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RD upgrade options for a full Sora 3500 groupset

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RD upgrade options for a full Sora 3500 groupset

Old 08-24-16, 08:21 AM
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RD upgrade options for a full Sora 3500 groupset

Hi there,
I've got a Giant Defy 3, sweet ride and fits me like a glove. But somewhat the rear shifting is not cutting it. I tried most things, at this point I just want to try another rear mech and see what happens.

My question is what can I replace my Sora RD3500 9 speed read derraulier with? is a Tiagra 10V compatible? could I use any 9 speed/long cage shimano rear mech like vintage stuff or mtb ones?
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Old 08-24-16, 08:25 AM
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Before spending any money on a new derailleur, I'd have the derailleur hanger's alignment checked. Most subtle shifting issues are caused by mis-aligned hangers. Find a shop that has a Park Tools DAG and a mechanic that knows how to use it.
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Old 08-24-16, 08:33 AM
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Unless the derailleur is heavily used or damaged, it should work as well as a more expensive part. The primary difference between Shimano low-end stuff (lower than Sora or Claris) and higher end stuff like Ultegra is how fast they wear out and become hard to keep in adjustment. When new they have essentially exactly th same function.

If your Sora derailleur is fairly new, then you have an adjustment problem, or an alignment problem as IGH says. You will get the same effect as a new $40 derailleur by warming up the existing derailleur with a burning $20 bill... plus you will save $20!
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Old 08-24-16, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier
The primary difference between Shimano low-end stuff (lower than Sora or Claris) and higher end stuff like Ultegra is how fast they wear out and become hard to keep in adjustment. When new they have essentially exactly th same function.
The primary, and some would argue the only, difference is weight.

OP you mentioned you tried most things, does this include new cables and housing?
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Old 08-24-16, 08:58 AM
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OEM have spec'd a notch higher visible thing like RD. and lowered cost elsewhere to maintain price point.

its been done..





./.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-24-16 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 08-24-16, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
The primary, and some would argue the only, difference is weight.

OP you mentioned you tried most things, does this include new cables and housing?
Nah. The weight difference is meaningless - especially if talking about a single derailleur. The more expensive stuff has harder material in the pivots and moving parts and so they last longer. You can expect a Sora level derailleur to last about two or maybe three years of regular use before it is sloppy beyond a point that it can be reasonably adjusted. An Ultegra derailleur will take 10+ years.
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Old 08-24-16, 09:18 AM
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To answer your question, any Shimano SIS road derailleur rated 10 speed or less and any Shimano SIS MTB derailleur rated 9 speed or less.
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Old 08-24-16, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Slash5
To answer your question, any Shimano SIS road derailleur rated 10 speed or less and any Shimano SIS MTB derailleur rated 9 speed or less.
Excluding Tiagra 4700 (which uses the same pull ratio as 11-speed).

When performing the upgrade it's best to consider your gearing. I believe 105 (5700) can handle up to a 30t cassette, if you think you'd want lower gearing than that, a 9-speed mountain RD is the way to go.
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Old 08-24-16, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier
Nah. The weight difference is meaningless - especially if talking about a single derailleur. The more expensive stuff has harder material in the pivots and moving parts and so they last longer. You can expect a Sora level derailleur to last about two or maybe three years of regular use before it is sloppy beyond a point that it can be reasonably adjusted. An Ultegra derailleur will take 10+ years.
Do you have a source for this?

What moving parts need a higher hardness to increase longevity? How much harder are they than the parts on a Sora derailleur?

Talk in miles not years, if I lean my bike against the wall and never ride it my derailleurs will last forever.

I have Sora 3400 RD on my road bike that has 13,000+ plus miles on it and is going strong after 3.5 years. Have a Sora 3500 RD on my gravel bike that has 5,000+ miles on it and is going strong after 2 years and several rainy gravel events.

I petition to rename this thread to "Rear Derailleur Mysticism."

Rear derailleurs, like almost all bikes parts are commodity items. Companies and hobbyists attempt obfuscate the magical descriptions don't stand up to reality.

Last edited by Spoonrobot; 08-24-16 at 09:43 AM. Reason: editied to be slightly less abrasive.
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Old 08-24-16, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
Do you have a source for this?

What moving parts need a higher hardness to increase longevity? How much harder are they than the parts on a Sora derailleur?

Talk in miles not years, if I lean my bike against the wall and never ride it my derailleurs will last forever.

But I guess I better toss my Sora 3400 RD on my road bike that has 13,000+ plus miles on it and is going strong after 3.5 years.

Dang better get ready to toss my Sora 3500 RD on my gravel bike that has 5,000+ miles on it and is going strong after 2 years and several rainy gravel events.

