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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 05-05-17, 09:59 PM
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Are the higher end groupsets really worth it these days?

My first bike was a used 2007 Specialized Tricross with Tiagra. I don't remember the shifting being anything special. Next road bike was my current Diverge which came with Ultegra 6800. Recently went to check out a few year old bike with Sora for a friend and was completely blown away at how good the shifting was. I know carbon bikes mostly only come with 105 or higher, and the higher end are lighter. But man if I had to build a bike today, while I'd probably go for 105, I'd be perfectly happy to use Tiagra or even Sora. It's shocking how good Shimano's lower end components are these days.
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Old 05-05-17, 10:08 PM
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The title didn't state a goal. For riding around, no, they are not worth it.
At a level where everything else has been taken care of - absolutely they are worth it. Not even a discussion point.
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Old 05-05-17, 10:14 PM
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Most of us our just 'riding around', ie. not racing.
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Old 05-05-17, 10:15 PM
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New Sora is as good as 4700 Tiagra and new 105 is about as good as Ultegra, I'd say. each generation, the "good stuff" moves down a level.

I'd say Ultegra 6800 is better than Tiagra 4600 but not a Lot better. Less effort to shift up front, that's about it. it looks a lot cooler and weighs less .... and costs a lot more.
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Old 05-05-17, 10:18 PM
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IME the best bang for the buck has always been with B and C level groups. The A level groups are targeted at those wanting the latest and greatest, and willing to pay a premium to have it. The B and C groups have trickle down tech, usually what was A level last year, or current A level, except for some change like aluminum where A is carbon fiber.

As to whether the best deal is B or C level is trickier. Sometimes they're very similar with a big price difference, others, there are significant mechanical differences, so you have to look very closely at what you're getting in each and compare.
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Old 05-05-17, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by vinuneuro
Most of us our just 'riding around', ie. not racing.
Until someone posts about power - then everyone is an expert.

Last edited by Doge; 05-05-17 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 05-05-17, 10:26 PM
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From a function/durability standpoint the "B and C" are fine. From a spare part point, the A groups tend to have more spares.
As I posted - take care of everything else...
So there are these people that maintain single digit compositions, train like crazy, but are not racers.
For those types, I'd say go top end. I have noticed that "those types" can usually afford it.
Hold that stuff and you know why it costs so much.
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Old 05-05-17, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by vinuneuro
Most of us our just 'riding around', ie. not racing.
maybe that should have been part of the original post.
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Old 05-06-17, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by vinuneuro
My first bike was a used 2007 Specialized Tricross with Tiagra. I don't remember the shifting being anything special. Next road bike was my current Diverge which came with Ultegra 6800. Recently went to check out a few year old bike with Sora for a friend and was completely blown away at how good the shifting was. I know carbon bikes mostly only come with 105 or higher, and the higher end are lighter. But man if I had to build a bike today, while I'd probably go for 105, I'd be perfectly happy to use Tiagra or even Sora. It's shocking how good Shimano's lower end components are these days.
Its not only about what groupset is on the bike, Its also about implementation. Some bikes come with weird cables and cable routing that is less than optimal. And I agree, Tiagra 4700 is pretty good and the 10sp 12-28 cassette is the 11sp 11-28 minus the 11 cog, that Im betting most* have no real need for anyway. The 105 brakes is supposed to be noticeably better though. Some thing to consider too is price of consumables. 9sp cassettes and chains are noticeably cheaper than than 11sp.

Last edited by Racing Dan; 05-06-17 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 05-06-17, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by vinuneuro
My first bike was a used 2007 Specialized Tricross with Tiagra. I don't remember the shifting being anything special. Next road bike was my current Diverge which came with Ultegra 6800. Recently went to check out a few year old bike with Sora for a friend and was completely blown away at how good the shifting was. I know carbon bikes mostly only come with 105 or higher, and the higher end are lighter. But man if I had to build a bike today, while I'd probably go for 105, I'd be perfectly happy to use Tiagra or even Sora. It's shocking how good Shimano's lower end components are these days.
Rode Shimano Claris for about a year. Shifts crisply and perfectly. 2x8 speed setup. It is a bit heavier than higher end groupsets, but in terms of function and durability - no problems.

