Forgot password? | Forgot username? | Register

Apex vs. 105

Apex vs. 105

Hello,

I will be purchasing my first road bike and I was looking into the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 6 Apex.  Is there a big difference between the Shimano 105 and SRAM Apex? 
Also in the future, I would like to start racing.  If I do purchase this bike, would this model be okay for competing? 
Any suggestions will be very helpful.

Thanks in advance,

Jennie  current/cool

Administrator has disabled public posting. Please login or register in order to proceed.

Re: Apex vs. 105

Hi Jennie,
I'm actually a virtually all-Campagnolo rider but do have experience Shimano 9 and 10 speed on my travel bikes now and others in the past.  I've read about the SRAM and every club member I ride with who has the brand seems to like it without complaint.  Since you are starting from scratch, learning how to shift each won’t matter.  I have some difficulty changing from Campy to Shimano since they are somewhat opposite.  I like the highly technical aspects and “Italian” feel of the Campy and the ability to dis-assemble and rebuild when broken or damaged, which Shimano doesn’t offer at all.  With Shimano it is throw away and replace like so many Japanese products on the market.  Not sure about SRAM on this aspect.
The most important decision you will make is making sure you are buying a bike that fits you and that you will be properly "dialed in" to it AFTER you buy it.  Sometimes moving the seat post or stem length half a fingernail can make a huge difference in your ability to love or hate a bike and whether you fall in love with riding and get addicted or hang it in the garage and move to something else.  It is great that you are looking at WSD (Women’s Specific Designs) since there are many available now but it is entirely possible that you could be fit to a regular bike that could raise your performance since you are thinking about getting involved in racing.
If you are not highly “mechanical” the second most important thing is going to be having a relationship with your local bike shop (LBS) where you will regularly seek assistance on adjustments and fit.  They need to welcome your visits, even if you “only” spend $2K on a bike.
My boss was buying a bike earlier this year and I moved him off of an entry level Trek up to a Specialized Roubaix, compact crank, Shimano 105 and Ultegra mix at about $1800 net.  His bike shop did a great job of fitting him and he immediately began joining up to 50 mile rides over varied terrain and really loves it.  I thought it was impressive getting Ultegra in the key parts at under $2K.  Generally I advise people to spend at least $2500 for a new bike so they get something they will stick with.
As a Campy-file, my comparison is:
Record
Chorus --> Dura Ace  --> Force
Centaur --> Ultegra  --> Rival
Veloce --> 105  --> Apex
Campy has now elevated Record to a lower weight, higher performance than anything else out there.  For a recreational rider, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have unlimited funds, the Chorus is probably equal now to my early to mid-2000’s Record.  IMHO, as far as Groupos go, you really want to try to buy at least Shimano 105 and Ultegra/DuraAce levels are significantly better.  The 105 is reliable but much heavier so not as good for racing.  The Rival is just like the Force without the carbon bits so mechanically the same.   Campy does very few OEM (original equipment manufacturers) deals so they end up being a “choice” product and generally only when a bike is being built to spec rather than “off-the-shelf” OEM products at the lower price-points.  Once you go Campy, you’ll never go back, but the other companies know that what you start with is probably what you’ll stick with so they do deals with frame manufacturers.
Many (most?) of the frames out there are being made in VERY few factories now, a huge number coming from Giant factories and other Taiwan-Asian based OEM suppliers.  You probably can’t go wrong with any of the component groups mentioned.  Wheels/tubes/tires will ultimately make a bigger difference than most components in your speed.  Reduction in rotating mass is a huge factor as is the aero profiles and bladed spokes.  Of course, lowering weight comes at a huge price and sometimes affects long-term wear & lifespan.  With wheels, it also affects handling in crosswinds which can be significant.
Finally, I’ll offer that as an owner of steel, aluminum, titanium, magnesium and carbon bikes now and others in the past that all of these materials have advantages and disadvantages for bicycles.  Material by itself does not guarantee quality or performance unless the manufacturer uses it properly.  These days, Aluminum tends to be in the inexpensive bikes and can be fine but when “drawn” into thinner tubes can be fragile.  I’ve got a Pinarello Prince that is Alum with carbon ends and it is a fantastically responsive, fast and great handling bike with good ride comfort.  I had a decade old Cannondale and DeRosa in straight gauge Alum and both were like riding a jack-hammer!  I have a MOOTS with large, thin-tube Titanium and it is stiff AND comfortable, I’ve ridden Seven Ti bikes which may be some of the best out there but also had an older Litespeed which (like many Ti frames) felt like it sapped energy to give comfort.  I have a Ritchey BreakAway (similar to their Logic frame) which is light for a steel bike, comfortable ride but not as solid feeling at high speed or stiff as I like.  There are new steel bikes made out of very high-tech new blends which can be fantastic, not like our old and heavy junkers from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s.  There are very few magnesium bikes out there because the material is so difficult to work with but I really do love the ride, handling, performance of my Pinarello Dogma but the price was insane.  I have owned (and do own) a lot of carbon bikes and will say that they get better and better as the years go on.  Some of the early ones were very flexible but now manufacturers understand how to make them vertically compliant (for comfort) and laterally stiff (for performance) and the price has come WAY down with mass production. 
Each bike frame has it’s own personality.  I bought a Kuota Khan (like the current KOM) with really light, really skinny, very high-end American Classic CR-420 wheels and hated it.  I thought there was something wrong with the fork.  I put a set of my Campy wheels on it and now love the bike and it is a permanent part of my stable, a really fast, comfortable, climbing bike.  Overall, I tell people that I think Colnago builds great bikes at the top of their range but even they are buying frames now from Asia at lower levels.  Many people don’t think it is rational to spend $6500-$8K on a bike while others see that as entirely appropriate for their chosen sport-recreation and given the number of hours some of us spend with friends in the saddle (1500+ hours in 25K miles last ten years, 80-100 rides a year).  As I said, my $2500 “min” number seems to have now fallen to $1800 which is pretty cool. 
Try to go test ride several bikes you are considering, try to meet and interface with several LBS’s, and buy what you like, what feels good and where the relationship will be strong.  Once you have made this step and perhaps another one down the road, you may choose other methods to buy bikes or buy used bikes with that inherent risk but starting out, choose carefully to ensure a positive outcome.

