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Tiagra to Ultegra??

Old 03-06-11, 02:24 PM
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ultragon
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Tiagra to Ultegra??

Hey all, pretty new to road cycling. I got a Caad9-6 last year outfitted with Tiagra with the idea that if I liked cycling enough, I'd eventually upgrade. Turns out I love it. So I'm wanting to slowly upgrade (so the wife doesn't see the checkbook and murder me) to Ultegra 6700 components. Can anyone offer me suggestions on how best to do that? Are there parts that won't be compatible and are there places where I have to upgrade multiple components at the same time (ie, cassette and rear derailleur, crankset and rear derailleur)? Thanks for any help y'all can offer me.
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Old 03-06-11, 02:59 PM
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Save your money, buy a whole new bike with Ultegra 6700, then either sell the Caad9-6, or strip the new bike and swap the parts off it to your old frame and then sell whatever's left over. Or keep the old bike/parts as a beater/bad weather bike.

Because if you want all-new components, it's a lot cheaper to buy a bike already built-up than it is to upgrade piece-by-piece.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:14 PM
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Buying the parts seperately and when you have all of the parts -- put them on your bike or have the LBS do it for you. This method is not the cheapest but you can do it at your leasure and keep the cost under the radar.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ultragon View Post
Hey all, pretty new to road cycling. I got a Caad9-6 last year outfitted with Tiagra with the idea that if I liked cycling enough, I'd eventually upgrade. Turns out I love it. So I'm wanting to slowly upgrade (so the wife doesn't see the checkbook and murder me) to Ultegra 6700 components. Can anyone offer me suggestions on how best to do that? Are there parts that won't be compatible and are there places where I have to upgrade multiple components at the same time (ie, cassette and rear derailleur, crankset and rear derailleur)? Thanks for any help y'all can offer me.
Another good reason not to get married. Why must us cyclist have to hide our hobbies from our spouse??? Free yourself!!!! Liberate your inner cyclist, get a divorce. Marriage is just an outdated institution anyways.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:27 PM
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What's wrong with Tiagra? I've got 20,000 miles on my Tiagra shifters and derailleurs. They are every bit as functional and smooth as the Dura Ace gruppo on my other bike. If you are dying to go 10 speed, save your cash and go with 105.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:29 PM
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package groupsets are better priced than parts a piece at a time,
and OEM set as a whole bike, cheaper yet.

But it may be better domestic politics, to put together a better bike
for your wife, 1st.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:35 PM
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Save your money for a new bike, you'll get more for your money that way.
If you do upgrade to 6700 I think you'll need to replace the shifters and rear dérailleur at the same time. And it would be best to change the crankset, BB, and front dérailleur at the same time.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:57 PM
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A few thoughts:

1. Upgrading from Tiagra to Ultegra for Derailleurs, shifters, cranks, brakes will have zero impact on performance. Zero. Zilch. No difference. Perhaps enough weight difference that you can get a different reading on a scale, but not enough to be able to feel the difference while lifting or, even less so riding.

2. If you really feel your equipment is holding you back, the first thing that you should change (and the only thing that actually makes a difference in performance) is wheels and tires. get some lightweight, supple racing tires... high-quality tires - even on your stock wheels - will make the biggest gain in performance, and that is an easy one to get past your financial manager. Then get either some Shimano Ultegra pre-built wheels, or some other fancy aftermarket wheels (Zipp, Campagnolo, Mavic etc), or a set of Ultegra hubs laced to good quality rims (this would be my first choice). Any wheels that are compatible with your Tiagra 9sp cassette will work fine with Ultegra 10sp.

3. Does you wife ride? You could buy a frame and an Ultegra gruppo or parts kit under the guise of building her a bike to come riding with you, then put the Ultegra on your bike, and clean up and mount the Tiagra on her new frame.... IF you think she would like a road bike... if she would prefer casual rides on the MUP and rail-trails, get her the sweet $700 - $1000 hybrid of her choice. Even if you are not buying Ultegra parts and doing the ol' switcheroo, she will be more forgiving of spending on your hobby if it is something you share together.

