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105 > Ultegra Shifter Upgrade

shinsplintshinsplint Posts: 563
edited March 2016 in Road general
My bike came with 11 speed 105, and whilst its very good IMO, I have gradually upgraded everything to Ultegra, except the shifters.

First question: Is there a noticeable improvement in shifting performance?

Second: is it worth it?

Third: Is it straight forward enough to change them, and should I replace the cables even though the existing ones only have about 1500 miles on them?

Thanks for your help !

Posts

  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,659
    1 - No, they re maybe a tad thinner and a tad less clunky but it's so meh as to be irrelevant

    2 - hell no

    3 - well it requires pretty much a whole re set up of the drive train and brakes but that's not super hard. Whilst you re there you may as well do the cables to be honest. Inevitable one will fray when you take everything apart anyway and it's not like threading the cable through the shifter is that easy...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,202
    The whole exercise sounds like a bit of a waste of time and money, if I'm honest. Unless it's just a vanity thing, I can't see there being any other point. Let the flaming commence....
  • feistyfeisty Posts: 154
    Has the entire bike done only 1500 miles?

    If so, I guess the question is why have you been "gradually upgrading everything"? That's no distance at all really and components shouldn't wear out that quick. In terms of performance I don't think you'd notice the difference at all.

    If, however, you just like the idea of having a fully specc'd Ultegra bike because you want to own a smart machine with the "ultegra" label, then that's a personal choice and obviously up to you. And anyone else's views on that are irrelevant really, it's just a personal thing for you to decide on.
  • shinsplintshinsplint Posts: 563
    feisty wrote:
    Has the entire bike done only 1500 miles?

    If so, I guess the question is why have you been "gradually upgrading everything"? That's no distance at all really and components shouldn't wear out that quick. In terms of performance I don't think you'd notice the difference at all.

    If, however, you just like the idea of having a fully specc'd Ultegra bike because you want to own a smart machine with the "ultegra" label, then that's a personal choice and obviously up to you. And anyone else's views on that are irrelevant really, it's just a personal thing for you to decide on.

    Basically the model I bought came with 105, and whilst I like 105, I think the particular frame deserved Ultegra as a minimum. I already had the brakes and chainset from my previous bike, which were fitted from the outset.

    I am well aware that the full bike is barely run in as yet.

    FWIW, the Ultegra brakes were a big upgrade over the 105s, which led me to wonder whether the shifters would bring a similar upgrade.

    However, as the previous posts suggest, I will probably stick to the 105 shifters.
  • MisterMuncherMisterMuncher Posts: 1,302
    As a rule, you're almost always better off upgrading shifters than derailleurs. But in this case the differences aren't huge.

    Currently, I'm running three Ultegra/105 drivetrains: Full Ultegra, Ultegra shifters/brakes and 105 Mechs, and 105/long drop brakes (r650). The full Ultegra setup is pretty great, snappy and smooth, the mix is very, very nearly as good, and the 105 is close, but noticeably a little less rapid and positive in changing. It's not bad by any stretch, and miles ahead of the Tiagra 4600 it replaced. Cables are Ultegra throughout.

    From what I understand, there aren't any major mechanical differences in 105/Ultegra in the current generation, Ultegra just has higher quality materials used. Dura-Ace shifters have a different mechanism, more bearings or something, so might represent a more noticeable change. Higher end sets retain the new/snappy feel for longer.
  • shinsplintshinsplint Posts: 563
    Thanks for that Muncher, just to clarify, are all your sets 11 speed? Thanks
  • MisterMuncherMisterMuncher Posts: 1,302
    All 11 speed, yeah. Two sets of spares would annoy me. FWIW, I reckon there's censored all difference in the cassette, they last roughly the same, and the weight difference is in the middle spider and the spacers. Ultegra chains seem to last just as long as 105, but I'm very fussy about chains, they get deep cleaned every 500 miles at worst.

    Using Ultegra polymer coated cables and 105 shifters is a much cheaper way to lighten and sharpen the shifting than changing the shifters in total.
  • shinsplintshinsplint Posts: 563
    All 11 speed, yeah. Two sets of spares would annoy me. FWIW, I reckon there's censored all difference in the cassette, they last roughly the same, and the weight difference is in the middle spider and the spacers. Ultegra chains seem to last just as long as 105, but I'm very fussy about chains, they get deep cleaned every 500 miles at worst.

    Using Ultegra polymer coated cables and 105 shifters is a much cheaper way to lighten and sharpen the shifting than changing the shifters in total.

    haha, its not just me then, with regard to chains. I fully clean mine whenever I get the chance, as with the cassette. I use KMC X11L. Mind, despite going to the extremes, I never seem to get that ultra shine you see on some peoples bikes. I always wonder what lubes they use.

    Interesting about the polymer coated cables... might give this a try when I come to replace them.

    Thanks again.
  • MisterMuncherMisterMuncher Posts: 1,302
    Shiny chain? Rock and Roll Gold.
  • GiraffotoGiraffoto Posts: 2,078
    Totally not worth it, and as an extra disincentive you'd probably have to re-do your bar tape, which is by a broad margin my least favourite job on a bike. But if you want it, who cares if it's worth it or not?
    Specialized Roubaix Elite 2015
    XM-057 rigid 29er
  • shinsplintshinsplint Posts: 563
    Shiny chain? Rock and Roll Gold.

    hmm, I have heard of this stuff. Will give it a try :)

    ... well I will if I can find it in the UK :/
  • ic.ic. Posts: 768
    I've ridden 1000s of miles with both, I'd argue the shifting is ever so slightly better, lighter and with a more satisfying "click" with Ultegra. They are a tad lighter, and IMO they do look nicer.

    As you've already mentioned, the biggest difference between the 2 groups, or the component you'd sense biggest improvement with, is the brakes. Everything else much less so.

    However, 6800 shifters are about £160, minus any discounts or cashback you might get lucky with. You could sell your 105 for half that, if they are decent condition. So your outlay is £80. Plus bartape if you rip it taking it off.

    Is it worth £80? You'll not know until you try, as only you can be the judge. Depends I guess what £80 is to you. If it was me, and the rest of the group was 6800 I'd probably do it, there is the enjoyment factor of doing the work fitting too, for me at least.
    2020 Reilly Spectre - raw titanium
    2020 Merida Reacto Disc Ltd - black on black
    2017 Cervelo R3 DI2 - black & white - for sale
    2015 CAAD8 105 - very green

    The departed:

    Boardman CX Team - sold
    Cannondale Synapse - broken
    Cube Streamer - stolen
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  • shinsplintshinsplint Posts: 563
    ic. wrote:
    I've ridden 1000s of miles with both, I'd argue the shifting is ever so slightly better, lighter and with a more satisfying "click" with Ultegra. They are a tad lighter, and IMO they do look nicer.

    As you've already mentioned, the biggest difference between the 2 groups, or the component you'd sense biggest improvement with, is the brakes. Everything else much less so.

    However, 6800 shifters are about £160, minus any discounts or cashback you might get lucky with. You could sell your 105 for half that, if they are decent condition. So your outlay is £80. Plus bartape if you rip it taking it off.

    Is it worth £80? You'll not know until you try, as only you can be the judge. Depends I guess what £80 is to you. If it was me, and the rest of the group was 6800 I'd probably do it, there is the enjoyment factor of doing the work fitting too, for me at least.

    Cheers, interesting to hear from a fellow R series rider :) Mines a 2015 R2.

    I think i'll probably wait until it starts playing up - could be some time! - then have a re-think.

    Thanks all.
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