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Are Shimano 105 and Ultegra parts interchangeable?

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Are Shimano 105 and Ultegra parts interchangeable?

Old 07-23-17, 04:28 PM
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Are Shimano 105 and Ultegra parts interchangeable?

I've been looking a bikes that have Shimano 105 & Ultegra groups set, but the latter are often out of my price range. I was wondering whether all 105 & Ultegra groupset components are interchangeable, so that I could get a 105 bike and slowly replace parts with Ultegra to upgrade (or replace worn parts such as chain & cassette).

One thing I noticed on a test ride is that the Ultegra front derailleur felt quite a lot better than the 105. Would just changing this part make a 105 bike feel like its Ultegra counterpart for shifting chain rings, or are there other factors at play?
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Old 07-23-17, 04:50 PM
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first part -- for similar model years (9sp, 10sp, etc), for the most part, yes. Not a bad way to go, actually.

on the second question, I'm guessing the bike also had ultegra shifters, which are also part of the equation, so maybe yes, maybe not, if just the FD was replaced.
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Old 07-23-17, 05:48 PM
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johngwheeler, The gurus need to know the model numbers of the components in question.

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Old 07-23-17, 08:08 PM
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Generally, they are interchangeable, but planning to systematically upgrade parts is a terrible idea. Bicycle manufacturers purchase parts at such dramatically lower costs than even your bike shop can that this plan is economically idiotic. You will save considerable amounts of money just buying the level of groupset you intend to run.

Take note that front derailleurs are pretty sensitive to good setup--a lot of what you felt between the two groups could have been the quality of the mechanic who set up the bike. Also, better quality cable housing may be on the Ultegra bike. The shifters (which are insanely expensive to upgrade!) might account for a very small difference in shift feel. The FD probably makes very little difference. If they're both actually Shimano cranks/chainrings, I'd be very surprised if there were any shift performance there, either.

Well setup 5800 shifts very well in general. Aside from weight, the main thing I perceive between the two is the feel of the shifters. The rear derailleur pullys are also better on Ultegra. The tolerances and surface treatments on Ultegra are a little better.
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Old 07-23-17, 10:14 PM
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9 speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace are completely interoperable.

10 Speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace are completely interoperable.

11 speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace are completely interoperable.

You can mix and match shifters, derailleurs, cassettes, cranksets, chains and brakes with no problem.


-Tim-
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Old 07-24-17, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Generally, they are interchangeable, but planning to systematically upgrade parts is a terrible idea. Bicycle manufacturers purchase parts at such dramatically lower costs than even your bike shop can that this plan is economically idiotic. You will save considerable amounts of money just buying the level of groupset you intend to run.

Take note that front derailleurs are pretty sensitive to good setup--a lot of what you felt between the two groups could have been the quality of the mechanic who set up the bike. Also, better quality cable housing may be on the Ultegra bike. The shifters (which are insanely expensive to upgrade!) might account for a very small difference in shift feel. The FD probably makes very little difference. If they're both actually Shimano cranks/chainrings, I'd be very surprised if there were any shift performance there, either.

Well setup 5800 shifts very well in general. Aside from weight, the main thing I perceive between the two is the feel of the shifters. The rear derailleur pullys are also better on Ultegra. The tolerances and surface treatments on Ultegra are a little better.
Well, maybe, but I'm not so sure. Have a look at my other thread on this topic: https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-me...-new-bike.html

I was looking at a Focus Paralane with 105 and Ultegra, and the Ultegra version was about US$700 more (AU$1000). Yes it has better wheels (about US$150 more per set), but then still left the Ultegra groupset (including disc brakes) costing about $550 more. When I priced up buying a complete 105 vs Ultegra disc brake groupset (same spec as the Focus bikes), it only cost $AU300 (c. US$225) more for Ultegra. So the manufacturer is charging more than double for the upgrade compared to the price available to the public.

Of course, buying a complete Ultegra groupset for $700 and then having to sell the 105 at a discount (even if brand new), is unlikely to be hugely cost-effective, considering the effort in changing it and selling it. But it might well be somewhat cheaper to do it this way.

I had thought that manufacturers would have greater discounts, but a lot of them seem to mark up Ultegra parts at more than they actually cost the public to buy, let alone their wholesale prices.
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Old 07-24-17, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
9 speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace are completely interoperable.

10 Speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace are completely interoperable.

11 speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace are completely interoperable.

You can mix and match shifters, derailleurs, cassettes, cranksets, chains and brakes with no problem.


