I currently own a 2013 steel cyclocross bike that I use for daily commuting (approximately 1 hour per day). The model I have is equipped with a Shimano Sora groupset. I am considering moving to a steel road bike, and am looking at a used 2011 model with a Shimano Ultegra groupset.

Can anyone tell me whether there will be a noticeable difference moving from a Sora to an Ultegra groupset?


2 Answers 2


The cable routing is different. Ultegra is designed to allow both cables to route along the handlebar (instead of that cable sticking out the side of the brake lever like on Sora), to give you a cleaner look and less chance of the cable getting in your way.

Ultegra is higher quality than Sora. It should shift a bit better, or at least go more miles before it needs adjusting to shift perfectly again. It should last longer.

Ultegra is basically the same as Shimano's absolute top of the line (Dura Ace), except a bit heavier.

If you're shopping around and looking at any other bikes, you may also want to consider Shimano 105. 105 is basically the previous generation of Ultegra without any carbon fiber.

  • 1
    2013 Sora STI shifters do use the paddle levers to change up and down gears, same as the more expensive models. They no longer have the thumb lever.
    – vclaw
    Feb 24, 2014 at 22:28
  • @vclaw: Didn't notice that had happened.
    – freiheit
    Feb 24, 2014 at 22:50
  • 1
    I think the hoods are also designed to be a bit more comfortable. This is probably the biggest advantage of ultegra for a commuter.
    – Batman
    Feb 24, 2014 at 23:39
  • 1
    Replacement parts for Ultegra are a lot more expensive
    – Mac
    Feb 25, 2014 at 0:28

Go for Shimano 105 instead of Ultegra. The levers are basically the same (alu instead of carbon) at a lesser expense with the same cable routing along the bar as with Ultegra. I run a cross-bike with 105 and a road-bike with Ultegra. Both work without a noticeable difference.

  • I agree that 105 may be a good compromise, but this answer could be improved if you can describe the comparison to Sora (which presumably would be significant). Feb 25, 2014 at 11:02
  • 1
    I agree that 105 is a great compromise, since it's basically the previous generation of Ultegra with less expensive materials. However, the question is because he's comparing a specific new bike with Sora to a specific used bike with 2011 Ultegra.
    – freiheit
    Feb 25, 2014 at 17:52

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