SRAM VS Shimano: Which Brand Is Best for You?

Can't decide between SRAM GX Eagle and Shimano Deore XT? We compared them for you.
John Watson
John Watson
John is an experienced cycling enthusiast and a great asset when it comes to writing skills. He's a Bachelor of Arts and a talented journalist. John is in charge of our blog read more
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Jessica Kingston
Jessica Kingston
Expert Consultant
Jessica is our expert consultant on all things connected to biking - gear, technique, you name it. Being a pro cyclist in the past, she knows exactly how things work in and read more
Last updated: September 06, 2023
 Shimano Deore XT
Can't decide between SRAM GX Eagle and Shimano Deore XT? We compared them for you.
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When you’re talking about two brands that have shaken the entire biking industry in recent years with their innovations and unique products, there’s no way that SRAM and Shimano won’t come to your head. They’re well-known and two of the best bike brands in the world, known for their quality, reliability, and performance. But which brand is better when it comes to groupsets?

When placing SRAM vs. Shimano groupsets head-to-head, there are a lot of different factors that you have to look at. We’ll be comparing two of their well-known groupsets, the SRAM GX Eagle and the Shimano Deore XT. Follow the article to find vital information on what makes both groupsets unique and the differences between the two.

Brands Comparison

SRAM Trusted Source History | SRAM At SRAM we are passionate about cycling. We ride our bikes to work and around town. We ride our bikes in the peloton, on the trails and down the mountains. is one of the leading bike component manufacturers, and it was discovered as one product in 1987. The founder of SRAM is Stan Day, a racer who dreamed that there could be a more convenient way of shifting in 1988. They focus primarily on components for mountain bikes and other high-end bikes. If you’re interested, you should check out the best mountain bikes, where you can find quality cycles for different prices.

The Shimano Trusted Source Company HistorySHIMANO Corporate Site Welcome to the Shimano official corporate website. See our history. brand is one of the world’s most famous bike brands, and it was founded in 1921 by a Japanese male named Shozaburo Shimano in Japan. In contrast to the SRAM brand, Shimano focuses on products for more types of bikes, including road, BMX, mountain, commute, gravel, triathlon, and E-bikes. Shimano provides a wider variety of components for multiple types of bikes, regardless of their cost.

Component Hierarchies

Now that you have understood the two brands, you can compare them. It’s vital to know that they’re both quality brands, and you can be confident of getting your money’s worth when you use either the SRAM or the Shimano.

As stated previously, both the Shimano and SRAM brands have produced multiple unique products, each with its unique qualities. Some are more advanced than others. Here is a hierarchy table showing the best products each has produced from entry-level to the mid-range, higher range, and finally, the best level.

Shimano Road Shimano MTB SRAM road SRAM MTB
Entry-level Tiagra Deore Apex SX & NX
Mid-range 105 SLX Rival GX
High-end Ultegra XT Force X01
Top-of-the-line Dura-Ace XTR Red XX1

The table above ranks the best and most popular bikes under both brands, and they all differ in price and the components that come with them. What makes both brands unique is the fact that even their entry-level and mid-range bikes are top quality, and you can be guaranteed your money’s worth.

The GX Eagle and Deore XT occupy the higher to mid-level of both SRAM and Shimano’s Mountain bike ranges. They are not as costly or attractive as the other top-tier drive trains, but they perform equally and are good options for enthusiast cyclists and beginner riders who want quality groupsets.

Quick Overview Table

We shall be exploring the differences between the Shimano Deore XT and the SRAM GX Eagle, as this is commonly considered among cyclists.  Both of these groupsets are not only great products, but they are the most popular drivetrains on most mountain bikes. The two products improve the performance of your cycles over the NX and SLX but are still very budget-friendly and can be easily accessed.

Before getting any product, as a biker, it is essential that you have proper knowledge of what you’re buying, especially when it comes to groupsets. They’re one of the most essential parts of the bike system, and here is a quick table that can quickly explain the design of the two products.

Shimano Deore XT SRAM GX Eagle
Speed 11 or 12 11 or 12
Material Alloy Aluminum
Chainset Single Double
Brakes Hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes Integrates with most brake lever

When looking at the Deore XT and the GX Eagle, you will notice that they’re specifically made for mountain bikes and are the most ubiquitous groupsets found on mountain bikes. They have similar speeds but differ in their other critical components, including their shifters, crankarms, drivetrains, cassettes and freehubs, derailleurs, chains, and brakes.

Key Differences

The GX and XT have some similarities, but the differences outweigh them. Despite their differences, you should know that a top-notch performance is guaranteed. Now we shall discuss the main key features between the products and what makes them unique. When looking at the differences, you must break them down between their significant components.


SRAM VS Shimano: Which Brand Is Best for You?

The first component that we shall be looking into is the shifters. The shifting on the Shimano Deore XT is precise and smooth, but it Is known to wear out quickly. But it has an appearance that’s more appealing to the eye than the SRAM GX.

On the Deore XT, you can conveniently get to the 11-speed in the 11-42t and 11-40t cassettes, using triple or double cranksets. But the shifting on the SRAM GX isn’t as convenient as the 11-speed of the Deore XT.


The crankarms on the Shimano Deore XT include Shimano’s popular Hollowtech technology, in which the crankarms are forged hollowly, and this is to reduce the weight but, at the same time, keep it as stiff as possible. Its crank arms come at different lengths, including 180mm, 175mm, 170mm, and 165mm.

