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

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

Old 02-18-15, 04:39 PM
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Thadcorn
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Upgrading from Tiagra to Ultegra... at what price is it worth it?

I started cycling a little under a year ago because I wanted to start riding a bike for my job at Jimmy Johns. I started off with a Trek 7.1 and then got rid of it after I realized how much I loved riding, so I got off the Trek and bought a barely used 2011 Giant Defy Advanced 4 from Craigslist. It has been pretty faithful to me, but I've been wanting to upgrade some parts on it. I recently upgraded to a Vuelta Corsa Lite wheelset taking about a pound off the bike (it currently weights 19 pounds). My next thing I wanted to look at changing was the shifters. Everything is stock except for the wheelset and SPDs. Should my next option be upgrading the shifters to Ultegra? I've read from different places that it's a pain and expensive to do since you having to change out a lot of parts. I've even heard people say that it's better to just buy another bike. Would buying a different bike be a better option? Its really something I would want to do. What would be your suggestion?
btw: During the summer I normally ride inbetween 20-30 miles a day... During the winter I ride about 2 times a week (because of extreme colds and harsh weather in Omaha)
Here are the spec also:Defy Advanced 4 (2011) | Giant Bicycles | United States
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Old 02-18-15, 04:58 PM
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Upgrading to Ultegra wouldn't be too difficult. I think you'd need to upgrade the front derailleur, rear derailleur, cassette and maybe crank. You might want to consider 105 instead of Ultegra. The performance of 105 and Ultegra are basically the same, 105 will weigh marginally more though.
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Old 02-18-15, 05:06 PM
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I wouldn't do the shifters. Are you still running the Tektro brakes?
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Old 02-18-15, 05:31 PM
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Buy a set of Veloce ergolevers and Veloce brakes, and keep your current RD and cassette. Route the cable hubbub, and you are done for $130 all in (including new cables).
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Old 02-18-15, 06:43 PM
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upgrading to ultegra wont be cheap, probably around 400 bucks and that isnt for the whole groupset, or you can spend 500 and get a full 105 5800 which is all you would need, if you like the bike then keep it, if you want to upgrade your bike later on, just take off the whole groupset, slap on the old one and sell it.

in my opinion buying the whole 105 5800 groupset is much more economical than just changing to ultegra shifters, they will perform similarly, and the cost wont be that much more since you have to change the cassette, detrailuers etc...
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Old 02-18-15, 07:21 PM
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Old 02-18-15, 07:23 PM
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The bike you have is nice and you already bought the wheels so you might as well go all in? It appears you are currently running 9 speed, correct? Jumping to 11 speed assuming your new wheels are compatible would be the best option to help future proof your purchase. I just put together a cart over at Performance and it would run you about $600 to go Ultegra 6800 on the Front Derailleur, Rear Derailleur, Chain, Cassette, and Shifters but use a 105/5800 crank. It's $100 more for the Ultegra 6800 Crank which may or may not be worth the upgrade, everything else is only a $10 difference each so it's a no brainer. If your wheels are in fact only 10 speed compatible then you could probably save a few more $$$'s because the 10 speed stuff is being phased out slowly.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by greenlight149 View Post
upgrading to ultegra wont be cheap, probably around 400 bucks and that isnt for the whole groupset, or you can spend 500 and get a full 105 5800 which is all you would need, if you like the bike then keep it, if you want to upgrade your bike later on, just take off the whole groupset, slap on the old one and sell it.

in my opinion buying the whole 105 5800 groupset is much more economical than just changing to ultegra shifters, they will perform similarly, and the cost wont be that much more since you have to change the cassette, detrailuers etc...
Pretty sure his wheels are 10 speed...but they do have an adapter for $50 to run 11 speed

Vuelta Corsa Lite 11 Speed Upgrade Kit For Shimano or SRAM - 11 Speed Upgrade Kit

and 5800 can be had for as low as $359 right now:

Shimano 105 (5800) Black 11 Spd Double Groupset at Ribble Cycles
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Old 02-18-15, 07:48 PM
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This is a complete waste of money.

I have two bikes with Tiagra (9 and 10 speed) and 1 bike with 6700 Ultegra. They all shift perfectly, they all work perfectly. The only difference is the shape of the hoods and the internal cable routing. I much prefer the Tiagra hoods shape. Internal cable routing is a toss. Neither here nor there. If I could find a brand new Dura-Ace 7800 group, that would be an upgrade from the Tiagra.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:53 PM
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i was going to say just stick with the tiagra, since i have the 105 5800 also, and honestly the tiagra is just fine, but since this thread is about him wanting to upgrade i thought i would give some suggestions.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fstshrk View Post
This is a complete waste of money.

