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Ok so lately, I figured I didn't really need a 11-26 gearing range and so came the idea of buying a 11-23 cassette. Since I'm running SRAM Rival, the obvious choice was to go with an OG 1070 cassette. However, the price was higher than I'm willing to pay. Next logical choice : Ultegra. Prices : not any better... So I stepped down and looked at 105-grade stuff. Prices are usually pretty close to Ultegra, but TotalCycling has good deals on Shimano 5600 cassettes.

All of this left me wondering : what is the difference between a 105 and an Ultegra cassette? At first sight, they seem pretty similar - even the weight is pretty much the same, with Shimano advertising a monumental 2 grams loss in favor of Ultegra... But is the performance just as similar as the looks? What about durability? ...and resistance to corrosion (i.e. is the 105 cassette nickel plated)?
 

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Adventure Seeker
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It's a good cassette. I got an OG1070 off of eBay, wish I went Shimano. I've heard the only difference between 105 and ultegra is plastic spacers, but don't quote me.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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You can do a comparison on Shimano's website. I did and it didn't show many differences, but maybe that's the point. Both 105 and Ultegra are steel w/ nickel plating.

I've only ever used the 10 spd. 105 cassette and it shifts fine, and as long as you maintain chains it'll last. The one thing I'll mention is that initially I didn't find it to be the smoothest drivetrain, but as the cassette wears in, that problem disipates. From some other threads I've seen here, it seems to be common to all Shimano 10 spd. systems (DA/ Ultegra/ 105).

One other thing, my Tarmac came with the SRAM OG 1070 cassette and I immediately changed it out because of rough shifting - not bashing SRAM, but that was my experience.
 
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