One more point - 10 and 11 speed groupsets make quicker shifts at the back. For those who need to save every split second when shifting, it has a purpose. For those not racing - none.
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Old 05-06-17, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge
Until someone posts about power - then everyone is an expert.


You did ask...
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Old 05-06-17, 05:19 AM
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My racing steed has Ultegra, my sunday riders have Super Record / Dura Ace / DA Di2. Reason I ride ultegra on the race bike is because it's what comes in the spec team bike. I can replace it for whatever I want at my own cost but I would hate to crash and scratch a brand new Dura ace shifter or derailleur. The reason I have the nice stuff on my Sunday riders is because I enjoy riding the best stuff out there for my own pleasure. To me it makes a difference in shifting quality, braking and how light the bike is while I am riding. My casual rides are fast enough to where the high end groupsets are worth having... or at least I think that way.
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Old 05-06-17, 05:29 AM
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I held 600 watts and an Ultegra front derailleur in one hand for about an hour yesterday. A Claris derailleur is much heavier, so I wouldn't have been able to hold it as long.
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Old 05-06-17, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
New Sora is as good as 4700 Tiagra and new 105 is about as good as Ultegra, I'd say. each generation, the "good stuff" moves down a level.

I'd say Ultegra 6800 is better than Tiagra 4600 but not a Lot better. Less effort to shift up front, that's about it. it looks a lot cooler and weighs less .... and costs a lot more.
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.
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Old 05-06-17, 05:56 AM
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Everything you buy for a functional reason is worth it. If you know what you want it to do, and it does it better than something else, it is worth it. I ride Red because of the weight. That is important to me whether or not it is important to the cycling world in general. Red is worth it to me.
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Old 05-06-17, 06:19 AM
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You need to get the guy who makes custom ultra-lite expander plugs to machine you a set of ultra-light drivetrain components---have him mill off the tiniest amount of material, drill super-tiny lightening holes----call it "Infrared."
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Old 05-06-17, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
You need to get the guy who makes custom ultra-lite expander plugs to machine you a set of ultra-light drivetrain components---have him mill off the tiniest amount of material, drill super-tiny lightening holes----call it "Infrared."
Laser drilling, Baby. Laser drilling.

If you haven't cut down your seat post to minimum insertion, you ain't no weight weenie.

Actually you would probably be surprised to know how many ultra-light components I was willing to fork over cash for until I saw how dysfunctional they were. On that basis it just wasn't worth it. Yes, I'm talking about Tune hubs.
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Old 05-06-17, 07:06 AM
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There were ultegra bikes raced at the tour of Romandie...
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Old 05-06-17, 07:21 AM
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"Worth it" is a very subject question, whether it's these days or in past days. As a teenager back in the 1980's I was deciding over a bike with full 105's and one with Cambio Rino parts on similar frames. The 105 bike was $150 more. To me at the time it wasn't worth it. But after riding my friend's bike a few months, which did have the 105's, I wish I had spent the extra money for them, because they were buttery smooth.

These days, the difference between each level might not be quite as dramatic as back then, but it's there, and some are quite subtle. So if you're deciding between groupsets, buy the one that's just one level above your budget and you won't regret it.

Edit:
I should also add that it's sort of like buying a new TV--you'll never regret buying the bigger one over the smaller one. Ever! But there's a good chance you'll regret buying one too small.
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Old 05-06-17, 07:50 AM
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Depends on the size of your wallet.
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Old 05-06-17, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
Everything you buy for a functional reason is worth it. If you know what you want it to do, and it does it better than something else, it is worth it. I ride Red because of the weight. That is important to me whether or not it is important to the cycling world in general. Red is worth it to me.
I'm afraid weight is not a function; it's a measured quality.

Lighter may be more efficiently functional, but unless you've actually calculated the amount of effort required to acquire a lighter bike (the watts you spend working to earn the money and going to the trouble to make the exchange, and the cost of lost opportunities - i.e., better ways of spending your time than looking for the best price on the lightest group), you can't say that effort saved by the lighter bike is "worth it" without placing a value on something other than functional efficiency. I don't think anyone would bother worrying about weight if they couldn't perceive the difference.