Best of luck... to paraphrase from an old forwarded email... bicycles are superior to women because your bicycle doesn't care if you ride other bicycles
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Old 03-06-11, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
A few thoughts:

1. Upgrading from Tiagra to Ultegra for Derailleurs, shifters, cranks, brakes will have zero impact on performance. Zero. Zilch. No difference. Perhaps enough weight difference that you can get a different reading on a scale, but not enough to be able to feel the difference while lifting or, even less so riding.

2. If you really feel your equipment is holding you back, the first thing that you should change (and the only thing that actually makes a difference in performance) is wheels and tires. get some lightweight, supple racing tires... high-quality tires - even on your stock wheels - will make the biggest gain in performance, and that is an easy one to get past your financial manager. Then get either some Shimano Ultegra pre-built wheels, or some other fancy aftermarket wheels (Zipp, Campagnolo, Mavic etc), or a set of Ultegra hubs laced to good quality rims (this would be my first choice). Any wheels that are compatible with your Tiagra 9sp cassette will work fine with Ultegra 10sp.

3. Does you wife ride? You could buy a frame and an Ultegra gruppo or parts kit under the guise of building her a bike to come riding with you, then put the Ultegra on your bike, and clean up and mount the Tiagra on her new frame.... IF you think she would like a road bike... if she would prefer casual rides on the MUP and rail-trails, get her the sweet $700 - $1000 hybrid of her choice. Even if you are not buying Ultegra parts and doing the ol' switcheroo, she will be more forgiving of spending on your hobby if it is something you share together.

Best of luck... to paraphrase from an old forwarded email... bicycles are superior to women because your bicycle doesn't care if you ride other bicycles
If you don't want to divorce your wife, this is the best strategy: Assimilate your wife into the cycling cult. Soon you'll be the one trying to restrict her upgrading habits.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:11 PM
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Upgrading from 9-speed Tiagra to 10-speed Ultegra piece-by-piece will be difficult because the number of speeds of the rear shifter and cassette must match, the chain and FD should match, and the chain must be at least as many speeds as the cassette.

There is an exception to the above. You could replace just the shifters for now and use Sheldon Brown's alternate cable rating to mate them to the 9-speed cassette. Then later you can replace the chain, cassette, and FD. May as well run the cassette and chain into the ground, so it would be time to replace those anyway. The RD could be replaced at any time you'd like. Edit, forgot the crank, which should match the chain, but you might be able to get away with mis-matching them.

Last edited by JiveTurkey; 03-06-11 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by johnlh View Post
What's wrong with Tiagra? I've got 20,000 miles on my Tiagra shifters and derailleurs. They are every bit as functional and smooth as the Dura Ace gruppo on my other bike. If you are dying to go 10 speed, save your cash and go with 105.
OP says he wants Ultegra 6700. I don't see any point in disagreeing with him.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
OP says he wants Ultegra 6700. I don't see any point in disagreeing with him.
The guy wants to suggest staying with Tiagra. I don't see any point in disagreeing with him.
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Old 03-06-11, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
The guy wants to suggest staying with Tiagra. I don't see any point in disagreeing with him.
I do. It's the very first post in this thread:

Originally Posted by ultragon View Post
Hey all, pretty new to road cycling. I got a Caad9-6 last year outfitted with Tiagra with the idea that if I liked cycling enough, I'd eventually upgrade. Turns out I love it. So I'm wanting to slowly upgrade (so the wife doesn't see the checkbook and murder me) to Ultegra 6700 components. Can anyone offer me suggestions on how best to do that? Are there parts that won't be compatible and are there places where I have to upgrade multiple components at the same time (ie, cassette and rear derailleur, crankset and rear derailleur)? Thanks for any help y'all can offer me.
What's the point of forcing the OP to revisit his decision to upgrade?
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Old 03-06-11, 06:16 PM
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As you have by now gathered, upgrading a bike piece by piece is the MOST expensive way to do it. Worse, you are going to get caught on the brifters anyway since they are the most expensive single item and too high in cost to get by the Chancellor of the Exchequer unnoticed.

So, either learn to love your current setup or bite the bullet and buy a new bike already equipped they way you want it.

