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Why for a beginner is it recommended to use nothing less than a Tiagra or 105 setup?

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Why for a beginner is it recommended to use nothing less than a Tiagra or 105 setup?

Old 01-23-15, 09:28 AM
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Fly2High
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Why for a beginner is it recommended to use nothing less than a Tiagra or 105 setup?

Just for my own edification, can a new rider feel the difference between a 105 or tiagra and a Entry level or Sora setup?

what is it that makes people not recommend anything less than a 105 or tiagra drivetrain?

Is there any fear of losing new riders due to cost?

Can a frame equipped with a 9 speed Sora later when things wear out be upgraded to the Tiagra or 105, etc later?

If a beginner has no point of reference and may abuse a bike in the fumbling first steps, wouldn't it be better to learn on cheaper stuff?


what is so bad about the Claris and Sora drivetrains?

Thanks

Frank

Last edited by Fly2High; 01-23-15 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:37 AM
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depending on your frame, yes, most group sets can be upgraded. The recommendation of using nothing less may be twofold: (1) there aren't must in the way of "less" than 105 or tiagra; and (2) getting a really cheap groupset can ruin the riding experience and thus turn you off to cycling. I always say buy the best you can afford.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
getting a really cheap groupset can ruin the riding experience and thus turn you off to cycling.

Came in to post ^^^this.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:44 AM
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Hi Frank,

I ride a Lexa S with a 9-speed Sora. It is a perfectly adequate drive train. Still, within three months of getting the bike, I had Tiagra/105 envy. However, once I learned the cost of replacing the group set, I learned to be happy with the Sora. If properly tuned (and that's an important if), the Sora runs just fine.

So the bottom line is, if you can purchase a Tiagra or 105 equipped bike for a couple hundred more than the Sora model, it's probably worth it. If not, you're probably buying a bike that's entry level in a number of ways, and will probably want to buy up in a couple of years anyway. In any event, you're not going to give up riding because you were traumatized by your Sora.

As for learning on the cheaper stuff, the Tiagra and 105 are pretty durable -- they're not going to be destroyed by a couple of fumbling shifts. If/when you fall, you're more likely to bend the hanger than damage the components.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:47 AM
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The lastest Sora group, as well as the new Claris group, aren't bad at all and are fine for new and experienced riders. Others may feel 8 and 9 speed are inadequate, but I think that is utter BS.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:48 AM
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3 years ago when I first looked at road bikes I rode a Specialized Secteur. Then the sales person gave me another Secteur and said try this one. When i got back I told him it shifted so much nicer and he said it had 105 and was more expensive.

So for as a first time rider i noticed it right away.

I wound up getting a bike with Sram Rival and just purchased a new bike with Red.... huge difference.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:51 AM
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3 years ago when I first looked at road bikes I rode a Specialized Secteur. Then the sales person gave me another Secteur and said try this one. When i got back I told him it shifted so much nicer and he said it had 105 and was more expensive.

So for as a first time rider i noticed it right away.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:53 AM
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I ride 9 speed Tiagra shifters and derailleurs, which is equivalent to current 9 speed Sora.

OK, take a look at this link which has a little chart documenting the history of Shimano road groupsets. It is all trickle down technology, so every few years as Shimano introduced a new Dura Ace groupset, or Ultegra groupset, the previous generation of those higher end groupset dropped down to 105, and the previous generation 105 became Tiagra, and so on. Now, is it made to the same aesthetic standard? Probably not. It might be more plasticky, or a few grams heavier, but it is functionally the same.

So, current Sora was Tiagra just a few years ago. Even 8 speed Claris is very good. Keep in mind that according to the chart, Shimano didn't introduce a 9 speed 105 group until 2001. Before then if you wanted 9 speed, you had to go with Ultegra. Before the mid 90s, most roadies had 7 speed, or even 6 speed.

To sum up, current Sora works very well indeed; as well as all but the very best gear from 10 or 15 years ago and as good as what the pros were using in the mid to late 90s. Set up correctly, will not limit your road rides in any way.

