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"Modern Day 105 is as good as..."

Old 11-13-23, 04:58 AM
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"Modern Day 105 is as good as..."

...Older Ultegra/Dura Ace.

IMHO - it's not. Aside from the ergonomics of the brake hoods - it's not.

2001 9 speed Ultegra vs 11 speed 105:
-Ultegra shifts better
-Ultegra shifts faster
-Ultegra shifts smoother
-Derailleur adjustments are easier - even with a triple front.

-105 is full of plastic parts and pieces, looks like crap IMHO
-Shifting and adjusting the shifting is a crap shoot. (yes, I've had a pro/race bike shop try and tune it up a few times)
-The front mech has about 1mm of "tuning", one tiny turn of the screw and things are rubbing, one tiny turn in the other direction and no shift...
-The rear mech is finicky as well, very sensitive to every minor adjustment, and easily comes out of adjustment.
-Shifts are slower, not as crisp.

22 year old Ultegra - better than 1 year old 105.
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Old 11-13-23, 05:38 AM
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I never had any issues with 11-speed 105 and couldnít tell the difference between 11-speed 105 and Ultegra. Itís too long since I ran 9-speed Ultegra or DA to make a direct comparison, but I donít recall any problems or feeling any different about it. I had one bike with 9-speed Ultegra and one with 9-speed DA and couldnít tell the difference between those either.

One thing that annoys me slightly on 11-speed 105 is the rattly sounding brifters when riding on chip seal roads. I canít remember that on the older groups, but itís been a long time.

I can say that I do prefer 12-speed SRAM AXS to all of the above. The game has moved on beyond cables.
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Old 11-13-23, 06:03 AM
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Yep, another good point - the rattling brifters.

I'm riding these two groupsets side by side right now - the old stuff is just better.
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Old 11-13-23, 06:46 AM
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My Reynolds 853 bike with 9-speed Ultegra is quietly rusting away in the basement. My Ultegra 10-speed STI levers are sitting in a box somewhere, only because I rarely throw anything out.

Got sick of having to (attempt to) nurse them back to health by giving them messy baths in WD-40 and such. Hats off to Shimano's engineers for their ability to design something nearly as complicated as the innards of a Palek Philippe wristwatch, but I like those parts to meet me at least half-way. If I perform maintenance on them reasonably regularly, I expect my bike parts, including shifters, to work until they wear out. Having to give my shifters saunas and facials does not constitute reasonable maintenance.

So my one drop bar bike that remains in the rotation now has a Microshift setup. No finessing required to go from gear to gear. Assertive clicks, always positive engagement. No more hoping the Ultegra shifters consent to work the way they're supposed to this time. They're gone, and they're going to stay gone.
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Old 11-13-23, 07:12 AM
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I have a good time buying second hand bikes like the tarmac SL2, stripping dura ace off it, installing cheap modern groupsets like sora, and selling it
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Old 11-13-23, 07:34 AM
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IME: It is, aside from fiddly set up, it is. Faster, more accurate, and smoother; and consistent with little to no adjustments once set up. And, the rim brake calipers of the 7000 are much better, but clearance is limited. As to aesthetics, "apples to oranges", and "eyes of the beholder adages". I like 6500 just fine, still have a partial shift set, but the shifters are not in use. Both derailleurs are matched with 6400 bar ends set in friction mode, with 46/36 and 11/34 11 speed cassette. I have no DA experience.
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Old 11-13-23, 07:38 AM
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Other than the finish, I canít tell any difference in the performance between my 9-speed ultegra stuff and my 10/11 speed 105 stuff.

