105 and Ultegra for future proofing

by Miles253   March 13, 2014  

Hi guys me again.

Man this choosing a new bike lark is complicated!

With so many options between £1800 and £2500 I can barely decide.

The thing that is troubling me at the moment is group set choice, now I know that the variations between manufacturers are personal but the variances between group prices are not. Now I want a bike that should not cost too much in upgrades over the coming five years, that as I improve which I will ,does not feel like it also needs to improve.

Would I be better off fronting for an Ultegra equipped bike now? (Probably between the carbon ult Synapse or a Canyon slx/sl) Or go for a 105 equipped bike probably from the plethora of choices from the bike of the year (synapse, Cervelo R3, BMC etc) which all sit at around the £2000 mark

Naturally getting Ultegra carries a price penalty for any of the bikes other than the Canyons which are still better value regardless. But I am the type of person who, when doing sportives in a few months or trying my hand at racing, will always be itching for the 'better' group. Perhaps because I ride Campag Centaur at the moment (on an allu Specialized Allez) and 105 feels like the on par option as apposed to an upgrade (and why else do we spend a fortune on new bikes)

Obviously I know the biggest immediate difference will be in the wheels ( where once again the Canyons win) but if you guys think that prompting for 105, getting a more mainstreamed frame and saving £500 is the better choice I would be delighted to hear the reasoning.

In case it's relevant
Interests: sportives this year, racing next year
Weight 75kg

Looking at
Canyon ultimate sl-Ultegra-£1900
Canyon ultimate SLX (in the sales)- ultegra-£2100
Cannondale synapse -ultegra- £2500
Various 105 bike of the year options-£2000

If anyone has any experience with these bikes too also helpful.

Sorry for the long post.
Regards

28 user comments

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I recently had similar considerations when looking for a new bike.

My main issue was the change to 11 speed in Ultegra meant if I opted for 105 (10 speed) any future upgrades in the future would prove costly.

In the end I went for a Giant TCR Comp 1.

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-gb/bikes/model/2014.giant.tcr.composite...

Personally, spending 2k, I wouldn't be happy with 105, but each to their own.

posted by n8udd [12 posts]
13th March 2014 - 11:57

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Go for 105 and get some really nice wheels with the money you save.

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posted by Iwein Dekoninck [113 posts]
13th March 2014 - 12:08

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+1 for 105 and better wheels .... Smile

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [697 posts]
13th March 2014 - 12:12

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Hmm, I would suspect that 105 would feel like a downgrade from Centaur.

posted by drfabulous0 [287 posts]
13th March 2014 - 12:21

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Futureproof and go for Ultegra 11spd.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [289 posts]
13th March 2014 - 12:31

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I had the same decision between the Ultegra and 105 Synapses. I went for the Ultegra because

1) A very new frame with a new groupset felt very future proof, as you said.

2) I much preferred the black paint job on the Ultegra bike

3) My LBS gave me a free wheel upgrade, which was excellent.

I'd also bet that now it's Bike of the Year, it'll be very difficult to get your hands on a Synapse, especially the 105. I got mine in January, and it was a stroke of luck that I got it before late April.

posted by bollandinho [51 posts]
13th March 2014 - 12:38

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So far it's pro ultegra 11 speed. Could some of the guys saying 105 give me some reasons ( obviously saving money for better wheels is a great reason) as to why it makes sence?

Yeah I imagine the Synapse will sell out fast luckily I'm a tall fella 6 ft 4 so usually the 58 and the 60 hang around a bit. @bollandinho how are you finding the bike, the paint job is lush.

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [197 posts]
13th March 2014 - 13:04

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Has to be 11 speed for me - future proof it or you will be unable to move stuff around in later years...Im stuck in 10 speed world now and although at the moment its no hassle I will have to make the jump soon...

posted by NeilXDavis [111 posts]
13th March 2014 - 14:27

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NeilXDavis wrote:
Has to be 11 speed for me - future proof it or you will be unable to move stuff around in later years...Im stuck in 10 speed world now and although at the moment its no hassle I will have to make the jump soon...

You will never be future proofed. Maybe the top end market will move to discs. Maybe you will want electronic shifting. Maybe something else will come along.

A 10 speed bike will ride very nicely for a long time to come.

To answer the 105 over Ultegra question. What do you think Ultegra has over 105? Weight definitely. Shifting not much difference? Would you get a more advantageous weight reduction on wheels?

