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I'm looking at buying a Cannondale Supersix. There are two options that interest me, the 105 bike, or the Ultegra bike. The main differences are obviously groupset, and wheels - 105 has Shimano RS-10 wheels while the Ultegra has Mavic Aksiums. Price difference between the two is about $1,000.
I'm finding it easier to justify the purchase of the 105 bike, and spend some cash on upgrading wheels. Given the weight difference between the two groupsets is only about 200 grams, is there an overwhelming reason to spend the extra and purchase the Ultegra bike? How cheaply (or costly) would it be to upgrade from 105 to Ultegra down the line?
Sounds like a good plan to me. $1000 could buy some nice wheels and you could use the stock wheels for training.
I would go the Ultegra with Aksiums myself.
Ultegra is a lot closer to Dura Ace in performance than it is to 105, and the Aksium are a decent, strong entry level and above wheel set.
The biggest concern going the other route is that you may spend that $1000 on new wheels, but then you're stuck with 105 gearing unless you drop the $$$ on another groupset, which I dare say will happen when upgraditis sets in.
Proudly "a hater of academics with helmet cams"
Thanks for the feedback. In terms of performance am I correct in saying the performance of a gearset is essentially reliability and "feel", i.e. you aren't going to go faster with an Ultegra than a 105, but you will have a more reliable groupset?
go the 105, buy some decent wheels (i've got pro-lite bracciano's) and upgrade parts 105 to ultegra as needed
What type of riding will you be doing with the bike?
Racing? Touring? Fitness and social riding or competitive group rides/races?
The extra grams saved with Ultegra will assist to a small degree and Ultegra should be more reliable (assuming whatever you get is regularly maintained), but how much more reliable and is that extra reliability worthwhile to you in real life is something answered by you.
As for Ultegra making you go faster than 105 - it's all about the person riding the bike (not the bike).
Put Wiggins on a an entry level road bike and you on his Dogma and I'd be quite confident you'd struggle to keep up with him....and there would be a LARGER difference in bikes than there would be in 105 vs Ultegra.
There's nothing wrong with 105 and if it suits your purpose then save the money and spend it on better wheels (which will make more difference to your riding than the groupset - IMHO).
2012 Felt F75 | 105 | ProLite Braccianos | GP4000S
^^ what jasonc said. $1000 upgrade for Aksiums and Ultegra is silly I reckon. 105 is perfectly fine and can be replaced with fancier bits as required, if you're so inclined. You'd get much more excitement out of a wheel upgrade, carbon handlebars, Garmin etc etc.. In fact you could do all 3 with $1k.
Litespeed Tuscany Ti, Trek Superfly AL 29er, Trek 8000 rigid MTB
I'd go Ultegra, for the pure reason that if I were to have purchased 105, I'd be wanting to upgrade to Ultegra. But $1000 is a bit steep for the step up. Saying that, there will be next to no difference in feel between the 2 groupsets.
The RS10s are pretty rubbish wheels, I was constantly popping spokes and once I upgraded to a stiffer wheel I understood how flexy they really were. I have no experience with Aksiums, would prefer Ksyriums, Zondas or Pro-Lites.
Again for me $1000 is probably not worth it, but if you're asking the question you've probably already made up your mind to go the Ultegra as you've not been put off by the price bump.
If your keen to negotiate, try seeing what they'll sell you the Ultegra Bike for, less the wheels and buy some of the wheels mentioned above online and you may end up in front.
actually the extra $1k would buy wheels, garmin and some other bits. definitely a better spend
Having ridden both 105 and Ultegra bikes long term there is no difference between them from a maintenance or performance perspective. The price differential is in the weight and materials used. The price difference between those bikes is more than just the wheels and groupset as they have different saddles, handlebars, seatpost and stem and importantly cranksets.
In the end neither of those wheelsets are particularly amazing but only one of them will be compatible with the future 11 speed Shimano groupsets - the Mavic's. If you can't get the bike without wheels or with a different set from the same shop then I would spring for Ultegra only as the urge to upgrade will be slower.
Thanks again for all the feedback. The bike will just be used for group riding and "competitive" riding with friends - no official racing as yet.
