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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at doing a custom build soon and I'm struggling to figure out how to choose a groupset. I want to buy new (no take-offs) and keep it under $1K (w/ shipping to USA). So far I've found I can get Shimano Ultegra for around $840, Campagnolo Athena for $810, and SRAM Rival for under $890. I figure I could also do a Microshift Arsis frankengroup for around $800, but can't come up with a good reason why.

I'm relatively new to cycling and I have no experience with brands other than SRAM, and no good way to get it (since I'm not shopping for a complete bike at an LBS). I have Rival on my CX bike and I'm pretty happy with how quickly it shifts, though the double tap does trip me up on occasion (I'll do an upshift instead of a downshift). Recommendations (with rationale) would be greatly appreciated :)
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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So far I've found I can get Shimano Ultegra for around $840, Campagnolo Athena for $810, and SRAM Rival for under $890. I figure I could also do a Microshift Arsis frankengroup for around $800, but can't come up with a good reason why.
I have Rival on my CX bike and I'm pretty happy with how quickly it shifts, though the double tap does trip me up on occasion (I'll do an upshift instead of a downshift). Recommendations (with rationale) would be greatly appreciated :)
Since all four companies use different shift levers/buttons it makes sense to me to stay with what you're used to and go with Sram...unless you're unhappy enough with the double-tap to want to switch the CX system down the road.
I'm older and don't want different shifting on different bikes. Muscle memory in a panic situation type of thing.

Otherwise they are all comparable quality. None of them have any known faults or problems that you need to stay away from.
Campy has the snob appeal but I personally don't care for the buttons. Shimano is like buying IBM, you can't go wrong there. Isn't Sram usually a little lighter than the others? Microshift is cheaper but doesn't have 11-speed yet.

Good luck, whatever you decide!
 

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Cathedral City, CA
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Campy has the snob appeal but I personally don't care for the buttons.
Will people ever get tired of dragging that B/S out each time someone mentions Campagnolo?

Anyway, separating the shift functions as Campagnolo does means that you can't get the wrong gear by mistake as was stated with SRAM Double Tap. One lever - one motion. Also, a given shift lever moves in the same direction as the chain moves to accomplish the shift. This is counter to Shimano and SRAM as in one movement the directions are the same, but in the other it isn't.

Physically, Athena is very similar to the higher end groups, only done in less expensive materials.

Also, there is the 10spd/11spd issue. I would assume that the Ultegra price is for 10spd. Ultegra 10spd now could put you on the wrong side of the wheel upgrade needed for Shimano 11spd later, depending upon wheel choice. That may also be true for SRAM whenever they go to 11spd, but I don't know.

If you go 10spd, Ribble has the Centaur double group at $619...
 

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Matnlely Dregaend
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Athena is the only 11 speed group you have listed. Next year the 11 speed Shimano and Sram groups may be at that price point, but for now you can't beat Athena.
 

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Recycle King
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Will people ever get tired of dragging that B/S out each time someone mentions Campagnolo?

Anyway, separating the shift functions as Campagnolo does means that you can't get the wrong gear by mistake as was stated with SRAM Double Tap. One lever - one motion. Also, a given shift lever moves in the same direction as the chain moves to accomplish the shift. This is counter to Shimano and SRAM as in one movement the directions are the same, but in the other it isn't.

Physically, Athena is very similar to the higher end groups, only done in less expensive materials.

Also, there is the 10spd/11spd issue. I would assume that the Ultegra price is for 10spd. Ultegra 10spd now could put you on the wrong side of the wheel upgrade needed for Shimano 11spd later, depending upon wheel choice. That may also be true for SRAM whenever they go to 11spd, but I don't know.

If you go 10spd, Ribble has the Centaur double group at $619...
It's hard to miss a shift with Sram doubletap. One click for up shift, two clicks for down shift. Unless you forget this, it is fail proof. I always remember this after the a demo rep told me this to remember it: one guy to push to a easy gear(smaller cog), two guys to push to a hard gear(bigger cog).
 

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Matnlely Dregaend
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FYI Bike24 has Athena for $720 shipped to the USA.
 

