Shimano Sora Groupos

Available At:
Sora

Shimano Sora STI shift-brake levers for 2x9-speed drivetrains. The Dual Control levers feature an integrated optical gear display and a sleek ergonomic design. Variable Reach adjustment with two spacers allows for a more comfortable use with smaller hand

User Reviews (51)

Showing 1-10 of 51  
ShimanoEnthusiast   [Jun 25, 2012]
Strength:

Cheap and cheerful
Excellent value
Perfect for an aspiring road cyclist
Good starting point for future upgrades
Amazing for just commuting and getting around in town
Pretty durable for its price

Weakness:

Difficult to shift gears while on the drops
Needs frequent tuning and maintenance
Not ideal for hardcore, lung busting road races. Invest on something something higher up the Shimano lineup such as 105 or Ultegra.

Shimano Sora is perfect for a beginner who is just starting to cycle. It is the perfect groupo for the commuter bike. I'm not afraid to get my Sora dirty because it is extremely cheap to replace and easy to fix. It is by no means a DuraAce, but it does what it is meant to do. Shift gears flawlessly. I would definitely recommend it to any novice cyclist who is looking at buying a first bike.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
nebti5   Recreational Rider [Apr 22, 2010]
Strength:

Reliable, cheap, accurate.

Weakness:

Button downshifters, occasional rub on FD that can't be trimmed.

I've put 6,000 miles on a 2006 Trek with Sora shifters, a cheaper-than-Sora Shimano 2203 FD and Tiagra RD. I recently purchased a full carbon bike with 105 components, so I have some perspective on the Sora components.

There are deficits with the Sora shifters--in particular, the downshift buttons aren't conventient from the drop. But overall, my Sora components did not display any of the problems complained about by other reviewers here. They worked reliably and accurately year after year. I had the bike adjusted at the LBS twice, once at 1500 miles and once at 4000. The Sora shifters worked acccurately for thousands of miles. They're still fine. I don't dislike them at all....

Though some say they wear out, they get out-of-adjustment, etc., I've seen none of it. They're not as sweet as the 105s in weight and ability to trim the FD, but they function like workhorses and I'd readily recommend them.

Carbon frame vs. Trek Pilot 1 aluminum frame? Night and day difference. Cheapo no-name brakes vs. Tektro R580 brakes? World of stopping difference. Sora vs. 105 shifters? Toyota Yaris vs. Toyota Camry.

Similar Products Used: Shimaon 105
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Grant   Road Racer [Sep 07, 2009]
Strength:

sturdy, cheap, triple

Weakness:

it makes up half the weight of my bike. I live in Illinois so I'm not going to use the smallest chainring.

a really study, cheap crank.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
4
Joel Dodd   Recreational Rider [Jun 13, 2008]
Strength:

smooth operation, reliable shifting, no ghost shifting.

Weakness:

easily fatigued aluminium casting. check your for fracture lines.

The sora came with the GT Series 4 that I bought in 2006 - end of season sale. The derailleur performed perfectly for 20 months, needing only three cable tunes to correct mid-cassette jumping. Quiet and smooth, it was reliable and got me through some pretty tough century-plus rides. Until the derailleur unit broke off and became one with my wheel. It lasted 14300 km, and broke through the solid aluminium casting around the position-adjuster screws. I now use 105.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Adam   Recreational Rider [May 03, 2008]
Strength:

Low cost of acquisition and ownership

Weakness:

cheap product quality, low cost design, doesn't really invigorate the road riding rookies into wanting to compete or get better

Well, being that this gruppo came with the bike I purchased, a 2006 Fuji Newest 3.0, it can easily be faulted for the price I got the bike for. For the purposes the bike was made for, it serves it purpose just fine, but for someone like me, who as delusions of road racing grandeur, it doesn't inspire with the faults. The Sora components included in my bike were the shifters, front and rear derailleurs, and the cassette. The brakes were Tektro no-names, and the 3 chainring crank was Fuji branded.

