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Upgrading from 105(12 posts)

Upgrading from 105mikeyca
Feb 4, 2003 11:08 AM
Hi there!

I have a pure 105 drivetrain (on a Giant TCR2) that I'm thinking of inching up a notch to Ultegra. My income and bike-budget being what they are, however, I'll be doing this incrementally, and not necessarily completely. I'm looking for information and opinions concerning the most practical and cost-effective areas to do so, and a potential chronology of action.

For instance... derailleurs are strikingly inexpensive. I could pick up an Ultegra rear derailleur for less than $40. Would changing out the rear derailleur while preserving my 105 STIs offer much benefit -- or at least an improvement worth $40? Or would bumping from 105 STIs to Ultegras offer a bigger gain regardless of my derailleur level? Imagine you could only upgrade one thing (at least this month)...

Any opinions regarding these and other drivetrain elements would be much appreciated. Thanks
Why upgrade?lampshade
Feb 4, 2003 11:20 AM
Are you really unhappy with your 105? If 105 really disappoints you, I don't think that Ultegra will make you much happier.

You will find that the common opinion around here is that you do not get much performance benefit vs. $ spent when you go up one step in either Shimano or Campy (105 to Ultegra, Chorus to Record, etc.). I also believe in the popular opinion of putting the $ toward better wheels. You will not believe the difference.
re: Upgrading from 105Inhighgear
Feb 4, 2003 11:21 AM
I wouldn't mess with it.

Upgrade to better shifters or DA wheels
I agree...Quack
Feb 4, 2003 11:39 AM
Definitely start with a better set of wheels before you change anything, unless they are already pretty light. They will take more weight off your bike in one crack than anything else you can do, and it's rotational mass to boot. Might want to pick up lighter tires and tubes if you can get some closeout deals too.

If you're still hungry for more, go with the DA shifters and throw in a DA cassette if you're going to change gearing. Maybe even go with a rear derailleur if it doesn't feel quite right. I wouldn't waste $$$ on the brakes or the front derailleur.

Good luck.
re: Upgrading from 105mikeyca
Feb 4, 2003 11:40 AM
Thanks for the replies.

No, I'm not unhappy with 105. Partially, I'm driven by curiosity, augmented by the fact that a drivetrain upgrade is surprisingly affordable.

I'm more or less fine with leaving the whole thing alone... but I'd be lying to suggest I haven't caught a mild case of upgraditus.

Wheels? I've thought of a wheelset upgrade. The 2003 TCR2's stock wheels are Mavic CXP22s, which certainly aren't top of the line. While I'm receptive to the notion that a big wheelset upgrade could yield a big performance change, I can't help but be a little bothered by the relative price steepness.

I could upgrade the shifters and derailliuers for half the cost of a good wheelset.

More thoughts?
re: Upgrading from 105mikeyca
Feb 4, 2003 11:44 AM
Regarding tires/tubes... I'm on Michelin Pro Race at present. They feel pretty good to me -- aren't they on the lower end of the gram scale?
Pro-Race are about as low as I would go on the road...Quack
Feb 4, 2003 1:03 PM
I've had good luck with the Pro-Race tires on the road. My feeling is that going any lighter means thinner and will result in more unnecessary flats. You could go with ultralight tubes and shave 10 or so grams but then you have to fill them up more frequently as they bleed quicker.

I would weigh your wheels naked at a LBS to get a baseline and then see if there are wheels available in your price range that can shave 100grams or more off of that base weight. Anything less than 100grams lighter will likely not be worth the expense of an upgrade. I tend to favor heavier wheels for commuting and long rides in the wind and like light ones for the group ride sprints.

Larry
re: STIMike Prince
Feb 4, 2003 11:51 AM
I don't think that you will find a big difference if you swap out you 105 derailleurs to Ultegra. Shifters maybe but not the derailleurs. I've had bikes with 9 speed 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace on them and to me the difference between 105 and Ultegra is a little bit of weight and some prettier finishes on the Ultegra. Functionally they are identical. You will feel some difference with Dura-Ace as the shifting will be better.

I have not had a chance to use the latest Ultegra STI which are said to be a major improvement over the 1st generation of 9 speed Ultegra levers, which were a marginal improvement at best over 105. The 105 levers have not changed since the group went to 9 speed, so an improved Ultegra lever is probably not a bad upgrade.

If you take it component by component:

Hubs - no huge difference, Ultegras are a bit lighter (10g total) and better finished.
Crankset - Ultegra is lighter by 48g
BB - Ultegra is lighter by 22g
Derailleurs - Ultegra a tad lighter (20g)
Brakes - Ultegras are lighter by 6g
STI - Ultegra lighter by 23g
Cassette - Ultegra lighter by 32g

So to do all of this you will save only 5-6 ounces. Having been in your shoes, my advice is to sell the 105 bike and buy a bike with Ultegra. Really, trade with your LBS for a better bike or sell it then buy what you really want (unless the 105 is hung from the frame of your dreams).

However, I was in your shoes and did the upgrade thing. Here's the order in which I did it:

1. Wheelset (I got a set of used Ksyriums)
2. Tires
3. STI
4. Cassette/Chain (replaced out of necessity)
5. Crankset/BB
6. Derailleurs

I would stop there as the 105 brakes are fine (although I went with Ultegras). At this point I sold the bike so I could buy what I really wanted which was a custom frame with Dura Ace. I suspect that if you do the piecemeal upgrades at some point you will see the light and just get what you want which is an Ultegra bike. Then you'll want Dura Ace...
re: Upgrading from 105RJF
Feb 4, 2003 12:54 PM
I agree with the others. I recently upgraded some "old" 8-speed 105 (around 1996 era) shifters/rear derailler to brand new 9-speed Ultegra because I had a right shift lever die on me (yeah, big surprise). The Ultegra certainly is an improvement, but probably more due to the fact that it is (1) new; and (2) 7 years more refined. I wouldn't upgrade a pefectly working 105 system to Ultegra unless something broke.
re: Upgrading from 105mikeyca
Feb 4, 2003 2:20 PM
Wow, thanks for the great responses, folks. As a relatively new enthusiast I'm grateful to suck up as much infortmation as possible. This has been really helpful... I think you've answered my questions.

I definitely have a better sense of what practical effect these possible upgrades might actually have on performance. I'll keep you posted if I proceed with any changes. Thanks!
If your going to start racing ....the bull
Feb 5, 2003 3:55 PM
... I would get a nice wheelset that you race on.
put your light thin tires on it and you can bust them
out of there bags every once and a while.
Keep you old wheelset.and use them in the winter
or on grup rides that are slow.
every time I hit a pothole on a group ride Im glad I am not riding those light rims that might bend easy.
Plus when Im riding my light wheels it feels Like I have extra power!!
Kind a like jogging with those silly weights on your ankles
then running with out them!
re: Upgrading from 105jwarrenod
Feb 8, 2003 6:16 AM
I've got the 2001 TCR2. I upgraded to a set of K Elites and am happy. I upgraded the wheels mostly because like you I had a case of upgraditis. I don't think going from 105 to ultegra makes much sense. My rule of thumb is go up 2 levels in components or to the best from the manufacturer. This holds for just about everything, bikes, computers, cars etc.

JW