Shimano - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 01-23-15, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
The lastest Sora group, as well as the new Claris group, aren't bad at all and are fine for new and experienced riders. Others may feel 8 and 9 speed are inadequate, but I think that is utter BS.
This is correct.
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Old 01-23-15, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
depending on your frame, yes, most group sets can be upgraded. The recommendation of using nothing less may be twofold: (1) there aren't must in the way of "less" than 105 or tiagra; and (2) getting a really cheap groupset can ruin the riding experience and thus turn you off to cycling. I always say buy the best you can afford.
True, but we are talking about Sora, not some Wal Mart special.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:02 AM
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I think that a lot of people recommend 105 because, more or less, it functions the same as their higher-end offerings (Ultegra, Dura-Ace) and many of the parts are interchangeable among the three groups. This gives you more options when you want/need to replace/upgrade - it can often be done piecemeal as opposed to necessitating the replacement of multiple parts simultaneously.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I think that a lot of people recommend 105 because, more or less, it functions the same as their higher-end offerings (Ultegra, Dura-Ace) and many of the parts are interchangeable among the three groups. This gives you more options when you want/need to replace/upgrade - it can often be done piecemeal as opposed to necessitating the replacement of multiple parts simultaneously.
^This is precisely why I insisted that my GF get a 105-equipped bike. I have an enormous pool of parts from previous bikes that can all be swapped around. It's really convenient. Plus, she was already used to the shifting from riding an older Ultegra-equipped bike of mine, so it was the same experience for her.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:06 AM
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I think part of it is the cross-compatibility between the different groups. If you had a 10-speed group, you could upgrade parts of the group like the rear derailleur without having to replace the whole group. If you were buying a 9 speed Sora bike, you would have to replace the pretty much everything to upgrade to a 10 speed group.

Edit: And I see Whyfi made the same point while I was typing this...
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Old 01-23-15, 10:08 AM
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Because nearly all of us posting here are serious enthusiasts, we want equipment that not only performs well, but that is built to last a long time. As you move up the food chain of group sets, you do get something for your money. Whether that is worthwhile to you, no one else can say.

Another way of saying this might be that if you wind up enjoying this sport as much as many of us, you may wish you had bought a little higher up on the food chain, as some have mentioned. And buying a better group set later will almost always cost more than buying one now.

Lastly, this rule is a moving target. As others have mentioned, the tipping point moves as newer group sets are introduced.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:10 AM
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The Sora hate is based on the old design with a thumb shift button... My personal position is anything that is at least 9 speed is sufficient.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
I think part of it is the cross-compatibility between the different groups. If you had a 10-speed group, you could upgrade parts of the group like the rear derailleur without having to replace the whole group. If you were buying a 9 speed Sora bike, you would have to replace the pretty much everything to upgrade to a 10 speed group.

Edit: And I see Whyfi made the same point while I was typing this...
Perhaps, but we are talking new riders here, who don't have a box of old Ultegra parts laying around. As for the so called upgrade path, those goalposts keep moving. My sense is, 11 speed Di2 is coming, and none of that is compatible with 9 speed or 10 speed. I have no problem with a new rider getting the best he or she can afford. But if the best the OP can afford is a Sora equipped bike, go ahead and pull the trigger. It won't, or shouldn't limit your enjoyment of your new road bike.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:17 AM
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I recently built up a an old 70s touring frame into a cyclocross bike. Easiest/cheapest way to upgrade the drivetrain to modern brifters without messing with frame spacing and wheel/brake size was to throw on a 7 x 2 speed Shimano Tourney/Claris group, arguably even lower on the totem than ClSora; Tourney is essentially Sora from a few years ago when they had the upshift on a separate trigger and downshift on the brake lever. Still works fine. It was pennies compared to the prevailing notion of what constitutes a beginner groupset. After tuning it shifts every bit as smooth as my 105 equipped bike and find myself not missing the few cogs. There is no reason a beginner should have to sacrifice ride quality to go with groups lower than Tiagra if they are on a shoestring budget as long as they stay away from the department store.

