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What's the best upgrade for smoother/better shifting?

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What's the best upgrade for smoother/better shifting?

Old 02-23-13, 11:14 PM
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Banershka
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What's the best upgrade for smoother/better shifting?

Let's just say "my friend" has Sora shifters with Tiagra derailers, would Tiagra shifters be better than a 105 derailer for an upgrade?
Excuse me if this has been hashed out before, search was no help to me.

Thanks as always,
Ray
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Old 02-24-13, 01:22 AM
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A properly tuned derailleur will shift just as well as any derailleur, given proper maintenance.

Check the system first - derailleur cage alignment, H/L limit screws, and cable tension before thinking of an upgrade. Costs next to nothing.

The Parktool website has a very good guide for this.

You might want to check the cable housings too.
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Old 02-24-13, 01:46 AM
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Yes, shifter will be the better upgrade than the derailleur. The derailleurs are all basically the same, just made out of different materials to save weight. The shift quality between different tiers of shifters is much more pronounced. I would urge you to skip Tiagra and go to 105. The price difference is minimal (~20%), but the shifting performance is pretty pronounced. One hint: if you want the functionality of an Ultegra derailleur and don't care about the weight, buy a set of spare Ultegra pulley wheels (they are nice with ceramic bearings and much more precise operation) and change out the pulleys on the lower grade derailleur.
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Old 02-24-13, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Yes, shifter will be the better upgrade than the derailleur. The derailleurs are all basically the same, just made out of different materials to save weight. The shift quality between different tiers of shifters is much more pronounced. I would urge you to skip Tiagra and go to 105. The price difference is minimal (~20%), but the shifting performance is pretty pronounced. One hint: if you want the functionality of an Ultegra derailleur and don't care about the weight, buy a set of spare Ultegra pulley wheels (they are nice with ceramic bearings and much more precise operation) and change out the pulleys on the lower grade derailleur.
I'm pretty new to all this stuff............so just obtaining new Ultegra pulley wheels (how much $ and where?) would be the best for me? I ment to say...."For my friend"

Thanks again,
Ray
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Old 02-24-13, 02:23 AM
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get some Ultegra pulley wheels for your current mech, they have better bearings which stand up much better to wet conditions. One of the best things i did on my old bike was take the pulley wheels out the 105 mech one day and realise the brass bush was worn flat on one side and was bone dry of lube with brass filings all over the place. It improved the shifting and plecebo or not seemed to be much smoother to pedal.

Other than that I woldnt bother upgrading anythng unless you break it
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Old 02-24-13, 02:33 AM
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https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=28108
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Old 02-24-13, 05:45 AM
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Isn't Sora 9 speed ? If you switch to 105, you would need a 10 speed cassette & chain.
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Old 02-24-13, 07:16 AM
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Yes it is.

If the OP chooses to upgrade the shifters (Tiagra, 105, Ultegra - all 10-speed), he would have to upgrade the cassette and chain as well. It's an expensive route for "better shifting performance".
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Old 02-24-13, 07:18 AM
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Try new cables. I'm always amazed how much smoother shifting is when I fit new inners and outers.
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Old 02-24-13, 09:21 AM
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Tell your friend to upgrade to a campagnolo drive train
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Old 02-24-13, 09:35 AM
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Try s new chain and some lube. Adjust with care.
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Old 02-24-13, 09:57 AM
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Seriously? depending on the year the problem your friend has is this one, "Sora shifters," dont even know how that crap made it to the streets. The FD and RD are just a detail because you can lube here and there but they do its job just fine compared with the high end shimano. But what gives you all the sense of how the shifting works are the brifters, if the brifters are clunky and horrible there is nothing else you can do about it, those have to go for something else. Sora stuff is like that... c r a p.

Heard the new sora works fine but if the report comes from a guy with a 100% sora bike then you have a problem. The good about sora is that the 2013 group is like 250 bucks.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
Yes it is.

If the OP chooses to upgrade the shifters (Tiagra, 105, Ultegra - all 10-speed), he would have to upgrade the cassette and chain as well. It's an expensive route for "better shifting performance".
Tiagra became a 10-speed just two years ago, meaning there should still be some lightly used 9-speed shifters for sale out there somewhere.
OP- There's a pair of Tiagra 4500 9-speed shifters for sale in the road bike market place, located at the top of this forum. They'd be a good deal for "your friend" if they're still available.
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Old 02-24-13, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Banershka View Post
I'm pretty new to all this stuff............so just obtaining new Ultegra pulley wheels (how much $ and where?) would be the best for me? I ment to say...."For my friend"

Thanks again,
Ray
https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...2&category=532

I you are going this route, you need to go to 10 speed, at least with the chain. The pulley for the Ultegra derailleur is made for 10 speed chains. It is totally okay to ride a 10 speed chain with a 9 speed drivetrain. I thought you were already on 10 speed.
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Old 02-24-13, 01:50 PM
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Nobody has really asked but is your (cough) friend's drive train new or old? 8 spd Sora or 9 speed?

What specifically are you trying to improve? The feel of the shifters or how quickly they move from gear to gear?

I convinced myself I got better (and quieter) shifting when I changed out my SRAM 1030 chain for a nice KMC X10SL.

If you have mostly an entire Sora drive train, I'd either wait and do one of those 5-pc upgrade group kits or just sit tight and buy a whole new bike when you want a new one. 105 group kits are about $500 at ribble, for reference. Buying brifters as a standalone item tends to be pretty pricey.
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Old 02-24-13, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
Seriously? ... "Sora shifters," dont even know how that crap made it to the streets.

