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Looking to upgrade shifters

Old 02-24-13, 03:11 AM
  #1  
sbattey
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Looking to upgrade shifters

I'm looking to upgrade the shifters on my Scott S50, everything is stock right now, and I'm really not sure what I should be looking at.

Right now, I have the Shimano Sora shifters, and they're kind of the worst things I've ever used—shifting gears is like fighting with the bike. In the short term, I plan on having the bike looked at by somebody who isn't as big of a moron as I am to have it readjusted because I suspect it might be slightly off but I need a change in the long term as well.

I have a triple crankset, a lack of knowledge on the subject, and a desire to start commuting in traffic without getting run over because my shifters wont shift.

(I like my bike, the frame is a good size and I like the look and feel, but it just isn't very rideable right now, I'm also open to other suggestions for components—I am not afraid of change, just wrenches. I will be having this work done.)
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Old 02-24-13, 06:08 AM
  #2  
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From what i have heard, Sora shifters work fine. You may have an adjustment problem, or cable and housing problems: rust, bent, bad routing...
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Old 02-24-13, 07:36 AM
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I've had no problems with Sora on my old bike, now relegated to a commuter, as long as it is properly maintained. The front shifting is a bit of struggle to tune though, but once properly set up it'll take a while before it needs (minor) adjustments.

Have a reputable bike shop tune it properly first before dissing it completely.

If you're not going to do any racing, the thumb shifters are actually better in traffic IME.

P.S. I've done group rides, crits, and completed a century ride on the Sora, with very few problems.
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Old 02-24-13, 07:56 AM
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I believe Sora shifters, like all shimano "STI" type shifters are subject to that cheap grease they use turning hard and seizing springs and levers.

I recently had some older 200GS shifters from a MTB that required quite a bit of TLC, gunbore cleaner, Teflon spray oil and patience to get them loose and working correctly.
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Old 02-24-13, 08:59 AM
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Possible misadjustment issues aside.
its probably worthwhile to upgrade from the Sora STIs; since they are poorly designed such that you cant use the shift return lever from the drops portion of your bars.
(they went cheap and made a little tab on the top, instead of a full lever)

Since you are currently using Sora, this implies an 8spd cassette.
8spd compatible options are;
Shimano R500 https://www.amazon.com/Shimano-ST-R50.../dp/B000A5S9IU
-note the shift lever along the inside of the main brake lever (as opposed to Sora)
or
Campagnolo Centaur or Veloce 10spd ErogoPowers https://www.amazon.com/Campagnolo-Vel.../dp/B001GSKQ6I
-note, that a campy 10spd shifter; will drive a shimano 8spd cassette and shimano 8spd derailer (unofficial cross compatibility combo)
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Old 02-24-13, 09:31 AM
  #6  
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Probably not a good idea.

Shifters are probably the most expensive component on your bike. I'd only replace them as a last resort and you may even find yourself falling into a component compatibility abyss having to replace a bunch of other stuff in order to get your new shifters to work.

Any averagely competent bike mechanic should be able to get your Sora shifters to work. I'd definitely try that first.
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Old 02-24-13, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
its probably worthwhile to upgrade from the Sora STIs; since they are poorly designed such that you cant use the shift return lever from the drops portion of your bars
It surprises me how a lot of people readily dismiss Sora just because it's a low-end group.

Sora was targeted for riders who don't (or rarely) use the drops, i.e. tourers, commuters, but still want the feel of a road lever and the ability to shift without letting go of the hoods. Ergo the thumb-operated shift lever akin to those found on MTB shifters.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:08 AM
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They are made to be part of the price of the bike that was affordable, as a whole..

Above that , the engineers , added the features, 9th , and 10th cog in the cassette, the levers to match those closer
spaced selector notches in the Brifter.

Retroshift puts a lever to shift with on the front of a different brake lever.. you might be able to find the previous
8 speed bar end lever, the working part of that is to go on the front of the brake, lever mount.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:26 AM
  #9  
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for me i will change new inner cable with teflon, outer cable and seal ferule, finally making right adjustment, even if using duraace component with misadjustment it will end up worse then sora. there is new sora 3500 series 9 spd with black colour look cool, but since your is 8 speed is almost change the whole group set.
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Old 02-24-13, 01:33 PM
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Sora shifters are fine, you need a tuneup.

