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  1. #1
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    Sram Apex vs Shimano 105 groupsets

    I'm purchasing a gravel bike and trying to decide between these groupsets as to which is better. Doing mainly road but also some off road as well. No cyclocross racing just fitness as well as some touring. I'm used to Shimano and had no experience with Sram. Any thoughts.

  2. #2
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    Other than trying SRAM for yourself and making your own mind up, nope.



    I love SRAM. Both brands work very well. That fact that I love it makes no difference to you...it's a decision you have to make.
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  3. #3
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    Neither is "better". But they work different. Personally, I've always preferred Shimano.

    Food for thought: If you have multiple bikes and switch often, going back and forth from Shimano-SRAM can cause shifting confusion.
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    I was looking at the same choices when I built up my tourer back in 2009. I wound up going with 105 due to cost; Apex would've needed to be special ordered from any shop I talked to, so I committed to scouring the internet and buying parts piecemeal, out of the clearance sections of many websites. It was a lot of fun, and a LOT of work.

    Really, they're of similar build quality, and the only difference is the shift mechanisms.

    edit:
    For the record, my bike build was an entire 10-speed drivetrain. I've got Shimano brifters, cranks, and derailleurs, but a SRAM cassette and chain
    Last edited by old_fuji; 1 Week Ago at 09:16 AM.
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  5. #5
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    You might want to look into rear cassette tooth compatibility. I don't know if there is a difference though but worth checking.
    And you may not care about the ability to use the lowest gear possible between the two but I wouldn't use road experience to decide on that. When the ground gets soft and rough off road lower gears are of great benefit as compared to the same grade on asphalt.

    All else equal if you are happy with the way shimano operates I wouldn't take the chance and change. Although it should be no problem to test ride a Sram bike somehow to see what you think.

  6. #6
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    As far as shifting functionality is concerned, I'd say they are pretty much almost equal with a slight advantage going to Shimano front shifting and braking.

    As far as durability and quality of build, I'd say Shimano also has a slight advantage here too. The 105 shifters, brakes, crank, and derailleurs are all made in Japan, and IMO the feel of the shifting just feels more solid than SRAM.

    Another plus for Shimano stuff is that the various UK online sellers usually have them on massive discount around the Holidays with free shipping (over $50) and no tax.

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    Thx. It seems that the new Shimano 105 7000 series has made major advancements putting it way ahead of the competition. . Also, it seems the durability is not there as well shifting smoothness from what I've read.

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    Thx for your response. It seems that the new Shimano 105 7000 series has made major advancements putting it way ahead of the competition. . Also, it seems the durability on Apex is not there as well shifting smoothness from what I've read.

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    Thx..Thx for your response. It seems that the new Shimano 105 7000 series has made major advancements putting it way ahead of the competition. . Also, it seems the durability on Apex is not there as well shifting smoothness from what I've read.
    The Sram is 1x11 with bigger jumps than the Shimano which is a negative for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hartley1 View Post
    Thx..Thx for your response. It seems that the new Shimano 105 7000 series has made major advancements putting it way ahead of the competition. . Also, it seems the durability on Apex is not there as well shifting smoothness from what I've read.
    The Sram is 1x11 with bigger jumps than the Shimano which is a negative for me.
    I wouldn't say that it made "major advancements" or is "way ahead" of the competition.

    While updated FD and Shadow RD are nice evolutionary upgrades, it's not nearly as much of an update as the 105 5700 to the 105 5800 was. When buying a whole groupset, the price difference isn't much (around $50 at Merlin), but if I were buying replacement parts, I wouldn't spend the extra 30-50% more over their 5800 versions.

    Same when buying a bike. If the price is similar great. But I wouldn't spend much more just to have R7000.

    As far as 105 vs Apex, I came from SRAM Rival before going to 105 5800. Both shifted well. I just preferred Shimano's shifter setup.

  11. #11
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    I just put 105 R7000 11 speed on my bike 4 weeks ago, replacing a 16 year old Ultegra kit 9 speed with many 10s of thousands of miles on it.
    The R7000 is amazing. The shifting is so smooth and fast. I'v ridden 500 miles with the new R7000. Here's an article comparing the R7000 to the 5800 on Cycling News.


    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/p...erences-374671

  12. #12
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    Thx-that's what I read as well. The only reason why I was considering an Apex vs Shimano is because I was comparing a Salsa Carbon Warbird vs an Argon Dark Matter which comes with a Shimano 7000 because there was a big price difference between models and whether it was justified.I wish there were reviews out there on the Argon from riders.

