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Are higher-end Shimano groupsets "better" or just lighter?

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Are higher-end Shimano groupsets "better" or just lighter?

Old 09-08-21, 12:39 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Nah the teeth were supposedly wearing faster on the fancy cassettes made of alloy (or was it Ti?).
This got hashed out at length here just yesterday: Groupset tiers and diminishing returns
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Old 09-08-21, 12:49 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
This got hashed out at length here just yesterday: Groupset tiers and diminishing returns
I didn't get past the whole "cost no object argument", but the consensus there as well seems to agree with all the historical complaints that the Ti cogs of the D/A (but not the steel ones) and the full Ti cassettes of super record do indeed wear faster than their steel counterparts (depending on which cogs you use most frequently in D/A, since only the largest - and slowest wearing cogs are Ti). Since I exclusively ride Campagnolo, I wasn't aware that SRAM was exclusively hardened steel in Red, so they don't have the same issue. The same goes for everything I've heard about aftermarket alloy cassettes that are often special event only.
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Old 09-08-21, 12:55 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I didn't get past the whole "cost no object argument", but the consensus there as well seems to agree with all the historical complaints that the Ti cogs of the D/A (but not the steel ones) and the full Ti cassettes of super record do indeed wear faster than their steel counterparts (depending on which cogs you use most frequently in D/A, since only the largest - and slowest wearing cogs are Ti). Since I exclusively ride Campagnolo, I wasn't aware that SRAM was exclusively hardened steel in Red, so they don't have the same issue. The same goes for everything I've heard about aftermarket alloy cassettes that are often special event only.
No, that is not the consensus there. And it is definitely not the consensus among people who have actually owned these cassettes. Read it again and youíll understand why the fact that Ti wears faster than steel does not mean that DA and XTR cassettes wear out faster.
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Old 09-08-21, 01:12 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
No, that is not the consensus there. And it is definitely not the consensus among people who have actually owned these cassettes. Read it again and youíll understand why the fact that Ti wears faster than steel does not mean that DA and XTR cassettes wear out faster.
As I said, it depends on how you ride them. If you mainly ride on the small cogs, that's true. But people who spend a lot of time on the larger, Ti cogs of D/A do find they wear faster even though larger cogs wear more slowly than small cogs (that may not have been your experience if you mainly ride the smaller cogs). At least that was the case 10 or so years ago when I last cared about shimano. And it was true the entirely Ti Super Record cassettes wore faster than steel Chorus cassettes as a whole.
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Old 09-08-21, 01:23 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
As I said, it depends on how you ride them. If you mainly ride on the small cogs, that's true. But people who spend a lot of time on the larger, Ti cogs of D/A do find they wear faster even though larger cogs wear more slowly than small cogs (that may not have been your experience if you mainly ride the smaller cogs). At least that was the case 10 or so years ago when I last cared about shimano. And it was true the entirely Ti Super Record cassettes wore faster than steel Chorus cassettes as a whole.
No, that is not the consensus now, and it was not 10-15 years ago either. But there have been people speculating that is should be true for even longer than that.

I am not going to go over all the reasons this is a flawed, silly argument against DA and XTR durability. Its all in the thread that I linked to.

FWIW, my experience with the older XTR cassettes with ti cogs were on MTBs where I definitely spent more time in the largest cogs. One would need to ride almost exclusively in the largest ti cogs for them to actually wear out faster than the smaller (or middle range) steel ones, at which point you really ought to be looking at your gearing.

