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Verdict: 
Performance, value, durability - for once you can have all three; quite simply a brilliant groupset
Weight: 
2,967g
Shimano 105 5800 11-speed Groupset
9 10

Shimano's 105 groupset has always been the sweetspot of the Japanese manufacturer's range with regard to performance versus value. Thanks to the usual trickle down of technology 105 has followed Dura-Ace and Ultegra by going 11-speed to create what I think is Shimano's best bang-for-buck groupset yet.

We'll take a look at each of the components below, going through what changes Shimano have made but more importantly what we think they've achieved.

Dual Control Levers (ST-5800) - 9/10

£175.00 - 490g (619g inc. cables)

You can find a Shimano 105 group — and all the parts — online at Chain Reaction Cycles or if you prefer to support your local bike shop you can find a Shimano dealer here.

The new shift action is the same as that found on the top two groups and is so light and precise it doesn't feel that far removed from Di2 shifting at times, thanks mostly to the much shorter throw at the lever. Each shift is much quicker than previously and the resulting positive click as the gear is selected makes it feel more like a button touch than a lever. The new polymer coated cables are responsible for part of this to as are the redesigned front and rear mechs.

Shimano have also made the levers more compact which I think makes them fit the hands more naturally and more comfortably than the previous version. A bonus for those with small hands is that you can now adjust the levers within a 10mm range by the turn of a screw, much better than the inserts used previously.

The only issue I found was trying to trim the front mech. This requires the tiniest of touches on the lever to get right and nine times out of ten you're just going to end up shifting to the small ring.

Brake Callipers (BR-5800) / Direct Mount (BR-5810) - 9/10

£70.00 / £80.00 - 390g

Shimano call their latest calliper design SLR-EV Dual Pivot and this is now found on 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace. The new symmetrical twin pivot design equalizes the braking forces through each arm allowing for better control and power, 10% better than the previous 5700 brakes apparently.

In practice there is a noticeable improvement in both power and modulation over the old callipers '' and to be honest they were no slouches. Slowing rather than stopping can be achieved with just a couple of fingers applying pressure to the lever and it's easy to avoid locking a wheel. A new brake pad compound has been used and while it's a small improvement it does feel a little more grippy in both the wet and the dry.

Due to adoption of larger tyres by a lot of road riders the overall shape of the callipers has been tweaked to accept up to 28mm tyres. A more pronounced arc has allowed this to be possible while keeping a standard 49mm drop.

If you've got a frame with direct mount points fear not as you'll be able to use the BR-5810 versions which use the same SLR-EV design but with two frame mounting points rather than the traditional single. The front brake is designed for front of fork positioning and the rear for under chain stay attachment.

Chainset (FC-5800) - 9/10

£120.00 - 737g

Whatever you think of the four arm design it seems to be here to stay as it trickles down through Shimano's range. Personally I love it. You can chose from two compact options, 34/50 and 36/52, or a standard 39/53. The beauty of the design is that they all use the same bolt circle diameter so if you want to switch between it's only a matter of swapping rings rather than the whole chainset.

The new 105 cranks are available in the usual 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm lengths, so there's plenty of choice to suit the majority of riders. The arms use the the same cold forged Hollowtech construction that Shimano have used for years to keep weight down and stiffness up.

Shimano chainsets have always been renowned for their stiffness and this version is no different. In fact the chain rings have been reinforced to make it stiffer than the chainset it replaces. Regardless of how much power you put through the cranks there is no detectable flex there whatsoever.

The cranks can be used with Shimano's standard outboard bearing bottom bracket or the various press fit options depending on what frame you have.

Front Derailleur (FD-5800) - 10/10

£26.00 - 88g

The design of the new front mech is probably the most obvious change with the newly shaped link arm. It's longer to create more leverage and therefore less effort to effect the shift. Couple that with a new spring mechanism and the shifting is smooth, fast and precise. I also think the curvy shape is a work of art.

Shimano provide a plastic alignment tool to position the derailleur correctly for the shifter cable angle. That's sensible considering the range of cabling options we get from various frames these days.