Once tuneup is done, you will be amazed at how well the bike shifts. A properly setup and maintained Sora shifter should shift as nicely as an Ultegra.
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Old 02-24-13, 06:41 PM
  #11  
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the new sora do come in 9 spds now . and yes they work just fine .
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Old 02-24-13, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
It surprises me how a lot of people readily dismiss Sora just because it's a low-end group.

Sora was targeted for riders who don't (or rarely) use the drops, i.e. tourers, commuters, but still want the feel of a road lever and the ability to shift without letting go of the hoods. Ergo the thumb-operated shift lever akin to those found on MTB shifters.
that fact that its a 'low-end' group doesnt bug me at all; this is purely a criticism of the poor ergonoic limitations they impose; not an 'elietism' issue.

Road levers have the best braking power from the drops/hooks, not the hoods. Thus it is asinine to make the shifters only work from the hoods; de-integrating your STIs.

The real anser for tourers and commuters is they should be setting their stems higher to get use of all positions on the drop bars. The hoods-only design discourages this; limit options.

also, in the case of a performance oriented roadie starting out on an entry level bike; having hoods-only shifting may be a barrier to growth, keeping them from moving to the drops. -hmmmh, maybe thats what Shimano intended; a forced upgrade of parts.... if you want to use the drops you need new shifters, and a 9/10/11 spd cassette, etc -evil genius marketing
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Old 02-24-13, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
also, in the case of a performance oriented roadie starting out on an entry level bike; having hoods-only shifting may be a barrier to growth, keeping them from moving to the drops. -hmmmh, maybe thats what Shimano intended; a forced upgrade of parts.... if you want to use the drops you need new shifters, and a 9/10/11 spd cassette, etc -evil genius marketing
The OP did say he was intending to use it for commuting. But I agree with you on the "forced upgrade" and "evil genius marketing" scheme that companies push to the consumers.

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Old 02-24-13, 07:38 PM
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Just a couple comments:
Grease Dry-out is something that happens over time to ALL greases. Doesn't matter how much or how little the grease costs. AFAIK - Shimano neither uses or sells 'cheap' grease.

There are riders that install secondary brake levers on drop bars because they NEVER use the drops. For those riders a group like Sora lets them operate all the controls from the hoods. If after buying something a cyclist discovers its not what they wanted - I'm not sure that a 'forced upgrade' as much as an uninformed purchase decision.

Its very likely those shifters just need some attention. As a professional mechanic - I feel that if Sora shifters are properly set up and maintained - that they operate extremely well. And I'm fussy and hard to please.

Last edited by Burton; 02-24-13 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 02-24-13, 08:31 PM
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Has the OP talked with the LBS that sold him the bike, or other knowledged riders about shifting techniques? At the risk of being flamed this was the first thing i thought of. Of course the bike needs to be base lined (tuned by some). But good shifting is not just about the bike. There is a likelihood that the Sora STI design is not the best match for the OP. his riding another bike or two with different lever designs (any other Shimano, SRAM or Campy) might help in this analysis. (Personally I like the brake lever blade being single purposed). To the OP's last comment about riding in traffic. I agree that any vehicle operator should have complete command of their car/bike. The OP's statement " I have a triple crankset, a lack of knowledge on the subject, and a desire to start commuting in traffic without getting run over because my shifters wont shift." suggests that he doesn't. perhaps some of his shifting challenges is also from his lack of knowledge on shifting technique.

Again i understand I'm treading on thin ice here, calling out the Op in being some of the source of the problem that he seeks answers to. But all i read and my LBS experience suggests that there may be more then one problem going on. Andy.
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Old 02-24-13, 10:29 PM
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Sorry for the late response—I'm aware I need a tune up, but I am looking for suggestions on upgrading in the future, I also realize that it's the most expensive upgrade I can make, so I want to make it count when I do go for it.

I bought the bike slightly over 6 months ago from REI, and will be taking it back in to have them look at it soon.

P.S. Cost isn't an issue here, I'm willing to pay for better parts if they're really worth the cost.

