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First MTB - Shimano or SRAM

Old 06-24-21, 11:36 AM
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Beach Bob
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First MTB - Shimano or SRAM

Looking to get a FS trail bike (of course, probably won't show up until the spring). What drivetrain do people prefer? Shimano or SRAM?

All my road bikes have been Shimano so I tend to have a bias towards them, but EVERYTHING in a MTB is different from what I know..so my mind is 100% open

Thanks.
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Old 06-24-21, 11:56 AM
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This should not be a deciding factor. Chassis and suspension is way more important. Do some test rides. The brakes are just syringes and the shifters all work the same
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Old 06-24-21, 12:30 PM
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I prefer Shimano for cassette, shifter and derailleur. SRAM is clunky shifting compared to Shimano.

All the other components I don't care what brand they are.

Plenty of FS mountain bikes out there. You don't have to wait until spring.
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Old 06-24-21, 12:42 PM
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I do like Shimano as well and many of my bikes have Shimano components that being said Darth Lefty had the right idea. Is the bike comfortable is the suspension good??? Honestly the way SRAM has been going lately I wouldn't mind some of that Eagle stuff though I would still want a mineral oil brake like Shimano or TrickStuff or Magura...

However if given the opportunity for the ultimate FS trail bike it would be 12 speed Di2 and Trickstuff Maxima brakes and probably the Magura Wireless dropper (Though I could steal SRAM batteries from my co-worker for the Rockshox Reverb) with probably FOX Factory suspension because Kashima coating.
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Old 06-24-21, 12:46 PM
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Yes
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Old 06-24-21, 12:48 PM
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I prefer SHimano, but the last Sram equipped bike I owned was years ago. I found it terrible so never got another. Even the cheapest Shimano parts work as well as Sram when new, in my experience.
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Old 06-24-21, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Honestly the way SRAM has been going lately I wouldn't mind some of that Eagle stuff...
It's not all that it's cracked up to be. I would stay away. GX Eagle on my Fat Bike and X01 Eagle on my FS Mountain bike...It's not smooth at all on either bike and it's very finicky. Soon as the components wear out, I'm replacing them with Shimano components.

Shimano XT on my hardtail, Shimano 105 on my road bike...like butter.
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Old 06-24-21, 01:22 PM
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OK, to follow up on my original question, is there anything I should avoid due to poor performance or reliability?
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Old 06-24-21, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Beach Bob View Post
OK, to follow up on my original question, is there anything I should avoid due to poor performance or reliability?
XTR 12-speed shifters have developed a rep for not continuing to work. The Deore 4-pot brakes are getting mixed reviews. Some people seem to have endless trouble with SRAM brake pistons cracking, but other people complain about Shimano brakes having moving bite points. For any given fork you can find someone complaining how the factory tune is bad, what to believe?

To add color to what I said before, I've got opinions what I like better, but they're pragmatic and maybe not all found on the same factory build or at your budget. If you are getting a first bike it's really not that important. I think brake feel is more about pad material than brand. I like my 11 speed stuff a lot but 12 is now de rigueur even though it seems a bit overboard to me. I don't like the way RS forks below Reba/Rev level are a dead end for repair or upgrades. I got a DVO fork that I picked up used and blemished for a song, and now I'm spoiled for premium damping, with shims not holes, can't go back. I have so far not decided to afford much other high end stuff, but if my hubs ever go out I'm getting xD drivers and XX1 cassettes. I like the Race Face crankset modular system. The price on Garmin's new SPD pedals is definitely gouging. 27.5x2.8 tires were good, the 3's I've got now seem too big, I think 29x2.6 or 2.5 looks pretty great and would definitely buy that if shopping today.
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Old 06-24-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
XTR 12-speed shifters have developed a rep for not continuing to work. The Deore 4-pot brakes are getting mixed reviews. Some people seem to have endless trouble with SRAM brake pistons cracking, but other people complain about Shimano brakes having moving bike points. For any given fork you can find someone complaining how the factory tune is bad, what to believe?

To add color to what I said before, I've got opinions what I like better, but they're pragmatic and maybe not all found on the same factory build or at your budget. If you are getting a first bike it's really not that important. I think brake feel is more about pad material than brand. I like my 11 speed stuff a lot but 12 is now de rigueur even though it seems a bit overboard to me. I don't like the way RS forks below Reba/Rev level are a dead end for repair or upgrades. I got a DVO fork that I picked up used and blemished for a song, and now I'm spoiled for premium damping, with shims not holes, can't go back. I have so far not decided to afford much other high end stuff, but if my hubs ever go out I'm getting xD drivers and XX1 cassettes. I like the Race Face crankset modular system. The price on Garmin's new SPD pedals is definitely gouging. 27.5x2.8 tires were good, the 3's I've got now seem too big, I think 29x2.6 or 2.5 looks pretty great and would definitely buy that if shopping today.
That was an awesome dump of info! TY
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Old 06-26-21, 07:33 AM
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I haven't owned a bike with SRAM components. But based on what I've read about people having problems with drivetrain components, don't think I'd go with SRAM. Doesn't seem to be nearly the number of posts about problems with Shimano components.
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Old 06-26-21, 11:30 AM
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I've had several with both and (for me) Shimano is superior at all cost levels especially hydraulic brakes where their cheapest are superior to more expensive SRAM. JMO!
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Old 06-27-21, 11:57 AM
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I'll suffer with rough, finicky SRAM shifting to run Gripshift 12 speed (rough and finicky even on their high endy XX1 group compared to Shimano XT or XTR ) -- If Shimano had a Gripshift option, the SRAM stuff would be deep sixed, now that Shimano is 12 speed wide ratio too

