Sensah Empire

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familyguy
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Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:22 pm

Has anyone used or even seen any of this stuff in the flesh?

2x11, but not (it seems) Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo compatible shifting based on what I read.

Before anyone says "why not just use cheaper Shimano, surely it's more reliable, this is Chinese and bound to be crap", you're gonna have to back that up by having used this gear. Opinions are like, well, you know the rest. It looks like it is quite possibly coming out of the Ghangzhou factory that SRAM have just left. Well, well...

https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling ... -gear.html
(There are links to two good youtube vids in the thread by Kimmo and Friday)

$420-odd landed for 2x11 complete? Can anyone do better?
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33006574719.html

I will own up and say this stuff interests me as a potential project. While I've got 5 barely used 10s groupsets (2 Campagnolo, 1 SRAM, 2 Shimano) in boxes waiting for bikes, with half a dozen running with various levels of Tiagra/105/Ultegra/Force, I don't need any more but the price would be right if the quality was reasonable and it worked efficiently.

Jim

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MichaelB
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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby MichaelB » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:47 pm

The levers look similar to the new GRX.

I'd be curious to see what the weight is. I guess a fair comparison would be with Microshift ?

I can be smart and say, no good for me, as there isn't a disc version.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby nickobec » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:26 pm

English (and Chinese resident) bike nerd at the 2019 Shanghai Bike Show looking at groupsets

He has not tried the Sensah Empire, but plenty of his commenters have.

To put it simply Shimano and to a lesser extent SRAM and Campagnolo have heaps of patents which can be used to stiffle the opposition. The Chinese ignore that inconvenience and borrow the bits they like.

[edited to clarify the you tuber has not tried the groupset yet)
Last edited by nickobec on Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby nickobec » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:48 pm

less than $400 including shipping https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32998059100.html

or about $200 for brifters and derailleurs and supply your own brakes, crankset, chain and cassette

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rangersac
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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby rangersac » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:02 pm

There's a thread over on MTBR about one of their mountain bike groupsets which includes a video review. Give it a punt, someone has to be the first!
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familyguy
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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:40 pm

I saw the MTBR page. His biggest gripe is the clutch mechanism takes too long to engage. To be fair, that's not really gonna bother me. Will give this some serious thought.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:51 pm

Very interesting question, if you have the curiosity and time and cash, I would be very interested to hear about the experiences installing and riding. I would assume that the big name groupsets Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo are riper and provide better shifting and accuracy - but if this works.
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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby Duck! » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:08 pm

The first thing that springs to mind is the infamously typical Chinese scant regard for the design rights of other manufacturers. The shifters contain strong elements of both Shimano and SRAM, while the derailleurs are pure SRAM design ripoffs.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:01 pm

Copyright exercises are a different thread, not likely to effect performance? Let the makers fight it out if they want to. 3-4 years of this stuff being around and no cases mentioned.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby bianchi928 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:22 am

I wonder if they would ever release an electronic group?
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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:51 am

nickobec wrote:English (and Chinese resident) bike nerd at the 2019 Shanghai Bike Show looking at groupsets

He has not tried the Sensah Empire, but plenty of his commenters have.

To put it simply Shimano and to a lesser extent SRAM and Campagnolo have heaps of patents which can be used to stiffle the opposition. The Chinese ignore that inconvenience and borrow the bits they like.

[edited to clarify the you tuber has not tried the groupset yet)
Finally got around to watching this. Interesting to note his comments regarding the reasoning behind the Rotor and FSA groups being part wired/part hydro/part electronic is to avoid the huge amounts of patents that Shimano has, and to a lesser extent SRAM. No mention of Campganolo patents, though.

How a 'cable actuated gear changing device for bicycles' can differ enough between manufacturers to not infringe on another's patent is beyond my understanding.

Jim

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby MattyK » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:52 pm

familyguy wrote: Finally got around to watching this. Interesting to note his comments regarding the reasoning behind the Rotor and FSA groups being part wired/part hydro/part electronic is to avoid the huge amounts of patents that Shimano has, and to a lesser extent SRAM. No mention of Campagnolo patents, though.

How a 'cable actuated gear changing device for bicycles' can differ enough between manufacturers to not infringe on another's patent is beyond my understanding.

Jim
As examples - I'm guessing Shimano has the rights to "push the brake lever sideways to shift" locked down. Noone else does that. SRAM, Campy, Microshift all use a secondary lever to pull the cable with.

SRAM would have the rights to the Double Tap implementation. Rotor have snuck around it by being hydraulics not cable.

Campy probably have rights to the thumb release lever, though I think some Microshifts have similar, so maybe not, but maybe so for how many clicks it can release in one push.