For the record I am riding 10 speed Ultegra 6700 on my bike at the moment.

Ride more, ride better

posted by Sniffer [126 posts]
13th March 2014 - 16:40

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To give some background, my Lemond needs a new drivetrain, So I am currently faced with a similar dilemma, I could get Athena, I could get Centaur, or I could be a cheapskate and get Veloce. At this moment, my head is saying Veloce mechs, cheap they work if I crash so what, Centaur shifters, they are mounted on bearings so should be more durable (assuming I don't crash). brakes, I have some old Centaur they work, what more do you need? 10spd v 11spd? well the bike is currently 9spd, I can still get chains, cassettes, jockey wheels, etc. so have no doubt that 10spd will be around for 5+ years at least. I might be faced with cheaper cassettes as the expensive ones get phased out in due course but it won't be for a few years yet.

The ideal situation for you IMO get 105, get a decent set of race wheels, and get some cheap "disposable" training wheels. I seem to think you mention wheels and durability somewhere? 10spd v 11spd won't be an issue for a number of years.

Things to think about 6800 uses a new chainring standard, it will cost money, you can't cut corners if you need to for a while, changing the ring sizes if you are so inclined will also be harder.

I would also be careful with the bike you pick, there has been an explosion of standards recently, headset and bottom bracket, there may be a rationalisation.

In the medium term a major issue is what happens with disc brakes. You won't be able to upgrade and will need a new bike. At that point you may find that the choice is 11spd or whatever new turns up.

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posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
13th March 2014 - 16:56

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It's a lot of fun, but I've not had that much time on it because the strong winds and rain up here in Glasgow. The one proper ride I've had on it was amazing though, and I've got a lot of plans for it.

The only thing I'm not wild about is the seat clamp, which is really hard to get tight with a multitool when you're still getting your position on the new bike. Once it's all sorted though, I don't see it being a problem.

posted by bollandinho [51 posts]
13th March 2014 - 17:02

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@Sniffer, the reason I've looked mostly at Ultegra is because I've heard the shifting and breaking performance is noticeably better, both factors I've had trouble with on my veloce before I upgraded to Centaur. The weight is a nice factor, but as you've said I doubt the difference bs really that important (does anybody have numbers?). And actually the new chain set standard is once of the reasons it Ultegra seemed a better choice as it uses the spider crank which marketing spiel has told me is stiffer and lighter, naturally that makes little difference on the Cannondale but still.

@mrno, you make a great point about going to disks in the coming years and going with 11 speed then, that is a valid point. However I really would like to be able to make this bike as future proofed as possible for at least five years as i doubt I'll have the funds to buy another bike for more time than that . Although as you rightly said 105 will easily last that time with care.

Also as most of the 105 equIpped bikes come with standard wheels, almost all of them will need replacing or upgrading fairly quickly.

Thanks for the help so far everyone.

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [197 posts]
13th March 2014 - 22:50

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One final comment, whatever you do, buy a bike you want to ride. It may sound odd, it might not, but if you walk downstairs and see something you want to be seen on, something that is just right, something that just makes you happy, It matters more than anything else.

There is something to be said for buying from the heart and not the head sometimes.

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posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
13th March 2014 - 23:07

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Buy a good ti or steel frame with the best group you can get for yr budget. None of this plastic malarkey. Cool

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
14th March 2014 - 1:16

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Quote:
But I am the type of person who, when doing sportives in a few months or trying my hand at racing, will always be itching for the 'better' group.

Based on the above it appears you had better scratch that itch, or you will have major regrets in the future Party

posted by thorolf [45 posts]
14th March 2014 - 4:18

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I think it will definitely be a 'live with it' choice if I go 105until it wears out. I should probably just make it easier and go Campag! Price easily dictates that choice.

@allez leg, I'm afraid I have no love for the look of steel or Ti so I'll probably never buy one

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [197 posts]
14th March 2014 - 7:11

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NeilXDavis wrote:
Has to be 11 speed for me - future proof it or you will be unable to move stuff around in later years...Im stuck in 10 speed world now and although at the moment its no hassle I will have to make the jump soon...

For me 10sp allows one major practical feature that 11sp doesn't, and that's reusable quick links, so I'm not sure how being "stuck in 10 speed world" is such a bad thing?

