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  1. #1
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    Shifters: 105 vs. Ultegra. Is there a diff.?

    What is the REAL difference between 105 and Ultegra STI SHIFTERS, is there any? I know Ultegra weighs a little less, but it seems to me that they are really identical in their design, oh maybe the 105 has a heavier part or 2 in it, but otherwise they seem to be mechanically identical. Does anybody out there have any insight in this. The reason I am asking is because I am upgrading my components to Ultegra from 105 but am wondering if I really am gaining anything by also getting the Ultegra shifters or are the 105s basically identical accept for there weight.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Pain Cleanseth Feltup's Avatar
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    This is off topic but where do you live in Knoxville? Do you do any group rides? If so we will have to get together.

    I have 105 and they work great. The only thing you gain with Ultegra is weight and probably mileage.
    It is better to lose clean then win dirty. Don't ride dirty

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    Pain Cleanseth Feltup's Avatar
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    I read your profile. Is that you Troy?
    It is better to lose clean then win dirty. Don't ride dirty

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feltup
    I read your profile. Is that you Troy?
    Nope, my name is Thomas

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    Pain Cleanseth Feltup's Avatar
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    Where do you ride? Mountain and road.
    It is better to lose clean then win dirty. Don't ride dirty

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feltup
    This is off topic but where do you live in Knoxville? Do you do any group rides? If so we will have to get together.

    I have 105 and they work great. The only thing you gain with Ultegra is weight and probably mileage.
    Thanks for the info. I am sort of a loner when it comes to riding. I just ride with a friend or 2 every once in a while - not a hard core rider just for sanity, enjoyment and exercise. I do enjoy working on them too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feltup
    Where do you ride? Mountain and road.
    I ride my mountain bike mainly in urban terrain every once in a while I'll do that gravel road down into Cades Cove. I do the River Road over in Blount County and Sequoyah Hills.

  8. #8
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    I do not know about the 105 shifters but can tell you there's some difference between the original Ultegra shifters and the current ones released in 2003 (ST-6510). I have installed the new ones of my bike and like them very much, they are precise and very smooth. Last week I rode a bike equipped with the original version, the shifters were much harsher, I didn't like the feel of them.
    I also read that the original ones had a tendency to rattle a lot after a while.

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    Wind Breaker Bruco's Avatar
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    105 and Ultegra shifters at least have one thing in common: they rattle on the pavé (and also on smoother surfaces) Otherwise, they are both fine pieces of equipment...
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  10. #10
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    Unless you just want to spend more money to get less in return I would stay with the 105. The 105 is a tad heavier due to using some steel parts rather than alloy and the 105 is not as well polished. If you get really into racing then skip the Ultrega and go on to Dura Ace. BUT I also knew plenty of riders that clubbed raced on 105 and they found them to be dependable and cheap. But the Ultrega is basically a glamorous 105.

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    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    Bruco: New ultegra or old ultegra?

    The old ultegra was designed just like today's 105 with those stupid nose caps that eventually come loose enough to rattle.

    The new Ultegra is designed more like the DA so the nose cap is better integrated into the lever. Of course the DA shifters are far superior hands down to either of these.

    IMHO I would invest in the $$$ for the DA shifters even if the rest of the bike is 105!!!

  12. #12
    Wind Breaker Bruco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestonjb
    Bruco: New ultegra or old ultegra?
    prestonjb, I am talking about fairly new Ultegra. The gruppo is probably from 2002 (at places it has the 'greyish' look, if that tells you something), since I had my bike built at the beginning of last year.

    I don't think it's the nose caps that rattle; it's the levers themselves bouncing in the hoods. This could probably be prevented by making the brake cable ultra tight. But then I cannot ride the bike anymore...

    Are the Dura-Ace shifter really quiet? Perhaps I will get a good deal on 9-speeds one day, with the current, 'popular', incarnation being 10-spd. For the time being, though, I think an upgrade would be a little bit too expensive.
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    its defintly the nose cap, Bruco. Eventually, they will fall off. Mine fell off with about 500 miles on the odo. I used some locktite on the screw that holds them on, and then re installed them. no more rattling here.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the replys Gentlemen. Yes, I agree the DA shifters are SWEEET, but I looked into the possibility of using them w/ Ultegra components and Shimano says that the DA components are exclusive to one another and that the DA shifetrs pull a different amount of cable in shifts than the Ultegra and 105. I too would invest in them to use w/ my Ultgra setup if they were EXACTLY compatible in cable pull across the spectrum. This leads me back to my original question which was "What's the REAL difference between Ultegra and 105?" and nobody has of yet lsited anything other than they are a little lighter. What I am wondering about is the GUTS, the mechanics. Are they essentially the same or does Ultegra have more sealed bearings etc. which would TRULY constitute a superior shifter and not just a lighter part or 2 but the same mechanical design. Even Shimano doesn't have an exploded diagram availible of the 105 but they do of the Ultegra and this only reinforces my suspicions that they are really identical in mech. guts but in a typical modern marketing ploy they slap a higher price on the higher brand name when in reality your just getting 105 shifters with a some lighter parts. Surly somebody has some insight here.

