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New Tiagra or old Dura Ace???

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New Tiagra or old Dura Ace???

Old 02-10-24, 10:39 AM
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New Tiagra or old Dura Ace???

Hi all. So, I'm considering building a new road bike off an older Bianchi frame. I'm so jazzed about a bar end friction shifter that I put on a different 9-speed (Sora) that I'm considering putting the same setup on the new build, but as a 10-speed. Or maybe I'll go with another 9, I don't know yet. So my question is this: what setup will give the smoother shifting performance? A modern Tiagra or an older Dura Ace RD7800? Or even an older Ultegra (I think RD 6800 series.) I see the older rear derailleurs all over eBay for reasonable prices. But I don't want to get an older mechanism just for the "retro" effect. I want it to work well. If a modern derailleur that is "lower" in the Shimano hierarchy will perform better than an older higher-end mech, then I want the better-performing mech. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
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Old 02-10-24, 10:49 AM
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If you get the new Tiagra, then more of it will be compatible if you ever decide to go to 11 speed. I don't know if it's better than the older DuraAce, but my son's bike came with Tiagra and it shifted very nicely with fast shifts. I didn't think it any worse than my 105 5800. Although the rim brakes seemed a little less beefier than the 105 rim brakes. But they worked well and I didn't notice a functional difference in their stopping power.

If nothing else, you'll have new stuff on it if you get new Tiagra. And new is a plus to me.
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Old 02-10-24, 10:54 AM
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I like modern components on classic frame sets. If I was doing this, I would be getting the 11 speed 105 7000. Just me, but I would not have a problem with buying a 4700 Tiagra group, but I would not buy it to later upgrade it to 11 speed in the future. I have had used 4400, 4500, and am now using 4600 shifters with a 6600 group. They have all been very good for lower tier components.
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Old 02-10-24, 11:32 AM
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I'm not concerned about upgrading in the future. Whatever speed I select is the speed it will remain. Also, since I want to fit it with a bar end friction shifter, I think I'll want the cassette no wider than a 10. But that raises a question in my unknowing mind: does it even matter how many cogs the cassette has if I use the shifter in friction mode? As an inquiry, will a Shimano Dura Ace SL-BS77 fit for a 9-speed work with a 10-12 cassette in friction mode? Thanks!
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Old 02-10-24, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
I'm not concerned about upgrading in the future. Whatever speed I select is the speed it will remain.
...until something breaks, and you're left scrambling for a replacement part that hasn't been made for a decade or more.

New 10-speed Shimano sets are already hard to come by.
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Old 02-10-24, 09:06 PM
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In what world is Ultegra 6800 considered 'retro'?
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Old 02-11-24, 08:25 AM
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Anything not 12 speed is cheap stuff or retro. 12 speed has been out for 5 years for Campy and SRAM. I had early model Chorus 12, but switched to Force electronic about a year later. No regrets with trouble free service on 3 bikes.
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Old 02-11-24, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Anything not 12 speed is cheap stuff or retro. 12 speed has been out for 5 years for Campy and SRAM. I had early model Chorus 12, but switched to Force electronic about a year later. No regrets with trouble free service on 3 bikes.
My chimp brain says retro is min 15 years.
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Old 02-11-24, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
My chimp brain says retro is min 15 years.
I’d double or triple that number. Regardless, calling anything less than 12 speed retro is pretty silly.
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Old 02-11-24, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Anything not 12 speed is cheap stuff or retro. 12 speed has been out for 5 years for Campy and SRAM. I had early model Chorus 12, but switched to Force electronic about a year later. No regrets with trouble free service on 3 bikes.
you forgot the sarcasterisks at the end of this comical statement.
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Old 02-11-24, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Hi all. So, I'm considering building a new road bike off an older Bianchi frame. I'm so jazzed about a bar end friction shifter that I put on a different 9-speed (Sora) that I'm considering putting the same setup on the new build, but as a 10-speed. Or maybe I'll go with another 9, I don't know yet. So my question is this: what setup will give the smoother shifting performance? A modern Tiagra or an older Dura Ace RD7800? Or even an older Ultegra (I think RD 6800 series.) I see the older rear derailleurs all over eBay for reasonable prices. But I don't want to get an older mechanism just for the "retro" effect. I want it to work well. If a modern derailleur that is "lower" in the Shimano hierarchy will perform better than an older higher-end mech, then I want the better-performing mech. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
Just for the record OP, Ultegra 6800 mechanical is 11 speed while current Tiagra is 10 speed if that matters to you?
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Old 02-12-24, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Anything not 12 speed is cheap stuff or retro. 12 speed has been out for 5 years for Campy and SRAM. I had early model Chorus 12, but switched to Force electronic about a year later. No regrets with trouble free service on 3 bikes.
We're off topic here, but I unfortunately cannot share your appreciation of the Force AXS groupset. I absolutely hated it. Slow shifting, low battery life, frequent front derailleur chain drops. Shimano is much nicer and fancier IMO.
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Old 02-12-24, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
We're off topic here, but I unfortunately cannot share your appreciation of the Force AXS groupset. I absolutely hated it. Slow shifting, low battery life, frequent front derailleur chain drops. Shimano is much nicer and fancier IMO.
Thanks for the replies. For specificity, I placed the word "retro" in quotes. Just trying to give the idea in my original post that I'm not interested in buying older parts just for the sake of building something time-period specific. I also see that I mistakenly referenced an Ultegra RD 6800 (again, preferences with an "I think", when I should have stated 6500. But alas, I still don't see any opinions as to whether an older Dra Ace or Ultegra 10 speed will shift more smoothly/perform better than a modern Tiagra.
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Old 02-12-24, 09:29 PM
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Hopefully I am in a position to answer your question mostly. I currently have a bike with new generation Tiagra, my trainer bike. I have a time trial bike with Ultegra 6700, a road bike with Dura Ace 7900, a road bike with Ultegra 6800, and a cyclocross bike with 105 5800. I previously had a bike with Dura-Ace 7700 for many years. I know, I have way too many bikes. I won't even get into my mountain bikes.

