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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI

I'm brand new to this site and fairly new to road bikes. I recently purchased a specialized allez sport...I wanted to upgrade the shifting. My question is if I upgrade the shifters from Sora to lets say 105 s ...do I need to change my crankset and deraillers? I know the sora is a 9 speed and the new 105 s are 10 speed so I would have to change the rear cassette but do I need to change the other compoonents as well...any information or advice on this subject would be much appreciated!

thanks
 

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You have two different approaches you can go with here.

1) If 9 speed seems to work for you then pick up a set of 9 speed 105/Ultegra/DA aka 5500/6500/7700 shifters on eBay or elsewhere, or a new set of Tiagra 4500 shifters would work also

2) Go 10 speed and get 10 speed shifters and a 10 speed cassette, the crank, FD and RD will work
 

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kaliboy31 said:
HI

I'm brand new to this site and fairly new to road bikes. I recently purchased a specialized allez sport...I wanted to upgrade the shifting. My question is if I upgrade the shifters from Sora to lets say 105 s ...do I need to change my crankset and deraillers? I know the sora is a 9 speed and the new 105 s are 10 speed so I would have to change the rear cassette but do I need to change the other compoonents as well...any information or advice on this subject would be much appreciated!

thanks
I upgraded from older 105 9-speed to Ultegra 10-speed shifters about a year and a half ago. All I changed were the shifters themselves, chain and cassette.

So far, it's working fine. :) If your derailleurs and chain rings aren't worn out, just keep 'em.
 

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Welcome to the forums. You can use your current derailleurs with a chain and cassette and you'll be ok. My question is, why? Although people talk bad about Sora, it's really a good quality system that shifts quickly and is inexpensive. The biggest downside is that it's heavier, and supposedly the shifters have a shorter lifespan.
I went from an 8sp to 10sp, and I'm no faster...
 

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Sora is lowish end, that's true, but it generally works fine.
I have feeling the reason you want to upgrade your shiftING is because it's not adjusted well. Before springing on shifters I'd suggest having the shop you bought the bike at have a look.
Though if the reason for wanting the change is that you don't like the thumb thing, yeah you'll need a change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the info:thumbsup: ...I agree that the sora componets aren't terrible, but I just feel that the shifting isn't as smooth as it could be with better components. It could be in need of an adjustment so I will look into that before I do anything. JayStongbow...I do agree that the thumb thing might get annoying after a while so that might be reason alone to do it.
 

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I have the same bike, a 2010 allez sport, and the RD is actually tiagra. The shifters are the weak-link in that drive train. I'm still debating on what to do to mine, but the answer seems to be 'nothing' for now. I just keep it adjusted, which needs to be done about every few days. It worked fine last thursday…this thursday, the front lags and the rear has started ghost shifting again after getting progressively weirder over the week. I'm starting to think my bike shop can't do cables, because no one else seems to have these problems.

Just be glad if you don't shift into the ghost gear at the top of the front…feels like I'm going to break mine every time I come out of it.

If you're on a budget, Tiagra shifters are probably the way to go. They can be had for under $200, and they're a drop in replacement (with cable setup and bar tape, of course). And you don't need to change anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree moostapha...I think the shifting is the weakest thing about the bike. I really love the bike but not crazy about the sora shifting... Its ok but I feel like it can be smoother. I know the rd is tiagra... I thought about upgrading the shifters and fd to tiagra for the same reason you said..other than the bar taping, everything else can pretty much stay. But I'm hesitant because i don't know how much different it will be from sora components. From some of the feedback i've gotten, some peoole felt that you need to go to at least 105s ...IDK :confused:
 

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kaliboy31 said:
I just feel that the shifting isn't as smooth as it could be with better components.
kaliboy31 said:
I really love the bike but not crazy about the sora shifting... Its ok but I feel like it can be smoother
Are you sure it can be smoother? What other groups did you ride? If you're 'fairly new to road bikes' then you might be expecting something which simply isn't possible with bicycle shifting, no matter what group you have. Do you shift under power a lot, do you ease up when shifting, etc.?
 

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kaliboy31 said:
I just feel that the shifting isn't as smooth as it could be with better components.
Just to add to the confusion, I think that smooth shifts are as much a product of nice chain rings, a good cassette, and good maintenance as they are a product of the shifters and derailleurs.

I have a variety of bikes with a variety of different component groups, and have had others over time. The really old-school bikes, using friction shifters, had chain rings and cogs that were basically flat plates with teeth cut into them. Or maybe they were forged that way - the point is that the faces had nothing going on.

New chain rings and cogs have quite a lot of machining on the faces and some low and otherwise modified teeth to facilitate shifts. I think that stuff makes a huge difference. If you look at the inboard faces of chain rings at different pricepoints, or the outboard faces of cassettes at different pricepoints, there's quite a difference. I'm a huge fan of Shimano's higher-end stuff.

Are both front and rear shifts bothering you? Which directions? What do you do to maintain your drivetrain? EastCoast is asking some good questions too.
 

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Because he and I are having similar issues, I'll answer some of those questions.

I tend to upshift under some kind of load…it 'clunks' when it shifts, but it does it. Occasionally the bike jerks enough that it scares me. I've since stopped doing it under quite so big a load.

My rear tends to suck when shifting to bigger cogs, but that usually gets better by adjusting the cable. I have few problems with it, honestly…except that it feels like it should have broken in by now and not require adjustments every few days.

