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Thread: SRAM Cassettes vs. Shimano Cassettes

  1. #32
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    Just wanted to add my 2 cents. Stay away from the XTR cassette. It had the worst shifting qualities out of any cassette i've ever used. And that includes about 5 different models of Shimano cassettes and 3-4 different models SRAM. After 1 month of riding with the XTR, the middle ring sheared off the cassette (rivets busted) and finally killed it. XT isn't too bad but still prefer SRAM and really dont see any reason to use Shimano cassettes again unless they come out with something new.
    Last edited by Pain Cave Spelunker; 06-16-2010 at 09:48 AM.

  2. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonaDude View Post
    Personally, I think SRAM caught up and maybe passed up Shimano on the rear stuff. I'm lovin' the SRAM stuff so far!
    Yep.

    /SRAM fanboi-ness.

  3. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingkickers View Post
    Thats a spot-on random answer. I've been staring at cassettes for too long, and reading to many spotty reviews on mtbr.com about them, so I'm just unsure of what to get, but I think I have found a good combo of chain/cassette SRAM 970 & 951 chain comes to about $55 with shipping and I also found a pair of SRAM X.7s on nashbar going for $40.

    I think those will be my final drivetrain purchases for my build, last is the saddle.
    The only thing you lose with 970 is the aluminum spider, but if you don't have an alloy freehub body it really doesn't matter beyond a little bit of weight savings. THe 951 chain is solid, its what i run on two of my 9 speed setups.

    Good choices, sir. SRAM is good stuff all around and until Shimano sells me otherwise, I am hooked. It performs, nuff said.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard View Post
    Cassettes, chains, and chainrings - Shimano tends to work better than Sram, although Sram is starting to catch up.
    ...
    For shifters and rear mechs, I prefer Sram. I think Shimano still has the upper hand for front derailleurs.
    I've been riding XT for years and decided this time when things were wearing out to give SRAM a try. I replaced my rear der, cassette, shifter and the chain. I left the Shimano front der and shifter on for now.

    Personally, I think SRAM caught up and maybe passed up Shimano on the rear stuff. I'm lovin' the SRAM stuff so far!

  5. #28
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    right on.

    Thats a spot-on random answer. I've been staring at cassettes for too long, and reading to many spotty reviews on mtbr.com about them, so I'm just unsure of what to get, but I think I have found a good combo of chain/cassette SRAM 970 & 951 chain comes to about $55 with shipping and I also found a pair of SRAM X.7s on nashbar going for $40.

    I think those will be my final drivetrain purchases for my build, last is the saddle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
    I am confused of what you are asking? So I will give you a random answer to start off with:

    The difference in these cassettes will be material and in some cases design (the 980 and 990 have an aluminum spider for the largest cogs). Material may make a small difference on shifting performance, but mostly on weight. the 950 is SRAM's low end, while the 990 is their high end. The 990 is lightweight, comes in fancy colors, and is the lightest.

    As far as longevity...depending on your shifting habits I could see any of the above cassettes last for years. I am on the 2nd year for my 990 cassette and I can barely tell its been used.

  6. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by tedsti View Post
    The 990 is the lightest 9sp SRAM, but is still considerably heavier than XT.
    This is true, but I wouldn't say considerably, we are talking about the difference of about 40 grams on the 11-34, and less than 30 on the 11-32.

    While we are talking about weight...it is a little known fact that the 980 is damn near the same cassette in design, construction, and weight.

  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standard View Post
    The parts are all engineered to work best when kept as a full system. Right down to the profiles of the plates on the chain.
    I'll agree as far as shifting performance but for just cranking down the trail, I say you would notice more difference from clipping the molding fuzz off a new tire than brand mixing your chain.

    I would love to see someone build a half sram and half shimano chain or make it thirds and throw in a section of whipperman. Run that frankenchain through it's life and see if there is a difference in wear or if they notice a surge or sound change as the different sections pass through the drivetrain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
    The 990 is lightweight, comes in fancy colors, and is the lightest.
    The 990 is the lightest 9sp SRAM, but is still considerably heavier than XT.
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  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingkickers View Post
    When looking for a cassette, should I choose newer if its all NIB / NOS? i.e. SRAM 950/970/980/990 cassettes.

    They all have the 9spd gears, but one is made from steel, other from cromoly, etc.

    Is it safe to assume they will last for at least 6 months?
    I am confused of what you are asking? So I will give you a random answer to start off with:

    The difference in these cassettes will be material and in some cases design (the 980 and 990 have an aluminum spider for the largest cogs). Material may make a small difference on shifting performance, but mostly on weight. the 950 is SRAM's low end, while the 990 is their high end. The 990 is lightweight, comes in fancy colors, and is the lightest.

