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  1. #1
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    Shimano 9-speed brifters: Sora, Tiagra, or Ultegra

    I'm going to be converting my commuter from bar-end to integrated shifters (aka, brifters). I run 9-speed Shimano, and am considering either Sora, Tiagra, or Ultegra shifters. I've heard/read that the Sora units aren't the greatest, but how much of a difference is there between the Tiagra and Ultegras? FWIW, I'll be running a triple up front and canti brakes.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    Sora is fine. The only beef that folks seem to have is its thumb shifters (like Campy) vs. the brake lever integration that can be found in Tiagra +.
    The on drawback for the Sora/Campy thumb shifter is when you are on the drops. They are not as well placed. However for commuting, you are likely to spend most of your time on the hoods and top bar. Therefore the thumb shifter are ideally located. Oh one more thing, the Sora STI has no gear indicators unlike Tiagra+. But surely season riders shift by the feel of their legs right?
    YMMV of course.
    Apart from that, the units shift as they should. Certainly works fine as commuting.

  3. #3
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    I have to go with the ultegra, just all together smoother. But if price is an option than the tiagra isnt a bad choice at all either. However one small thing, i never use those junky plastic ferrul end caps, ask your shop for some good 4 or 5 mm alunimum ones.

    BTW i hae the ultegra set up on my cross bike, and i used the little inline adaptors that attach at the shifter, and those work great. Plus it looks very very clean.

    Also, i use the inline brake adaptors. Two reasons, one they work well and allow for a differnt hand position, and two, the inline adaptors have barrel adjusters built in so i can use them to get the nice tight brakes that i like, but then let them out when i want to open the brake to remove the wheel.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by |3iker
    Sora is fine. The only beef that folks seem to have is its thumb shifters (like Campy) vs. the brake lever integration that can be found in Tiagra +.
    The on drawback for the Sora/Campy thumb shifter is when you are on the drops. They are not as well placed. However for commuting, you are likely to spend most of your time on the hoods and top bar. Therefore the thumb shifter are ideally located. Oh one more thing, the Sora STI has no gear indicators unlike Tiagra+. But surely season riders shift by the feel of their legs right?
    YMMV of course.
    Apart from that, the units shift as they should. Certainly works fine as commuting.
    Gear shift indicators? My 105 brifters don't have 'em.

    Anyway, I prefer Tiagra over Sora simply because Sora has the goofy thumb-shifter-thingy. I got a heckuva deal on my 105 groupset by buying closeouts online, from Jenson, Nashbar, and Performance...Also, I couldn't find the Tiagra or Sora groupsets anywhere stateside.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by |3iker
    Sora is fine. The only beef that folks seem to have is its thumb shifters (like Campy) vs. the brake lever integration that can be found in Tiagra +.
    The on drawback for the Sora/Campy thumb shifter is when you are on the drops. They are not as well placed. .
    This is erroneous to the extent it implies that Sora and Campy are similar in this respect. Both have a thumb button for upshifts (to smaller cog), but the Campy button can be reached easily from the drops by most riders, and is used that way all the time. The Sora shifter button, apparently designed for the more casual rider who spends little time in the drops, is almost impossible for most riders to reach from this position.

    Depending on your riding style and requirements, this can be a significant limitation of Sora.

  7. #7
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    I think I would look at the new Tiagra 9 speed shifters. They look very nice for Tiagra. Between the old Tiagra and the 6510 Ultegra I would go Ultegra, but the 5510 105 is not bad either.

  8. #8
    Climbin' Clyde
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    I just went through this and should have a field report on Tiagra ST-4501 in two days. 9 speed brifters are getting difficult to find, even if you have access to wholesalers.

    I almost pulled the trigger on some new/take-off 105's on Ebay, then chose new Tiagra 4500 for about the same price. The "new" Tiagra looks much like "old" 7800 10 speed - same brifter shape - and different than the original generation 9 speed shifters. I prefer the more tactile shifting feel of ten speed over the old 'hard click' 9 speed, hoping these are such.

    I wish somebody on the "inside" could tell me if the exterior similarity is superficial, or if these really have the 7800/6600 gen rachet mechanisms in 9 speed form.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia
    This is erroneous to the extent it implies that Sora and Campy are similar in this respect. Both have a thumb button for upshifts (to smaller cog), but the Campy button can be reached easily from the drops by most riders, and is used that way all the time. The Sora shifter button, apparently designed for the more casual rider who spends little time in the drops, is almost impossible for most riders to reach from this position.

    Depending on your riding style and requirements, this can be a significant limitation of Sora.
    So the Campy has larger flappy paddle than the Sora. It's still a location issue. Big hand riders would have no problems either.

  10. #10
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    Consider DA-7700 shifters. I got a set on ebay for about $175..there were scratches, but they function perfectly. Sure, you take chances on ebay, but they are much nicer than the 8-sp Sora or old 8-speed Ultegra 600 shifters on the bike I upgraded from. If you are looking 9-sp, might as well include DA.

  11. #11
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    Sora has gear shift indicators…yes I looked at my bike to check, 'cuz I don't use them.

    I'd recommend at least Tiagra. Mine get on my nerves, but using a triple, you'd likely avoid the biggest beef i have with them…getting stuck in a gear that isn't there. Also, I think new Ultegra is 10-sp, so that might be a problem.

  12. #12
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    I'm thinking that the new Tiagra will be the way to go. Ultegra 9-spd can still be had NOS, but I'm not sure the extra cost is justified.
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  13. #13
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    Let us know how they shift/perform. I run DA 7700 on my bike, but my wife has 5510 105 and they are really looking shabby these days. Maybe a switch to 4500 shifters would be a good move for her ride.

  14. #14
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    After googling around and reading the reviews here, I'm thinking that some Campy shifters and a Jtek adapter might be the way to go. I could rebuild the levers when necessary, and have more options as far as the front mech/chainrings go.
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