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    Senior Member -VELOCITY-'s Avatar
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    Comparing 105 and Ultegra

    I'm looking to get back into a Road bike. Just wondering if there's a big difference between going with 105 components compared to Ultegra. For someone who rides for fun and exercise with an occasional MS 150 here and there, is Ultegra worth spending the extra money for? OR is that more for those who are more into competitive racing?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Ultegra costs More. both shove the chain, from one sprocket to the other ..

    is it worth the money ? IDK you got plenty of Dosh ? it's all relative.

    Id be more thinking of the gear range , but its Flat down there so a choice is
    Gear ratios.. want them left as is or change to something easier for you, a mere Mortal, to turn

    Might not even have to Go Up to the 105 pricepoint to do the task.

    now if showing your new bike off to your mates , has made the Jones's harder to keep up with,
    then thats another thing..

    New Sram road stuff is nice too..Apex, Rival or Red ?
    I note they have a new Hydraulic master- Brifter, in the top, Red, group,
    it can be set up with a Disc or a rim Brake at the slave end of the setup..

    the new Hydraulic Rim Brake looks real interesting. http://www.sram.com/news-articles/why-hydraulic..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-21-13 at 01:21 PM.

  3. #3
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Pro racers can tell the diff,most mere mortals cannot. Shimano trickles their technology down,so today's 105 is better than 5 yr old Ultegra. If two bikes are close,say within $100,of each other in price,and one's 105 and the other Ultegra,then the Ultegra bike might be a better buy(if they didn't lower the other components). But I wouldn't spend $350 or more to get Ultegra unless there were alot of other upgrades as well.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    It is all about smoothness. And you would have to ride for a while to tell. But new 105 is basically one or two generations old Ultegra. Same with Ultegra and Dura Ace. It is the same with SRAM. They all do the job some just do it smoother with less weight. 105 will work as well as Ultegra but Ultegra could feel smoother and be a few grams lighter.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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    Junior Member vanwormer's Avatar
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    Dynaryder makes a good point! I had a Trek with 105 components which provided very smooth and effortless shifting. Last year I bought a new Trek with Ultegra components. The difference is striking - much smoother, quicker, and quieter shifting. But as pointed out above, it depends on what the better shifter is worth to you. If the price is close and you feel like spending some extra money, go for it. Doubtful that it'll make you any quicker, but you might enjoy the ride more.

  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanwormer View Post
    Dynaryder makes a good point! I had a Trek with 105 components which provided very smooth and effortless shifting. Last year I bought a new Trek with Ultegra components. The difference is striking - much smoother, quicker, and quieter shifting. But as pointed out above, it depends on what the better shifter is worth to you. If the price is close and you feel like spending some extra money, go for it. Doubtful that it'll make you any quicker, but you might enjoy the ride more.
    I'll just point out that you're apparently comparing old 105s to new Ultegra. If that's what you're doing, you might even find that new 105s would be nicer than old Ultegras.

    That doesn't invalidate your point, however. To the OP, if you really want to know, ride both. For most of us, the difference is small.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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    Senior Member -VELOCITY-'s Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate your feedback. I guess an actual bike test is in order. What I'm looking for is durability and reliability, not so much for the swag. I really don't care to impress anyone.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    How thinly can you slice the baloney?

    Shimano makes 5 road component groups. They all do the same thing so it's about smoothness and crispness. I have to move up or down 2 component groups before I feel like I can sense a difference.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    back to the Original Question.. [Sticker Shock alert]

    a bike with a 105 Group-set will push you well past U$D $999.00..
    You dont have to go that high to get a decent bike..

    Pick your Favorite Bike shop, & go test ride bikes..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-22-13 at 11:09 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -VELOCITY- View Post
    Just wondering if there's a big difference between going with 105 components compared to Ultegra.
    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I have to move up or down 2 component groups before I feel like I can sense a difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    ^^^no Idea about why this has anything to do about this
    How does that not answer OP's question?

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    IMHO, 105 or ultega isn't so much the question - it is the whole component configuration and bike fit.
    Based upon the type of riding OP indicates he does, a slightly relaxed frame geometry could made more sense. Good fit is a key component. Ultega RD and shifter with a clunky wheel set and generic brakes probably.isn't any advantage over 105 set up with comparable components and.wheels.
    ride long & prosper

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    The difference is small and lots of people will tell you 105 is very suitable for racing. Personally I'd upgrade a wheel-set and drivetrain before shifters.

  13. #13
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Make sure the bike has full 105 or full Ultegra. For example, Bikedirect has a titanium bike that says "Ultegra 6700" but if you look closely it has an FSA crank and Cane Creek brakes.

    As far as 105 versus Ultegra, I've had good experience with both. The only non-crash problem I've had with either is a broken 105 shifter and that was after 11K miles. That was 9-speed, not the newer stuff.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Well RG
    Originally Posted by fietsbob^^^no Idea about why this has anything to do about this..
    the Moderators talking down the previous OT post, critiquing Tiffany's shop's pricing policy was deleted.
    sort of messing with reply context.

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    Quote Originally Posted by -VELOCITY- View Post
    I'm looking to get back into a Road bike. Just wondering if there's a big difference between going with 105 components compared to Ultegra. For someone who rides for fun and exercise with an occasional MS 150 here and there, is Ultegra worth spending the extra money for? OR is that more for those who are more into competitive racing?

    Thanks.
    105 and save your money. Period.

    105 is, in fact, premium componentry.

    When you look at road bikes and the various strata of prices and performance points, 105 is in the top tier.
    It shares design and tech with the two top groups Shimano makes.

