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Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?(9 posts)

Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?JohnnyCat
Jan 21, 2004 8:05 PM
I know Dura Ace parts are all lighter, but I don't really care about weight(care a little). Are some Ultegra parts longer lasting/smoother than some Dura Ace parts. I've heard that Ultegra's bottom bracket is smoother/ better sealed than Dura Ace? Anybody agree/disagree? Campy experts feel free to tell me if you think some Chorus parts are smoother/longer lasting than Record. I want to pay for the smoothest/most durable; not the lightest. How do the different gruppos respond to rain/dirt?

Also tell me if a part's higher price is only due to weight savings and nothing more? I'd like to get Dura Ace, but can't justify the $1000 price hike over Ultegra. At least that's what manufactures costs are. Is this price diffrence due to the 10 speed being a new hot item? I want to mix the components to save money. Please tell me if you feel there are better part swaps to make than others and what stores offer the best deals on groups. Is the new 10 worth the price over the old 9 speed? I've seen some unbelievable deals on old Dura Ace 9 speed groups.

Anybody feel older models of a group are better, or do each year they usually always improve due to r&d/feedback.

Also does Kestrel make the 200sci anymore? What are the best carbon or steel frames under $2000 retail.

Want a bike with mostly Dura Ace and a great frame/fork for under $2600. Is it possible without having to buy a used frame and thereby sacrificing a warranty on the frame? My plan is to find a bike on sale, tell them I only want the frame, and give them the parts I found at bargain prices to build it up. Wheels I plan to get are probably Dura Ace hubs, Mavic cxp33 rims- 28hole. Heard they are pretty darn good. Would like to keep weight under 18lbs.

Yes, I realize there are a thousand questions. Don't get scared and feel you have to respond to all of them. Any response will do.

Thanks to all who reply!
re: Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?Woof the dog
Jan 21, 2004 8:55 PM
Brake calipers are almost the same weight as DA, so get ultegras, front derailler can also be Ultegra, they probably weigh the same, but you won't really be saving that much by going from front or rear DA to Ultegra, you might as well get DA (see Get Ultegra BB. DA cranks are a bit lighter (see for a link to a weight list), but more expensive than Ultegra, significantly more if I remember right. If it all comes down to weight savings for you, put more money into things like lighter pedals, tires, rims, saddle and fork - that is what will really help you get to 18 lbs, not gruppos.

Certain versions of Dia compe brake calipers are significantly lighter than any Shimano ones. I am not sure about stopping power, but who needs full stopping power of a dual pivot brake caliper in the back anyway? I can lock up a rear wheel no problem at any speed with any brake caliper. But then again we are talking a weight difference of two or three door keys here. So never mind about dia compe stuff.

woof the god.
re: Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?JohnnyCat
Jan 21, 2004 10:50 PM
The "18lbs" was in regards to being able to keep the bike price under $2600 or so. Meaning: I realize buying certain gruppo parts over others is not where the real savings in weight would come from, not to mention savings in money. If you remember I am more concerned with smoothness/durability than weight. I didn't know if I would have enough left over to buy the misc. stuff that would be light enough or if I would only be able to buy cheap heavy misc. items to keep the price down.

Thanks for your good reply. Totally agree about brakes.
re: Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?buffedupboy
Jan 22, 2004 3:04 AM
Hi there,

I think there are alot of us out here that have the same ideas. Here are just my thoughts, unfounded as they may seem.

I just set up a bike similar to what you are describing. I used the following parts:

Brifters: Campagnolo Mirage (much lighter than any shimano brifters ( not sure about durability but at the price, if I crash it I change it. Was also told that externally it is pretty much similar to a record lever without the carbon sheet)

Brakes: Shimano Sora ( Like the other guy said, I can stop a cow with any brake caliper. Word of advice, whatever brake caliper you have, make sure its pads are good... I swapped mine.) The weight gain is not significant.

rear D: Campagnolo Mirage ( Same as the brifters).

Cranks: There is a difference in what you chose for the cranks because there is a significant difference in durability and stifness based on the price that you spend. I went for 105s but I don't think they will last very long.

Front D: Sora, again no difference in weight, but again doubt it will last very long, would swap for a camppy mirage after this one is done.

BB: Has to match your cranks, and they are all right, Ultegra is the way to go.

