Is this an upgrade?
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  1. #1
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    Is this an upgrade?

    I have a 2010 model aluminum road bike. It has Ultegra 6600. I WANT a new bike, but that is pricey and the boss hasn't signed off on that. So I am looking at a refresh.

    If I were to change out to the new 105 R7000 from my current Ultegra 6600, is this an upgrade? Worth it?

  2. #2
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    No. No.

    Quit craving upgrades. There's no magic in new parts.

  3. #3
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    To be fair (to me), it's not just wanting new stuff. I live in a billy area and would like 11-28. Ultegra 6600 can only (officially) handle 12-25. Also, hills, so I would like better brakes. I know I can just throw some on now, but the dual-pivot ones I have heard are a big difference. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of the cables jutting out of the side of the shifter, which 6600 has. And I prefer the ergonomics of the newer shifters.

    I already changed my crankset to a Praxis one (50/34 to 52/36 - not THAT hilly), so I would only be looking to change out the: shifters, brakes, cassette, FD, RD, and chain.

    I know it would be an Ultegra to 105 move, but would the newer "lower" stuff be "better" and possibly even lighter? Would I even be able to tell a difference if I were blind-folded.

    And I ride a road bike. Isn't craving for newer and better stuff part of the job description!?
    Last edited by lightning33; 02-07-2019 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Added ergonomics comment

  4. #4
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    I don't know why you want to now change to a bigger cassette, after going to a bigger crank. That doesn't make much sense. I guess you really want an '11', can you sprint your 12 out? I don't think so.
    I don't know why you want different shifters. Do you know you'll be yearly changing bartape, cables and housings? My Seven has cables out the front and they have never been changed! .... hmmm maybe I need to do that someday.
    I'd just get the brakes off ebay.
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  5. #5
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    Cassette: more about the other end of the cassette. Make it a 12-28 for all I care. I get that I went from 50/34 to 52/36 and now want a more climbing-friendly cassette.

    Cables: because the cables are kept under bar tape, they then need to be changed out yearly? That doesn't make sense.
    Last edited by lightning33; 02-09-2019 at 12:48 PM. Reason: "is" to "it"

  6. #6
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    Get a 6600 (or other ten speed Shimano) GS derailleur and run the gears you want. If you switch back to the 50/34, you could easily run a 32-tooth cassette. I've done that on more than one bike.

    Dura Ace brakesets of that vintage are cheap enough on eBay, or newer vintage if the cable pull hasn't changed (I'm not 100% up on that). I doubt you'll notice much of a difference. Get a good set of aftermarket brake pads (like Kool Stops) that match your intended riding conditions, and you'll be much happier.

    If you are still running the old wheels, they likely won't accept 11 speed cassettes. Something else to think about...

  7. #7
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    I'm simply trying to ask if that is, in fact, an upgrade. Is a 10-year old groupset better/as good as a new groupset one level down.

    In terms of performance, weight, etc.

  8. #8
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    GS derailleur: these seem to be hard to find new. Am I not searching for the right thing on eBay?

    32-tooth: I was under the impression that Ultegra of that vintage could only handle a max of 27. And only handle a max of a certain combination of teeth which the 50 and 25 met. Are those just "official" numbers and not realistic numbers?

    Wheels: I had not thought of that. Good call.

  9. #9
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightning33 View Post
    Ultegra 6600 can only (officially) handle 12-25.
    Wrong. The spec is 27, depending on the derailleur hanger it will more often than not work w/ a 28.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    Get a 6600 (or other ten speed Shimano) GS derailleur and run the gears you want. If you switch back to the 50/34, you could easily run a 32-tooth cassette. I've done that on more than one bike.
    And no again. No model of 6600 derailleur will work well w/ anything larger than a 28. The longer cage does nothing to make it work better w/ a larger cog. Zero. The ONLY thing that longer cage did was wrap more chain. It was designed for triples not big cogs. Both of those 6600 derailleurs had the same big cog spec...and it was 27. There was no 'long' cage, only short and medium (SS & GS). If you're using it w/ a 32 your chain is either too short for big/big or too long for small/small.

    ETA: Actually you're right at the spec if you're using a 32, but the upper cog probably pinches the chain against the big cog.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    And no again. No model of 6600 derailleur will work well w/ anything larger than a 28. The longer cage does nothing to make it work better w/ a larger cog. Zero. The ONLY thing that longer cage did was wrap more chain. It was designed for triples not big cogs. Both of those 6600 derailleurs had the same big cog spec...and it was 27. There was no 'long' cage, only short and medium (SS & GS). If you're using it w/ a 32 your chain is either too short for big/big or too long for small/small.

    ETA: Actually you're right at the spec if you're using a 32, but the upper cog probably pinches the chain against the big cog.
    I didn't notice any pinching on the bikes I did, but that could vary from derailleur hanger to derailleur hanger on various frames. Never was really an issue, but I admit, it was right at the edge. For a lot of these people, I'd often run a 12-30 cassette because they really didn't need the 11 tooth and the cassettes were cheaper.

