What Differences Between an SRAM Apex and Shimano 105?

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Are you are looking for a new bike? Do you have the curiosity about differences between SRAM Apex and Shimano 105? For their similar price, it is controversial to define which one is better, because both have their pros and cons, as a comparison of apples to oranges anyway. So it's really a preference thing to choose or favor. While the groupset may impact your decision, don’t get stuck with a bike you don’t love because it has “double tap” or other superior function. That can be changed. This article is going to illustrate some points which may help you making the decision. Thus you are able to enjoy cycling,

Build Quality
In a quality standpoint, both are good. Some think that SRAM Rival is more similar to 105 in build quality than Apex even though it's splitting hairs to compare it. Shimano 105 is of a far superior build quality. Apex feels cheap in the hands, and shifting function doesn't the other SRAM stuff. What makes Shimano preferable is their constantly upgrading their components. Some may say what was yesterday’s Ultegra is today’s 105. Moreover, longevity is an important factor for buying consideration, and often 105’s life of equipment is longer than Apex whose replacement is a problem. With the new innovation, Shimano is far ahead of SRAM. The refining process is nothing short of remarkable.

The weight difference is minimal except for the cranks. The 105 crank and bb was over 8 ounces less than the SRAM. Compared to SRAM, 105 is painfully heavier but much more durable. The author has a slight preference for rear derailleur of SRAM but not the rest of the “boney” look. New 105 has a plushness in shifters which cannot be matched by Apex. Also, you may notice when riding is hand comfort on the hoods. One of the attractions of SRAM is the simplicity of the SRAM GXP crank system, which only needs one 8mm hex key to disassemble (and an additional 16mm hex key to re-assemble). Its 50-34 combo can take less time from having to put a foot down. If you need a 32 sprocket, get Apex. If 28 is enough, get 105. If you are worried about weight choose Apex. If you don't mind the additional 200g or so, get 105.


(Shimano 105)

Double Tap
As we know, double tap also lets you downshift more quickly, using less lever throw. The double tap of SRAM set up is simple and intuitive. Some users of SRAM say they like its double tap and find that it keeps aligned and provides more precise up and down shifts than Shimano. While some think Shimano has defeat SRAM on smoothness which won’t make you have to use brake lever for a shifter. When your hands get tired on a long ride, they aren’t as accurate in movement, and to you, the danger just isn’t worth being “smooth”.


Sound/ noise
The noise of SRAM is louder than Shimano 105. Some will say this is a fault, but practically it’s not. It may be an audible to tell you the bike is working and you are in gear. Certainly, it is the SRAM that wore quicker on the main cage pivot/spring, as well as the bottom brackets, consequently, the shifters started to go clack-clack-clack but it never failed. So it is important to pay attention to its situation and maintenance.

Gearing Spectrum
SRAM has a 12-32 cassette with normal steps, up to 24 and then a big jump to 32. Looks like a better solution than the 11-32 with wide steps all the way through the range. It is the main advertised advantage that SRAM provides a wide range of gear selections. A wider gear ratio makes you climb and descends more efficiently. If you like the way that you can fast 'dump' cogs in the situation to upshift a lot of gears quickly like topping out a climb onto a descent or sometimes during a sprint, you may like the SRAM. Some cyclists use SRAM Apex on some of the climbs due to its ability to fit larger rear cogs. Yet they would not use 105 or even Ultegra because every entry grade groupo is functionally equal to them which are more expensive. The 105 is of 12-27, and 5 extra teeth on the ring make a huge difference in gearing as you noted.

Just as a word of advice, if you choose SRAM and ride, have the lower limit on the rear set just a little lower than absolutely necessary to get into the big cog on the back, or you will find it nowhere to go trying when downshifting the rear, then you have to end up jumping a gear higher rudely. You can have a lower gear, and not get it is much better overall.

gear of bike

Even they are close in price, the Shimano 105 bike is the more expensive (by about £200) but is also slightly lighter. Apex wins in cost and if you like climbing. Shimano's are a little more durable than SRAM. It's just harder to find a used road bike running SRAM at a decent price compared with Shimano.

The shifters are much more intuitive when it comes time for maintenance. If you’re doing your own wrenching, stick with Shimano, unless you are comfortable with the mechanical concept of dual-pawl leapfrogging. The105 uses Shimano’s STI (Shimano Total Integration) shifter mechanism, much like the rest of the range in their tried-and-tested trickle-down approach to technology adoption.