My front shifting just sucks. It's slow to shift in either direction, though a bit of that depends on where on the cassette I am. The shifter can shift into a ghost position above the big ring, which locks the shifter. The way to release it is to crank the crap out of the brake lever and then click the button. It feels like it's going to break every time, but it just un-sticks it. It also tends to throw the chain off the small side if it doesn't shift in about a second. Adjusting it myself or taking it to a bike shop seems to make things better for about a day and then everything starts happening again, and they did adjust the stops. I haven't had the cables replaced (though I think they might be an issue), because I might be replacing either the drive train or the bike depending on how much money I have when.
 

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4942269615/" title="drivetraincat by Andrew183, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4081/4942269615_745226d7ed.jpg" width="400" height="272" alt="drivetraincat" /></a>

The most important question in these threads is often "what do you do to maintain your drivetrain?" If you can't be bothered to keep your chain clean, you'd actually be better off with friction shifters. A lot of symptoms, like a drivetrain that won't stay tuned and seems to need its cables tightened one day and loosened the next are really to do with dirt. Dirty cables, dirty chains, dirty derailleur pivots, crap wrapped into the cassette, dirty shifters, etc. At least a friction shifter is less sensitive to this stuff.
 

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My chain stays clean, as do my derailleurs. I've cleaned them, and so have two different LBSs. I'm not sure what else to do to clean cables, though I've figured out that the LBS I bought it from was just lazy…the cables they used might have needed to be lubed as they were installed, and I'd expect them now to just not do that.

After a thorough cleaning and lube job, the bike works fine for about a week or two and then starts to suck again. It doesn't seem like I should have to take everything apart to clean the drive train after every ride, and I haven't heard of anyone without a support team cleaning their chain every day.
 

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I clean my chain after every ride. You don't need to make a big production of it. I just keep a dry rag on the stand where I store my bike and drag the chain through it for a few rotations, then go make lunch.

If the bike works fine for a week or two, it works fine. Try a quick and easy every-ride cleaning and see if that helps. Especially if you use a wet lube, chains get gunky incredibly fast. That's also why I don't take my chains off to clean any more - too much like Sisyphus and the boulder.
 

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I honestly can't say that my Sora/2200 components shifted worse than my Dura Ace/Ultegra does. At least, in the back. The front was a very different story, as the chainrings (not the shifters!) did not have shifting pins/ramps.
 

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Andrw, I'll try that. I don't think it's going to help, but I'll try it. I do use dry teflon lube on my chain, mostly because it's what someone handed me when I bought the bike and I haven't managed to run out yet. I'll get back to you.

Peenya, I've heard people say that before. My question is why you (or anyone not sponsored) would buy DA or Ultegra if Sora actually works as well. I think the cranks are interchangeable, so if they make a difference, fine. But why would anyone pay upwards of $550 for Ultegra or DA shifters when $175 Sora shifters (or $200 Tiagra if you want similar ergo) work as well? I'm not sure I buy it, but I also haven't ridden much shimano road stuff besides my Sora and a friend's 6-year-old 105.

I don't mean to make this a "shimano sucks" thread, but…I've seen this opinion other places. Frankly, SRAM's mountain drive trains work better than my Sora, even on bikes that aren't maintained as well. Heck, I've had x-7 perform better on a rented no-name bike than Sora/Tiagra does on my road bike. Maybe they treated it really well…I wouldn't expect it.

I hope the answer to my drive train questions is just wiping the chain down instead of switching to a mountain group on my road bike…'cuz that'd get annoying to explain.
 

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This won't help much but maybe give you encouragement. When I first bought my bike a little more than a year ago it was stock with Shimano 5600 105 components. The FD never worked right. I took it to the LBS 4 different times. Each time it worked for a ride or two then it would not shift from the small ring back to the big ring. Then one day after my second or third post here about the problem I took some advice and turned the barrel adjuster 1/4 turn and it has been perfect since. In fact I swapped the compact crank to an Ultegra 6700 standard crank and now it works even better and I never touched the FD. So as you can see I don't have an answer to your problems but once you get it right then you may never have another problem. Unfourtunately I can't tell you what it will take to get it right. If you are going to upgrade go ahead and get the 105 shifters (or better) and be done with it.. At the end of the day it is not a bad upgrade. You have a great frame worthy of it.
 

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When I switched from my old 105 9-speed to Ultegra 10-speed, part of it was that the old 105s were starting to suffer the consequences of another winter. I was pretty happy with my 105 shifters until they quit.

I have Tiagras on my 'cross bike. They're definitely not as good as 105 or Ultegra shifters. The throws are longer, and the braking and shifting motions aren't as distinct.

I also have a mountain bike that has worked its way from a mostly Alivio build to a Deore/LX/SLX build over time. Definitely shifts better now than it did when it was new.

So I'm not going to be the one to say "Don't upgrade." I think making the right upgrades can make a bike much more fun, and much more competitive if you're into that. However, I think it's not worthwhile to upgrade if you can't/don't/won't maintain the entry-level components. With neglect, or a lack of understanding of tuning, everything eventually degrades to the same, crappy level of performance. Better to have crappy-performing OEM stuff than $800 worth of "upgrades" that don't shift. Another thing to keep in mind is that the best deal you'll ever get on a component is when it's part of a complete bike, unless it's something you can get at a team rate and you can't get the bike it's a part of at a team price. So if the real problem is dirt and grime, or a $30 chain ring, it's better to address that than to spend $300 on shifters.

FWIW, the shifting on my mid-80s 12-speed is quite good. It wouldn't work with an indexed front shifter, but then it doesn't have one.
 
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