Are Shimano 105 calipers as powerful as Ultegra?

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  • Are Shimano 105 calipers as powerful as Ultegra?
  • mtbtomo
    Member

    Got some Ultegra calipers on one bike and some of the forged lightweight Planet-X style calipers (these) on the other bike.

    The forged ones are ok but the Ultegras feel much more solid and powerful. So I was thinking of swapping to another set of Shimano. Question is though, would 105 feel similarly powerful or even Tiagra? Or is there a noticable improvement with Ultegra and worth paying the extra?

    Premier Icon surroundedbyhills
    Subscriber

    The difference is not about the performance it’s about the weight. Tiagra through to ultegra, they work the same way, just made of different grades of material.

    Thrustyjust
    Member

    I find the ultegra ( not the latest pivot design ones) were a lot smoother and stiffer feel than the 105’s I changed . I used the same swisstop pads for both. Both were brand new brakes, cables and levers.

    Check the internals of the brakes, one of my old shimano callipers (prob Tiagra) had a flat washer between the brake arms which gradually got sticky. The ultegras have a bearing in its place which probably contributes to more power.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Not used Ultegra, but my Dura Ace on the summer bike are a chunk more powerful than the 105s on the winter bike, which in turn are worlds better than the Tiagras they replace – which seized solid after a few months.

    105s are perfectly acceptable though, decent cables makes a huge difference.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    The difference is not about the performance it’s about the weight. Tiagra through to ultegra, they work the same way, just made of different grades of material.

    6800 series Ultegra are of a different design to 105, and are said to be noticeably more powerful. There may be compatibility issues with the levers but I’ve not tried it myself.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Yep they did change the cable pull on the 5700/6700/7900/9000 brakes (ie the ones with hidden gear cables), and allegedly the brakes aren’t really cross compatible, but as you’re able to use 3rd party brakes with either set then I’d take that with a pinch of salt.

    globalti
    Member

    The cable routing on old-style Shimano road brakes was better IMO for both the braking and the shifting; the new snappier shorter travel hidden cable setup is awkward to service, fiddly and stiffer in action.

    I have the Planet X forged brakes on one bike and the light weight is about their only benefit; otherwise they are fiddly to set up, I don’t quite trust the cable anchor and they are not standing up well to road dirt and damp; the cheaper quality pivots are getting gunged up and keep sticking after only one year. Meanwhile Ultegra just goes on working well for years with a smooth action and easy maintenence.

    I bought the Planet X CNC brakes and they were a disaster; they badly lacked power. Maybe I had them with the wrong levers but when I looked carefully I coud see that they have different dimensions in the pivots to the forged brakes, which makes them less efficient. They are not just a slimmed-down version of the forged brakes, they’re a different shape.

    I have comparative photos I can post or send if anybody’s interested.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I bought the Planet X CNC brakes and they were a disaster; they badly lacked power. Maybe I had them with the wrong levers but when I looked carefully I coud see that they have different dimensions in the pivots to the forged brakes, which makes them less efficient. They are not just a slimmed-down version of the forged brakes, they’re a different shape.

    All of ‘that’ style of brake – Zero Gravity, KCNC and the like are massively lacking in power, good for TT bikes, but pretty crap for all round use!

    This is interesting – note how much further all the lightweight brakes need to stop you – irrespective of price. AX-Lightness needed 55% more road then Dura Ace 7800s to stop you! That’s a massive difference if you’re cut up by a car! Be interesting to see the figures for lesser Shimano too. In the dry I reckon the 105s aren’t far off the Dura Ace, but I really notice the difference in the wet.

    BrickMan
    Member

    The latest ultegra are like the current DA, with the triple (?) pull system, they are pretty awesome, think you need the right STI lever to pull them though or they might feel a bit weird/ not function 100%

    The gen of ult that has just gone out with the standard dual pulls, I think the metal casting is similar between 105 and ult, but its maybe a different alloy? Biggest difference is the pivot has more machined components in it vs. 105 has a few washers, and they have a nicer finish.

    105 > tiagra there is less difference. Although as a rule of thumb, tiagra is like old 105, 105 is like old ult, ult is like old DA etc. The technology trickles down, but they cut the cost by using cheaper materials, finish, and removing machined components and substituting off the shelf parts etc.

    Bazz
    Member

    I have found with road bike brakes the rim surface of the wheel can make a huge difference as well, my Planet X bike came with some average Tektro calipers and the stopping power was okay at best, even when i swapped the original pads for Dura ace ones. However when i swapped the stock Planet X wheels over for some Fulcrum racing 5’s the difference was like night and day, overnight i could (if i wanted) chuck myself over the bars and skid the back wheel.

    m0rk
    Member

    mtbtomo – bit of a gatecrash, but if you wanted to ‘try’ 105 Dual Pivots for buttons… I have an eBay ad linked in the classified ending in a few hours

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Thanks M0rk, I’ve put a speculative bid on, but I bet they won’t go for the buttons their currently at!

    m0rk
    Member

    Personally, I hope you’re right! But I hope you get em for a good price

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