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Complete Group Sets vs Parts of Group Sets

Old 11-10-15, 07:53 PM
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Complete Group Sets vs Parts of Group Sets

So I noticed some bikes come with say parts of the Shimano group set (i.e. just FD, RD, STIs), other even have one model FD and a different model RD. However, other more expensive bikes come with the same entire Shimano groupset (i.e. FD, RD, STIs but also Cassette, Cranks, rear hubs etc.)

Is there a performance advantage to paying extra and getting the entire Shimano groupset? I"m guessing Shimano must do some sort of design to ensure they all work together very well?
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Old 11-10-15, 08:53 PM
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Probably. It depends on specifics. Some manufacturers cheap out on cranks and brakes to meet price points. Shimano brakes are better than the tektro ones. On the other hand an ultegra bike with a 105 chain/cassette/brakes may be indistinguishable from a full ultegra bike.
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Old 11-11-15, 04:16 AM
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In terms of absolute performance, I doubt a Sram component of equal value is going to work well or less well than an equivalent Shimano part. I doubt an FSA crank or rings would be much less functional than their competition's equivalents (though I do trust Shimano for rings and cogs.)

A shifter pulls a certain amount of cable; a derailleur swings back and forth in response. Decals make no difference. A bike with an FSA crank and chainrings, Shimano shifters, and a Sram cassette would likely work exactly the same as one with all matched parts.

On cheaper bikes, manufacturers (or distributors) buy whatever they get a good bulk deal on, or order a bunch of specialty parts (thinking on BikesDirect and FSA cranks and Bontrager cockpits.) As long as the parts of of good quality, they should all work together fine.

That said, I am prejudiced towards Shimano cogs and chainrings, and I know it is purely because I have been swayed by the sales pitch about "pins and ramps for the smoothest, quickest shifting." In my experience all the brands' cogs and rings work well, but Io still like an all-Shimano drivetrain when i can get it. No logic involved.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
In terms of absolute performance, I doubt a Sram component of equal value is going to work well or less well than an equivalent Shimano part. I doubt an FSA crank or rings would be much less functional than their competition's equivalents (though I do trust Shimano for rings and cogs.)

A shifter pulls a certain amount of cable; a derailleur swings back and forth in response. Decals make no difference. A bike with an FSA crank and chainrings, Shimano shifters, and a Sram cassette would likely work exactly the same as one with all matched parts.

On cheaper bikes, manufacturers (or distributors) buy whatever they get a good bulk deal on, or order a bunch of specialty parts (thinking on BikesDirect and FSA cranks and Bontrager cockpits.) As long as the parts of of good quality, they should all work together fine.

That said, I am prejudiced towards Shimano cogs and chainrings, and I know it is purely because I have been swayed by the sales pitch about "pins and ramps for the smoothest, quickest shifting." In my experience all the brands' cogs and rings work well, but Io still like an all-Shimano drivetrain when i can get it. No logic involved.
While you went outside what the OP was asking about, I think there's a lot of potentially misleading oversimplification in what you're saying here.

At the very least, not all bits are interchangeable willy-nilly between brands. And I'm not sure what "absolute perfermance" is, but there are not only differences in feel across brands, there are differences in actuation and function of things like derailleurs and shifter which also make a lot of difference in the rider experience.

But again, whether or not "ramps and pins" are marketing hype (which they are not, BTW), or whether any given mish-mash of components will execute a shift (which some won't) is beyond what the OP asked. So to the OP, as Datlas said, it depends on what exactly we're talking about here, but in general, mixed groups are about lowering cost and creating a perception of quality and value rather than handicapping performance.

For example, having Ultegra on shifters, crank and rear derailleur with 105 brakes, chain, and front derailleur, is a way for the bike to move "up market" by highlighting the big ticket items and skimping where people won't notice as much.