    It will sacrifice weight and take some other cost-cutting measures compared to DA and Ultegra but still very high quality.

    For durability and performance, you don't need anything more for what you're doing.
    A lot of people run 105, even for high mileage and racing. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member -VELOCITY-'s Avatar
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    Thank you for the continued input. Very much appreciated. I actually got to visit my new LBS. They have some nice Fuji Road Bikes. The "entry" level bike basically had SORA components. To get into the 105 group, I would have to go with the full carbon bike. Which really put me out of my budget. So I'm going to visit a few more stores to open up my options. I previously had a Trek 1000 with a mix of SORA and TIAGRA components. Can't say they ever let me down. I had put several thousand miles on it before selling it. (Which I still regret to this day. I thought I wasn't going to get back into cycling). So I want to see some Giants, Specialized, Cannondales, and whatever else it out there to get an idea of what I'll settle with. My budget is $800.00 max. At this point I'd even consider previously owned as long as it's in good shape.

  17. #17
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    I recently put new (take offs) Tiagra 3 x 9 on my wife's touring bike. The shifting was very smooth and accurate. Someone had upgraded/discarded these and I thought I'd try them.

    In the end, wife went back to barcons. I' m definitely keeping the Tiagra STIs and derailleurs for a future build for myself. Bottom line: Tiagra is fine. Buy a frame geometry that works, well fit from a friendly shop. Don't think twice about component level. Makes little difference. PG

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    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -VELOCITY- View Post
    To get into the 105 group, I would have to go with the full carbon bike. Which really put me out of my budget.
    It really is a shame how Fuji has downgraded their components so much. My 2008 Roubaix RC came with Ultegra shifters and rear derailleur, and 105 front derailleur. Within a couple years, it simply was not possible to get Ultegra with an aluminum frame, 105 was the best they offered. Now you can't even get 105?

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    that kind of product offering is across the board. Fuji is actually a value compared to others.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    In the end, wife went back to barcons. I' m definitely keeping the Tiagra STIs and derailleurs for a future build for myself.
    I have Tiagra (4600) on my new townie bike and 105 (5700) on my carbon fiber road bike. Both shift very well but the Tiagra is smoother and lower effort. It feels very similar to the 9sp 105 (5500) shifters on my old bike. I've heard that since both cables run under the bar tape on the 105 it increases the cable friction. I do prefer the larger hoods on 105 and the front shifter is a little clunkier on Tiagra (but it's not a big deal.)

    I've always heard conflicting tales on 105 vs Ultegra. Some people use both and say they can't tell a difference. Others say they can. On my bike there was a $600-700 price difference so it made it pretty easy for me to pick 105.
    Last edited by Dunbar; 05-26-13 at 11:51 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GP View Post
    Make sure the bike has full 105 or full Ultegra. For example, Bikedirect has a titanium bike that says "Ultegra 6700" but if you look closely it has an FSA crank and Cane Creek brakes.

    As far as 105 versus Ultegra, I've had good experience with both. The only non-crash problem I've had with either is a broken 105 shifter and that was after 11K miles. That was 9-speed, not the newer stuff.
    I beg to differ. Brakes, for one, are a different issue and having brakes of the same make is not essential if compatible. Nice, but not essential. Crank is not essential, either.

    In the end, 105 appears to be the best component set for the money for the large majority of us.

    My opinion, take it or leave it, your option.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

  22. #22
    Cabrőnista™ dprayvd's Avatar
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    Here's an engaging compare&contrast podcast regarding today's group-sets. Part 1 & Part 2. Enjoy.

  23. #23
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    Here's my lean on things; the only thing I've ever ridden were either ultegra or 105 in road bikes. 105 has been very dependable for me, rock solid performance. I've just grown to be quite confident in 105. Ultegra is nice too; but the lastest 6700 rendition seems a lot more 'tin-ee' sounding and just does not give me that 'solid' feel to it as I shift. I think hollow technology or some such meant to save a few grams is the reason for that 'tin-ee' sound to it. I don't like it as much, even though, it does what it's meant to do, which is shift gears in a timely fashion. Past ultegra was better IMHO. My old 9 speed ultegra (6300 was it? too lazy to look it up just now) aluminum Trek was also rock solid in performance without the 'tin-ee' sound.

    I've changed my thinking over the years, and used to think the 105 bikes were lesser quality [they do price in a lesser range]. Now, I LOOK for the 105 models and ask for it [I don't buy bikes every day of course].

    I've always wanted to try dura ace just to compare, but could never afford it [has anyone noted the gigantic jump in price to dura ace? Titanium no doubt?]. I'd also like to try SRAM, but who gets to own so many bikes that they peruse all of what's available [maybe the pros, who knows?]. As far as raw performance and disregarding weight [my 105 bikes come in from 18 to 20 lbs; my ultegra bikes are usually 16-18 lbs], it's all 105 for me. I'm not a racer, so weight is not critical [especially when I could save bunches by just going on diet, LOL].

    [though I see apparently they are trying to hawk the tiagra components again as somehow being upgraded from a few years ago. Last I purchased and checked things out more up close and personal was 2010...so maybe things have changed, I dunno. 105 for me though, tried and true].

  24. #24
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -VELOCITY- View Post
    Thanks everyone. I appreciate your feedback. I guess an actual bike test is in order. What I'm looking for is durability and reliability, not so much for the swag. I really don't care to impress anyone.
    I just rode them both on test rides. The Ultegra feels smoother, I liked it better. But ended up buying a bike with 105 because the price difference was pretty substantial. Buy as much as your wallet can handle.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by -VELOCITY- View Post
    My budget is $800.00 max.
    I don't think that will get you Ultegra or 105 on a new bike.

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