There are two mounting options depending on your frame, either a braze on version or a 34.9mm diameter band on. Both have a recommended maximum chainring of 53-teeth, not such good news for time triallists.

Rear Derailleur (RD-5800) - 10/10

£37.00 - 230g

The geometry of the derailleur has been changed quite a bit as has the cable pitch to give more 'robust adjustment' whatever that means. Thanks to that and the new lighter spring balance the shifting is absolutely spot on. With the bike on the workstand we played a game of seeing how fast we could shift before the mech became flustered but it's safe to say your finger will make a mistake first. Up and down the cassette in a blur goes the chain.

There are again two options here with a short cage (SS) that'll work up to a 28-tooth sprocket and a medium cage (GS) for up to 32.

Cassette (CS-5800) - 9/10

£38.00 - 276g

The new 11-speed cassette comes in three ratios, 11-32, 11-28 and 12-25 offering close gearing for a smoother cadence and more efficiency. The shifting is sharp and those computer designed tooth profiles must be doing their job as even under load there were no missed shifts.

Resistance to wear has always been a reason for me to buy 105 sprockets even with an Ultegra or Dura-Ace equipped bike and that remains here as the nickel-plated sprockets are standing up to pretty much anything you can throw at it.

For that all important weight saving the larger sprockets have been machined and drilled to remove excess material along with being mounted on an aluminium carrier.

Chain (CNHG600) - 8/10

£22.00 - 265g

Chain width is now just 5.62mm for the latest 105 version and it's had a proper revamp too. Taking technology from the HG-X 10-speed off road chain it is now asymmetric with outboard plates designed to aid front and rear shifting. It runs very quietly indeed thanks to Sil-Tec (PTFE) coated inner links and seems to be resisting the build-up of dirt and water so far.

I do wish Shimano would do away with their joining pin though and provide some sort of quick link. While the joining pin is easy to fit, having the ability to remove the chain for cleaning would be a great option.

Pedals (PD-5800) - 9/10

£80.00 - 285g

Our groupset came with a set of pedals and although they've gone up a model number they look pretty much the same as the 5700 pedals they are replacing. Saying that though there was no need to change anything anyway as they are brilliant.

The carbon composite body saves a bit of weight over the aluminium 5700 body and the large platform means they feel very secure for putting down the power. They still use the same SPD-SL cleat and you get a degree of tension adjustment for entry and release.

You'll need an Allen key to screw them into the cranks as they don't have spanner flats.

Extras

There are quite a few options in the new 105 group as Shimano have launched flat bar 11-speed shifters for hybrid bikes that are fully compatible with the new derailleurs.

There is also a flat bar brake lever that'll work with both calipers and cable discs. If you want to go for hydraulic brakes on a road setup the new 11-speed brake/shifter unit (ST-RS685) is compatible with 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace mechanical shifting.

Overall

RRP inc. pedals - £590.00, 2967g
RRP exc. pedals - £510.00, 2682g

In a word: brilliant. The 11-speed 105 5800 groupset is everything you could want in terms of performance, looks, durability and above all value.

The week before getting my hands on the 5800 group I was riding a 5700-equipped bike.The difference is like night and day. The new 11-speed group provides faster and more precise shifting, more powerful and easier to control braking and an overall more solid feel.

I've also been riding the 5800 alongside a test bike with brand new Ultegra 6800. Ultegra performs even better than 105, but the difference is minimal. Taking into account the fact that even with the cheapest internet prices 105 is £200 cheaper for a mere 370g weight penalty, overall it comes out on top.

Whichever finish you go for the 5800 looks more expensive than it actually is, although I think the black has a slight edge over the silver.

Shimano 105 normally starts to become available on bikes around the £1,000 to £1,200 mark so to get this level of shifting and braking performance in that price bracket is good news for bike buyers.

There we have it then. As a Campagnolo fan it pains me to say it but the new Shimano 105 is the best all round groupset money can buy.