I mean the lever feel when it shifts is a little classier (less plasticy) on the Ultegra, but zero difference in how it shifts.
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Old 11-13-23, 08:00 AM
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I too am sick and tired of finnicky shifting, always having to adjust the derailleurs, sticky shifters, etc.
I've gone back to 5 speed down tube mounted friction shifters on my Aethos. It took some work to attach them but zip ties are awesome stuff. No longer do I hear the chain rubbing, no worries about getting the derailleur adjustment 'just right', no more worries about the shifter cables breaking off inside the shifters or the shifters getting dry and sticky inside.
LOL
I didn't do any of the above.
My Aethos ran Ultegra 11 speed mechanical for a year and before the Aethos the kit was on a different frame for maybe 2 years. During that time the only annoyance I had is the pressure required to shift the small chain ring onto the large. I'm a small person, 5'4", with small hands and it takes a bit more effort than I prefer and that is even using the 'easy to shift' front derailleur. But it worked every time without fail, as did the rear derailleur. The only time I had to make tension adjustments was when the tension lessened requiring a small change to get it back where it needed to be.
Yes it is a bit more difficult but that is because of all the gears jammed onto the rear end. The spacing is closer requiring a more precise adjustment and more patience and skill when making the adjustment. Yes the chain can be a bit more noisy...again because of the spacing...but a waxed chain is almost soundless hehehe.
The fewer the gears in the back the easier it is to adjust the derailleur as there is more room for less than precise adjustment.
Considering I started on 5 speed down tube friction shifters and using, repairing and servicing them since the mid '80's and still working as a wrench today I will say it is far easier to work on 8-9 and 10 speed kit as there is just more forgiveness in spacing and fewer parts in the shifters.

To change track just a bit. I have been riding on Di2 12 speed 105 for nearly a year and love it love it love it. It was easy to set up and adjust and since the first adjustment has not needed it again. I've also just finished a build on a SL8 SWorks Tarmac with a full 12 speed Di2 Dura Ace grouppo and in all honesty I don't see or feel a difference between the two. My 105 works just as well as the Dura Ace...yes the 105 is heavier and maybe isn't as 'svelte' looking but considering I don't look at the kit when riding and the cost savings I'll take the 105 any time and every time. It was also a real pain in the ass mounting the battery in the SL8 seat tube. It mounts in a special holder which clips onto the seat post thus sitting around 5-6" below the seat post in the seat tube. The seat tube water bottle boss intrudes into the seat post and prevents the seat post/battery from going deeper. Not only is cutting the seat post required for the average rider...not crazy high...but the holes have to be drilled into the seat post in the correct placing to hold the clip that holds the battery in place...glad I have a drill press in the shop...it was an easy chore but another chore and measuring many times before cutting...twice...because I was a bit nervous and did a first cut as a test to make sure there were no problems...second cut was where it needed to be and the seat post/battery sits in the seat tube correctly with a tiny bit of room to spare.

As they get more fiddly, suspect like F1, etc. vehicles, extra space is lost and more precise fits, measuring, cutting, etc. becomes the norm. It wasn't hard it just required more thought and measuring before cutting and installing.
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Old 11-13-23, 08:19 AM
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My whale oil lamp was the best...
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Old 11-13-23, 08:24 AM
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I have early 2000's 105 9 speed on two bikes. Have had them both for several years. No problems at all with either one. I've been tempted to upgrade a couple times but the if it ain't broke don't fix it thing keeps getting in the way
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Old 11-13-23, 08:27 AM
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My 105 5800 shifted every bit as good as it's Ultegra equivalent at the time. The only real difference was weight. It was quite a bit heavier. Never had any of the issues others are complaining about as far as loose and rattling shifters. I think there is a lot of reminiscing for the old days and remembering the stuff as better when it wasn't really. Sure it may have been beefier made in places where it didn't really need to be.

I go to car shows and listen to all the spectators say how much better cars were built back in the day. All I remember about cars back in the day was that I had to work on mine every other weekend. New cars I've had seldom see a shop.
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Old 11-13-23, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
My whale oil lamp was the best...
The whales may have a different opinion.
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Old 11-13-23, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
The whales may have a different opinion.
I'm thinking of hot dipping my chains in ambergris...
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Old 11-13-23, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
Yep, another good point - the rattling brifters.