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    Wind Breaker Bruco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    its defintly the nose cap, Bruco
    Thanks, Phatman! I will have to look into this one, then. Does 'nose cap' refer to that #$^& piece of plastic, which is held onto the lever by one tiny bolt (the one you cannot get in any regular shop, as I already had to find out ) and says 'Shimano Ultegra'?

    I have recently re-tightened that microbe thing. Will re-do and also apply locktite...
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  16. #16
    Wind Breaker Bruco's Avatar
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    Waakzame Vingers
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  17. #17
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    Thanks, the 105 exploded view is the 5500 model and since then they have come out w/ the 5510. They do appear to be basically identical though.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Rule of thumb.

    Quote Originally Posted by His boy Elroy
    What is the REAL difference between 105 and Ultegra STI SHIFTERS, is there any? I know Ultegra weighs a little less, but it seems to me that they are really identical in their design, oh maybe the 105 has a heavier part or 2 in it, but otherwise they seem to be mechanically identical. Does anybody out there have any insight in this. The reason I am asking is because I am upgrading my components to Ultegra from 105 but am wondering if I really am gaining anything by also getting the Ultegra shifters or are the 105s basically identical accept for there weight.
    Thanks!
    My general rule with Shimano components has been that I don't descern any difference when I move up or down one group, but I definitely notice a subjective difference when I move up or down two groups.

  19. #19
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    His boy:

    Whahahah? You gotta be reading the Dura-Ace site at Shimano.com... That's the 10-speed stuff.

    The original DA 9-speed is 100% compatable with the other 9-speed shimano stuff!

    However NOTE: there was an older (1997) verson of DA that was special just like the original 1998+ Ultegra old stuff was nearly identical to today's 105.

    On the rattle stuff... Um... OK know about the nose cone... However the shifters I think still rattle (bounce) when you are on a really really rough road or you smack a good bump on the road...

    I can't remember now if the Dura-Ace does this too. I suspect it does but it has little plastic covers over the cable housings that the others don't have so perhaps that makes them quieter? I'll have to listen for that and report back.

  20. #20
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    Retro:

    I agree.... With everything except the shifters. Here DA is miles ahead of Ultegra, esp in how the units shift.

    I highly recommend the DA 9-speed shifters even if you run 105 on everything else.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestonjb
    His boy:
    On the rattle stuff... Um... OK know about the nose cone... However the shifters I think still rattle (bounce) when you are on a really really rough road or you smack a good bump on the road...

    I can't remember now if the Dura-Ace does this too. I suspect it does but it has little plastic covers over the cable housings that the others don't have so perhaps that makes them quieter? I'll have to listen for that and report back.
    there is a little rubber band that goes around the smaller shifter lever on the 105, so that the lever itself does not make noise in bumps. that little plastic cap is the culprit, and if you can secure it well, your shifters will be pretty noise-free. A friend of mine just took his off, he said his just rattled right off, and so he took the other one off also. I dunno if that is the best idea, but it seems to work. more gime might get in though. I dont know. I'll let him put a couple thousand miles on and then wait for a report.

    The dura ace has a different shaped cap, at least on the 7700s that i have. it is a metal top, held on by a TINY little screw. I just installed them though, I'm not sure if they rattle.

  22. #22
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    My old DA doesn't rattle. My new DA triples do. Turns out what makes them rattle is when a bump is hit the handles actuall come down as if braking and then "pop" back with a "smack" sound.

    I put some electrical tape on the top-inside of the shifters and no more rattle.

  23. #23
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    Bump.

    His Boy Elroy, I'm interested to know if you ever found out an answer to this question?

  24. #24
    The 'net ruined cycling ajkloss42's Avatar
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    Am I going deaf? I don't notice any rattle with my Ultegra, even off road on 125 psi road tires.

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