Fed up with the "woolly" shifting on my 105's...

by jasonm945   January 12, 2014  

So ultimately the question is, are Sram Rival shifters and rear mech an "upgrade" or am I just spending money for the sake of it?

I do prefer sram's clunkiness(?) on my MTB but not sure if that would cross over to the road, I am also finding that my 105 is very woolly and occasionally misses a shift (especially going down the cassette).

Suggestions?

Thanks

Jay

19 user comments

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105 as with most Shimano shifters is normally very crisp. So you probably need to see what the problem is first.

Have a look at the cables/derailleur adjustment and lubrication before doing anything rash.

As a last resort I recommend replacing the upper guide pulley -- which has rubber bushes allowing it to cushion/soften the shift -- with an alloy ceramic bearing pulley (c. £12 on ebay). That will give you a crisper shift but it may feel harsher than normal.

posted by drmatthewhardy [219 posts]
12th January 2014 - 13:14

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Have you been running the 105's for a while? It is possible that a bit of cable stretch could be enough to make the shifting slightly off, particularly if they are quite new and just bedded in.
I would agree that adjustment/lubrication should be the first port of call. You can reset the adjustment pretty much from scratch pretty easily. I did mine after a few weeks when they had bedded in and they run pretty smooth with just an occasional tweak of the barrel adjuster if necessary.
You tube has loads of guidance videos if needed.
Can't comment on the relative merits of Sram though.

posted by numbercruncher [25 posts]
12th January 2014 - 13:38

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Don't get me wrong my 105 is usually faultless, I just sometimes over shift but only move 1 cog. I also don't feel the shifts are "positive". Are sram shifters as industrial as they are on MTB's?

posted by jasonm945 [17 posts]
12th January 2014 - 13:39

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Could be a mulitude of things.
I had shifting issues like that last year (Campag Athena), replaced cables & outers, set up the mech time and time again, in the end it was found that my hanger was a bit bent, and the cassette & chain were shot.
How old are the chain and cassette?

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posted by glynr36 [126 posts]
12th January 2014 - 15:47

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jasonm945 wrote:
Don't get me wrong my 105 is usually faultless, I just sometimes over shift but only move 1 cog. I also don't feel the shifts are "positive". Are sram shifters as industrial as they are on MTB's?

Depends what you mean by industrial! I quite like my X9 shifters.

105 is smoother than SRAM Apex (for example). Apex is more positive. Not industrial, just positive. Like Camapg in that respect.

Personally I find that Shimano from Tiagra to Dura Ace feels the same, but gets lighter.

SRAM has some differences in feel. SRAM Red 2013 is like butter. As close to electronic without batteries as its possible to be.

But, as others have said, it's unlikely your issues are group set related.

posted by bendertherobot [232 posts]
12th January 2014 - 16:49

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I think you need to adjust your cables and lube the pawls. If that doesn't fix it, new cables. If that doesn't fix it, downgrade to Tiagra. I find 105 shifters quite firm compared to Ultegra (but just as good at shifting) and people say they get even heavier further down the range. Anyway, 105s are brilliant - unless they're worn out, you should be able to get lovely shifts.

posted by deblemund [55 posts]
12th January 2014 - 17:10

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SRAM is that bit more industrial (I also like that about it) but I'd definitely recommend new cables including the housing first. Moving to SRAM should give you that positive feel but it's a very expensive option for a small change in feel.

Jagwire is good, Yokozuna is even better. Try to avoid tight curves in the housing too when you install it.

posted by racingcondor [105 posts]
12th January 2014 - 23:43

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I'd have a look at those cables to be honest, my 105 eats through 'em at a rapid rate in comparison to Ultegra. You shouldn't have any issues with poorer shifting unless something is wrong, as others have said 105's reliable as anything.

Every time mine slips it's always the cables that either need a bit of a tweak or just all out replacing. I've done about 10k km's on mine and have only needed to replace the chain & casette once, but cables have been done about three or four times, aside from that it just keeps going!

If you're thinking of upgrading (I can't comment on SRAM) Ultegra overall is only about 280grams lighter and there really isn't too much in performance.

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posted by mooleur [353 posts]
13th January 2014 - 11:10

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I ran the Scott CR1 team on the 105s for at least 7000kms, and traded up to Ultegra. I can tell you that it was a night and day experience for me..

I agree that you need to be happy with your cables and set up - my 105s were great for a long time - but even after servicing were never as direct and positive as the ultegra have been since day 1.

