You Voted: The SRAM vs. Shimano Poll Results

by Robb Sutton

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

SRAM vs. Shimano - Mountain Bike Components

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

What do you guys think about the results?


Steven November 4, 2010 - 12:36 pm

Oh, and I would also add that lower-end SRAM is far superior to lower-end Shimano, in my opinion.

Steven November 4, 2010 - 12:31 pm

It’s complicated. I run X7 on one bike and straight Deore (new Shadow version) on my new bike (I used to have the old Deore group) and they are good at different things. If my new bike was going to be my only bike and perform several tasks like commuting, touring, shopper, weekend trail etc, I would go SRAM all the way. They never miss a shift and never need adjusting. For an all-out MTB, though, the Deore has the edge, for me. When you are putting the hammer down up a steep hill and need to shift up or down, the Deore is more likely to get you there. On several occasions I have needed to emergency-shift the X7 and not liked the sounds that come out of the rear mech. As if to prove this, I have seen more snapped SRAM on the trails than anything else (including my friend’s, twice). It may be bad form to shift under pressure, but we all need to do it sometimes! Added to this is the lower profile of the new Deore, which is in stark contrast to the rock-skimming cable-guides of X7.Saying that, regular adjustment and double-shifting is still a feature of Deore, so I suppose it’s swings and roundabouts.

3cross July 1, 2010 - 11:03 am

You callin me old school with my grip shift? They are all I have known since the days of thumb shifters and Ritchy Logic forks.

198 July 1, 2010 - 11:04 am

I still love GripShifts! I have a set of X.0’s. I just wish my remote seatpost switch didn’t hit them so I could use them more.

Airun June 23, 2010 - 4:12 pm

I’d been A total shimano guy for years, but a bike I purchased 2 yrs ago came with X9 and it’s been bullet-proof. I’ll probably stick with SRAM for near future.

binny bin June 21, 2010 - 10:58 am

how many people were in the total poll?

198 June 21, 2010 - 11:00 am

So far…748. It is located in the sidebar.

Phil June 21, 2010 - 9:54 am

SRAM guy all the way. On my main Road (Rival) and main MT Bike (X-0). Also been on Grip Shifts since the beginning!! Still have my old X-Rays!!

FarmerG June 21, 2010 - 8:13 am

I ride Shimano because that is what came with my complete bike purchase but I prefer SRAM. When I had a choice to purchase one or the other for my road and Cross bikes, I went with SRAM.

Greg @ Greg Rides Trails June 4, 2010 - 7:56 am

I agree, there really isn’t a bad choice out there, and that these are the two companies that will be in the game for a long time to come.

…but I’m still personally a SRAM kinda guy 😉


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