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Thoughts on Shimano Sora Groupset for a New Bike

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Thoughts on Shimano Sora Groupset for a New Bike

Old 08-22-21, 09:17 PM
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Not2Bright
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Thoughts on Shimano Sora Groupset for a New Bike

Having started riding more the past two years I have gotten to the point I want a new bike more suitable for longer road rides. I have been riding a couple of bikes with 3x9 Shimano MTB gearing and even an old Fuji Marlboro folding bike that was fitted with a 42-32-22 crankset with the original 14-28 freewheel. My 2007 Fuji Touring is the closest thing to a road bike but I put a 44-32-22 crankset on that for climbing ability so I really want a faster bike but donít want to spend a fortune. I am thinking entry level endurance bikes with a compact crank and 11-32 or 11-34 cassette in a 9 speed Shimano Sora groupset.



Bike shops want me to go up to the 105 groupset. I am very happy with the 9 speeds I have and donít see the need for 11 and donít want to spend the extra $ for 2 extra cogs between the 11 and 32 in the rear. They also claim better overall quality but I wonder if I would appreciate it enough to justify the cost.



I ride mostly for fun and exercise, mostly alone and half my rides are 40 miles long or a little longer. This year should hit 4,000 miles but this is not going to be the norm going forward, probably 2,000 or so will be the average yearly total. I am looking for a dependable, comfortable, and faster bike than what I currently ride. Not worrying about a few seconds here and there just getting the job done.



Any input especially from riders who have ridden various Shimano groupsets from the bottom to the top of the range. Am I kidding myself thinking I will be happy with yet another 9 speed?
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Old 08-22-21, 10:49 PM
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Racing Dan
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Cant speak to Sora, but Tiagra is just fine and well made. I did replace the mechanical TRP disc brakes for hydraulic Tiagra brakes. Huge upgrade. Getting true hydro brakes would be a valid reason to get Tiagra or 105 over Sora. Hydro is expensive tho.

I used to ride the older 105 5800. I have no recollection it was any better than Tiagra. If anything, it was more finicky adjusting the gears. The Tiagra crank is a boat anchor, but so is many of the non 105 cranks that is on oem bikes to save $. Imo weight is overrated anyway. You wont notice except when actually carrying the bike. I never missed the one gear compared to 11s 105.

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Old 08-22-21, 11:30 PM
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I was very impressed with 'old' Sora on my Specialized AWOL and that groupset will be used again on a future build. I've used the current Sora with concealed cables too and there's nothing with it at all in terms of shifting but I'd have preferred an alu' innner ring.
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Old 08-22-21, 11:37 PM
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Shimano openly uses a trickle down approach to their group sets. Todayís Sora is likely as good as a 105 from five years ago


i never tried Sora But I can say that I had a bike with an ultegra group set. I bought another one two years later with a 105 groupset and it was much more refined than the older Ultegra.
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Old 08-22-21, 11:52 PM
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Often the devil is in the detail. A 105, or what ever, often has half the components exchanged with something else. Jagwire cables, tektro brakes, fsa crank, kmc chain, sunrace cassette, no name hubs, etc. Often its only the shifters and derailleurs that are actually 105. The rest may or may not work very well. I would take a full Tiagra bike over most hodgepodge "105" bikes.
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Old 08-22-21, 11:55 PM
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Sora will change gears and brake and most likely not give you any trouble.

Will the feel of the components, the styling, the precision of each shift, be as good as Ultegra or Dura Ace? No, but it'll do the job it's asked to do.
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Old 08-23-21, 12:05 AM
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"the precision of each shift"

