Shimano 105 vs Ultegra – Which One Is the Best Choice?

Can't decide between Shimano 105 R7000 and Shimano Ultegra R8000? We compared them for you.
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Last updated: November 25, 2022
Shimano 105 R7000
vs
Shimano Ultegra R8000
Can't decide between Shimano 105 R7000 and Shimano Ultegra R8000? We compared them for you.
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If you’re a road cyclist who takes your cycling seriously, you want to be using the best parts for maintaining your bike. Finding the right groupset does require taking various factors into consideration. After all, every cyclist has his or her personal preferences when it comes to getting the most out of their bike. Shimano offers a range of road groupsets with different features and specifications.

Many cyclists are familiar with two of Shimano’s groupsets which leads to much discussion around which is better when comparing Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra. We’ve done the legwork for you so you can make a well-informed decision about which of the two groupsets suits you and your road bike best.

Read on for an in-depth review of the features, pros and cons, and what makes the Shimano 105 different from the Ultegra. We’ll also help you decide how to choose between the two groupsets.

Quick Overview Table

Road bike groupsets are made up of brake levers, shifters, brake calipers, crankset, derailleurs, chain, bottom bracket, and cassette. These parts are packed according to different levels by brands. Our quick overview table highlights the main features of each groupset while comparing the specifications of both the Shimano 105 and Ultegra.

At a glance, you’ll notice a number of similarities that may make you wonder what sets the two groupsets apart. Find out by reading on as we flesh out the similarities and differences in more detail.

Features Shimano 105 R7000 Shimano Ultegra R8000
Speed 11 11
Colors Silky black / Spark silver Series color
Average weight 251 ( /pc) 220 ( /pc)
Clamp band 23.8 – 24.2 mm 23.8 – 24.2 mm
Reach adjust  crew Screw
Rear speeds 11 11
Shifter type Dual control lever Dual control lever
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW ON AMAZON

SHIMANO 105 R7000

Shimano updates their groupsets on a regular basis, ensuring you get parts using the latest innovative technology to improve your ride. The Shimano 105 R7000 is the brand’s current groupset designed with the beginner cyclist in mind. The brand’s intention is to equip riders with up-to-date parts to give them the edge when starting to take on the challenges of serious races while ensuring pleasurable long rides.

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra – Which One Is the Best Choice?Main features

Dual Control Levers

The shifters have a compact bracket with the mechanism being enclosed. It has a 10mm screw type Reach adjust, and gear changing is smooth with short strokes. Friction is reduced with polyme Trusted Source Polymeric surface - Wikipedia Polymeric materials have widespread application due to their versatile characteristics, cost-effectiveness, and highly tailored production. The science of polymer synthesis allows for excellent control over the properties of a bulk polymer sample. However, surface interactions of polymer substrates are an essential area of study in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and in all forms of coating applications. In these cases, the surface characteristics of the polymer and material, and the resulting forces between them largely determine its utility and reliability. In biomedical applications for example, the bodily response to foreign material, and thus biocompatibility, is governed by surface interactions. In addition, surface science is integral part of the formulation, manufacturing, and application of coatings. en.wikipedia.org r-coated cables. The braking system is efficient while being powerful.

Riders using these dual control levers find them comfortable with extra grip. The pair weighs in at 486g.

Front and Rear Derailleurs

The front derailleurs give 2 x 11-speed shifting, with light action. The refined design includes a long arm lever which is responsible for lighter action. The rear derailleurs are also designed to ensure you don’t compromise on performance, with precise shifting for 11-speed systems, and are available in both short and medium cages.

Crankset

Neither balance nor efficiency is compromised with this crankset which guarantees optimal stiffness. The rider is given multiple choices of gear combinations. And, it’s designed to give a wider gear pitch for increased chain clearance with small gearings on the 135mm O.L.D. frames. It comes in the following chainring options:

  • 53-39T
  • 52-36T
  • 50-34T

Crank arm lengths range from 160 to 175mm.

Cassette

The R7000 cassette is available in a number of ratio ranges for both road and mixed surfaces. It’s compatible with the HG-X11/CN-LG 11-speed chain.

The Shimano 105 groupset also offers the HG700-11 cassette designed for low climbing gears and is compatible with both 10 and 11-speed freehubs. This cassette is suitable for most drop handlebar road bikes.

Brakes

The dual pivot rim brakes are sleek in design and suitable for 28mm tires while also compatible with the wider 28C tires. They’re perfect for both traditional and direct mount selections. The linear braking curve is precise with stable, equalized stopping power. Its quick lever release maximizes performance for the rider.

The hydraulic disc brakes are designed to optimize rider control no matter the riding condition. They offer excellent heat dissipation and are easy to install and maintain. The one-way bleeding system is simple and clean. These brake systems come for both front and rear mounting.

Pros

  • An affordable but high-quality groupset
  • Parts designed for ease of use and comfort
  • Designs are appealing to the eye
  • Improved functionality

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than Ultegra parts

SHIMANO Ultegra R8000

The Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset is also 11-speed, which is ultimately what causes a lot of angst for bikers choosing between this one and the Shimano 105 groupset! However, if you’re looking for slightly lighter parts with more durable coatings, you’ll get them in the Ultegra groupset. Similar to all groupsets from this brand, the Shimano Ultegra R8000 is an updated version.

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra – Which One Is the Best Choice?Main features

Dual Control Levers

The shifters have a neat profile, with a pair weighing in at 438g. They’re easy to use, comfortable with short strokes and lighter action, and are an improvement on older designs.

The curved design is easier on the fingers while making one-finger braking smoother and more efficient. The shifters are constructed with carbon-fiber plastic brackets and main levers.

