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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been a lurker for years and a rider all my life but it's been a long time since I got something new (/new for me.) I'm on a very, very limited budget and am a bit of a snob, which is sometimes a bad combination. I am fine going used and pretty much have to in order to afford what I want. I told myself I would get Ultegra or better. Obviously I don't mind a few parts here and there that are 3d party or 105 but I had wanted a generally Ultegra ride. I am finding a few good options with Ultegra from 2001-3 era, etc, in my price range and newer rides (even new, new) with 105 or lower at the same price. Is the new lower-end stuff better than the old higher-end stuff?
Thanks
Matt
 

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onasteelhorseiride said:
I've been a lurker for years and a rider all my life but it's been a long time since I got something new (/new for me.) I'm on a very, very limited budget and am a bit of a snob, which is sometimes a bad combination. I am fine going used and pretty much have to in order to afford what I want. I told myself I would get Ultegra or better. Obviously I don't mind a few parts here and there that are 3d party or 105 but I had wanted a generally Ultegra ride. I am finding a few good options with Ultegra from 2001-3 era, etc, in my price range and newer rides (even new, new) with 105 or lower at the same price. Is the new lower-end stuff better than the old higher-end stuff?
Thanks
Matt
Simply put, yes. 2001-3 is Ultegra 9 speed. 9 speed is getting increasingly harder to find, and increasingly more expensive to replace. Go 10 speed, it's superior in both performance and availability.

105 10 speed is a very high-performance group. In the past, there was a big difference between 105 and Ultegra. With 10 speed, this isn't nearly so much the case - Shimano really upped the ante with modern 105.

For a snobby rider on a budget, Ultegra 6600 is the way to go. If you can't get that, go for 105 5600 - 10 speed in both instances. Don't get 9sp. If it's in your budget, Ultegra 6700 could be great, but it doesn't sound like that's the case
 

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I have Ultegra 6600 and it's great. The new 105 is suppose to be as good, just a little more weight, but I have also found deals on 6600 wheels,
 

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What estone2 said and for argument sake let's say 7 year old Ultegra was better than current 105......well that would be new not with the mystery variable of 7 years of wear.

105 isn't lower end stuff. It's third tier high end stuff.
 

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Ultegra 6600 would be good, if you're okay with the hood shape. SRAM Apex would be good.

You don't have to spend a ton to get nice components anymore, and if you're willing to go with stuff that's a generation back, that's fine too and can save you some $$$.
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I started off looking for an all Ultegra CF bike....

really had no budget limits, except my own common sense for how much I use a bike.
Ended up with a carbon fiber frame and 105 group, for $1000 less, love the bike and 105 group seems to work flawlessly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for the advice, everyone. the consensus seems to be that newer 105 is better than older ultegra, esp. 10sp vs 9sp. my last road bike (stolen, hence the "opportunity" to start over) was a surly cross-check: tiagra w/ bar-end shifters. i never loved the bar-end shifters and have actually never owned an STI bike, but have ridden one a fair amount and the shifters were Ultegra 9sp. My thinking now is that I should look for something with Ultegra 10sp shifters, if possible, and 105 is fine for other parts. my reasoning is that shifters do double duty, are likely to smack against stuff (tho maybe that means i want them cheap,) seem hard to repair and maintain, and are shockingly expensive. the other parts i can change relatively inexpensively as time goes on (not wheels) with either ultegra or 3d party stuff. i really like those compact double cranks from FSA and TruVativ, I think they are, and i don't know from shimano brakes anyway, as my surly had cantis and i come from the mtb world originally. plus, when it comes to crank/chainwheels, chain and cassette, i'm going into it assuming not much life left cuz you never know with used. i'm assuming all 105 & ultegra stuff (assuming all 10sp) are compatible and work well together...
 

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Don't forget SRAM. The price/performance/weight sweet spot is often with SRAM these days. This is especially true since you have never owned an STI equipped bike. All these new fangled shifters will be foreign to you so whatever you choose you'll have to get used to how they shift.
 

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All 10sp is mix and match within the company. You can mix Ultegra 6600 and 105 5600 as much as you want. By the same token, you can mix Ultegra 6500 and 105 5500 (the 9sp versions) as much as you want. Don't mix 10sp with 9sp, the pull ratios are different and your shifting would be wonky. If you're interested in SRAM, you can mix Apex, Rival, Force, and Red freely, but you can't mix SRAM with Shimano.

