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Tiagra is the sweet spot in the lineup for commuting

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Tiagra is the sweet spot in the lineup for commuting

Old 10-22-15, 02:09 AM
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Tiagra is the sweet spot in the lineup for commuting

I looked at the Shimano specifications for rear derailleurs.

It seems like above Tiagra, things are going to be made more expensive to save weight and add efficiency, and below Tiagra, things are going to be made inferior to save money.

DA has racy ultralight features. Three of the six big parts are aluminum, the others are carbon fiber. Ball bearing pulleys and some aluminum hardware.
Ultegra has one knuckle made of carbon fiber, the rest made of aluminum. Ball bearing pulleys, stainless or plated steel hardware.
105 has the inner link made of plated steel, the rest of the big parts are aluminum. Bushing pulleys, stainless or plated steel hardware.
Tiagra has the inner link and both cage plates made of plated steel, the other three parts aluminum. The hardware is all still plated or stainless.
Sora has one plastic knuckle. the inner link and the cage plates are painted, not plated. The pulley axles are unfinished.

Looking at the front derailleurs, it's hard to see what the major difference is between Tiagra, 105, and Ultegra, other than width. They all have chrome cages and are otherwise made of aluminum. At Sora level some plated rather than stainless hardware creeps in; at Claris level the front clamp and the links are painted steel.

The cassettes are nickel plated down the lineup. Tiagra is the first level that is a complete set of individual cogs and does not have a spider. This is heavier but should not be any worse for quality.



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Old 10-22-15, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Ultegra has one knuckle made of carbon fiber, the rest made of aluminum. Ball bearing pulleys, stainless or plated steel hardware.
Which bit it the knuckle? the lever is made of CF, the rest is plastic or steel, not sure there is any Alu in there at all, the 105 version is the same, less the lever is Alu.
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Old 10-22-15, 04:35 AM
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I had Tiagra on my first road bike. It was the first year it was 10 sp, and it functioned flawlessly throughout my duration of ownership.
The next bike I buy new will most likely be frame and fork, and I will probably transfer my current groupset over to it. I really don't care to go to 11 sp.
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Old 10-22-15, 05:53 AM
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I've got Tiagra on my current commuter. I've no complaints about other than the RD being a bit fickle sometimes.
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Old 10-22-15, 07:02 AM
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There seems to be a general consensus that on the MTB side Shimano's lineup, the Deore groupset is the sweet spot. That's what my bike is built up with although I fantasize about White Industries cranks and Paul brakes.
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Old 10-22-15, 07:13 AM
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I recently side-graded one of my bikes from 8 speed 105 to 10 speed tiagra. Quite happy with the result.
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Old 10-22-15, 07:14 AM
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I had Tiagra shifters on my 2015 Surly Straggler along with a Tiagra rear derailleur. The shifters & derailleur worked just fine, however I wanted under bar tape routing of shift cables (this is my first bike with brake/shifter levers "brifters"), and got a slammin' deal on a new set of ten speed 105 levers which included cables, housing, ferrules, tips.

The "touch" on the shifting on the 105's is lighter and I feel slightly less mechanical movement inside the lever, so I guess you'd say the shifting feels more "refined". It's subtle though, and I think that, unless you cycled a lot or were keyed into these things, you might not notice improvement. I guess I'm saying that shifting and braking feel different, but not necessarily better.

I decided to get a 105 rear derailleur (10 speed) to see if I get maximum benefit out of my shifter upgrade. I haven't installed it yet, but I suspect that, again, it will be a modest upgrade in performance. The ten speed components were a steal since eleven speed is the current big deal now.

My understanding is that recent & current Tiagra is solid, reliable and very competent.
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Old 10-22-15, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jimc101
Which bit it the knuckle? the lever is made of CF, the rest is plastic or steel, not sure there is any Alu in there at all, the 105 version is the same, less the lever is Alu.
The six big parts are the rear knuckle (bracket body), front knuckle (plate body), outer link, inner link, outer cage plate, inner cage plate. Are you thinking of the shifter?