-Tim-
Thanks - I think this answers my question. Whether it's actually a good idea to upgrade component by component is another question!
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Old 07-24-17, 09:10 AM
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The Focus example is a little extreme, also. For example, in the US at MSRP an Emonda SL 6 is $440 more expensive than an SL 5, which is identically equipped except with 6800 in place of 5800. This is significantly cheaper than buying Ultegra even from Chain Reaction etc (and way, way, less than US MSRP) and comes installed on the bike (pro labor to swap the groups is probably somewhere $60-$120, depending on local market). That said, there is usually a higher margin in each part of the distribution chain on progressively more premium products

Part of what makes this all weird is the terrible price distortion that is generally present in the bike industry and with Shimano in particular. UK based retailers are selling components (in OEM packaging) at close to (and sometimes below)dealer cost of the same components in consumer packaging because they are purchased at OEM pricing but then resold to consumers. Because the UK/EU do not allow for MSRP or any price control, but other markets do, it creates a weird situation where official channels facing customers are not price competitive with the internet. This could be improved by sales control of OEM part sales (which is not contingent on MSRP enforcement) which SRAM has recently stepped up to doing.

Also your pricing is off. CRC shows cable actuated Ultegra 6800 at $750 right now, and the RS685 lever and brakes are $260 each, not including rotors. You'd be looking at over $1000 US before labor.

Besides possibly using Shimano teflon cables in SP41 housing, and of course perfect front derailleur setup, the only thing that would improve front shifting significantly would be new shifters, which would again, be over $500 US total alone before labor.
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Old 07-24-17, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
The Focus example is a little extreme, also. For example, in the US at MSRP an Emonda SL 6 is $440 more expensive than an SL 5, which is identically equipped except with 6800 in place of 5800. This is significantly cheaper than buying Ultegra even from Chain Reaction etc (and way, way, less than US MSRP) and comes installed on the bike (pro labor to swap the groups is probably somewhere $60-$120, depending on local market). That said, there is usually a higher margin in each part of the distribution chain on progressively more premium products

Part of what makes this all weird is the terrible price distortion that is generally present in the bike industry and with Shimano in particular. UK based retailers are selling components (in OEM packaging) at close to (and sometimes below)dealer cost of the same components in consumer packaging because they are purchased at OEM pricing but then resold to consumers. Because the UK/EU do not allow for MSRP or any price control, but other markets do, it creates a weird situation where official channels facing customers are not price competitive with the internet. This could be improved by sales control of OEM part sales (which is not contingent on MSRP enforcement) which SRAM has recently stepped up to doing.

Also your pricing is off. CRC shows cable actuated Ultegra 6800 at $750 right now, and the RS685 lever and brakes are $260 each, not including rotors. You'd be looking at over $1000 US before labor.

Besides possibly using Shimano teflon cables in SP41 housing, and of course perfect front derailleur setup, the only thing that would improve front shifting significantly would be new shifters, which would again, be over $500 US total alone before labor.
Thanks for the detailed explanation of how the pricing works. It's a bit messed up I agree, but it must be one of the few places where the UK is cheaper then elsewhere. The low value of post-Brexit-vote Pound Sterling helps of course!

The prices I was quoting for 105 vs Ultegra disc brake group sets came from another UK online store:

https://www.merlincycles.com/shimano...set-83417.html - AU$1,047 (it should convert to US dollars for you)

https://www.merlincycles.com/shimano...set-89849.html - AU$744

So there's only approx AU$300 (c. US$225) difference. These prices don't appear to include disc rotors.

I'd be OK paying AU$500 for an Ultegra upgrade, taking into account the price difference, labour and the hassle of trying to upgrade myself (and sell off a 105 groupset). Paying more seems like a bit of an abuse of premium markups.
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Old 07-24-17, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
Thanks - I think this answers my question. Whether it's actually a good idea to upgrade component by component is another question!
I don't think it unreasonable to upgrade 105 components to Ultegra when they wear out.

My 105 nine speed derailleur wore out so I replaced it with Ultegra. Same for the rear derailleur which was damaged in a crash. Chain and cassette will wear so these can be replaced.

I would not run out to upgrade everything right away though. That's just me.


-Tim-
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Old 07-25-17, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post

Part of what makes this all weird is the terrible price distortion that is generally present in the bike industry and with Shimano in particular. UK based retailers are selling components (in OEM packaging) at close to (and sometimes below)dealer cost of the same components in consumer packaging because they are purchased at OEM pricing but then resold to consumers. Because the UK/EU do not allow for MSRP or any price control, but other markets do, it creates a weird situation where official channels facing customers are not price competitive with the internet. This could be improved by sales control of OEM part sales (which is not contingent on MSRP enforcement) which SRAM has recently stepped up to doing.
Every Dura Ace and Ultegra component I've ordered from Pro Bike Kit has come in retail packaging.
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Old 07-25-17, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
Every Dura Ace and Ultegra component I've ordered from Pro Bike Kit has come in retail packaging.
Huh, there's still some oem part sales out there. You see this largely in groupset sales. The price control stuff applies in all cases, plus the additional layers in the distribution chain (in the US, Shimano America and usually some distributor QBP).
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