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  1. #1
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    Can use some info on Shimano 9 speed STI shifters

    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.
    2012 Pinarello FP Due,2010 Scattante X-330(Cyclocross),1988 Fuji Sagres SP (Road Bike)

  2. #2
    kle
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    Senior Member kle's Avatar
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    The Shimano Ultegra 9-speed stuff (6500-level) is pretty good, as is the 105 9-speed stuff (5500); I've had both, and both worked just fine. The Ultegra stuff is supposed to be the best bang for the buck of the Shimano product lines, combining the best between performance, weight, and cost.

    Your Shimano rear derailleur will work with any # of speeds; it is dependent on the Shimano shifter. I have a bike using a 6500 RD with a 6600 (10-speed) shifter, and it works A-OK.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    I've used 9 speed 105 stuff for years, and just recently upgraded to DA (skipped Ultegra because I got a deal on a recent model used bike with DA). The 105 stuff is fine-- I typically would get ~25K miles of hard riding out of a set of 105 STI shifters before the internals wore out, and it stays pretty reliable up until nearly the end. I notice the DA more on the front shifter performance than on the rear, though DA with a DA cassette is pretty nice. If you get the 105, get ultegra cog sets for it-- they're chromed and will last longer and shift a little better. The 105 is a big step up from the lower end stuff, and pretty reasonably priced.
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  4. #4
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I would seriously consider buying a 10 speed set if you want to replace your shifters and your RD. New 9 speed stuff from Shimano is getting harder to find - I think Tiagra is even 10 speed now.

    The only other things you'll need are a chain and a cassette. You can keep the FD.

    I have no idea what your budget is but you can get a complete 105 group (incl. cranks, brakes etc) for about $500 or so from ribble. (105 lever alone are worth about half of that if you tried pricing them separately) A 5-pc ultegra upgrade group is about $650.

    Buying bike components one at a time is a recipe for poverty.

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    You can buy 9 speed bar end shifters new but anything else in groups that are a significant upgrade will be used. It will be a crapshoot. You might try Campy 11 speed, supposed to work with 9 speed Shimano.

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    I agree about checking full 105 or Ultegra 10sp group prices on ebay and CL. It may not be much more expensive than buying 9sp shifters and derailleurs. The hoods on the newer 10sp stuff (SRAM and Shimano) are significantly larger and more comfortable than my old 5500 9sp 105 shifters. Parts for 9sp stuff is getting harder to find. I had a heck of a time finding a narrow q-factor 9sp compact double crank recently.

    That being said, there's a Taiwan company selling new 9sp 105 rear derailleurs on ebay for pretty cheap if you're not in a hurry. As far as the shifters go, used would be your best bet to save money there.
    Last edited by Dunbar; 05-22-12 at 01:39 PM.

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    Just keep in mind when buying new shifters, if you go to 10sp, you will need a new casette and a new chain, not worth it for 1 year in my opinion. Might as well sell the bike and just buy the nice bike you've got your eye on now and enjoy it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
    You can buy 9 speed bar end shifters new but anything else in groups that are a significant upgrade will be used. It will be a crapshoot. You might try Campy 11 speed, supposed to work with 9 speed Shimano.
    It appears that there is quite a bit of NOS on eBay and that's what I was referrring to. I was suprised, however, when talking about this upgrade to the mechanic at Performance that he was able to offer me pricing on both Ultegra and 105 9 speed shifters. The price was astronomic so I am not considering it (something like $400 and $350 respectively).

    Regarding going to 10 speed I would prefer not to do that as I just invested in a second wheelset for the bike so I'd have two wheelsets with 9 speed cassettes on them. The new cassette is a 9 speed Miche that I set up to correspond with my riding style and it was around $70 as it required swapping some cogs.

    Regarding getting a full group I have not ruled it out. The only problem I have is that I like the current 36/46 crank and don't really wish for either a road standard or road compact on this bike. That being said I know that getting the group would seriously upgrade the bike and despite the entry level nature of the bike I love the way it handles and its roadfeel with the new wheels. In short, I have no qualms about pumping a few bucks into it. I also know that I can save the road crank for another bike in the future but with new road bike purchase planned for next year ($1500 - $2500 range) I do not need another road bike.

