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Are the higher end groupsets really worth it these days?

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Are the higher end groupsets really worth it these days?

Old 05-06-17, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by speshelite
Shimano has come pretty close to perfecting mechanical cable shifting. Shifting across tight ratio road cassettes has never especially challenging however.

Ever since the introduction of hyperglide ramps and superglide rings to a lesser degree, shimano shifting has been essentially perfect in every component group. Their elite tier groups have always a been a bit faster, smoother and quieter, but even their lower end groups usually shifted perfectly even under load.

Then again, are there any subpar shifting groups these days? Not really. Shimano is the smoothest and most refined but a lot of people prefer the more engaging shifting characteristics of SRAM and Campy.
I'd argue one thing: cable pull per shift. SRAM (and Campy) got that better for a while. Shimano used the same RD movement per cable pull ratio for their 6, 7 and 8 speeds, on tighter 9 speed cassettes, then continued using it for 10 speed road ones as well (for MTBs they had changed it at the start of 10 speed production). This resulted in poor shifting in case of minimal cable/housing play, dirt etc.

For 11 speed they got it right, as well as for Tiagra 4700 10 speed. The only problem is lack of backwards compatibility for derailleurs.
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Old 05-07-17, 12:38 AM
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I am looking forward to when the 105 group gets its Di2 option.
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Old 05-07-17, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by speshelite
.... Shimano is the smoothest and most refined but a lot of people prefer the more engaging shifting characteristics of SRAM and Campy.
I'm wondering if this is why EPS, at least initially, seemed like a reluctant, half-hearted effort - because the inherent un-engaging quality of electronics was sort of antithetical to Campagnolo-ness. But now it seems they're all in (EPS? there's an app for that) and users of their top-end groups are being "thrust flailing into the future," as one reviewer put it.
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Old 05-07-17, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Masque
I am looking forward to when the 105 group gets its Di2 option.
in 15 years half the bikes sold at Walmart will have electronic shifting.
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Old 05-07-17, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
in 15 years half the bikes sold at Walmart will have electronic shifting.
And wireless to boot. Simplifies everything from manufacturing to installation.
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Old 05-07-17, 06:35 AM
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In my opinion the newer Sora and Tiagra is pretty outstanding and everything above that (105, Ultegra, Dura Ace) even more so. The only reason I would not look at the newer Sora or Tiagra is thats its not 11speed and therefore incompatible with any future upgrades. With that in mind 105 is the lowest groupset I would be looking at nowadays....
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Old 05-07-17, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by garysol1
The only reason I would not look at the newer Sora or Tiagra is thats its not 11speed and therefore incompatible with any future upgrades.
Here's to the day they decide not to make 12-speed!
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Old 05-07-17, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Masque
Here's to the day they decide not to make 12-speed!
Even if road 12speed road hit the market today it would take a few years for it to trickle down through the 3 upper tier groups so we should be safe for a bit.... hopefully.
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Old 05-07-17, 12:08 PM
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Pretty sure 12 will require wider dropout spacing.
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Old 05-07-17, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by garysol1
In my opinion the newer Sora and Tiagra is pretty outstanding and everything above that (105, Ultegra, Dura Ace) even more so. The only reason I would not look at the newer Sora or Tiagra is thats its not 11speed and therefore incompatible with any future upgrades. With that in mind 105 is the lowest groupset I would be looking at nowadays....
New Tiagra 4700 is 11 speed compatible. That is - derailleurs have the same movement-to cable pull ratio. So they will work perfectly fine with Shimano 11 speed road STIs (shifters). So will the 4700 shifters - work fine with Shimano 11 speed road derailleurs.

I've made a list of compatibilities her, listed per equipment part (rear shifters, front shifters, rear derailleurs... and so on - for SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo):

Compatibility Archives - Cycle Gremlin
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Old 05-07-17, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
And wireless to boot. Simplifies everything from manufacturing to installation.
Wireless shifting is nearing 25 years old (I have 3 RD from the 90s and my kid was racing on them in 2012). I have no reason to believe everyone will adopt it in just 15 more years.

