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So my handlebars were stolen from my Salsa Casseroll the other night, levers and all. (Argh.) The bike has a Tiagra 9 speed triple drivetrain, and Shimano discontinued Tiagra 9 speed hardware, leaving me with only Sora shifter to buy new. On ebay old tiagra 9 speed triple levers that aren't beaten up are hard to come by, but I'm seeing some 105 9-speed triple shifters that look reasonable. Are those compatible with my Tiagra parts? Will I notice any performance difference? Or should I just suck it up and get the Sora levers? (Guy at my LBS looked down his nose at their quality a bit, which has me leery.) Thanks for any help.

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    Find another bike shop - preferably one that understands its customer needs. I find ones with lots of kids bikes most likely to provide great service to "sub 105" customers. – mattnz Feb 1 '15 at 23:27
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    I would consider setting up 10-speed cassette and go for Tiagra or 105 on 10 speeds. Usually 8-speed freehubs have the same depth as 10-speed ones and therefore they are compatible. – Rilakkuma Feb 2 '15 at 14:03
  • Why? 9 speed drivetrains are easy to find parts for, reliable and much cheaper to buy/maintain. – Batman Feb 5 '15 at 16:14
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You can use either the Sora or 105 shifters (all the cable pulls will match). Sora 9 speed has the proper ergonomics (instead of the silly button that it used to use on 8 speed), so its a good shifter.

As for if you will notice any performance difference, both should shift fine (if the 105's are indeed in good condition) [if you're racing, maybe you'll notice a difference], but the ergonomics may be very slightly different between the tiagra-105-sora levers (but you'll get used to it) [it wouldn't surprise me if the current Sora levers are a slight modification of the 9 speed Tiagra levers due to trickle-down].

I'd probably suck it up and buy the Sora levers personally - brifters are too finicky/fragile in crashes for me to be comfortable buying used ones off eBay unless the price is very good.

My guess is the bike shop guy wants you to go 10 speed which will involve replacing a whole bunch of stuff, hence the upturned nose. Or general cyclist snobbery.

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    Agreed. I think 105 became a 10-speed setup back around 2005, so any 105 9sp shifters around today will be quite old. Not a problem per se, but if you're buying secondhand make sure it is in good condition. – PeteH Feb 1 '15 at 17:29
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    Find a new bike shop, Sora components are mechanically just fine. There only drawback is a bit of extra weight. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Feb 3 '15 at 22:52
  • Very good to know on all fronts, thanks everybody -- and I think that explains the bike shop guy well too. Looks like Sora's going to be my move. Wanted to get this swapped out fast anyway, it's the only way to get over the theft. Thanks again! – seeinbee Feb 5 '15 at 16:01

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