Rival 2009 groupset review

SRAM Rival 2009
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Overall, SRAM Rival looks a lot better, performs a little better and weighs a little less than its previous incarnation, so the trickle-down effect of technology has improved Rival in comparison to its competitors and its fair to say this is so similar to Force its scary, just losing out on weight. Although this is something we have come to expect after a few seasons on the market, Shimano is the smoothest shifting system and Campag the most accurate (especially when multiple shifting) so whether SRAM Rival will do anything to impress those traditionalists who swear by one or the other is unlikely. Rival is a hugely impressive groupset considering its position at the ‘lower’ end of SRAM’s range.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Improvement over 2006 original version

  • +

    Only slightly heavier than Force

  • +

    Longer levers and larger paddles for better braking/shifting

  • +

    PowerGlide rings are stiffer than previous rings

  • +

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Adjustable shift lever reach is fiddly

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SRAM Rival is a mid-priced groupset, and at around £650, sits on a similar platform to Shimano’s Ultegra groupset in terms of current website price searches. In SRAM’s line-up it is the budget version, as both Force and Red are more expensive. I’ll say from the outset that to my mind, Rival's performance is close to Dura-Ace, which means it punches considerably above its impressively low weight.

SRAM Rival was originally launched in 2006, so you’d expect the ’09 upgrade to feature a few cosmetic, material changes trickling down from SRAM’s Red and Force groups, as well a few ergonomic modifications which make gear changing (even) easier.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan the Editor of Cycling Weekly website. An NCTJ qualified traditional journalist by trade, Michelle began her career working for local newspapers. She's worked within the cycling industry since 2012, and joined the Cycling Weekly team in 2017, having previously been Editor at Total Women's Cycling. Prior to welcoming her daughter in 2022, Michelle raced on the road, track, and in time trials, and still rides as much as she can - albeit a fair proportion indoors, for now.