Shimano 105 5800 11 Sp. Groupos


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[Oct 11, 2014]
Recreational Rider


easy installation, very refined shifting and braking performance, great value


weight, not hollow chainrings

I have been thinking of retiring my Shimano 6500 groupset for a few years. It was abused and scarred, but still performed admirably. Even so, the feel of the shifters was loose, and the left-side shifter body rattled incessantly.

Never a fan of the way bike parts are all black now, I was excited to see the new 5800 group offered in silver. Additionally, I found a screaming online deal from the UK. After an unbelievably short three days, my new parts were with me in San Francisco.

Putting the parts on the bike was pretty easy. The included manuals were fairly useless. Shimano has a website where dealer manuals with installation instructions can be downloaded. There is not one for this 105 yet online, however.

I did some online research about the FD and its installation. I ended up with a braze-on derailleur and an adapter clamp. There's a little set screw that you use a 2mm allen wrench to tighten. I thought I wouldn't need it, but it made the functioning of the FD much better when tightened.

The coating on the new polymer-coated cables isn't necessarily fragile like I had read online. Getting the cables all cut and routed the right way was a little bit harder than on my Shimano 6500, but overall the look is way better. Both front and rear derailleurs had little notches on the part that helped get the ends secured correctly. That no housing is jutting out from the sides of the shifters is way neat-o.

The shifting is so nice. The lever feel on the front shifting is almost too light. I was so used to muscling my old shifter to engage. The shifter is a little wide compared to the 6500 at the base, but this is understandable as this is where the shifter guts are housed. The outboard side of the lever has an acute angle that I found especially pleasing on the fingers when braking. Overall the shifting and the braking is tight and effective, but you would expect that from brand new equipment.

One change is the ultra low trim feature. The best way I can describe it is a triple derailleur on a double crankset. Most of the time if you are switching between the large and small chainring and gears 1 through 8 the FD cage stays to the right. If you are in the small chainring and try to shift into gear 9, 10, or 11, the FD rubs. What is needed is a little bit more trim! Just tap the downshift button, and the derailleur cage slips out of the way and the lowest gears are quietly accessible. It is a little strange and difficult to describe. I assume that if you are doing fast riding you want a fast shift between high gears. Having the derailleur flip all the way over to a climbing position isn't really necessary. I also really cross-chained the bike (50 x 28) and with the other trim, the drivetrain purred along nicely.

The crankset is not hollow and forged like on Dura-Ace & Ultegra. From what I can discern, It is a regular-style chainring with a large fluted alloy insert to mimic the dimensions of the hollow chainring. I am a powerful rider, but I've never noticed chainring flex, and I didn't notice it here either.

11-speed is appreciated. I live in a hilly area so I ordered a compact crankset with an 11/28 cassette. I hadn't ridden a compact crankset before so I'm still getting used to that. It has been fun to try and spin up the climbs instead of mashing the pedals. The range of gears is wider with the 50/11 on the top end and the 34/28 on the low compared to my old 6500 with 53/39 & 12/25.

An old Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheelset was all I needed to get rolling. Thanks to Mavic for having a crystal ball in 2006 and making a wheelset that could go to 11.

So, if you are an oldster like me and like silver bike parts, AND are unafraid to try some slick new-fangled technology, be sure to check out Shimano's 105 5800 groupset. There are a few other innovations (a skid plate on the FD, really massive mechanical looking brakes, ergo-angled shifter attachment) that I haven't talked about, but all in all, a new groupset can really spruce up an old bike.

Similar Products Used:

Shimano 6500 & 6600 groupsets

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