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Ultegra Vs Dura-Ace

Old 11-29-21, 12:56 PM
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Rdmonster69
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Ultegra Vs Dura-Ace

I am in the middle of a bike build (2000 Litespeed Classic) and after Christmas will be picking a component group. I have a Trek SLR 6 with mechanical Ultegra. Really nice bike. My old Trek 2.3 has lots of old Dura Ace gear on it (7700 acquired through ebay mostly). I am seriously considering buying a Dura Ace 9100 mechanical set for this build.

Will the new Dura Ace components work with a frame of this vintage ? It seems like it will but if anyone knows why it wouldn't I would love to hear it.. I already have a fork, bottom bracket and headset. Steerer tube shim and spacers. Ordering a stem next week.

I guess I am wondering if the Dura Ace is worth it. I have no illusions about my need for pro level gear. I am old and slow AF. I just want this bike to be light and have the best gear I can afford on it.

This rules out any DI2 stuff.

It looks like the biggest difference between Ultegra and DA is the weight savings. If there is any real world advantage other than that I would be interested to know.

I don't need to spend 2x as much for the DA stuff but honestly I can and have wanted to have a bike with full DA for along time. This is my shot. If you want to try and talk me out of it. Go for it. If you want to validate my decision that is cool too !!
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Old 11-29-21, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
If you want to try and talk me out of it. Go for it.

If you want to validate my decision that is cool too !!
Talk you out of it: You'll put your eye out.

Validate: You won't put your eye out.

I think we just had this thread, and the consensus was that the weight and the price were the relevant differences, and performance is basically wonderful for both..
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Old 11-29-21, 01:17 PM
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DA is nicer. If you don't mind paying for it there is no downside. Better start collecting it now, everything is in short supply. From what I've read the new 12 speed is electronic only.
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Old 11-29-21, 01:21 PM
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I had this discussion with myself a couple of years ago, I just could not justify the cost of the DA as I did not race. Ultegra shifts just as nice and is only marginally lighter. Shoot, 105 shifting is pretty damn sweet these days as well.
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Old 11-29-21, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Talk you out of it: You'll put your eye out.

Validate: You won't put your eye out.

I think we just had this thread, and the consensus was that the weight and the price were the relevant differences, and performance is basically wonderful for both..
Sorry to double up on the threads. No one has told me I'd put my eye out since before that year I got my Red Ryder fir Christmas !!
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Old 11-29-21, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
DA is nicer. If you don't mind paying for it there is no downside. Better start collecting it now, everything is in short supply. From what I've read the new 12 speed is electronic only.
I have found a few places with it in stock as well as a few places taking back orders for the crankset I want. Hoping that doesn't change in the next 4 or 5 weeks. I won't put out the loot for e shifting.
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Old 11-29-21, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
Sorry to double up on the threads. No one has told me I'd put my eye out since before that year I got my Red Ryder fir Christmas !!
No problem on the double-up. That one degenerated into an absurd debate over the meaning of the phrase "money is no object" so a cleaner discussion on the comparative merits may be in order.
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Old 11-29-21, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
DA is nicer. If you don't mind paying for it there is no downside. Better start collecting it now, everything is in short supply. From what I've read the new 12 speed is electronic only.

Just curious--if you didn't know which was on the bike and you can't weigh it, would you be able to tell the difference between mechanical DA and Ultegra and how?

This is an honest question, I've never ridden anything Dura Ace.
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Old 11-29-21, 01:40 PM
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GCN did a video blind testing 105 versus Ultegra. They couldn't tell the difference. I doubt there would be a noticeable difference between Ultegra and Dura Ace.
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Old 11-29-21, 01:46 PM
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Cannot speak for Dura-Ace but I have zero complaints for Ultegra 6800 or the older 6600.
Both work without a hitch.

Just a query. Would the money be better spent on an upgraded wheelset if you are looking for bang-for-the-buck?
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Old 11-29-21, 01:52 PM
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I have some dura ace and one ultegra group but am mostly SRAM these days. I had found dura ace shifters to be more durable, the jockey pulleys sealed ball bearings, smoother hub bearings, the brakes feel slightly more linear and positive, and the overall finish is nicer. The Ultegra front derailleur is better than anything SRAM has ever made, so, it is all relative. I had one set of Ultegra shifters go belly up and I have a set right now that are giving me concern. I used to ride over 10,000 miles per year in all kinds of weather and it was affordable. I doubt anyone could find functional fault with Ultegra. It works great.
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Old 11-29-21, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Just curious--if you didn't know which was on the bike and you can't weigh it, would you be able to tell the difference between mechanical DA and Ultegra and how?

This is an honest question, I've never ridden anything Dura Ace.
I guarantee with no reservation that the only time I will know the difference is when I look at the bike. I just want it.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
Cannot speak for Dura-Ace but I have zero complaints for Ultegra 6800 or the older 6600.
Both work without a hitch.

Just a query. Would the money be better spent on an upgraded wheelset if you are looking for bang-for-the-buck?
I have already eyeballed the Dura Ace wheels as well. The C24's are the lower end carbon/Aluminum version for the DA line up but get positive reviews overall. I could go pricier on the wheels and cheaper on the group set or go crazy with the wheels as well.

If I was really smart I would have just cashiered this whole project and bought another Ducati.....but this is my Titanium bike vanity project and thus the Dura Ace plans.