    Come to think of it, I had better results running XT derailleurs on the older Shimano stuff, because it was designed for that sort of cassette. Being more of a SRAM guy, I just went with what they had already or what I could source cheaply.

  11. #11
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    Per cxwrench's comments, my 6600 equipped bike came with a 12-27. Actually it was a really good range for me in a reasonably hilly area.

    Non-hidden cables aside, I loved my 6600 and 7800 setups.

  12. #12
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    Look into Tiagra GS rear derailleurs. New they run $30-$60 on eBay and Amazon. A 12-30 cassette is another $50-$70, and then there's the cost of the chain. Done.

    The 4700 Tiagra derailleur got some decent trickle down from the higher groups, so it should perform admirably. Plus, it was designed in the era where compacts and "MTB" cassettes became more mainstream, so it can handle the extra cogs easier than earlier derailleurs.

    If you still want to go 11 speed in the future, you can do it progressively. Upgrade the wheelset (maybe HED Belgiums) and then save for the groupset at a later date. You don't have to do it all at once. Your frameset is a reaspectable one, but only you can decide if it's "worth it". If you're looking at replacing it in the next couple years, I'd go the first route and save your money- you'll never recoup it.

  13. #13
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    Simple answer to the OP's questions.

    1. Yes, that would be an "upgrade" in the sense that you are getting newer, better designed, and lighter components.

    2. No one here can tell you if it's 'worth it' for you. We have no idea how you value such things vs the money you'd be spending. For me, I would make that upgrade all day and twice on Sunday, but that's just me. Obviously lots of other folks feel differently.

    As a lot of folks are telling you, you can always 'refresh' what you have and make some improvements by replacing some of the parts.

    One thing to consider in terms of upgrades. I'm assuming you have a wheel set that is comparable to the groupset you have in terms of generation and component level.

    If you did a few minor changes some of these folks are suggesting, you could spend the money you save on new wheels. Depending on the wheels you have and what you get, this could be a fairly significant improvement on your bike. You can get some really nice, alloy wheels that are strong and light(ish) these days.
    Last edited by Finx; 02-09-2019 at 10:59 AM.

  14. #14
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    It's only an upgrade if what you seek allows you to ride more comfortable or quicker or climb better and or any combination or single factor listed. Most importantly, you have to like the upgrade better than what you upgrade from.

  15. #15
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    One other thing, depending on the age of your wheels, upgrade from 10 to 11 speed may or may not require new wheels which will be an investment... of course that could turn out to be the actually noticeable part of the upgrade process

  16. #16
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    Ah, thank you!

    1) Exactly the kind of answer I was looking for.

    2) Fair enough. I guess I meant that if this change would result in a 2% performance benefit (due to weight, or better friction management, etc - I know new components won't make YOU faster) for a significant chunk of change, then not worth it. But, if a quick eBay search shows the parts I was initially looking for was going to run about $300-350, not that bad. Especially given a new RD and cassette as some have suggested is about 100.

    3) I WAS looking at a refresh. Then I found out 105 was newly redone (I DO live under a rock). So, changing to brand new tech 105 sorta is my refresh.

    4) Good point on the wheels. I didn't think of that aspect. I have the Shimano R500 wheelset that came with my bike. So I'll look into that.

    If I "need" this new groupset and a new wheelset (at least a rear wheel), then maybe it would be best to just save the money and have a new bike day in the future.

    Thanks all!

  17. #17
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    You *might* be able just get a new 11 speed freehub body (and possibly re-dishing) to solve your wheel dilemma, but I am not sure about that.
    Last edited by rideit; 02-09-2019 at 01:34 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    Look into Tiagra GS rear derailleurs. New they run $30-$60 on eBay and Amazon. A 12-30 cassette is another $50-$70, and then there's the cost of the chain. Done.

    The 4700 Tiagra derailleur got some decent trickle down from the higher groups, so it should perform admirably. Plus, it was designed in the era where compacts and "MTB" cassettes became more mainstream, so it can handle the extra cogs easier than earlier derailleurs.

    If you still want to go 11 speed in the future, you can do it progressively. Upgrade the wheelset (maybe HED Belgiums) and then save for the groupset at a later date. You don't have to do it all at once. Your frameset is a reaspectable one, but only you can decide if it's "worth it". If you're looking at replacing it in the next couple years, I'd go the first route and save your money- you'll never recoup it.
    RD 4700 is not compatible w/ OP's shifters...different cable pull.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    RD 4700 is not compatible w/ OP's shifters...different cable pull.
    Hmm. Didn't notice that one, and yep, you're absolutely right. My apologies. That was sort of an odd duck in the 10 speed road world.

    So yeah, I guess his gearing upgrade options in the 10 speed world are kinda limited if he wants to run NOS components. I liked the shorter XT 9 speed RDs for 32-tooth cassettes and Road 10 speed GS rear derailleurs (except for the 4700) for 30-tooth cassettes, but they just aren't out there much anymore except in used form. I moved away from Shimano about a decade ago, so I should probably defer to you guys who kept up to speed.

