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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking on ebay and I see that I can get an Ultegra SL 6600 brakeset for about $100 new in box. Does anyone know the difference between these and the newer 6700s?
 

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The 6700s are more powerful and are designed to work with the newer 6700 or 7900 levers.

Any combination of levers and brakes will probably still stop your bike fine, but newer levers with older brakes will have the weakest stopping power and newer brakes with older levers will have the strongest. I haven't tried any of the "invalid" combinations so I can't say whether or not they are dangerous (lock your wheel instantly or don' stop you at all), but there are so many other factors in braking I find it hard to believe it makes as much of a difference as Shimano says it does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, that was very informative. Do you have a list of these 'invalid' combinations? I have some 2011 105 shifters and I'm thinking of getting a Ultegra SL 6600-G brakeset, which on ebay runs for about $100 new in box.
 

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Reportedly for 2010 Shimano has gone to different brake pads. I haven't used those yet but 6600 and earlier Ultegra pads weren't particularly good and I'd swap them out for Kool Stop as a matter of course... Then they work fine. I'm sure a good set of Swiss Stop pads would do the job, too.

Aside from that, so long as you stick with a dual pivot caliper brake whenever using levers designed for them, you should be just fine. People get in trouble trying to mix flat bar levers with calipers and road levers with v-brakes or cantilevers. And there are some ultra lightweight or low cost single pivot road calipers around, which I'd avoid unless I were willing to compromise on stopping power in the name of lower weight.

Some of it comes down to aesthetics. I believe 6600G is the blue/gray finish Ultegra used to be offered in. It's great looking when new, but a little prone to scratching... or at least showing scratches when they inevitably occur. 6600 was also offered in polished silver. I think there was also an SL (super light) version.... which all G are, but not all of the non-G are. In the case of the calipers, it was only worth minor weight savings.
 

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deviousalex said:
Thank you, that was very informative. Do you have a list of these 'invalid' combinations? I have some 2011 105 shifters and I'm thinking of getting a Ultegra SL 6600-G brakeset, which on ebay runs for about $100 new in box.
I haven't seen a compatibility chart that includes the new 105, but I assume the new 105 has the same new brake pull ratios as the 6700 and 7900. So, according to Shimano, 6600 brakes would be an invalid combination. But, it could still be fine. What's the motivation for getting new brakes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Greg Smalter said:
I haven't seen a compatibility chart that includes the new 105, but I assume the new 105 has the same new brake pull ratios as the 6700 and 7900. So, according to Shimano, 6600 brakes would be an invalid combination. But, it could still be fine. What's the motivation for getting new brakes?
I'm not happy with the brakes on the bike I just bought, a 2011 Felt Z85. They are non-branded brakes, so I'm assuming some sorta Tektro OEM brakes. It's not just the brake pads and lack of stopping power, they just aren't very straight and don't stay in position well at all. On my rear brake the right pad isn't sitting right. The rear of the pad is a lot closer to the rim than the front of the pad. I talked to the guy at the bike store and he said it can't really be fixed unless they try to bend the caliper. It's really a safety issue. I almost got into a crash on a group ride yesterday. Someone's rear light flew off their bike and hit a guy in front of me who slammed on the brakes to try to kick the light away from his bike and I almost hit him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also, I forgot to mention that I posted a thread about brake compatibility and everyone said all calipers are compatible with all shifters.
 

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deviousalex said:
Also, I forgot to mention that I posted a thread about brake compatibility and everyone said all calipers are compatible with all shifters.
There are several sources that say they are not compatible according to Shimano: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/r...ura-ace-br-7900-brake-calipers-5088.20.1.html. But, as even this article says, it would be hard to design a brake that didn't brake harder as you pulled the cable, so they must all work.

I had the same situation as you (and all the same problems with Tektro brakes) and I did what you are doing now (except I lost my bid of $101 including shipping for ultegra brakes so I ended up with some 7800 ones for somewhat more than that). But I have older 105 levers, so they are supposed to be compatible.