Verdict

Performance, value, durability - for once you can have all three; quite simply a brilliant groupset

road.cc test report

Make and model: Shimano 105 Groupset

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

"Today Shimano launched a brand new version of the most popular road groupset worldwide, the 105. The new 105 (5800 series) adopts key features of the earlier introduced race proven groupsets Dura-Ace and Ultegra and brings it to the cycling enthusiasts for every day riding. The main new features are an 11-speed drivetrain that shifts more precise and lighter than ever, improved brake power and better control of the bike.

Shimano's new 105 gives the widest range of road riders the opportunity to ride a groupset that is inspired by professional riders. Whether it is for everyday riding or longer rides & climbs in the weekend."

I think Shimano last paragraph somes up 105, it brings 95% of the performance of Dura Ace to a much more affordable price point and therefore to more riders.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

We've gone through the main points above but the technical specs for each component of the groupset can be found here.

http://cycle.shimano-eu.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/nl/index/com...

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Really well put together as we've grown to expect from Shimano. A range of materials and components all working together well.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

The best performing 105 groupset yet with the only niggle being that tricky front mech trim.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

One of the beauties of 105 is the workman like ability to deal with crap weather on the winter slog or work faultlessly on the best summer bike.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

Comparable in weight to both Veloce and Apex but more importantly just 370g heavier than Ultegra

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

The shifter hoods are really the only thing that can marked for comfort and the new compact shape is a big improvement.

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

At the RRP it's impressive but the fact you can get this for just over three hundred quid online (excluding pedals) is amazing value for money.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Absolutely flawless. The new light yet precise shifting is a joy to use.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The speed of the shifts and the braking power.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Only that difficult trim really.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

I've always liked Shimano's groupsets but I've never really loved them, being more of a Campagnolo fan but after using the latest 11-speed systems I'm completely smitten. Shimano has nailed the light touch and precise feel that it lacked before and in terms of design I think the new chainset and front mech look great. Bringing the majority of Ultegra's performance down to 105 for such an attractive price means as the complete package 105 is pretty much the best out there.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

42 comments

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Pauldmorgan [234 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Personally I would say that £200 for 370g is worth having - not many ways of getting that kind of weight saving for that price elsewhere. With wheels and finishing kit you're very quickly into over £1 per gramme.

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Pauldmorgan [234 posts] 3 years ago
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And another thing! Not sure that the comparison with Apex and Veloce is the right one - although they are both 10 speed they are also both over £200 cheaper.

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Pauldmorgan [234 posts] 3 years ago
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And another thing! Not sure that the comparison with Apex and Veloce is the right one - although they are both 10 speed they are also both over £200 cheaper.

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Shamblesuk [167 posts] 3 years ago
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A very quick google search gave me 105 for £320 and Ultegra 6800 for £470. I would happily pay the £150 difference for the weight saving and slicker shifting.

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stuke [335 posts] 3 years ago
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Pauldmorgan wrote:

And another thing! Not sure that the comparison with Apex and Veloce is the right one - although they are both 10 speed they are also both over £200 cheaper.

RRP:
105 - £510
Veloce - £500
Apex - £500

hence the comparison

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Liaman [67 posts] 3 years ago
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I'll soon be upgrading one of my bikes to a mix of 5800 and 6800.
I've read elsewhere that the ridged inside of the 5800 chainset is a dirt and grime magnet compared to the flat inner of the 6800. Thoughts?
In terms of general performance, has anybody ridden both and noticed/not noticed a difference?
What experiences do people have of either chainset (either in terms of the mud/grime issue and general riding? Worth the extra £20/30 for the 6800 rings?

Thanks in advance

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kylemalco [39 posts] 3 years ago
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You can buy 5800 group set on merlin at the minute for 300 quid.

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BikeJon [196 posts] 3 years ago
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All very well and good but my 2005 7800 Dura Ace group set is still working flawlessly on my best bike. It feels like it still has another 10 years in it. It's annoyingly good as I cannot justify replacing it yet (not that I'd replace it with 105).
Oh, I love the latest Shimano chain set design by the way!

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PixelPusher [9 posts] 3 years ago
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I have 6800 and 5800 on two different bikes and I'd be really pushed to notice the difference. The Ultegra lever is carbon so you notice it doesn't feel as cold as 105 but that's it. No slicker shifting, no increased stiffness, no feeling lighter on the bike, it's just marketing bumf.

