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General "list" of component groupsets, from good to bad?

Old 05-22-15, 07:52 AM
  #1  
corrado33
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General "list" of component groupsets, from good to bad?

We hear it all of the time. "What kind of components do you have on that bike?" We've all heard of the shimano 105s, SRAM, Ultegras, Shimano Tiagras, etc but honestly, those don't mean much to me. Without years of experience in looking up prices and making comparisons, a normal person isn't going to know which components are "better" than others.

Is there any way we can make a list of component groupsets (maybe grouped by brand) from cheapest to most expensive. Considering most groupsets get better when you spend more money on them, it'll also be worst-best. It's just hard for someone like me to look at a bike online and say "Hmmm, that groupset isn't worth the price they're asking for that bike." I know something like this may be hard, but I think it'd be a great resource for people trying to buy bikes.

EDIT: Including older groupsets that may not be made anymore would be even more useful...
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Old 05-22-15, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
We hear it all of the time. "What kind of components do you have on that bike?" We've all heard of the shimano 105s, SRAM, Ultegras, Shimano Tiagras, etc but honestly, those don't mean much to me. Without years of experience in looking up prices and making comparisons, a normal person isn't going to know which components are "better" than others.

Is there any way we can make a list of component groupsets (maybe grouped by brand) from cheapest to most expensive. Considering most groupsets get better when you spend more money on them, it'll also be worst-best. It's just hard for someone like me to look at a bike online and say "Hmmm, that groupset isn't worth the price they're asking for that bike." I know something like this may be hard, but I think it'd be a great resource for people trying to buy bikes.

EDIT: Including older groupsets that may not be made anymore would be even more useful...
Great idea. I previously posted to this thread, ”Do you tell strangers how much your bike costs?”

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…My trusted mechanic said here’s the bike you want, knowing my riding style. Well the MSRP was $8000, but he got it for me at half off…

I’m not that conversant with the technical specifics, nor may anyone asking the price, so the price becomes a common reference to tell what a fine piece of machinery it is. But I would nonetheless admit the price only to a close acquaintance in serious conversation.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… I further craved the smoothness of the ride, including the shifting, making cycle-commuting more pleasurable. Of greatest benefit, while long (greater than 40 mile) rides took the same amount of time as before, I felt much less tired at the end.

Nonetheless, bragging rights are also fun.
I think I have an Ultegra group set, but I would have to look.

PS: I just recalled that I had once happened on a Wikipedia entry about groupsets, that listed seemingly all of them but with vague references to quality.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-22-15 at 08:19 AM. Reason: added PS
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Old 05-22-15, 08:21 AM
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Not much point in providing information about equipment that is no longer made since obsolete components cannot be compared to more recent stuff. Even providing information about equipment hierarchies isn't all that useful if you are looking at second hand bikes. 20 year old Shimano Dura Ace components(their top end) cannot be compared to current groupsets of a couple of levels down. You are asking to have people do research that you have to do yourself. Another thing to factor in is that bike manufacturers will use some off brand components to save money, or they will upgrade one drivetrain component to give the impression that a bike is better than it is. Over the last 20 years, all the major component manufacturers have made changes to all their equipment lines. They have added gears, they have changed the way many of their components work so that older stuff is incompatible with newer parts. Sometimes, newer components don't work as well as the ones they replaced

Last edited by alcjphil; 05-22-15 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 05-22-15, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Not much point in providing information about equipment that is no longer made since obsolete components cannot be compared to more recent stuff. Even providing information about equipment hierarchies isn't all that useful if you are looking at second hand bikes. 20 year old Shimano Dura Ace components(their top end) cannot be compared to current groupsets of a couple of levels down. .

You are asking to have people do research that you have to do yourself…
Your discussion about exceptions and variations sounded knowledgeable, but you do seem to note that there is a well known hierarchy of groupsets, and I think that is what the OP wanted to know about. Personally, I have an excellent bike shop and I can reliably take their advice, so I don't need to invest time and energy shopping around and comparing. If however you were to ask me about something I know well, like microscopes for example, I would be happy to oblige.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I think I have an Ultegra group set, but I would have to look. .
Maybe it is a Dura-Ace.
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Old 05-22-15, 08:49 AM
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How thin can you slice the baloney?

Shimano alone has several different component groups for each of road bike and mountain bike use. Sram, Campy and a couple of minor players add more. They ALL work. In general, as you move up the food chain, drivetrain components get a little bit better looking, a little bit lighter in weight and operate a little bit more crisply. I have to move up or down at least 2 component groups, however, to tell a difference. Those differences tend to change linearly as you more up or down the line. Price, changes, on the other hand, are exponential.
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Old 05-22-15, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
We hear it all of the time. "What kind of components do you have on that bike?" We've all heard of the shimano 105s, SRAM, Ultegras, Shimano Tiagras, etc but honestly, those don't mean much to me. Without years of experience in looking up prices and making comparisons, a normal person isn't going to know which components are "better" than others.

