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Shimano Brifters

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
What do you think about the quality of the Shimano Brifters? I was talking to someone about them recently, and he was of the opinion that the quality of the 105 and Ultegra brifters did not justify the price over Tiagra. He said that I should either spring for the Dura Ace or save some money and get the Tiagra. Is this good advice?
post #2 of 12

Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by scituatejohn
What do you think about the quality of the Shimano Brifters? I was talking to someone about them recently, and he was of the opinion that the quality of the 105 and Ultegra brifters did not justify the price over Tiagra. He said that I should either spring for the Dura Ace or save some money and get the Tiagra. Is this good advice?
Campy
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by boudreaux
Campy
What do you like about the Campy brifters? Are they more reliable than the Shimano brifters?

I don't like the Campy brifters that I have tried because they put the shift lever that shifts to smaller cogs on the side. Are there any Campy brifters that do it differently than those that I have tried?
post #4 of 12

Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by scituatejohn
What do you think about the quality of the Shimano Brifters? I was talking to someone about them recently, and he was of the opinion that the quality of the 105 and Ultegra brifters did not justify the price over Tiagra. He said that I should either spring for the Dura Ace or save some money and get the Tiagra. Is this good advice?
Well, your friend is correct in suggesting that the most dramatic break between group levels is between Sora and Tiagra, and not Tiagra and 105. The latter pair has a great deal more in common. Even so, I'd venture to say that in my experience, 105 crosses a reliability and performance threshold that puts it even closer in league with its big brothers -- Ultegra and Dura Ace -- than to Tiagra.

I've always pictured 105 as the most affordable of that trilogy of groups; in my opinion, it's the lowest level groupset made by Shimano that you can start talking about in terms of race-worthy reliability. Gram readings tell a similar story... I believe that in their current incarnations, 105 is less than 100g heavier than Ultegra.

More importantly, though, 105 is a super common groupset (for the reasons above, I'd bet). You'll never have to crawl from shop to shop to find replacement parts. Granted, anything Shimano is easily replaced and serviced these days, but Tiagra is oddly rare. You'll be hard pressed to find a quarter as many bikes stocked with a full Tiagra group than either 105 or Sora.

Anyways, just a few thoughts. Campy isn't a bad option; their groups occupy different price points.
post #5 of 12

Re: Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by lokstah


More importantly, though, 105 is a super common groupset (for the reasons above, I'd bet). You'll never have to crawl from shop to shop to find replacement parts. Granted, anything Shimano is easily replaced and serviced these days, but Tiagra is oddly rare. You'll be hard pressed to find a quarter as many bikes stocked with a full Tiagra group than either 105 or Sora.

[/B]
Any tiagra major part other than the tapered spindle cramnk BB can be replaced with a corresponding part from any other 9 speed group. Most everything is replaced rather than serviced.
post #6 of 12

Re: Re: Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by boudreaux
Any tiagra major part other than the tapered spindle cramnk BB can be replaced with a corresponding part from any other 9 speed group. Most everything is replaced rather than serviced.
That's definitely true, good observation. I suppose the more important aspect of my point was that making a Tiagra-equipped bike your purchase target was sort of unwise; they're odd and rare, and don't seem to run much cheaper than many full-105 bikes on the market, particularly if you hunt for previous year models or slightly-used ones.

If you're having difficulty justifying the price of a 105 bike, though, the many 105-Tiagra mixes are a super broad category; there are lots of reasonable-looking choices there.
post #7 of 12

Re: Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by lokstah
Well, your friend is correct in suggesting that the most dramatic break between group levels is between Sora and Tiagra, and not Tiagra and 105.
What about the difference between Sora and 105?

This thread is timely for me because I'm looking at a new touring bike and my choice is between one that comes with Sora as standard and one that comes with 105 as standard but costs a lot more...

Since it's for touring I'm not bothered about performance/responsiveness so much as reliability over long distances. My current bike has friction shifters mounted on the downtube so in any event it will be a totally new experience for me.
post #8 of 12
Are the new 7800 brifters compatible with the older 9-speed (7700 and Ultegra) components? I have heard raves about the revised configuration? Also any rumors about how long it is going to take Shimano to work this design down the foodchain?
post #9 of 12

Re: Re: Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by davek
What about the difference between Sora and 105?

This thread is timely for me because I'm looking at a new touring bike and my choice is between one that comes with Sora as standard and one that comes with 105 as standard but costs a lot more...

Since it's for touring I'm not bothered about performance/responsiveness so much as reliability over long distances. My current bike has friction shifters mounted on the downtube so in any event it will be a totally new experience for me.
Well, Sora is essentially the bottom of the lot as far as true road groups go -- it's really about as low as you can go without crossing over into the realm of low-end general purpose MTB/hybrid systems, as you might find on a department store bike.

Unfortunately, it's generally problematic and not particularly durable at the same time. I know bike shop guys that are only half joking when they complain that Sora components sometimes require a little bending to get them to work cleanly. Even if you're planning on doing touring mostly, and don't expect to demand race-responsive shifting from your drivetrain, there are better choices. In my opinion, Sora's worth considering if you ride once or twice a month, or absolutely can't afford anything better.

Aside from being heavy, clunky, and altogether unrefined, it's also of a different basic technology than the entire remainder of the Shimano road group tree. From Tiagra through Dura Ace, the remaining 9-speed systems share a core design and an interchangeability of parts. Some of it is subtle and invisible -- some of it isn't. The shifter design is most conspicuous. Sora shifters lack the integrated brake-lever/paddle that the rest sport; instead, you've got thumb paddles that are pretty imprecise and difficult/impossible to operate from the drops.

If you're intent on saving over 105, I'd certainly recommend a hard look at Tiagra or a comprable Campy group -- though I still view 105 as a tremendous value.

Good luck deciding!
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by serenaslu
Are the new 7800 brifters compatible with the older 9-speed (7700 and Ultegra) components
Yeah, if you also change out the cassette and chain to 10 speed.
post #11 of 12

Re: Re: Re: Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by lokstah
If you're intent on saving over 105, I'd certainly recommend a hard look at Tiagra or a comprable Campy group -- though I still view 105 as a tremendous value.

Good luck deciding!
Thanks for the excellent advice. It's mainly a financial decision but I'm now leaning towards holding out and saving up for the 105 specced bike.
post #12 of 12

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shimano Brifters

Quote:
Originally posted by davek
Thanks for the excellent advice. It's mainly a financial decision but I'm now leaning towards holding out and saving up for the 105 specced bike.
Good luck. 105 is such a well-positioned groupset, and so well-suited to the casual racer or enthusiast, that there's a gigantic heap of complete bikes for sale sporting it. Don't overlook new/oldstock (new '02 or '03 bikes overstocked at shops) for great deals.

Also give a hard look at the many excellent entry-level bikes that mix 105 and Tiagra parts for a savings; the popular Giant OCR2, for instance, is chiefly a Tiagra bike, but sports a 105 rear der, an SRAM cassette, and a basic TruVativ crankset -- it's a quirky, if balanced and well-priced mixed group.

Good luck!
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