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Shimano 105 vs 600

Old 04-28-17, 03:32 PM
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Shimano 105 vs 600

What would qualify the 600 group as being better than the 105? I am amazed with the shifting performance of both but coming in from a ride on the Miyata 712 w/105, there could be no appreciable difference. In fact, the 105 group shifts so smoothly, quickly and quietly I am believing it to be better than the 600 tri-color. Is there a significant weight difference I'm not seeing? (I havent consulted disraeli gears just yet)
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Old 04-28-17, 03:43 PM
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shimano figured out how to sell pretty much the same stuff at dfferent price points with small differences in terms of materials and weight. it's all about the bling.
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Old 04-28-17, 03:53 PM
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This same debate seems to exist between 105 and 600/Ultegra at every generation, and it seems to me that with each passing generation the gap is smaller.

The main differences seem to be in finish and materials. The 600/Ultegra stuff is generally supposed to be lighter and nicer looking. In some of the incarnations I think Ultegra has a more refined feel than 105 (more "click"/less "whack"), but it's always a very small difference. Mostly it's about the way it looks, I think.
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Old 04-28-17, 03:58 PM
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The bling and the materials. While the technology trickled down from DA to 600/Ultegra to 105, each level tended to be made with descending quality of materials and clearances. So, more polished metal, bearings and brass bushings in the high end stuff, less in the low end stuff.

But must agree, 105 is truly lovely. 105 1050 shifters with 6207/6208 600 is a thing of beauty. And my personal Cannondale SR uses mostly 1050 105 with DA 7400 hubs and a Shimano 600 freewheel. Better than 1051? Than 7403? We're talking pretty fine differences here.
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Old 04-28-17, 04:14 PM
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The difference is 495, which is a lot or a little depending on how big you are.

Last edited by jethin; 04-28-17 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 04-28-17, 06:49 PM
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105 (and the Exage 500 OEM groups) have always been the sweet spot in the Shimano line-up for me.

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Old 04-28-17, 09:21 PM
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Same thing, only different. Many a tri-bike ran 105 single pivots for the weight and simplicity. I have always liked the shifters, FD, and RD, but not the crankset.

Last edited by RobbieTunes; 04-28-17 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 04-28-17, 10:11 PM
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I recall reading when sis 600 and 105 first came out that some considered the 105 to be the better..even while cheaper. But 600 does look better!
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Old 04-29-17, 02:14 AM
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It seems the only let-down for 105 in the mid to late '80s was the crankset, from an aesthetic standpoint. 600 cranksets throughout the '80s, IMO, were gorgeous--later 620X and 6400s. It also seems that the choice between 105 and 600 could also come down to what color of bike they would be put on--I am talking about tri-color 600 vs. high polish 105. The polished 105 aped big brother 7400 Dura Ace, and I am thinking about employing the levers on my 7400 Masi build as the 105 levers fit the look better than my black with light grey 'braket cap' (lever to hood trim ring) RX100 levers. Heck, even RX100's polish looked great. 7400 Dura Ace SIS always has that BAM-BAM-BAM gear changing sound. 600 and 105 go snick-snick-snick nice and quietly and I really like that.

I guess that's a long answer for: something something better materials (600 hubs are lovely) aaaand I don't know. They're both worth using, so if one matches better with your bike, go for it!
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Old 04-29-17, 05:41 AM
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The early 105 single pivot brakes used a nut for centering, 600 used an allen bolt. Early 600 cranks had self extracting bolts. Besides that there isn't much difference. Exage Sport and 105 were virtually identical.
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Old 04-30-17, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes
Same thing, only different. Many a tri-bike ran 105 single pivots for the weight and simplicity. I have always liked the shifters, FD, and RD, but not the crankset.
That describes my '87 Miyata 712. The 105 hubs are incredibly smooth and spin like forever, the center pivot calipers are strong and responsive. Overall, the 105 groupset gives a very dialed in feel.
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Old 05-01-17, 06:07 AM
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To put this into the proper context you really have to specify which generations of 105 and 600 you are comparing. Shimano rarely introduced new groups at different price levels, in the same year. This staggered approach allowed Shimano to ensure that each new group got a feature that would be exclusive to the group for at least one year and would consequently drive sales for the new group.