Well worth the upgrade if you ask me. Cool

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posted by Bigcog [13 posts]
13th January 2014 - 16:59

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I think I am getting away from the main thrust of the thread. I have no problems with my 105's, I just don't like the way they feel. I was wondering if the Rivals were an upgrade or just a waste of money.
I know that Ultegra is an upgrade but again will they be the same as 105's but even lighter.
Either way I will probably upgrade, I can get the (seemingly) more expensive Rivals for slightly less than Ultegra!

Jay

posted by jasonm945 [17 posts]
13th January 2014 - 18:07

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Ultegra give you amazing shifts, especially the 6600 series with exposed cables, light and precise as you could want. You can pick up a pair of ST-6600 shifters, an RD-6600 and an FD-6600 very cheaply on Ebay. Worth the (minimal) expense if you're unhappy with 105, as you can sell the 105 on Ebay afterwards.

But as I said, if you want a more 'industrial' feel, replace the top guide pulley with one of these:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/11t-Aluminium-Ceramic-bearing-bicycle-jockey-w...

That WILL give you more positive shifts, but at the expense of a (very) little harshness.

posted by drmatthewhardy [219 posts]
13th January 2014 - 22:08

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I moved over from Shimano to Campy on all of my bikes. Never looked back and never will

posted by hill4544 [5 posts]
14th January 2014 - 12:13

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went from apex/force to Athena 11. Campag is crisp and exact, SRAM was,
as noted, industrial and positive.

Thinks of it like this ...
Shimano you barely feel.
Campag you get a click.
SRAM you get a clunk.

Of them all campag everytime but to get over the "softness" of 105 I think
that SRAM will give you what you're after ....

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [582 posts]
14th January 2014 - 12:26

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Bigcog wrote:
I ran the Scott CR1 team on the 105s for at least 7000kms, and traded up to Ultegra. I can tell you that it was a night and day experience for me..

I agree that you need to be happy with your cables and set up - my 105s were great for a long time - but even after servicing were never as direct and positive as the ultegra have been since day 1.

Well worth the upgrade if you ask me. Cool

I have to disagree here. I would put that 'night and day' difference down to your 105 being a bit aged after 7000kms. I have a 105 bike and an Ultegra bike and I would defy anyone to tell the difference in a blind test. Weight aside, I sure as hell can't.

Well maintained, 105 is all the groupset most of us will ever need* IMO and for the price Ultegra isn't worth the cost to upgrade unless you get it at a good price on a whole new bike.

*Need not want. Otherwise I wouldn't be saving for SR.

posted by ajmarshal1 [141 posts]
14th January 2014 - 13:06

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Ahhhh, I think the nail has been well and truly hit on the head. When I shift with the brake lever the action is fairly light and barely audible clicks don't help. I am starting to "feel" with my feet when the chain slips down to the next gear and this was what I translated as "woolly".
I am looking for a more "positive" clunk and this was the question as I was asking about SRAM Rival (I can't afford Force or Red prices)!
I believe the question has been answered, now how much will I get for a set of 2nd hand 5700 shifters and mech Wink

Jay

posted by jasonm945 [17 posts]
14th January 2014 - 16:28

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are people saying 'industrial' when they mean 'agricultural' (i.e. clunky) ?!

105 on the GF's bike shifts well, in a crisp, industrial manner. which I would call utilitarian. That's not a bad thing for a shifter! New cables and moving parts kept clean and well lubricated.

For comparison, Campagnolo Veloce action on my bike is lighter, more based on feel, I'm used to it so I like it. Not as reliable shifting as her lightly used 105 though, but it's over 4 years old and still works!

As others have said, just clean thoroughly, re-adjust, replace cables if necessary, is my recommendation. no need to spend £££

posted by 700c [485 posts]
14th January 2014 - 16:51

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jasonm945: You can't just replace the 105 levers with the Sram Rival levers. The cable pull ratio is different.

You can swap cassettes and cranks, but you can't mix levers and rear mechs:

http://sheldonbrown.com/drivetrain-mixing.shtml

Be warned!

posted by drmatthewhardy [219 posts]
14th January 2014 - 20:43

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Quote:
jasonm945: You can't just replace the 105 levers with the Sram Rival levers. The cable pull ratio is different.

You can swap cassettes and cranks, but you can't mix levers and rear mechs:

http://sheldonbrown.com/drivetrain-mixing.shtml

Thank you for that, I wasn't asking about mixing parts I was asking about SRAM rival in general, but I will heed your warning Wink Wink

posted by jasonm945 [17 posts]
14th January 2014 - 21:12

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In answer to the original question, SRAM is much crisper than Shimano equivalent. I have never had to feather a change on my SRAM kit but it is a regular occurrence on the Shimano stuff. However, if your 105 has been good at some time, new cables will probably restore it to its former condition.

posted by Welsh boy [83 posts]
15th January 2014 - 8:13

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