Last edited by Doge; 05-07-17 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
And wireless to boot. Simplifies everything from manufacturing to installation.
It doesn't simplify battery management though. I guess you could string wires from one battery to the DR and shifter and solve that problem
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Old 05-07-17, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
It doesn't simplify battery management though. I guess you could string wires from one battery to the DR and shifter and solve that problem
It absolutely simplifies battery management in the sense that running out of power becomes almost impossible. You can switch mech batteries if needed to get by when one craps out and the other is still good. Same for lever batteries. Your spare is right there in the other mech or other lever. Or you can carry a true spare of each if you prefer and never have to worry about it. What could be simpler than that?

One battery with everything wired to it seems simpler until you are simply screwed out on the road. Then what? Not so simple any more.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
It absolutely simplifies battery management in the sense that running out of power becomes almost impossible. You can switch mech batteries if needed to get by when one craps out and the other is still good. Same for lever batteries. Your spare is right there in the other mech or other lever. Or you can carry a true spare of each if you prefer and never have to worry about it. What could be simpler than that?

One battery with everything wired to it seems simpler until you are simply screwed out on the road. Then what? Not so simple any more.
So you're charging up four sets of batteries? Are they all the same - it's hard to imagine that the servo motor battery is the same as the transmitter in the control, though I guess anything is possible.

It doesn't sound very simplified. Maybe the best solution is keeping a mechanical backup for the wireless shifters, and having them all wired to the same battery.

On second thought I guess it makes sense if all the batteries are modular and interchangeable, but you still have that charging issue. Monitoring the charge on all four, keeping them charged and so on. Easy solution maybe, wiring up a charging harness and control circuit to all four, inside the frame perhaps.

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Old 05-07-17, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
in 15 years half the bikes sold at Walmart will have electronic shifting.
I'm waiting for it. It does seem inevitable for the cost of electronic shifting to plummet. Less see, which is cheaper in mass production, a complicated system of cables, levers and rachets, or a couple buttons, microcontroller, and miniature motor.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge
Wireless shifting is nearing 25 years old (I have 3 RD from the 90s and my kid was racing on them in 2012). I have no reason to believe everyone will adopt it in just 15 more years.


Maybe not & I'm certainly not as experienced as you but I feel certain that the 25y/o wireless you speak of is not exactly like what we have now. Reason I say that is b/c I'm betting the development time is close to being over (needing just relatively minor refinements) & now it's simply time to grow.


And I wouldn't say everyone will adopt it, but I could easily believe 1/2 the new road bikes would have it. I think the cost of a wireless set up will be very, very cheap in 15 years.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarch
I'm wondering if this is why EPS, at least initially, seemed like a reluctant, half-hearted effort - because the inherent un-engaging quality of electronics was sort of antithetical to Campagnolo-ness. But now it seems they're all in (EPS? there's an app for that) and users of their top-end groups are being "thrust flailing into the future," as one reviewer put it.
I test rode Record mechanical and EPS side by side.

I was really surprised by how much hand force is required for campy mechanical shifting. It made the shifting very fun and engaging. When you press STI levers, it's almost as if nothing happened, it's so feathery and light. Super fast, quiet and precise, but it's almost too easy, like pressing a button. Campy shifting feels like you are cranking and turning over a lever, that's for sure.

As far as EPS, I enjoyed it. It's halfway between mechanical campy and STI. It requires far less hand pressure than campy mechanical, but still not as feathery as even 6800 mechanical. I had mixed feelings about it. It loses the distinctive hand crank fun of mechanical campy but doesn't feel as buttery and automatic as the smoothest shimano groups.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
So you're charging up four sets of batteries? Are they all the same - it's hard to imagine that the servo motor battery is the same as the transmitter in the control, though I guess anything is possible.

It doesn't sound very simplified. Maybe the best solution is keeping a mechanical backup for the wireless shifters, and having them all wired to the same battery.
No, it is two sets of batteries, one pair rechargeable for the derailleurs; the other pair are coin type non-rechargeable for the levers. Each mech battery can be taken out and moved to the other position if necessary. Same for the lever batteries. Yes, it is more batteries. Yes, you have to recharge two batteries instead of one. But in practice it just doesn't work that way. You carry a spare coin battery for the levers and never worry about it again. You charge the one mech battery that is too close to exhausted. That won't be both at the same time. In practice you will only be charging one battery, if any, at any give time. Or you can carry a spare charged mech battery and replace it when needed. Then recharge the exhausted one when you get home. Easy-peasey.
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Old 05-07-17, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by speshelite
I test rode Record mechanical and EPS side by side.

