Groupset top end vs lower tier

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Posts: 428
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:59 am

by Boshk

With Shimano new R9100 and R8000, they have announced that the functionality is the same between DA R9100 and Ultegra R8000, that they 'should' shift and feel the same.
R9100 is only more expensive because of 'bling', material used and I think the way its manufactured.

Can that be said for Campagnolo and SRAM?

Campagnolo Super Record vs Chorus/Potenza?
SRAM Red vs Force?

Posts: 591
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:34 pm
Location: Romania

by Alexandrumarian

SR/R/Chorus are the same mechanically except for some material differences to reduce weight. I don't know about Potenza, but compared to 2015 Athena the shifts are crisper. Potenza and Athena do not have ultra-shift so you can't drop several cogs in one push, need to click click click it as with Shimano. Being able to drop the entire cassete with two long presses is priceless imo.

As for Shimano, I recently rode 200Km on rented 105. Apart from the awful brakes (and the know that it is heavy stuff) the shifts were incredibly nice for the money. Hard to imagine what could you possibly want more in this regard.

by Weenie

Posts: 166
Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 2:32 pm

by angrylegs

Mechanical Chorus is not that much heavier than Record, and a ton lighter than both 105 and Ultegra. I'd argue that Chorus is also at least as nice as Ultegra, if not better (depending on how much you like the thumb shifters and ergonomics) as it is mechanically the same as Record and Super Record performance-wise, as said above. Probably the best component group for the money, imho, but I am biased a bit as I generally prefer Campy anyway.

I have new 105 on my training bike. I picked it up as I needed something for Zwift and spring riding on messy roads and it was cheap. 105 performs fairly well, but is very heavy, relatively speaking. I also can't get some gears to run quietly. I like my drivetrains to purr and 105 just can't do that. Overall I am happy with it for what it is, but I'd definitely qualify it as training level. Having done a season on it, I'm dropping the 105 for Chorus on this bike. Chorus is maybe a bit overkill for a training bike, but it will just run a lot nicer and be significantly lighter (though weight is less a concern for me for a training bike). I'd also like to go back to running a stable from only one manufacturer for wheel purposes.

Ultegra is a noted improvement and really pretty nice. I'd say adequate for just about anyone. Shifts and performs much better, though not the equal of Dura-Ace. Still a bit on the heavy side too. I'd be happy enough with Ultegra and/or Dura-Ace for sure. I'm just a Campy guy, and I kind of re-proved that riding 105 and testing Ultegra this season. I haven't ridden SRAM. Lighter, but I still hear from my mechanic friends that they wouldn't run it over Shimano.

User avatar
Posts: 762
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:02 am
Location: Aus

by silvalis

Alexandrumarian wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:06 pm
105. Apart from the awful brakes
105 brakes awful? What?
Chasse patate

Posts: 4673
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

Possibly not 105 brakes?

A lot of big brands use rebranded (and cheap) tektros (or worse) to cut costs........ especially on 105 level bikes.

Posts: 591
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:34 pm
Location: Romania

by Alexandrumarian

Maybe I was too strong worded and too biased/used on Campy but I did find them quite wooden and lifeles compared to my Record/Bora setup. Also requiered a pretty high amount of force to bite, after a hilly 100Km ride my hands were getting tired. Maybe a poor setup but the bike (a carbon Canyon) looked to be brand new and pads were very close. To be fair next ride I rented a Trek Emonda, again on 105 but direct mount and while still on the lifeless side they needed less force to work . Otherwise I found the shifting on both bikes to be quiet, precise and easy/soft to operate (compared to my Campy which reminds me of vintage machinery to operate compared to Shimano - both nice stuff in their own way)

Posts: 988
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

The difference is going to be the materials of the exterior parts. Ultegra and DA also have nicer cable coatings (less cable drag, faster shirts) and front rings (front shifting, few dropped chains). Otherwise, they are built to the same standards. Even Tiagra, Sora, etc work nicely. Nice cables on a properly setup bike make the biggest difference.

Posts: 4673
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

Alexandrumarian wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:06 pm
looked to be brand new and pads were very close.
set up wrong then, pads should hit the rim at something like 25% of the way through the stroke. Or they'll feel horrible, wooden and ineffective.

Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:38 am

by paul64

It used to be suggested that after the first year 105 (with its cheaper bushings etc) would start to degrade and no longer feel tight, same with Ultegra after 2 or 3 years and Dura Ace would keep on feeling good. I don't know, I used Ultegra 6500 and 6600 and neither felt as good from new as my old 9-speed Dura Ace 7700, nor as good as my DA9000.