Last edited by Kapusta; 09-08-21 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 09-08-21, 01:44 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
As I said, it depends on how you ride them. If you mainly ride on the small cogs, that's true. But people who spend a lot of time on the larger, Ti cogs of D/A do find they wear faster even though larger cogs wear more slowly than small cogs (that may not have been your experience if you mainly ride the smaller cogs). At least that was the case 10 or so years ago when I last cared about shimano. And it was true the entirely Ti Super Record cassettes wore faster than steel Chorus cassettes as a whole.
You might want to let this go.
Even if this was true it wouldn't establish that high end groups are less durable. One component out of a half dozen+ in a group? Do you really think someone who rides DA or equivalent is going to be concerned if a cassette lasts only two years instead of three? The fact is, better stuff is better and the only reason we don't all choose it is cost.
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Old 09-08-21, 02:29 PM
  #32  
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As far as Shimano, I used to buy nothing but Dura Ace until it got too expensive. Then I bought Ultegra which will now stop since the new stuff is going to be expensive electronic only. And I've had everything down to Claris. Weight is about the only real difference until you start talking about fewer cogs with the lower groups. Any other differences are so slight it's almost irrelevant to me personally. I did just order a SRAM Rival 22 group because I've always wanted to try the brand. I doubt I'll buy a Shimano group ever again.
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Old 09-08-21, 03:05 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
You might want to let this go.
Even if this was true it wouldn't establish that high end groups are less durable. One component out of a half dozen+ in a group? Do you really think someone who rides DA or equivalent is going to be concerned if a cassette lasts only two years instead of three? The fact is, better stuff is better and the only reason we don't all choose it is cost.
Bingo.

Consider the thread title: "Are higher end groupsets 'better' or just lighter?" Kind of a weird question, since - to most cyclists - lighter IS better.

Dura Ace IS better than the lower-tier groups. It may not be worth the extra cost to most riders, but people shouldn't BS themselves about it. And when they come to bf and try BS'ing, it will lead to a discussion.
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Old 09-08-21, 03:13 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Bingo.
Consider the thread title: "Are higher end groupsets 'better' or just lighter?" Kind of a weird question, since - to most cyclists - lighter IS better.
This really depends on the goal of a cyclist's riding. For example for me currently, it's mostly to ride around and burn calories, but be able to go relatively fast doing it when I need/want to.

But I can totally see that if the goal is to compete against oneself or others (time trials, races, etc...) this lighter = better thing would be the case.

Of course this is within reason... I'm not a competitor but I know I wouldn't want a 40lbs bike either because that would just be way too sluggish and not very fun. But to each their own.
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Old 09-08-21, 03:16 PM
  #35  
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oh well....
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Old 09-08-21, 04:11 PM
  #36  
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Try to buy and expensive bike without all the high end stuff. You'll never do it.

Nor will you see a bike with Shimano Tourney in any of the Grand Tours.

So buy what you can afford and don't get caught up in all fuss.

But better won't make you faster. You'll just shift smoother while you get there.
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Old 09-08-21, 05:34 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
But better won't make you faster. You'll just shift smoother while you get there.

That's actually a really good way to sum it up! 🙂

I've ridden pretty much every Shimano groupset from 8-speed Claris triple through to 11-speed Dura Ace Di2. They all shifted gears and got me to where I needed to go.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:15 PM
  #38  
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Reply to user himespau comment #3 above

I cant quite agree with your comment that lighter equals less durable.

The difference in weight is achieved by stronger materials such as more advanced Al alloys, which are harder at the same density (weight per volume) as some lower grade alloys.
Some these more advanced alloys need considerably more care and narrower processing parameters when casting or pressing, hence the costs are higher and there is a possibility of larger excess waste and out of spec parts.
Post processing such as drilling the joint holes are to tighter specs, surface processing (polishing and deeper anodizing) lead to further cost increases.

Several years ago (~8Y) we did a small study as part of student project on quality assurance where we subjected a set of 3 brand new9 speed rear derailleurs (Tiagra,105 and Ultegra) to the same forces acting on them and found that they all performed pretty well and the differences in deflection under force which are a measure of the production process and the machining tolerances were very marginal. The differences were in the order of maximum 0.5 mm with a sprocket spacing of 4.35mm. So this difference hardly makes any difference in functionality.
As second stage of the experiment we subjected the derailleurs to many thousands of movements up and down with significantly larger forces on the m as they would encounter in real life and the lower end Tiagra showed the largest increase in flex and deflection under load, followed by the 105, whereas the Ultegra hardly changed at all fro m the deflections when new. But even the Tiagra still worked well despite the larger tolerances. This was in a 9 speed setup and things might look a bit different in a 12 speed setup but then you dont get 105 and Tiagra as 12 speed, only Ultegra and DuraAce.

So lower weight is not an argument for lower life time of the component.