I was really surprised by how much hand force is required for campy mechanical shifting. It made the shifting very fun and engaging. When you press STI levers, it's almost as if nothing happened, it's so feathery and light. Super fast, quiet and precise, but it's almost too easy, like pressing a button. Campy shifting feels like you are cranking and turning over a lever, that's for sure.

As far as EPS, I enjoyed it. It's halfway between mechanical campy and STI. It requires far less hand pressure than campy mechanical, but still not as feathery as even 6800 mechanical. I had mixed feelings about it. It loses the distinctive hand crank fun of mechanical campy but doesn't feel as buttery and automatic as the smoothest shimano groups.
Neither fish nor foul, eh? Was it the latest version you tested?
The only Shimano I've ever used was Ultegra on a Bianch I test rode for the better part of a month. I don't know if you'd say it was among their butteriest, but it was way too soft and gooshy for my taste. Floppy and boring. The slightly older Athena I have on one bike has a longer throw to shift the front up onto the big chain ring than I'm happy with, but they fixed that on the last version, which I have on the Propel, where speed matters.

I suppose electronic shifting could grow on me, but the batteries and charging part never will. We just don't get along. HATE 'EM.
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Old 05-07-17, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim
kinda sort of.

By that logic new 105 is just as good as 3 generation old Dura Ace. Nope. Maybe better than old 9s. Dura Ace.
It's hard to way what "just as good" means, but my 105 5800 11 speed drive train shifts just as smoothly as my Dura Ace 7900 10 speed drive train. I was amazed when I got the new 105 bike just how flawless it is. I also have older 105 5700 10 speed, and it's noticeably clunkier and crankier than either of the above, not that it's so bad. And yeah, the 8 speed Sora (3300, I think?) is a piece of crap in comparison to any of these, but it's functional and gets the job done.
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Old 05-07-17, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
Maybe not & I'm certainly not as experienced as you but I feel certain that the 25y/o wireless you speak of is not exactly like what we have now. Reason I say that is b/c I'm betting the development time is close to being over (needing just relatively minor refinements) & now it's simply time to grow.


And I wouldn't say everyone will adopt it, but I could easily believe 1/2 the new road bikes would have it. I think the cost of a wireless set up will be very, very cheap in 15 years.
Off topic...about 25 years after I got my car phone I still can't have a phone conversation that does not drop on 50% of the Interstate between home and CO. It is a different issue, but sometimes when things start like storms - they don't finish that well. There is a lot of marketing/corp control behind that, but I see it similar to this electronic/wireless thing. It is easy to mix together electronic with wireless.

Some teams still opt to ride cables when they can get electronic. Our junior team has the choice and chose cables.
For wireless there is just eTap right now. SRAM has fairly small market share and before eTap were down to very few (1-2??) World tour team using them. So it is like Mavic was with Zap.

I think eTap will stick and I think the protocols are pretty good. But the thought of signal drop/hiccup/glitch/bug/not charging the battery while maybe not an eTap issue alone is something many racers want to avoid.
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Old 05-07-17, 09:15 PM
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First bike I bought in 2014 had Shimano Claris. I don't believe i'll ever use that group set again.
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Old 05-08-17, 05:24 AM
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The higher the groupset the less durable it is. It's designed for professional racing. Pro race teams do not worry about replacing things. They have a truck full of parts.
The average guy does not have access to that. The average guy does not require high performance like a professional.
Unless it's for bragging, I usually tell people to look at more durable parts. A few grams is not going to matter. Not having things break will matter.
Your team car is not back there with another bike.
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Old 05-08-17, 06:03 AM
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I would amend
Originally Posted by roadwarrior
The higher the groupset the less durable it is.
to

"The Highest-End groupsset is not as durable."

I have never heard that Ultegra was weak.

Even with Dura-Ace --- the cassette die quickly because of the titanium, byt the rest? It might be mildly underbuilt .... microgram savings for the win ... but step down to Ultegra and the stuff lasts forever ... well as far as I have heard. Only had mine a year now.
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Old 05-08-17, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Yes. I always recommend buying as much hardware as one can afford. but More is not always Better.

If my TV was so big I couldn't fit my bikes in the room .....
Then you buy more rooms, duh.
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