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Dura-Ace v. Ultegra

Old 03-15-18, 06:55 AM
  #1  
Theotis
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Dura-Ace v. Ultegra

Ok, I know this is a basic question, but is the difference between dura-ace and ultegra big enough to justify an extra $500+ I'm getting a new bike---I've narrowed it down to three---and looking a the value of spending more just to get dura-ace. If it makes a difference, I plan to get disc brakes regardless. Thanks.
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Old 03-15-18, 07:53 AM
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Value wise? No. Probably won't make a dimes worth of difference relative to performance or how fast you'll go. If money isn't so tight, I believe you'll take pride in owning the best offering that Shimano has. Still loving my DA 7800
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Old 03-15-18, 07:58 AM
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Please provide us with your tax returns, profit loss statements and an estimate of your projected income, so we can better assist.
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Old 03-15-18, 08:02 AM
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That I'm aware of, it's primarily weight at this point. Ultegra RDs now have Shadow Shifting, the FD design is the same, etc. If you're in to wide gearing, Ultegra actually has an advantage as DA is only offering a short-cage RD.
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Old 03-15-18, 08:04 AM
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It may make a difference at the coffee shop post-ride, depending on who you hang out with.
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Old 03-15-18, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by whitemax View Post
Value wise? No. Probably won't make a dimes worth of difference relative to performance or how fast you'll go. If money isn't so tight, I believe you'll take pride in owning the best offering that Shimano has. Still loving my DA 7800
Actually, it's more of the max. cost my wife has agreed to....I'm debating whether to get ultegra and use the savings on upgrades in other areas such as wheelset, seat, etc.
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Old 03-15-18, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Theotis View Post
Actually, it's more of the max. cost my wife has agreed to....I'm debating whether to get ultegra and use the savings on upgrades in other areas such as wheelset, seat, etc.
Is the wheelset the same between the two bikes? Or rather, would you feel compelled to replace them no matter which trim you choose?
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Old 03-15-18, 08:25 AM
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No serious cyclist would opt for Ultegra over DA.
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Old 03-15-18, 08:26 AM
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Names are important. Get Dura Ace, if only because “ultegra” is the absolute worst brand name ever to come out of Japan. Gah.

“Tiagra” is the second worst.

Last edited by Aubergine; 03-15-18 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Autocorrct doesn’t like Tiagra either
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Old 03-15-18, 09:07 AM
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Get Ultegra and put the $500 toward a set of wheels.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:09 AM
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Ultegra is fantastic. Dura-Ace is slightly nicer. How much does $500 mean to you?
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Old 03-15-18, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Is the wheelset the same between the two bikes? Or rather, would you feel compelled to replace them no matter which trim you choose?
It depends on the bike. I'm looking at Bianchi Infinito (Ultegra), Trek Domane SL8 (Dura-ace) and Cannondale Synpase Carbon (Dura-ace). None of the wheelsets or saddles on these bikes are bad (from reviews), but I've never ridden them. My point was that if I'm working off of a set spending limit, then if I get the less expensive ultegra for upgrades, whatever they are, in other areas....or maybe use the extra $ for areo bars for triathlons.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:39 AM
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I've got DA on one bike and it pleases me greatly, but if I was buying a bike today and had a budget limit I'd be happy with ultegra. The price difference would buy some nice shoes and pedals.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:40 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Theotis View Post
It depends on the bike. I'm looking at Bianchi Infinito (Ultegra), Trek Domane SL8 (Dura-ace) and Cannondale Synpase Carbon (Dura-ace). None of the wheelsets or saddles on these bikes are bad (from reviews), but I've never ridden them. My point was that if I'm working off of a set spending limit, then if I get the less expensive ultegra for upgrades, whatever they are, in other areas....or maybe use the extra $ for areo bars for triathlons.
Then you really have to take it on a case-by-case and decide. A lot of bikes cheap out on the wheels because they figure that the owners are going to buy, or already have, nice wheels of their choice. In some rare cases, though, upgrading from one groupset to another also nets you a wheelset that would keep all but the most demanding riders happy. Regardless, $500 alone doesn't buy you wheels that would generally be considered to be on par with the level of bikes being discussed - it might go a long way towards those wheels, but it's not going to cover the purchase price.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:46 AM
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I agree (and was about to post to caution) that $500 probably won't pay for a set of wheels on par with the bikes you're looking at.

What I'd probably do is make a spreadsheet with the prices, go do test rides, and see what each shop will give you for the wheels that came on the bike, if you really plan to replace them.