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Old 01-23-15, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
) getting a really cheap groupset can ruin the riding experience and thus turn you off to cycling. I always say buy the best you can afford.
Not true. (unless you're talking walmart..) I rode a groupset which is now equivalent to Claris for 2 years of lots of riding and I fell in love with cycling. Claris will be great for your first bike.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:26 AM
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I have Ultegra on my SuperSix and a mix of Sora/Tiagra on my CX bike. They're both fun to ride. You'd have to be pretty anal to have your enjoyment of riding ruined by slightly better shifting.
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Old 01-23-15, 10:29 AM
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2 weeks ago I did pull the trigger on a 2014 Specialized Secteur Sport with a 9 speed Sora setup. I do love the bike and it seems to ride nicely - holds a line well, isn't twitchy and the shifting was easy to learn especially since I hadn't been on a bike since the 1980's (trim function - what's that! took a bit to get use to). to me it shifts nicely.

coming from another expensive hobby - R/C discus glider flying, I had to limit the price I could afford. I do recall that the $1000+ composite planes do fly better and were able to be thrown higher and fly farther than lesser planes. Unfortunately, I think even though we all had everyone's best interest when we expressed to beginners to spend that to get flying sooner and should they decide to leave also have a higher resale possibility. I wonder how many we chased away by recommending a $700 molded plane or better.

To me, I cam e from the old 10 speeds with levers by the stem and where the brakes extended along the horizonal part of the bar and I did not know anyone who road on the 'hoods' back then.

A lot has changed.

For me, I think I have had my fill of expensive competition from the DLG (discus Launched Glider) flying and I just enjoy riding (even though it has only been a week and change). I know I am hooked. I am not sure I need more than what a 9 speed offers, at least for now.

Also, even if I do get a new bike in 3-5 years, I think I will always enjoy riding my first modern bike. Nostalgia, I guess. Even my first cheap DLG at $400 I fly from time to time just for the fun of remembering where we were, the challenge of it all and the fact it was my first.

I think even if I do not upgrade, it will still be a pleasure.

Frank
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Old 01-23-15, 10:32 AM
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Besides, it seems impossible for someone to enter road bikes under $1000. the reason I even got into it this December '14 was because I bought my wife a hybrid. I almost went the same way but after looking at what kind of riding that is available on Long Island, I went with a road bike instead. Hybrids do seem to allow a lower entry point without getting total junk.

The other thing is Long Island is not that hilly and might not take advantage of the gearing offered. Again, a newbee so go gentle. What does the extra gear or two in the back gain you?
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Old 01-23-15, 10:35 AM
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Why do y'all hate snobs? Sora is beneath us, dammit!
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Old 01-23-15, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
Why do y'all hate snobs? Sora is beneath us, dammit!

^^this^^
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Old 01-23-15, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
Why do y'all hate snobs? Sora is beneath us, dammit!
you are too funny
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Old 01-23-15, 10:46 AM
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(Didn't read all the posts- so forgive me if I'm repeating what others may have already said)

I started out with Sora- with a triple crankset, no less- and it performed perfectly and was very easy to keep in tune. (Put 3000 miles on that cheap bike the first year, without a single problem)

And upgrades are generally a bad idea, economically-speaking, because if you buy parts piece by piece, or a groupset; or wheels; etc. you could pretty much buy a better complete bike, with a better frame, for what it costs you to upgrade a cheaper bike; only you end up with a better frame, essentially for free.

So there's really no downside to Sora/Claris, IMO, for a first bike, if you just want something cheap, to see if you will like the sport of cycling. No matter what entry level bike you get, if you stick with cycling and really "get into it", you will likely want a better bike after a year or two anyway.

On the other hand, if know you will be sticking with cycling for the long-term, and know what kind of bike suits your needs (I didn't know those things- and my first bike was a relaxed-geometry model- and I couldn't wait to get a racing bike before long, because i found relaxed plush riding to be very boring!) then it pays to just get a better quality bike from the start. Not that there's anything wrong with Sora, but: a)You'll likely want components with better aesthetics- i.e. shift quieter and smoother; look and feel nicer, etc.- and b)You'll probably want something with a better, lighter frame. They tend to put Sora on the lowest level frames...

But as far as performance goes, you wont notice any substantial difference between a newbie Sora bike, and a good Dura Ace equipped bike. The biggest differences are aesthetic and psychological- not to discount those things though, as they do play a large role in one's enjoyment of cycling. But I'll tell you, I'm no faster on my Ultegra equipped Venge, than I was on el cheapo $300 Sora bike from Bikesdirect....but I do enjoy the experience of riding the Venge much more.
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