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My road bike has an Ultegra groupset, but some parts need replacement (chainrings, chain, and cassette). The chain is worn out, the cassette is sliding with a new chain, and the chainset is also worn out. Can I keep my 3-9 derailleurs and mount new Ultegra chainrings with a Sora cassette (9) and a Sora chain to save some money, or should I keep riding and mount ultegra chainrings, chain, and cassette when they are fully worn out?

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  • Most groupset parts don't wear out on a predictable replacement schedule. Derailleurs, brakes, cranks, and brifters should last for a long time, barring unusual wear or crashes. And I hate to say it, but if you do get to the point where you want to replace those parts, it might be cheaper to buy a new bike.
  • Modern Sora and Ultegra chainrings are 4-bolt, and are completely incompatible with your 5-bolt Ultegra cranks. You could replace the entire chainset (aka crankset), but a modern Sora chainset will be incompatible with your bottom bracket (your Ultegra chainset uses a separate BB; the Sora and other higher-end Shimano chainsets today integrate the spindle into the left crankarm), so that would need to be replaced too. You might be better off looking for NOS Ultegra rings.
  • Sora-grade chains are lower quality (less precise spacing between rivets), which will wear out the cassette and chainrings more quickly.
  • The Sora cassette will work.
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    Correct chainrings are still made by Shimano and 3rd parties. – JoeK Mar 9 at 20:43
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    What awful bike do you think he rides where a groupset change is uneconomical? A good frame that fits well is worth more than a new bike that's cheaper than a groupset. Are you American? – JoeK Mar 9 at 20:47
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    Derailleurs at least are quite cheap, and do wear out over time even if they don't eat something and fail dramatically or get knocked and bent – Chris H Mar 9 at 21:28
  • I got new Ultegra ringchains (120 usd), and I would go for an ultegra chain with a Sora or 105 cassette for training. Maybe I can get a new ultegra cassette in the future for racing. – ilciavo Mar 10 at 10:51
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    @ilciavo An Ultegra cassette isn't going to make you any faster. – Andrew Henle Mar 10 at 17:14

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