... if the brifters are clunky and horrible there is nothing else you can do about it, those have to go for something else. Sora stuff is like that... c r a p.
Sora works, and works pretty well, if tuned and adjusted properly, and given a proper maintenance routine.

Heard the new sora works fine but if the report comes from a guy with a 100% sora bike then you have a problem.
Huh?
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Old 02-24-13, 07:28 PM
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Tiagra shifters would be nicer than Sora, yes. If your Sora is older 8-speed, though, you'd need everything else, too (at the very least, a chain and cassette; the RD may still work).

However, +1 to this:

Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
A properly tuned derailleur will shift just as well as any derailleur, given proper maintenance.

Check the system first - derailleur cage alignment, H/L limit screws, and cable tension before thinking of an upgrade. Costs next to nothing.

The Parktool website has a very good guide for this.

You might want to check the cable housings too.
However x 2, and this is mainly directed to Banershka -- are you asking about shift lever feel or the quality of the chain's movement between gears?

For crisp behavior of the chain, the adjustment makes the difference. I can make a brand new Dura Ace setup skip and hop and shift like crap if I wanted to. My two bikes with road shifters, one with a 9sp Tiagra/SLX mix and the other with DA 7800 shifters/Ultegra derailleurs, shift really well because they've been set up well. The nicer levers feel nicer, no doubt, but both bikes shift reliably and cleanly every time.
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Old 02-24-13, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
Sora works, and works pretty well, if tuned and adjusted properly, and given a proper maintenance routine.


^^^^^This.

One of my bikes has old Sora/2300- the other Dura Ace. Seriously, I can barely tell the difference. The only advantage I see to the D/A, is not in the shifting, but just that the shift levers feel a little nicer- hardly something I'd spend any extra money to achieve. Keep 'em well-adjusted and lubed....they all work fine. I've had Walmart bikes when I was young which shifted just fine.
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Old 02-25-13, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
A properly tuned derailleur will shift just as well as any derailleur, given proper maintenance.

Check the system first - derailleur cage alignment, H/L limit screws, and cable tension before thinking of an upgrade.
Agree 100%.

OP- Before you go dropping $$$ on all new higher end parts and pieces, please tell us what has been done to tune/adjust your bike to it's current state? As others have stated, when adjusted correctly, the Sora/2300 equipment will work quite well.

I think a lot of the bad reputation Sora/2300 gets is from people who ride it (or know someone who rides it) but doesn't bother to maintain it. I guarantee the people willing to spend the least on whatever product line are the same people who won't properly maintain it and those are the same people that will say it is garbage because it didn't last.

Is Sora/2300 just like 105 and up? NO. However, properly tuned, adjusted and maintained, the line will hold its own just fine. It's like any type of product line. The base line of components will do 90% of the job. But, to get the last 10% of performance it will take an exponential amount of cost.
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Old 02-25-13, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by DayGloDago View Post
^^^^^This.

One of my bikes has old Sora/2300- the other Dura Ace. Seriously, I can barely tell the difference. The only advantage I see to the D/A, is not in the shifting, but just that the shift levers feel a little nicer- hardly something I'd spend any extra money to achieve. Keep 'em well-adjusted and lubed....they all work fine. I've had Walmart bikes when I was young which shifted just fine.


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Old 02-25-13, 12:40 AM
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The best upgrade you can do is to save your money for a better bike and find a good bike mechanic that can finely tune your current bike. Most bike shops don't tend to employ good mechanics in my experience and finding a good shop with good mechanics will pay off in the future for when you do get a nicer bike.
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Old 02-25-13, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by NMBuff View Post
The best upgrade you can do is to save your money for a better bike and find a good bike mechanic that can finely tune your current bike. Most bike shops don't tend to employ good mechanics in my experience and finding a good shop with good mechanics will pay off in the future for when you do get a nicer bike.
I'll respectfully disagree, mainly because you don't have to be a genius to be a passable bike mechanic Where the "genius" part comes in is knowing everything about old bikes and how to repair them with nonexistent parts, assembling bombproof wheels, designing and welding frames etc.

These days, with a small handful of tools, working on a bike is almost easier than setting the time on your VCR. If something minor happens on a ride, you're not going to be SOL while waiting to have someone else turn a couple screws. Adjusting an otherwise operational drivetrain is easier than people think.
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Old 02-25-13, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by NMBuff View Post
The best upgrade you can do is to save your money for a better bike...
Here's a good example of trying to solve a problem by throwing money at it

Last edited by e_guevara; 02-25-13 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 02-25-13, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
Adjusting an otherwise operational drivetrain is easier than people think.
And yet there are people who still can't manage to at least use the barrel adjusters.

If something minor happens on a ride, you're not going to be SOL while waiting to have someone else turn a couple screws.
He'll be thankful if somebody does pass along who knows how to do it. But what if everybody thinks like he does?
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Old 02-25-13, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
Here's a good example of trying to solve a problem by throwing money at it
Depends how you look at it though: You do get a lot more bang for the buck buying a complete bike, than buying new parts piecemeal.

But I do agree, in OP's case, it sounds like his "friend" needs to watch a few Youtube vids, and learn how to do simple derailleur adjustments...problem solved.

I also agree with Barracks [not Obama]. Bicycles are such simple machines...it's ridiculous to have to rely on some "mechanic" and pay good money, for what amounts to turning a couple of screws and a barrel adjuster. Any 10 year-old, just given a little instruction on the finer points of adjustment, should be able to disassemble and reassemble a bike. Using a bike mechanic would be like hiring an electrician to change a lightbulb. Even the few special tools required, can often be improvised [i.e. miter box = steere tube cutter]
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