Going from a triple to a compact double: Ultregra 6800 vs Dura Ace 9000 cassette compatability



bvslc

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Apr 28, 2014
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I am in the process of buying a new bicycle and need advice regarding choosing a group set.
I live in a region where I really appreciate my current triple that I have had for ~ the past 10 yrs. --I do lots of climbing plus my knees are approaching 50 yrs old. I train and ride for local long distance rides that are 50-100 miles- almost all have significant climbs. I know most everything new now comes with compact doubles. I am concerned that these will no longer approach the "low gears" that this gal is used to on my triple to huck it up these mountains.
I am planning to get either a Trek Domane or a Specialized Ruby- both women specific designs.
My component choices are Ultegra 6800 or Dura Ace 9000 and they both come with an 11-28 cassette. Would I be able to change the cassette on either of these to give myself some lower gears (11-32?) I've always dreamed of getting Dura Ace 9000 b/c of how light, smooth and reliable, but not sure that is possible.
Any advice will be appreciated.
 

jpr95

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Oct 11, 2010
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Many consider Ultegra to be more reliable than Dura-Ace, at only a very, very slight weight penalty, and a significant cost savings. I have an Ultegra 6700 setup, with a 52-39-30 in front and an 11-28 rear. I don't use the 30-28 combo very often anymore, only when I encounter a long, steep hill a few days into a tour (actually, I rarely use the 30 ring anymore, for that matter, I try not to go below 39-21 unless I absolutely have to). But my knees are only approaching 40 in a few weeks.
 

steve

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Aug 12, 2001
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Originally Posted by jpr95
Many consider Ultegra to be more reliable than Dura-Ace, at only a very, very slight weight penalty, and a significant cost savings.
I don't recall ever seeing anyone say it's more reliable. Anytime i'm parting with my own money, I always for the ultegra/105 part over dura-ace.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by jpr95
Many consider Ultegra to be more reliable than Dura-Ace, at only a very, very slight weight penalty, and a significant cost savings. I have an Ultegra 6700 setup, with a 52-39-30 in front and an 11-28 rear. I don't use the 30-28 combo very often anymore, only when I encounter a long, steep hill a few days into a tour (actually, I rarely use the 30 ring anymore, for that matter, I try not to go below 39-21 unless I absolutely have to). But my knees are only approaching 40 in a few weeks.
Ultegra more reliable that Dura Ace? Since when? I buy Dura Ace because it is utterly reliable and is somewhat more serviceable than Ultegra. Ok, I admit - just like magpies, I prefer shiny things and stuff with bearing and not washers...

Like Contador, I embrace the smaller gear to get up the steep grades. I used to use 39x23 on grades steeper than 25% but I now realize that I'd be faster on a much smaller gear. If Bertie needs a 34x32 to get up grades like that at speed, who am I to argue?

On mountain rides I take 34x32 as insurance and often I need it, especially after a number of hours at altitude.
 

jpr95

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Oct 11, 2010
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My bad. I meant to say "durable", but again, the difference is small, if any. The price difference is not small. One website I just looked at had Ultegra cassettes for $85-92, while the Dura-Ace are $260-280. For something that will wear out in a few thousand miles, that's a pretty big difference.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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jpr95 said:
My bad.  I meant to say "durable", but again, the difference is small, if any.  The price difference is not small.  One website I just looked at had Ultegra cassettes for $85-92, while the Dura-Ace are $260-280.  For something that will wear out in a few thousand miles, that's a pretty big difference.
The cassettes are more durable but that's about it - but that's due to the materials used and the target audience for each group. Dura Ace is aimed at Pro level riders who want the best performance and get their stuff free. Compared to the alloy freewheels of yesteryear - Regina and Campag spring to mind - those wouldn't even last a month on a Pro riders bike... Ultegra is good stuff and cassettes are changed easily. If you're wearing out a Dura Ace cassette in a few thousand miles you're doing something wrong somewhere....
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by bvslc
I am in the process of buying a new bicycle and need advice regarding choosing a group set.
I live in a region where I really appreciate my current triple that I have had for ~ the past 10 yrs. --I do lots of climbing plus my knees are approaching 50 yrs old. I train and ride for local long distance rides that are 50-100 miles- almost all have significant climbs. I know most everything new now comes with compact doubles. I am concerned that these will no longer approach the "low gears" that this gal is used to on my triple to huck it up these mountains.
I am planning to get either a Trek Domane or a Specialized Ruby- both women specific designs.
My component choices are Ultegra 6800 or Dura Ace 9000 and they both come with an 11-28 cassette. Would I be able to change the cassette on either of these to give myself some lower gears (11-32?) I've always dreamed of getting Dura Ace 9000 b/c of how light, smooth and reliable, but not sure that is possible.
Any advice will be appreciated.
The rear deraileur is the limiter. A 30 will fit. I don't know about a 32. We all mix and match cassettes. The Tiagra level comes in a 12-30.

If you can use an 11, you don't need a 32.
 

bvslc

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Apr 28, 2014
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That is very helpful information. I really just want the highest quality real derailleur that I can have yet be able to change the cassette to make easier for me for climbing --- sounds like its ultegra. Thank you.
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Originally Posted by bvslc

That is very helpful information. I really just want the highest quality real derailleur that I can have yet be able to change the cassette to make easier for me for climbing --- sounds like its ultegra. Thank you.
OR, perhaps you should consider an XT or SLX rear derailleur.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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I'm not sure how well an XT or XTR rear mech would work with Dura Ace 11 speed. Theory says it should work... The 9 speed XTR I sometimes use for mountainous rides works as good as the Dura Ace 7900 that's used most of the time... There's no amount of reasonable persuasion that'll let the 7900 work with a 32. To the original poster - what gradients are you looking to climb? 10%, 20%?
 

bvslc

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Apr 28, 2014
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In my easiest gear grades are 10-15% mostly. I am pretty sure I can't do 20%. Reminder: I am 50, female and have been riding about 6 yrs now...also, I'm not a natural athlete. I did a ride this weekend with a ~5 mile climb with steady 8-15% grades for five miles on a loaner bike with an 11/28 compact--- but I barely made it to the top. I like my knees and hope to keep them a while longer.