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Im currently riding a Felt Aluminum Frame/Carbon Fork with Shimano 105 Groupset. I've been thinking of upgrading to Ultegra. Would there be a noticeable difference between the two. Would it make more sense to just change certain components where ultegra performs better than 105 in stead of spending the money on an entire ultegra groupset. I keep hearing they're very similar in performance. I'm a weekend rider (Maybe 20 to 30 miles) that occasionally will do a sprint triathlon or longer group rides.
 

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Im currently riding a Felt Aluminum Frame/Carbon Fork with Shimano 105 Groupset. I've been thinking of upgrading to Ultegra. Would there be a noticeable difference between the two. Would it make more sense to just change certain components where ultegra performs better than 105 in stead of spending the money on an entire ultegra groupset. I keep hearing they're very similar in performance. I'm a weekend rider (Maybe 20 to 30 miles) that occasionally will do a sprint triathlon or longer group rides.
Why are you thinking of upgrading? What do you think you'll gain?

I have (or had) bikes with Tiagra, 105, & Ultegra. I would never ever upgrade from 105 to Ultegra just for the sake of it. Total waste of money to replace perfectly working parts with little to no gain (Yes the difference is pretty small). Especially if I was a weekender doing 30mi.

If something breaks, then consider replace it with Ultegra if you wish.
 

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You don't say what generation of 105 you have (5700? 5800?), or which generation of Ultegra you are considering (6700,6800, 6870 di2?). You also don't say what you are trying to accomplish. Shiny new bling? Better shifting? Go faster (vrooooom!)

You also didn't tell us how much your money means to you, which makes it difficult for us to tell you if it's 'worth it'.

Assuming you are going from 105 11sp (5800) to Ultegra 11sp (6800), common sense would say this is not a good value. 5800 shifts really well across the board. Especially in the rear. You might feel some improvement in the 'feel' of shifting with new shifters and a new FD, but again, those gains are marginal, and subjective.

None of it is going to make you or your bike faster.
 

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You don't say what generation of 105 you have (5700? 5800?), or which generation of Ultegra you are considering (6700,6800, 6870 di2?). You also don't say what you are trying to accomplish. Shiny new bling? Better shifting? Go faster (vrooooom!)

You also didn't tell us how much your money means to you, which makes it difficult for us to tell you if it's 'worth it'.

Assuming you are going from 105 11sp (5800) to Ultegra 11sp (6800), common sense would say this is not a good value. 5800 shifts really well across the board. Especially in the rear. You might feel some improvement in the 'feel' of shifting with new shifters and a new FD, but again, those gains are marginal, and subjective.

None of it is going to make you or your bike faster.
I'm with this guy. ^^^

I've ridden 5700 105, 5800 105, 6700 Ultegra, 6800 Ultegra and DA9000 Dura-ace. If you're going from the 5700 105 up to 6800 Ultegra, I'd say you'll notice a difference. It will feel different to you. It will be smoother, lighter action, etc. It just feels better all around. It won't really make you any faster, but you might enjoy riding your bike more and that can make you faster sometimes. If you're staying in the 10 speed class, simply going from 105 to Ultegra won't accomplish much, except maybe saving a little bit of weight. In the 11 speed class, I'd say the same. You won't see much change. My Allez started as a 5800 105 bike and I've gradually upgraded it to Ultegra 6800 as friends have upgraded their Ultegra bikes to DA and I picked up the used 6800 parts cheaply. I swapped the crank, brakes and FD. I have the RD but haven't put it on yet, because the 5800 RD is fine. At some point, I'll get to it, maybe over the winter.
 

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I will say this.

You will notice a considerable improvement in shifting smoothness and quality going from Shimano's previous generation 5700/6700/7900 (10-speed) to their current generation 5800/6800/9000 (11-speed).

You will notice very little to no improvement going to a higher group set within a generation ex: 5700 to 6700 or 5800 to 6800. Waste of money.

Unfortunately, as TLG said, if your freehub is older and can only take a 10-speed cassette, you will have to change your rear wheel to a newer 11-speed compatible one.
 

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You will notice a considerable improvement in shifting smoothness and quality going from Shimano's previous generation 5700/6700/7900 (10-speed) to their current generation 5800/6800/9000 (11-speed).
I own two bikes, one with 7900 and one with 6800 and definitely agree with that.