Wheels: I have a handbuilt 28hole Alex Rim with ultralight joy-tect hubs. They also have shimano 9sp cogs, cheaper than campy and compatible. Mich ProRace.

So there, something else to think about. My frame is a cannondale Cadd 4 size 62 and it weights in at around 18lb.

If you are thinking last forever, just go get a titanium frame, save on the parts and upgrade later on when things start to breakdown. if you are thinking all this is BS and you would never stoop so low as to use Mirage on your bike or think that I am lying and that Campy would never work with Shimano parts, then get DA except, swap the following parts to Ultegra: brake calipers, BB, front D. These 3 items may not be better in ultegra but the difference cannot be justified in the price.

re: Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?laffeaux
Jan 22, 2004 10:21 AM
I recently switched a bike from Ultegra to Dura Ace, and compared each part's weight as I made the switch. I already owned the DA components, which are slightly older ('97 vintage), but almost the same as last year's 9-speed group (the cranks and shifters have different part numbers).

The biggest weight savings were:
1) bottom bracket
2) cassette
3) cranks
4) shifters (non flight deck compatable)
5) brakes

After that the saving were minimal. In fact, you might say all of the weight savings are minimal (1/2 pound total for all components).

I prefer the feel of DA brake levers to Ultegra. I'm not convinced that the shift is better, but the narrower lever feels better in my hand.

DA and Ultegra are both nice groups that perform well. I'd be hard pressed to tell any "real" performance differences between them.

I'd go with DA shifters for feel. DA BB for weight savings at a minimal cost (as long as you're willing to maintain it). And otherwise Ultegra is good ehough.

You'll save more weight for less money buying an Eatson EC90 bar, light saddle, light seatpost, and light wheels.

My $0.002 (not even 2 cents)

P.S. This assumes that you're not considering the new 10-speed DA which is a completely different discussion.
re: Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?glia
Jan 22, 2004 4:18 PM
I have a full Dura-Ace bike and just build a second "winter" bike with cheaper components. I went with Ultegra BB (sealed, keeps the rain out but 50g heavier), Ultegra crank (quite nice, probably as good as Dura-Ace), Ultegra brakes (very nice if you use non-original pads). I also used Ultegra shifters. They work well and feel good. However, the left shifter does not have the same number of trim positions for the fron derailure. So you'll feel a difference here. I also used Dura-Ace front and rear derailure since they cost just about the same as Ultegra. Use the saved money and get a carbon FSA crank on Ebay for ~$150!
re: Any Ultegra Parts Smoother/More Durable than Dura Ace?russw19
Jan 22, 2004 9:20 PM
OK, lets start with the bottom bracket question. There is a lot of misinformation out there about this... here's the real story... The Ultegra bottom bracket is a sealed unit... that just means that it is not adjustable and not servicable. It means NOTHING about being better sealed. The seals are the same rubber o rings that seal the Dura-Ace unit. Some people who don't understand parts seem to think that the cartridge units are better because they are one piece. And when someone at a shop says they are a "sealed unit" referring to the fact that it is simply plug and play, they mistakenly seem to think that means they are better sealed to keep out water. That is not at all true. All it means is that the bottom bracket unit has been simplified (for the end consumer) to two pieces... a sealed (as in unservicable) bearing/splindle unit with the fixed cup built into it, and a second "adjustable" cup which is really just the other side's cup. It is not really adjustable as it just threads into the frame until it's tight. It doesn't affect the adjustment of the bottom bracket, and just holds it in place.

On the other hand, the Dura-Ace unit is designed to be servicable, rebuildable, and adjustable. If you want smooth, you must get this one. Otherwise you are limited by the factory pre-set of the Ultegra model. You can not make it any smoother by adjusting it, but you can with the Dura-Ace. Also the Ultegra is simply a ball bearing model, but the Dura-Ace uses both 2 sets of ball bearings and 2 sets of needle bearings, making for a much smoother unit. It is also significantly lighter. I know you said that isn't a priority, but just to let you know, the Dura-Ace BB is so light that there is really only 2 other BB's on the market in non-square tapered spindles that I can think of that are lighter. Look around at the weights of ISIS spindle BB's and compare that to the Dura-Ace... you may find one or two that are lighter, but that's it. But the Dura-Ace unit is like a traditional servicable bottom bracket where you can take it apart and rebuild it (which seems to be a lost art these days) if water gets into it past the seals. If that happens with the Ultegra, take it out, throw it away, and install a new one. If it starts to feel grity, ride it till it seizes up, take it out, throw it away, and install a new one. With the Dura-Ace, take it out, clean it, put fresh grease in it, put it back in, look at the $40 in your wallet you didn't have to spend on a new Ultegra BB, and go get a pint at the pub to celebrate your joy.