Originally Posted by corwin1968
There seems to be a general consensus that on the MTB side Shimano's lineup, the Deore groupset is the sweet spot.
I looked and it's also the last one in the lineup that is all-metal. But for some reason it has some painted parts. I don't know why they aren't plated or if they're plated underneath.

Originally Posted by Velocivixen
The "touch" on the shifting on the 105's is lighter and I feel slightly less mechanical movement inside the lever, so I guess you'd say the shifting feels more "refined". It's subtle though, and I think that, unless you cycled a lot or were keyed into these things, you might not notice improvement. I guess I'm saying that shifting and braking feel different, but not necessarily better.
A few years ago shopping I compared two Cannondales with the same frame and 4600 Tiagra or 5700 105 shifting. The 105 shifters felt more solid and the Tiagra more twangy. I figured it was the extra bend in the 105 housing to make it aero, giving it a little more drag. The specs on Shimano's website show the bracket and lever material but don't say much about the shifter internals to see why one would feel different or whether one would last longer. On the MTB shifters they do, the mechanism changes as they go up in level, so they probably do in the road shifters as well.
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Old 10-22-15, 09:19 AM
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I don't know if current Tiagra shifters have the thumb lever for shifting to smaller gears, but on the 9-speed versions I never did like them. Felt really cheap. My 2011 Felt commuter has 105 5700 10-sp which feels pretty good for the most part. But I've ridden mechanical Ultegra and DA bikes and the shifters and brakes feel even better on those.

I would love to either upgrade my bike to 11-sp 105 5800, or build a new bike with 5800. Main reason is for climbing. My current cassette is Ultegra 10-sp 11-28 and sometimes I feel like I could use one lower gear on some hills. An 11-speed 11-32 cassette I think is pretty much the same as the 10-sp 11-28 with just the addition of the 32 cog, so that would be perfect for me.

I already have a 11-sp compatible wheelset, all I would need would be the cassette, RD and right-side shifter.
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Old 10-22-15, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
I looked at the Shimano specifications for rear derailleurs.

It seems like above Tiagra, things are going to be made more expensive to save weight and add efficiency, and below Tiagra, things are going to be made inferior to save money.

DA has racy ultralight features. Three of the six big parts are aluminum, the others are carbon fiber. Ball bearing pulleys and some aluminum hardware.
Ultegra has one knuckle made of carbon fiber, the rest made of aluminum. Ball bearing pulleys, stainless or plated steel hardware.
105 has the inner link made of plated steel, the rest of the big parts are aluminum. Bushing pulleys, stainless or plated steel hardware.
Tiagra has the inner link and both cage plates made of plated steel, the other three parts aluminum. The hardware is all still plated or stainless.
Sora has one plastic knuckle. the inner link and the cage plates are painted, not plated. The pulley axles are unfinished.

Looking at the front derailleurs, it's hard to see what the major difference is between Tiagra, 105, and Ultegra, other than width. They all have chrome cages and are otherwise made of aluminum. At Sora level some plated rather than stainless hardware creeps in; at Claris level the front clamp and the links are painted steel.

The cassettes are nickel plated down the lineup. Tiagra is the first level that is a complete set of individual cogs and does not have a spider. This is heavier but should not be any worse for quality.



Why did I look? Insomnia for health reasons...
Indeed, mid-level parts are the sweet spot. I recently went through a similar exercise comparing the RDs in my collection. Early-to-mid-90s stuff like RX100, 1056, and 6400 Tricolor. The RX100 is the heaviest, having a steel inner parallelogram plate and both cage plates. The 1056 has aluminum for the inner cage plate, and is about 35 grams lighter. The Tricolor has aluminum for both cage plates and parallelogram plates, saving another 25 grams on top of that.

They all work great, as 7/8-speed stuff ought to, but I was on a mission to take a little weight out of one bike, so I've been taking a closer look at everything.
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Old 10-22-15, 09:30 AM
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Actually I just saw that the 11-sp 11-32 has slightly different gearing between the 14t cog and the 28t cog. Would be interesting to see how different it feels. I use the 15t and 17t cogs more than the others on my 10-sp cassette, but 11-sp has 16t and 18t in those positions.
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Old 10-22-15, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94
I don't know if current Tiagra shifters have the thumb lever for shifting to smaller gears, but on the 9-speed versions I never did like them. Felt really cheap. My 2011 Felt commuter has 105 5700 10-sp which feels pretty good for the most part. But I've ridden mechanical Ultegra and DA bikes and the shifters and brakes feel even better on those.

