When it comes to groupsets for your bike, you have a lot of choices, and we appreciate it can be very challenging to find the right groupset for you. Two of the biggest giants when it comes to gearing are SRAM and Shimano, and two of their most popular groupsets are the Force and 105.
We often get asked here at Bike Test Reviews which is the best.
In this article, we’re going to be talking about the best versions of these groupsets, the Force eTap AXS and the Shimano 105 R7150 Di2. These are both incredible ways to get up and downhill, and to tell you all about them, we will be discussing the following:
- What Is SRAM Force eTap AXS?
- What is Shimano 105 R7150 Di2?
- A Comparison Of The Groupsets
- Which Is Better, Shimano 105 or SRAM Force?
What Is SRAM Force eTap AXS?
SRAM Force eTap AXS is one of SRAM’s top-level groupsets. It sits under SRAM Red eTap AXS at the top level and above SRAM Rival eTap AXS at the mid-range level. Many people choose Force because it offers a high level of performance but also is excellent value for money.
What is Shimano 105 R7150 Di2?
Shimano 105 R7150 is Shimano’s mid to high-level groupset and sits under the performance Ultegra and Dura-Ace groupset but above the Tiagra and Claris budget-level groupsets. Shimano has always been one of the most popular groupsets as it is cheap to buy and performs better than most around the same cost.
A Comparison Of The Groupsets
When comparing these to groupsets, there’s a lot to think about, and to explain it best, we will break it down. Here’s what you need to know:
The cost is the first and one of the most important aspects for many. The Force eTap comes at around $2000 real-world price (Typically sold under RRP), and the Shimano 105 comes at around $2050. They are not the cheapest groupsets, but you get what you pay for, and they offer a lot.
If you plan to fit the groupset yourself, speaking about the assembly is important. When it comes to the Shimano 105, it is more complex than the SRAM Force eTap. The 105 is semi-wireless, meaning the derailleurs are linked to a central battery, and the shifters wirelessly connect.
The Force is completely wireless with its own separate batteries. The installation of the Force is much easier as it is just a case of screwing it on when the 105 needs a little more wiring, care, and attention.
When it comes to looks, they are both great-looking groupsets. They will suit any bike well, and both have a stealthy finish to them. The Force is more square compared to the 105, which is a bit smoother and rounded. It comes down to personal preference.
As far as weight goes, there’s actually very little in it. Although they come in many different forms, these groupsets, on average, you are looking at about 100g in difference. The Shimano 105 comes in at about 2990g, and the SRAM Force comes in at about 2820g. That’s a very small amount to worry about.
Regarding combinations, the SRAM Force comes in a 1x and a 2x. You get the option of multiple cassettes and lots of small crankset sizes. The 105 comes in only a 2x, and although you could make a 1x system, it is not designed for that.
They are both 12 speeds offering 24 speeds on the 2x and 12 speeds on the 1x. No matter what you pick, they will be a lot of fun and easy to use.
The Shimano 105 R7150 comes in a 50/34 or 52/36 on the front and an 11/34 or 11/36 on the rear. SRAM Force comes in 46/33 and 48/35 in 2x and 36 to 48 in 1x. As far as cassettes go, 10/26, 10/28, and 10/33 on the 2x and 10/48 on the 1x.
They both offer a wide range of gear, but the Force is better at going to lower ratios. The 105 is suited to more road riding when the Force could be road and gravel riding ratios.
When it comes to using these groupsets, they actually work very differently. On the SRAM Force, you use the left shifter to go up the cassette and the right to go down. Then when you press them both together, they switch the chainring.
On the 105, the right shifter controls the rear derailleur, and the left controls the front derailleur. We quite like how they both work but do feel the SRAM offers a racecar feel, but the 105 feels more organized.
All these can be adjusted as both the systems come with an application that you can connect and make different adjustments to the groupset. Overall they both feel easy to use and provide quick, smooth shifting.
As far as brakes go, they both run a hydraulic disc braking system. They are both very powerful and offer more than enough braking for most situations you will encounter while riding a bike.
Which Is Better, Shimano 105 or SRAM Force?
When it comes to these two amazing groupsets, there’s not a vast amount in it. They are very different but offer a very similar experience.
Both are excellent groupsets offering a wide range of gears and are easy to use and maintain. We highly recommend both; we only say that the Force with slightly lower ratios could be better for gravel riding than the 105.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.