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  1. #1
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    Vintage "High-End" or Modern "Low-End" Gruppo?

    My present bike is an '86 that came with Shimano 600 components. I'm thinking of upgrading to newer or at least cleaner, less-used parts, but I can't afford a brand-new Ultegra group. I might be able to find lightly-used or NOS Ultegra components from the mid-late 90's for similar cost to today's Tiagra. I've enjoyed two bikes, now, with 600/Ultegra groups and they seem to function precisely and reliably.

    How does today's "Tiagra" compare with older, higher-end Shimano components?
    "The automobile became a hypnosis, the opium of the American people..." -James Agee, Fortune, September 1934

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    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd do used Ultegra or 105. It's lighter, works marginally better and will last longer. And if your bike was good enough to have 600, it deserves something at least Ultegra or 105.

    SP
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  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I use a blend of 6600 Ultegra and 5600 105 on my 1987 Trek. Finding NOS and new-bike take-offs kept costs below $400 and that included the crank and hubs. Using bar-end shifters saved about $100, too.

  4. #4
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    I think 105 is almost as good as Ultegra for a lot less money. Certainly better than worn-out 600.

    Have you already cold-set the frame to take a 130mm wheel? If not, you'll still be stuck figuring out how to match up the 7-speed rear gearing with other more-modern equipment.

    My daily commuter is an '82 Trek 614 that I upgraded to 7-speed gearing with SIS down-tube shifters (from EBay). Tiagra rear derailleur from a defunct 2001 bike, Shimano '86 front from a defunct Schwinn Sierra, and Sugino compact triple. Brakes got replaced with DiaCompe 610 centerpulls.

    My regular rando bike is an '84 Trek 610 that I cold-set and is now running 650B wheels with 9-speed 11x32 gearing, DeoreXT rear, some antique Shimano front DR, Sugino compact triple, and 9-speed SIS downtube shifters (because I like them). Brakes got replaced with DiaCompe 750 centerpulls and levers with Tektro's.

  5. #5
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
    Have you already cold-set the frame to take a 130mm wheel? If not, you'll still be stuck figuring out how to match up the 7-speed rear gearing with other more-modern equipment.
    No need to cold set the frame, just spread it a bit with your hands when installing the wheel.

    FWIW to the OP, I find Tiagra to be on par or a better than late 80s 600 stuff. It seems that today's 105 is better than early 90s Dura Ace.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    IMO today's Tiagra beats the daylights out of yesterday's Ultegra.

    I have a hard time imagining that a contemporary 105 will last all that much longer than Tiagra, especially since Shimano has a tendency to trickle down the designs from year to year. (I.e. today's Tiagra is likely similar to 105 from, oh, 3-5 years ago.) Tiagra is also still 9-speed this year, which may be a little beefier than 10sp gruppos.

  7. #7
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    FWIW, I took a wheel with a 7-speed freehub off of my '89 and it slid right into the dropouts of the 126mm '86 that came with a 6-speed freewheel. I had assumed the "newer" bike was 130mm.
    "The automobile became a hypnosis, the opium of the American people..." -James Agee, Fortune, September 1934

  8. #8
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    Two reasons to cold set the frame (which is easy to do): 1) So that it is less of a pain in the butt to change a tire at 4 am after you've already ridden 220 miles, and 2) So that you can adjust the angle on the dropouts slightly if you're concerned that having it wrong will provide undesired torque on the axle. The "spread it with your hands while installing the wheel" method only works really well when I can use a third arm to slide the wheel in while using my right arm to hold the derailleur out of the way while pulling the frame to the right, and my left arm to pull the frame to the left. Otherwise, if a third arm is not available, it can be a little tricky.

  9. #9
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
    So that it is less of a pain in the butt to change a tire at 4 am after you've already ridden 220 miles,
    That's the only reason I've considered it on one of my bikes, though it's actually very easy to do when the bike is on the ground. Get it all set and a little flex with two arms and it drops right in. On the stand it requires a slightly different technique: get the drive side started and use teh left hand on the stay while the left thumb pushed the hub a little bit.

    I've done it dozens of times and don't have three arms.

  10. #10
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    side by side-- this years shimano tiagra is the same mech as last years 105 with a different finish. no joke. it's not nearly as pretty-- but shimano kinda stopped making pretty finishes for some reason painted or that nasty sandblast look.

    regardless-- new tiagra is very decent stuff, if just a little heavier (steel rear parallelogram).

    i'd still rather rock 90's ultegra.. it has a heavier and more substantial feel at the shifter.. that stuff was great, although functionally, it's probably super minor differences.

  11. #11
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Here is a little more detail on my 20 speed vintage bike conversion. I paid $170 for the bike but have upgraded the wheels & drivetrain to 20 speeds using a mixture of parts;




    The bike is a 63mm sized Trek 400D Elance. It's a mid-level "sport/touring" model. It has a Reynolds 531 main triangle. The Shimano Drivetrain with a 14-28 6 speed freewheel and a 52 & 40t crankset and the 700c wheels are cheap and were replaced.

    The fit is ideal for me, the bike also has attachment points for fenders. I had a spare drivetrain sitting around, including an extra Ultegra 10 speed FD, RD, 11-25 cassette, a new 105 chain, along with a Sram 46 & 38t Cyclocross Crankset & BB. I also had a Mavic Open Pro W/ 36 spoke Dura Ace hub rear wheel I purchased on eBay last year.

    If I had to source items today, I would get the following items;

    $50 105 compact crankset & BB: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...K%3AMEWAX%3AIT

    $50-65 shifters: http://cgi.ebay.com/SHIMANO-DURA-ACE...item3366616f97

    $150 Mavic CXP 22 Wheelset: http://cgi.ebay.com/Mavic-CXP22-Cust...item27b9ee5b26

    Front & Read Derailleurs will cost about $75. Most Tiagra/105/Ultegra will interchange.

    $60 10 speed 11-28 cassette: http://cgi.ebay.com/New-2010-Shimano...item5198819f21

    I only needed to get a front wheel and shifters to upgrade the Trek 400D Elance to a modern 2x10 drivetrain. I found new Dura Ace 10 speed bar-end shifters from Nashbar for $50 and purchased a 32 spoke 105 hub for $15. I had the bike shop source a matching 32 spoke Open Pro rim & spokes, the new front wheel cost about $150 in total. The bike was stripped the bike of all parts and Framesaver was applied. I have about $750 in the bike at this point. Not cheap, but the result is excellent, IMO.

    The drivetrain is quick shifting and the gear set with 46 & 38t chainrings and a 11-25 10 speed cassette has a tight range. I can travel at any speed from 10 to 33 mph and always maintain my target cadence of 85 to 100 rpm.

    It's been a fun bike and is used year around.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 04-02-11 at 08:30 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    That's the only reason I've considered it on one of my bikes, though it's actually very easy to do when the bike is on the ground. Get it all set and a little flex with two arms and it drops right in. On the stand it requires a slightly different technique: get the drive side started and use teh left hand on the stay while the left thumb pushed the hub a little bit.

    I've done it dozens of times and don't have three arms.
    In my experience, nothing is easy at 4 am when you've already ridden 220 miles :-)

    Slightly more on topic ... here's a photo of my regular rando ride, an '84 Trek 610.DSCN1227.jpg

  13. #13
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    RogerB, if you pursue 9-sp Ultegra or Tiagra and have issue with spreading the dropouts, you can run an "8-of-9-on-7" arrangement as described by Sheldon Brown. In addition, if you're not ready to spring for a new 130mm 8/9/10 freehub yet, this would allow you to use the 7-sp freehub from your '89 bike.

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