    I am toying around the idea to build a cheap mountain bike/hybrid type thing to knock around with that would also giving me some sorely needed wrenching experience. I'd sell the Sora stuff and take the money and put it towards an inexpensive mountain group to do this.
    2012 Pinarello FP Due,2010 Scattante X-330(Cyclocross),1988 Fuji Sagres SP (Road Bike)

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    I agree with others as to the drawbacks to going 9 speed and also doing a short term piecemeal approach ... unless you really find bargain parts and like doing the work yourself.

    By your complaint about the tuneup, I have to assume you don't do your own mechanical work. Therefore, my opinion is that you should just buy a bike of the level you want and can afford.

    That said, there is NO REASON the sora group shouldn't work pretty darn good. As good as 105/Ultegra/Dura Ace? maybe not, but it should shifd cleanly and accurately. Every Sora bike I've ever used (they are common on rentals), as well as my daughter's Sora bike work pretty much perfectly.

    Id get to the bottom of the problem, either learning to do it yourself, making the LBS do it right, or finding a new LBS. Save your money and buy a new bike with better components all around if that's the way you think you should go in the long run.

  10. #10
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Just wanted to point out here that if you are going to the trouble (and cost) of finding new "brifters" as well as an RD, why not just go 10s and be done with it?

    With that said, I think Performance makes a brifter under the Forte brand that is better than the Sora hood, and 9s compatible.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    I agree with others as to the drawbacks to going 9 speed and also doing a short term piecemeal approach ... unless you really find bargain parts and like doing the work yourself.

    By your complaint about the tuneup, I have to assume you don't do your own mechanical work. Therefore, my opinion is that you should just buy a bike of the level you want and can afford.

    That said, there is NO REASON the sora group shouldn't work pretty darn good. As good as 105/Ultegra/Dura Ace? maybe not, but it should shifd cleanly and accurately. Every Sora bike I've ever used (they are common on rentals), as well as my daughter's Sora bike work pretty much perfectly.

    Id get to the bottom of the problem, either learning to do it yourself, making the LBS do it right, or finding a new LBS. Save your money and buy a new bike with better components all around if that's the way you think you should go in the long run.
    I agree with your point on getting to the bottom of the problem but I'm wrestling with the fact on exactly how to do that and do not want to veer away from my initial intention of the thread. That is a different issue and I will either take it back to Performance or to another LBS to get new shifters installed if I go that route. At that time I will address the Sora problems and have them replaced if I decide on new shifters.

    It is actually a long term plan that is behind my approach. I don't want to buy a new road bike now and sweep the problems of this bike under the rug. I want this bike fully functional as I will ride close to 3500 miles this year and probably more next year and a good stable backup bike is imperative; especially since I ride through the winter. I got this bike with a long term vision a year ago almost entirely for it's ability to be a good versatile backup bike as I knew I'd want a good road bike in a few years.

    I already upgraded the wheels to Pure Aero's and the tires to Gatorskins and love the combo and I had frequently tinkered with the idea to upgrade the shifters at some point. I just don't want to waste money buying 2 10-speed cassettes when NOS 9-speed Ultegra shifters are always available on eBay (I'm still not ruling out used, either). This may be a cheap bike but I plan on continuing to ride it because it's a fun bike to ride. If I was thinking short term I never would have gotten the wheels.

    Quote Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
    Just wanted to point out here that if you are going to the trouble (and cost) of finding new "brifters" as well as an RD, why not just go 10s and be done with it?

    With that said, I think Performance makes a brifter under the Forte brand that is better than the Sora hood, and 9s compatible.
    As I mentioned above, I have two wheelsets for the bike with 9 speed cassettes already installed; one of which is a custom cassette around $70.

    Regarding the Forte shifters, I am actually very tempted by them. I'm wandering if the Nashbar 9 speed shifters are the same thing. Both are cheap and the Nashbars seem to get good reviews.
    2012 Pinarello FP Due,2010 Scattante X-330(Cyclocross),1988 Fuji Sagres SP (Road Bike)

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