I'm riding these two groupsets side by side right now - the old stuff is just better.
No doubt you are right in this instance. But it is not normal for modern 105 to need constant mech adjustment. Mine was set and forget. I find that shift quality is far more dependent on drivetrain cleanliness and wear than anything else.
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Old 11-13-23, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
...Older Ultegra/Dura Ace.

IMHO - it's not. Aside from the ergonomics of the brake hoods - it's not.

2001 9 speed Ultegra vs 11 speed 105:
-Ultegra shifts better
-Ultegra shifts faster
-Ultegra shifts smoother
-Derailleur adjustments are easier - even with a triple front.

-105 is full of plastic parts and pieces, looks like crap IMHO
-Shifting and adjusting the shifting is a crap shoot. (yes, I've had a pro/race bike shop try and tune it up a few times)
-The front mech has about 1mm of "tuning", one tiny turn of the screw and things are rubbing, one tiny turn in the other direction and no shift...
-The rear mech is finicky as well, very sensitive to every minor adjustment, and easily comes out of adjustment.
-Shifts are slower, not as crisp.

22 year old Ultegra - better than 1 year old 105.
Sounds like user error to me.

I have 105 on two road bikes and they both work flawlessly.
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Old 11-13-23, 10:56 AM
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I don't own a bike with modern 105, but have an older Cannondale with 9 speed Dura Ace and 2 Canyons with Ultegra 6800 and 8000 mechanical 11 speed. Both 11 speeds require less pressure on the lever and less throw, especially the 8000. Also the larger hoods on the disc brake 8000 are much appreciated.
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Old 11-13-23, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
My 105 5800 shifted every bit as good as it's Ultegra equivalent at the time. The only real difference was weight. It was quite a bit heavier. Never had any of the issues others are complaining about as far as loose and rattling shifters. I think there is a lot of reminiscing for the old days and remembering the stuff as better when it wasn't really. Sure it may have been beefier made in places where it didn't really need to be.

I go to car shows and listen to all the spectators say how much better cars were built back in the day. All I remember about cars back in the day was that I had to work on mine every other weekend. New cars I've had seldom see a shop.
Except I am swapping between the two groupsets off and on right now, not pining for the old days, this isn't a get off my lawn type post.

Aesthetics/looks - personal opinion. Functionality is what it is.

My bikes are very well maintained/cleaned/lubed - the 105 front mech is slow to shift and as stated above - takes more force to shift. The fine adjustment between gears is lacking, and getting the shifting to stay consistent over the past 10k miles has been hit or miss. The rear mech is never exactly right - even when coming back from the bike shop - and once it is right, it won't stay that way... and yes, everything has been checked.

Aesthetics - the old stuff his polished and shiny, the on the 105 is dull, bland and just flat wearing off. The newer cranks look like poo.
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Old 11-13-23, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
I'm riding these two groupsets side by side right now - the old stuff is just better.
You should probably stick with the old stuff. The rest of us will selflessly take a bullet and use the new stuff.
Originally Posted by Jughed
... not pining for the old days, this isn't a get off my lawn type post.

No, it's a "they just don't make things the way they used to" post.
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Old 11-13-23, 11:07 AM
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The best-shifting Shimano group was 10-speed Dura Ace, last generation with the shifter cables exiting the side of the lever (7800, I think)...IMO, YMMV.
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Old 11-13-23, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
You should probably stick with the old stuff. The rest of us will selflessly take a bullet and use the new stuff.

No, it's a "they just don't make things the way they used to" post.
Meh - when I made a post about how much better my new aluminum frame is vs my old aluminum frame - BF people called me out and told me I was wrong.

I'm just calling things like I see it.
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Old 11-13-23, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
...Older Ultegra/Dura Ace.

IMHO - it's not. Aside from the ergonomics of the brake hoods - it's not.

2001 9 speed Ultegra vs 11 speed 105:
-Ultegra shifts better
-Ultegra shifts faster
-Ultegra shifts smoother
-Derailleur adjustments are easier - even with a triple front.

