Rival eTap worth the $$ vs. 105

I have seen posts talking about each of the groupsets - Rival eTap and 105. But nothing directly comparing the two. If I missed a post/thread somehow please point me in the right direction!

I currently ride a 2008 Orbea Onix with Ultegra SL 6600. So either one of these groupsets would be a nice jump up for me from what I currently have. I am not unhappy with my current bike, but I would like to upgrade after 14 years and I am looking at new bikes. I looked at upgrading my current bike to electric shifting, but the cost involved makes buying a full bike more economical.

Right now I am focused on the Fezzari Empire and torn between the eTap Rival or the mechanical 105 builds. While I would like to do the eTap version I am not sure if the extra $800 is worth going to electric shifting. Budget wise the eTap version is going to put me at the top end of what I am considering spending.

Just wanted some thoughts from others on rival etap vs. 105.

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@Buckethead, I am in the exact same situation - old bike (mine is a size too big so I have an additional motivator) and am seriously considering an Empire, but also looking at an Emonda. I am quite pleased with Ultegra mechanical and would get the Empire Elite in a moment if they had any Ultegra mechanical groupsets in stock. Following this thread closely!

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Can’t give you a direct comparison but I will say after picking up a Diverge with eTap it’s a game changer. Gear changes just require a quick click of a button and although it’s not exactly a huge effort to change gears on a mechanical every little bit helps. I’m not sure I can go back to mechanical again and would for sure pay a $800 upcharge for it on my next bike.

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Honestly, this is my exact concern with going electronic. I’ve heard such great things about it that everyone who tries it never goes back. (Ok, I might be generalizing a little, but …). I’m concerned for my current and future wallet. :money_mouth_face:


I rented a Di2 bike for a week on vacation and had no issues going back to mechanical, both shimano and sram. Its nice but not a game changer for me.


Objectively, Rival etap is not worth the extra dollars when it comes to performance. It’s not going to make you faster up that hill or top dog on your group ride.

I see the benefits of etap/electronic as:

Gets rid of two shift cables and makes your life easier with an integrated cockpit.

You will look cool with hidden cables.

Ability to install sprint shifter buttons but this is only really a benefit for crit racers.

The Rival AXS power meter is relatively cheap and high quality.

Personally I think the AXS gear ratios would drive me crazy. I’d really want 52-36 chainrings and an 11-32 or 11-34 in the back.

One good thing about Rival is that you can lighten the groupset a lot with a Red level crankset.

To me, the only knock against 105 is that it’s 11 speed. The Shimano road world is going 12 speed. Sram is on 12 and Campagnolo is at 12.


This is what I’ve read so much. The $800 up charge doesn’t seem too steep to get into wireless.

This has me thinking. The Empire has internal wiring with the 105 cables going into the headset. Looks pretty slick as it is. If that was not the case I’d probably not even think twice and just order the eTap version.

I also have to think - I have a 105 crank based PM on current bike I could just move over. Save another $250 and just use the built in trainer PM for riding indoors. Going to keep current bike as a trainer bike - not sure I could even sell it for all that much as it is.

Appreciate the thoughts folks! I have the eTap build sitting in my cart just waiting for me to check out. Not sure why I’m so indecisive between the two builds…….

I love electronic shifting and I prefer SRAM, but I can’t reasonably justify $800 for it. If you want it, get it, you will love it and you won’t want to go back, but if money is tight and you’re assessing every penny, it’s not like an $800 wheel upgrade in terms of performance.


Electronic all the way. Im 20k km on my bike without a single tune up beside regular maintenance (chain, brake pads, etc) and my bike still shift like day 1

I would never go back to mechanical personally.

Fwiw I have ULTEGRA DI2 on my road and SRAM RIVAL ETAP on my gravel. Both are great but I have a slight preference for Shimano’s shifting

This, except I’d use the new bike on the trainer since my current is the wrong size. I’d keep it as a backup, though, for when a bike needs periodic maintenance. I also have a PM so that isn’t a selling point for me for the Rival.

Push “buy” and send us pics when you get it in a few weeks! What color?

Hah! Cactus Gray is what I have in the cart.