May run into money problems as it is seeing how I need to hire a lawyer (not for a divorce thank god lol) and my neurosurgeon (who hates me bicycling) has some very expensive pictures to take....but that is a whole different thread !!
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Old 11-29-21, 02:01 PM
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Why do you think you couldn't put modern Dura Ace on it? AFAIK, you can even put 12 speed Dura Ace 9200 on it if you can get it. Though I don't know if they make a cable pulled brake lever for 12 speed. I put all 105 5800 on a 1991 Schwinn Paramount with 130 mm rear spacing and everything fit and it shifted better than anything I'd ever had prior. Maybe even since.

However Ultegra is the highest group I've ever had. So I can't say whether Dura Ace is worth it. Mostly the difference between 105 and Ultegra now is weight. I suspect Dura Ace is still a little better on shifting and a little lighter.

And if spending money for Dura Ace isn't an issue, why not Di2?

Last edited by Iride01; 11-29-21 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Just curious--if you didn't know which was on the bike and you can't weigh it, would you be able to tell the difference between mechanical DA and Ultegra and how?

This is an honest question, I've never ridden anything Dura Ace.
I certainly couldn't tell. The only DA I have is 7800 and I can't tell it from 6600 in use. I just thought it looked better! I did have some 7900 shifters that were junk, first gen with shift cables under the tape. I got 8000 the last time I bought a group and at the time the DA premium was only $500 or so.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
And if spending money for Dura Ace isn't an issue, why not Di2?
the frame
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Old 11-29-21, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
the frame
I ran that around in my head initially before I ask why not Di2, but I couldn't come up with anything as to why not. So without me having to go back figure it out for myself, can you enlighten me?
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Old 11-29-21, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
I guarantee with no reservation that the only time I will know the difference is when I look at the bike. I just want it.
If you can afford it, you just validated getting the Dura Ace. You will no longer have to wonder about differences and value. You will know from your experience. I have never had Dura Ace, the Ultegra 6500 and 6600 are really good. The 105 7000 is really good. If I, like you, really wanted the top of the line, had the disposable cash to spend, I like to think I would just get it. Reality is, just like you, I would probably be questioning if the cost is really worth it. The answer is likely no, but damn, if you just have to, nothing wrong with stroking that ego.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I certainly couldn't tell. The only DA I have is 7800 and I can't tell it from 6600 in use. I just thought it looked better! I did have some 7900 shifters that were junk, first gen with shift cables under the tape. I got 8000 the last time I bought a group and at the time the DA premium was only $500 or so.

Thanks! For some reason, no one in the last thread wanted to come out and say that the non-weight issues were really esthetics and cachet. I think those are perfectly good reasons to buy what you want but I think some of the people on the last thread were afraid to say they really couldn't "feel" a difference.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:46 PM
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I can tell you that the bike that I have with Dura Ace - originally late 7400 series, now a mix of 7400 and 7800 RD and STIs - shifts better than any other bike I have, including current 105 and 2006-era Campy Veloce and Chorus. Mind you, everything ELSE I have is all DT shifters and mostly friction, so it's not saying much to say it shifts better than those!

A year and a half ago, just as the Pandemic was getting started, I spent a bit of time thinking about doing pretty much exactly what you're doing. The thing that stopped me was I couldn't find the frame I wanted - a 2000-2001 Ultimate in 59cm. That and the money.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:47 PM
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Yes, less weight is an attraction for many but I'm a sucker for a well finished part. A nicer taper, machined edge, maybe a little shiny as counterpoint to matte.... No deep pockets here though, so I generally am content with "bang for the buck."
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Old 11-29-21, 02:48 PM
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Yes, I love my Dura Ace drive trains (7900 and 9150), but if we're talking just "wow" factor, Ultegra still counts.

When I'm riding with people and eyeing their bikes, if I see a sporty build with Ultegra, I'm not really less impressed.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:56 PM
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Its just something I have always wanted. I am not hung up on the wow factor for other people. Just my own Wow factor. Lately I have been spending money on Bikes and not motorcycles. For what I spent on my SLR6 I could have almost bought a Ducati 1098S. I owned a Ducati 1098 ..... I have always regretted trading it for a different Ducati. If it has 2 wheels and I can throw stupid amounts of money at it I'm in. A 20 year old frame that I want to put pro level components on def fits the bill. FWIW the Ultegra on the SLR is petty fantastic. But darn it. I wants what I want.
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Old 11-29-21, 03:00 PM
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I wonder how many who say there is no difference have actually owned both.

The 9100 Dura Ace and R8000 Ultegra look like kissing cousins. I do wonder what the specific differences are on those two grouppos, never ridden either.

DA is obviously much lighter and the finish is nicer to my eye. The finish and aesthetics means a lot to me.

I was all set to go 9200 DA but the rim brake version still has the junction box and there is probably little chance to get a group until Spring or Summer. Instead, I have ugly AXS Red.
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Old 11-29-21, 03:06 PM
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Maybe what the OP should do is take 1 part, front or rear derailleur from his SLR 6. Buy the DA version that would work with that version of Ultegra.(Heck, get it used from EBay) Install it on the SLR 6 in place of the Ultegra part and see what kind of difference it makes. He/she can determine if it is worth it or not.
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