Negatives.
I've had the bike professionally tuned a couple times since my original purchase. Most recently, about 4 weeks before this typing. The rear derailleur can be precise and quick when I need it to be so, but unfortunately, it can be that without me pressing any shift button/lever. Occasionally, when I'm putting in a bit of power up hill, the system shifts up one or two gears without my consent. Now, if this were down hill, I wouldn't have a problem, but that isn't the case. Like one other person mentioned in a previous review, he called it "ghost shifts". I would have to agree with him. The low spec system doesn't seem to be designed from the start as something you can stick with for years.
The shifters themselves, although adequate for what I use the bike for, don't really seem to be much in the way of a quality product. They are made of cheap plastic and don't seem to be anything to talk about. The small shift lever is also in a very odd place as well. Not bad for when you are on the hoods for practically all day, but when I want to go to the drops, well.... up shifting isn't something I can do, for both shifters. Another negative for the left shifter is that when I drop from the largest chain ring to the smallest, or even the middle to the smallest (remember it's a triple), the upshift lever likes to stick. I can brake, but I cannot go from the small ring to the middle unless I damn near brake the unit. This has happened enough times for me to almost treat the bike as a 1x8, instead of a 3x8. Another thing about the shifters, for both of them, is that the length of the throw from one ring to the next, regardless of the derailleur, is quite long. There is almost or more than an 1.5 to 2 inches of travel from "neutral" to full extension. If the shift length was shortened by about 1/2 an inch, I think it would be much more comfortable and quicker too. The final thing with the shifters is the length of the brake/shift lever. When in the drops, it is somewhat far from a comfortable grip for me. When on the hoods, the shape of the shifter, including the levers length, don't allow to much in the way of the ability to pull the levers to stop with as much force as I want.
Lastly, the components aren't really made to be rebuilt, just pull and replace, no salvage, no repair. Kind of reminds me of the medical model, "When in doubt, cut it out."

Positives.
The units are cheap, and since that is a main point for the gruppo(any almost all of Shimano stuff), replacement parts are inexpensive should you get into a wreck. Additionally, the component are compatible with some higher end Shimano stuff. For example, you have probably seen some low spec bikes, like the Specialized Allez or the Masi Alare has Sora shifters with a Tiagra rear derailleur. This low spec compatibility does allow some cash strapped riders to equip their bikes with somewhat better components should the need or opportunity arises.

Overall, for the price and it's intended use as to get people used to road riding, it isn't bad, but for prolonged use, something better should be chosen first off. Tiagra is so much better in every way that I fail to see why Shimano wants to do a Campy rip-off with Sora, when they can be unique and have the same kind of shifters across the line. I'm so glad that my bike is currently being converted to Campagnolo Mirage.

Similar Products Used: SRAM Force, Shimano Tiagra, Shimano 105
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
ekthor   Road Racer [Jan 24, 2008]
Strength:

Price

Weakness:

Weight, BUT, let me tell you, I'm about to make those tiny holes on every "star" in the cassette to make it look more like a 105, Dura Ace, etc.

After 4 years using my road bike in Mexico, SORA group has been almost perfect. I have been in 2 Triathlons and many outdoor races. I have 3 different cassettes (12-23, 12-25 and 13-26 which I easily converted into a 12-26), I use it 3 times a week. I don't have problems with shifts. For those who know Mexico, I have traveled form Mexico City to Acapulco in a team with very expensive bikes, and I wasn't the last biker... nor the first of course. I have a girlfriend with the very expensive Dura Ace group and I always go first, she has 15 years experience with bikes.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
the beef   Recreational Rider [Dec 08, 2007]
Strength:

Shifting can be quiet and accurate when tuned.

Weakness:

Won't stay tuned.
Sub-par fit and finish.
Lack of features such as front derailleur trim.
Badly positioned thumb shift button.

When I first set out to buy my first road bike, there were a lot of people who told me "Sora's a perfectly fine group. A properly tuned Sora drivetrain will shift just as well as Dura-Ace." The second lot of people told me, "Go for 105, or you'll regret it." I was on a budget and not really familiar with the nuances of buying used at that point, so I bought my first bike - a Bianchi Brava with Sora. Now I wish I had listened to the second group.

