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Component Levels

Old 08-21-07, 10:28 AM
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supton
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Component Levels

What are some rule of thumbs as to when to jump component levels? I mean, there's Alivio, 105, Tiagra, Sora... [Not in order.] I doubt I'm buying a new bike any time too soon, and if I did, I'd still be at the mercy of the wallet; but since the 105 is above Sora, at what point does Sora wear out too fast and therefore justify 105? I know 105 will last longer and shift better--but perhaps just on an economy scale, when does things "make sense" to go better? 1000miles/year? 2000miles/year?

[I know this is subjective, but I felt like asking anyhow. Everything would be a step up from 22 year old Shimano Z group with friction shifting.]
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Old 08-21-07, 12:15 PM
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Good question. I started with Sora in 2004 and while the derailleurs/shifters have held out well, the chain and cassette have already been replaced and are way overdue for another changeout. I suppose that's normal w&t but if I had changed the chain more regularly, who knows? I think I went @4000km before the first change and I'm at about 7K on the current cassette and I'm getting some slippage but it's tolerable.

On my newer bike, I have full Ultegra and the quality of the components is quite noticeable. I'm sure I will go much further before requiring a changeout.

With respect to performance between Sora and Ultegra, IMO, it's noticeable but it's not a showstopper.

How to establish which group to start? Decide on how much and what kind riding you're going to do. If it's a little, then Sora or Tiagra would be fine. However, if it's a lot with maybe some racing in the future, then weight and quality become factors leading you to the 105 or Ultegra.

Of course, as the dictum says, buy the best tool you can afford to do the job.
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Old 08-21-07, 12:31 PM
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Too early for me to tell just yet; I started biking about 7 weeks ago, on my 22 year old bike (recent acquisition). I've got myself worked up to 45 miles/week now; that's a pair of 12ish mile night rides during the week (which I'm thinking of going to 3 rides), and one good 25+ mile trip on the weekends. I have my sincere doubts about how far into winter I will go though: hills, snow, slush and NH winter weather might be just a bit too much for fun, even if it's to lose weight. I suspect I'll be lucky if I get a ride/week in during the dark winter months (you know, October through April ).
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Old 08-21-07, 01:28 PM
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Alivio is an MTB-style group and doesn't belong in the same list as the road groups.

The jump from Sora to Tiagra is probably the biggest one, at least in my opinion. Sora has the return lever as a small thumb-operated "stick" inside the brifters - impossible to reach from the drops!!!
Tiagra and all above have a proper return lever behind the brake/upshift lever.
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Old 08-21-07, 01:48 PM
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I thought I had read something about that recently--by the sounds of that, I'm guessing that Sora is the price level I'd want, while Tiagra is the capability I'd want. I'm trying to get out of riding on the hoods, but I do plenty of spinning (at slow speeds) on the hills currently, so I'd probably want be able to shift both ways up there. At least that isn't two different ends of the spectrum.

Didn't realize that about Alivio, thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 08-21-07, 02:44 PM
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I don't think its about wear resistance or longevity.
At some point it becomes about weight....especially on the high end stuff.

For example, top of the line Campy gear is Record. Its uber light...thanks to titanium and carbon.
Take the cassette for example. The fancy Record cassettes wear out quicker than the steel Veloce cassettes....but its much lighter.
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Old 08-21-07, 03:52 PM
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Sora is not bad quality and as I don't ride in the drops much- The thumb shifter works for me. However I have just gone from sora 8 speed to Ultegra/105 10 speed components and although I did not think I would notice it- The closeness of the ratios on the 10 speed is easier on the legs. The 105 rear mech changes easier on the 105 cassette and the Sora does feel a bit knotchy in comparison.

So Basic unit will be Sora and the next stage up to Tiagra is not a great difference in ridability- However Sora to 105 is phenominal. Smoother and sturdier components. Now Dure ace is supposed to be the ultimate but the difference between Ultegra and Dure ace is not a great deal except in cost.

Depends on your wallet. They all work and there is an improvement as you go up the scale. Its just that some work better than the others.
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Old 08-22-07, 11:59 AM
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In a previous post ( I can't remember when or who) the comment was about retailers who sell bikes based on the components with less regard to the frame. To that post, it was a mis-match in order to sell a bike. You will notice that there are a lot of carbon fiber frames out there matched with DuraAce components. One would think that the frame design and construction has something to do with the price, even carbon fiber.

So make sure you choose component levels in context to the frame. It may be true that you are not a racer, not particularly a high mileage rider...yet. But a well built up bike will give you many miles of enjoyment.

I have two road bikes, one with Ultegra, Cervelo Prodigy and the other with Dura Ace, Ridley Aeron. I think there is a difference between Ultegra and Dura Ace. The shifting is smoother, even on the big ring.
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