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Sora: what's the deal?(19 posts)

Sora: what's the deal?empacher6seat
Apr 15, 2002 6:27 PM
As my seemingly never ending search for a cheap road bike continues, I've noticed that bike stores have a thing against showing or talking about low end components. I'm not going to be racing at all, I like the idea of a triple crankset compared to a double, and due to a 30% tuition increase for next year, I'm trying to keep the cost as low as possible. Do you think these stores honestly care about a newbie's enjoyment of a better bike, or are they just trying to get some extra cash?
re: Sora: what's the deal?RadicalRonPruitt
Apr 15, 2002 6:34 PM
The Sora group offers the research and technology of higher end components into a heavier less flashy version. Although it won't shift as smooth as Dura Ace, the Sora I have seen and worked on shifts right on. The performance is good for the money. I don't think you will go wrong. I think the Mirage and Xenon groups from Campy provide the same type of service. I know several people racing and riding on Mirage happily. Get what you can afford and enjoy the ride.
re: Sora: what's the deal?Jekyll
Apr 15, 2002 6:36 PM
I'm not sure if in this is a case of the LBS pulling your string. Very few seem to stock stuff below 105 unless its part of a pre-built bike.
There is probably nothing inherently wrong with Sora. I'm sure it will work OK. My main problem would be the shift levers. I don't like the Sora set up and think they are worth the upgrade to 105.
Honestly, I do not know the component group price difference is between Sora and 105. I would guess that if it is within a $150-200 its probably worth going to 105.
re: Sora: what's the deal?Rusty Coggs
Apr 15, 2002 7:45 PM
It's functional stuff. Many don't like the thumb shifters, and it's 8 speed rather than 9, like the next step up to Tiagra.Many also buy it and then start upgrading,which just isn't cost effective,especially to 9 speed. Buy it, ride it, be happy.
You don't want Sora...Uncle Tim
Apr 15, 2002 7:58 PM
You're criticizing the bike dealers/manufacturers for trying to "get some extra cash" from you when really you are trying to get good quality components for less than they can sell them. The sword cuts both ways.

You can get a Sora equipped bike if you want, but you won't be happy. Oh, the stuff will work, but will not get real good performance and the odds are that failures will occur more quickly.

The Sora brakes are good, but outside of that, there's nothing to really be thrlled about. You'll probably have a UN-52 BB, which will work fine, but it is very heavy. The triple crank is unbelievably heavy. The derailleurs will work just fine, but they are heavy, too.

The weakest component of the group, and the one you will notice immediately, is the shifters. The design makes it impossible to shift from the drops. Now the Tiagra shifters work well and are durable, so go with those if you have to. Reject the Sora shifters.

I'm with the camp that says accept nothing less than 105. 6,000 miles down the road you will be happy with your decision.
You don't want Sora...RadicalRonPruitt
Apr 16, 2002 4:24 AM
I can honestly say I have worked and ridden on Sora. How many other people can say that who have commented on it. For the money, Sora functions quite well.
Is this want you read?Lowend
Apr 16, 2002 10:42 AM
Or did you actually ride a bike with Sora equipment? If your LBS adjusts the parts correctly, the Sora shifts just fine. Everyone always says that you can not shift from the drops. How many of you "casual" riders actually ride in the drops for more than a mile at a time? Maybe that fast downhill on your way home from work and that is it. If you are not racing, why would you be worring about weight too. I bet there are no casual riders and maybe some club riders who could tell the difference in weight between the Sora or 105 group on the same bike as they ride.
If a person is only able to spend a few bucks, why can't the LBS say they don't sell bikes in that range and not put down the Lowend bike. The Lowend bike is made for a reason and if your LBS does not sell them, go somewhere else. I just bought a 2002 Trek 1000 for $540. It is all that I needed and is great on my commute to work. 8 miles each way.
re: Sora: what's the deal?Trent in WA
Apr 15, 2002 9:39 PM
I don't think they're trying to milk you for more money. If the shops you're dealing with have much in the way of a racing-oriented clientele, they either accept the prejudice that anything below 105 / Veloce-grade components are junk, or have given up trying to convince people otherwise. Compared to an Ultegra group, Sora comes in a couple of pounds heavier. Much of that weight is in the crankset and bottom bracket: the chainrings are steel. It's hard to shift from the drops with the Sora shifters, though you can if you have long fingers.