Although im running a SRAM drivetrain for that reason, im still using XTR twin pot brakes with big rotors
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Old 06-28-21, 12:07 AM
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@DMC707 mix and match works pretty well
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Old 06-28-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
I'll suffer with rough, finicky SRAM shifting...
That explains my SRAM experience so far.
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Old 06-30-21, 02:41 PM
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OP they both work very well. Discount anyone's advice that is dramatically skewed one way or another. Whey don't you just go try it for yourself and see what you prefer...your opinion is the only one that matters.
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Old 06-30-21, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
OP they both work very well. Discount anyone's advice that is dramatically skewed one way or another. Whey don't you just go try it for yourself and see what you prefer...your opinion is the only one that matters.
I'd love to try both... none of the LBS's within a few hundred miles have any inventory nor do they expect any more this season. I'm pretty much having to pre-order for next year blind....
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Old 06-30-21, 08:56 PM
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Owning some new-ish Shimano (XT, SLX) and Sram (NX) slightly prefer the Shimano shifter/RDs (cranks, cassettes are all pretty much the same to me) but really, they are both fine, and it would not be a significant factor in my buying decision. It would come well behind....

-Frame Geo
-Suspension (front fork, rear suspension design, rear shock)
-Wheels
-Brakes
-Tires

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Old 07-01-21, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Beach Bob View Post
I'd love to try both... none of the LBS's within a few hundred miles have any inventory nor do they expect any more this season. I'm pretty much having to pre-order for next year blind....
Don't rely on your bike shop. Lots of bikes available online to order right now.

https://www.jensonusa.com/Full-Suspe...es?s=price-asc

https://www.backcountry.com/trail-fu...?sort=%2Bprice

https://www.probikesupply.com/collec...n-bikes-frames

And if the used market doesn't bother you check out the classifieds section on pinkbike.com

While I am a fan of the Shimano stuff over SRAM, Kapusta is correct in the things you should look for. Components can be upgraded/changed anytime in the future.

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Old 07-15-21, 03:02 PM
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Before buying my bike I rented bikes two different times on vacation. The first was a trek roscoe 7? and it had a lower level sram eagle groupset. The second was an orbea occam m10 with all shimano xt components. As far as use i didn't notice any discernable difference in shifting performance. The bike i bought has shimano deore shifter, crank, and derailleur with tektro brakes and don't see any real difference in it from the other two. Deore while shimano's lowest 12sp groupset is good but some components like crank and cassette are heavy. One cool thing about the shimano shifter is that the up shift lever ( to harder gear) can be pushed forward with the thumb or pulled backward with your finger to shift depending on preference. As far as i know sram is only thumb push for up and down. Another note for the shimano line is that the xt can do 2 upshifts in one push but deore and slx can only do 1. I will probably l upgrade the shifter to xt because there are many times i need to upshift quickly.


As far as brakes go i think they are a more polarizing subject than drive chain. Sram has had problems in the past with brakes causing many to steer clear. My LBS didn't speak highly of them but there are people who love them. Never really heard much bad about shimano. There are other good brake brands as well such as TRP and magura to name a few. Go for 4 pistons if you can. You can never have too much brake


Regardless of which brand you go with i would steer clear of the top of the line models (XTR, XX1) unless you just have money to burn. They are super nice and light but they are expensive and usually their light weight parts also wear faster. Shimano SLX and XT and Sram GX eagle are all good, reliable components. If you are on a tight budget dont be afraid to go shimano deore. Its a soild group set as is but with a little mix and matching (xt shifter and slx crank) you get a really nice groupset.
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Old 07-15-21, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Coop113 View Post
Go for 4 pistons if you can. You can never have too much brake
Four piston brakes are cool but four pistons do not make more power per se. That's all still about leverage, and pad material, just like it always was. On a recent trip I took a newbie who had a rental reservation that had already been sent out, so the shop gave him two bikes to try. He first tried a hardtail with Tektro HD-M735 4-pot front and 2 rear with metal pads and he was surprised by the bite, then he took a pretty expensive full squish e-bike with Deore 6120 4-pots and resin pads though the brakes felt kind of meh. 4-pots keep the pads squared up and the slightly different piston sizes keep the pressure on the pad slightly toed in. For Shimano at least the cheaper calipers cannot take sintered pads, only resin, and do not have the pad cooling fins you get on the SLX and up.
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Old 07-18-21, 05:31 PM
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I currently running SRAM eagle with shimano xt brakes front and rear. My next drive train will likely be full Shimano. The 10spd 1x XT drive train on my old Nomad ran flawlessly and loved being able to shift under power. The 2 subsequent SRAM groupset always needs tweaking to run properly. With that said, I know many have had issues with the recent Shimano hydraulic brakes... leaky pistons, migrating bite points, etc...
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Old 07-28-21, 03:36 PM
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Well, finally found a used bike deal that made me pull the trigger; Sram SX components... initial impression is that the downshifts seem really clunky and the upshifts are slow to happen, but that's just on 45 minutes of riding; I'll give it some time and see if I just need to get the shift timing figured out. Brakes seem to have lots of open pull before the grab on solidly....again, maybe just need to get their feel down.

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Old 07-28-21, 04:41 PM
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Looks solid! You like the ride?
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Old 07-28-21, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Looks solid! You like the ride?
I'm primarily a roadie, so this feels like I'm driving a bus LOL... but it feels a lot more comfortable and safer on single/double track than my gravel bike, which is what I was wanting. I live close enough to mountains that it was kind of a crime that I didn't have a MTB to start with....
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