Necessity of 105 level components? and some beginner questions

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by plutov, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. plutov

    plutov New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am new to biking and this is my first time posting in the forum. The sport of road biking has peaked my interest and I hope to at some point in the next few months work my way up to biking about 60 miles a week maybe more. First I have to buy a bike.

    In the last week or so I have visited a few bike shops and looked at different brands and models. I was told by one attendent that I should look for a bike that has all 105 level components. Is this necessary for my needs? I do not plan on racing at this point and am looking for primarily a durable bike that will last me through my beginner phase and a while longer. I don't really want to dump more than a thousand dollars into the start up and that includes bike and equipment. All the bikes that I have looked at around here with 105 level components will push me beyond that price range.

    How do the Shimano tiagra components compare to 105 level components in use and durability? Lastly, do you all think the Trek 1200 would fit my bill as far as general use and pricing goes. I have found it for sale around here for between 700 and 800 dollars which would allow me also to purchase other equipment and stay right around my goal. Thanks for all your help.
     
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  2. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    105 is middle of the road,and works for most people. Many others are just as happy with sora or tiagra. Stretch the buck by looking for sale or clearance deals. Durability is a barge load of stinky fish. But 105 may keep you from getting an expensive case 'upgrade fever' as soon as you get out the shop door.
     
  3. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Unfortunately there's no easy answer here -- 105 doesn't cleary pass any obvious standars that Tiagra fails. That said, I happen to be a big fan of 105 stuff myself, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to a beginner with a commitment to keep riding and the necessary cash.

    Of all of the 9-speed Shimano road group generations (Tiagra, 105, Ultegra, and Dura Ace), the jump between Tiagra and 105 is arguably the most dramatic, in pretty much every sense -- weight reduction, reliability, precision and rapidity of shifts, and so on. It's fairly affordable and a considerable value. 105 has my endorsement as the best value in cycling components -- trainable, raceable, rugged and often much cheaper than Ultegra.

    There's nothing flatly wrong with Tiagra; it's just not as good a groupset. It's lightyears ahead of the 8-speed Sora group below it in the Shimano food chain, and anyone unwilling to settle for Sora but unwilling to spring for 105 will get good use out of it (Sora, on the other hand, is just short of crap -- my personal feeling). If you're feeling pinched for cash, rest assured that Tiagra will suffice for what you're after -- it's a pretty decent groupset.

    The upgrade factor Boudreaux mentions is a good point, to be honest -- in the long run, though, you'll find that investing in 105 has given you a bit more room to grow; it's easily conscripted into serious use as a heavy training or even light racing group, and even if it's not, it feels worthy, which counts for something. Good luck chosing; may your pocketbook survive.
     
  4. Aztec

    Aztec New Member

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    Yeah, what they said.

    Check out Supergo. They sell their house brand frame with 105 for about the same as that Trek. And personally, I'd take their house brand...

    Performance bike has some similar deals. As does Nashbar, I think.

    No reason to settle for Tiagra/Sora with a grand of budget.
     
  5. recycle

    recycle New Member

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    Yeah ... with shoes & pedals (for most bikes) & helmet & shorts

    The only 105 option I've seen is Performance's housebrand Tirenno:
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/subcategory.cfm?Cat_ID=1&Sub_ID=3040

    Or, from dealer to dealer it's worth seeing if there's an older model 2003 on clearance or something (just like boudreaux said!).

    Brand new current model, it'll be hard to get above Tiagra for your budget.

    Just ride & enjoy ... don't buy anything that didn't feel great on your test ride!
     
  6. tacomee

    tacomee New Member

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    I wouldn't worry about getting 105 stuff-- it won't last any longer than Sora, it's just less clunky. And it's the total drivetrain that matters, not just the derailers. A 105 derailer hooked of lower grade shifters is basicly the same the lower grade derailer-- don't buy into any eye candy or sales pitch.

    Test ride a whole lot of bikes and pick the one with the best *feel* to it. I'd ride Trek, Fuji, Giant, Bianchi-- all the major brands and any other smaller or store brands. Ask a lot of questions. Buying a bike is really fun and it's really tough to go wrong at a good LBS (local bike shop)
     
  7. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    I don't know about that, Tacomee -- especially if you're comparing 105 to Sora, which definitely isn't in the same league. Yes, the performance-limiting factor in any group is often the shifter, but that's moot in this case. Sora, of course, isn't even a 9-speed group. It doesn't utilize STI/integrated shift/brake levers, and doesn't lend itself well to piecemeal upgrades. It's tough to recommend Sora to anyone who can afford Tiagra, provided they plan on riding more than a few times a month.

    105 is a better groupset in general than Tiagra, and it's tremendously better (and a better value) than Sora.
     
  8. plutov

    plutov New Member

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    Thanks for all of the help so far. I am wondering, what makes the 105 group set superior to the Tiagra other than clunkiness. I understand that it is a leap ahead of the Sora group so I have ruled that out. However, will I as a beginner rider doing the distances that I am considering be able to appreciate the difference between 105 set and Tiagra? Is it essentially a matter of weight, of durability, or of performance?

    Please do not hesitate to get a little techincal. I am trying to learn as much as possible.

    p.s. thanks for defining LBS!
     
  9. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    It may not be 9 speed,but as for the rest of the hooey...D'oh??
     