Is there any way we can make a list of component groupsets (maybe grouped by brand) from cheapest to most expensive. Considering most groupsets get better when you spend more money on them, it'll also be worst-best. It's just hard for someone like me to look at a bike online and say "Hmmm, that groupset isn't worth the price they're asking for that bike." I know something like this may be hard, but I think it'd be a great resource for people trying to buy bikes.

EDIT: Including older groupsets that may not be made anymore would be even more useful...
It doesn't take years, it takes a quick google search like "shimano groupset hierarchy"

If you want odler groupsets, head over to the C&V sub, or again, google "vintage shimano groupset hierarchy" A quick way to tell if an older groupset was higher quality is to know if it was made of alloy or steel. Alloy parts were generally considered the higher quality parts.

If you are buying LBS level drivetrain components, they will all be completely functional. I have had as many issues with the "lower end" as I have the "higher end" - which is virtually none.
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Old 05-22-15, 09:07 AM
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I don't know where all of you got the idea that I was saying that cheaper groupsets didn't work, or why you thought scolding me for wanting to learn a little from more experienced people was ok, but all I wanted was some information.

Usually bikeforums is a pretty reasonable and friendly place. Who knows what's on all of your nerves this morning.

For the record, I have no intention of using any of this information in buying a bike any time soon. I already own too many bikes. I don't need any more. I simply wanted information. Honestly, I was HOPING to be able to make better choices when I'm asked to pick a "component of equal quality" when fixing someone's bike in our local CO-OP, as there are hundreds of each component in the boxes.
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Old 05-22-15, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post

Honestly, I was HOPING to be able to make better choices when I'm asked to pick a "component of equal quality" when fixing someone's bike in our local CO-OP, as there are hundreds of each component in the boxes.
If people care that much, they should do their own research and look around ebay for the same component. For older stuff - the only part that might matter is the rear derailleur. Again, if it was made with alloy, usually a sign of good quality (or at least higher dollar). Steel stuff is super durable, prone to rusting if not taken care of and heavy, but otherwise functions just as well as their alloy cousins. Plastic parts are the only ones I would stay the heck away from. And the rest of it is a google search. I think you are hung up that there is something to "learn" as opposed to just finding a list (they are easy to find). There's no magic voodoo to learn
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Old 05-22-15, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I was HOPING to be able to make better choices when I'm asked to pick a "component of equal quality" when fixing someone's bike in our local CO-OP, as there are hundreds of each component in the boxes.
Like I said, how thin can you slice the baloney? Forget Tourney and XTR and the rest are all about equal quality. I'd pick the one I thought looked best on the bike.

I'm in the process of gathering parts for a bike rebuild right now. I asked my sons if one has a Shimano mountain bike derailleur. Whatever group they happen to have will almost surely find it's way onto my bike.
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Old 05-22-15, 09:48 AM
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Road bike groupsets: A complete buyer's guide - Cycling Weekly
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Old 05-22-15, 09:51 AM
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This write up was very beneficial for me over the past couple weeks while researching bikes. Granted its only for Shimano groupsets, but since most the bikes here in the US use Shimano parts, it was perfect. Once I got out and test road a few bikes I could really start to tell the difference. Between the feel, the sound, and the quickness of all the groupsets, I decided that I wanted at minimum the Tiagra. I would love the 105 or higher, but since this will be my first really nice bike, I decided the price to quality ratio was best at the Tiagra.
Shimano Road Groupsets: The Hierarchy | Evans Cycles | Ride It Blog | News, reviews, how-tos

I'm sure with a little digging you could find something similar for SRAM or other companies.
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Old 05-22-15, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
We hear it all of the time. "What kind of components do you have on that bike?" We've all heard of the shimano 105s, SRAM, Ultegras, Shimano Tiagras, etc but honestly, those don't mean much to me. Without years of experience in looking up prices and making comparisons, a normal person isn't going to know which components are "better" than others.

Is there any way we can make a list of component groupsets (maybe grouped by brand) from cheapest to most expensive. Considering most groupsets get better when you spend more money on them, it'll also be worst-best. It's just hard for someone like me to look at a bike online and say "Hmmm, that groupset isn't worth the price they're asking for that bike." I know something like this may be hard, but I think it'd be a great resource for people trying to buy bikes.

EDIT: Including older groupsets that may not be made anymore would be even more useful...