What does that even mean :-) The shifting is indexed and honestly the ultegra paddles are just as floppy as in any of the other groups. Id argue the feel in the lever and paddle is 99% a function of proper cables and proper cable routing. Two bikes that on paper appear near identical can perform vastly different dependent on actual build/implementation.
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Old 08-23-21, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Symox View Post
Today’s Sora is likely as good as a 105 from five years ago
Today's Sora launched more than five years ago.
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Old 08-23-21, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Today's Sora launched more than five years ago.
True. Todays Sora has features that are mostly reminiscent of 2010 Shimano 105 5700. Todays Tiagra has adopted features mostly one generation newer, similar to 105 5800. Trickle down is there, but it is a trickle. Latest and greatest is 105 R7000 and up.
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Old 08-23-21, 02:13 AM
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I have a 14 year old CX bike with the original Tiagra/105 9 speed group. If I replace it then it will be a new Sora group. 9 cogs is the sweet spot for me.
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Old 08-23-21, 06:16 AM
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Sora's better than it was, but Tiagra is still best bang for buck IMO.
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Old 08-23-21, 06:29 AM
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Sounds as if you would be perfectly happy with a Sora bike. I've used a couple of Sora components in the past and they worked fine. Put the savings into some nice tires, shoes, pedals and bibs.
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Old 08-23-21, 06:36 AM
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I have to agree with Kimmo on this one. Tiagra is really good. It does come with added weight compared to upper levels. I 4400, 4500, and 4600 drivetrains and they are all good performing components. However, 105 7000 is outstanding. Unfortunately, prices have have really been jacked up since the start of CV pandemic.. Tiagra 4700 is now more than the 7000 groupset was in the spring of 2020. If I was buying a new bike today, I would not go lower than the 4700, and would likely invest in the 105 or Ultegra group set. When you have used upper tier equipment, going to a lower set feels very awkward, but if you have not used upper tier, the lower groups probably work great and feel just fine to you. I have a Sora 8 speed group that works well, but I do not like the feel of the operation and it is not in use now.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:03 AM
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I'd recommend getting rid of the triple and go with a compact double. Sora works just fine, but triple FDs are always an issue. I don't know if Sora makes a double, but if they do I'd get that. If not, then just get the 105s.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:07 AM
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I appreciate the feedback. I do not doubt the better groupsets are better all around and bikes fitted with theses usually have better everything else too like wheels and brakes. I guess the one thing that struck me as odd was two different shops telling me the modern 9 speed Sora is not as good as the older 9 speeds. This makes no sense to me, why make it worse. It makes me wonder if they make more margin on the higher end stuff or just trying to sell what they have available.



My thinking is that for me having never used top tier equipment I won’t miss anything, I can use the saved money elsewhere and having 2 other 9 speeds I have some interchangeable components if I ever need to rob Peter to pay Paul.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
I'd recommend getting rid of the triple and go with a compact double. Sora works just fine, but triple FDs are always an issue. I don't know if Sora makes a double, but if they do I'd get that. If not, then just get the 105s.
I actually went full friction on the Fuji Touring and I am very happy with it. I thought of putting a compact on the front but I want to actually use it for some short touring next year and want to keep the granny gears. I figure a new entry level endurance road bike would satisfy the need for a little more speed without having to reconfigure the touring bike yet again.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Sounds as if you would be perfectly happy with a Sora bike. I've used a couple of Sora components in the past and they worked fine. Put the savings into some nice tires, shoes, pedals and bibs.
Kind of what my thinking is.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Not2Bright View Post
I appreciate the feedback. I do not doubt the better groupsets are better all around and bikes fitted with theses usually have better everything else too like wheels and brakes. I guess the one thing that struck me as odd was two different shops telling me the modern 9 speed Sora is not as good as the older 9 speeds. This makes no sense to me, why make it worse. It makes me wonder if they make more margin on the higher end stuff or just trying to sell what they have available.



My thinking is that for me having never used top tier equipment I wonít miss anything, I can use the saved money elsewhere and having 2 other 9 speeds I have some interchangeable components if I ever need to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Correct, you won't miss anything, Gotta be careful with the "bike shops". Most local shops focus on cheap hybrids and beach cruisers. Very few know much about road bikes. Just look at the inventory and that will tell you what their specialty is. I think your best money will be spent replacing the triple with a compact double. That is a lot of bang for the buck. If you have any level of fitness you will not miss that third chain ring, and it greatly simplifies the FD shifting.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:31 AM
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https://road.cc/content/review/10055...-3500-groupset

Back when stuff was a lot cheaper and I didn't care as much, 105 was "entry level," though I have everything from 9- and 10-speed Tiagra and Claris and Sora bits. Sora was the lowest level I felt actually did the job---and that was last-gen Sore.