We aren't soulless machines; we can't escape aesthetic appeal. If someone says Dura-ace isn't worth the extra cost to them because it's a stupid name and "Tiagra" sounds cooler anyhow, who are we to argue?
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Old 05-06-17, 08:29 AM
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I'm trying to decide on a name brand bike with Sora or an off brand bike with an almost complete Ultegra group set both bike are new. The off brand bike is a couple lbs lighter and costs a little less too.
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Old 05-06-17, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarch
I don't think anyone would bother worrying about weight if they couldn't perceive the difference.
If I could ride a 300-lb bike and it was as fast up and down hills a 13-lb bike .... then cost would be the decider. Or aesthetics.

For some people the only “perceived” benefit is the benefit they perceive when they can cite a lighter overall weight.

As far as
Originally Posted by kbarch
(the watts you spend working to earn the money and going to the trouble to make the exchange, and the cost of lost opportunities - i.e., better ways of spending your time than looking for the best price on the lightest group),
that’s a bunch of .... unnecessary lightweight parts, if you will.

How can you calculate how much energy went into shopping? If you look at three options, but only look at two most of the time ... do you even calculate the “watts” spent looking at the third? If you spend an hour looking at choice A, and hour looking at choice B, and buy choice C on impulse in one minute .... how do you calculate watts per unit of shopping?

Suppose you look at two parts extensively online but when you get to the bike shop you see something you like better ... how do you calculate the watt/unit of shopping? Does driving time and fuel get factored in?

If it is really cold one day and you shop online, do you calculate the cost of heating, versus a day when you didn’t need to run the heat while shopping online?

If you spend energy looking for the best price on the lightest group but spend and equal amount of time looking for the best price on the most “functional” group are the watts/unit of shopping equal?

And the best part?
Originally Posted by kbarch
I'm afraid weight is not a function; it's a measured quality.
So ... if function is not a measured quantity, it is basically imaginary. It is a personally determined value. So ... the ultra-light parts Can be even more “functional” because functionality is not a measured quantity.

The first part of your post looks like an ill-conceived attack on people with the disease of weight-weenieism.

The people need our compassion, and our support. Please don’t belittle them. Imagine their suffering, knowing that the moment they lay out huge money for a lightweight part, someone else could produce something even lighter.

Originally Posted by kbarch
If someone says Dura-ace isn't worth the extra cost to them because it's a stupid name and "Tiagra" sounds cooler anyhow, who are we to argue?
Using similar logic, if a person prefers one part over another because the part is .00000347 grams lighter ......
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Old 05-06-17, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar
Rode Shimano Claris for about a year. Shifts crisply and perfectly. 2x8 speed setup. It is a bit heavier than higher end groupsets, but in terms of function and durability - no problems.

One more point - 10 and 11 speed groupsets make quicker shifts at the back. For those who need to save every split second when shifting, it has a purpose. For those not racing - none.
My Claris shifters, about a year old now, are better in every respect than the old Sora they replaced. I think part of the problem people see with the low end shifters is that the bikes they're on are often configured with cost-cutting (junk) derailleurs and cable housing, and shifting suffers.

Higher end groupsets are worthwhile mainly if you want more gears. Granted my front ring upshifts are not particularly crisp and carefree, because the rings and DR are somewhat lower-end than even Claris and if I had to be constantly shifting the front at a moment's notice, higher end components would be worthwhile.
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Old 05-06-17, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
"Worth it" is a very subject question, whether it's these days or in past days. As a teenager back in the 1980's I was deciding over a bike with full 105's and one with Cambio Rino parts on similar frames. The 105 bike was $150 more. To me at the time it wasn't worth it. But after riding my friend's bike a few months, which did have the 105's, I wish I had spent the extra money for them, because they were buttery smooth.

These days, the difference between each level might not be quite as dramatic as back then, but it's there, and some are quite subtle. So if you're deciding between groupsets, buy the one that's just one level above your budget and you won't regret it.

Edit:
I should also add that it's sort of like buying a new TV--you'll never regret buying the bigger one over the smaller one. Ever! But there's a good chance you'll regret buying one too small.
i can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about that last paragraph that bothers me.
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