What this means, in practice, is that most racers aren't crazy about the low-end Shimano groups, but if you aren't going to race, you probably aren't going to care. If you plan to do much touring, the weight of the steel chainrings might be worth their greater durability. I put 2,000 miles on a Sora-equipped bike in about eight months last year, and the only care it needed (besides cleaning and such) was an occasional turn of the barrel adjusters. One thing to be wary of, though, is that to save money, some bike manu's spec some really cheap bits in places consumers don't necessarily notice. Be wary of that.

Hope this helps,
Trent
Why I dislike Sora,TJeanloz
Apr 16, 2002 4:56 AM
Sora, out of the box, is a fine group. It shifts as well as Dura-Ace if it's properly tuned. I would not buy it, or recommend it, though I would sell it if the buyer's budget was tight.

What's not to like? The crank/bottom bracket is a non-issue, as most bike companies spec out something else. No, the real issue is that it is different than the rest of the lineup. It's 8speed instead of 9, and it has a whole complicated mess of compatibility issues (different left shifters for a double and triple, etc). As a shop person, I was always worried that 3 years down the road, Sora would be gone, somebody would break something and the whole drivetrain would need to be replaced. With Tiagra or 105, that worry is gone, because they are cross-compatible with all the other Shimano groups. Add to that the fear that things may be more prone to breaking because they're a little chinsey, and I think moving up to Tiagra is a smart move.

So, Sora works well, but many shops are concerned about the long term maintenance and support involved with potentially selling that group.
As always TJ, the facts, just the facts! nmLen J
Apr 16, 2002 4:59 AM
The thing I like least about ShimanoSpoke Wrench
Apr 16, 2002 5:27 AM
is that it is sometimes very difficult or impossible to get replacement parts for three year old bikes. I don't know if Sora is going to fall into this catagory, I suppose I'll be finding out in a couple of years, but I can easily see it happening.

I just recently had three bikes hanging in our shop waiting for 7-speed brake/shift levers for canty brakes. They were on back order all they way from Japan. As soon as the shipment came in, they sold out and are now on back order again.
The Thing RadicalRon Hates About ShimanoRadicalRonPruitt
Apr 16, 2002 5:31 AM
You can find Shimano in WalMart, KMart, Target, and ToyRUs. Have they no pride?
Aw, make up your mind. (nm)Crankist
Apr 16, 2002 6:01 AM
The thing I like least about ShimanoTJeanloz
Apr 16, 2002 5:54 AM
Well, obviously you try to sell Campy first, but sometimes you have no choice.

Actually, I think I would prefer 105 to Mirage (or whatever they're calling the plastic group this year).
No problems with MirageColnagoFE
Apr 16, 2002 7:08 AM
I have about 9-10k on a Mirage triple group and so far no problems other than the changing the chain and a couple of cassettes. Everything else is original. Sure it doesn't shift quite as crisp as Chorus or Record, but it works.
For fear of being mis-interpreted,TJeanloz
Apr 16, 2002 7:18 AM
Mirage is a fine group. It works well, especially now that they fixed the brakes. But, at that particular price point, I believe 105 has the edge. Unless things have gotten so bad that Mirage is at the Tiagra price- in which case, I take Mirage.
105 would be veloce (no plastic..)colker
Apr 16, 2002 10:56 AM
105 is great. veloce too. 105 is lighter i guess..but veloce shifters don't rattle.
Sora is fineliu02bhs
Apr 16, 2002 7:05 AM
There is nothing wrong with Sora.
I had over 3000 miles on my bike now, and the shifting is still okay. I'll probably need to replace the cables soon.

In fact it's a good idea for triathletes with triathlon bikes. Because you don't need to shift from the drops.

Like Lance said, it's not about the bike. The truth is you can go fast on any bike. I'm sure the bikes Eddy Merckexx rode in the 70s are a lot worse than even the low end bikes.
I had them on my first bikeIcefrk13
Apr 16, 2002 11:25 AM
I had them on my first bike and really did not like them at all. The never would dial in all the way and tehy were always mis-shifting. I oersonally would try not to go below 105's myself.