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...
Horses for courses. 105 is a little nicer, but Tiagra is quite serviceable for commuting, etc. I've used both and been happy with both.
I definitely prefer 105 over Tiagra. If the additional $$$ aren't an issue, definitely invest in a smoother experience.
My first Road Bike has Sora components.
My recent Road Bike has 105.
105 is a huge improvement over Sora.
as for Tiagra, not sure but I love 105
Smoother shifting and easy to service
My Tiagra bike shifts butter smooth and always did. I did have some problems with first the bottom bracket which had a bearing failure and was replaced under warranty and later my Tiagra crank had a little "tink......tink" noise that drove me crazy. Of course Ultegra never goes bad so ;-) At that time I found a SRAM Force crank that was on sale and so I installed that (and the b. bracket came with it so that too). I have a new chain which is now one of the weightier SRAM chains (not weight reduced) as for me strength was more important. I did have a rear shifter cable break but that was after years of shifting.
If someone offered me all the money I put into my road bike to buy it (no sane person would) I'd sell it, but Im not sure I'd even replace it. However If I was some how getting younger and going to by a road bike today I wound buy Di2 just because it's so freakin "cool"
Keep in mind you could have two bikes that are identical and one shifts smooth and the other not. Simple answer to the question: ride the bike, if you like it buy it, if you don't, try another. If you want to know if you are cool or not: among roadie gear heads and bike shop folks... better have at least 105 on.
As far as modern bikes go, I have only had Tiagra and 105s. Though my 105s are on a bike that is a couple years newer, the Tiagra I had was not really a race type set up though I see the new Tiagras basically look like my 105s from last year so who knows now. The Tiagra will be functional and will get you from point A to B, especially if you ride at your own pace in flat Chicago.
But, just by comparison of the two I have owned, I would get the 105s.
That being said, I don't love my 105 brakes but the shifting is definitely smoother and more precise on 105s than Tiagra. So the brakes don't really feel like that much of an upgrade other than the fact that they are a bit lighter than Tiagra. And the Tiagra I had was three rings in front and only set up as a 9 speed but that has been discontinued and is now basically what a 105 was 3 years ago. My Tiagra's big ring was only 50 but my 105 is 52...Not that you can't get a compact 105...Just saying that I don't think at the time i could get a 52 Tiagra.
105s will be slightly lighter though you would never really notice but along with lighter wheels, lighter seat post, saddle, etc., it can add up.
And if you really get into the sport and start doing group rides and competing, you will likely be the only guy in the group with Tiagra. 105s is about the lowest level of Shimano groupsets that you will see in those conditions.
If you save the money now on Tiagra, you will likely end up wanting to upgrade later...Which is far more expensive than just buying the 105s outright.
I thought these were fair analysis:
Thank you to everyone that has replied and commented !
I really appreciated all of everyone's thoughts.
I ended up with a Fuji Sportiff 1.0 LE, with disc brakes, and the 105s.
The reason ? I walked in 2 weeks later and the price had gone down over $250 bucks !
I will need to fine tune the seat height and such, but that will come in time.
Since I am of a "bigger variety of rider" (250+ lbs), I have been wary of using lighter bikes and just sticking to my steel framed 1974 Schwinn Continental, my "Conti" (pink and black, with 80's era one-piece bull horns aero bars. I do plan on getting in on rides, and have just gotten on Strava (damned addictive app !). I also would like to ride in some races.
However, I am only averaging 19-24 kph on the Conti, and that is going down Archer & Halsted Aves (Damn the lights ! LOL !). Not sure what I could do on the Lakefront Trail due to slowing down for pedestrian traffic. Maybe I should do intervals in that stretch leading to Hammond Indiana ?
Anyhoot, I hope to see you all out there sometime. Just a wave will do. I will be the fat, older guy in the U.S. Army kit, with yellow Garneau X-Lite helmet, on the pink and black bike yelling "On your left !" to the few people that I am trying to pass.
Maybe we can catch a bite to eat or I can possibly try to keep up with you (or your group) to get in some training and exercise.
See you all out there !