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Ultegra vs 105 ?(12 posts)

Ultegra vs 105 ?maxr
Feb 19, 2002 7:33 PM
What's the consensus regarding the relative merits of going up to the Ultegra group set as opposed to 105? I am looking at a first road bike (after a few years mtb), and have the choice of a bike with an Ultegra rear derailleur and the balance of the group 105, or the next model up with full Ultegra ,better wheels etc., etc.
I'm happy enough with the wheels etc. on the cheaper model, and so figure it comes down to the group sets? Am I on the right track?
What is the $ difference between the 2?Ahimsa
Feb 19, 2002 8:12 PM
What do you mean by "better wheels"?

Generally when buying a complete bike you can spec things out as you want to part for part (as I'm sure you already know) with only fractional cost increases. So in this case it kinda comes down to the specific differences between the two "packages" they are offering. Give us more info.

As for 105 vs. Ultegra in general:

Do you plan to race? Go Ultegra

Do you just want to ride for fitness, fun, occasional century or tour or commuting? Go 105

105 is a nice groupset for the money. It would be a good choice for a relative newbie or even a more experienced rider who is not too weight conscious. I ride a mix of all the top three Shimano groups without much concern. My personal preference for cost vs. performance though is Ultegra. I have some Dura Ace stuff, but it just doesn't pay off for me because I do not race.


There are a few other issues than weight.

This is just a personal opinion.

This advice and two bits may get you a cup of joe at the diner.


The bikes I'm looking at are.......................maxr
Feb 19, 2002 11:33 PM
Specialized Allez A1 Elite (equivalent to US$1800 here in Oz) and Specialized Allez E5 ( equivalent to US $2300)...they have different frames (materials) wheel sets and group sets.
The bikes I'm looking at are.......................weiwentg
Feb 20, 2002 4:33 AM
if I were you, I'd get the E5 ... best to get as nice a frame as possible.
Don't cheap out...cyclaholic
Feb 20, 2002 7:29 AM
You are looking at buying a bike in the US$2300 range, so you obviously have some bullets to play with. Regardless of what these bric-a-brac hunters suggest, take a good look at a lot of bikes and keep your options open. Now is a great time to buy a bicycle.

If you are dead set on getting the Specialized based on the "best bang for a buck theory", just realize that while they are good frames, they probably aren't produced where you think they are.

For the money you are talking about, you can get a good aluminum frame (maybe even a carbon one) made by a top notch company.

The Shimano 105 group is a good value and is good quality, but the Ultegra gruppo is noticably better. Take a good look at the two cranks side by side. The Ultegra bottom bracket is a very solid performer. A good frame with a good component set will make your cycling experience as good as it can be. And you won't be upgrading and developing bike lust in 6 months.
re: Ultegra vs 105 ?Elefantino
Feb 19, 2002 8:55 PM
The real-world, I'm-not-a-racer differences between 105 and Ultegra (slightly lighter, slightly better performance, more expensive) are probably not as important as the differences between what you term as the cheaper wheels and the higher end wheels. I would argue that for non-racers, wheels are more important than componentry, and that's where I'd gauge the differences. Because we don't have all the information, that's about as far as I can go with the information. But assuming the frames are of equal quality, I'd give the wheel differences a second glance.

I have both Ultegra and 105, by the way.

re: Ultegra vs 105 ?jswhern
Feb 20, 2002 4:20 AM
I have ridden bikes with both groups. Your mix mash of components is garbage. I can not stand when they mix low end components with a more quality product. It is like putting a Beamer body on a Dodge Neon and calling it a BMW. I know that you can get other bikes for under $2000 with full Ultegra, under 20lbs, and nice wheels(mavic, velocity,etc). This is only my opinion as are the other comments but I would not purchase 105 when you can get a better engine with very little more money. If you are set on Specialized then go with the E5. I would shop around and get more value for your dollar. Purchase what you want if price is not a major issue. If you do not race does not mean that you should not have a component package that is topnotch. Good luck with your choice.
re: Ultegra vs 105 ?LLSmith
Feb 20, 2002 5:49 AM
Ultegra, great componets and one less thing to worry about upgrading.
re: Ultegra vs 105 ?JimP
Feb 20, 2002 6:38 AM
Well, I have to disagree with most of the comments so far. I used to race in triathlons and started with an Ultegra group. The people that I raced with either used 105 or DA. The reason was that the DA lasted for many years but was expensive versus the 105 that needed replacement frequently (sometimes some components yearly) but was inexpensive. The Ultegra wasn't prefered since it was more expensive than the 105 and needed replacement almost as often as the 105. I switched to DA on a component by component basis as they needed replacement. The DA isn't just a lighter component with a pretty finish, the components do last a lot longer.
Better questionmuncher.
Feb 20, 2002 8:10 AM
105 or DA. It's not worth the extra $ for Ultegra over 105 - the performance difference is marginal, and so is weight unless you are really into that. Either go with the excellent reliability and value that is 105, or go the whole hog and get DA.

All IMHO obviouisly.
last year Ultegra=this year 105.. pretty much...tempeteKerouak
Feb 20, 2002 8:44 AM
Except for the brifters (yep, I embrace the term!) which feel a little more snappy and solid on Ultegra, the rest of this year's 105 looks a lot like last year's Ultegra. In fact, 2001 105 is better than 1995 D-A... And uses HollowTech cranks, which are light enough to me!

It's all down to $$. I get beaten by guys on 105 all the time. I always replace used components with 105. Even some on my mountain bike! It has always worked perfectly and I've never back up because of the cost.
last year Ultegra=this year 105.. pretty much...KEN2
Feb 20, 2002 9:50 AM
IMO the only component that works noticeably better and lasts longer than 105/Ultegra are the DA STI shifters. I guarantee you're not going to wear out 105 cranks, and you can always replace the rings if/when they wear with any level you want. The DA BB is more finicky than the other levels--avoid that. So I agree with the posters who say in real-world functionality there is no discernible difference between 105 and Ultegra or DA (except shifters).