Also, while it may be slightly clumsy at times, I don't think my shifting technique is bad. I'm not a complete novice, I just don't know how to perform bicycle maintenance simply because nobody has ever taught me how—I'm also not an idiot.
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Old 02-24-13, 10:47 PM
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Nobody is accusing you of being an idiot, we're just trying to help. But your ambiguous statement

I have a triple crankset, a lack of knowledge on the subject, and a desire to start commuting in traffic without getting run over because my shifters wont shift.
led us to believe that you are a novice.

Re: Bicycle maintenance

There are tons of resources on the web - the Bicycle Mechanics Forum here is a good place. Also check the Park Tool website for a detailed walkthrough of topics on bicycle maintenance.

Re: Shifter upgrade

What's your purpose in upgrading? Do you plan to race in the future? Or do long (endurance) rides? The 105 is a pretty all-around, solid group for entry-level racing without a steep price tag.

But if you are really serious about (racing) performance, I suggest you invest in a better frame and wheelset first rather than in the components. Don't get me wrong, the Scott S50 is a good starter bike.

Cheers.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
that fact that its a 'low-end' group doesnt bug me at all; this is purely a criticism of the poor ergonoic limitations they impose; not an 'elietism' issue.

Road levers have the best braking power from the drops/hooks, not the hoods. Thus it is asinine to make the shifters only work from the hoods; de-integrating your STIs.

The real anser for tourers and commuters is they should be setting their stems higher to get use of all positions on the drop bars. The hoods-only design discourages this; limit options.

also, in the case of a performance oriented roadie starting out on an entry level bike; having hoods-only shifting may be a barrier to growth, keeping them from moving to the drops. -hmmmh, maybe thats what Shimano intended; a forced upgrade of parts.... if you want to use the drops you need new shifters, and a 9/10/11 spd cassette, etc -evil genius marketing
The Sora shifters were made for riders that don't shift in the drops and are therefore easier to shift from the hoods. Sora is an entry level gruppo and the upshift tab was done to enhance the riding experience of beginning riders. The fact of life is, if you exclude racers, most riders rarely shift from the drops. Also, one does not need to upshift from the drops to use the brakes in the drops; ask anyone with barend or downtube shifters. The OP did not say he wanted to upgraded shifters so he can upshift from the drops, but because it was not shifting well. If that's the case than tuning up the shifters is in order, not new shifters. BTW, the new Sora shifters have done away with the upshift tabs and use a lower paddle same as Shimano's other road shifters.

Last edited by onespeedbiker; 02-24-13 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
Nobody is accusing you of being an idiot, we're just trying to help. But your ambiguous statement



led us to believe that you are a novice.

Re: Bicycle maintenance

There are tons of resources on the web - the Bicycle Mechanics Forum here is a good place. Also check the Park Tool website for a detailed walkthrough of topics on bicycle maintenance.

Re: Shifter upgrade

What's your purpose in upgrading? Do you plan to race in the future? Or do long (endurance) rides? The 105 is a pretty all-around, solid group for entry-level racing without a steep price tag.

But if you are really serious about (racing) performance, I suggest you invest in a better frame and wheelset first rather than in the components. Don't get me wrong, the Scott S50 is a good starter bike.

Cheers.
I'm definitely not accusing anyone of thinking I'm an idiot, I'm just merely stating it because my original post didn't provide much information to help people believe that I am not.

Thank you for suggestion on the 105, I'll look into them. I'm not really sure, however, what to look for to see if they'll be compatible with my crankset. There is a lot of information but I'm not really sure where to start sorting it out.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:24 PM
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I have a pair of new ultegra triple shifters I think they're Ultegra 6603's? NIB, very cheap, if you still want to upgrade.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
The Sora shifters were made for riders that don't shift in the drops and are therefore easier to shift from the hoods. Sora is an entry level gruppo and the upshift tab was done to enhance the riding experience of beginning riders. The fact of life is, if you exclude racers, most riders rarely shift from the drops. Also, one does not need to upshift from the drops to use the brakes in the drops; ask anyone with barend or downtube shifters. The OP has not said he wants upgraded shifters so he can upshift from the drops but because it was not shifting well. If that's the case than tuning up the shifters is in order, not new shifters. BTW, the new Sora shifters have done away with the upshift tabs and use a lower paddle same as Shimano's other road shifters.
Hmmh
If assuming that most riders; especially beggining riders spend most of their time on the hoods.

