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without doing the quick research to double check heres what i think i know...

sram stuff is less expensive when comparing certain groups that should compare to each other (force with DA, rival with ult), and also lighter.

the new DA group might be lighter than Red, but right now Red is far lighter and more expensive than DA.

shifter is supposed to be quicker with sram, while i think shimano is known to be smoother (i personally could care less about smooth, i want lightning fast shifts).

then of course the ergonomics and the way you shift is different. i personally hate brake levers that are also used to shift (shimano). maybe i just needed to get used to it, but it just feels better to have a solid brake lever.
 

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SRAM has the lightest group at any pricepoint (Rival is lighter than Ultegra, Force is lighter than DA, Red is lighter than most Record setups).

The biggest thing you'll notice with SRAM is the shifting:

1. SRAM is more solid and less light. You get definite feedback when you shift gears--something Campy used to do a lot of, and is bringing back with their special 'red' Record shifters. Shimano shifting is very light. Personal preference as to which type of shifting you prefer. Downshifts are MUCH quicker with SRAM... upshifts require a fairly long throw with current Rival/Force (will be resolved w/2009 this summer).

2. The other thing that is very apparent is the feeling of the hoods. They are very ergonomic and comfortable, especially compared to Shimano's bulbous shape. I definitely prefer the idea of a solid brake lever that isn't twisting side to side--and prefer SRAM and Campy shifters for this reason--although the thumb shifter on Campy can be more awkward in the drops.

If you're extremely strong, the Shimano cranks are stiffer--most people won't notice. Nor will they notice the weight savings of SRAM.

If you ride both, you'll probably notice some of the SRAM improvements--Shimano has taken notice and will be including many SRAM-inspired features in 2009 Dura Ace (will have to wait another year for Ultegra). This appears to be the biggest change in DA since the integrated shift/brake levers--in my opinion.
 

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MarvinK said:
SRAM has the lightest group at any pricepoint (Rival is lighter than Ultegra, Force is lighter than DA, Red is lighter than most Record setups).

The biggest thing you'll notice with SRAM is the shifting:

1. SRAM is more solid and less light. You get definite feedback when you shift gears--something Campy used to do a lot of, and is bringing back with their special 'red' Record shifters. Shimano shifting is very light. Personal preference as to which type of shifting you prefer. Downshifts are MUCH quicker with SRAM... upshifts require a fairly long throw with current Rival/Force (will be resolved w/2009 this summer).

2. The other thing that is very apparent is the feeling of the hoods. They are very ergonomic and comfortable, especially compared to Shimano's bulbous shape. I definitely prefer the idea of a solid brake lever that isn't twisting side to side--and prefer SRAM and Campy shifters for this reason--although the thumb shifter on Campy can be more awkward in the drops.

If you're extremely strong, the Shimano cranks are stiffer--most people won't notice. Nor will they notice the weight savings of SRAM.

If you ride both, you'll probably notice some of the SRAM improvements--Shimano has taken notice and will be including many SRAM-inspired features in 2009 Dura Ace (will have to wait another year for Ultegra). This appears to be the biggest change in DA since the integrated shift/brake levers--in my opinion.
Thanks much, that was very helpful. FRom all I've read, and the above, I think I'm going to give the Rival gruppo a whirl.
 

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Rival

If you are going to try out Rival, I would consider waiting for the 2009 models to be released. I switched from Ultegra to Force and I am glad I did (I love the double-tap concept, lighter weight, and better looks). However, I was still tempted to purchase Red because of the zero-loss shifting (this has to be really nice especially in the front where the shift throw is too far in my opinion) and the adjustable reach levers. Since SRAM is adding these features to all models in 2009 I think you will be happier waiting. Just my opinion.
 

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2009 Rival looks really really good. Same for Shimano Ultegra SL. I expect to see a lot of both on 2009 bikes.
 

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Rival v. Ultegra

About a month ago, I swapped out my long-time ultegra drive-train for SRAM Rival.

Why? performance/weight for the $.

I can't afford Record, Dura-Ace or Red/Force, so those don't go into the computation. I wanted to keep my FSA Crank/bb, rear hub, so Chorus out. I picked-up rival brakes, shifters, front and rear deraileurs, chain, and the verdict is:

9 out of 10 (read this, and all recommendations w/grain of salt since personal preference/subjective stuff plays a big role).

Objective stuff:
Positive: it's lighter (knocked 1/2 lb off); rear shifting is perfect--better than my ultegra, esp under load. Easy to install and get dialed and trimmed (rear derailure, anyway). I'm an amateur bike mechanic, and I had the rear D adjusted perfectly in about 15 minutes. Zero chain rub (folks who say they have it probably didn't install it correctly). For the $, a great deal. Much easier to shift in the drops.
Negative: front lever throw to big ring is a bit long for my liking (despite the fact that I have big hands). Still tinkering with cable tension to reduce the throw. Folks say 2009 should remedy that problem.

Subjective:
I like the double-tap. Of course, it takes some time for it to become second nature, but that's to be expected. Like the hood shape better. Like the lack of cables everywhere. Like the quick "tap" of SRAM over the "smooth" shift of Ultegra.

Conclusion: for me: it was lighter, performs better than what I had, knocked .5 lb off my bike, and was the cheapest way to get good (ulteg/chorus/rival level) quality. The long throw on the front is my only complaint. thus, my 9/10.

Hope this helps
 
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