Saturday, September 4, 2010


I've got a question for all the bike nerds (with "nerd" used in a most affectionate manner) out there.

Right now I have Shimano 105's on both my bikes.  With the exception of the shifters and brake levers (one bike is a TT the other is a roadie), they are the same.  Both have 53/39 chain rings.  I'm not sure the length of the crankarms, probably either 170 or 172.5mm.

Hypothetically speaking (since at the end of the day, $1500 could be put to much better use than new components), I'm asking the following:

1)  Which bike would you upgrade the component group on?

2)  Would you go with Shimano Ultegra, SRAM Force, or Campagnolo Chorus?

Here's some background.  As far as which bike, I'm not sure what the best move is.  On one hand, the TT bike is the race bike, so in many ways it is the more important of the two.  But keep in mind I'll probably never podium unless only two other people show up at the race.

The road bike is my baby.  It's my pride and joy.  I feel the same way about this bike as my neighbor probably feels about his red Alpha Romeo - that the best accessories or whatever else are still not quite good enough.

So it comes down to performance vs. vanity.  That said, I'm not afraid to admit that both are important, albeit for different reasons.

As far as the group set, I've only ever ridden on Shimano.  I can't say I've had any issues.  But I've talked to a lot of people who love SRAM.  And as far as Campagnolo goes, you can't deny it's the classic component manufacturer.  And if I was to do the upgrade on the road bike (which is a Bianchi), going with Campagnolo would be quite "classically" correct.

I realize these are hypothetical questions, but if you have any input, let me know.  Because you know how easy it is for "hypotheticals" to turn into reality, especially when you are a tinkering obsessed guy.


valen said...

that's a tough one. Here is my 2 cents:
Since you're likely to ride 10/90 between the road bike and the race bike you'll benefit from a good drivetrain on your road. As you said, during the race you'll play with 4 or 5 gears tops, so no problems using your old 105's for some more time.
That sorts out which bike is getting spoiled. As for which group, Same as you I've ridden mainly on shimano. Recently I got Sram and I have to say the guys have put their money where their mouth is. The shifting performance is not greater than the other two, but there's hardly any need to adjust the derralieurs two weeks after your bike has gone to service. I like that "fresh from the service" feeling in my shifting and I reckon the SRAM guys beat the crap out of the other two.

valen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KovasP said...

If you're not having issues, why change? Send me the money instead. SRAM is a Chicago-based company so they are clearly the best. The $1500 could be spent on bike camp or additional coaching as well.

ajh said...

Most of the white water rafting was on the Hudson. We started for a few miles on the Indian River maybe? And then 14 miles on the Hudson.


My 2 cents, upgrade the race bike. It will strike fear in the heart of all your competitors, and provide flawless shifting and performance in races. Podium finish or not, you want your race to be a flawless execution.

A well tuned 105 set will still perform very well in training rides on your roadie.

As for the manufacturer, Unless you really want to try something new, I'd stick with what I know.

Anne said...

Them's some good numbers for August :) for the bike...yeah good luck :)

RockStarTri said...

Hello. My name is Joe and I'm a bike nerd.

Crowd says "Hello Joe"

On a more serious note. I would avoid the Campy. The main reason is that there are areas where they do not have the tools to adequate repair all flavors of them. I've never seen a shop (perhaps there are some in Europe) that cannot fix Shimano.

My bikes have Shimano and my TT bike has SRAM on it. I've had 105s, Ultegra, Dura Ace, and Red. My favorite, and best bang for the buck, has been the Ultegras. The higher cost supposingly gains you some very little weight advantage, durability, and smoothness. The only complaint that I have is with the Red's front derailliur.

My choice to upgrade would be the bike you ride the most (the roadie). This way you would get most from the durability advantage.

All of this, I have to second Kovas. If there are no complaints, Look elsewhere. If you want the most bang for the buck in this price range, get a power meter and/or coach that knows how to use it. You will see the most improvement that route.

skierz said...

only have a practical perspective, not a huge techie guy. but, if you are going to upgrade. do it to the race bike. The smoother and cleaner you can get it shifting the better your race wil be all around. I am personally biased towards Shimano as that has been what I have always used. Do what makes you feel fastest every day!

Unknown said...

Upgrade your road bike; you have a lot to do with it over the next year. Personally, I love Shimano Ultegra - but I"m not a bike geek (married to one, though); I just do what I'm told.

Unknown said...

pretty much everything Joe said. Especially about the campy. It would suck to have to change cassettes and you'd have to buy different ones for your race wheels and, at least around here, no LBS carries any campy stuff.

If you aren't having any issues with the 105's my opinion would be to get an aero helmet and carbon wheels instead!

Jennifer said...

Wow, I feel really dumb, I realized I know even less (like, way less) about all of this than everyone. The comments have been interesting!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Personally, I wouldnt even worry about the group your riding, 105 is good enough for us age groupers, yes Ultegra will feel a tad smoother, but I would spend the $1500 on 50mm race wheels (and just swap them between your tt and roadie) and an aero helmet. You will get more out of that then your components.


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