    As far as longevity...depending on your shifting habits I could see any of the above cassettes last for years. I am on the 2nd year for my 990 cassette and I can barely tell its been used.

  10. #23
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    Pulling an old thread out...

    When looking for a cassette, should I choose newer if its all NIB / NOS? i.e. SRAM 950/970/980/990 cassettes.

    They all have the 9spd gears, but one is made from steel, other from cromoly, etc.

    Is it safe to assume they will last for at least 6 months?

  11. #22
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    Cassettes, chains, and chainrings - Shimano tends to work better than Sram, although Sram is starting to catch up.

    The parts are all engineered to work best when kept as a full system. Right down to the profiles of the plates on the chain.

    For shifters and rear mechs, I prefer Sram. I think Shimano still has the upper hand for front derailleurs.
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  12. #21
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    Thinking out loud

    Quote Originally Posted by Boner El Tornado View Post
    Yes they are "interchangable" and they do work correctly when you do so, but what sense would it make for a company to build a line of products that would allow for anothers to have you substitute parts that would make their product operate at a higher level.
    Edit: but, I personally believe running a drivetrain in this fashion is the most efficient.
    Propriatary engineering and patents play a big part of this.

    Patent - If one company builds a product that can not be legally duplicated the you have to build one that is different and it may be better or worse. And all engineers are not created equally. Makes one wonder about chains and cassettes. Some trial and error research may tell more. And wouldn't you think that the efficiency difference is minmal compared to a clean and properly adjusted drive train vs dirty and wear. Plus concider operator. Cross chaining is less effiecient that straigt line....as any SS advocate. More shifting will allow straghter chan line and increase efficiency but then what about the loss of forward movement while shifting (for racing anyway).

    Propriatary - We see first hand from one example from Shimano was the previous generation of XTR cranks. Made many unhappy consumers. The rings had a new bolt pattern thus replacements only available from Shimano as no aftermarket would fit. They made these with softer metal thus wears faster, thus less performance in short time. AND they were very expensive.
    So how did that work out for them ??? Intangeble effects too!

    Engineering marvel or not? Previous XTR FT Deraileur. An down swing as it moves to the big ring...WTF were they thinking? FAIL! An upswing movment to the big ring keeps the cage to ring relationship at the smallest change and better performance. They did make a parellel movement version as well. Performance on it was not too bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Specialeded View Post
    Find me hard evidence that proves this not circumstantial hearsay.
    I cant say that I have any technical documents that specifically detail the relationship of a SRAM chain on a Shimano drivetrain or vise versa, but it makes perfect sense that a full SRAM drivetrain from top to bottom or a Shimano drivetrain top to bottom would function with a higher degree of efficiency souly on the count of the parts being specifically designed for one another. Yes they are "interchangable" and they do work correctly when you do so, but what sense would it make for a company to build a line of products that would allow for anothers to have you substitute parts that would make their product operate at a higher level.

    I am not saying cicumstance isnt an option but, we do live in a capitalist economy after all. Ant

    Edit: I may have overstepped a bit with the "it is fact" comment but, I personally believe running a drivetrain in this fashion is the most efficient.

  14. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Specialeded View Post
    Cassette and derailleur have no relationship. A derailleur is just a pulley. To further justify I know a person who had an 9/8spd XTR derailleur with his 7-speed rear cass. and it worked fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by berrywise View Post
    Yeah but how bout that 7 speed rear derailleur on a 9 speed cassette. There is a relationship but it is kinda like your 2nd cousin. Probably not the best idea but still legal in Wisconsin.

    your rear mech. is just a pulley, true. Also, 8 speed and less have the same cog spacing just shorter cassette bodies. Each one more speed 6 speed-to-7, 7-to-8 was just one more gear further inboard. When Shimano came out with "mega-nine" they actually narrowed up the spacing on the cassete and used narrower chain.

    The practical application...

    8 & 9 speed rear wheels are the same.

    If you have a rear wheel with an 8 speed cassette on it you can use it on a 7 or 6 speed bike. (you just won't be able to reach the lowest 1 or 2 gears)

    8 & 9 speed rear deraileurs are cross compatible as far as I'm aware. I've personally ran a 9 speed XT on a 8 speed bike. However the shifters are different due to closer spacings on the 9 speed shifter.

    Jake is right that you can use a 9 speed derailuer on a 7 speed. You just have to set the limit screw so that you don't throw the chain into the spokes.

    A 7 speed derailer on a 9 speed cassette would only work until the derailer ran out of reach and would not get the bottom gear or two. So, it might pass for most situations, but wouldn't be quite right, like kids with your second cousin.
    Happy Trails.

  15. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ish View Post
    FWIW - sram powerlinks can be used with a shimano chain.
    Yeppers, I've given out many a spare Powerlink to fallen comrades with broken Shi+mano chains.
    Submit your grievances here.

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