What’s a boy to do.. Sram Red vs. Dura-Ace 7900

Damn you Shimano! Just when I was ready to “make the leap” ha, ha to Sram you go ahead and redesign your flagship Dura-Ace group for 2009. And to make the choice even more difficult you also now will have under the tape shift cable routing and carbon fiber on he shifters just like those other guys. Super clean, super sexy look.
Of course to this point having only been able to use Rival and Dura-Ace 7800 series it’s really hard to say what’s better, Red or this newest level of DA coming this fall. Yes I really, really like the Sram stuff but it kinda feels like having to re-buy all your favorite vinyl on CD format. With the new Shimano I can just mix and match (new shifters) and still keep all the other parts, right? Well of couse not so much. Money has to be made by Shimano, so more new parts look like an inevitability.

The fact that Shimano will now have a cleaner look IS a new bonus. My only issue with Sram is that front derailleur “issue” which seems to have been cured with Red or a good mechanic (that’s right Alex you’re in it, now make that Sram sing :)) and will trickle down next year to Force and Rival.

Well if anyone from Shimano is reading this how about throwing some of that sweet new 7900 stuff my way for some real world Chicago street commuting / Midwest crit racing tests? Or if local hero Sram feels a need to have me firmly in their camp next year a Red gruppo would be nice..I’d even be very happy with Force. And hey if Campy wants to get in the mix I’ll give Record a go.
One question will any of this stuff work if I decide to get a Tweener Project bike?


  1. why can’t you mix n’ match the sram, aside from the aesthetic of the complete groupo? (red shifters, rival RD, etc.) i run rival shifters, rival rd, ultegra fd and DA 7800 cranks, and would stick with the same setup if i had to repurchase everything again.

    also, 2009 rival shifters has all of the functional properties of their red brothers (trim, adjustable levers, etc.). inside the june velonews is a full page spread with rival.

  2. I dunno about the years of experience–I say go with SRAM and support the innovation. If anything, 09 Dura Ace has more in common with current SRAM than with 08 Dura Ace–and it’s really Shimano’s first attempt at including any real carbon, first attempt at clean cable routing, first attempt at ergonomic hood shapes and first attempt at minimizing/removing trim.

    Frankly, I’d say picking 2009 Dura Ace would mean going with the least experience.

    Maybe it’s just because it barely came out, but new Dura Ace is absurdly price (even by Record/Red standards). It’s heavier. And it’s an immitation.

    Shimano clearly likes what SRAM is doing. Support the innovation and go with SRAM…. unless really light shifting is priority #1… I think that’s the main thing going for Shimano.

  3. I’d have chosen DA as a step from my Ultegra until I tried the SRAM Red shifters. For my personal preference, the double-tap and zero-loss travel is clearly superior to DA’s lame “move the brake lever” STI–tests show 40% less travel to shift and that’s nice. And the ceramic BB with the SRAM Red crank set is zero maintenance and smooth. So I chose Red shifters/levers, Red Crank set and BB, Force brakes (aesthetic over Rival), and Rival shifters. Shimano DA? Not even close in my book.

  4. I do wish that Rival remained alloy. I just like the Silver Look. My data is old but Rival was one of the stiffest cranks at one point. I did upgrade to Red and it is definitely worth the premium. Just do not pay full price for it.

    My Rival already has 7300 miles on it. Shifts better after the first month and has remained like that ever since except for a few cable stretch adjustments.

    The Red FD and shifting is really fantastic and I heard Rivals is like that too nowadays. I was long time Campy and a few weeks Shimano. I will never go back.

  5. 6 vs. 1/2 dozen. Made in America is something to consider.

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