I am a beginer and generally thinking of upgrading my bike (more for kicks then because of any real need). My bike is a 2012 Felt Verza City 2 and frankly it does me just fine. But when buying the bike I test road several with much nicer components and I want to see if I can replicate the feel of those components on my Verza City.
I am trying to get an idea on where in the line-up of derailleurs each named version would be listed. This seems really and naturally difficult to do if you do not have extensive first hand experience with each component.
For instance, I see sometimes Shimano Sora components mentioned as if they are their own lineup and other times I see people talking about Shimano Tiagra components being part of the Sora line-up, etc.
The reason why I am trying to get a handle on quality levels is that many of the components when in a "used" condition sell for about the same price on ebay. So if I am going to buy a used component it would make sense to buy the highest quality used component possible.
So far my list of Shimano components are as follows from lowest quality to highest:
Tiagra ? / Sora?
I have no idea if that is accurate, I am mostly going by what different bikes have on them. So if its a cheap bike it will have Atlus derailleurs. If its a fairly expensive bike it might have Tiagra, and if its really expensive it might have Dura Ace, etc. Sometimes I see SRAM components which my understanding this is a competing brand? Do these components work with Shimano? I have no idea where those components would fit into the above list.
The other thing I am trying to figure out is what size components should go on my bike. Front derailleurs have clamp sizes measured in I believe? millimeters? (diameter? circumference?). I looked at the stats on my bike but it does not say the size of the front derailleur. What is the best way to figure this out? I have already figured out that my rear derailleur needs to be a "long cage" derailleur based on the range of gears I have.
I frequently see derailleurs advertised that are for 10 speeds. My bike is a 3x8 (drivetrain?) can I use those derailleurs? I figured out I can not use a double front derailleur, I need a triple, but could I use a front and rear derailleur that describes themselves as 10 speeds?
If I do upgrade my derailleurs do I need to upgrade my shifters? Should I upgrade my shifters before my derailleurs if I want to see the greatest performance gain (where I am measuring performance by smoothness of shifting).
Thank you in advance for any answers. I realize many of these questions are quite basic, but I am very new to all of this.