Then maybe the problem is not the shiftable locations; but is instead the brakeing position.
if we make the hoods the primary hand position; then brake levers should be designed to be strongest from there, not from the unused drop section.
And yes; you can move your hands around; such as for a DT shift, or to grab the brake lever from the lower position; but doesnt this perspective go against the point of STI?

I think a better solution is to market bikes with higher stems; and the drops/hooks as a primary hand position. So you get direct access to strong braking as well as shifting (assuming they stop with the silly hoods-only-tab sora design)-which they did, hooray.


....supposedly the high stem method used to be normal; but then we all became posers and wanted bars as low as possible-even if we couldnt use them, and people gradually crept up onto the hoods and stayed there....
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Old 02-24-13, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by sbattey View Post
Thank you for suggestion on the 105, I'll look into them. I'm not really sure, however, what to look for to see if they'll be compatible with my crankset.
Note that I *did* say "group" in my last post - the 105 is a 10-speed group (counting the number of cogs it can shift at the cassette), while the Sora on the stock Scott S50 is only an 8-speed. Also, the S50 comes with a triple crankset.

If you plan to go to the 10-speed 105 shifter, you have to change to a 10-speed cassette and a narrower 10-speed chain to fit the cog spacing. Also, since you currently have a triple crankset, look for the 105 shifter that can shift a triple as well (ST-5703) as most that are sold are only double since the current 105 crankset is only a double.

If you do buy the double version (ST-5700), you'll need to buy a front derailleur that shifts a double. (P.S. The triple FD can shift a double, but requires a lot of patience to tune correctly.)

There are options however, but not easy and/or cheap.
1. Upgrade the whole group.
Pros: You'll have less compatibility problems
Cons: Expensive

2. Find an old 8-speed 105 shifter. Look at eBay, Amazon or the Marketplace section of the forums.
Pros: No need to change the cassette and chain.
Cons: Hard to find (especially in pristine, good working condition); Only comes in double. You would need to change the crankset and FD as well.

Hope I didn't miss anything.

Last edited by e_guevara; 02-25-13 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 02-25-13, 12:13 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
Note that I *did* say "group" in my last post - the 105 is a 10-speed group (counting the number of cogs it can shift at the cassette), while the Sora on the stock Scott S50 is only an 8-speed. Also, the S50 comes with a triple crankset.

If you plan to go to the 10-speed 105 shifter, you have to change to a 10-speed cassette and a narrower 10-speed chain to fit the cog spacing. Also, since you currently have a triple crankset, look for the 105 shifter that can shift a triple as well (ST-5703) as most that are sold are only double since the current 105 crankset is only a double.

If you do buy the double version (ST-5700), you'll need to buy a front derailleur that shifts a double. (P.S. The triple FD can shift a double, but requires a lot of patience to tune correctly.)

There are options however, but not easy and/or cheap.
1. Upgrade the whole group.
Pros: You'll have less compatibility problems
Cons: Expensive

2. Find an old 8-speed 105 shifter. Look at eBay, Amazon or the Marketplace section of the forums.
Pros: No need to change the cassette and chain.
Cons: Hard to find (especially in pristine, good working condition); Only comes in double. You would need to change the crankset and FD as well.

Hope I didn't miss anything.
Thanks for the clarifications.
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Old 02-25-13, 12:34 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post

2. Find an old 8-speed 105 shifter. Look at eBay, Amazon or the Marketplace section of the forums.
Pros: No need to change the cassette and chain.
Cons: Hard to find (especially in pristine, good working condition); Only comes in double. You would need to change the crankset and FD as well.

Hope I didn't miss anything.
One addendum to the suggestion of the 8-speed 105/Dura Ace shifters that are doubles only. I actually used a left triple shifter from the older RSX group which was 3x7 with a 8 speed 105 right shifter. The overall feel of the shifters is nearly identical but the colors and trim are different so that might bother you. It didn't bother me.
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Old 02-25-13, 12:45 AM
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A minus on style points for you there Oh, and don't ever post that in the "Hot or Not" thread or else you'll get eaten by the sharks!

Just kidding. Cheers.
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