Most of the time, people spec a 105 bike as full 105 with an Ultegra RD. In my experience, if you have a bit of money left over, the best things to spec a bit higher would be the RD and brakes. Brakes are, while commonly overlooked, a pretty important part of the bike, and riding a high end bike, the one of the first things most people notice is how much the better the brakes actually stop them.
 

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I've got Ultegra/Dura Ace 9-speed groups on four bikes. I'll stick with it until the parts are no longer available. I had a Campy Chorus 10-speed group on one bike and it ate up chains, so I sold it and replaced with 9-spd Shimano. IMHO, 10-11 speed groups are just a bike industry plot to separate cyclists from their money. You don't need the extra gears, and you'll spend a lot more money replacing worn-out chains and cassettes.
 

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Like others said, it'd have to be Ultegra 6600.

I don't think it's snobby, but just sensible to think in such a way. Owning an older Ultegra since it's debut and never swapping out is one thing, because you've familiarized yourself with it and it's "established" on your bike. But if coming in fresh and buying an older group long after it's debut and a few generations, it just doesn't seem smart at all.
 

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9-speed Ultegra is the most durable Shimano group I can think of. The only thing more durable I can think of is Campy.

My 9-speed chains lasted way longer than my 10-speed chains.

Also, my 9-speed 105 has always functioned better than my 10-speed 105 (there could be non-component related reasons to this like cabling).

But, all brands and all tiers function great. I got a good deal on a frame that happened to come with 105 and have since been getting 6600 and 7800 parts where I need them on eBay, and that has worked great.
 

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Frame 1st, wheels 2nd, Group 3rd - I'd gladly ride Rival if I could get the frame/wheels set I wanted.
 

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I have mostly Ultegra 9-speed on the fleet of bikes I maintain. Shimano isn't dropping 9-speed yet. They have lots of unbranded options. I really like 9-speed. The 10-speed Dura Ace I have has a nice feel, but it doesn't really shift better than my 9-speed. And 9-speed seems to tolerate dirt and neglect better. I plan to stick with 9 until I absolutely have to change to 14-speed, or whatever it is by then that I have to change to.
 

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If you can find mint unused Ultegras, to me it's a no brainer. I'd grab 'em. Otherwise, 105s are good. Then again, so is Tiagra.
I am reminded of the many coming of age questions with young adults upon earning some coin - Should I get a used BMW or a new Honda Civic? :wink5:
 

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estone2 said:
If you're interested in SRAM, you can mix Apex, Rival, Force, and Red freely, but you can't mix SRAM with Shimano.
You can certainly mix SRAM and Shimano... I do. You just have to make sure the shifters and rear derailleur are from the same company.

One of my bikes has a Shimano cassette, chain and crank, and SRAM shifters and derailleurs. Works better than good. :thumbsup:
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Ventruck said:
But if coming in fresh and buying an older group long after it's debut and a few generations, it just doesn't seem smart at all.
It can if you're saving a lot of $$$. And if you like the longevity of 9-spd chains over 10-spd. High-mileage folks tend to really dislike that aspect of 10-spd.

It's not like he won't be able to find parts. Heck, you can surf on over to a site like Universal Cycles... they're still selling 7-spd parts over there, and they're far from the only ones who do. 7-spd stopped being the standard, what, 15-20 years ago... and you can still get parts for it? Hmm.
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SystemShock said:
You can certainly mix SRAM and Shimano... I do. You just have to make sure the shifters and rear derailleur are from the same company.

One of my bikes has a Shimano cassette, chain and crank, and SRAM shifters and derailleurs. Works better than good. :thumbsup:
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Good catch, I do the same thing on my SRAM bike, with Shimano cassettes, and almost all my bikes run SRAM chains. I was thinking about derailleurs only, and cassette/chain/crank compatibility completely slipped my mind!
 

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I just literally went through this
there are some good deals out there on the boards and even ebay
you just have to hunt around I just did a full Ultegra/Dura Ace combo for my TT bike Im building heres what I spent (these were all bought within the last week or so)

Front Der - Ultegra 6700 new take off zero miles - $28.50
Rear Der - Ultegra 6700 slight use - $35
Bar End Shifters - Dura Ace 7800 slight use great shape - $60
Rear Cassette - Dura Ace 7800 10sp very minimal use - $35
Ultegra 6700 10spd chain - $38 brand new
all those prices include shipping
it would be slightly higher for you since you have to get road shifters and brake setup but those prices wont really break the bank full group set including chain for under $200 including shipping
I have 2010 105 shifters on my road bike and they work great so you could probably save some money going with 105 on those
good luck and hunt around ebay and craiglist and the classifieds on the message boards
 
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