I went from a bike with Ultegra/105 mechanical to Force eTap AXS. On a road bike, the answer is clear to me: Rival eTap, no doubt about it. A while ago I wrote this post comparing Shimano to SRAM that seems quite popular. I tried to be as objective as I could, although the main thrust was comparing eTap to Di2.

  • Gear range and selection. You can put a 10–36 cassette on the Rival rear derailleur and the cassette works brilliantly. Coupled to a 46/33 cassette and you get a much easier climbing gear than with any road bike Shimano setup. And if you don’t need that small a gear, well, pick one of the other cassettes, 10–33, 10–30 or 10–28. And/or pick larger chain rings. Shimano’s gearing options are much more limited.
  • You can mix and match SRAM’s electronic groupsets essentially at will with extremely few exceptions. You could switch to 1x, put a gravel 2x crankset on, etc. It will just work.
  • Rival eTap has the same shifting mechanism as its more expensive brethren, so apart from weight, there is no penalty.
  • Rival cranks allow for a cheap upgrade to a single-sided power meter. It is as cheap as or cheaper than a 4iiii one-sided power meter ($249 if memory serves).
  • A great weight saving tip is to replace the Rival cranks with a Red crank, you get most of the weight savings for relatively little money.
  • 1x compatibility (if that is your jam).
  • My favorite features are that I can shift with my pinky and have it shift every single time as well as the ability to trim my rear derailleur while riding.

I also prefer SRAM’s hood and lever shape, but that’s personal choice obviously.

Why? You can get equivalent gearing with SRAM if you would like. A 48/35 crankset with a 10–33 cassette gives you roughly the same top gear as 53:11 and the same climbing gear as 36:34. Plus, you can get the same or easier climbing gears if you need or want to. Although I would not want to use Shimano’s 11-34 cassette for road riding as it has no gears at the top that are one cog apart. I’d probably opt for SRAM’s 11-36 cassette if I had to or make do with an 11-32 cassette.

My experience from riding my 1x12 road bike is that my 10–36 cassette coupled to a 42-tooth chain ring feels very much like my 11–32 cassette but with one gear missing at the top and several added to the bottom.

Except when you need more easy gears on your road bike, then you can do that with SRAM but you cannot with Shimano.


I would rather spend $800 on wheels. I have a hard time with mandatory batteries on my bikes.

I have considered XX1 AXS on my XC bike. But I just don’t like having to worry about batteries.


The 1 big negative is that your stick with the crank length, if I’m right. I run 145 cranks on my tt bike, and SRAM doesn’t make them last I checked.

That was my initial thought as well. But then the more I think about it, I should be able to upgrade wheels in the future for less than I could go from mechanical to wireless. And from what I can tell the DT E 1800s that come on the Empire are just as good as the 5-10 year old Ksryium Elites that I have been riding the last few years, not sure I will be able to tell the difference.

I ended up pushing buy on the Rival eTap build late last night in Cactus Gray. I do not get hung up on color/look like many folks do - either of the colors would work for me. 1-2 week lead time is what was mentioned on the site when I ordered. I have the week of April 4th off with lots of planned ride time. Fingers are crossed they build and ship on the quick side of things!

This is my next decision as my current power meter will not carry over and not sure I ever want to ride without one again, even for one or two rides… It seems like the Rival PM is out of stock everywhere and on backorder though SRAM. Now I need to decide - wait for it OR switch to Assioma Uno and try to sell my current 4iii 105 crank to offset the cost difference. Always seems to be something that drives spending more and more $$$$.


You can buy (1x) aftermarket chain rings that work with AXS. I’ve got some from Garbaruk that fit my existing shimano crankset and work with the AXS chain.
2x is more of a pain tho :upside_down_face:

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@buckethead, congrats on your order! Please let me know how you like it, although I hope to get permission from the real boss for my own N+1 by then.

As for power meters I have been very pleased with the Assiomas. If you can afford it then I highly recommend either the UNO or DUO.

Not sure if you’ve seen these videos yet but I find headquarters / factory tours super insightful.

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Neither does Shimano for its 105 cranks, I think. If you want that small cranks you need to look elsewhere, e. g. Rotor.

That is awesome. Did not know that! in that case, I’m all for it!