( SRAM Apex)

Shift Lever
The pull rates of shift lever are very different SRAM both and Shimano, 1:1 for SRAM and 1:1.7 for Shimano. Namely, SRAM shifters pull almost twice as much cable per click. So another problem of Apex is the time it takes to shift to an easier gear. Apex users have to push that shifter all the way in. However, it can shift well if set up properly and it’s more mechanical and a little more precise than Shimano. From a shift quality perspective, Shimano is better and silky smooth. If it weren't for it being harder you could hardly tell you are shifting at all. You can hands down when riding 105 to snap up and down. When you go downhill, quickly back up is constant. But if you cannot balance the distance to push the shift far enough then danger may happen.

Cyclists friends said that he problem with Shimano is that they can't brake and change gear at the same time. Even some of them occasionally are forced to brake by accident when fluffing a last minute gear change. Sometimes they pushed on the rigid SRAM brake lever expecting a down shift but didn't occur, or trying to pushes on Shimano inner paddle by getting double tap style and only to find dropping to harder and harder gears instead of downshifting. They used to fixed brake lever which is not associated with the shifting action. When riding Shimano it never seems to be a big deal, but once they got used to having a fixed lever that didn't swing side to side just as before to integrated shifters, especially for hard braking situations like cyclocross.

Correspondingly, Sometimes SRAM spring cannot be fixed without replacing the entire shifter. If you can want a second hand, it is an epic deal at the moment for 2012/13 bikes running Shimano electronic shifting. The 105 is considered as pretty darn solid, even for about 1200 miles or so on it would not have a problem.

Shimano is everywhere around the world. It is easier to get. It’s almost guaranteed that if you need a Shimano part, your LBS will have it.

Customer Service
In term of comparing the general characters, SRAM is seemingly at a disadvantage. It just does, but you can see that their customer service is prompt and outstanding from customer reviews. SRAM has a generous warranty policy, and they might have a crash replacement program. If your SRAM bike goes wrong, you can bring it into its shop and it can usually be replaced with new parts shipped from SRAM in 2 days. I have met someone in the shop was coherent, friendly, professional, and willing to offer help even if not about the bike. Spending 150-200 less than you would pay in a bike shop and pay someone to do a full service and you've got a BMW for Ford money.

“Taking pleasure to every rider”, Shimano 105 holds this idea to provide service, supporting all riders to achieves their personal goals for daily training and long rides during the weekends and holidays, and with some companion. What makes people favor is its trusted reliable performance. A sense of fulfillment, pleasure with advanced functionality, smoothness, and ergonomics by New 105.

“Wherever the road takes you, a wider gear ratio means you can climb and descend more efficiently.” With the first 11-32 cassette and compact crankset of SRAM Apex for the road, it aims at offering the convenience of climbing mountains or hills, instead of clumsy triple cranks on the bike.

cycling fun

Other differences
In many cyclists’ views, it is the common thought that SRAM is more direct, louder, with higher shift efforts while Shimano is smoother and quieter with lower shift efforts. The primary difference is weight by the use of carbon in place of aluminum and adjustability can move levers closer from the bar. Shimano tops out with Dura-Ace, then moves through Ultegra, 105, while Red is SRAM’s top-of-the-range groupset, before you get to Force, Rival and Apex. While Shimano has move groupset levels, 105 and Apex sit head-to-head on the third tier. If you prefer Apex’s GXP and 105’ shifters, you might try this solution of a mixture of both set up as follow:

105 components: shifters, FD, and 5700GS medium cage RD, CN-5600 chain.
Apex components: Apex GXP 50/34 crankset, PG-1070 11-32T cassette.

After reading this article, you may find it hard to compare these two kinds. Before buying, you can ride both and choose what feels best to you. Ultimately you have to be like the bike you ride, so go find both setups and ride them for about 40 minutes to one hour, to really get a feel for the shifting and touch. It is better that there are some long hills where you are to test the shifting in climb and on the downhill.

Even more importantly, whatever you choose it is recommended to definitely buy the best and affordable gruppo which won’t take less with the view of upgrading in future. Components can be upgraded, hence you get the bike you fancy and go to the shop for help if necessary. The shop may even be willing to swap some parts for you, especially if in a sale! Some will or some won’t, it is certain that it never be a loss to ask.