As far as shifting the Ultegra 6800 and 105 5800 groups are almost identical with possibly a slight edge to 6800 but that may even be in my head and due also to the different uses the bikes see.They are both excellent groups and the best I have personally owned. This may sound crazy but the newest generation Tiagra is basically a match for those two groups. The Ultegra 6700 is good but hard to compare because on a time trial bike it has bar end shifters and in my experience those tend to shift very well what ever group. Ironically my worst shifting group is my Dura Ace 7900. Not horrible but honestly has always disappointing especially compared to Dura Ace 7700. Dura Ace 7900 has always been recognized as the worst generation of Dura-Ace. I have no experience with Dura Ace 7800 as I skipped that generation but I have always heard that it was an excellent group

Maybe more information then you needed but I hoped to answer what you were really asking.

With all that being said unless you think you are going to get upgrade fever quickly I would buy a new Tiagra group. For the money I think it would be awfully hard to beat and parts are still readily available as opposed to an older group. One thing to be aware of I believe that Tiagra is not backwards or forwards compatible with any Shimano group at least from what I understand so you will not be able to mix any other group with it. Someone may correct me on this.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-13-24, 01:44 AM
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Shimano Tiagra 4700 series and GRX 400 10 speed are sorta / kinda odd balls - they use the same pull ratio as the Shimano 11 speed road groups - and therefore are not compatible with older Shimano 10 speed groups
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Old 02-13-24, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p
Shimano Tiagra 4700 series and GRX 400 10 speed are sorta / kinda odd balls - they use the same pull ratio as the Shimano 11 speed road groups - and therefore are not compatible with older Shimano 10 speed groups
how does that work then? The shifters just pull 10% less cable each click than the 11s shifters?
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Old 02-13-24, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
how does that work then? The shifters just pull 10% less cable each click than the 11s shifters?
The pull is the same. There are just 9 clicks for Tiagra(10 cogs) instead of 10 clicks(11 cogs).
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Old 02-13-24, 10:54 AM
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Thanks Cervelo. I envy your bike collection. I saw last night that there's a 105 10 speed (RD 5701.) I think I'll just jump into that. Jenson's has them for $50. If it's anything like my RD7000 derailleur, then it will be more than sufficient for my needs.
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Old 02-13-24, 11:03 AM
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Quick add-on question. What is the reputation of MicroShift and Sunrace rear derailleurs? How do they compare with Shimano?
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Old 02-13-24, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
The pull is the same. There are just 9 clicks for Tiagra(10 cogs) instead of 10 clicks(11 cogs).
Oh! Spacer behind the cassette then I guess?
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Old 02-15-24, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Thanks Cervelo. I envy your bike collection. I saw last night that there's a 105 10 speed (RD 5701.) I think I'll just jump into that. Jenson's has them for $50. If it's anything like my RD7000 derailleur, then it will be more than sufficient for my needs.
The RD-5701 is an older style RD, while the RD-R7000 is the newer 'Shadow' design, (if that matters).

Another difference is that the RD-R7000 uses the newer actuation ratio, Shimano 11 speed spec., so it needs more cable pull between gears. The RD-5701 is the older Shimano 10 speed actuation ratio the same as your Sora. As stated earlier, the Tiagra 4700 series used the newer ratio.

