New brakes compatible with older Shimano Sora ST-3300 brifters?
My commuter (made around 2005) has Sora brifters (ST-3300) that work just fine and Sora brakes that don't and don't take convenient cartridge replacement pads. Since I'm riding in rainy Portland, I would like to replace the brakes with ones that work well and also use cartridge pads.
My main question is can I simply swap in new Shimano 105 (BR-5700) or Ultegra (BR-6700) brakes and be good to go?
Secondarily, will new brakes make all that much difference? I assume they do.
'''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
No, the current Shimano brakes (BR-5700 and BR- 6700) require a somewhat longer cable pull which their matching brifters provide. Yours don't. If you want to change the brakes look for previous BR-5600 or BR-6600 models or even earlier BR-5500 or BR-6500. They will be compatible with your Sora brifters.
As to whether "upgrading" the calipers will offer much improvement, probably not. I've used Shimano double pull calipers from RSX (predecessor to Sora) up through Dura Ace and the differences are minor. The high-line models are better finished and a bit lighter but the performance differences are very small.