Front and Rear Derailleurs

Similar to the Shimano 105, the front derailleur design allows for easy shifting and includes a tension adjustment screw for optimal performance. The unit is compact and accommodates chainrings up to 53T. Here, the trim position feature prevents chain rub when moving across the cassette. The rear derailleur is also available in both short and medium cages, giving riders more versatility. Lighter and quicker action is noticeable during gear shifts.

Crankset

The Ultegra includes the same chainrings as the Shimano 105 chainset. However, it also has a 46-36T cyclocross Trusted Source What is Cyclocross? | USA Cycling Cyclocross is a unique, non-Olympic discipline of cycling that can best de described as a cross between road cycling, mountain biking and steeplechase. Watching cyclists dismount their bikes to run up stairs and steep embankments often arouses questions about the origin of the sport. Although it is difficult to find the exact reason, many legends have it that cyclists would race from town to town off road to bring a new element to road racing. These off road adventures could have often required dismounting to hop fences and impossible terrain. usacycling.org option. Note that the crank arm lengths are the same as the 105 cranksets. The crankset is constructed with aluminum and basically uses the same technology as the 105 chainsets. But, the Ultegra outer chainring is a two-piece construction that can result in grime build-up.

Cassette

The Ultegra cassette weighs 243g and is designed for 11-speed systems. Ultegra is available in the same tooth range as the 105, with additional availability in both 11-25T and 14-28T. The sprockets and lock spring are constructed with nickel-plated steel, while the spider arm is made with carbon and aluminum.

Brakes

Ultegra dual-pivot brakes are constructed with the same material as the 105 using aluminum. They carry the same design as the 105 dual-pivot brakes, offering great performance with equalized braking and superior control. Ultegra dual-pivot brakes are slightly lighter in weight compared to the Shimano 105.

The hydraulic disc brakes are constructed with engineered composite making them lighter by a few grams compared to the 105 sets. Braking’s performance is as good as the Shimano 105.

Pros

  • Marginally lighter
  • Incorporates Shadow Plus technology in derailleurs
  • Durable coatings on some parts
  • Smooth functionality
  • Refined ergonomic design on shifters
  • Easy one-finger braking

Cons

  • More expensive than Shimano 105

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra: Difference

We’ve already noted how similar the groupsets are between the Shimano 105 and Ultegra. They’re both designed for 11-speed systems, and their parts are designed to offer a smooth but powerful performance. All parts are constructed with premium quality materials which makes this brand a popular choice for most bikers. So, what makes the two groupsets different enough to make you think twice before deciding which is your best pick?

The key differences lie in the following:

  • Price: Ultegra is more expensive than Shimano 105, although parts can be swapped between the sets to change the final pricing of a groupset.
  • Weight: The majority of Ultegra parts are constructed with lighter materials such as carbon fiber, resulting in them weighing less than the 105 groupset. However, it must be noted this weight difference is negligible at slightly below 200g!
  • One-finger braking: This may be the deal-breaker for some riders who opt for the 1-finger braking of the Ultegra shifters compared to the 2-finger braking of the 105 dual control levers.
  • Cleaning: If spending a few more minutes on cleaning the grime off the 2-piece construction of the Ultegra outer chainring on the crankset bothers you, then settle for the 105 1-piece construction.
  • Pully bearings: An upgrade to Ultegra has resulted in better pully bearings in the rear derailleurs compared to 105’s set. This helps to reduce the friction slightly, giving you a smoother ride.

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra – Which One Is the Best Choice?So, Which to Choose?

Choosing between the Shimano 105 and Ultegra is challenging unless you like the idea of paying more cash for a group set that gives you parts at a minimally lower weight. Both groupsets offer parts with sleek designs, excellent functionality that offers smooth and powerful performance while being compatible with all road bikes.

However, if you want slightly more versatility, such as the cyclocross option and a crankset that’s available for 11-25T and 14-28T, then Ultegra is your best pick. Some riders also prefer the one-braking feature of the Ultegra dual control lever design.

Final Thoughts

Comparing the features between Shimano 105 and Ultegra clearly indicates why riders debate the two groupsets and wonder why one is sometimes considered better than the other. It really comes down to personal preferences and whether weight is a significant factor when out on the road competing or taking a weekend-long ride.

Both professional and amateur riders find the differences so slight that if you choose the cost-effective Shimano 105, you’ll still benefit from the brand’s innovative and top-quality bike components. Ultegra parts are designed to be lighter with different materials, but that’s all that sets the two groupsets apart. So, when deciding between the Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra, know that both groupsets will ultimately keep you riding at peak performance no matter which parts you use.

References

1.
Polymeric surface - Wikipedia
Polymeric materials have widespread application due to their versatile characteristics, cost-effectiveness, and highly tailored production. The science of polymer synthesis allows for excellent control over the properties of a bulk polymer sample. However, surface interactions of polymer substrates are an essential area of study in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and in all forms of coating applications. In these cases, the surface characteristics of the polymer and material, and the resulting forces between them largely determine its utility and reliability. In biomedical applications for example, the bodily response to foreign material, and thus biocompatibility, is governed by surface interactions. In addition, surface science is integral part of the formulation, manufacturing, and application of coatings.
2.
What is Cyclocross? | USA Cycling
Cyclocross is a unique, non-Olympic discipline of cycling that can best de described as a cross between road cycling, mountain biking and steeplechase. Watching cyclists dismount their bikes to run up stairs and steep embankments often arouses questions about the origin of the sport. Although it is difficult to find the exact reason, many legends have it that cyclists would race from town to town off road to bring a new element to road racing. These off road adventures could have often required dismounting to hop fences and impossible terrain.
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