I have two bikes with Tiagra (9 and 10 speed) and 1 bike with 6700 Ultegra. They all shift perfectly, they all work perfectly. The only difference is the shape of the hoods and the internal cable routing. I much prefer the Tiagra hoods shape. Internal cable routing is a toss. Neither here nor there. If I could find a brand new Dura-Ace 7800 group, that would be an upgrade from the Tiagra.
$1181 for Dura Ace...still a pretty good deal

Shimano Dura Ace 9000 11 Spd Double Groupset at Ribble Cycles

I agree with what you are saying. It's not going to be night and day difference and OP is probably better off riding this till it falls apart than upgrading components or upgrading bikes. Most of these groups are 10% improvement over previous. I have ridden 5800 though and I will say it's noticeably better than my 5700 or 6700 bikes. Shifting is much crisper and lighter, especially front derailleur. But still not usually worth the money to upgrade
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Old 02-18-15, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
$1181 for Dura Ace...still a pretty good deal

Shimano Dura Ace 9000 11 Spd Double Groupset at Ribble Cycles

I agree with what you are saying. It's not going to be night and day difference and OP is probably better off riding this till it falls apart than upgrading components or upgrading bikes. Most of these groups are 10% improvement over previous. I have ridden 5800 though and I will say it's noticeably better than my 5700 or 6700 bikes. Shifting is much crisper and lighter, especially front derailleur. But still not usually worth the money to upgrade
I agree. I did test ride both the new 6800 and the 9000 drive trains and for me if I am going Dura-Ace, it is going to be 7803 group. I am a triple rider.
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Old 02-18-15, 09:09 PM
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Thadcorn - go to merlincycle.com check out the Ultegra groups 6800 and 105 5800 groups. I just purchased the Ultgera retail (They have OEM option) and had my LBS install replacing the stock Sora mix setup on my CAAD8. It has been an amazing change! I spent total of $780 with the install labor cost. It was well worth it, some would disagree, but there was no way I was justifying to my wife a new $2000 bike purchase when I just got the CAAD8 back in May. So the upgrade was the way I went. I had already received upgraded wheels for Xmas so my wheels and groupo cost double what I paid originally for the CAAD8. Still been awesome!
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Old 02-18-15, 11:51 PM
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Ribble also has great prices on shimano groups - $360 for full 105 and $580 for ultegra.

Ribble Cycles Groupset Creator

Make sure you pick the right kind of crank & BB and then of course you have the 11 spd compatibility issue for your wheels
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Old 02-19-15, 12:42 AM
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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?
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Old 02-19-15, 12:46 AM
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Since I have never done this before, how much of a nightmare will it be for me to change the entire groupset on my first time? Appox how many hours will it take/how many hours of youtube videos with I have to watch?
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Old 02-19-15, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Thadcorn View Post
Since I have never done this before, how much of a nightmare will it be for me to change the entire groupset on my first time? Appox how many hours will it take/how many hours of youtube videos with I have to watch?
Doing it yourself if you've never installed any of the components, give yourself a week. If your experienced you could build it in a night but first time you may run into problems. But go slow, watch videos several times.
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Old 02-19-15, 01:18 AM
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bad idea to upgrade. you won't notice enough of a difference to make the cost worthwhile.
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Old 02-19-15, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
bad idea to upgrade. you won't notice enough of a difference to make the cost worthwhile.
Well, of course that's the logical answer.
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Old 02-19-15, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Dregus311 View Post
so my wheels and groupo cost double what I paid originally for the CAAD8. Still been awesome!
OP, this is the typical experience with upgrades. My got the entry level Allez and upgraded to 5800, new wheels and fork and spent more on upgrades than the bike so it rarely makes financial sense... But not many things in this hobby/lifestyle/obsession make financial sense
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Old 02-19-15, 01:41 AM
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I built a 105 bike and the built a ultegra bike and didn't think i needed the ultegra with hindsight. Then I went on vacation and hired a bike for an afternoon. They only had tiagra left so I got it and as I rode along I thought, this really is very good shifting. I wouldn't say if shifted any worse than the ultgra or 105.
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Old 02-19-15, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
I built a 105 bike and the built a ultegra bike and didn't think i needed the ultegra with hindsight. Then I went on vacation and hired a bike for an afternoon. They only had tiagra left so I got it and as I rode along I thought, this really is very good shifting. I wouldn't say if shifted any worse than the ultgra or 105.
I've noticed the same. Tiagra just flat out works. I just don't notice a difference between the 3 groups you mentioned in terms of shifting performance. I think tiagra is the best value in the 105 lineup as far as price/performance ratio is concerned.
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Old 02-19-15, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
OP, this is the typical experience with upgrades. My got the entry level Allez and upgraded to 5800, new wheels and fork and spent more on upgrades than the bike so it rarely makes financial sense... But not many things in this hobby/lifestyle/obsession make financial sense
Well said. For many of us researching the project and then actually doing it is all part of the hobby. I do not have upgradeitis because I built the bike that I love with every part that I wanted. Once you find what you like go for it. None of us can tell you if it is worth it or not. That is up to you. Does it make fiscal sense? Probably not. Will it make you happier, maybe, maybe not. Will it make you faster? No. It is smoother but it is not eye popping. Switch to Campy for that. (Kidding. Sort of)
Just enjoy the sport whether you upgrade or not. It is all part of the hobby and most hobbies are not fiscally sound.

Last edited by Shuffleman; 02-19-15 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 02-19-15, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Shuffleman View Post
Well said. For many of us researching to project and then actually doing it is all part of the hobby. I do not have upgradeitis because I built the bike that I love with every part that I wanted. Once you find what you like go for it. None of us can tell you if it is worth it or not. That is up to you. Does it make fiscal sense? Probably not. Will it make you happier, maybe, maybe not. Will it make you faster? No. It is smoother but it is not eye popping. Switch to Campy for that. (Kidding. Sort of)
Just enjoy the sport whether you upgrade or not. It is all part of the hobby and most hobbies are not fiscally sound.
Thanks guys, this has probably been the best advice anyone has given me yet.
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Old 02-19-15, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Thadcorn View Post
Thanks guys, this has probably been the best advice anyone has given me yet.
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
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