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Old 11-29-04, 11:20 AM   #1
avocadoaddict
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Order of Components' Quality

Hi, i noticed that when someone weighs the pros and cons of a bicycle, they usually say something like, "X component is better than Y component," or, "this is a better deal cause it has Z component."

What i don't understand is how do you guys know which components are better than the others? Is there a set list of quality grades, or is it from experience and word of mouth?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-29-04, 11:51 AM   #2
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Personally speaking (just IMHO), 'usually' there are no quality/endurance data for products - same as most other products - ignoring consumer test reports.

So, bottom line, price + user experience indicate/suggest quality but must also see through extra premium/price due to brand image.

Indeed this is a genuine question to ask when listening to any Sales person - data/evidence to back-up any claims?
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Old 11-29-04, 11:57 AM   #3
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Companies like Shimano and Campagnolo that sell bicycle components sell them in different groups, with a pretty well defined gradient of quality. Most of these groups include hubs, shifters, derailers, brakes, cranks, bottom bracket, cassette... maybe other parts as well, though you certainly don't have to use them all together! For most of these components, higher quality = stiffer/lighter/stronger.

Shimano road bike groups:
Dura Ace - lightest, best, flashiest
Ultegra - very good, very light, cheaper than Dura Ace, some parts maybe as good
105
Tiagra
Sora

Shimano mountain bike groups:
XTR
Deore XT
Deore LX
Deore
+ low-end stuff that's only sold with new bikes as far as I know

I'm not very familiar with Campagnolo components. In terms of things like frames and seatposts and wheels and tires, it's mainly a question of what materials they are made from and the reputation of the manufacturer. So you have to have a bit of experience to compare them.
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Old 11-29-04, 12:01 PM   #4
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I think Archie has a good point about the fancier components not necessarily lasting longer.

By the way, if you're thinking of upgrading your bike components, think about why and if it's really needed. For example, if your shifting isn't working right, you might think you need a better drive train. Maybe you DO need an upgrade... but more likely cleaning it and replacing the chain and shifter cables will do the trick!
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Old 11-29-04, 12:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avocadoaddict
Hi, i noticed that when someone weighs the pros and cons of a bicycle, they usually say something like, "X component is better than Y component," or, "this is a better deal cause it has Z component."

What i don't understand is how do you guys know which components are better than the others? Is there a set list of quality grades, or is it from experience and word of mouth?

Thanks for the help!
Shimano road groups (best to least):
Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105, Tiagra, Sora

Shimano mountain groups:
XTR, XT, LX, Deore, Alivio, Acera, Tourney

As a general rule, as you move up the food chain, the parts get nicer looking, lighter in weight, and "crisper" operating. I deliberately used the terms best to least because I don't think that any of them are really bad, just not as good in comparison with the better stuff.

Perhaps a more significant issue is where bike manufacturers have substituted other brand name or no-name parts. Brakes are an example that stands out in my mind. Virtually every bike manufacturer looking for a place to cut their costs a few cents uses knock off brakes that are just terrible. Other common cost cutting areas include bottom brackets, hubs, and cassettes.
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Old 11-29-04, 12:08 PM   #6
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Many people just look at where the components sit in the manufacturer's lineup. However that sometimes yields false expectations for different criteria. For instance, the Shimano 7700-series Dura-Ace ranks above the Shimano 6500-series Ultegra, yet many people have found that the BB-7700 Dura-Ace bottom bracket while being lighter and supposedly better than the BB-6500 Ultegra bottom bracket isn't as durable and tends to fail under prolonged heavy loading such as during touring. Each manufacturer has its "eccentricities" with regards to how they make their value proposition. The key here is to determine first your criteria for determining if something is better. Is weight the most important thing to you? Is bragging rights? Given those circumstances then the BB-7700 would be better than the BB-6500. Is durability and life better? If yes, then the opposite might be true. Do you like integrating braking and shifting? If yes, then the Shimano STI shifters would be better. Or do you prefer more distinct controls? If that's a yes then Campagnolo ErgoPower would be considered better. Do you want as much carbon and titanium as you can get your hands on? If so, then Campagnolo Record is better than Shimano Dura-Ace. It all depends on what matters to you.
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Old 11-29-04, 01:55 PM   #7
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< moxfyre: By the way, if you're thinking of upgrading your bike components, think about why and if it's really needed. >

As we all done & know, moxfyre speaks the truth . . . Applies to most things, but sometimes forgotten in the excitement of action :-)

It's worth considering (again IMHO), in the long run it is worth aiming for 'quality' for the level of performance required - in other words, unless buyer decides otherwise, it's better to ask for quality products first and then negotiating the price down -> best value for money.

I'm sure everybody knows these anyway.
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Old 11-29-04, 02:38 PM   #8
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For Campagnolo "order" (most expensive to least expensive) it's:

Record
Chorus
Centaur
Veloce
Mirage
Xenon

I think I got those right.
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