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  1. #1
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    OK Just What Is The Difference?

    As a newbie I've gone into my store, rode a few bikes, picked one that felt good, had it fitted and have ridden it a few hundred miles in the past couple months. Right now I'm a happy camper with my purchase and the doors it is opening.

    But, I am completely mystified by what the differences are between different named pieces of gear. For example: Just what is the difference between a Shimano DuraAce, 105 and Ultegra? That is just one example of several manufacturers.

    I ask: What is the difference? Answer: It is a higher level of whatever. Me: Well, what makes it a higher level? Does it have different bearings/material/tolerances/???? Answer? Well it does have better materials. Me: Which has what kind of materials? You get the drift.

    Seems the manufacturer must roll out a bunch of stuff, put different names and price tags on it and send it to us. Or, is there really a difference other than name and money?

  2. #2
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    You could ask the same about cars, cameras, or any other consumer products offered at multiple price points. I think you more or less answered your own question.

  3. #3
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Differnces are mainly weight and tolerances. AFAIK - NOT durability, and to a degree, looser tolerances keep stuff working longer in adverse conditions - like winter sand and salt. My winter ride uses Sora while my summer ride uses Ultegra. The Ultegra is overkill for my level of riding, but it doesn't hurt either.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    You get the drift.
    It's been a while since my teen days, but I remember reading alot, compared how much they cost, bought the lightest stuff and the finish I wanted within my budget. Done. Am sure lots of time, I bought more than necessary but meh, that's life. Somethings are not to be analyzed but enjoyed.

    Another future-accountant in the mist?
    Last edited by jsmithepa; 08-05-08 at 11:03 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    Differnces are mainly weight and tolerances. AFAIK - NOT durability, and to a degree, looser tolerances keep stuff working longer in adverse conditions - like winter sand and salt. My winter ride uses Sora while my summer ride uses Ultegra. The Ultegra is overkill for my level of riding, but it doesn't hurt either.
    You say there is a difference between Sora and Ultegra. That Ultegra is "overkill". OK, just what is the difference?

    If the materials are the same one would think the lighter of the two would be weaker (less material). Tolerances are different? How different.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmithepa View Post
    It's been a while since my teen days, but I remember reading alot, compared how much they cost, bought the lightest stuff and the finish I wanted within my budget. Done. Am sure lots of time, I bought more than necessary but meh, that's life. Somethings are not to be analyzed but enjoyed.

    Another future-accountant in the mist?
    Hmmm, couldn't answer so have to be derisive?

    Analyzed ranther than analyzed? Come on now we all eat and we all enjoy certain foods. Why? Because we analyzed the food and decided some things are more pleasing than others. We constantly analyze and we shouldn't allow marketing hype, if it is that, to steal money from us that we could used for further enjoyment.

  7. #7
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    Have you looked at the Shimano web site?

  8. #8
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    If you can get past the marketing hype, the manufacturer's catalogs will often explain the differences. The major factors are usually the use of bearings vs. bushings, weight, stronger springs, more detailed machining ect. The exact differences will differ between group and manufacturer and may or may not be noticeable to the beginning rider or even a seasoned rider who isn't concentrating on shifting performance.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    Hmmm, couldn't answer so have to be derisive?
    The world would be dry, boring, robotic, wo humour, sarcasm, and some naughtiness.

    Your whole paragraph can be asked in one single line: "What do I get for more money." It would be a better question too, wo damning capitalists as we all know by now is superior to all existing systems.

    Ride what u got, stop worrying what makes u happier UNTIL something comes up that u think can do so, THEN decide whether u want to pay for it. SIMPLE.

  10. #10
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    You say there is a difference between Sora and Ultegra. That Ultegra is "overkill". OK, just what is the difference?
    Ride a Sora bike for a week. Then ride an Ultegra bike for a week. You'll find out what the differences are.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2011 Felt Z4

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    You say there is a difference between Sora and Ultegra. That Ultegra is "overkill". OK, just what is the difference?

    If the materials are the same one would think the lighter of the two would be weaker (less material). Tolerances are different? How different.
    Well, among other differences, the materials are NOT the same. The higher cost lines use stronger alloys, better quality bearings, better heat treatment and better machining and finishing. By using better materials, lighter can be stronger too.

    Often, the differences can be subtle, particularly as you approach the top of the range. The improvement of 105 over Sora is pretty dramatic. The impovement of Ultegra over 105 is not as large.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Well, among other differences, the materials are NOT the same. The higher cost lines use stronger alloys, better quality bearings, better heat treatment and better machining and finishing. By using better materials, lighter can be stronger too.

    Often, the differences can be subtle, particularly as you approach the top of the range. The improvement of 105 over Sora is pretty dramatic. The impovement of Ultegra over 105 is not as large.
    Thanks HillRider, about time someone quit stroking themselves and answer the question. 105 is pretty good stuff, Ultegra better but more expensive, and Dura Ace is Shimano's best. And as HR says, lighter can be better and stronger, that is the draw for Dura Ace.

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