  10. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    It's hard to know (let alone explain) the precise, technical difference between 105 and Tiagra without working for Shimano -- someone who's particularly greasy, and who seems to have lived among scattered bits of bikes for decades (boudreaux) might have a better sense (quality of bearings, pivots, flexiness of the cage and other assemblies) -- but there are observable differences from a rider's perspective.

    Chiefly, you've summed it up in your question: weight and clunkiness. The weight factor is less critical. I'm not sure what the gram difference between current 105 and Tiagra groups is, but it's not something you should get too worried about unless you're working with a lot of other high-end parts and trying to end up with a featherweight ride. The difference is likely not unlike the difference between frameset A and frameset B, or between a pair of different wheelsets. Nothing terribly dramatic. Maybe a few hundred grams. Anyone?

    The performance factor, though, is something you'd likely notice if you switched back-and-forth between the two. Expect the Tiagra to shift a bit less reliably, and to be a touch more likely to run a cog roughly. You might also notice the chain hopping from cog to cog less rapidly -- quick shifts are a premium as you go up the grouppo food chain. Another feature that improves as you go up the line is the ease and refinement of the lever action -- how smoothly the shifter levers move, and how much force (and travel) is required to get from click to click.

    Again, these are both satisfactory systems. Being asked to chose between them is kind of like being asked to chose between an AMD Athlon XP 2500 and an AMD Athlon XP 3000 for your next computer. Either's better than a Celeron -- one's just a bit more better, and that's reflected in the price. I think there's a more exceptional value to 105, and feel that it gives you more room to grow, but either way, you'll likely end up happy.

    Good luck.
     
  11. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    D'oh what, Grumpy? A matter of terminology? Ok -- the Sora shifter unit is a form of integrated brake/shifter, but it's of a completely different design than STI units shipped with Tiagra through Dura Ace, and it's frankly not as nice. Ease of upgrading? We both know the drill here, too. A common query is the ease of upgrading out of a Sora drivetrain -- something that can be done, but which requires a handful of purchases that would make anyone wonder why they didn't simply buy 9-speed to begin with (cassette, chain, and shifters).

    Fair enough?
     
  12. Solanog

    Solanog New Member

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    I have an old race bike, about 5-6 years old. I has 8 speed 105, it has worked perfectly all this time, I used to ride a little more than 60 miles every weekend on that bike for a while, it has around 10000km (6200) I have only changed the chain, everything else is working fine, I also bought new hubs but for my tubular rims not because the others where worn. The rear deraileur is a Shimano 600 which is no longer manufactured, it was substituted by Ultegra, it's still going on strong! My 105 is the one that was painted somewhat bone color. They shift O.K. New models are lighter and the new for 2003-2004 105 would be 10 speed as current Dura Ace, if you're interested in that you may wait a little for those.
     
  13. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    Depends on your idea of an upgrade.RD? No problem. FD? no problem. Crankset? Chain ,casette?? No problem. All stand alone items.Better shifters? lots of other 8 speed stuff on ebay and shimano even has a non sora 8 speed. More speeds? Then it's shifters, casette and chain....As for STI, all that means is Shimano Total Integration. Shimano calls Sora levers Dual control,same as DA. The worst thing about sora is maybe the thumb buttons,which some actually prefer, but definately the amount of hooey that gets tossed at the mere mention.
     
  14. mjw_byrne

    mjw_byrne New Member

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    But you can't stick a current 105 or higher crankset on a Sora BB axle, can you? So you're limited to Tiagra there.

    And lokstah, be careful! Mentioning Athlons and Celerons might start a AMD vs. Intel debate, which makes Shimano vs. Campagnolo look like a mere casual discussion :D
     
  15. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Good tip...
     
  16. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    That's getting real deep into the hooey and generalizing. Better to say it's a bit heavier, doesn't use an ocatlink crank,and hubs are a bit lower quality and then just let it go. DA and ultegra/105 have a diffeent feel. Not less reliable or, clunkier just different.
     
  17. ItalianStallion

    ItalianStallion New Member

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    I totally agree with this. I have bought a Tiagra equipped bike less than a year ago (my first road bike) and am now looking to upgrade to Ultegra. Had I chosen a 105, for just a little bit more money, I wouldn't be looking for an upgrade now, simply because the only groupset worth getting from a 105 is a DuraAce and I simply am not good enough for that.

    With a 105, you'll be looking to upgrade to Ultegra in maybe 3-4 years, when the difference from your current 105 and the future Ultegra will be significant.
     
  18. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    I disagree, and that's where I'll let it go. I'll stand by what I've said. I'm not speaking in absolutes -- I've used terms like "likely" and "you might notice" and "expect to find," all with the intent of conveying the general impressions I've derrived from my experience with Tiagra and with 105.

    You're right; they do feel different. One feels clunkier and less precise to me. It's not gospel; it's simply my take on how this groupset performs. If you want to wade into these subjective subjects (which I really think you shouldn't, sometimes), you have to be willing to accept subjective observsations.

    Play nicer, El Hooeyo.
     
  19. mingcat9

    mingcat9 New Member

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    I have sora on the bike I bought used. The first time riding, also my first time without downtudbe shifters, it was ackward at first to change gears. So, other groups, like 105 or ultegra, would be easier to shift? And if I want to race, and race well, should I get 105 or ultegra?
     
  20. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    Define 'less reliable shifting'.
     
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