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I'm upgrading an old Cannondale r700 roadbike to 9x2 speed. It is fitted with its original 105 groupset but it needs new shifters. So far I can see two options. Buy a new set of Shimano Sora 3500 levers or get a second hand set of Ultegra 6500 shifters/brifters (ebay has a pair that are 'as new'/never mounted). Does anyone have any advice on whether a modern but lower end component would be a better choice than a 'vintage' but higher end component?

  • I would go Ultegra as it is couple steps up. But 105 I think I would take over an older Ultegra. – paparazzo Mar 21 '17 at 21:18
  • Do you value originality ? I want my bike to work reliably, but not cost silly money. So is new Sora shifter better than older NOS ultegra shifter? If the price was the same (is it?) and the shifters are all 9x2 then I'd choose the ultegra over the sora. If one was significantly cheaper I'd choose the cheapest option. – Criggie Mar 21 '17 at 23:45
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    The other option is to refurbish your existing shifters. If they're not catching when you shift, then its often congealed lubricant that can be temporarily fixed with a blast of CRC or WD40 while working the levers. A longer fix is to open the brifter and soak it in petrol, then relube and reassemble. My RSX shifters work 99.9% of the time now, up from ~5%. – Criggie Mar 21 '17 at 23:47
  • I'm not worried about originality, or too worried about price. What I'm after is precision gear shifts with reliability. Hope that clarifies my aims... – sometimes_sci Mar 23 '17 at 0:35
  • A 9-speed "vintage" shifter is newer than what I have on my bike. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 23 '17 at 18:14
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I just recently replaced my 9x3 105 shifters with the new Sora shifters. They don't feel any cheaper than the older 105. Same functions.

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  • Thanks for that comment. I've heard the brake pull ratios might be different. Have you noticed any difference in the effectiveness of the brakes? – sometimes_sci Mar 23 '17 at 21:04
  • no, I haven't specifically paid attention to the brakes but I have not noticed anything different since I switched. – Greg Taylor Mar 24 '17 at 19:37
  • In 2008 I believe Shimano changed their brake pulls. The new system is called NSSLR, and the levers have LESS mechanical advantage, in other words they pull a little MORE cable. So ideally should be matched with brakes that have MORE mechanical advantage. Which presumably would be Shimano brakes from the same time, or others built to suit. For instance, look at the Paul Klamper cable disc brake - Paul make 3 different actuation arms, one for mountain bike pull, one for "traditional" road bike pull (e.g. Campagnolo) and a sort of in between, for Shimano. – Mikey Mo Apr 22 at 23:30

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