SRAM Force AXS vs Shimano Ultegra Di2

Random, but when it happens its annoying. Last night I did high cadence work, it was windy, I rode thru some neighborhoods with a lot of turns, so a LOT of shifting. No issues at all last night. It was humorous riding thru neighborhoods in windy-AF conditions - getting pushed from wind between cars and wind between houses. Its actually fun playing with the wind!

So not enough to make me want to ‘perfect world swap it out’ because when I got this bike Shimano didn’t have readily available electronic shifting on $5000 bikes. And in 2021 the disc brakes felt better on SRAM. When I bought the Tarmac SL7 it was 2021 and a bike shortage. Locally my choices were the SL7 or a Trek Checkpoint SL5. I like my electronic shifting, I like the feel of SRAM disc brakes, but the shifting is not as crisp as Shimano. Overall if I was back in 2021 with those choices, I would 100% do it again and go SRAM.

My problem is I only want 1 bike, but I’d be better off (on SRAM) with 50/37 crank for flat rides and 46/33 crank for hills/mountains (same for Shimano). However I forget that swapping out chainrings on Shimano did require some adjustments to front derailleur. Its not like swapping out wheels. So on the flats, this time of year, in tailwinds and groups I just suck it up and spend a lot of time in 46-12 and 46-11 and 46-10.


The grass always seems greener on the other side. I have had hesitant gears on every road drive train, including Shimano, and yes, usually it is a gear in the middle of the cassette. (Gear shifts have been much more consistent on mountain bike drive trains, not sure why.) On SRAM I have only had this happen with the most-used (likely worn) gear on my trainer, gear 3. (It is the gear I used to be in during rest intervals.) Or for a short period when I took my bike off my trainer and put my wheels on.

I think shift “characteristics” are not that important. Are SRAM shifts less refined or are they sportier? Shimano’s Di2 rear mech motors give off a cheap whirring sound, yet for all I can tell, they are very reliable. Both shift well. When I push on either electronic groupset a button, they shift. They shift more quickly than on my previous Shimano mechanical drivetrain. They shift with zero effort, and I don’t have to nurse shifts (especially upshifts in the front).

The much more important aspect is ergonomics: Do you feel secure when you are in the aero hoods position going over unexpected bumps? How do the hoods feel? What about the lever shape? How well can you brake when you are in the hoods rather than in the drops? What about shifting, can you get used to Shimano’s button layout?

Whether we count braking as part of ergonomics (aspects of it certainly are) or separately, I don’t care. Personally, I vastly prefer my SRAM brakes on my road bike. Unlike on the mountain bike side, you cannot mix-and-match.

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There are also mixed reports when it comes to Rotor 2x chainrings. I only tried those once a few years back, and I found front shifting to be flawless even though the chainrings were oval. But the FD was set up well.

Other people swear by Shimano chainrings. I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but I am glad that you have the option of running Shimano chainrings with a non-Shimano power meter crank.

Like road feel of tires, Shimano feels a little crisper. In a perfect world my SRAM would shift like that always, especially the front.

No shifting issues tonight on the Wed group ride. Like I said it’s random.

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I’ve spent a good amount of time on di2 and force/rival/eagle axs and they both work fine from a shifting standpoint. Buttons for controlling garmin on di2 are pretty nice. Wireless is really nice if you monkey with your bikes at all. I’m constantly swapping out parts (particularly on gravel setup) and SRAM makes it so easy. Prior gen SRAM force powermeter spindle is the best design ever (maybe still making it), so easy to swap rings, run 1x or 2x, etc. SRAM gets my nod just for ease of install and maintenance and compatibility across groups. Really do wish they had the head unit control buttons though. The shifting is so good on both, it’s just splitting hairs to debate that aspect IMO.

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Yes! SRAM doesn’t seem to support this software-wise, I’d happily pay for blips just to be able to lead through my Wahoo’s pages.


I agree, esp on a gravel bike.

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Was going to ask that as have been wondering the same thing. Quarq Dfour is aesthetically designed to match 11 speed Dura Ace chain rings. Internal chain width is the same between 11 and 12 speed so struggling to think of any reason 11 speed chain rings wouldn’t work just fine.

I assume there’ll also be an updated Dfour out at some point that’s designed to match the new 12 speed Shimano rings. Previous generation Dfour had a polished finish to go with the Dura Ace 9000/9070 rings, from memory they updated it in 2017 about a year after R9100 was released so hopefully it will be along shortly!

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Works perfectly! :slight_smile: Doesn’t look too bad either!


Get the Shimano Di2 one :slight_smile:

Can’t go wrong with the new Shimano 12sp shifting performance.

There is no bike shop here in Sweden that recommends SRAM (except for Specialized Concept Store…)

Want a bike with solid performance, get Shimano. Want a bike that has less good shifting, get SRAM.

I wouldn’t wanna pay for sub par front shifting.

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Out of interest do you also have the 9100 11 speed rings and if so did you try running them before switching to the 12 speed rings?

Yeah! :slight_smile: Previously I had two bikes with Quarq and 11SP.

Upgraded one of them now to 12SP, so still have one bike running with 11SP.

Here is a photo with the same bike and PM with 11SP:

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Did you try running 12 speed but with the 11 speed rings in the picture? Just interested as to whether there are any actual differences between Dura ace 11 and 12 speed rings that would affect shifting.

Shimano is a clear step up from SRAM at every level.

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No, skipped that after my LBS advising me not to do it (for optimal shifting performance). I know it works, but there are differences in the ramps and in the design for the thinner chains.

Wanted optimal performance so got the 12SP chainrings :slight_smile: Its probably fine with 11SP but didn’t wanna take the risk.

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Unfortunately SRAM now owns Quarq, if they release a 12sp DFour power meter it might nullify one of their best selling points in have an accurate integrated power meter. I feel it is unlikely they will update it for that reason.

You can use the DFour with 12-speed Shimano chainrings right now. The only thing is that the DFour doesn’t quite match the finish of the new Shimano groupsets.

SRAM have owned Quarq since 2011 so both previous releases of the Dfour came under SRAM ownership.

That’s quite a big “only thing” given the combined cost of a Dfour and Dura Ace rings!

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I’m a bit late to this, and it’s worth noting that Force has just had a subtle upgrade that I haven’t ridden. My view is that UDi2 works better in terms of shifting, and that the hidden buttons are a much more useful feature than you might think. The app-based indexing is brilliant, as well. However, being able to remove the batteries from an AXS system is genuinely helpful if you travel with your bike, and the 46/33 and 10-36 gearing setup is great if you want one bike that will deal with pretty much every road scenario outside racing. A clutched RD is also a godsend on crappy roads.

It depends if you prioritise absolute function or the all-round package IMO.


I’m surprised at how many people use the Shimano hood blips. I find them to be in a terrible location that causes me to do acrobatics with my thumb to push them. I almost never use them, and every time I try, it reminds my why.