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Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace??? (sorry, newbie)(7 posts)

Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace??? (sorry, newbie)nyedid
Mar 31, 2002 9:16 AM
i'm just getting into road cycling, and i'm going to build up a frame with components of my choice. i'm trying to decide between Ultegra and Dura-Ace. The price difference is fairly significant, as all of you know. how much of a difference is there (not price. diff in performance)? The place i'm ordering from ( has great prices but won't let me swap out particular pieces. is this bad news? what should i do? how big a difference is there? if going with ultegra would enable me to get a better frame, should i? any help would be appreciated. thanks!
no more than a few % differenceweiwentg
Mar 31, 2002 10:59 AM
weight and performance differences are minimal. the Utegra cassette is the same as DA except that DA uses titanium cogs - the Ultegra will probably last longer. DA chainrings are nickel plated and more durable. the Ultegra BB requires no maintenance whereas the DA requires a considerable amount of it (when in bad weather, at any rate). the new Ultegra shifters (the 6510 model) have internals similar to the DA shifters - the old Ultegra shifters died very fast, but the new ones should not. differences in durability are probably minimal as well.
if going Ultegra means a better frame, then you should damn well go for Ultegra! you're not losing much. both groupsets shift very smoothly and are reliable.
My .02.Len J
Mar 31, 2002 11:04 AM
Ultegra is probably a better buy for the money. However, if you do it stricly on a buy for the money basis, you'd probably buy 105.

Specifics re Ultega & D/A:

Shifters. There have been historical rattle problems w Ultegra, Supposed to be fixed for 2002. In my experience, D/A shifts much smoother & surer.

Weight. D/A is lighter than Ultegra.

BB The Ultegra uses sealed bearings, D/A does not. Set-up & maintenance is more difficult for D/A but it is (somewhat IMO) smoother. Several manufacturers that spec D/A will use an Ultegra BB.

I think if you do a search on this sight, you will get additional info. I for one, do not utilize either group to it's potential, however I run D/A because I like it & can afford it.

Good luck. You really can't lose with either.

The unanswerable questionKerry
Mar 31, 2002 5:33 PM
How much better are $20K speakers than $2K speakers than $200 speakers? Depending on both your ear and your sense of value and the application, the answer can be "huge" or "nothing." The same applies to bike parts, I'm afraid. Once you cross the basic functionality threshold, you never get 2X the performance (whatever that means to you) for 2X the price. There are those who say that there's no point in paying more beyond 105, others will cite the virtues/value of DA. Same issues on the Campy side, and don't even think about comparing Shimano and Campy. My advice is always to get the best you can afford. YMMV.
If you're not concerned about the weight, just DA levers.Quack
Mar 31, 2002 7:42 PM
I used current generation Ultegra for about 1800 miles and then piece by piece, upgraded to Dura-Ace. If you are not concerned that the Ultegra is slightly heavier, the only Dura-Ace part you will absolutely want to buy is the levers. To shift, sometimes all I need to do is think about shifting and the chain magically hits the next cog smooth as silk. With the Ultegra, the throws seemed longer and the pivots not as smooth, which occasionally lead to misshifts under stress, like trying to not get dropped up a climb. Also, if you are a serious hammer, the DA cranks are supposed to be stiffer. Myself, I'm a spinner and 145lbs. and probably have never flexed any crank in my life to the point of causing any chain alignment issues.

If you've got the money, I say go full DA and be done with it. You will not regret it. If you go Ultegra, you will likely always be wondering if your bike would feel more refined with DA. I would prioritize using DA in the following order: shifters, chain, r.derailleur, cassette, cranks, hubs, f.derailleur, brakes, BB. With properly tuned DA, the driveline is nearly silent. The only thing you'll hear is your own breathing and everyone else's bikes.

Happy building!!
re: Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace??? (sorry, newbie)Bennnny
Apr 2, 2002 9:18 PM
If your bke shop adviser can sale you Dura/Ace shifters that are a lot stronger mechanically speaking, with the rest of the bike in Ultegra that's your best buy
Sounds like Ultegra to me.jw25
Apr 6, 2002 12:56 PM
or even 105, considering the cost/weight/performance differences. Yeah, the 105 weighs a little more, but the cost is way down, and with Shimano's trickle-down effect, the 2002 line is probably the same as last year's Ultegra.
I'm also seeing that you're getting into road cycling. Do you plan to race, or just ride?
If you're racing, I'd recommend against a lot of money spent on components or frame. Get good stuff, sure, but showing up at a cat. 5 crit on a beautiful carbon frame with full D-A is a sure jinx. If you haven't seen any, cat. 5 is usually full of unsteady new riders, so crashes are inevitable. In my short career (okay, 7 races on the road - I'm really more a mountain bike racer), I've seen crashes in all but one, and that was a TT.
If you like racing, and want to keep at it, then look at something nicer, and save the pennies for D-A.
On the other hand, if you're going on group rides, or just enjoy being on the road, Ultegra's probably a little nicer, and if the lever's develop any problems, then use it as an excuse to upgrade to D-A STI, and you'll be very happy. Spend the extra on a nice frame, good fork, sweet wheels, whatever.