Current (3500) Sora does look a lot like old Tiagra .... and if it works the same, excellent. Unless you need to impress people at the cafe with how much you spent on your bike, I'd say Sora is all you will need and you probably won't ever want much more.

Pretty much every part of a bicycle has advance so much in the past couple decades, there isn't much that isn't what we would have called "real good' or even "excellent" 20 years ago. Every part of bikes has been carefully engineered and optimized. The bike industry's competitive nature has ensured that we can buy way more than we need for way too much money, which means w3e can get really good stuff for a lot less.

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Old 08-23-21, 08:22 AM
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My bike came with all Tiagra 4500 parts, with 12-25 cassette. I have changed the brifters and brakes to Sora as the old parts worn out. I did not notice any difference with the 'downgrade'. That is much better than the Tourney on my commuter BSO.
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Old 08-23-21, 09:47 AM
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If you are completely happy with what you have and don't currently have the idea you need something more, then stay with that.

However there were some good points made by another that bikes with the less expensive groups tend to have more of a mix of other inexpensive components. Is that good or bad? .... don't know.

I'd tend to want all the group set to be the same on a new bike. But I know that you can at least find bikes with all Tiagra or all 105 groupsets on them. Never noticed if they have some all Sora models.
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Old 08-23-21, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Not2Bright View Post
I appreciate the feedback. I do not doubt the better groupsets are better all around and bikes fitted with theses usually have better everything else too like wheels and brakes. I guess the one thing that struck me as odd was two different shops telling me the modern 9 speed Sora is not as good as the older 9 speeds. This makes no sense to me, why make it worse. It makes me wonder if they make more margin on the higher end stuff or just trying to sell what they have available.



My thinking is that for me having never used top tier equipment I wonít miss anything, I can use the saved money elsewhere and having 2 other 9 speeds I have some interchangeable components if I ever need to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Itís not that theyíve gone out to make new Sora worse, but new Sora has to meet a price point that old 105 didnít have to. The materials and manufacturing standards might not be as exacting. Your Sora components might not achieve the longevity that a new 105 or Tiagra group would.

But in general, you will more than likely be completely fine with Sora. I have a friend who recently converted an old flat bar bike to drops, he went with Sora shifters to keep all his old 9 speed componentry, and heís very happy with it.

If you ever do ride your bike enough to wear out the Sora stuff, then yes, you should consider upgrading to higher spec. Until then, if you are happy with 9 speed, and are happy with the Sora bikes you have test ridden, then buy what you like.
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Old 08-23-21, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
I have a Sora 8 speed group that works well, but I do not like the feel of the operation and it is not in use now.
Is that the version with the old thumb-shifter on top of the hoods that canít be reached from the drops? Yeah, donít ever get a bike with those, if it can possibly be avoided.

new Sora has the up-shifter tucked behind the downshifter, per Shimanoís higher spec groups. Itís much better.
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Old 08-23-21, 01:39 PM
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I have everything from Shimano 600, Alivio, RX, 105, Ultegra, and Dura Ace. From 6 speed to 11. Maybe some I don't remember. I've never met a Shimano group I didn't like. They all work flawlessly when adjusted properly. Buy what fits your budget and enjoy.

edit: PS The cheapest, the Alivio, on a mountain bike has been through several thousand miles of commuting, through mud and deep water. Everything is original and still works perfectly.
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Old 08-23-21, 01:51 PM
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Re. Trickle Down technology

Shimano does 'trickle' the features from the top groups down to lower groups through the years, - features, but not quality. The materials and moving parts of DA and Ultegra are better quality than 105, 105 is better than TiagraÖ etc. Yes, you can get a very affordable 9 sp set of parts, but they will never be quite as nice, nor will they last as long or work as well over time as, for instance, 9 speed Ultegra from 2001.
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