I would like to upgrade the Sora Shifters on my cross bike to something better. I'm not real happy with them. They never really shifted all that great and after a recent tune up at the LBS (Performance for now) they shift even worse. While I plan to get to the bottom of how they can end up being worse after a tune up I know I don't want them long term anyway so I am looking for a 9 speed replacement that will represent a solid upgrade.
I've checked on eBay and see different versions of Ultegra, 105 etc. but really don't know if one has a better reputation than another or when they were the current offering. Therefore, I'm just looking for general suggestions on what versions of these older shifters may be better than the other (i.e. "I've got Ultegra RT-600's on an old Cannondale and they were the best shifters I've ever had" or "Stay away from those god awful RT-600's").
I'd also like to get a new 9 speed RD. I would preferably like to buy the components new. This bike is currently my #1 but I will be getting a modern carbon or steel road bike in 2013. I just wanted to get stronger for another year (only been riding 2 years) before making a big purchase. This will then become my backup/rain bike that I could also take off-road so I plan on keep the bike for a long time.
Thanks in advance.