen a number of SRAM shifters fail like that.

guzzimag
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby guzzimag » 15 Nov 2012, 7:30pm

I have a SRAM Apex equipped Spa Audax, and a 105 triple equipped Cube. Both systems work, my personal preference would be the Shimano 105 but you should try both. My opinions: The Apex gearing (compact double and 32 at the back) is far more widely spaced. I sometimes find it hard to find the perfect gear, but not very often. The 105 is close ratio in comparison. The lever action of the SRAM is far more clunky. The 105 feels lighter to use and more positive in use.

The SRAM Apex bottom bracket failed on me twice and has now been replaced with a Hope bottom bracket (marvellous thing). I love my Spa though - it's more than the sum of it's parts. However - if I had my time again I probably would have spec'd it with 105 instead. Bear in mind it is a more expensive groupset so maybe not fair to compare it to SRAM Apex.

They both work fine. The 105, for me, is a bit better thought out and easier to use. The SRAM is perfectly good as well though - but the BB in my experience is a weak point. 105 brakes are nice too - no experience with SRAM brakes as my Spa came with Miche brakes (rubbish, replaced with Shimano!)

Try both . Good luck

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easyroller
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Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby easyroller » 16 Nov 2012, 10:23am

Reliability may be a small issue with SRAM, but it'd probably be fine. It's not aimed at the "touring" market that's for sure, more at the roadie looking for a lightweight groupset at a better price than equivalent Shimano/Campag offerings. I like non-wobbly brake levers, but that's just me... For European touring a Shimano 105 triple would serve you well.

earlberteoni
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Joined: 15 Nov 2012, 10:37am

Re: SRAM Apex versus Shimano 105

Postby earlberteoni » 16 Nov 2012, 4:32pm

Following the wise advice of other posters, I have now tried out both systems and I can see exactly what is meant by the various comments. In the end I think I will be coming down in favour of SRAM. While the Shimano action has a smoother feel to it, it requires moving your finger between two levers on each side and it felt a bit weird to be moving the brake lever to change gear! I suppose there's more effort involved with the SRAM but in the Great Scheme of Things (effort division) it's not really that much compared to, say, the pedalling. Of course I liked the fact that the SRAM outfit was cheaper (by about £150 in the shop I am coming to know as my LBS). But the clincher was the fact that the SRAM was just much more comfortable 'on the hoods' (is that an expression?) - the Shimano was rather squared-off, which, after a few miles let alone a hundred, I would find irritating.
But thanks again for all the views.