I'm currently interested in a gravel bike and am in the process of mapping out my options. One parameter that is very obvious is that some models come with Shimano's GRX400 groupset and some with SRAM's Apex.

Interestingly, while not gravel-specific and if the internet is to be believed, being roughly equivalent to Tiagra, Apex seems slightly more expensive.

What am I missing in my comparison?

  • Ergonomics? They operate differently and have different lever profiles. I'd want to try them out in person, and not worry about stats nearly as much as ergonomics and how they suit me as an individual
    – Swifty
    Jun 8, 2020 at 10:34
  • That is not something I have considered. I am new to this so I don't know just how big the difference would be
    – cwj
    Jun 8, 2020 at 11:32
  • Do you have a preferance between Sram and SHimano in general? I think this should be the biggest factor in your decision
    – abdnChap
    Jun 8, 2020 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


SRAM Apex comes in 1x11, Shimano GRX 400 is 1x10 or 2x10.

SRAM uses the small shift lever for both up and downshifts. On Shimano system the whole brake lever moves inward and is used for downshifts on the rear and up shifts on the front Personally I prefer the Shimano system as it makes it easier to downshift while braking and give more authority to up shifting at the front.

SRAM shift levers have a far more positive click to them. SRAM uses DOT fluid in hydraulic brakes whereas Shimano uses mineral oil which I think is a bit cheaper.

The best thing to do is test ride some bikes and see how you feel with the operation of the shifters. Also pay attention to whether you want a 1x or 2x system. 2x systems give you smaller jumps between gear ratios and a wider overall range.

  • I think Shimano also have more up and down shifts "per motion" allowed than Sram.
    – abdnChap
    Jun 8, 2020 at 11:46
  • 2
    @abdnChap downshifts are 1 at a time on both, my SRAM Force 2x will upshift 4 on 1 lever stroke, I have a new gravel bike with an Apex 1x but I have not seen how many gears it will go on one go yet. I’ll report back one I try it. Jun 8, 2020 at 11:53

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