The Chainlink

Well, I have finally decided to buy a brand new bike.

It is probably going to be a Fuji Sportiff (one of the many numbers that they have).

However, while test riding them (10 bikes in total) we came across the issue of the Shimano 105 or Tiagra.

So, I look to you, the cycling community, for advice.

Which one would you buy, and why ?

What makes one better than the other ?

Thank you in advance for any help in this matter...

Signed,

Manny FU

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105 are entry level racing components. Best bang per buck for Shimano groupsets IMO. I have 105 (the 11 speed generation) on my bike that I use for races and group rides. Shifts quite well. Tiagra is fine if you are not racing or a little more than a casual cyclist. I would go for 105. I believe Tiagra has more plastic pieces in its design making it less durable.

I'm a touring rider, not a racer, but I put a lot of force/torque on my gear (I don't spin-up, I go heavy gear and pump on hills).  At this point I'm 105 for life. I agree with other post - worth the extra. Smooth and relatively bulletproof.

105 is better. Tiagra may be good enough for you. I think Tiagra derailleurs are good enough, but I'd definitely take 105 brifters over Tiagra units.

105, no question.

105 is the sweet spot of best value in the Shimano line IMO.  

I've ridden both 105's and Tiagra (as well as Ultegra, Campagnolo (rec/chor) and SunXCD). My commuter is running Tiagra drive train including Tiagra hubs (velocity diad rims). I've ridden it through the winters and have not had any issues whats so ever. Shifting remains clean and accurate. 

Your literally paying for less with the 105's (and even more so with Ultegra) in that the model line is lighter. Shimano continues to take advances in their higher end components and push it down to their lower end components. What you pay for in bargain prices with Tiagra was a premium in the 105's and Ultegra 5-10 years ago. If you need lighter components then go for the 105's, otherwise you'll have the same kind of consistent shifting (and braking) you'd have with 105's or Ultegra. 

No, you will not have the same shifting you have with 105 or Ultegra with Tiagra shifters, not even close.

Go ride the current groups back to back, there is no way you think they perform the same unless you just don't really pay attention to how your bike feels.  The difference from 105 to Ultegra is pretty small but from Tiagra to 105 is a significant jump in quality of shift.

Completely agree. 

I'm with you Bill. It's more about how the rider feels and not how the bike performs. Notice a difference? Yes, you would notice (riding the groupsets back to back). If you have to do that to know you if like the bike then what are you really concerned with? In day to day reality, if you like the bike you have, you just ride it and enjoy it. I think a better question might be same groupset, different bike...and it's still subjective (and psychological).

I've got 105 brakes (now several years old) on my road bike. They are the best road bike brakes I've ever used. Great stopping power. Very reliable. Very durable.

I have both and I prefer 105 hands down

Manny, have you look into bikes with Sram components?  I fell in love with Sram after test riding a bike with their components.  One lever shift up and down.  No fuddling with the fingers.  It's quick action too.  Brake levers are adjustable for different hand size.  The equivalent to 105 would be Rival.  For Tiagra, it would be Apex.

I have one bike with Tiagra and one with SRAM Rival. I find them to both be really good. I do not race. If you want to race go with the best you can afford. If you want to save a little go with the better price as for casual riding I don't think the 105 offers a significant advantage. Please keep in mind that what these companies like SRAM and and Shimano make huge efforts to cultivate social appearances in their class categories and most people will be influenced MORE by that than actual performance. It really helps them that you can't perform "blind" comparisons (you'd crash).

Since you actually tested them and can't decide immediately actually reinforces this point. You want to know what others think; that's normal. You are seeking to look like you did the right thing. In this case go with the 105.

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