In my younger years I raced (and sometimes won) on a 5sp, 501-tubed Raleigh tank. OTOH I no longer race, so I fully understand that perhaps there's something about the 11th cog that makes it a necessity for future-proofing.

No, as nice as the idea seems, and as much as it appeals to the "more is better" and "I need/want the coolest/latest stuff and will rationalise it to myself as future-proofing" part of my brain, I have reluctantly realised that I neither need (nor want) 11 cogs at the back.

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posted by seven [107 posts]
14th March 2014 - 9:05

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seven wrote:

For me 10sp allows one major practical feature that 11sp doesn't, and that's reusable quick links, so I'm not sure how being "stuck in 10 speed world" is such a bad thing?

KMC 11spd quick links are reusable, i tend to use theirs

you don't 'need' that eleventh cog any more than you 'needed' the sixth when everyone had five. but that's the current top-end standard. probably it will be for a good few years for road bikes.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7296 posts]
14th March 2014 - 9:36

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Yeah I mean I think 11 is handy but far from essential, actually it's quite far down the list of reasons why I want Ultegra over 105. 10 speed for the moment seems more than enough for most.

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [197 posts]
14th March 2014 - 12:07

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thorolf wrote:
Quote:
But I am the type of person who, when doing sportives in a few months or trying my hand at racing, will always be itching for the 'better' group.

Based on the above it appears you had better scratch that itch, or you will have major regrets in the future Party

Alternatively, it is possible that, especially if he gets into racing, we will come to the view that the groupset makes next to no difference and that training is more important.

Cat 4s are well known for crashes being common, so having a very expensive bike can be a liability if you have to replace crash damaged parts. Unless you have very deep pockets.

posted by Chris James [179 posts]
14th March 2014 - 12:28

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allez neg wrote:
Just a thought - if you're planning on mass-start racing, would it be prudent to consider the cost of replacing bits after crashes?

Great minds think alike!

posted by Chris James [179 posts]
14th March 2014 - 12:29

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Just a thought - if you're planning on mass-start racing, would it be prudent to consider the cost of replacing bits after crashes?

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
14th March 2014 - 12:29

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That's something I hadn't really considered. Are crashes that big of an issue?

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [197 posts]
15th March 2014 - 10:51

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Ultegra 11 speed is in a different league to 105. Miles different in shifting quality. Go for Ultegra and you won't be disappointed at all. Well worth the price difference imo.

posted by Craig0605 [10 posts]
18th March 2014 - 11:50

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I have just upgraded from 105 to Ultegra 6800 and the difference is quite marked. 105 is good it just that Ultegra is much better. Smile

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posted by Wesselwookie [125 posts]
18th March 2014 - 12:44

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Buy a second-hand 105 equipped bike for racing (maybe an alloy Canyon) to see if you get on with it, use the rest of the money to buy an Ultegra-equipped Canyon or similar for best? Your could do both for the top end of your budget.

Don't race what you can't afford to replace would be my guidance. I bought a second hand 105 bike for racing (admittedly CX, not road) and it's taken a battering.

Ultegra 11-spd is silky smooth, really lovely stuff. 105 is perfectly fine too.

posted by thereandbackagain [152 posts]
18th March 2014 - 14:58

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If you're looking around the £2000 mark maybe take a look at this;

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXN2A68002/planet-x-n2a-shimano-ultegra-...

full ultegea group set, good wheels - really ready to go!!

posted by Harryb2996 [20 posts]
18th March 2014 - 19:21

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thereandbackagain wrote:
Buy a second-hand 105 equipped bike for racing (maybe an alloy Canyon) to see if you get on with it, use the rest of the money to buy an Ultegra-equipped Canyon or similar for best? Your could do both for the top end of your budget.

Don't race what you can't afford to replace would be my guidance. I bought a second hand 105 bike for racing (admittedly CX, not road) and it's taken a battering.

Ultegra 11-spd is silky smooth, really lovely stuff. 105 is perfectly fine too.

I think this is good advice, as is racing what I can replace, I might just hold off on a race ready bike for now and stick to sportive and club rides, then when I've got more money get a race bike from Planet X or canyon, seems no point in getting a great bike for all round and ruining it in a seemingly very likely crash! That way I can get ultegra without too much worry of ruining it, and won't have any want for better performance. 105 is still worth considering but only if I don't go the canyon route which are so cheap anyway. Relatively speaking

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [197 posts]
19th March 2014 - 4:34

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