If you can do all of the work yourself, you could buy a BikesDirect complete Ultegra-equipped bike, transfer all of the suitable parts, then sell the leftovers on Craig's List. If you have to pay a shop to do the work, any cost advantage goes out the window anyway.
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Old 03-07-11, 08:16 AM
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Back To Original Question

You've received excellent advice so far: tires and wheels first, if you must.

Stick to what you have until it wears out or fails...

Buy complete bikes to save money.

Be open and honest with your wife...potentially including her in the sport of cycling for fitness or recreation.


I would ask the OP three questions that we haven't addressed:

1) how many miles have you ridden on your first bike in the year or less that you've owned it?

2) what are your goals with regard to cycling? Answer yourself realistically, considering your abilities, time, and dedication.

3) in what way is your bicycle the limiting factor in reaching these goals over the next year? Over the next 5 years?

These answers will help you decide when and how to invest your money in a better bicycle. If you're riding less than 3000 miles in a year, you're probably not going to wear out the existing components (chain notwithstanding) over the next few years.

If you're serious about strenuous club rides or local competition, you'll need to optimize your bike and fit for that purpose.

If you are fascinated by the "idea" of an upgraded racing bike, but aren't physically or mentally to the point of requiring one, I would advise waiting and saving. Tell your wife of your interests and let her encourage you toward your goals. Set milestones tha prove to yourself and to her that you are serious.


The final point is to not overlook your braking. Upgraded brake pads may be something you could use in the short term. Many folks with the Shimano-type cartridges have had great results switching to salmon Kool-Stop pads. You'll get an immediate safety benefit.

Good luck,
Phil G.
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Old 03-07-11, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 531phile View Post
another good reason not to get married. Why must us cyclist have to hide our hobbies from our spouse??? Free yourself!!!! Liberate your inner cyclist, get a divorce. Marriage is just an outdated institution anyways.
superb!
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Old 03-07-11, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 531phile View Post
Another good reason not to get married. Why must us cyclist have to hide our hobbies from our spouse??? Free yourself!!!! Liberate your inner cyclist, get a divorce. Marriage is just an outdated institution anyways.
Maybe he can't afford to buy another woman a house!
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Old 03-07-11, 11:19 AM
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The quality of your components is high and there won't be any noticeable improvement in the way it functions other than the fact that spending the money makes you want to think it's better. Ride the bike and service it properly until things start to wear out and then replace them. Other than the chain, cassette, and brake pads it might take 20 to 40k miles to do so.
Welcome to my addiction!
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Old 03-08-11, 01:40 AM
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Instead of getting all-new Ultegra 6700, look for good deals on lightly-used last-generation stuff. Dura Ace 7800, Ultegra 6600, and 105 5600 are all inter-compatible, and I often find great stuff for awesome prices on online auction sites and close-out deals on regular web-stores. The chain and cassette should be bought brand new, but everything else will still function almost perfectly even after significant use.

Be warned that if you do go with Ultegra 6700 STI brakes/shifters (or any of the other new-generation stuff, including 7900 or 5700) then you'll also need to change your brakes because of the difference in cable pull. That's another good reason to avoid the most modern stuff for your purpose, or at least avoid the new STI units.

You should be able to continue to use your Tiagra rear derailleur even after you upgrade the rest of the drivetrain, and the front derailleur will work OK, although not perfectly. The crankset is the place where the biggest weight saving will come from - 150 grams. If your current crank has an external bearing bottom bracket (i.e., it's Tiagra 4500 series) then you can continue to use your current bottom bracket and the new crank should slide right in. You could also continue to use your left-hand shifter if you manage to get a special deal on a right-hand shifter only.

Last edited by Chris_W; 03-09-11 at 03:00 AM.
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Old 03-08-11, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
As you have by now gathered, upgrading a bike piece by piece is the MOST expensive way to do it.
...and may I add, the most fun way to do it, if you happen to like working on the bike yourself.

I'd suggest looking at previous 9-speed Ultegra groups. NOS shifters and derailleurs could be found for a good price on ebay or some online shops once in a while. Going from 9-speed to 9-speed is easier (cheaper). While I agree that Tiagra is an OK group, the Ultegra shifters appear to shift more accurately for me.
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