So yeah, there can be performance advantages in a straight group over a mixed group in terms of feel, durability, and function, the greater separation is seen in terms of cost. It's hard to speak generally, but if you know what you are looking at, understand what you are paying for, and know your needs, a hub which is serviceable with just an allen key may be an advantage over one needing cone wrenches, for example.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:09 AM
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I think that the vast majority of purported improvements/upgrades as one spends more provide zero functional benefit other than some weight savings that can also reduce durability.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
In terms of absolute performance, I doubt a Sram component of equal value is going to work well or less well than an equivalent Shimano part. I doubt an FSA crank or rings would be much less functional than their competition's equivalents (though I do trust Shimano for rings and cogs.)

A shifter pulls a certain amount of cable; a derailleur swings back and forth in response. Decals make no difference. A bike with an FSA crank and chainrings, Shimano shifters, and a Sram cassette would likely work exactly the same as one with all matched parts.

On cheaper bikes, manufacturers (or distributors) buy whatever they get a good bulk deal on, or order a bunch of specialty parts (thinking on BikesDirect and FSA cranks and Bontrager cockpits.) As long as the parts of of good quality, they should all work together fine.

That said, I am prejudiced towards Shimano cogs and chainrings, and I know it is purely because I have been swayed by the sales pitch about "pins and ramps for the smoothest, quickest shifting." In my experience all the brands' cogs and rings work well, but Io still like an all-Shimano drivetrain when i can get it. No logic involved.
If you are right, then there is no reason for any single part on a bike to be selected from further "up the product line" or from within a single brand. Your reasoning would suggest that a 105 bike and a DA bike are equivalent and that Shimano isn't better than Tektro. But if you think DA is better than Ultegra is better than 105, then all DA must be better than part DA, part Ultegra and so on. A bike with Shimano brakes must be better than a bike with Tektro brakes. You can't have it both ways. Notice my statements are conditional, not absolute. In other words I am not expressing any opinion about whether one is actually better than the other, just that one belief must follow the other.

Is that the case? Do you actually think that the bottom of the line is just as good as the top. You should make that clearer if so.

In my opinion having all the parts match in brand and model isn't what is important. Having them all be what you want them to be is what is important.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
If you are right, then there is no reason for any single part on a bike to be selected from further "up the product line" or from within a single brand. Your reasoning would suggest that a 105 bike and a DA bike are equivalent and that Shimano isn't better than Tektro. But if you think DA is better than Ultegra is better than 105, then all DA must be better than part DA, part Ultegra and so on. A bike with Shimano brakes must be better than a bike with Tektro brakes. You can't have it both ways. Notice my statements are conditional, not absolute. In other words I am not expressing any opinion about whether one is actually better than the other, just that one belief must follow the other.

Is that the case? Do you actually think that the bottom of the line is just as good as the top. You should make that clearer if so.
Somehow I managed to not make myself clear. I mentioned "competition's equivalents" and equivalent parts ... as in parts in a given range (i.e Red or Force, or Dura-Ace or Ultegra.) I never said all components were equal, but that like quality parts from different manufacturers are about equivalent.

As for Tektro brakes ... Ultegra brakes or even Tiagra are better than cheap Tektros (speaking from experience,) but top-of-the-line Tektros are probably better than Sora brakes (of which I have read not such great reviews.)

But is the top-line Campagnolo better than the top-line Sram, or Shimano? Doubtful. Mid-range? Doubtful. And would a mix work less well than a complete gruppo? Doubt it. Other than obvious things like different cable-pulls ... I don't see what a bike with a Sram cassette or Shimano crank wouldn't work as well as a bike with a Shimano cassette and a Sram crank---Of Equivalent Quality.

If Sram didn't make decent parts, no WorldTour team would use it, no matter if it was free. If Shimano stuff was really far and away the best, no WorldTour pro would ever put Sram cassettes or chainrings on his bike.

I trust Shimano, and I don't think "ramps and pins" are just marketing BS, but I don't think that non-Shimano geared parts Don't work, or even don't work about as well. In fact, one of my current bikes has off-brand chainrings and the other, Shimano, and in both cases the shifting quality is primarily affected by .... the tuning of the shifters.