-105 is full of plastic parts and pieces, looks like crap IMHO
-Shifting and adjusting the shifting is a crap shoot. (yes, I've had a pro/race bike shop try and tune it up a few times)
-The front mech has about 1mm of "tuning", one tiny turn of the screw and things are rubbing, one tiny turn in the other direction and no shift...
-The rear mech is finicky as well, very sensitive to every minor adjustment, and easily comes out of adjustment.
-Shifts are slower, not as crisp.

22 year old Ultegra - better than 1 year old 105.
I currently have...
- 11sp Ultegra mechanical brake road bike
- 11sp 105 mechanical brake road bike
- 11sp Ultegra mechanical road bike
- 11sp 105 hydraulic gravel bike with an Ultegra RX RD.

I cant tell any difference between the Ultegra and 105 mechanical. Like no difference at all. They all set up the same- 11sp Ultegra and 11sp 105 have the same FD design and the RDs set up the same way. They all shift exactly as I want- which is I move the lever and the chain moves.
The only difference I can feel on the 105 hydraulic is the hood shape is different. Functionally though, the shifting is identical to my 11sp Ultegra and 11sp 105.

I used to have 9sp Ultegra on a bike- It was a light touch to shift and that was due to the cable routing vs it being 'higher quality'. The same light touch is on my kid's 9sp Tiagra shifters and my other kid's 9sp 105 shifters that also have externally routed shift cables.

I do not long for my old 9sp Ultegra drivetrain. It was fine, but there is nothing about it that I miss when I compare it to my current drivetrains.
Current 105 drivetrains have easy cable setup and adjustment, once you learn how. And in practice, the FD can always move to not scrape against the chain. If there is rub on the FD, the small trim click eliminates the rub. Again though, the key part of this is setting it up correctly.
***I will say that I have Praxis cranks of 3 of the bikes above, and a Shimano 5 arm HT2 crank from 2016 on the other bike. So no new modern Shimano cranks. Just mentioning this as you complained about look and paint wear for the crank.
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Old 11-13-23, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed

Aesthetics - the old stuff his polished and shiny, the on the 105 is dull, bland and just flat wearing off. The newer cranks look like poo.
Where is the paint wearing off? Iíve got 13k miles on mine and nothing has worn off. Are your shoes rubbing on the cranks?
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Old 11-13-23, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
I'm thinking of hot dipping my chains in ambergris...
My saddle is stuffed with excelsior.
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Old 11-13-23, 01:08 PM
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Well, tbh, Shimano's stuff only got uglier after 7410, but I appreciate the extra gears and the hydraulic disc brakes on my R7000 equipped bike, and the shifting is pretty close to 7800. It took a little more time to set up the FD, but once set it has kept working perfectly since.

I would say, though, that the combination of ST-7400 or ST-7800 STIs with the FD-7410 front derailleur works so well I'm not sure why they changed anything. I've never experienced anything but immediate, silent shifting with them.

Ergonomically, I like the R7020 and R8000 STIs better than 7800, and I like that better than 7410. More comfortable to ride the hoods for longer, and easier shifting and braking in the drops. But it's not night and day, either.
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Old 11-13-23, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
the 105 front mech is slow to shift and as stated above - takes more force to shift. The fine adjustment between gears is lacking, and getting the shifting to stay consistent over the past 10k miles has been hit or miss. The rear mech is never exactly right - even when coming back from the bike shop - and once it is right, it won't stay that way... and yes, everything has been checked.
I don't disbelieve that you are having issues. However I put 105 5800 on a Schwinn Paramount frame from the 1990-1991 time period. The shifts were fast and crisp. Rear shifts completed in less than a quarter turn of the crank. When making a front shift, particularly going to the small ring, I could simultaneously shift the rear 2 cogs and not have my cadence interrupted by a poor or slow shift at all.

So why you are having a completely different experience is either you got a bad set or that there is something wrong with the installation that you just aren't realizing. Or on the other end, I must have purchased a perfect example of what 105 5800 should be. I tend to doubt the latter possibility was reserved only for me. So I think your experience is the outlier data.
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