One additional plus for the 105 bike is that my current bike has Mavic Aksiums, which have only done about 1,500 km's so I could very easily just swap them over before selling the old bike. I'd like to put on some 50 mm aero wheels, but the Aksiums could do the job in the meantime.
I think a key point I might be overlooking is that the $2k 105 bike is going to be easier to get past the missus!
I have use 105 and Ultegra am now on SRAM Red and my upgradeitis seems to have settled.
The 105 was good and I had no issues, the only reason I went 600 is a bought a new bike and upgraded the grouppo in the process. Same with the Red.
However each upgrade was a better frame so it was justified getting a better grouppo, you are starting out on a good frame so no need to replace that.
Something else to consider.....
I think the best value is the 105 but I was lucky to pick up a 2011 Supesix 105 for $1500 recently and have replaced it with Ultegra Di2 instead. So if you are wanting to go electronic (though not as sleek with external cabling) it might be a better option to go to 105, sell the groupset and buy the Ultegra Di2 components for around $1000 all up. btw. I was also looking at the Supersix 4 (Rival) at the time but don't think it represents good value at $200 less than Ultegra either unless of course it has the colour you want.
First time poster.
I was in a similar position to the op. I was looking at the $2000-2500 range for a new roadie. I was shown a Giant and Focus and quite liked the Giant after a test ride. I was in a bit of a rush and had to wrap up my bike shopping. As I was leaving I said "hey how about Cannondale?" as I've always had a soft spot for Dales. He said "you could have this for 2.5" pointing to a Supersix 3 with full Ultegra in black. Bang love at first sight. I didn't think I'd get on a carbon Dale with full Ultegra for that sort of money.
Anyway, I returned a few hours later and had a ride. It felt just right. Fairly light and responsive and the fit felt pretty good straight away.
I will be picking it up next week and have also upgraded the wheels to Ksyrium Elites.
So after going in there wanting to spend $2k I am now at $3.1k plus pedals but am very comfortable with this as I won't catch upgradeitis for quite a while. There's nothing wrong with 105 except you'll always want Ultegra.
I can't wait.
Funny reading back over this thread. 105 has done the job fine but is now being replaced with SRAM Red. With that, Quarq, wheels and other bits and bobs the $2.5k bike has managed to turn into a $6k bike.
And good on me for claiming it wouldn't be used for racing. It's done a lot of that now
+1. Something else to realise is that the componentry "trickles down" in Shimano's range. Today's 105 was once what you paid for as Ultegra (mostly). I've put over 24000 km on a standard 'Dale Six Carbon 5 with mostly 105 and Ultegra RD (the common marketing ploy to make you think a bike is Ultegra, when only the RD is - more than a few brands do this).
Have ridden bikes that were 105 throughout, and really can't tell the difference.
My 'dale came with RS-10s, that cracked a rear rim after about 8000km (and within 2 years). Shimano replaced them with a pair of RS-20's under warranty,
telling me at the time that the RS-10 was out of production. Might have been code for they had a manufacturing problem to sort out with that particular model - other cheaper
Shimano wheels I've used were trouble free.
The only upgrades I've given it were when chains or cassettes that had worn out - went for Wipperman 10sx and ultegra cassettes. Chains are what gives you the most frictional loss (and noise etc.,.) in the drive chain - and better quality one make a noticeable difference.
Also think about this: what makes you think your upgraditis will finish with the Ultegra ? You know, you really got to have the di2 ultegra - now that is a big step up from the 105 or mechanical ultegra.
Upgradeitis is like an itch - the trick is don't scratch it, or you'll never stop.
Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us -Jerry Garcia
I have a Fuji SST with 105/RS20's and bought a Synapse with Ultegra/Aksiums about 2 months ago. I ride the SST during the week (leave it at the office) and the Synapse on weekends.
Ultimately, when I'm riding the SST I don't miss the ultegra group set, the difference in ride or shift quality does not seem that obvious to me (some others may be more sensitive to it but not me). the real difference is the compliance and comfort of the frame.
If I had my time over I would buy the 105 model and put the extra $700 in my pocket.
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