For instance, first generation 105 (aka Golden Arrow) was introduced in 1983, when the the 600 group was 2nd generation 600EX, which had been around since 1978. The big introduction on Golden Arrow was the wider employment of castings, especially in the rear derailleur. This gave it a more expensive aesthetic, at a time when 600EX was still employing cheaper looking formed aluminum.

Similarly, when 2nd generation New 105 came out in 1987, it was up against 4th generation New 600EX, which was into its 4th year. The significant leap in New 105 (1987) was the previously mentioned introduction of SLR brakes. Improved bearings, lighter caliper return springs, teflon lined cable housing and lever return springs all added up to brakes with an extremely light feel and excellent modulation. They set the standard for brakes, regardless of price level and were the first brakes that worked truly well with aero routing. Consequently, they were widely adopted by triathletes and even road racers used them on otherwise Dura-Ace and even Campagnolo equipped bicycles. However, this advantage was short lived, as SLR was added to 600 the following year, when it became 5th generation 600 Ultegra. Still, for one that first year New 105 was actually preferable to the higher New 600EX.

Shimano has excelled in technology distribution and adding value to increasing lower level components. In terms of performance, lower level level groups are often indistinguishable from higher groups, to most cyclists. The difference often comes down to price, weight, aesthetics and durability.

Last edited by T-Mar; 05-01-17 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 05-01-17, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
...Shimano has excelled in technology distribution and adding value to increasing lower level components. In terms of performance, lower level level groups are often indistinguishable from higher groups, to most cyclists. The difference often comes down to price, weight, aesthetics and durability.
I would also add 'features'. I remember having 6500 and 7700 equipped bikes at the same time. The 7700 had a better FD trimming range with the STI lever. While there were other differences, none stood out as much when riding.

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Old 05-04-17, 10:00 AM
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I have bikes with both, and I think they both perform VERY well. I prefer the aesthetics of the 600. I remember reading about the 105s on Sheldon Brown, and he praised their brakes...
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Old 09-21-21, 12:00 PM
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Extreme newbie here

Hey guys, love this forum as it's helped me especially, with new terminology. I bought my first big boy bike with fully loaded Shimano 600 parts. It rides scary fast and quiet. Like you guys say : when shifting, no clack clack. There are 6 gears in the back (cogs)? 2 in the front. Oh the name of the bike is Pinarello. 1990 I was told when I bought it used. Love the paddle shifters on the brakes. My question is, every part on the bike says Shimano 600 only. Does that mean the first year(s) of the 600? Is EX newer? Thanks for all your knowledge so far!
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Old 09-21-21, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark See
Hey guys, love this forum as it's helped me especially, with new terminology. I bought my first big boy bike with fully loaded Shimano 600 parts. It rides scary fast and quiet. Like you guys say : when shifting, no clack clack. There are 6 gears in the back (cogs)? 2 in the front. Oh the name of the bike is Pinarello. 1990 I was told when I bought it used. Love the paddle shifters on the brakes. My question is, every part on the bike says Shimano 600 only. Does that mean the first year(s) of the 600? Is EX newer? Thanks for all your knowledge so far!
Try to find the 2 letter date code. One of the easiest places to find it would be on the inside of the crank arm. Here's how to decode it to find the year it was manufactured: Shimano date codes
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Old 09-21-21, 12:22 PM
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Date code

It looks like it says 67 or 87. Also stamped is FL-6400, Japan VIA and vi..
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Old 09-21-21, 12:32 PM
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Correction

FC-6400. Not FL-6400... Other crank looks more like 87. Thanks for your help Clang!
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Old 09-21-21, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by top506
105 (and the Exage 500 OEM groups) have always been the sweet spot in the Shimano line-up for me.

