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Shifter upgrade
Hi, as a newbie I would first like to say hello to all and thank you in advance for any assistance you can give. I have recently purchased a Gitane mach 1400 road bike with Shimano Sora 9 speed group and Sora shifters. I would like to upgrade the shifters, ( possibly to Shimano Tiagra ) is this possible and if so how difficult to do.

Thank you and cheers.
OK, both are 9 speed groups, only the crank set is incompatible, I believe Sora still has the "traditional" tapered square bottom bracket whereas Tiagra is more modern. Rest should work, though. I believe that most of the Shimano stuff is quite interchangeable, assuming you stick to the same number of speeds of course. The Tiagra group is a nice entry level group, I'd go as far as saying "as much road bike as most need". Oh, and take care that you get the correct front derailleur (2 or 3 chain rings, clamp or braze on) and the correct rear derailleur (short or long cage). Other than that I cannot think of anything. Good luck!
Joe, I was thinking of just replacing the chain ring shifter and leaving the "Front Sora derailluer". Are you saying that I would need to replace both? The reason I'd like to upgrade is, although everything is working fine the shifting operation (chain ring shifter only) is very rough. It takes a lot of thumb pressure to down shift and clunks instead of clicks if you know what I mean. I was thinking maybe the Tiagra would be more refined and smoother. In your opinion do you think an upgrade would be worthwhile or should I just persevere with what I have. I am not a pro and cycle only for pleasure and exercise. I average 150 - 200K per week. Thank you for you help.
The Tiagra shifters (STI) will be a straight swap for the Soras.
The "clunk" going down the gears is not unusual with Shimano and is just due to the dérailleur forcing the chain down.
I don't think changing to Tiagra will cure that. Make sure the dérailleur is set at the correct height.

Note: Sora shifter (STI) has the little "button" for changing from large to small cogs.
The Tiagra has a second lever behind the brake lever for the same function. No problem except some people, with small hands prefer the Sora STI.

P.S. If you do decide to upgrade the shifters then check that they match whether you have a double or triple chainset.
[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
I think I'll go down to the local bike shop, see if he has a bike with Tiagra shifters and check them out before I make a decision. Thanks everyone for your help and advice, much appreciated.
Well, since one of our complaints is the thumb force needed to shift, changing the shifters to the other kind will help: you don't need the thumb for shifting there... The force will probably depend on the dérailleurs, you can exchange them for a better type. Shifting will probably be better, too, though it also depends on chain and cassette and front chain rings. If you have small hands you could also get the groupless shifters (ST-R700), those are reach adjustable.
Joe- It seems as though my options are limitless, I think I'll persevere with the Sora for the time being while I do some more research. I'm not too familiar with all the different shifters available. In the meantime I'll keep my eyes on ebay and other sites and see what turns up. Thanks again the help and info.

I'd rather not try ebay, unless you really know what you need and what to look for: don't.
Replacement shifters: unless you want to replace everything go for Shimano stuff, the are compatible. Other brands are good, too, but then you will have to replace most stuff.
As I said I will stick with the Sora for a while, ( they're new when all's said and done). Maybe they'll smooth out a bit with wear. Tiagra replacement shifters are $450.00 Aus. and that's without Derailluers, so I want to be sure there is going to be a noticeable difference before I spend that sort of money. Strange thing is I have an "Apollo" Road bike with Identical shifters and they're really good. Smooth shift, done 13000K's with no problems. Anyway thanks again for your time and assistance,It is very much appreciated.

Hi all,
Just a short update, I have finally upgraded shifters, front and rear derailleurs and cassette to shimano ultegra and am delighted with the results. Gear changing is much smoother and requires less effort especially changing from small to large chain ring. I still need to do a little research before I upgrade the cranks and chain rings, eg will I also have to change bottom bracket? Anyway before finishing I'd like to thank everyone on this forum for their advice and help and especially to Alex for his tutorials, you've no idea how helpful they have been.
cheers and thanks again.

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