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Newbie: How important are 105's or better?(21 posts)

Newbie: How important are 105's or better?lrobertg1
Jun 8, 2001 8:35 AM
I am a mtn biker who is quickly getting into the road. I will never give up mtn biking but I can see doing both. I am riding 20 to 50 miles weekdays and 70 to 100 miles a day on weekends, training for a 350-mile charity ride and will probably continue to ride these distances after the ride. Currently I am riding my 9-year-old Cro-Molly Trek 930 with slicks. I will be purchasing a new road bike within the next two weeks. My question's are - If I stay with the sport do I want to begin with a minimum of straight 105 components or is it ok to step down? Should I be paying more attention to frame materials and weight then the other components? Price is important but I am more concerned with long-term value and ride experience. I appreciate any help; feel free to recommend specific bikes... Robert
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?zero85ZEN
Jun 8, 2001 8:47 AM

I strongly recommend at least 105 for most or all of the components on the bike you buy. (some things don't matter much like f deraillur, headset, seatpost, brakes aren't even as critical, etc.) Make sure the SHIFTERS and DRIVETRAIN are at least 105. Check out the C-dale R800 or R1000 and the Trek 2300. I worked for 4 years in a shop and I am biased towards C-dale if you don't have anything against aluminum they are great bikes. My experience selling bikes was that you can't beat Trek for value. You really get a lot of bang for your buck with a Trek. Whatever you get I would also strongly recommend getting into a frameset with a carbon fiber fork.
There is a LOT of good stuff out there....Greg Taylor
Jun 8, 2001 9:13 AM
You will be in monster shape if you keep pushing that ol' Trek those distances... I've got a 930 too. Good bike.

The Shimano 105 stuff is very nice. Good value, well engineered, and "light enough". For a "serious" road bike, you probably don't want to settle for much less.

That said, don't be scared off by some of the "lesser" Shimano offerings if they are hung on a good, upgradable frame. I don't have any experience with the Tiagra or Sora gruppos, but Shimano is known for packing good function into its lower-priced offerings. I've been running RSX-100 on my commuter bike for a couple of years, and it has held up very well. Yes, it is heavier, the finish isn't as nice, and the tolerances aren't as tight, but it works well.

I too like Cannondales, the R800 is sweet. Coming from the dirt, you also may want to check out a 'cross bike. Surly makes an awesome bike (the CrossCheck) that they offer built-up or as a frameset. Use slicks for riding on the road, swap over to 'cross tires when you get dirty.
Jun 8, 2001 9:59 AM
If you're riding as much as you say you are you'll be better off with 105 or even Ultegra in the long run though the cheaper stuff will just won't last as long.
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?ALLEN
Jun 8, 2001 10:09 AM
Very important. I wouldn't consider going for anything lower than 105. I have Shimano Sora and Iv'e had some problems with it. I would also recommend the bikes that the others have recommended.
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?Cima Coppi
Jun 8, 2001 10:25 AM
I agree with the assessment of trying ot move up to Ultegra as a consideration. If you do your internet research well enough, you'll get a really good deal on a group, then find a frame to build it on. My LBS sells Cannondale frames, maybe yours can get them as well. You may find you can get into a really good road bike with Ultegra for a price near what your LBS is selling a bike with 105 on it.
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?ken vining
Jun 8, 2001 10:30 AM
105 would be good. To me, it would be like getting a mtn bk with LX.
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?Len J
Jun 8, 2001 10:33 AM
105's are probably the minimum for the type of ride you describe. If it were me I would get the best used bike I could afford, ride it for a year or two until I learned more about what I like & need in my riding, save up my money & then buy a dream. Just me tho.
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?lrobertg1
Jun 8, 2001 10:29 PM
I had not thought about going the used bike route. It could work if I feel comfortable with the seller. I could always look to the bike review section for general info on the bike.
jack of all tradesColnagoFE
Jun 8, 2001 11:04 AM
and a master of none...except for cross. i'df just get a road bike and a mountain bike and let them do what they do best.
What about Campy?Velocipedio
Jun 8, 2001 11:48 AM
Don't rule out Campagnolo [].

Unlike the MTB world, you have a choice with road bikes. The choice comes down to personal preference, of course, but a whole lot of riders prefer Campy. Coming from MTBs, you might find the shifting more intuitive. The Veloce group is roughly equivalent to 105, and a little less expensive.
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?Cartman
Jun 8, 2001 12:56 PM
I took the advise I got here, and bought a Bianchi Giro w/ 105 components. I wouldn't go lower. BTW, what charity ride?
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?lrobertg1
Jun 8, 2001 10:17 PM
The North East Aids Ride from NY to Boston. For more info check out the site:

Each rider needs to raise $2,100.00. Feel free to pledge to my ride at the site :) My rider number is 1429.