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I have a Schwinn with Exage 500EX, is that like the older version of 105? I was told RSX was the predecessor to 105 but I don't fully understand where those all fit in Shimano's lineup.
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Old 09-21-21, 12:37 PM
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Tri- colored too. Stopping my yapping now.
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Old 09-21-21, 01:46 PM
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Exage was cheaper than 105. But to make it extra confusing, there were several models in the Exage lineup at the same time. An example would be the brakes, where Exage 250 simply put was garbage, while the Exage 350 was more like 105, but with cheaper finish.
When Shimano dropped the Exage line, they introduced RX 100, to be the cheaper option compared to the 105 line. Later they added RSX to be even cheaper than RX 100, and later they dropped RX 100. In my opinion any of the RSX models are far superior to any Exage component.
But none of the above models were predecessors to the 105 line. The 105 line was introduced in the early eighties, way before any of the other models.
For road groups the hirachy has been Dura-Ace (Top), 600/Ultegra (Second to top), 105 (Third level). In the nineties Rx 100 was then fourth level, followed by RSX (Which then became fourth level when RX 100 was dropped).
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Old 09-21-21, 02:45 PM
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Thanks, that clears things up. I didn't realize 105 has been around for that long. So it seems like RSX would have become Tiagra at some point? No complaints from me, I tend to like Shimano's "lower" offerings. The Exage 500EX works great on my Schwinn and I like some of the newer Tiagra and Sora stuff.
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Old 09-21-21, 02:45 PM
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If you're comparing between the 105 1056 and 600 6400, there really wasn't a whole lot of difference, not even in weight. The 600 6400 tri-color groupset, although it looks great and works great, was and is not particularly light. It's mostly a matter of the innovations coming out first in the 600, and then trickling down to the 105 a few years later.

When Shimano dropped the Exage line, they introduced RX 100, to be the cheaper option compared to the 105 line. Later they added RSX to be even cheaper than RX 100, and later they dropped RX 100. In my opinion any of the RSX models are far superior to any Exage component.
The RX100 was largely identical to the 105 aside from lacking ball bearing brake pivots and not having the hub seals that the 105/600 had. It was probably the 'OEM' line whereas the 105 was the consumer line.
I have a soft spot for the RSX. The RSX brifters were very similar in look and feel to the 600 and 105 brifters. It doesn't have the trim function. Some people would say that's a drawback but honestly I think that's a plus. With the narrower 7speed cassette, you really don't need the trim function.
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Old 09-21-21, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
If you're comparing between the 105 1056 and 600 6400, there really wasn't a whole lot of difference, not even in weight. The 600 6400 tri-color groupset, although it looks great and works great, was and is not particularly light. It's mostly a matter of the innovations coming out first in the 600, and then trickling down to the 105 a few years later.


The RX100 was largely identical to the 105 aside from lacking ball bearing brake pivots and not having the hub seals that the 105/600 had. It was probably the 'OEM' line whereas the 105 was the consumer line.
I have a soft spot for the RSX. The RSX brifters were very similar in look and feel to the 600 and 105 brifters. It doesn't have the trim function. Some people would say that's a drawback but honestly I think that's a plus. With the narrower 7speed cassette, you really don't need the trim function.
I agree that the RSX brifters worked just as well as the 105 and 600 brifters. But there WERE differences. Ive always hated the look of RSX and the first 105 brifters, because of the uncovered allen bolt on the front. But more importantly, most RSX brifters were 7s, as it was only in the last year of RSX production it was 8s. 105 and 600 brifters were 8s from the start.
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Old 09-21-21, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Highmass
most RSX brifters were 7s
Just the ticket if you're looking to install brifters onto your classic bike with 126mm dropout spacing.
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