If you get the older generation brakes and use them with the newer generation levers, you can post here to tell us how it went (if you survive - just kidding). I think even incompatible Shimano brakes will be better than the Tektro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, the Ultegra 6700 would be a valid combination? I hope they sell them in black though, so it matches by bike (not a priority, but matching color would be nice).
 

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I wouldn't use me as a source. I'm assuming that new is compatible with new and old is compatible with old. And you have new 105. So 6700, which is new (but expensive), would be compatible. And 6600, which is old, wouldn't be. But all I know as fact (according to Shimano, not actual usage) is that 7900 levers aren't designed to work with 7800 brakes and vice versa.
 

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You're best getting those 6600Sl brakes for $100. They're fantastic brakes, and I don't know why people say the pads are bad. I have stock 105 pads and they work very very well.
 

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deviousalex said:
I'm not happy with the brakes on the bike I just bought, a 2011 Felt Z85. They are non-branded brakes, so I'm assuming some sorta Tektro OEM brakes. It's not just the brake pads and lack of stopping power, they just aren't very straight and don't stay in position well at all. On my rear brake the right pad isn't sitting right. The rear of the pad is a lot closer to the rim than the front of the pad. I talked to the guy at the bike store and he said it can't really be fixed unless they try to bend the caliper. It's really a safety issue. I almost got into a crash on a group ride yesterday. Someone's rear light flew off their bike and hit a guy in front of me who slammed on the brakes to try to kick the light away from his bike and I almost hit him.
If you bought this bike new and from the same LBS that said it could not be fixed then I would think the LBS should be replacing the defective caliper under warranty. I have many riding friends that have Tektro brakes and they work great, no issues at all. I am not telling you that an upgrade to some bling Ultegra or DA calipers wouldn't be cool, but Tektro calipers do work when they are not defectively manufactured. I have switched the same set of 105 5500 calipers between 3 bikes now and they aren't bling but they work great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I just always figured that unless it's completely broken it isn't covered under the warranty. I'll ask them about it next time I'm in there.
 

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Here we go...

Shimano says that the shifters ST-7900, 6700, and 5700 levers ("New" Shimano levers, sans externally visible shift cables) all pull more cable, and are compatible with their "Super SLR" brakes BR-7900, 6700, and 5700.

Shimano ALSO likes to say that the Dura-Ace stuff is all designed to work as a unit, as an "A compatibility," and that the Ultegra stuff is supposed to be "backwards compatible."

I have no idea what this means.

I know riders using the "new" shifters, and the old brakes, and they say it works fine. I know riders using the "old" shifters, and the "new" brakes, and THEY say it works fine.

Riders with both the new shifters AND the new brakes report significantly increased brake lever response.

ALL riders I've spoken with report SIGNIFICANTLY increased wet-weather braking performance on the new pads -- here in the rainy PNW, switching to koolstop salmon used to be a matter of course. Now it is an option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If it works fine, I'll probably just get the "older" Ultegra SL 6600s and put the koolstop salmon if I do any wet riding, which I doubt I'll do on this bike. Seems like a much cheaper option than going for new stuff.
 

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deviousalex said:
If it works fine, I'll probably just get the "older" Ultegra SL 6600s and put the koolstop salmon if I do any wet riding, which I doubt I'll do on this bike. Seems like a much cheaper option than going for new stuff.
Sounds reasonable to me. Those are still very nice brakes.
 

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Putting new shoes/pads will almost always give a huge difference in stopping power too. When I went from Tektro to Shimano, it was stunning. My pads still stop pretty well, but I can tell they don't have the same stopping power as when they were new.
 

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Updates?

It's been almost a year since your last post, but as I'm now basically in the same position as you were, I'd like to know of any performance issues you've encountered using this set up. Got a great deal from my LBS on 6600s and I'm running 6700 shifters now.
 
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