Even so though, OP, that better shifting does absolutely nothing for my speed or enjoyment. So I would't bother unless you just want to upgrade for the sake of being OCD about shifting precision. It does nothing for riding performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You don't say what generation of 105 you have (5700? 5800?), or which generation of Ultegra you are considering (6700,6800, 6870 di2?). You also don't say what you are trying to accomplish. Shiny new bling? Better shifting? Go faster (vrooooom!)

You also didn't tell us how much your money means to you, which makes it difficult for us to tell you if it's 'worth it'.

Assuming you are going from 105 11sp (5800) to Ultegra 11sp (6800), common sense would say this is not a good value. 5800 shifts really well across the board. Especially in the rear. You might feel some improvement in the 'feel' of shifting with new shifters and a new FD, but again, those gains are marginal, and subjective.

None of it is going to make you or your bike faster.
Migen21, I'm not sure which generation they are. I can tell you they are from a 2011 model. Here are the specs 2011 Felt Z85 - BikePedia

I guess what I wanted to achieve is a smoother shift. Like you said the rear does shift really well however the front at times feels a little stiff. Would a ultegra 6800 FD help improve that or am I splitting hairs here.

I've been reading the better choice upgrade would be my wheelset so I'm starting to lean in that direction.
 

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I guess what I wanted to achieve is a smoother shift. Like you said the rear does shift really well however the front at times feels a little stiff. Would a ultegra 6800 FD help improve that or am I splitting hairs here.
When is the last time you replaced your cables and housing? 2011?
It's probably time for a little maintenance. Which will likely make your shifting feel much better.
 

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Great point!! Never replaced, all original cables.
OMG. Replace your housing and cables. You won't have any urge to upgrade afterwards.

Most people replace them every year, maybe 2yrs if you don't ride a lot. Shimano shifters are notorious for having the cables fray break inside them, making it impossible to remove the broken piece. You want to replace them before that can happen.

Your bottom bracket cable guide probably needs a good cleaning too. An old toothbrush works good. Any grit or gunk in there can make shifting sluggish.
 

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OMG. Replace your housing and cables. You won't have any urge to upgrade afterwards.

Most people replace them every year, maybe 2yrs if you don't ride a lot. Shimano shifters are notorious for having the cables fray break inside them, making it impossible to remove the broken piece. You want to replace them before that can happen.

Your bottom bracket cable guide probably needs a good cleaning too. An old toothbrush works good. Any grit or gunk in there can make shifting sluggish.


Cables are everything - replace them! But make sure you buy good quality stainless steel cables, not the cheaper galvanized ones which will over time will oxidize making them rough and causing poor shifting. New housings will help too.
 

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I guess what I wanted to achieve is a smoother shift. Like you said the rear does shift really well however the front at times feels a little stiff. Would a ultegra 6800 FD help improve that or am I splitting hairs here.
Careful! If your replace your FD with 6800, your existing shifter will not be compatible. Shimano changed the pull ratios in their latest generation road group sets. The shifters and derailleurs must be the same generation.
 

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I'll provide a controversial and counter viewpoint...

I loved everything about my 2013 Felt Z4...except the drive train. It just never shifted well. I had it to 3 different shops (and probably at least 5 mechanics between them), tried different chains, replaced the shift cables twice, replace the rear mech once and nothing solved the problem.

After 2 years and about 15k miles I finally upgraded from the 5700 (10 speed 105) to 6800 (11 speed Ultegra). I also dumped the FSA crankset and the pressfit BB and got an Ultegra crankset with a Praxis BB adapter (I battled a creaking BB from the day I took it home from the shop).

It was like riding a new bike. The Ultegra shifted flawlessly whereas the 105 was constantly mis-shifting.

I know plenty of people run 105 without any issues and I believe them but for me it was a constant lesson in frustration. I'm more than happy with the upgrade a year and a half later.
 

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I'll provide a controversial and counter viewpoint...

I loved everything about my 2013 Felt Z4...except the drive train. It just never shifted well. I had it to 3 different shops (and probably at least 5 mechanics between them), tried different chains, replaced the shift cables twice, replace the rear mech once and nothing solved the problem.

