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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There has been lots of discussion about using SRAM with the Specialized cranksets (or bikes) and I wanted to pass along my experiences.

I purchased an S-Works SL2 Module in early 2008 and built it up with my SRAM Force components. I purchased the Module instead of the frame because I was intrigued by the S-Works crankset. Front shifting performance in the configuration was never ideal but I was able to get by. During this time I read many stories about problems with the Specialized chainrings and Red front derailleurs (Pro Tour teams using Force instead of Red, Specialized dealers using Force instead of Red, QuickStep abandoning the Specialized crankset because they were folding chainrings, etc.). My problems were never this severe.

About a month ago I got a good deal on a Red groupset so I purchased it and replaced the Force components on my SL2. If my front shifting was not ideal with my Force derailleur then it was pathetic with the Red derailleur. At first, I was getting a lot of chain rub in about half my gears. I took it back to my LBS and had it adjusted. No more chain rub, but the chain would not shift from the small chain ring to the big chain ring. The derailleur would push the chain into the ring and it would just grind away. I took it back to the LBS and my mechanic decided that I need a SRAM chain ring (currently using the S-Works chain ring that came on the proprietary crank set). I was bummed (chain rings are $90 USD) until my mechanic told me that Specialized would be buying my chain ring. In his words, "we end up having to replace about half of these". We put the Force derailleur back on to limp by (it would eventually shift, but it is finicky) and rode that for a while. On Wednesday my new chain ring was installed and the front shifting is superb. I absolutely love it. I have no chain rub in any gear and the shifting is automatic. I am running the Force derailleur until I get through these 3 weekends of racing and then I will try the Red derailleur again. The thing I found interesting is that the new chain ring is the “SPR” from SRAM (I hadn’t even hear about this option until about a week ago).

I thought some of you might find this interesting so I am passing it on. Sorry about the long right up. You can learn more about the SPR chain ring on CyclingNews.

BTW...the SRAM chain ring doesn't look too bad on the S-Works cranksets but I hear the Dura-Ace ones "look like crap". I posted this in the Specialized forum as well.
 

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Looking for my Amish Love
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Cool thanks for the write up. Very informative! I'll be interested how you think it shifts with the Red Front D. Like you said some Pro Teams are using a force cage instead of the red, while other teams are just using a red front d.

I've been using a red front d on Cdale BB30 cranks & was debating on trying a force front D to see if it is crisper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I promise to give an update once I switch to the Red front derailleur. However, that will probably be about a month from now.

capt_phun said:
Cool thanks for the write up. Very informative! I'll be interested how you think it shifts with the Red Front D. Like you said some Pro Teams are using a force cage instead of the red, while other teams are just using a red front d.

I've been using a red front d on Cdale BB30 cranks & was debating on trying a force front D to see if it is crisper.
 

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The SWORKS rings were "redesigned" last year...March-ish, maybe? I was calling Speccy once a week getting chainrings replaced. I was even told "you're the only shop having issues...."

Yeah.

The original rings were horrible. That's all there is to it. The 2007 rings shifted like butter, but were too soft. The 2008 rings were manufactured with pins too short. While harder and supposedly more stiff, the too-short pins wreaked havoc on shifting.

I replaced rings with Ultegra. More durable than D/A and looked a little better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The pins being too short is definitely consistent with my experience. I do wonder, however, if Specialized re-designed the chainrings, why wasn't my replacement chainring a Specialized ring? I am not complaining because I love my new SRAM ring, but I am curious.

BTW...score another one for my LBS and Specialized. I admit that I am often tempted by discount pricing available on the internet but the service I get from my LBS is unmatched.

-dustin said:
The SWORKS rings were "redesigned" last year...March-ish, maybe? I was calling Speccy once a week getting chainrings replaced. I was even told "you're the only shop having issues...."

Yeah.

The original rings were horrible. That's all there is to it. The 2007 rings shifted like butter, but were too soft. The 2008 rings were manufactured with pins too short. While harder and supposedly more stiff, the too-short pins wreaked havoc on shifting.

I replaced rings with Ultegra. More durable than D/A and looked a little better.
 

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Any updates? I am curious as i got a pro SL with Speci cranks and i am seriously considering red.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am really happy with my front shifting since replacing the Specialized chainring with the SRAM Red chainring. But, I have never replaced the Force front derailleur with the Red. The shifting has been so good that I don't want to mess it up and I am willing to sacrifice the slight weight penalty to run the Force derailleur instead of Red. I am not sure if this answers your question, so if you want some additional specifics, just let me know.
 

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nope that was my question, i guess I will check out the force.
 

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The Red front derailleur combined with slightly worn rings will shift poorly. Customer has about 2000mi on a Red drivetrain with Red FD. Flex in the Red cage is disappointingly apparent. I ride a Force FD for a reason.
 

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I'll update when I do my switch. My shifting with the Red Front D doesn't seem crisp, even compared to my commuter which is built up with Campy Veloce. I ordered a Force Front D so I will report back after I switch the red for force.
 

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Interesting. I just picked up a Red group and was planning on keeping my S-works (07) crankset and selling the Red compact one. I have DA chainrings, so hopefully it shifts ok.
 
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