I would love to either upgrade my bike to 11-sp 105 5800, or build a new bike with 5800. Main reason is for climbing. My current cassette is Ultegra 10-sp 11-28 and sometimes I feel like I could use one lower gear on some hills. An 11-speed 11-32 cassette I think is pretty much the same as the 10-sp 11-28 with just the addition of the 32 cog, so that would be perfect for me.

I already have a 11-sp compatible wheelset, all I would need would be the cassette, RD and right-side shifter.
Nope, once Tiagra came to 10 sp, it worked just like 105 in terms of downshifting
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Old 10-22-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis
Nope, once Tiagra came to 10 sp, it worked just like 105 in terms of downshifting
I have Tiagra shifters from the last year they were 9 sp. They work with the two nested paddles like 105s also.
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Old 10-22-15, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis
Nope, once Tiagra came to 10 sp, it worked just like 105 in terms of downshifting
Good to know. I put my old Chorus shifters on my son's bike, but he has real problems with the thumb paddle, so I have been thinking of looking for a Shimano mini-group. I thought I was limited to 105 and above.
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Old 10-22-15, 10:21 AM
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I'd rather go with the previous release of Ultegra or D-A.

NOS stuff is easy to find and it often costs less than new mid-level.

Quality components are worth more to me than an extra gear...
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Old 10-22-15, 10:33 AM
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Don't have any Tiagra experience, so I can't comment on whether or not I feel it's the sweet spot.

But I have decided I really like the 11 speed groups. My latest bike came with a full 5800 groupset (105). Before I bought the bike I didn't think that I would really notice much of a benefit with the 11 speed group. It didn't take much riding to convince me.

My other bikes (8 speed, 10 speed) seem to have gaps in the gearing where one gear is a little too easy but the next one down is a little too hard. My 11 speed group really doesn't have that problem. I love that there are more gear options available so I can really dial in the particular gear my legs are wanting for that speed/terrain/wind combination.

So consider me a convert.
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Old 10-22-15, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Indeed, mid-level parts are the sweet spot. I recently went through a similar exercise comparing the RDs in my collection. Early-to-mid-90s stuff like RX100, 1056, and 6400 Tricolor. The RX100 is the heaviest, having a steel inner parallelogram plate and both cage plates. The 1056 has aluminum for the inner cage plate, and is about 35 grams lighter. The Tricolor has aluminum for both cage plates and parallelogram plates, saving another 25 grams on top of that.

They all work great, as 7/8-speed stuff ought to, but I was on a mission to take a little weight out of one bike, so I've been taking a closer look at everything.
This 1991 Exage 500LX is similar. https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...00lx-info.html The plates and links are steel, the knuckles are aluminum. This 7-speed RD is now on my cross commuter, being run on a 9x cassette with Athena 11x shifters... fun!

There was a direct heirarchy of nine MTB levels back then. In spite of the materials, nearly all the RD's looked pretty much identical except the two at the very bottom (100GS and Tourney). I can see why they started adding paint and styling to differentiate them.

Shimano now has eleven mountain groups but several of them (XTR Di2, Saint and Zee) are special-purpose and don't slot directly into the hierarchy.
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Old 10-22-15, 11:31 AM
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I agree that Tiagra (and Deore with MTB) is the sweetspot. I would go on, however, to say that 8 (best) or 9 speed is also the sweet spot as compared to 10 or 11 speed. Let's face it, very few riders (and really NO commuters) need 10 or 11, and the price and durability penalties are real.
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Old 10-22-15, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Tundra_Man
Don't have any Tiagra experience, so I can't comment on whether or not I feel it's the sweet spot.

But I have decided I really like the 11 speed groups. My latest bike came with a full 5800 groupset (105). Before I bought the bike I didn't think that I would really notice much of a benefit with the 11 speed group. It didn't take much riding to convince me.

