24 January, 2016
After riding the Sram Rival 10 speed group for a while and not being completely loving it, I switched to Shimano Ultegra for a 2x10 set up. The Rival’s were missing spring tension on the higher cogs, so the lower down the cassette you went, the softer the spring and lever felt. The lever clicks for each gear got softer as well and with this there was also a slight delay in shifting and performance that I wanted. The Shimano Ultegra group provided better shifting and a better lever feel.
Now with building up a CX/Gravel/Road bike I wanted to keep with the 1x11 set ups like my mountain bikes since I not a huge fan of front derailleurs. I spend 95% of my time in the higher chain ring on a compact crank anyway so I wouldn’t loose much. And with the ability to run a larger cassette range in the rear I would have the same gear range that a 2x set up could offer. Since Shimano doesn’t offer a 1x set up for road, I headed back to Sram to see how the new 11-speed stuff would work.
The new 11 speed Rival shifters are no longer made with carbon instead they stepped down and made them with aluminum. I don’t have a preference for either and if it can save me a few bucks and only add a few grams I think it’s a great move. Sram has also changed the hood design as well on the new shifters, making them a bit smaller and have a better ergonomic feel.
While the double tap system is still in place, they did change some of the mechanisms inside to make the shifter perform and feel much better. The spring tension has increased, making each shift feel the same no matter where you are on the cassette. The click on the shifter also feels more prominent and precise, so you can feel exactly how many gears you go up the cassette and even feel more exact when going down the cassette as well. These changes make a night to day difference in how the bike shifts and performs.
Now, I set up my bike with a 1x set up, but before hand I tested out the Shimano 105 11 speed drivetrain and also the 2x11 SRAM Rival with YAWN technology. The Shimano shifters did feel a lot better as well compared to the 10 speed groupo, but I didn’t like how you had to shift to adjust the front derailleur so the chain wouldn’t rub while in the same chainring. The YAW technology from SRAM allows the chain to clear the front derailleur through the whole cassette. It is a bit more tedious to set up, but once it’s in place it makes for a much more enjoyable ride on the road, not always having to pay attention to where the front derailleur needs to be like the Shimano drivetrain.
The Rival shifters have much improved from the previous 10 speed levers. The shifter is more precise, better feeling and has a much stronger spring. Along with the internals the lever feel changed as well, making it have a more ergonomic feel. The 1x11 set up makes riding and set up easy and its great for gravel, cyclocross and a all road style of riding. I also use this as my road bike and haven't needed more range yet. I will have more on how it feels and rides soon. This set up does prevent front derailleur cog ups when racing CX and keeps things running smoothly. Whether your upgrading or looking to get a new bike I fully recommend Sram Rival shifters with the 1x set up.