  20. #20
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    Just get some brakes, wheels if you must... but you'll never be able to move them over unless your careful of specs. and save for a 'new bike'.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    Hmm. Didn't notice that one, and yep, you're absolutely right. My apologies. That was sort of an odd duck in the 10 speed road world.

    So yeah, I guess his gearing upgrade options in the 10 speed world are kinda limited if he wants to run NOS components. I liked the shorter XT 9 speed RDs for 32-tooth cassettes and Road 10 speed GS rear derailleurs (except for the 4700) for 30-tooth cassettes, but they just aren't out there much anymore except in used form. I moved away from Shimano about a decade ago, so I should probably defer to you guys who kept up to speed.
    It really is, I think it's the only one like that so far.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    Just get some brakes, wheels if you must... but you'll never be able to move them over unless your careful of specs. and save for a 'new bike'.
    I'm going to throw this out there (and please correct me if I'm wrong)-
    • If he doesn't like the looks of his shifters (with the exposed shift cables), a set of Shimano 105 ST-5700s would solve that problem. No replacement of wheels required (still a 10 speed shifter), and the cockpit will look tidier. He'd be on the hook for some new bar tape, but that's a regular consumable. My last couple sets of Shimano shifters came with new cables and housings, so if that's still the case, it's an even fresher build.
    • The gearing issue is somewhat more problematic, but I think an 11-28 10 speed cassette will easily fit his current rear derailleur and a mid-compact or compact crankset. If he's currently running a 12-27 or 12-25, the 11 tooth will more than make up for going back to a 50 tooth chainring. He gains both on the top and the bottom in this configuration, although gear spacing will be slightly wider. He would likely have to add a chain as well, but again that's a normal consumable.


    I think between the two upgrades, he would get the aesthetic refresh he wants ($165-shifters/tape) and the functionality he wants ($60-cassette/chain). Neither of which really will break the bank or be too much of a hit if he decides to move on to another bike down the road.

    I really didn't look too hard for those parts, and they very well could be sourced cheaper.

    Quality brake pads? Yeah, absolutely. They can make a world of difference. As I recall, the 6600 calipers weren't really all that bad.

    Sometimes stripping down an old bike, cleaning all of the parts, and adding a few, well-chosen upgrades does a whole lot to rekindle the affection you once had for it and keep your eyes from wandering.

  23. #23
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    I will look into this!

    It isn't so much the aesthetic of the cables coming out, although with more modern iterations NOT having that, NOT having it looks normal now. When my brother in law saw mine, he didn't know what to make of it. He was new to road cycling and only knew his 6700 shifters.

    I like the ergonomics of the newer shifters. Also, sometimes that cable does get in the way of certain grip positions.

    I don't care if I add an 11 on the back...or even if I add an 11th gear. I did a fondo last year for which higher teeth on the back would have been better. I looked into adding an xx-28, but found out my RD could only handle an xx-27, which was very challenging to find, especially new (I basically refuse to start with a used consumable).

    So, looking back into it, I figure for not much (relative) more money, why not totally refresh things.

    I have Cervelo branded brakes and not 6600 brakes. I was recently told that dual pivot brakes would be a world of difference. I don't know though. Ideally I would like discs, but that may not happen for a long while.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightning33 View Post
    I will look into this!

    It isn't so much the aesthetic of the cables coming out, although with more modern iterations NOT having that, NOT having it looks normal now. When my brother in law saw mine, he didn't know what to make of it. He was new to road cycling and only knew his 6700 shifters.

    I like the ergonomics of the newer shifters. Also, sometimes that cable does get in the way of certain grip positions.

    I don't care if I add an 11 on the back...or even if I add an 11th gear. I did a fondo last year for which higher teeth on the back would have been better. I looked into adding an xx-28, but found out my RD could only handle an xx-27, which was very challenging to find, especially new (I basically refuse to start with a used consumable).

    So, looking back into it, I figure for not much (relative) more money, why not totally refresh things.

    I have Cervelo branded brakes and not 6600 brakes. I was recently told that dual pivot brakes would be a world of difference. I don't know though. Ideally I would like discs, but that may not happen for a long while.
    Your Cervelo brakes should be dual pivot.
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  25. #25
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    If you have Cervelo-branded calipers, you may very well find new brakes an upgrade. I think the were rebadged Tektros back then. Still, a set of good brake pads might bring them up a bit. I like Kool Stops, but there are several brands out there that make good pads for various conditions. Again, it's a cheap upgrade. You're not going to suddenly stop like a hydraulic disc brake bike even with the best rim brake calipers, but it's worth a shot.

    Brakesets at the 105 level are relatively cheap and durable, so shop around and do whatever makes sense to you. Again, don't get carried away. Make an honest determination of how long you will own this bike. Even if you upgrade one day, you may keep it around as a foul weather bike to save your "nice" bike. Such investments won't likely result in increased market value at the end, but might make the bike more valuable to you while you own it. Only you can make that call.

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