Rival eTap AXS vs older Ultegra

I’ve been considering going for eTap or Di2 for a while but was waiting to see what happened with Di2 pricing after the new Dura got released, but then the new eTap dropped.

My bike currently has Ultegra from 2018 (R8000 I think) with cable brakes. I’ve read the Rival is equivalent to 105 so a level down from Ultegra, but I assume that general improvements in tech has brought all levels up so new Rival isn’t as far behind 2018 Ultegra. Am I right with that?

Would I be right in thinking that switching, despite being down a level, would be an overall improvement? Or would it be worth spending the extra and going for Force? Or hanging on for Shimano to release things and see what happens with their pricing?

I’m no weight weenie, and love the idea of more accessible (or even in stock) electronic shifting… but the Rival groupset is not far off 1kg heavier than R8000 Di2 hydraulic. :man_shrugging:

That’s one thing I’d been meaning to look up but hadn’t got round to. That’s a big difference, I think that has changed my mind a bit.

Regarding the Ultegra vs 105 level question, it really isn’t much of a downgrade at all. There’s really nothing in it out on the road. I don’t have any experience of SRAM road groupsets, but based on my experience with their mtb groupsets I would imagine it’s a similar story.

A little weight saving is the main benefit of moving up the groupset hierarchy. According to Bike Radar Rival AXS is approx 300g heavier than Force. I’m not sure exactly how this compares with your current mechanical Ultegra setup, but I would guess it’s within a few hundred grams - probably on the heavier side if you went for Rival AXS.

So it really comes down to how much you want electronic shifting and how much you are prepared to pay for marginal weight savings. If it was me I would be very tempted to try the Rival AXS setup. I expect this move will effectively force Shimano into offering a 105 Di2 setup sooner or later.

Edit: Sorry ignore some of the above if you are coming from a Di2 setup. I had presumed you had mechanical UItegra when I wrote this.

Currently on all mechanical, I misread the reply from @Condiec391 but I’d guess that as I’m on mechanical shifting and cable brakes then the weight difference would be more rather than less.

By cable brakes, do you mean rim brakes? There is no rim brake version of the Rival Etap groupset, so my reply was based on assuming you meant disc brakes.

Rival ETAP = 3200g

Mechanical shift, hydraulic brakes Ultegra R8020 = 2314g

Be careful when comparing weights. I don’t think Shimano include BB, brake rotors, gear cables, brake hoses/fluid in their quoted groupset weights. When you add all those bits in to make it apples vs apples, then the weight difference becomes negligible.

Without going into detailed research on weights, you can assume each groupset “level” saves you a few hundred g at the most. Shimano vs SRAM weight is also within a couple of hundred g for equivalent groupsets - again be careful of apples vs oranges weight comparisons! Unless you are racing competitively at the very pointy end of the tree I wouldn’t get too worried about weight differences here.

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Disk brakes but cable pull not hydraulic

Indeed I agree - inherently you can’t compare apples to apples here due to them being different levels in the groupset hierarchy. I haven’t looked closely at what is included in the weights, as mentioned I am absolutely no weight weenie! I thought it surprising however that the difference was so large though with all that being considered.

The different bottom brackets is a topic in and off itself. My main bike is BB86, so I have specifically avoided 30mm axles recently when changing crankset,

Okay, so going from mechanical shifting and cable disc brakes to SRAM Rival etap should be a significant upgrade in both shifting and braking performance. It might be a few hundred grams heavier overall, but I don’t think it will be near to a full kg.

I meant apples v apples in terms of all the components required in each groupset, regardless of their level. So, for example, if you are comparing Rival etap to mechanical Ultegra then you have to include all the components in each respective groupset. Unfortunately Shimano have a habit of missing out parts of the kit (brake rotors, BB, cables etc) when quoting weights. On their Di2 quoted weights they don’t even include the battery!

So sounds like I was right, the upgrade is worth doing despite being a step down in level. The next question, what do you think Shimano will do to respond, and, more important, when?

I’ve got big races (if they happen) in August and October so I doubt anything new will come out before then, but could there be price drops on Ultegra Di2 to compete?

I don’t think Ultegra Di2 price will fall as it is competing directly with SRAM Force etap. From a price perspective it is mechanical Ultegra that will be under most pressure from SRAM Rival. The ball is now firmly in Shimano’s court to produce a 105 Di2 groupset (which they have been very reluctant to offer). Next year maybe? I certainly wouldn’t count on it though.

You don’t think they will drop it a bit to try to win over some of the Rival customers? The silly thinking we all do “I’m already spending a fortune, it would only be a few pounds extra to go for this instead…”

That is how I ended up adding about £500 to my current bike.

With all the aggressive online discounting, Ultegra Di2 is already usually a fair amount cheaper than SRAM Force etap AXS. So I’m not seeing any logic in discounting it further just to compete directly against a competitor’s lower “level” groupset. It would be a marketing disaster! Both Shimano and SRAM (and Campag for that matter) have spent many years cultivating relatively large price jumps across their component “levels”. Even though in reality there isn’t actually much difference between them.

If you are looking for value for money, then you are definitely on the right track with Rival etap - presuming it is actually cheaper than heavily discounted Ultegra Di2! You’ll just have to shop around on that.

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Guess I might have to do it then.

Will need to do some thinking about cassette sizes and whether I want the fun of trying to fit it myself or have the shop do it.

I also need to look at the second hand market for my old kit, I assume there is one, but not checked yet.

There is a good market, but you won’t get much money for it. The used bike parts market is not a rich man’s playground! Consider it more of a “recycling” exercise.

Yeah, I would forget about the “level” thing. It’s more marketing perception than reality, especially in this case where you are comparing new electronic/hydraulic vs older mechanical/cable setups.

FWIW I’m running Shimano 105 R7000 hydraulic on my bike. With the type of riding I do (GF/Sportives) I don’t see any real benefit in electronic shifting, but it would be nice to get rid of the gear cables. On that basis I could just about justify moving to SRAM Rival etap myself. But I wouldn’t even consider running a higher level groupset - although I am currently running an Ultegra chain! I just don’t see the value in Ultegra over 105 and certainly not Dura-Ace! Same goes for SRAM levels at the top end. Only unknown at this point is how much of a compromise Rival is in quality over Force. Reading a couple of reviews suggests it’s nothing more than the usual steel vs alloy plates and a bit of carbon bling here and there!

I’m a triathlete but mostly a runner and swimmer so any assistance I can get on the bike is welcome, but I’m the weak spot by a long way at the moment so a lot of money to save a couple of watts isn’t worth it over just putting in more training.

I’ve only got Ultegra because it came on the bike to not tied to it by anything other than marketing hype. And we’ve probably read the same reviews, but what I’ve seen agrees with you, Rival is pretty good, maybe slightly noticeable difference if you know what you are looking for, but I don’t.