My other bikes (8 speed, 10 speed) seem to have gaps in the gearing where one gear is a little too easy but the next one down is a little too hard. My 11 speed group really doesn't have that problem. I love that there are more gear options available so I can really dial in the particular gear my legs are wanting for that speed/terrain/wind combination.

So consider me a convert.
Originally Posted by revcp
I agree that Tiagra (and Deore with MTB) is the sweetspot. I would go on, however, to say that 8 (best) or 9 speed is also the sweet spot as compared to 10 or 11 speed. Let's face it, very few riders (and really NO commuters) need 10 or 11, and the price and durability penalties are real.
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Old 10-22-15, 11:49 AM
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I have Sora 9 speed on my commuter and anything could be better than it. I hate the paddle thumb things. I really like the shifters on my road bike, I think they are Tiagra. I am not sure if it is worth upgrading the commuter or just buying a new bike... someday.

Originally Posted by revcp
I agree that Tiagra (and Deore with MTB) is the sweetspot. I would go on, however, to say that 8 (best) or 9 speed is also the sweet spot as compared to 10 or 11 speed. Let's face it, very few riders (and really NO commuters) need 10 or 11, and the price and durability penalties are real.
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Old 10-22-15, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
You two have it out. Round 1! Fight!
Ha! Not taking the bait here. Just my opinon, and not throwing down the gauntlet. I would say that unless one rides many hills it probably makes sense to decide what your absolute need is for low and high gears and get a cassette that stacks everything as closely as possible within those two. Maybe even put a triple on front. If you do all that I really don't see the need for a 10th or 11th sprocket in the cassette. As noted, however, this is all just my opinion and I have no need to argue anyone over to "my side."
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Old 10-22-15, 12:25 PM
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You have a different sweet spot than I do. The entire bike costing < $500 is the sweet spot for me. I bought a $300 bike and happily rode it all seasons for 12 years before replacing. I honestly could still be riding it, I bought a road bike out of curiosity, then a dedicated winter bike, both cost more than that hybrid, but I'd be perfectly happy back on the $300 bike. Didn't really ever cause me much grief.
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Old 10-22-15, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp
I agree that Tiagra (and Deore with MTB) is the sweetspot. I would go on, however, to say that 8 (best) or 9 speed is also the sweet spot as compared to 10 or 11 speed. Let's face it, very few riders (and really NO commuters) need 10 or 11, and the price and durability penalties are real.
I agree with you. 3x 6 to 8 speed is as good as it gets for commuting, recreation etc. if one's priorities are reliability and low cost.

Acera and Claris are minimum for reliable and nice functioning in my experience, while Tiagra and Deore are where you get a bit more durability and nicer functioning for not too much more money. Above that, like in all other industries - to go a bit "better", you pay substantially more. And in addition to that, like you said, more "speeds" can actually be a step down, depending on one's priorities.
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Old 10-22-15, 12:31 PM
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I like the shifting on my 9 speed Tiagra on my touring/commuter e-bike better than the Ultegra 10 speed drivetrain on my carbon fiber road bike. Everything is just so much smoother. I guess I'm paying for the weight savings (doesn't matter to me.)
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Old 10-22-15, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp
I agree that Tiagra (and Deore with MTB) is the sweetspot. I would go on, however, to say that 8 (best) or 9 speed is also the sweet spot as compared to 10 or 11 speed. Let's face it, very few riders (and really NO commuters) need 10 or 11, and the price and durability penalties are real.
I tend to agree with you but I'm sold on a single-ring drivetrain and I don't like huge gaps in gearing so the 10 and 11 speeds are attractive to me (I run 9-speed) but I'm leery of the durability and cost and I just read that 10/11 speed chains with a masterlink still need a tool to be taken apart!! The MTB'ers have come up with those huge 42t cogs to give a lower bottom end but the problem is they yank out the 15t cog, which is right in the primary cruising range for pavement riding. So, the MTB'ers solution doesn't really work for pavement pounders. IGH's are too expensive and require too many compromises on a frame not built from the ground up to accomodate them. So, I'm stuck with either large jumps in my gearing or a limited gear range. I don't ever want to go back to more than one chainring and I don't want to go to 10/11 speed. I guess that's what they call a conundrum.
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