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Group set upgrade?
#1
OK, so my Trek Madone 4.5 WSD is only 7 months old. I bought it in April. It's my first road bike and I am new to cycling again since I was a kid. It has the Shimano 105 group and I REALLY wanted SRAM. Is it stupid to already switch it out to a SRAM group set? I mean the WHOLE thing - shifters, brakes, chain all of it. SRAM Force or Rival? I am not interested in Apex. Thoughts? Opinions?
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#2
My first question would be, "Why do you want to switch out the drive components?" Is it based on what some other cyclist told you or have you personally had several bad experiences with Shimano? Personally, unless the cassette and chain rings wear out to the point they need replacing, I would just leave what you have on the bike. Unfortunately, questions that are answered on these forums are mostly biased and based on what bike or equipment the responder has and not so much on what they think you should do. I don't know how much riding you have done in the 7 months that you have had the bike, but it doesn't make any sense to upgrade the entire drivetrain on a new bike. Did you ask the shop where you bought the bike if they would swap out the components when you purchased it?

My road bike came with all Tiagra components except for the shifter/brake group, which were Sora. The first thing I wanted to do was the change them to Tiagra so all the drivetrain components would match. I've had the bike for a year (3,100 miles) now and have gotten so used to the Sora shifters, that I really don't see any reason for changing them, unless they wear out or break.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#3
+1

Why do you want to spend $1K on something that is not going to make much of a difference?
Nigel
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#4
(12-01-2011, 02:01 PM)JohnV Wrote:  My first question would be, "Why do you want to switch out the drive components?" Is it based on what some other cyclist told you or have you personally had several bad experiences with Shimano? Personally, unless the cassette and chain rings wear out to the point they need replacing, I would just leave what you have on the bike. Unfortunately, questions that are answered on these forums are mostly biased and based on what bike or equipment the responder has and not so much on what they think you should do. I don't know how much riding you have done in the 7 months that you have had the bike, but it doesn't make any sense to upgrade the entire drivetrain on a new bike. Did you ask the shop where you bought the bike if they would swap out the components when you purchased it?

My road bike came with all Tiagra components except for the shifter/brake group, which were Sora. The first thing I wanted to do was the change them to Tiagra so all the drivetrain components would match. I've had the bike for a year (3,100 miles) now and have gotten so used to the Sora shifters, that I really don't see any reason for changing them, unless they wear out or break.

Thanks guys for your responses. I went to another bike shop in my area and talked to the owner and bike mechanic at this place. I have just always hated the brakes on this bike I got and discovered they are Tektro R540 brakes which the mechanic said a lot of riders are not fond of (like I said this is all new for me and am still learning) so I bought the Shimano 105 5700 brakes they will put on for me this weekend. Ultimately, I learned more about SRAM and found out why they are not an upgrade on this bike and if I did upgrade it might be to the Ultegra or Dura-Ace or even possibly the Campagnolo groupset way later down the road , which I would have not even considered before I learned more about it today.
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#5
Are you planning on racing or doing time trials with this bike? Unless you are, I still don't understand your reason for upgrading the drivetrain. There is not that much weight difference between the 105 and the Ultegra that would warrant the price. Are you missing shifts or shifting takes too long? If so, that is an adjustment problem and not that of the groupo. Another thing to think about is the resale value of the bike. Upgrading the groupo isn't going to get you much more on a trade in or a resale; certainly not what you paid for it.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#6
OK, I can (sort of) understand about the brakes. Tektro's more entry level stuff is not working as well as the Shimano ones (in the lab). They are good enough, though, and many people don't realise that the 105 equipped bike comes with the 105 rear dérailleur and the shifters and the rest is less expensive (though mostly still working well). I don't know whether this is the case on your bike, I didn't look at the specs.

From a shift / break performance point of view, 105 and Ultegra are almost identical in the lab and I guess you wouldn't feel any difference on the road. Ultegra is about 300g or so lighter and has a slightly nicer finish. This year's Tiagra (one below 105) has also been tested to work very well (the ones before were less good, own experience, they felt... wobbly, inexact, to me) but is heavier. SRAM also makes very nice components, unfortunately the (right) shifters and rear dérailleurs are not compatible to Shimano, the rest probably is (I know chain and cassette are). From a technical point of view, the performance is on par for all three big brands (Campagnolo, Shimano, SRAM) when comparing groupsets in the (roughly) same price ranges. From a personal point of view this is debated hotly, fringing on holy wars. I think that SRAM was offering STIs (or whatever they call their shifters) that could be adjusted for smaller hands and Shimano didn't have that option and Campa has 11spd groupsets and (until recently) only Shimano had electronic shifting, but that's about it. If it is your first road bike you also do not need to learn yet another way of shifting and relearn all motion patterns (shifting does work quite different on all brands), though I do not really find this an issue (recently test rode an SRAM apex equipped bike, I have bike with Shimano 105 and one with Microshift STIs).
Swapping components can be a nice hobby, but it is expensive and won't help you ride faster (well, unless we're talking about much lighter wheels for climbing and sprinting or aerodynamic wheels for time trials).

If I was in your position I would ask myself: Is the 105 really performing so bad, does it have issues that cannot be solved with a good adjustment? (like the problem with the too small hands or a weird shifting logic). I'd rather invest the money in a decent set of wheels or a training week in Spain or Italy (weather in winter is quite bad where I live).

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Edit: inserted paragraphs to break up the wall of text
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