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  1. #1
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    Ultegra Carbon Pedal vs. Dura Ace

    After 10 years with the same set of pedals, I'm now ready for a change. From all that I've read, it's pretty difficult to find anything wrong with the high-end Shimano SPD-SL models. I've found 2 great deals on separate sites for a brand new Allow Dura Ace (7810) at about the same price as a Carbon Ultegra (6700).

    The Ultegra is about 20g lighter, but I wonder how much better is the D-A with the "extra" weight penalty. I've found a third awesome deal on the latest 2012 Carbon D-A for about $70 than the D-A.

    Toe to toe, Carbon to Carbon comparison, the latest Ultegra is just 10g more than D-A. Can anyone really tell the difference with the quality between the two? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Currently riding discontinued Time Impacts on both road bikes.

  2. #2
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    I have the carbon DA - they are fantastic - I picked them in a new DA build and the LBS said they'd be the best pedals I could ever own...

  3. #3
    mtnroadie
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    A bit off topic, but i have the Look Keo Blade ti pedals, 185g for both! I think i paid around $230-$250ish

    Best pedal ever, cant say enough good things about it.

    The Chromoly version is bit heavier but way cheaper too.

  4. #4
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    Don't over think it........ it's a pedal.

    Both DA & Ultegra are good pedals. If it holds your foot in, let it rip.

  5. #5
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    Matador-IV,

    I do agree. I think the Ultegra is more than adequate and light years improvements over what I'm using now. And I was leaning towards the Ultegra.

    However, the common theme I've read is that may be the last set of pedals I buy. So, the question I was really inquiring about is whether for an extra $50 more for 15 - 20+ years, are the D-A bearings or design ANY better than the Ultegra. Doesn't hurt to ask. I am just trying to learn more about the difference between the two in order to make an informed decision before I make the purchase.

  6. #6
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    I've not had the chance to compare the carbon DA and Ultegra pedals but on the aluminium bodied versions, the DA one had a lower stack height. Bearing quality was better out of the box and for mine, never been serviced in about 4~5 years and still spin like new ! Something to ponder over.

  7. #7
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    Personally, I'd save the $50 and get the Ultegra. In 20yrs, who knows what pedal system we'll be using.

    If in 10-15yrs your Ultegra fail, you can buy 20 year old NOS Ultegra on eBay for $8.00, saving $42.00 and getting another 15 years.

  8. #8
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    Let me say that subjectively, I don't think I can go wrong with the Ultegra. I am trying to learn the *technical* differences. Here is a link that I uncovered with the key items I was looking for:

    CYCLINGTIME.com Review: Shimano Ultegra 6700-C SPD-SL Carbon Pedals

    In summary,
    1. Cheaper fiber material in the Ultegra (may or may not result in less durability) but only time will tell.
    2. better bearings with D-A (plus side is smoother and more efficient spinning for years, minus side may be a pain to clip in if pedal won't stay upright for easy cleat entry)
    3. no metal protectors on the side and bottom for Ultegra, which means more scuffing over the years (a bit worried about scraping a carbon pedal over and over directly against the road in turns)

    So on paper, the little ($50 or so) extra for D-A is not so ridiculous as a 10+ year investment, but to the extent that Ultegra any lesser quality is really relative given the high standard for both pedals.

  9. #9
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    I believe the Dura Ace level spd-sl pedals have a slight narrower Q factor than the Ultegras if that matters to you.

  10. #10
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    Yes it does. Hopefully that's a verifiable statement. Thanks for adding bullet #4. That is one thing I have enjoyed with the Time impact and also one of the main reasons I bought them in the first place.

    #5, I also read the stack was lower on the D-A in older generations. Not sure if that is still the case with the last versions.

    So it seems that on paper, if each bullet is worth $10 - $13 dollars a piece that would amount the extra cost for the Dura-Ace if one is willing to pay for it. Otherwise, Ultegra is a great value for still a high quality item.

    Thanks everyone for your feedbacks.

  11. #11
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    Dura-Ace pedals use a third set of bearings (2 sets of ball bearings, 1 set of roller bearings). Ultegra and lower models use only two sets of ball bearings. That's the biggest difference.

  12. #12
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    The DA 7810 pedals are bomb proof. Carbon pedals no matter who builds them will wear much faster.

    Personally I like my pedals to last for years and the design of the 7810 incorporate all the modern features such as wide platform and low stack height, to me they are still the perfect pedal. I only wish shimano would have kept them in production.

  13. #13
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    From what I read, Shimano will continue to provide them as long as there is a demand. Obviously not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a carbon pedal. The question is whether dealers will continue to stock them. So they may be harder to find, but the shops who continue carry the 7810 will benefit.

