Honestly…I can’t say I am too surprised. These two heavyweights of the mountain bike component market have been going at it for awhile now. Ever since SRAM stepped up its game with the X series and 1:1 actuation ratio, Shimano had lost its lack of competition in the world of dirt. With two different component makers competing for the same riders, each has their own series of positives and negatives associated with their contrasting products. Let’s take a look at the results.
Results: The SRAM vs. Shimano Debate
It was a close race…a painfully close one. It actually got to the point that a reader emailed me saying the poll was broken…it must be giving a vote to both at the same time on every vote. Well…I assure you the poll ran correctly, it was just that close throughout the entire voting process. SRAM and Shimano were each on the top spot about a dozen times before this was all over.
Now…the poll is great but what is the interpretation of this test in preferences amongst mountain bikers on Bike198?
Bike198’s Impressions Of The Poll Results
- Ask This Question 5 Years Ago – If you would have asked this question 5 years ago (or even just 3 years ago), I think the outcome would have been different. With increasing press around the XX system from SRAM and their ability to get spec’ed on more OEM rides, we are seeing more SRAM components on the trail every year. Shimano’s stronghold on the mountain biking world is starting to loosen as a real competitor is providing components at the level Shimano has for years. The dance has begun on the new 2×10 products and SRAM is poised to make it a full out war with their new products and branding strategy. It is going to be interesting to see how this one plays out.
- It Is Always Going To Be Close – If you hold the quality of the products as a constant and look a the long run, this is going to be a close race for awhile now. There are those that will not run anything but Shimano, there are those that will not run anything but SRAM and then there is that last crowd that just rides anything that comes spec’ed on the bike. With the quality of our complaints in the component industry for mountain bikes (in other words…we don’t have much to complain about with these two), there is going to be a constant dance for the top spot.
- We Are Stuck – We are looking at the two component manufacturers for mountain bikes for a long time. The amount of progression it has taken to get to this point and the high up-front cost it would take to even try to compete in this market is going to prevent anyone from entering in and shaking up the boat for awhile. Time to pick your camp…you are not going to have another option for quite sometime.
- There Isn’t A Bad Option – We might shoot our mouths off at the trailhead about which set is the best, but in all reality…there is not a bad option in the mountain bike component industry right now. After putting in some serious time on Shimano’s SLX groupo, I can honestly say that everything right now is performing at a level that was unheard of several years ago. We are extremely spoiled from SLX and X7 to XX and XTR. It is a great time to be a mountain biker as technology and dependability are racing forward faster than we can keep up. Remember the days of STX-RC and old school grip shifters on Shimano derailleurs? Those days are gone and now we have real performance.
- Shimano Should Be Scared – This poll in the mountain biking world is a sign of the times for the road biking community. As SRAM continues to pick up momentum in the skinny tire’d side of things, they are going to eventually end up with the same poll results. That means that Shimano has to lose market share for that to happen.
There are our thoughts on the SRAM vs. Shimano debate. Congratulations goes out to SRAM for pulling out the win in this tight race for component supremacy.