Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Ultegra 6800 upgrade

Old 12-30-15, 08:06 AM
  #1  
vasuvius
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Ultegra 6800 upgrade

The drivetrain on my Cervelo S1 is a mixup of several versions

Shifters - Ultegra 6600
Derailleurs - Ultegra 6600
Cassette 10s - Ultegra 6700
Chain - Ultegra 6701
Crankset/ChainRings - Ultegra 6800

Brakes and Bottom Bracket are also 6800

Is it worth upgrading everything else to 6800 ?

I don't care that much about 11s but I hear that the 6800 mech shifting is much better than previous versions.
The cable routing with 6800 also seems cleaner than 6600

Cost of shifters, derailleur and cassette is likely around 300 bucks.

Can anyone offer comparison of 6800 vs 6600 shifters and derailleurs

Last edited by vasuvius; 12-30-15 at 10:54 AM. Reason: added more details
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Old 12-30-15, 08:17 AM
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Don't forget to include the cost of a wheel upgrade, an 11 speed cassette will not fit on a freehub body designed for 8,9, 10 speed cassettes. However if you have Mavic wheels, chances are good that the 11 speed cassette will fit. Mavic freehubs require an extra spacer for 8,9 or 10 speed cassettes, so they already have space for an 11 speed cassette
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Old 12-30-15, 08:52 AM
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All my wheels are 11s wheels. So not cost to worry about.
Will have to change the bar tape which is another few bucks.
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Old 12-30-15, 12:31 PM
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Depending on your bar tape, you could carefully remove it and rewrap it.

I would be a bit of a jerk and do a short parking lot test ride of a 6800 bike at a shop. I bet the hoods are different shapes which may be one of the biggest issues in switching. Some people are relatively tolerant of these types of differences whereas others are more like the princess and the pea.
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Old 12-30-15, 01:55 PM
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~$330 with tape and chain from Ribble or Merlin. If you like the frame's fit/feel and have 11sp wheels, I'd do it. I switched from a 6600 group (with 5600 STIs) and it's a very nice change. The front shifting is the biggest difference (and the cleaner look). If you are currently running 6800 calipers with 6600 STIs, your braking performance would improve as well.
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Old 12-30-15, 03:07 PM
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The main change for you will be the (much better) hood shape and the cable routing. 6600 is already much smoother shifting than 6700 due to the external routing, so you won't feel much improvement in shifting quality going to 6800.

I'd just go with the 5800. It's just as good as 6800, but a few extra grams.
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Old 12-30-15, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by vasuvius View Post
All my wheels are 11s wheels. So not cost to worry about.
Will have to change the bar tape which is another few bucks.
Good to know. So the only problem you might encounter is the reduced mechanical advantage of the 6800 brake levers. Depending on what brake callipers you have, you may find that braking requires more hand strength
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Old 12-30-15, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by link0 View Post
The main change for you will be the (much better) hood shape and the cable routing. 6600 is already much smoother shifting than 6700 due to the external routing, so you won't feel much improvement in shifting quality going to 6800.

I'd just go with the 5800. It's just as good as 6800, but a few extra grams.
I agree with some of this ^. Yes, 5800 is nearly as good (as 6800)...and I think 6600 shifted smoother than 6700

However, I think the improvement in front shifting will be quite noticeable (it's a shorter/easier 'throw'). And I'd go with 6800 parts to match what he already owns.
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Last edited by dtrain; 12-30-15 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 12-30-15, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Good to know. So the only problem you might encounter is the reduced mechanical advantage of the 6800 brake levers. Depending on what brake callipers you have, you may find that braking requires more hand strength
The OP has 6800 calipers already. The proposed change would help the braking performance.
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Old 12-30-15, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dtrain View Post
The OP has 6800 calipers already. The proposed change would help the braking performance.
Good point. Braking with 6600 brake levers and 6800 brake callipers would have been very dodgy
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Old 12-30-15, 05:09 PM
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Do it,
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Old 12-30-15, 10:55 PM
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Thanks for the feedback all. I have 6870 Di2 on a different bike and I think the 6800 hoods are the same as the 6870 - So, I like hood ergonomics already.
The front shifter on the 6600 is terrible. Time to order the parts :-)
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Old 01-02-16, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by vasuvius View Post
Thanks for the feedback all. I have 6870 Di2 on a different bike and I think the 6800 hoods are the same as the 6870 - So, I like hood ergonomics already.
The front shifter on the 6600 is terrible. Time to order the parts :-)
IMO, 6800 is definitely the value sweetspot (I know lots of guys like the 5800 105) but the one thing I would change on that bike is to put a Dura Ace FD-9000 front derailleur on it. As much as the FD-6800 improved on the previous generation, the cage on the DA front derailleur is just a superior design. Well worth the $40~$45 additional cost in my book.
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Old 01-02-16, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dtrain View Post
However, I think the improvement in front shifting will be quite noticeable (it's a shorter/easier 'throw'). And I'd go with 6800 parts to match what he already owns.
Since the OP is almost there with only a $300 cost to upgrade, for the improvement in the shifter ergonomics and the ease of shifting, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I didn't think the additional gear was a big deal, but the added gear generally makes for very nice gear progressions. I wouldn't do it just for the 10->11s change but it is nice to have. BTW, I found that SRAM cassette gearing to better with their more liberal use of the 16 cog in their cassettes and a long run of gearing separated by a single tooth on most cassettes.


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