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bauchlebastart [124 posts] 3 years ago
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BikeJon wrote:

All very well and good but my 2005 7800 Dura Ace group set is still working flawlessly on my best bike. It feels like it still has another 10 years in it. It's annoyingly good as I cannot justify replacing it yet (not that I'd replace it with 105).
Oh, I love the latest Shimano chain set design by the way!

Following 10 years of development and improvements, I wonder how the new 105 compares with your 2005 vintage dura ace both in terms of weight and performance

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notfastenough [3728 posts] 3 years ago
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bauchlebastart wrote:
BikeJon wrote:

All very well and good but my 2005 7800 Dura Ace group set is still working flawlessly on my best bike. It feels like it still has another 10 years in it. It's annoyingly good as I cannot justify replacing it yet (not that I'd replace it with 105).
Oh, I love the latest Shimano chain set design by the way!

Following 10 years of development and improvements, I wonder how the new 105 compares with your 2005 vintage dura ace both in terms of weight and performance

When the new Shimano Claris entry-level groupset came out, I seem to recall Dave Atkinson was going to try and compare it with his mate's old DA setup - might have been 2005. Not heard anything since though.

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Simmo72 [672 posts] 3 years ago
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I can't see myself moving on from 10 speed for a number of years, but this looks like a very good groupset.

105 pedals are great, I switched to them from time (after 2 pairs snapped), I couldn't justify the price leap to ultegra and don't regret it, tremendous value

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glynr36 [637 posts] 3 years ago
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Simmo72 wrote:

I can't see myself moving on from 10 speed for a number of years, but this looks like a very good groupset.

Might not have a choice, the bike industry is very good at forced obsolescence.

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TimB34 [17 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm still on 9-speed 105!

It'd be interesting to know how much of the cassette is usable in each front ring (compared to SRAM 22 with a Yaw front mech).

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fukawitribe [2050 posts] 3 years ago
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TimB34 wrote:

I'm still on 9-speed 105!

It'd be interesting to know how much of the cassette is usable in each front ring (compared to SRAM 22 with a Yaw front mech).

I've got the 6800, which I believe is the same geometry for the front mech, and that gets a bit of rattle in big-big and little-little (worse at that end). Not that I use that, except by accident, but it was fun seeing how it coped.

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Shamblesuk [167 posts] 3 years ago
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BikeJon wrote:

All very well and good but my 2005 7800 Dura Ace group set is still working flawlessly on my best bike. It feels like it still has another 10 years in it. It's annoyingly good as I cannot justify replacing it yet (not that I'd replace it with 105).
Oh, I love the latest Shimano chain set design by the way!

I had 7900 but when I had a try with 6800 front mech I was hooked. You won't believe the difference in how slick it is. Can imagine the difference between 7800 and 6800 is even more obvious.

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steviewevie [52 posts] 3 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

When the new Shimano Claris entry-level groupset came out, I seem to recall Dave Atkinson was going to try and compare it with his mate's old DA setup - might have been 2005. Not heard anything since though.

I'd love to see a comparison like that.

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Simmo72 [672 posts] 3 years ago
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glynr36 wrote:

Might not have a choice, the bike industry is very good at forced obsolescence.

Not too concerned, plenty of old stock, nos for a while, 9 speed is still going strong, plus if you buy campagnolo the stuff lasts and last so I'm not fussed. 11 speed chorus in 2017 maybe, by which time we'll be on 12 speed internal hubs so some other gubbins.

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Liaman [67 posts] 3 years ago
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Cheers PixelPusher - I'll save myself some cash and opt for the 5800, except maybe the rear mech.
I'll be putting it on a tri bike, so won't be using the regular shifters to feel that sweet, carbony benefit.

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s_lim [214 posts] 3 years ago
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I would love to see a good honest-to-god comparison of the groups. Campag seem to cater for mainly high-end, Sram for weight weenies, Shimano the majority.