And so on, that's just the obvious surface level stuff. There would be thousands of minutiae below that, as well as lots of electronics stuff on the new systems.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:39 pm

Thread dredge:

Just saw the Sensah Ignite levers. Available in 2 x 8 and 2 x 9, claimed to be Shimano compatible, so in theory you could replace flogged out Sora/Tiagra/anything up to 9s levers with these. Might be a cheaper way to test some as an update to an older set that aren't working well. Possibilities...

Jim

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby Kimmo » Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:37 pm

Not sure if I mentioned it in my vids, but these levers require a disappointingly large amount of throw to shift; once I rode the gear for a bit, I found I was reluctant to bother shifting to a bigger cog. Shifting the other way is super easy, though.

The combination of double tap and swinging brake lever is a great concept; really tidy and ergonomic. Pity about the throw...

As for the derailers, they seem a little cheap, but the price is incredible.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby Kimmo » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:23 pm

Oh yeah, not sure about the front, but you can make the rear SRAM compatible if you put a bit of sleeve over the cable where it runs over the pulley on the RD.

Here's my vids:

[shareyoutube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6Q15IlhjPw[/shareyoutube]

[shareyoutube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=905Xa9c-Scs[/shareyoutube]

...How does that YouTube tag work?

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:58 pm

First Vid



and second vid

Campagnolo for show, SunTour for go

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby Kimmo » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:13 pm

Oh right, it has to be the youtu.be link.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:52 am

I got to get my hands around a set of the Empire levers at the retro day (yeah, the irony) on Saturday. The throw didn't feel long, no worse than my older 5700 levers, so that's one item ticked off. I could see them feeling long to someone with smaller hands though. The lever body shape and bulk felt surprisingly good. It's a shame the levers are thermoplastic, but you gets what you pays for. One stack and you'd bin them I reckon.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby Kimmo » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:19 am

The levers are cast aluminium, same as cheaper Shimano ones. You could probably take a fair bit of weight out of them with a Dremel, they're so damn beefy. Pretty sure they'd survive crashes better than Campy or SRAM, since the brake lever moves sideways.

Before mounting them I was hopeful the throw would be okay, but like I said, it turns out to be crap enough to discourage shifts. Multiple shifts are possible pulling the cable, but you have to push so far to make the first one happen, you don't feel like pushing much further.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby bychosis » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:47 am

It’s a pity these massive corporations like Shimano etc have so many lawyers mucking around with patents etc. really stifles competition. Sure, they should be able to protect the big things, but all the tiny little changes should be opened up, then they can swamp the competition with market share, superior manufacturing and reliability rather than squashing any attempt before it can get of the ground.
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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:56 am

Kimmo wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:19 am
The levers are cast aluminium, same as cheaper Shimano ones. You could probably take a fair bit of weight out of them with a Dremel, they're so damn beefy. Pretty sure they'd survive crashes better than Campy or SRAM, since the brake lever moves sideways.

Before mounting them I was hopeful the throw would be okay, but like I said, it turns out to be crap enough to discourage shifts. Multiple shifts are possible pulling the cable, but you have to push so far to make the first one happen, you don't feel like pushing much further.
Hmm, so they are metal? Felt VERY plastic, so much so that the guy who owned the bike said they were plastic. The throw is good for one, didn't try multiple upshifts, fair point, probably would get very long.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby Kimmo » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:57 pm

familyguy wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:56 am
Felt VERY plastic
I think it's because the paint is so thick; they don't conduct heat away from your fingers as quick as you expect.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby familyguy » Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:43 pm

Thread dredge: so I got bored at home the other night and saw a deal on the Sensah Empire 11s kit with the ZRace cranks and ZRace 11s cassette and chain. $390 shipped from the ZRace Official Store. Eh, why not? Basically for a test case than any real need, as me putting the spare Tiagra group up for sale attests.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001055286720.html

Image

2570gr with chain and cassette puts it in 10s 5700 territory, possibly a shade heavier (I weighed a 5700 std cranks/BSA BB/caliper brakes/RD/band FD/brifters at 2034gr.)

Image

Will it be a total waste of time and money out of the box? Will it work for a while then pack it in? Will spares be unavailable if required? Will it even arrive? Will it exceed all expectations? These questions and more may be answered* in time, once it arrives and goes onto a bike.

Jim

* they also may not be answered.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby blizzard » Thu Apr 01, 2021 3:41 pm

From what I've read the single best upgrade on the Sensah is change the front derailleur for a Shimano one. Apparently, makes for easier setup and better shifting.

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Re: Sensah Empire

Postby bianchi928 » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:26 pm

Thanks Familyguy,

I am looking forward to watching how this goes.

Cheers
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