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Upgrading from Tiagra to Ultegra... at what price is it worth it?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Upgrading from Tiagra to Ultegra... at what price is it worth it?

Old 02-19-15, 04:32 PM
  #26  
Dan333SP
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Originally Posted by Thadcorn View Post
I really appreciate your opinions, it has really opened up my eyes upon what I can do. After reading through the comments, I think I more inclined to the Shimano 105 5800. Also rms13's upgrade for my wheelset is very beneficial because they are not compatible with 11-speeds so I will need that. But one question that I have is how to do I decide which size of crankset and cassette I should get? I have a compact crankset right now for my bike (34/50) and a lot of times when I go down hills I feel like I could go faster but my bike will not let me once I hit my highest gear and it's kind of disappointing. Any suggestions?
It's a shame that you can't get a "mid compact" with the 5800 group, that would give you a nice middle ground between what you have now and a traditional standard. That said, you live in the plains and your "hills" (correct me if I'm wrong though, I've never been to NE) probably aren't too steep or too long, so a standard crank with an 11/28 should be more than enough low end for you. If you travel to the Rockies... rent a bike with a compact and a 12-32 or something.
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Old 02-19-15, 04:41 PM
  #27  
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There are 52-36 cranks offered with 5800. The discounted UK vendors don't always have stock on them if you order a complete groupset.
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Old 02-19-15, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
It's a shame that you can't get a "mid compact" with the 5800 group, that would give you a nice middle ground between what you have now and a traditional standard. That said, you live in the plains and your "hills" (correct me if I'm wrong though, I've never been to NE) probably aren't too steep or too long, so a standard crank with an 11/28 should be more than enough low end for you. If you travel to the Rockies... rent a bike with a compact and a 12-32 or something.
Nebraskas geography is kind of all over the place. It's hilly in the west, flat in the middle, and hilly once you get to Iowa (because of the bluffs). The hills are mid-level in their steepness but they are short, which is nice. Do you think that I should still stay with the standard crank and 11/28?
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Old 02-19-15, 06:38 PM
  #29  
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Upgrade to 5800 11 speed for like $450. Last group you'll ever need.
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Old 02-19-15, 06:39 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
There are 52-36 cranks offered with 5800. The discounted UK vendors don't always have stock on them if you order a complete groupset.
Just get the 34/50 and buy a $20 36 or 39 inner chainring. Problem solved.
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Old 02-19-15, 10:45 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
Yup. Be honest with yourself and why you want to upgrade. Performance wise, the upgrades you are considering would be noticeable but minimal for the amount of money. Aesthetically, well the new 5800 cranks are a lot sexier looking than the Tiagra...in my opinion but some people think the new Shimano 105/Ultegra/DA cranks are ugly. But this is a hobby where people spend thousands to shave 2 lbs off a bike when they themselves are 20-30 lbs overweight so rational thinking doesn't always apply.

For me, I've built/rebuilt a few bikes now and that is as much of a hobby for me as riding is so I'm jonsing for a new project myself just because I haven't done anything in 6+ months
+1

OP: This is my main question: why the upgrade? If you want more performance, I think the consensus is that you won't get much by going with Ultegra 6700 10-speed. If it's for aesthetics, then the low cost option would be to do the shifters, crank, and rear dérailleur, since these are the most "visual" components (can't really tell the difference in chain and cassette at a glance). If it's for performance, I've read quite a few reviews that report not insignificant gains in braking and shifting performance in the latest Shimano 11-speed groups. I can personally attest to the performance of both 6800 and 5800 brakes, both of which are phenomenal (I run them with 6700 and 5700 brifters, respectively). If cost is no object, then go for the group that you like most. Either way, it's whatever gets you out on the bike most that counts.

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Old 02-21-15, 03:11 PM
  #32  
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For the type of riding you are doing, it isn't worth the cost. I would upgrade the brakes and leave the rest alone. Unless you are racing, or logging some serious miles, the difference is negligible at best. Are you having issues wth that you have or, do you just want to add bling factor? If you MUST upgrade, go to 105.
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Old 02-21-15, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Thadcorn View Post
Nebraskas geography is kind of all over the place. It's hilly in the west, flat in the middle, and hilly once you get to Iowa (because of the bluffs). The hills are mid-level in their steepness but they are short, which is nice. Do you think that I should still stay with the standard crank and 11/28?
It all depends on what you're comfortable with. You can get up nearly anything if you're willing to grind it out, I made the mistake of visiting West Virginia with a standard crank and a 12-26 cassette. I had to do a lot of zigzagging up the road on a few mountains that were consistently 10-15% grades for a mile or two, but I made it up and didn't blow out my knees. I have a compact now and I've been racing on it/riding in the mountains with a 12-26 cassette without ever feeling like I needed a higher top end (I just tuck and coast when we're racing downhill at 38+ mph, which is about where I spin out with this gearing), so YMMV. Maybe borrow someone's bike with a standard to see if you like it?
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