Older groupsets, if you know the year (even approximately) try googling the Shimano catalogue (or Suntour or whateve) and the year, and you might get lucky. The hierarchies are easy in the catalogue. What is then difficult is comparing brands.

I don't worry too much anymore. The difference between one groupset and the next one up is usually pretty subtle. I have a 1990 era bike with a 400 Exage group, and I have a Sport LX grouppo I am waiting to use on another bike, and I doubt I will see any difference, even though the sport LX is ranked one higher.
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Old 05-22-15, 03:09 PM
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Wikipedia has a good article on the Shimano Groupsets.

I haven't checked, but there may be similar articles about SRAM and Campy groupsets.

GH
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Old 05-22-15, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Usually bikeforums is a pretty reasonable and friendly place. Who knows what's on all of your nerves this morning.
Well it is, if you are asking a question about something specific. However if you are asking about something that would take literally hundreds of pages of text to answer in full you might run into a bit of frustration on the part of the people who answer. Your question is too general and non specific.
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Old 05-22-15, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Not much point in providing information about equipment that is no longer made since obsolete components cannot be compared to more recent stuff. Even providing information about equipment hierarchies isn't all that useful if you are looking at second hand bikes. 20 year old Shimano Dura Ace components(their top end) cannot be compared to current groupsets of a couple of levels down. You are asking to have people do research that you have to do yourself. Another thing to factor in is that bike manufacturers will use some off brand components to save money, or they will upgrade one drivetrain component to give the impression that a bike is better than it is. Over the last 20 years, all the major component manufacturers have made changes to all their equipment lines. They have added gears, they have changed the way many of their components work so that older stuff is incompatible with newer parts. Sometimes, newer components don't work as well as the ones they replaced
This may be but when you are looking at used equipment the hierarchy has remained fairly constant at least with Shimano. Sure you can't really compare 20 year old Dura ace with 2015 Tiagra, but you know if a bike has Dura Ace from any generation it's probably a nice bike.
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Old 05-22-15, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
This may be but when you are looking at used equipment the hierarchy has remained fairly constant at least with Shimano. Sure you can't really compare 20 year old Dura ace with 2015 Tiagra, but you know if a bike has Dura Ace from any generation it's probably a nice bike.
Probably a nice bike, yes, but if you go by component group alone you can fool yourself. Frankly I would rather have a 20 year old Ultegra components than 20 year old Dura Ace stuff, much better compatibility with newer parts. But you have to know enough to know that.That is the point. Simply knowing the hierarchy doesn't mean that you can tell if what you are looking at is worthwhile, you need to know a lot more
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Old 05-23-15, 09:46 AM
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In the vintage friction groupset Suntour from mid level on up wins hands down by a landslide in both reliability/durability and shifting performance.

Also later after friction came Shimano SIS, this system shifts faster and more precise than the current modern stuff does! And it's more more reliable than the current modern stuff.

In modern stuff the lines get a bit blurred, I think price wise Shimano 105 is the workhorse group in terms of price, as mentioned, and durability. If you properly set up a 105 system you would have a difficult time telling it apart from Ultegra and maybe even Dura Ace in shifting performance by using Dura Ace 9000 cables. My last new bike I bought I got almost all 105, the only changes I made to the 105 component package was going with Ultegra rear derailleur and Dura Ace 9000 cables. The same is true with Campy, the middle of the road Athena is their workhorse and offers more value for the money. How does Athena compare to 105? (I have both), aesthetics wise the Campy looks better (the older skeleton style I have), it also seems to shift smoother and it's quieter, durability wise I haven't gone enough miles on either to comment. Again though Shimano 105 is less expensive than Athena but Athena is lighter if that means anything, but 105 is the bargain group of the two.

By the way, the Suntour line of components to this day, and probably will be forever, was and is the most reliable components EVER built. My Superbe stuff has over 160,000 miles on it without a break down will testify to that.

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Old 05-23-15, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
We hear it all of the time. "What kind of components do you have on that bike?" We've all heard of the shimano 105s, SRAM, Ultegras, Shimano Tiagras, etc but honestly, those don't mean much to me. Without years of experience in looking up prices and making comparisons, a normal person isn't going to know which components are "better" than others.

Is there any way we can make a list of component groupsets (maybe grouped by brand) from cheapest to most expensive. Considering most groupsets get better when you spend more money on them, it'll also be worst-best. It's just hard for someone like me to look at a bike online and say "Hmmm, that groupset isn't worth the price they're asking for that bike." I know something like this may be hard, but I think it'd be a great resource for people trying to buy bikes.

EDIT: Including older groupsets that may not be made anymore would be even more useful...

Do You Have a Salary and benefits package, for someone doing all that work for you? Medical and Dental?
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