  13. #13
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    I've ran both Sram Force, 105 5700 and Ultegra 6800 on my personal bikes. Both work very well when setup properly. Currently I use Ultegra 6800 on my road bike, and Sram XO on my mountain bike.

    As a shop employee, I've ridden pretty much all the group sets from Shimano, Sram and a couple from Campy. It really comes down to personal preference. Try to test ride both bikes and see what you like.
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  14. #14
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    Adding my 2 cents... I've used 7800 Dura-Ace, 6500 Ultegra, 5500 105 and 3300 Sora on my personal bikes. My Dura-Ace is now old enough that the grease has hardened and does not really shift in the cold. Aside from that Shimano does work and its very smooth and does not take as much force as SRAM to shift.

    My current fleet of bikes consists of Apex, Rival1 and Force1. I still have my Dura-Ace 7800 bike and I don't have too many issues transitioning between the bikes. The only issue I have is when I ride my (or any) Shimano bike, I'll accidentally downshift 2 gears in the back but I get over that pretty quick.

    As others have said, there is no "which is better" my preference is for SRAM but I'd say Shimano is very good also.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason124 View Post
    Adding my 2 cents... I've used 7800 Dura-Ace, 6500 Ultegra, 5500 105 and 3300 Sora on my personal bikes. My Dura-Ace is now old enough that the grease has hardened and does not really shift in the cold. Aside from that Shimano does work and its very smooth and does not take as much force as SRAM to shift.

    My current fleet of bikes consists of Apex, Rival1 and Force1. I still have my Dura-Ace 7800 bike and I don't have too many issues transitioning between the bikes. The only issue I have is when I ride my (or any) Shimano bike, I'll accidentally downshift 2 gears in the back but I get over that pretty quick.

    As others have said, there is no "which is better" my preference is for SRAM but I'd say Shimano is very good also.
    my old DA 7800 had it's grease gunk up after so many years. The gunk prevented the small shift levers from working. I blast them with WD40 and then Tri Flow, afterwards they worked like a charm again.

  16. #16
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    My two cents:

    If you want a 2x, 105
    If you want a 1x, Apex

  17. #17
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Apex SRAM's entry level road group more comparable to Sora or Tiagra?
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  18. #18
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    Thx for input

  19. #19
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    Thx-I want smoother shifting so I think I will stay with 105

  20. #20
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    That was my understanding as well

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Apex SRAM's entry level road group more comparable to Sora or Tiagra?
    It is their entry-level groupset, but when I built my bike in 2009, Apex was actually priced similarly to 105 when purchased as components.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Apex SRAM's entry level road group more comparable to Sora or Tiagra?
    From a tier perspective, yes it is similar to Tiagra in that its 2x10. IIRC, weight wise it is closer (maybe lighter?) to 105. I think SRAM has always been a bit higher than Shimano in regards to weight. So the hierarchy looks like this:

    Lightest

    Red
    Dura-Ace
    Force
    Ultegra
    Rival
    Apex/105
    Tiagra

    Heaviest

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason124 View Post
    From a tier perspective, yes it is similar to Tiagra in that its 2x10. IIRC, weight wise it is closer (maybe lighter?) to 105. I think SRAM has always been a bit higher than Shimano in regards to weight. So the hierarchy looks like this:

    Lightest

    Red
    Dura-Ace
    Force
    Ultegra
    Rival
    Apex/105
    Tiagra

    Heaviest
    From my perspective, weight is at the bottom of my priorities. I would be more interested in a scale based on shift quality, durability and ergonomics.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    From my perspective, weight is at the bottom of my priorities. I would be more interested in a scale based on shift quality, durability and ergonomics.
    Sram Rival and up has reach adjustments for adjusting the brake and shift lever. Shimano I believe 105 and up can be adjusted but via shims.

    As far as shift feel is concerned, Sram requires a bit more travel to go into bigger rings since it uses the same lever for both directions and the light press on the lever will shift into a smaller ring. Sram in general is more tactile than Shimano, with an obvious positive click. Shimano is smoother and requires less effort. The range of motion to shift into a bigger ring on Sram results in shifting 2 gears on Shimano.

    With regards to durability, I know the first few generations of Shimano shifter cables were known to break in the shifter and it is recommended to change cables at 1500 miles if you're a frequent shifter. Not sure if this is resolved in the R generation Shimano drivetrains. Sram, on the other hand had some defects with early Apex/Rival shifters breaking (2010?).

    The hoods are also an individual preference, I have no preference and find both similarly comfortable.

    Hope this helps.

  25. #25
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    Thx, for your info

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