Triathletes tend to like crazy deep wheels. Which generally don't handle cross wind very well, so you might wind up wanting two sets.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I agree (and was about to post to caution) that $500 probably won't pay for a set of wheels on par with the bikes you're looking at.

What I'd probably do is make a spreadsheet with the prices, go do test rides, and see what each shop will give you for the wheels that came on the bike, if you really plan to replace them.

Triathletes tend to like crazy deep wheels. Which generally don't handle cross wind very well, so you might wind up wanting two sets.
I agree with you, Wifi and Seattle Forrest, if I do replace the wheels, I would look to purchase from bike store with a credit for the wheels that come on the bike. As for the type of wheels, I'm would only get regular road wheels (not deep aero) as I only do a few triathlons a year and can't justify two sets of wheels.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:55 AM
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The ride qualities and geo of the bikes the OP lists are very different from one another. OP should focus on those differences rather than the component levels. The difference in how those bikes ride is huge. I suggest renting each for test rides. If OP rides bumpy roads it will be even more enlightening.
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Old 03-15-18, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by stevoo View Post
The ride qualities and geo of the bikes the OP lists are very different from one another. OP should focus on those differences rather than the component levels. The difference in how those bikes ride is huge. I suggest renting each for test rides. If OP rides bumpy roads it will be even more enlightening.
I agree with this.

But to answer the question: Out of three Shimano drivetrains on my last 3 road bikes (Ultegra, Ultegra Di2, Dura-Ace) the only slight difference I could tell (I think, maybe just in my head) was the front shifting on the Di2 bike is suuuuper smooth. Other than that they feel the same to me.
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Old 03-15-18, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by stevoo View Post
The ride qualities and geo of the bikes the OP lists are very different from one another. OP should focus on those differences rather than the component levels. The difference in how those bikes ride is huge. I suggest renting each for test rides. If OP rides bumpy roads it will be even more enlightening.
Thanks for the input. I planned to ride all three starting this weekend and will look to cover rough roads. My question regarding the gruppo was to help me decide if the other variables---ride, fit, etc.---are the same or similar.
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Old 03-15-18, 10:11 AM
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Ride and fit are a lot more important than groupset, but it's hard to talk about that because we can't evaluate them for you.

Again, Ultegra is very nice. I have Ultegra Di2 with hydraulic discs, I love it. Every time I ride I think how great it is. I'm sure I'd love DA even more, but I'm very happy on Ultegra, and you will be, too. It's not like you're considering a Sora bike, where there's going to be a very noticeable and meaningful difference. There's a difference between Ultegra and Dura Ace, but it's a lot more slight.
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Old 03-15-18, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Ride and fit are a lot more important than groupset, but it's hard to talk about that because we can't evaluate them for you.

Again, Ultegra is very nice. I have Ultegra Di2 with hydraulic discs, I love it. Every time I ride I think how great it is. I'm sure I'd love DA even more, but I'm very happy on Ultegra, and you will be, too. It's not like you're considering a Sora bike, where there's going to be a very noticeable and meaningful difference. There's a difference between Ultegra and Dura Ace, but it's a lot more slight.
I agree with SF above. I have bikes with both DA Di2 and Ultegra Di2, and I don't notice a difference. If you're thinking of DA , you should look at upgrading Ultegra to Di2. It's something over time you'll notice and get your money's worth from.
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Old 03-15-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Get Ultegra and put the $500 toward a set of wheels.
+1

And since the OP is getting disc brakes, he can run wheels with carbon rims as well. But many of those will be over the $500 mark, though. In that case, you could sell off the OEM wheels to make up some of the cost difference. If not wheels, then aerobar, stem, different seatpost, clothing, helmet, shoes and pedals, etc...
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Old 03-15-18, 11:29 AM
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It wouldn't be for me. There's a lot of stuff with a bigger ROI that you could spend that $500 on.
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Old 03-15-18, 12:14 PM
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If your looking at the Domane SL8, that bike comes with Bontrager Carbon wheels and mech dura ace.

I personally think there is a lot of value in that bike.
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Old 03-15-18, 02:13 PM
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Last April and September, i was building two bikes from framesets. I did a price compare between mechanical Ultegra and DA from various online shop from Europe (ProBikeKit, Merlin, Ribble, etc.), and price difference was ~$200. I decided to go with DA. I bought it piece by piece for a total cost of ~$950

Good luck
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