In all seriousness... if you are not the maintanence type, go Ultegra and let your local shop replace it everytime it goes bad. If you like to not waste parts and aren't afraid of routine service, spend $20 more, get the Dura-Ace and be happy. Overhaul it once a year and it will last you forever (mine is 5 years old with 40,000 miles on it, and still smoother than any Ultegra unit has ever been.)

As for the rest of the Dura-Ace's simply better. Period. It's not just lighter than Ultegra stuff, it's better. But more expensive. If you crash a lot or don't take care of your stuff, it's not for you. You will spend too much and just be replacing it as you crash it. If you don't properly maintain your stuff, it will cost you. If you keep your parts clean and keep up with the things you are suppossed to do to make it last, go Dura-Ace. The shifters (and I am comparing the 9 speed stuff to be fair...) are more precise, they don't rattle as bad as Ultegra, and they have better bearings so they should last longer. The Bottom Bracket is a significant upgrade, the hubs use better bearings and the freehub is Ti. Places where you won't notice as much of a difference would be the brake calipers, the front derailleur, chain, and the cassette. If you want to save money and don't care about the added weight, that is where I would use Ultegra stuff if it were my bike. I would use Dura-Ace shifters, rear derailleur
cut off... end of post...russw19
Jan 22, 2004 9:23 PM
I would use Dura-Ace shifters, rear derailleur, BB, crank, and hubs.

Next, you should not have any problems finding a 9 speed Dura-Ace bike for less than the $2600 mark you mentioned. Dura-Ace 10 speed is another story. But there are sensible places to save money on a bike... there are so many aftermarket makers of bars, stems, seats, and posts that you can get nice light stuff that is strong and still cheap if you look around. Also, don't get boutique wheels.. they are really not any better than a traditional wheel and they cost much more money than traditional wheels. If you aren't worried about weight, get a set of wheels with Velocity Aerohead rims or Mavic CPX-33's laced to Dura-Ace hubs. They will save you about a hundred dollars over Mavic Ksyrium Elites, weigh about the same, and ride just as nice. Most of staying at or below the price you mention is the frame you choose. If you get a bargin Taiwan aluminium frame, you will come in well under that mark.. if you choose a handbuilt American or Italian frame, you won't. If you are looking at $2000 frames, you can't expect to build a bike with any Dura-Ace parts for $2600. You may not even be able to get a 105 bike for that price with a $2000 frame. So I am confused as to why you list that as your price point, yet are still asking about $2000 carbon or steel frames. Get a less expensive frame if you want better parts. You can get a full Reynolds 853 frame for under $500. I could easily build you a full Dura-Ace bike with an 853 frame for $2000. You just have to pick the right frame and build it sensibly.

Hope that answers most of your questions.

Frame Cost / Complete bike cost: I'm not as dumb as you think!JohnnyCat
Jan 23, 2004 11:18 AM
The two statements were to be looked at separately.

I wanted to know what people feel are the best frames under $2000 retail, because I feel if a company can't make a good frame under this price they are ridiculous, and if a frame is truly head and shoulders above the rest while under $2000 I wanted to know.

I'm mostly looking at frames priced at around $1500 retail, but if someone says that a frame that is just under $2000 retail is by far and away the best, I will then let my budget grow to compensate. The reason I say "retail or more appropriately msrp" a lot is because I hope to get a frame for 20% off or so. For example I've been looking at Kestrel 200sci frames (usually $1395 retail or msrp); I found one on sale for $1400 as a complete bike with full shimano 105. I could then sell all the parts for possibly $500. Total cost of frame would be $900. Total savings of 35%.

I ain't no corn pickin idiot. I realize you can't buy a frame for $2000 and then build up the rest with DA for $600.

If you truly thought that those two statements were to be looked at as a whole I praise you for your restraint of not calling me the biggest dumbass alive. I don't know if I would have had the same patience. hahaha

Good post - just next time realize that my family tree does have brances