Last edited by rrjmaier; 09-13-21 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:26 PM
  #39  
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Other than being better in a few key areas, they really aren't any better.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
The "nicer" stuff still gets just as dirty & is just as hard to clean. Which, is a confusing thing.
if it weighed less, I'd expect it to hold less gunk.
Problem is that some of he weight saving is achieved by some more convoluted shapes, hollows and cross bores to remove material where it is not needed for strength which creates geometries which more easily catch the crud.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:40 PM
  #41  
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Bling and more Bling

Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Other than being better in a few key areas, they really aren't any better.
They might be a bit better but have a bit more "bling". Even the mid range ones are perfectly suited to the job at hand.
With a 11 speed 105 I might shift up in 1/2 second, with a Ultegra or Dura ace it might be a fraction faster, who knows and who cares unless you want to win at the Tour de France.

It is the same with all bling stuff:
My car, a Skoda Fabia, gets me to my destination as fast as a Ferrari and possibly in more comfort.
A Rolex watch also can only show seconds
A cook in a £10000 kitchen does not cook better than my gran on her ancient Aga
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Old 09-13-21, 01:42 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by rrjmaier View Post
Reply to user himespau comment #3 above

I cant quite agree with your comment that lighter equals less durable.

The difference in weight is achieved by stronger materials such as more advanced Al alloys, which are harder at the same density (weight per volume) as some lower grade alloys.
Some these more advanced alloys need considerably more care and narrower processing parameters when casting or pressing, hence the costs are higher and there is a possibility of larger excess waste and out of spec parts.
Post processing such as drilling the joint holes are to tighter specs, surface processing (polishing and deeper anodizing) lead to further cost increases.

Several years ago (~8Y) we did a small study as part of student project on quality assurance where we subjected a set of 3 brand new9 speed rear derailleurs (Tiagra,105 and Ultegra) to the same forces acting on them and found that they all performed pretty well and the differences in deflection under force which are a measure of the production process and the machining tolerances were very marginal. The differences were in the order of maximum 0.5 mm with a sprocket spacing of 4.35mm. So this difference hardly makes any difference in functionality.
As second stage of the experiment we subjected the derailleurs to many thousands of movements up and down with significantly larger forces on the m as they would encounter in real life and the lower end Tiagra showed the largest increase in flex and deflection under load, followed by the 105, whereas the Ultegra hardly changed at all fro m the deflections when new. But even the Tiagra still worked well despite the larger tolerances. This was in a 9 speed setup and things might look a bit different in a 12 speed setup but then you dont get 105 and Tiagra as 12 speed, only Ultegra and DuraAce.

So lower weight is not an argument for lower life time of the component.
As we went through quite extensively above, I was thinking pretty much exclusively about cassettes because those are what I change most often and had heard anecdotes from a number of people who had used alloy or Ti cassettes in the past and found them to wear faster. Other people posting above didn't have that same experience (whether that's due to different brands, different riding styles, different construction techniques, or just different experiences is up in the air). Still others note that, if you don't have a problem dropping that kind of cash on the top of the line gear, maybe you don't notice (or care about) a somewhat reduced interval between changing out cassettes (or maybe you just don't keep your groupsets as long as I do - I still ride 10 speed Campagnolo - and upgrade to the newest technology sooner). I did unfortunately have occasion to notice that my modern Record crown races (because they're hardened to make up for being thinner, would be my guess) are more brittle than the ones in my veloce and athena headsets from the 90's and shattered when I tried to put them on a slightly oversized crown race seat unlike the older crown races that just refused to go on (that could be due to a current run of crown races made in a specific batch or a change in manufacturing style or location though).
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Old 09-13-21, 02:54 PM
  #43  
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Does a cassette and chain combo with more than average speeds (10,11,12.. ) shift smoother? Better chainline maybe?

Seems like the more speeds in my rear cassette, the smoother the shifts.. at least when comparing cassettes with otherwise similar spacing
.
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Old 09-13-21, 03:12 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Does a cassette and chain combo with more than average speeds (10,11,12.. ) shift smoother? Better chainline maybe?