Anyone who has set up one bike with Sram Red and another with Dura-0Ace, then mixed and matched and tabulated all the results and thus could Prove one way or another that mixing like-quality parts really makes a difference, would be really welcome in this thread.

Otherwise ... please do note that I mentioned several times parts of equivalent quality from different manufacturers, and then please supply any hard data which could advance the discussion.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Somehow I managed to not make myself clear. I mentioned "competition's equivalents" and equivalent parts ... as in parts in a given range (i.e Red or Force, or Dura-Ace or Ultegra.) I never said all components were equal, but that like quality parts from different manufacturers are about equivalent.

As for Tektro brakes ... Ultegra brakes or even Tiagra are better than cheap Tektros (speaking from experience,) but top-of-the-line Tektros are probably better than Sora brakes (of which I have read not such great reviews.)

But is the top-line Campagnolo better than the top-line Sram, or Shimano? Doubtful. Mid-range? Doubtful. And would a mix work less well than a complete gruppo? Doubt it. Other than obvious things like different cable-pulls ... I don't see what a bike with a Sram cassette or Shimano crank wouldn't work as well as a bike with a Shimano cassette and a Sram crank---Of Equivalent Quality.

If Sram didn't make decent parts, no WorldTour team would use it, no matter if it was free. If Shimano stuff was really far and away the best, no WorldTour pro would ever put Sram cassettes or chainrings on his bike.

I trust Shimano, and I don't think "ramps and pins" are just marketing BS, but I don't think that non-Shimano geared parts Don't work, or even don't work about as well. In fact, one of my current bikes has off-brand chainrings and the other, Shimano, and in both cases the shifting quality is primarily affected by .... the tuning of the shifters.

Anyone who has set up one bike with Sram Red and another with Dura-0Ace, then mixed and matched and tabulated all the results and thus could Prove one way or another that mixing like-quality parts really makes a difference, would be really welcome in this thread.

Otherwise ... please do note that I mentioned several times parts of equivalent quality from different manufacturers, and then please supply any hard data which could advance the discussion.
I agree with you, but would emphasize that the mixed group sets that OP is asking about are seldom made up from equivalent strata of the different brands. FSA cranks on an Ultegra bike aren't ever to my knowledge SL-K Light for example.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:50 AM
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Lots of rectally extracted speculative drivel.

Few would argue that stronger riders can safely go faster further with reasonable differences in bike gear making no difference, and that lightweight bike gear isn't a good idea for touring.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
I agree with you, but would emphasize that the mixed group sets that OP is asking about are seldom made up from equivalent strata of the different brands. FSA cranks on an Ultegra bike aren't ever to my knowledge SL-K Light for example.
I agree with what you are saying, but that is a bad example because that crankset has often been used as a substitute for an Ultegra crankset. FSA has great OEM prices, so it wasn't uncommon to use that crankset as an "upgrade" even though the end cost was about the same. Shimano probably changed their prices because that substitution isn't as common now.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht
I agree with what you are saying, but that is a bad example because that crankset has often been used as a substitute for an Ultegra crankset. FSA has great OEM prices, so it wasn't uncommon to use that crankset as an "upgrade" even though the end cost was about the same. Shimano probably changed their prices because that substitution isn't as common now.
So it was supposed to be better than Ultegra? I didn't know that. I know this is overly simplistic, but since it is one level down from FSA's top-of-the-line, I just supposed it was slotted in as an Ultegra equivalent. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by sced
Lots of rectally extracted speculative drivel.