Better send back the other 3500 RD I ordered for my girlfriends bike.

I petition to rename this thread to "Rear Derailleur Mysticism"

Get real man, rear derailleurs, like almost all bikes parts are commodity items. Companies and hobbyists attempt obfuscate this but the reality is clear for all to see.

TBH my 'harder material' theory was pulled out of my arse. However, the quality=wear resistance theory is based on observations of thousands of customer's bicycles over the years. There are exceptions - components that should have been robust by didn't last long, like early 600/Ultegra STI levers and some late model XT hubs, and a bike with an undisturbed coat of grime built up over years will probably not be in good shape regardless of component quality, but the higher end stuff, give the same conditions and maintenance practices, will last longer before they are too hard to keep adjusted.

When new, the $13 SIS derailleur will work just as well as an Ultegra or Dura Ace, but won't last for long. All the other component levels are the same spectrum.

As for your 'derailleurs are commodities' comment - a 'commmodity' is not something you buy once then maintain for three years, then buy one more to have installed in perpetuity on a loved one's bike... a commodity is something bought and sold in quantity because it is used up over and over. Inner tubes, brake pads, and handlebar grips may be considered a commodity, but not derailleurs, IMO. Also, even if it were a commodity, there are different quality levels of commodities - think of rice, which is almost always bought in multi-kg bags, but have different prices and characteristics. The people I know who eat a lot of rice don't buy the cheapest rice because there is a real difference between the different types.
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Old 08-24-16, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gsa103
Excluding Tiagra 4700 (which uses the same pull ratio as 11-speed).
Damn, I keep forgetting about that. That one derailleur screws up the standard, wonder why they did that.
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Old 08-24-16, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by juancha
Hi there,
I've got a Giant Defy 3, sweet ride and fits me like a glove. But somewhat the rear shifting is not cutting it. I tried most things, at this point I just want to try another rear mech and see what happens.

My question is what can I replace my Sora RD3500 9 speed read derraulier with? is a Tiagra 10V compatible? could I use any 9 speed/long cage shimano rear mech like vintage stuff or mtb ones?
There is the possibility that your shifting problems are with your shifter. Try adjusting it.
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Old 08-24-16, 10:07 AM
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I too work in a shop and have rarely seen a derailleur that was worn out and could not be "fixed" by hanger replacement, realignment or a better cable and housing install.

Mechanical rear derailleurs are commodity items, in that there is little to no differentiation between them in their market space. The main differences between them are weight and appearance. Companies and hobbyists cannot articulate what makes a higher level derailleur better than a lower level derailleur other than the two factors mentioned earlier. Companies and hobbyists will attempt to create differentiation through making things up (see post #10), using heavy marketing terms and overstating small engineering changes or changes in material.

A bicycle product that is not a commodity would be the actual integrated shifters themselves. These items are well differentiated in their market space by ergonomics and function.

could I use any 9 speed/long cage shimano rear mech like vintage stuff or mtb ones?
Yes, most 9 speed mtb will work fine. There are some specific exceptions but overall if it's Shimano 9 speed it should be a straight drop in. Good luck
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Old 08-24-16, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Slash5
Damn, I keep forgetting about that. That one derailleur screws up the standard, wonder why they did that.
It is because that is going to be the new standard. You can expect that the next generation of Sora will use the same design as Shimano trickles down the new design
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Old 08-24-16, 01:23 PM
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Muchas thanks for all the answers, I'll just pick a Tiagra 4600 or an Alivio M4000 and see if swapping it improves shifting (before diving again into more annoying troubleshooting).
At the moment I managed to make it shift ok but only on lower No 5 to 8 cogs that I use for training, luckily the Defy 3 is still a total blast to ride! what a bike...
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Old 08-24-16, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by juancha
Muchas thanks for all the answers, I'll just pick a Tiagra 4600 or an Alivio M4000 and see if swapping it improves shifting (before diving again into more annoying troubleshooting).
At the moment I managed to make it shift ok but only on lower No 5 to 8 cogs that I use for training, luckily the Defy 3 is still a total blast to ride! what a bike...
I always thought of Alivio as the best value for money in the Shimano line-up.
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Old 08-28-16, 08:34 AM
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Well, you thought right...
Just for testing I replaced this cheap sora tin-mech with my decade old 8V Alivio puppy from my MTB, and it just works like butter, shifts like a dream now The build quality and spring action of this RD-M410 is MILES ahead.

So...not sure what to do now, order the newer RD-M4000 or older model?....also being longer cage, chain is too stretched when in lowest gear.

Here's a pic
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