I use Chorus 10spd, and love it, but I wouldn't be adverse to looking at the other offerings out there, particularly Ultegra & Force.

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TeamExtreme [104 posts] 3 years ago
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I think frame size/geometry will have a big influence on this, so it's not universal. The 11 speed cassette is wider than a 10 speed one, so unless the front derailleur cage is significantly wider then I'd say you're going to be able to cross-chain less.

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 3 years ago
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s_lim wrote:

I would love to see a good honest-to-god comparison of the groups. Campag seem to cater for mainly high-end, Sram for weight weenies, Shimano the majority.

I use Chorus 10spd, and love it, but I wouldn't be adverse to looking at the other offerings out there, particularly Ultegra & Force.

The honest to God comparison is they're all good. It down to personal preference. Me? Campag but there's noth by wrong with the other two.

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Simon E [3154 posts] 3 years ago
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Pauldmorgan wrote:

Personally I would say that £200 for 370g is worth having - not many ways of getting that kind of weight saving for that price elsewhere.

Please don't tell me you'd notice the weight difference.

Why not just get fitter? That way you'd be both faster and get to lose some body fat. Cost: £0. Benefit: lots.

These days it seems to be easy to confuse a cycling website with greeneyed-compulsive-shopper.com

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dave atkinson [6330 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
steviewevie wrote:
notfastenough wrote:

When the new Shimano Claris entry-level groupset came out, I seem to recall Dave Atkinson was going to try and compare it with his mate's old DA setup - might have been 2005. Not heard anything since though.

I'd love to see a comparison like that.

i'll try and make it so

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goggy [157 posts] 3 years ago
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Merlincycles.com always seems to have brilliant deals on their groupsets. Definitely go there (I have bought 4 in the last year for different bikes... )

And no, I don't work for them  3

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matthewn5 [1083 posts] 3 years ago
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Weight-price comparison for 2014 groupsets now on sale:

2682g - 105 11s - £299.99 @ Merlin
2314g - Athena 11s - £519.99 @ Ribble
2274g - Ultegra 11s - £459.99 @ Ribble (less for compact)
2166g - Chorus 11s - £769.99 @ Ribble (some bits o/o stock)
2039g - Record 11s - £1,069.99 @ Ribble
1840g - Super Record 11s - £1,069.99 @ Slane (others cheaper but sold out)

Please correct if you find it cheaper. And please add Sram.

Good time to buy a groupset folks!

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bigblue [21 posts] 3 years ago
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Where did the weight figures (in the above comment) come from ? Are they accurate / directly comparable ?

Edit : the article says 370g between 105 and Ultegra, the above 408g - not wildly different, but nonetheless they do differ.

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s_lim [214 posts] 3 years ago
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drmatthewhardy wrote:

Weight-price comparison for 2014 groupsets now on sale:

2682g - 105 11s - £299.99 @ Merlin
2314g - Athena 11s - £519.99 @ Ribble
2274g - Ultegra 11s - £459.99 @ Ribble (less for compact)
2166g - Chorus 11s - £769.99 @ Ribble (some bits o/o stock)
2039g - Record 11s - £1,069.99 @ Ribble
1840g - Super Record 11s - £1,069.99 @ Slane (others cheaper but sold out)

Please correct if you find it cheaper. And please add Sram.

Good time to buy a groupset folks!

That puts Ultegra into context for me. I had falsely assumed it was still a lot heavier than Chorus, but just over 100g is nothing.

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choddo [42 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Great review. One thing that confused me a bit; you said the trim would have you accidentally shifting to the small ring. Doesn't the trim only work in small->big direction?

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caaad10 [190 posts] 3 years ago
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I find that my (10s) 105 works perfectly for a few rides, but I live in very hilly terrain and I find it needs constant fine tuning - like every couple of weeks - to keep it shifting correctly (even with my swanky yokozuna cables), to be honest it's a complete PITA and next time I'm going electronic. The Tiagra on my winter bike functions better, and needs minimal adjustment, but it isn't as comfortable and the cables reflect light & get in the way slightly. This groupset needs a long term test to convince me it's worth having....

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