Seems like the more speeds in my rear cassette, the smoother the shifts.. at least when comparing cassettes with otherwise similar spacing
.
Inexplicable.
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Old 09-13-21, 06:34 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Inexplicable.
Less space in between each cog + narrow chain maybe?
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Old 09-13-21, 07:26 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by rrjmaier View Post
Problem is that some of he weight saving is achieved by some more convoluted shapes, hollows and cross bores to remove material where it is not needed for strength which creates geometries which more easily catch the crud.
crud adds weight too, therefore engineering should consider a design that also eliminates such crud collecting.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:38 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Good to know. Give some examples?
Here's an example given to me by Mick Rogers (three times world TT champion in the early noughties). When he was riding for the Mapei espoirs team around the turn of the century, they were using Campagnolo Record components. However, the team mechanics found that the rear derailleurs were quite frequently getting broken in crashes due to both the cage and parallelogram being made from carbon fibre. They fitted Chorus RDs instead, where those parts were aluminium, and they survived crashes much better. And looking at the Shimano side of things, Dura-Ace cassettes have the large cogs made from titanium to save weight, but this also means that those cogs wear more rapidly than if they were steel. Similarly, when the German "Tour" bike magazine tested bike chains some years ago, they found they got better wear from the 105 chain than from the Ultegra or Dura-Ace chains.

As to whether higher-end components are "better", I can remember looking at the Campagnolo spare parts catalogue some years ago, and noticed that quite frequently Record, Chorus, and Centaur all shared exactly the same internal spare part with the same catalogue number. So what you were getting with the higher-end components was something lighter with maybe a better finish, but not something that was going to last longer.
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Old 09-13-21, 08:44 PM
  #48  
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Old 09-14-21, 07:41 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Nick Payne View Post
As to whether higher-end components are "better", I can remember looking at the Campagnolo spare parts catalogue some years ago, and noticed that quite frequently Record, Chorus, and Centaur all shared exactly the same internal spare part with the same catalogue number. So what you were getting with the higher-end components was something lighter with maybe a better finish, but not something that was going to last longer.
To some extent that replacement part interchangeability is true. On the other hand, Record and Chorus shifters and rear derailleurs often have/had bearings where Athena, Centaur, Veloce, Mirage, etc. have/had bushings. That's a longevity and a quality bonus for Record and Chorus.

And, unless you have shifters from the couple years that Athena/Centaur/Veloce were Ultrashift, you can't tell me that Athena/Potenza shifters on down with their Powershift or Command functionality are as good as the Record/Chorus and their Ultrashift. Ultrashift with it's up to 3 cogs up and 5 cogs down in the rear is far superior to Powershift (1 up and 3 down) or Command (1 each way like Shimano or SRAM), and, if you're running a triple up front, the 12 detentes from Ultrashift make it easier to get your trim perfect than the 7 Powershift gives you. On the other hand, if you're not like me and prefer doubles, the front shifting really isn't as big of a difference.

It could also be that they only sell Record/chorus-level replacement parts because it's easier than stocking parts for all the levels so that's why the catalog only lists one part for each. I know that I got a set of Record replacement Ergo bodies for my one set of Powershift Centaur Ergos (they don't sell replacement bodies from other levels) because I wanted the Ultrashift functionality and upgrading my shifters (basically transferring brake blade, hoods and bar clamp over) was cheaper than buying a used set of Record/Chorus Ergos. Still haven't actually done the transfer yet because I haven't gotten around to building the bike they'll go on (there's one in the queue first).
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Old 09-14-21, 10:20 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Okay ... you and I are about as fast .... I have CF wunderbikes with nearly top-tier parts, vintage steel with damaged frames and semi-modern parts, vintage aluminum with crappy newish parts, and a modern aluminum bike with new and good parts .... all are about as fast. the weights range over about 11 pounds, lightest to heaviest, and the speed---not the speed potential---is almost always dependent on how I feel that day.

I built a bike with Ultegaa---second-best Shimano and generally considered really good----and the next one with 105, one step down, because I knew form experience that functionally 105 is every bit as good at the level I ride. But .... 9- and 10-speed Tiagra are also.

I don't do SRAM or Camapgnolo, but as for Shimano, get Sora (9-speed) or above for road use and you will be fine for life.

Have to be careful with Sora, though. Some of the brifters use those damn thumb triggers for shifting and while I'm sure that has its devotees, I find it quite awful. It ruins riding the hoods for me.
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