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Shimano 7800/6600 vs. 7900/6700 Shifting Quality?

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Shimano 7800/6600 vs. 7900/6700 Shifting Quality?

Old 12-10-09, 08:59 PM
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FlashBazbo
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Shimano 7800/6600 vs. 7900/6700 Shifting Quality?

I've read that the shift quality of the newer Ultegra and Dura Ace (with "hidden" cables) isn't quite as slick as that of the Ultegra 6600 and Dura Ace 7800 (with "exposed" cable routing). I've found that to be true between Dura Ace 7800 and other brands with the "hidden" cable routing. Is it true of Shimano's newest offerings?
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Old 12-10-09, 09:59 PM
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I'm sure many will disagree, but in my experience, the shifting on 7900/6700 is horrible. Instead of effortlessly downshifting three or four cogs, as you could with all previous STI levers, you have to clumsily force the shifter in order to get a meager two. Also, if you run any non-7900 compatible rings in the front, expect front shirting problems, as Shimano has lengthened the pitch on the chain (for the first time since the advent of the modern drivetrain) from 1/2" to whatever the hell they're using now.

I'd avoid Shimano shifting until DI2 becomes cheap enough to justify purchasing.
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Old 12-10-09, 10:19 PM
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Nothing shifts as smooth and refined as a Shimano drive train. When I test rode a bike with 7900, it shifted just fine. I could hardly tell any difference between it and 7800. Its possible the hidden cables might cause a little more friction in but, there is nothing difficult about shifting - unlike Sram which requires considerably more force. The Shimano front shifting performance is in a class by itself. And, their new hoods feel great.
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Old 12-10-09, 10:21 PM
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I have the new Ultegra 6700s on my Tarmac, and I have no issues shifting. I only have noticed the slight friction when braking, but it isn't really an issue for me.
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Old 12-11-09, 02:08 AM
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7800 and 7900 shift about the same WRT smoothness, for me, but the effort it takes to shift is wayyyy higher on the new 7900, on both the front and rear lever. I'm used to it now, but I'm still not too happy about it. I much prefer the shape of the hoods on the 7900 though.
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Old 12-11-09, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
Shimano has lengthened the pitch on the chain (for the first time since the advent of the modern drivetrain) from 1/2" to whatever the hell they're using now.
This is not the case.

-Z
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Old 12-11-09, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
This is not the case.

-Z
So my Shimano rep lied to me?
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Old 12-11-09, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
So my Shimano rep lied to me?
No, but the rep must be ignorant about chains. All modern 10 speed chains still have the same 1/2 inch pitch and they are all about the same 5.9mm width. The only differences are in the outer plate shapes, to enhance shifting and the width across the inner plates, that affect the interchnageability of master links.

KMC, Wipperman and Shimano are a little wider across the inner plates than Campy and SRAM. Chains within those two groups can interchange master links.
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Old 12-11-09, 08:24 AM
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I know what the standard pitch of a road chain is, but I was informed by Shimano (both by the rep in person, and by technical support) that 7900 does not use standard 1/2" pitch. This same ignoramus must have told Zipp the same thing, too.

I believe that this is also the stated reason why Cervelo test team is using 7800 - the changed pitch of 7900 is not compatible with their Rotor Rings, though I could be mis-remembering.

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Old 12-11-09, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
I know what the standard pitch of a road chain is, but I was informed by Shimano (both by the rep in person, and by technical support) that 7900 does not use standard 1/2" pitch. This same ignoramus must have told Zipp the same thing, too.

I believe that this is also the stated reason why Cervelo test team is using 7800 - the changed pitch of 7900 is not compatible with their Rotor Rings, though I could be mis-remembering.
I use the Dura-Ace 7900 chain on my mountain bike (customer was throwing away a lightly-worn one). Works pretty well.

Regarding the shifting of 7900/6700, and friction etc, I can suggest removing the sealed end-caps from your cable housing and using unsealed ones throughout the system, to reduce drag. They're there to prevent contamination, but I've found that the cure is generally worse than the disease... those seals end up dragging. If you're an energy-drink user, also make sure your BB cable guide isn't carmelized with sugar. Triathletes' bikes often need a scrub with hot sudsy water to de-sugar their BB area, and suddenly the shifting works a lot better. Hmmm

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Old 12-11-09, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
I know what the standard pitch of a road chain is, but I was informed by Shimano (both by the rep in person, and by technical support) that 7900 does not use standard 1/2" pitch. This same ignoramus must have told Zipp the same thing, too.

