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My son has an 05 Allez Triple and I have an 04 R500.As mentioned, it's not really fair to compare a Sora equipped bike to one equipped with even Tiagra, let alone 105.

The biggest difference will be in the smoothnees of the shifting between Sora and anything higher.

Also, the stock brakes on lower end C-dales leave something to be desired. Pay careful attention to them when test riding any bike. It's where a lot of corners are cut.

Also, another major difference between Cannondale and current Specialized bikes are the frame design. The Specialized bikes have the rearward sloping top tube design where the Cannondales use a more traditional level top tube design.

My advice, having bikes equipped with Sora, Tiagra and 105 all within my family, is to get at least Tiagra and 105 if possible for biggest bang for the buck. Specialized and Cannondale are both good choices. Ride a few others too if you can. Measure several times, cut once. Bike shopping is fun.
 
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