While it might be true that Sora shifts well when tuned up, Sora doesn't like to stay tuned. The rear derailleur never indexed completely accurately, even after multiple tunings by my LBS mechanic. This would lead to 'ghost shifts', or shifts that would happen whenever too much pedal pressure was applied. Sora's also low on features: the front derailleur only has three positions for a triple crankset, and the lack of a 'trim' means that many chain combinations result in deathly annoying chain-cage rub.

The positioning of the thumb lever on the Sora shifters is far from well designed. While in the drops, those without super-long thumbs will find it hard to shift up. The fit and finish of Sora is also generally lacking in quality.

I find it annoying that Shimano, a company with such huge resources, couldn't have invested a little more in their low-end group. I almost feel that Sora is purposely engineered to suck so that road cyclists will inevitably become sucked into the constant cycle of upgrading and lusting over higher-end parts. It's a shame that this is the group that most people have to ride when starting out.

Not recommended. If you're looking at buying a Sora bike for your first ride, instead consider a used 105 bike from your local classifieds.

Similar Products Used: Campagnolo Veloce
Shimano 105
Shimano Ultegra
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
jat   Recreational Rider [Oct 28, 2007]
Strength:

when this group is regularly serviced it works perfectly. this group does not inspire.

Weakness:

when it needs a service, it needs a service. you cant get more than 1200km's before gear shifting starts playing up, it either doesnt shift properly or flicks down to a lower gear at random....very annoying when youve settled into a pace/cadence.
though i have had little experience with higher grade equipement, there is a big difference between 105 and sora....

this group is reliable, with clean shifting and a relatively smooth feel. this is perfect for commuting as well as light training. oldies with 10k bikes and dura ace who ride at 20km/h should re-think and get this group......

Similar Products Used: 2005 trek 1400 with shimano 105 (it was stolen!!!!!)
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
norman wells   Road Racer [Sep 21, 2007]
Strength:

I don't know! Cheap?

Weakness:

I have the hardest time getting to either top or bottom crank (on a set of 3). Sometimes it just won't budge. It makes climbing harder than it should be.

My Lemond Nevada City came with a Sora brakes set and front derailleur. The back derailleur/freewheel is Tiagra. I would not recommend this at all. Even on a tight budget, I beleive it is very easy to do a lot better. It might be worth borrowing a few bucks to get better.

Similar Products Used: none, it was my first road bike. I am considering investing on a Campagnolo Record gruppo for my next bike.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
danielflood80   Recreational Rider [Jan 21, 2007]
Strength:

Front and rear deraileur work well, although I adjust them regularly to keep them nicely tuned. Off the shelf, the brake calipers perform awfully, however this is due to the stock brake pads, simply put in some Kool Stop pads, make sure they're properly adjusted, and these calipers can deliver great results.

Weakness:

Brake/Shifter levers. The brake levers feel flexy, which is scary when you're doing downhill really fast. The design of these shifters is different to all the other shimano line, hopefully shimano will fix this up with the next version. The biggest problem is that you can't go down gears while on the drops, this is IMO the best feature of shimano shifters. Shifters are very complicated bits of technology, and it's largely here that shimano have got the price down from the Tiagra line. But then it costs alot less too.

The Sora group is the cheapest of the Shimano line, and taking this into account, it performs well. If you're just starting cycling, then it's a very cost effective buy. But if you start cycling regularly, you'll get frustrated with it quickly.

There's nothing really awful about it (Brake pads aside), but there's nothing very good about it either, aside from the price. If you're on a budget, it's a good entry level group and will do the job, but even the Tiagra group offers alot more, better shifters etc. If you shop around enough, you can probably find a Tiagra equipped bike on special somewhere, which will be a similar price to most Sora bikes, this would be a much better deal if you can find it.

Similar Products Used: Ultegra
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 51  

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