~too much of anything is just enough for me. Pete Townshend

Stuart Lamb
Stuart the Descender
useravatar
Offline
195 Posts
Male 
Administrator has disabled public posting. Please login or register in order to proceed.

Re: Apex vs. 105

Hi Jennie,
SRAM's Apex group is the only 10 speed road power train group (derailleurs, cassettes, cranks, and shifters) that can use an 11-32 cassette for a very low gear (easier to peddle) with a double crank (instead of the more difficult to shift triple crank). For their road groups,  Shimano's lowest cassette is a 28 sprocket and Campy's is a 29 sprocket. Until the Apex came along, to get this low gearing using a double crank, meant mixing road and mountain parts which often meant less than great shifting -- and only in 9 speed not 10 speed.
You need to decide if you really need super low gearing on your road bike to peddle up the hills; if you do, the Apex is a very good choice because it gives the option of very low gearing without going to a triple crank. If you become a stronger rider and do not need the super low gearing, you can always replace the 11-32 cassette with one with higher gearing.
The other nice thing about the SRAM Apex is that the Rear Derailleur and cassette will work with any of SRAM's other shifters (Red, Force, and Rival).
In terms of quality, the Shimano 105, Campy Centaur, and Apex are all about the same. What makes the Apex unique, is the option of the 11-32 cassette in a road 10 speed group. Nobody else has this option.
I have used SRAM for about 2 years now. I like it a lot. I like it better than Shimano, Campy, and even the now departed Mavic-- all of which I have tried over the years. I recently had to replace a shifter; my bike dealer called SRAM in Chicago and I had a new shifter within days. No charges to me, no hassles about who was at fault for the shifter not working. That is serious customer service!
Good luck on your new bike purchase!
Ed Cahill,
BBC Secretary

Administrator has disabled public posting. Please login or register in order to proceed.

Re: Apex vs. 105

Excellent points Ed, I knew you would weigh in as a long-time user of SRAM road gear.  I was always annoyed by Campy's lack of cassette "spread" because if you went beyond the 25 tooth, you could only do a 13-26 giving up the high gear without even getting to the "normal" 12-27 from Shimano and if you wanted to use the 13-29 Campy, you had to go to the longer cage rear derailleur (less precise shifting).

I have been using the newer compact cranksets on many of my bikes so 50/34 teeth instead of the "normal" 53/39 teeth. This is terrific for the hills, again, without going to the triple crank which is unacceptable to many of us.  I also found a 3rd party company called IRD (International Racing Design or something) that makes a Campy compatible 11-28 cassette WITHOUT giving up the short cage rear derailleur.

Like I said, I have no experience with SRAM as I have attempted to standardize everything to the same groupo on all bikes and long ago was sold on 2000-2007 vintage Campy Record.  I think it is great and will likely die before I change!  Gee, I’m starting to sound like Mark Tabb when he wouldn’t upgrade from Shimano DA 8-speed for YEARS when everything had gone to 9-speed and then 10-speed.  He has since moved into the 21st century with the rest of us!

~too much of anything is just enough for me. Pete Townshend

Stuart Lamb
Stuart the Descender
useravatar
Offline
195 Posts
Male 
Administrator has disabled public posting. Please login or register in order to proceed.

Re: Apex vs. 105

Thank you Ed and Stuart for your replies.  Since I'm a beginner rider, the Apex road gear will be the best for me.  This is because it will help me ride up hills a little easier.  By reading both of your posts gave me great knowledge on road gear. 

Thank you again,

Jennie

Administrator has disabled public posting. Please login or register in order to proceed.

Re: Apex vs. 105

A little off of the original subject but I have successfully used Campy 10 short cage derailleur with a  13-29 cassette and both Standard and Compact Cranks. Don't know if frame size makes a difference but it works fine for me!
The long cage is really only needed for the triple.
Of course now Campy makes an 11sp 12-29 and they only have one size derailleur. (Athena and above)

Cheers

Administrator has disabled public posting. Please login or register in order to proceed.
There are 0 guests and 0 other users also viewing this topic

Board Info

Board Stats
 
Total Topics:
3970
Total Polls:
8
Total Posts:
3790
Posts this week:
11
User Info
 
Total Users:
2736
Newest User:
JONATHAN S GUTH
Members Online:
0
Guests Online:
671

Online: 
There are no members online