After 2 years and about 15k miles I finally upgraded from the 5700 (10 speed 105) to 6800 (11 speed Ultegra). I also dumped the FSA crankset and the pressfit BB and got an Ultegra crankset with a Praxis BB adapter (I battled a creaking BB from the day I took it home from the shop).

It was like riding a new bike. The Ultegra shifted flawlessly whereas the 105 was constantly mis-shifting.

I know plenty of people run 105 without any issues and I believe them but for me it was a constant lesson in frustration. I'm more than happy with the upgrade a year and a half later.
yeah, but I don't think your experience had anything to to with going from 105 to Ultegra but had to do with going from one generation to another.
 

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Migen21, I'm not sure which generation they are. I can tell you they are from a 2011 model. Here are the specs 2011 Felt Z85 - BikePedia

I guess what I wanted to achieve is a smoother shift. Like you said the rear does shift really well however the front at times feels a little stiff. Would a ultegra 6800 FD help improve that or am I splitting hairs here.

I've been reading the better choice upgrade would be my wheelset so I'm starting to lean in that direction.
That bike has 10 speed 105, which is the 5700 groupset. If you were to upgrade to Ultegra shifters and derailleurs, you would probably FEEL the difference, and (subjectively) look a little nicer. It will make zero difference in any other way.

A well adjusted 5700 groupset shifts pretty darn good (especially with good, properly installed cables). Ultegra 6800 shifts a little better (especially in front). The force required to shift is less, and it just generally feels better.

Is it worth the cost of the groupset ($640+), and possibly a rear wheel (if your current freehub is 10sp it won't work with an 11sp cassette). My feeling is 'nope'..

I say this having Ultegra 6800/6870 di2 on all of my bikes except one (these were all built this way). One has the same 10sp 105 group you have (it won't be upgraded - probably ever).

Edit:
And looking at the components list, I would also suggest you'll like the feel of the Ultegra crankset considerably better than the FSA your bike (apparently came with).

Oh, and if this component list is correct,and yours came with a square taper Bottom Bracket, you are going to need a new Bottom Bracket as well.
==============================================================
Components
Component GroupShimano 105
BrakesetShimano Dual Pivot brakes, Shimano 105 STI levers
Shift LeversShimano 105 STI
Front DerailleurShimano 105, clamp on
Rear DerailleurShimano 105
CranksetFSA Vero Compact, 50/34t teeth
PedalsUnspecified
Bottom BracketSquare Taper, 103mm spindle
BB Shell Width68mm
Rear Cogs10-speed, 11 - 28 teeth
ChainShimano 105 10-speed

<tbody>
</tbody>
 

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I'll provide a controversial and counter viewpoint...

I loved everything about my 2013 Felt Z4...except the drive train. It just never shifted well. I had it to 3 different shops (and probably at least 5 mechanics between them), tried different chains, replaced the shift cables twice, replace the rear mech once and nothing solved the problem.

After 2 years and about 15k miles I finally upgraded from the 5700 (10 speed 105) to 6800 (11 speed Ultegra). I also dumped the FSA crankset and the pressfit BB and got an Ultegra crankset with a Praxis BB adapter (I battled a creaking BB from the day I took it home from the shop).

It was like riding a new bike. The Ultegra shifted flawlessly whereas the 105 was constantly mis-shifting.

I know plenty of people run 105 without any issues and I believe them but for me it was a constant lesson in frustration. I'm more than happy with the upgrade a year and a half later.
I basically did the same thing you did. I upgraded from 5700 to 6800 and replaced the FSA Gossamer with a 6800 crankset. While the 5700 was never bad except for a couple instances of chain suck, the 6800 is a big improvement. Shifting has never been better on any bikes I've owned. 1,600 miles and haven't dropped a chain yet.
 

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yeah, but I don't think your experience had anything to to with going from 105 to Ultegra but had to do with going from one generation to another.
Precisely the point.
 

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Oh, and if this component list is correct,and yours came with a square taper Bottom Bracket, you are going to need a new Bottom Bracket as well.
If this is the case, things may get tricky. Yes, BBs are cheap and new Shimano cranksets often come with the necessary Hollowtech II BB. However, getting the spacers set up so the chain line is correct can be a test of patience.
 
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