Few would argue that stronger riders can safely go faster further with reasonable differences in bike gear making no difference, and that lightweight bike gear isn't a good idea for touring.
Few yes, but they are very loud.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
So it was supposed to be better than Ultegra? I didn't know that. I know this is overly simplistic, but since it is one level down from FSA's top-of-the-line, I just supposed it was slotted in as an Ultegra equivalent. Thanks for the correction.
well if you look at retail prices of the cranksets, the FSA is more expensive than Ultegra. I prefer the Ultegra crankset over any FSA one because it shifts better, but some would say the SLK is better because it's carbon fiber.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht
well if you look at retail prices of the cranksets, the FSA is more expensive than Ultegra. I prefer the Ultegra crankset over any FSA one because it shifts better, but some would say the SLK is better because it's carbon fiber.
Got it. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't know the Ultegra crankset wasn't CF. Shows how much attention I pay to Shimano.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
I agree with you, but would emphasize that the mixed group sets that OP is asking about are seldom made up from equivalent strata of the different brands. FSA cranks on an Ultegra bike aren't ever to my knowledge SL-K Light for example.
FSA cranks have always been shifted in as substitutes, and I'm pretty sure even I myself started a thread many years ago asking basically the same question in the context of BD doing it (I wasn't looking at bike shops as much). I think manufacturers have shifted more towards offering full Shimano as a selling point. I know Trek has been more on that track recently. The other example I'm more familiar with is Cannondale. Their situation is that BB30 is their BB standard. For that reason, they use lots of FSA for the BB30 spindles that Shimano doesn't do. In fact, up until a couple of years ago, SRAM was the only manufacturer to offer a BB30 crank (one of the reasons you see more SRAM on Cannondales than any other bike manufacturers), but Campy recently released one.
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Old 11-11-15, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
Got it. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't know the Ultegra crankset wasn't CF. Shows how much attention I pay to Shimano.
IIRC the only parts of the groupset that Shimano makes out of CF is the levers on the STI shifters for Ultegra and above. Pedals also, but I don't know if those count as part of a "groupset" these days.
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Old 11-11-15, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
Got it. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't know the Ultegra crankset wasn't CF. Shows how much attention I pay to Shimano.
That's okay ... at least you weren't loud.
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Old 11-11-15, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
IIRC the only parts of the groupset that Shimano makes out of CF is the levers on the STI shifters for Ultegra and above. Pedals also, but I don't know if those count as part of a "groupset" these days.
I think the pulley cage on the RD of DA is also carbon, but I could be wrong. Shimano has resisted the carbon crank craze. I think they experimented with carbon in the past, but feel that their current crop off Hollowtech cranks offer pretty much the best stiffness, weight, and durability combo. I would agree. Love my Campy carbon crank because it is beautiful. Love my DA and 105 cranks because they are stiff, good looking, and easy to work on.

EDIT: Also, the high end crank Cannondale offers is friggin' awesome and is also a hollow core alloy design. I think they did some Cannondale branded FSA carbon cranks in the past, but they did not go over well at all and have a generally bad rep.
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Old 11-11-15, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels
I think the pulley cage on the RD of DA is also carbon, but I could be wrong. Shimano has resisted the carbon crank craze. I think they experimented with carbon in the past, but feel that their current crop off Hollowtech cranks offer pretty much the best stiffness, weight, and durability combo. I would agree. Love my Campy carbon crank because it is beautiful. Love my DA and 105 cranks because they are stiff, good looking, and easy to work on.
Yep, you're right, my mistake. Still they haven't taken on use of CF wholesale like a lot of others have i.e. Campagnolo, and dare I say it, Microshift!
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Old 11-11-15, 12:30 PM
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It's been years, but I've had a few bikes with mostly 105 but FSA cranks. I've never had an FSA crank I liked, they all shifted poorly.
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Old 11-11-15, 01:54 PM
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Bike flippers on the C&V forum point out that a bike with a complete groupset are more sought after and sell for more that a bike with a mixed groupset.
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Old 11-12-15, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
It's been years, but I've had a few bikes with mostly 105 but FSA cranks. I've never had an FSA crank I liked, they all shifted poorly.
I'm missing something. Do you mean shifting on the front chain ring or the rear cogs?
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Old 11-12-15, 11:06 PM
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Sometimes a manufacturer uses a non-Shimano part because their frames work better with it: case in point is Cervelo's "unique" bottom bracket design and Rotor cranks, instead of Shimano.
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