SRAM Force Shifters - 2012
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- Front/Rear: Set, Shifter Detail Color: Black/Carbon
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These shifters just keep getting better and better. The latest redesign of SRAM Force Integrated Shifters represents the third iteration, and are markedly better than the second. The big change is the reduction in shift lever throw to start a shift. It has been reduced from 32-degrees to 15-degrees. The result is faster, easier shifting. And no small change is the reduction of nearly 30g of weight in the set. Still, what people will notice and talk about are the new brake lever blade and graphics. The blade is made from unidirectional carbon fiber. The graphics are splashy, consciously designed to evoke the graphics on Red DoubleTap levers, but be ever-so-slightly different, as in to suggest these are pretty fast, but not quite Red fast. To us, these graphics remind us of the checkered flag at the finish line.Just like the previous iteration of Force, the second generation, these levers have lots of top-shelf features once only the province of SRAM Red DoubleTap: SRAM's Zero Loss shifting and the ability to trim the front derailleur, you can run both the brake and shifter cables along the front of your handlebar, and SRAM's reach adjustment feature, so you can customize the lever reach to the size of your hands. And like the earlier Force, these levers have a magnesium shifter paddle on each side.At heart, DoubleTap boils down to 3 key parts in the shifter: A transport pawl, a holding pawl, and a spool. You've surely seen SRAM's Make the Leap ad campaign. That's not just a suggestion that you make a leap of faith from your Shimano or Campy-centric comfort zone and give SRAM a shot, but it's also a technical description of how DoubleTap technology works. In short, when you engage the small magnesium shift lever that sits behind the dedicated carbon fiber brake lever, the following occurs: The transport pawl literally leaps over the holding pawl, and with the help of the spool pulls (or releases) 3mm of cable per shift.
Color: Black | Size: true
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1) Shimano 105
2) SRAM rival
3) SRAM Force
I have Dura-Ace now (the 7900 is a good deal at the moment). I hated to admit how much I missed my 105 when I was riding Force. There's 2 things I really like about SRAM Force:
- The shifting, once dialed in, rarely needs any adjustments. Very slick.
- The stuff is very light in weight
Here's my problem:
- Cable snapped off at the rear shifter over 50 miles from home deep in the Diablo mountain chain (backside of Hamilton). Chain went to the 11 tooth cog and remained there all of the way home. My cadence dropped to around 10 for some hills. I think my quads doubled in size within days... People say that this happens to all groups. So I wrote it off as bad luck
- Cam lever on Force caliper broke forcing me to flat my 25mm tires to remove them. SRAM uses plastic for everything. Again, I'm in mountains, this time in San Diego where the hills are rather steep, and my front brakes were now locked open (had to fix a flat). I adjusted them as much as possible to get them close to the rim, but I had very poor stopping power. Shimano uses aluminum on their Ultegra calipers.
- Rear shift lever broke off leaving me a 2 speed.. on the 14 tooth cog. This is, apparently and according to the google, a not-uncommon occurrence.
Each time I spent money for repairs except the thrid time, which was very expensive as it forced me to Dura Ace. In total, I lost about 7 days of riding.
I would rather have Shimano going forward. I'm happy for the competition SRAM provides the market place. But I now see why SRAM has such a generous warranty - they need it.
The SRAM Force on my bike is great now and very easy to install with only a couple adjustments needed on a "shakedown ride." The derailleur cables and brake cables are high quality on the Force shifters and the Double Tap shifting is very precise and accurate. From my experience, the Force shifters are not much different than Red shifters--except for a few grams and about $100+.
I would highly recommend SRAM Force shifters to anyone looking to outfit their bike with quality components. Thanks!
Update on 6/7/2014: After one year of use, the left shift lever snapped off during a shift. After two years of use, the shift mechanism broke on the right shifter. Dont believe me? Do a web search for "sram shifter fail" or "sram shift lever fal" and see what you get. I wish I had. After the second failure, I reinstalled my Shimano groupset and it is running fine again. This was lame, because I really like the SRAM shifter design, but the longer term durability is not there it seems. Buy them if you like, but definitely know what you're getting into.