In friction mode, the older actuation ratio will need less cable pull, and thus require more precision when shifting. The 'newer' actuation ratio uses more cable pull, so more shifter movement is needed, this means less precision is needed, (this assumes that the shifter has enough total pull to 'cover' the whole width of the cassette.
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Old 02-15-24, 02:21 PM
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Great insight! - Trickle down tech is real. I only recently started road cycling - bought second hand bikes for myself and my two kids in a variety of years and models. I already swapped from a 2012 tarmac with 105 to a 2007 model Kuota with Dura Ace 7800 10s - one kid got a 2019 model year bike with Tiagra - another a 2017 Dolce with Sora. I also have a beat up Felt with 105 10speed.


To the Point:

15+ year old Dura Ace 7800 feels the smoothest to me - shifting is effortless. But the components are older and I had to do some pretty comprehensive cleaning/maintenance to get them into top shape. That a 15+ year old groupset shows little to no signs of stress in the plastics or corrosion in the metal is a testament to build quality. That said, I do have my questions as to just how long it will continue to perform at a high level before springs wear out and things start breaking.

10+ year old 105 is really not very far behind - both 105 groupsets I rode on were/are over 10 years old and run super smooth - zero complaints from me on them. If anything, it feels like i might need to correct indexing a tad more frequently with them,but there are a TON of variables that could be affect that which are unrelated to model differences even if they are 2 steps below Dura Ace in the hierarchy.


4 year Tiagra is def a step down in smoothness - While still nice to ride on, this 4 year old version def felt a bit "clunkier" - noisier shifts under load (downshifting while in a climb), and the throw (how far you have to push the level to change gears) feels a tad longer.


I dont know when Shimano last updated their Tiagra Groupsets - if it was in the past 4 years, then Im sure they are much better now.


TLDR - the old Dura Ace are badass group sets, but they are OLD and long term reliability if you're installing now is worth considering - if you do go that route, taking the time to find one in top condition would be something I'd personally prioritize. Can't speak for the current Tiagra, but the one from 4 years ago def felt like a downgrade from my old dura ace 7800. But older 105s in good condition are pretty damn good, and I've heard that the current 105 groupset is barely a compromise at all...
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Old 02-15-24, 04:44 PM
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[QUOTE=KCT1986;23157678]The RD-5701 is an older style RD, while the RD-R7000 is the newer 'Shadow' design, (if that matters).

Another difference is that the RD-R7000 uses the newer actuation ratio, Shimano 11 speed spec., so it needs more cable pull between gears. The RD-5701 is the older Shimano 10 speed actuation ratio the same as your Sora. As stated earlier, the Tiagra 4700 series used the newer ratio.

So, based upon that, it would seem that the Tiagra will be easier to shift using friction than the older 105 RD-5701. Would that be your Opinion? Thank you!
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Old 02-15-24, 07:20 PM
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[QUOTE=ArgoMan;23157931]
Originally Posted by KCT1986
The RD-5701 is an older style RD, while the RD-R7000 is the newer 'Shadow' design, (if that matters).

Another difference is that the RD-R7000 uses the newer actuation ratio, Shimano 11 speed spec., so it needs more cable pull between gears. The RD-5701 is the older Shimano 10 speed actuation ratio the same as your Sora. As stated earlier, the Tiagra 4700 series used the newer ratio.

So, based upon that, it would seem that the Tiagra will be easier to shift using friction than the older 105 RD-5701. Would that be your Opinion? Thank you!
Since the Tiagra RD-4700 (& 11 speed Shimano road RD) needs more cable pull, it would be less likely that you would 'overshift' the gear that you are desiring (in friction mode).

As the # of gears go up in the cassette, the sprockets are closer together. This means that you need a more precise 'feel' in your hands to get it accurate.

Since the older RD (like the 5701 and most road 10 speed & under) has a higher actuation ratio, less cable pull is needed. This means that your leeway in 'feel' is reduced.

In you first post, you mentioned friction shifting a 9 speed Sora (which has the higher actuation ratio). The 5701 has the same ratio. If this is on a 9 speed cassette, then expect that a 10 speed cassette will require a little more 'feel' to get right since the sprockets are closer together. This assumes that the shifter uses the same size 'cable take-up' spool. The larger the 'spool', the more cable it will pull per degree of shifter movement.

This post just addresses the difference in the RD's cable pull difference, not the build quality of the RD.
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Old 02-16-24, 11:20 AM
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[QUOTE=KCT1986;23158042]
Originally Posted by ArgoMan

This post just addresses the difference in the RD's cable pull difference, not the build quality of the RD.
Thank you, that really clarifies things. I practically had zero adjustment time to get the feel of my bar end shifter in friction mode. It came very naturally for me. That's with a 9-speed. So, I'm thinking that I should be okay with a 10-speed.

Now, onto build quality. I have the Sora and the 105 (RD7000.) The 105 is all metal, where the Sora has plastic parts. My son has a new Tiagra set up with his bike, and it too incorporates a bit of plastic. I just have to assume that the 105 is a much better built mech.
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