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Cathedral City, CA
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It's hard to miss a shift with Sram doubletap. One click for up shift, two clicks for down shift. Unless you forget this, it is fail proof. I always remember this after the a demo rep told me this to remember it: one guy to push to a easy gear(smaller cog), two guys to push to a hard gear(bigger cog).
Interesting visualization, but still more complicated that what I said. I can't say how hard it is to miss a shift with SRAM as I don't have a lot of time on it. You'd have to go further than the few minutes I had in order to begin to develop a habit. However, in the original message the guy said that he occasionally makes a mistake when shifting his SRAM equipped bike. It sounds like he's not going far enough to engage the double tap. Is that the case?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies :) As tempting as it is to try Campy (just to find out what makes its advocates so passionate), I think there's wisdom in the advice to maintain consistency between the road and CX bikes. My skill is likely to build faster if I'm not switching back and forth between two significantly different "interfaces". I certainly can't justify switching the CX to Campy, so perhaps staying with SRAM is the way to go -- at least until I have a few more years of riding under my belt.

As for my Double-Tap difficulties, I think flatlander_48's assessment of the problem (not going far enough to engage the second catch) is dead on. Usually only happens when I'm a short distance into a bridge climb and struggling to keep pace while my heart rate climbs and my body starts shutting down non-essential functions like my brain :)
 

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I switched to Campy ergopower about 12 years ago after racing on Shimano STI for most of the previous decade, and never looked back. It's the least common choice out there, which lends it the reputation of exclusivity, but my preference is more to do with durability, value, light weight (though I haven't tried SRAM, which is also affordably lightweight), and functionality. I'd take issue with calling it snob appeal, you can buy high end offerings from all the manufacturers, but I'm happy with Athena and Chorus parts, which are all I can justify for my use, and my budget.

Athena has a pretty clear advantage for price/quality ratio if you shop around (especially considering the $ exchange relative to the Pound/Euro), I managed to get the 2009 levers with the multiple downshift capability (according to certain riders I once competed against, that would be "goon appeal"), but it wouldn't bother me in most circumstances to click two or three times to get the same gear change.

On the other hand, Shimano and SRAM are probably cheaper and easier to maintain locally in the North American market. Campy spares are generally more expensive even for Athena and Chorus. Definitely worth buying 3 chains with some spare pins and rotating them to extend the life of your drivetrain.
 

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Cathedral City, CA
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As for my Double-Tap difficulties, I think flatlander_48's assessment of the problem (not going far enough to engage the second catch) is dead on. Usually only happens when I'm a short distance into a bridge climb and struggling to keep pace while my heart rate climbs and my body starts shutting down non-essential functions like my brain :)
Thanks! I assume what that means is that the tactile feedback that lets you know you've moved to where you should be isn't sufficient. Have you tried other people's set ups? Maybe yours is not working quite right?
 

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Cathedral City, CA
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I'd take issue with calling it snob appeal, you can buy high end offerings from all the manufacturers,
It's part of the Shimano Mantra...
 

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Recycle King
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Thanks! I assume what that means is that the tactile feedback that lets you know you've moved to where you should be isn't sufficient. Have you tried other people's set ups? Maybe yours is not working quite right?
Sounds like it might not be setup correctly. I don't have to push the shift lever that far to get the double click. I only miss shift when I try to shift too fast on the sprint and don't push far enough to get the double click.
 

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Will people ever get tired of dragging that B/S out each time someone mentions Campagnolo?

Anyway, separating the shift functions as Campagnolo does means that you can't get the wrong gear by mistake as was stated with SRAM Double Tap. One lever - one motion. Also, a given shift lever moves in the same direction as the chain moves to accomplish the shift. This is counter to Shimano and SRAM as in one movement the directions are the same, but in the other it isn't.
Once you get used to the thumb lever, and you do, it's much more intuitive. Campy positions their thumb lever lower than Shimano does on their Sora brifter. So, it's much easier to reach. Riders who have used Sora think Campy is as hard to reach as Sora. Which accounts for all the misconceptions.
 

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Copsis, I calc about $535 for a Micro Franken Gruppo, with Ultegra Cassette, Microshift shifters and derailers, and an E-bay Store Tiagra, or Sora crankset, Planet X brakes and a $50 chain of your choice.

I have posted on here before that it's peculiar when it's cheaper to buy online from the UK to USA than it is to deal direct with China.

Ribble is the best bet I have seen in this regard. You got great advice from your helpers here. Good luck !!!
 

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Recycle King
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I had made 2 different purchase from them. Didn't have to pay either time.
 
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