With Campag it was said that the same quality of shifting and braking was there cheaper down the range (I'll know shortly when my Chorus rebuild is done and can compare with the Veloce build I have). With SRAM I searched and searched across the years with the same question as you and the answer seemed to be that it was a bit binary ie. you either like it or you don't mechanically with little difference between Apex/Rival/Force/Red in terms of refinement. I only know I resented Rival increasingly over time.

Posts: 886
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:31 am

by RussellS

I own bikes with Record, Chorus, Athena, Centaur, Veloce. Some complete others mix and match. And bikes with Dura Ace and 105. They all work perfectly fine all the time. Only difference between them is how they shift. Campagnolo buttons or Shimano paddles. They all shift and brake the same. The only outlier is the electronic Dura Ace. Its shifting is in a different world.

Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:51 pm

by WheelNut

From what I have heard/read SRAM uses the same internals for their various shifters. The mechanism that shifts 11 cogs in Red is the exact same as the mechanism that shifts 11 cogs in Rival or Force (literally the same parts). Apparently they do this with a lot of their components so basically the shift quality should be the same for all levels, but the weight will change as you move through the component levels. They do this to share tools and molds across various assemblies so that costs are lowered and production is more efficient.

I have found from personal experience that cable routing and maintenance makes such a huge difference in shift performance and feel that different level groupsets can really start to overlap or out perform groups that they shouldn't be. I rode into work today on DA9000 on a steel bike with external cable routing and I rode in yesterday on an internally routed carbon bike with R8000 and there is a huge difference in shift performance between the two of them. Theoritically they should shift pretty much the same, but the DA bike feels so much more direct which I think is mostly down to smoother cable routing with less housing. Pretty much any group with fresh housing/cables and good routing will shift absolutely excellently regardless of how much it cost.

Posts: 2772
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

by RyanH

For SRAM, I think you could almost argue that Rival shifters are better. I felt the alloy shift levers and brake blades to be stiffer and provide a more positive feedback.
Not for the sensitive types. My Instagram reviews
The Ex's: I've lost track...

User avatar
Posts: 1126
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

by kman

Alexandrumarian wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:06 pm
*snip Ultrashift *snip Being able to drop the entire cassete with two long presses is priceless imo.
This is actually a down-grade, if you consider the earlier version of 10s where you could dump from the easiest cog to the hardest in one sweep. THAT was awesome, although admittedly non-essential.

I'm riding Force22 right now and find it as good as my old Red 10s shifters on the CX bike. I have tried some Rival and Apex shifters in 10s version and they were definitely NOT as good, without the "zero loss" shifting. The Apex shifters, in particular had a very heavy action and after a CX race, I'd have a sore wrist from shifting. The lighter action plus zero loss shifting of higher/newer groups is a clear improvement.

For a long time, 105 was often considered the best "bang for your buck" groupo. Ultegra was maybe a better choice for racing and greater mileage. I was a big fan and long time user of Campag, never really a fan of Shimano shifting feel/action and now am quite happy with SRAM double tap. I've worked in shops and always worked on my own bikes. Shifting and ergonomic preferences aside, I think it's hard to beat Force for price, performance and weight.
You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
-- Frank Zappa

Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:34 pm

by Digger90

For Campy, my Record and Chorus groupsets were virtually identical in shifting performance. If you closed your eyes when riding (don't do that!) you'd be very hard pressed to tell which was which.

In terms of longevity, my Record gruppo was still going strong after 7 years (summers/dry weather only- but a LOT of miles). However I'd moved the bike with the Chorus stuff on after about 4yrs.... (but at that point, the Chorus kit was still performing flawlessly).

By contrast, my Dura Ace kit lasted 4 similar riding years (summers/dry use only) before it needed replacement - it was pretty shagged. I replaced it with Ultegra, which at the time (this is about 5 yrs ago now) you could notice the difference in shift quality between the 2 gruppos, with Ultegra being not quite so 'ever-so-smooth-and-slick' as Dura Ace. That's not to say Ultegra wasn't good - it performed flawlessly. I sold that bike 3yrs later... by which time the Ultegra gruppo was equally shagged. i.e. it just didn't last.

I'm now on SRAM eTap for my summer bike, and a mixed bag of Campag stuff on one of my winter bikes, cheapo SRAM on the other.

Having used Dura Ace, Ultegra, Record, Chorus, eTap, Veloce, Centaur, Rival (and 105 very sporadically in between - I just didn't like 105 at all), my impressions are:

Campag lasts and lasts - the Record stuff still performed flawlessly many years down the line (7yrs down the line in my case).

Shimano stuff works fantastically well when new, but IME degrades much, much quicker.

SRAM eTap - I like it so far, but it's too new for me/not enough miles on it yet to give an honest unbiased opinion on durability (I've only had it 3 months). The shifting performance however, is great.
Last edited by Digger90 on Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

by Weenie

Post Reply