While the SRAM GX’s crankarms will immediately appeal to the eyes of every biker, the X-sync 2 direct mount chainring supports the crank, leading to a smoother chain run and keeping it neat. It has a crank arm length of 175mm, 170mm, and 165mm.


If you’re looking for one of the most efficient and performing drivetrains, then the Shimano’s XT 12-speed drivetrain is perfect. It is also very affordable, and you can be guaranteed good performance from all the components.

Although the SRAM GX Eagle uses a similar 12-speed drivetrain, they are made to get the best performance. They’re proven to be durable and robust. It is usually more expensive than the Shimano product.

Freehubs and cassettes

SRAM VS Shimano: Which Brand Is Best for You?

In recent years, competition has been growing between SRAM and Shimano, and both of the bike companies have released newer and better cassette teeth. Giving the GX and the XT the best cassette and freehub options was a priority for them, and they didn’t fail to provide the right system for the two. The GX eagle is more costly than the Deore XT, and it is also lighter by about 25 grams.

The SRAM GX Eagle uses a 10-52T cassette, offers an expanded gear range of about 520%, and features SRAM’s popular technology, the Full pin. This makes it very durable and also lightweight. But the cassette is a one-piece machine constructed by pinning multiple cogs together, regardless of their size.

But on the other hand, the Shimano XT uses the Hyperglide cassette sprocket. It reduces weight and maintains durability because it has an alloy sprocket carrier. Precise shifting is guaranteed even in the most complex mountain biking situations. It uses a carrier for its giant cogs, and the remaining cogs are stacked directly on the freehub but with spacers.

When looking at their freehubs, SRAM and Shimano released the XD driver freehub and the Micro Spline freehub, respectively, and the GX eagle cassette uses the XD driver. In contrast, the Deore XT uses the Micro Spline.

It’s crucial to know which freehub is compatible with the rear hub when changing the wheels on your bike, and on most Shimano and SRAM products, these freehubs are present.

Both the Micro Spline and XD drivers are top quality and work well, and they’re different because the two brands wanted uniqueness for their freehubs.


With brand new mountain bike groups like the SRAM GX Eagle, Shimano brought forward a new chain named the Hyperglide+, and it was made to increase chain retention and improve shifting. It is smaller and less heavy than other chainrings, so it is a good fit. Meanwhile, the SRAM GX Eagle makes use of the Eagle X-Sync 2 chainrings, and what’s cool about it is the fact that the chains set can be found easily, and it has an excellent and unique design. It appears like the shape of a tooth.

Chainrings and chains are the primary consumables that should be replaced constantly for these particular drivetrains. The Shimano Deore XT and SRAM GX Eagle are comparable in terms of life span and price. You can find the Deore XT chains for around $35-$45 and the GX Eagle chains for a lower price, at around $25-$40.


The Shimano Deore XT uses shadow technology, making it possible to ride through rough roads more conveniently. The Shimano Shadow rear derailleur is new under the series, and it offers quick and accurate shifting performance that you can take through any trail and also reduced tension in low gear.

The SRAM GX Eagle derailleur does an excellent job shifting, whether you’re climbing or going through whatever road. They’re backward compatible and work well with either 10-52t cassettes or 10-50t cassettes. It also comes with a better cage architecture that improves chain retention and increases shifting efficiency.


The Deore Xt Drivetrain is more expensive than the GX eagle, and the average price of both of them are $623 and $545, respectively. There is an $80 difference between the two, and the difference is pretty slight for a quality drivetrain. But one crucial thing you should know is that the retail price of the GX is for the drivetrain that comes with the usual aluminum GX crank.

Also, the prices stated above are only for retail and the drivetrains, and this is because the Deore is also accessible as a full groupset that comes with wheels, brakes, and pedals. Meanwhile, the GX eagle has a drivetrain alone, and the SRAM brand has various component offerings for wheels and brakes that aren’t attached to any of its drivetrains.

When comparing the costs to other top-drive trains, the GX Eagle and the Deore XT are relatively cheap.


SRAM VS Shimano: Which Brand Is Best for You?

The brake system is fundamental, and if they’re any problems with them, they should be changed instantly. The Shimano XT uses rim brakes or Hydraulic disc brakes, while the SRAM GX eagle works well with most brake levers.


The Shimano Deore XT is the more popular and used groupset of the two, and it has been seen that people would rather be loyal to the XT because it was seen as more reliable than the GX Eagle. The supporters of the Deore XT vastly outnumber the fans of the GX Eagle, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an equally excellent product to use.

Which to Choose

After careful analysis and reviews from multiple riders who use both products, it can be said that both the SRAM GX Eagle and the Shimano Deore XT are both fantastic products, and you can be sure that the two will serve you well. But the people’s choice seems to be the Deore XT, and this is because you are offered better performance, and since the introduction of the 12-speed design, it has led to reduced weight.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have gone through this article, you should have proper knowledge of the two groupsets and should be able to understand their differences. SRAM vs. Shimano is a conversation that’s been going on for a long while, and different people have different opinions. So, the groupset you choose depends on your personal preference and brand loyalty.

But one thing that everyone can agree on is that they’re both quality products to make the entire cycling world better. Simply consider your specific needs to determine which groupset is ideal for you, whether the Shimano Deore XT or SRAM GX Eagle.


History | SRAM
At SRAM we are passionate about cycling. We ride our bikes to work and around town. We ride our bikes in the peloton, on the trails and down the mountains.
Company HistorySHIMANO Corporate Site
Welcome to the Shimano official corporate website. See our history.
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