I believe that this is also the stated reason why Cervelo test team is using 7800 - the changed pitch of 7900 is not compatible with their Rotor Rings, though I could be mis-remembering.
The pitch has not changed.

Cervelo is using 7800 because they have to pay for their own gear and 7800 is better. Period. I asked a Garmin rider point blank what he thought of 7900 after the Tour of Missouri and he said, "It sucks. I like the old stuff much better." I've said it before and I will say it again - Shimano pooped the bed with 7900 - an "upgrade" that is horrible but costs much more.
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Old 12-11-09, 10:11 AM
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Judging by the responses here and just about every review I've seen, I think I'll stay with my Dura Ace 7800. It seems that 7900/6700 has done away with what I appreciate most -- the slick, effortless shifting -- without any real performance benefits.

Thanks for the replies!

[EDIT: Boy, was I wrong! Since the above post, I have tested Ultegra 6700 vs. Dura Ace 7800 (my groupset the last two years). The results surprised me. I will post a lengthier review in a separate thread but I found things to like about both groupsets -- Ultegra 6700 surprised me, mostly in a good way!]

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Old 12-11-09, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
I'm sure many will disagree, but in my experience, the shifting on 7900/6700 is horrible. Instead of effortlessly downshifting three or four cogs, as you could with all previous STI levers, you have to clumsily force the shifter in order to get a meager two. Also, if you run any non-7900 compatible rings in the front, expect front shirting problems, as Shimano has lengthened the pitch on the chain (for the first time since the advent of the modern drivetrain) from 1/2" to whatever the hell they're using now.

I'd avoid Shimano shifting until DI2 becomes cheap enough to justify purchasing.
If the cables are pre stretched, lubed properly and the shifting is tuned correctly, there is very little difference really. I noticed quite a bit of extra effort needed on the small ring to big ring upshift, but since replacing the cables, it is 100 times better (much like the 7800 now). I've noticed little if any difference in shift quality with the rear derailleur. For what it's worth, I've been using Dura-Ace 7900 for almost 15,000 miles now and up until 2 months ago was also using 7800 on another bike.
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Old 12-11-09, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
So my Shimano rep lied to me?
Contrary to what Shimano may say, both 7800, 7900 and SRAM chains will work with Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 (or even with SRAM for that matter). Most if not all the parts between 7800 and 7900 are interchangeable as well... even though Shimano says they are not. The only part not compatible is 7800 shifters with 7900 drivetrain and maybe the front deraileur. You can use 7900 shifters on 7800 (been there and done that).
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Old 12-23-09, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I've read that the shift quality of the newer Ultegra and Dura Ace (with "hidden" cables) isn't quite as slick as that of the Ultegra 6600 and Dura Ace 7800 (with "exposed" cable routing). I've found that to be true between Dura Ace 7800 and other brands with the "hidden" cable routing. Is it true of Shimano's newest offerings?
At first I was blown away by the fact that Shimano had finally done away with its external cables. I have been riding since 1989 and have been bisexually riding campy and shimano. In March this year I stripped my Cannondale of its campy 10 speed and mounted 7800 with 7900 levers. Everyone had read everyone else's compatibility issues, including the technical expert from cyclingnews, Zinn, is it?? Anyway, the main issues are: the new hoods are wonderful (for my big hands and long fingers, it is only possible to shift two damn sprockets at a time which means 6 sweeps from small to big sprocket, (with 7800 it was 3 sweeps), the braking is crap compared to 7800 on 7800, and in the top position on the hoods there is just no modulation, the 7800 brake pads are really hard ( i run alum rimmed cosmic carbon sl 2009), and the worst part tis that to change from small ring to big ring requires such brute strength that wearing gloves in the cold it turns into a 10 second ****. I have friends who run 7900 levers on a 7800 group and they have no front shifting problems. The net effect of all of this is that I think Shimano should have introduced a 7800 compact crankset, their 7800 is awesome, the option of a 7900 carbon lever with hidden cables, and full backwards comaptibility with everything else like 6700 and finally the possibility of trim because there are few mechanics who can set up 6700 or 7900 so it is pefecet from 39-25 to 53-11. In times of a recession not a great move. And my colleague who has two bikes with 7800 on each bike, refuses to budge......fis something if it's broken, make soemthing better but don't revolutionise something which is ace- DA 7800..I salute you..
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