BTW - The Giro is one of the bikes I am considering. Not only does it have great components and good reviews from this site but it comes in a 53. At 5'10'' with 30" legs (short) I am more partial to the 53 then the 54. The question is what will I lose in the seat to handlebar extension?
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?Mel Erickson
Jun 8, 2001 2:55 PM
LenJ's suggestion to buy a used bike is a good one. You can definitely get Ultegra/Daytona class or better for the price of a new 105 equipped bike. For the amount of riding you're doing I'd definitely not go below 105/Veloce. Most bikes lose a ton of value as soon as you take them out of the LBS, just like cars, maybe more so. I've picked up 1-2 year old bikes in pristine shape for 50-70% of a good LBS or mail order price. No warranty, though, thats the rub. What's your price range. Two great priced, well equipped bikes are the Fuji Team and Raleigh R700. Both have Ultegra (mostly) parts and are aluminum for about $1400. Your best buys in lower priced bikes will be aluminum. If you want to go lower than Ultegra/Daytona then concentrate on getting a good frame to go with the 105/Veloce. More of the bikes worth should be in the frame because it doesn't make sense to hang better components on a poor frame. Usually it will cost you more buying a separate frame and gruppo than buying a complete bike. May seem strange because you're putting in all the labor to build it but manufacturers/retailers can get much better deals on components and frame construction and pass some of the savings on to you. More than makes up for the labor to build it.
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?lrobertg1
Jun 8, 2001 10:24 PM
Thanks for all the info. I was/am considering the Bianchi Giro, Specialized Allez Sport, Cannondale R800 or the Jamis Quest. I had not thought about going for a used bike but it does sound tempting.

I still have reservations about aluminum. My MTB is a full susp aluminum and the susp makes up for the stiffness of the metal. I have heard that on road bikes the aluminum's stiffness can be an issue over long rides. I have also heard that carbon forks may help. Problem is I know what makes a good mtn bike and am comfortable buying one. I cant say the same for the road bikes little variances. Even if I can testride one I think that the differences will only begin to show after more miles then I can put on a test ride. It seems there is so much left ot luck in road bike purchasing. I appreciate any other advice. Robert
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?Mel Erickson
Jun 11, 2001 7:32 AM
Ride is determined more by how the frame is constructed than the material. Original aluminum road frames were noodles. The early Cannondales were bone shakers. Newer Cannondales are very comfortable. I've got a Softride Solo road bike which has an extremely stiff frame but this is compensated for by the beam suspension and carbon fork. It's super plush. Don't be afraid of aluminum because of its rep. Many, if not most, of the quality aluminum frames constructed today are reasonably comfortable.
Mtn vs. RoadIan
Jun 8, 2001 4:33 PM
Alivio = Sora
Deore = Tiagra
LX = 105
XT = Ulterga
XTR = Dura-Ace

That should help coming from a mountain background. And just as there are large jumps in quality between mtn. components, there are also jumps in road components. As others have said, trying to get at least 105 would be nice.
Mtn vs. Roadlrobertg1
Jun 8, 2001 10:25 PM
Awesome chart. It clarifies a lot! Thanks.
Mtn vs. RoadWade
Jun 9, 2001 11:33 PM
I'm a dirt rider doing the road too. I've been riding XT for five years now. I just started back road biking on an old clunker with 7-speed 105. It works but I'm getting a new road bike and I won't settle for less than ULTEGRA- new, used, or mixed.
Let us know what you get (nm)Len J
Jun 9, 2001 5:21 PM
re: Newbie: How important are 105's or better?lrobertg1
Jun 11, 2001 3:40 PM
To all of you who posted information, You have my eternal thanks. It was easier chooseing names from my children then it has been picking a bike. I test rode a few bikes and I am pretty surethat I am going to get the LeMond Zurich. It felt great when I rode it, has Ultegra components (up from the 105's), has recieved a 4.96 on this site and is on sale at my LBS. I hate to say this but it also looks great.

One other consideration: It is steel and if I am going to do long rides I want that kind of feel. The Alum bikes that I tried all felt very stiff while the Lemond felt as if I could ride it forever.

I have not put the money down - I still want to do a bit more research, but I am 98% sure this is the one. I welcome any comments.