    I tried to read about the short vs long fiber before I dozed off. But the summary is there may be more of that concern with the carbon Ultegra than the D-A (for the extra $).

    If I am too worried about durability of any carbon, I'll have to replace my entire bike, the sole on my shoes, and pedals, etc. Too late for me to double think the reliability of carbon parts now. I'm already vested.

  14. #14
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    What did you get in the end and are you happy with your purchase?

  15. #15
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    Found a great deal online and bought the Carbon D-A for the price of Ultegra. I've been extremely happy when them. I could immediately feel the large platform smoother bearings compared to my old Time impacts.

    I was surprised when my wife said she recently sold some items and had money sitting in Paypal if I wanted anything. So I got the carbon Ultegra for my second bike. Also definitely a major improvement on my old Impacts.

    This could be an endless debate. But since you asked and I have both to compare, I will tell you that I can tell a difference with the D-A and Ultegra. If I tap the D-A pedals they spin. Same tap on the Ultegra and they just flip over. Silly test, but when that's the point of contact you have for applying power to the cranks, any ounce of energy you can save on the bearings, means less effort over the long haul. I've carefully selected all the components over the year to build my primary bike. So the D-A pedals fit the build,

    I would have been happy with the Ultegra on my first bike. But since have do have both, I would recommend the D-A if the price is right. That being said, I still wouldn't have paid full price for either.

  16. #16
    LC
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    I was thinking of getting some carbon SPD-SL's but I would be worried about wear of the carbon on the inside nose of a carbon pedal where the cleat engages. On my older Dura Ace and Ultegra SPD-SL metal pedals this is where they wear out and have to go to the pedal graveyard.

  17. #17
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    Not sure when these came out, but I read a review before I bought them, and it said they held up pretty well after a year of hard use. I've had mine for 4 months and 1.5K+ miles so far this year, not a single scratch. My cleats however don't hide the wear but these are plastic.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LC View Post
    I was thinking of getting some carbon SPD-SL's but I would be worried about wear of the carbon on the inside nose of a carbon pedal where the cleat engages. On my older Dura Ace and Ultegra SPD-SL metal pedals this is where they wear out and have to go to the pedal graveyard.
    You mean the 7750 and earlier models with the plastic wear plates ?

    You're referring to the black plastic wear plates that are directly under the foot I believe ? Those actually have replacement parts that can be bought.

    The 7810 and later models all use stainless steel wear plates that practically last as long as you want to keep them. My 7810 has done somewhere north of 20,000km already and there's barely discernible wear on the plates.

  19. #19
    LC
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    No, talking about the nose of the pedal where the front of the cleat hooks under.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LC View Post
    No, talking about the nose of the pedal where the front of the cleat hooks under.
    Oops.. misread that. my bad ...

    Usually, I leave a small dab of grease there in the underside of the 'hook', as I've done all these years since the original 'SPD-R' models. Clean up and grease a little once or twice a year and the pedal has never experienced significant wear in that area though.

  21. #21
    Not a climber
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    I just find it hard to believe that a carbon pedal or especially an aluminum pedal will wear out in the nose loop from rubbing against a plastic cleat. I figure the cleat will wear out at least 10x faster than the pedal.

  22. #22
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    Do you use the yellow float cleats? They get the float by having the nose of the cleat narrower than the pedal, so it can slide back and forth. The red no float cleats have a wider nose that doesn't move in the pedal. My 7800s don't show much wear under the nose of the cleat, but I use the no float cleats.

    I rode my 7900 pedals for the first time today. I've used 7700 and 7810s for years. The 7900s have all the good points of the 7810s but somehow Shimano made them much easier to clip in. That's my one complaint with the 7810s- I miss the clip in when its important, like a race start or getting off the line when there's an anxious car behind me. The 7900s are much improved.
    Last edited by ericm979; 04-18-2012 at 06:22 PM.

  23. #23
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    Shimano 105 design

    I just replaced my 105 pedals with DA on 4.5 Madone. The sand/salt here in CA ate thru the 105 seals in 2000 miles - symptoms were grinding and dry bearing sounds. LBS was going to replace under warranty but I upgraded. Only had the bike 5 mo. so aging of the seals is not the issue. Dura Ace design has better needle bearings and different design vs. 105 and Ultegra. Hoping this will help with sand, salt, etc. Bought Trek maintenance contract as the result of this and because of stress fractures on Bontrager Race wheels at the spoke nipples. Roads here are not that rough. If Shimano/Bontrager product reliability doesn't improve will go pro with Campagnolo on new bike when warranty runs out, but was hoping to avoid the cost... Sure did love those Campy parts years ago...and nothing broke for 20k miles!

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