When purchasing a bike or changing out parts, it's important to understand the differences between the different levels of components. Road bikes are available in a variety of Shimano groupsets, including Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace. Entry-level and fitness bikes may come equipped with Sora or Tiagra, the least expensive of the component groups, while high-end race bikes are more likely to sport Ultegra or Dura-Ace groupsets.
Which Do You Need?
The primary differences between Shimano groupsets are weight and performance. Dura-Ace components are the most lightweight, efficient and dependable, comparable to Campagnolo Record and SRAM Red groupsets -- but they are also very expensive. Unless you race, Ultegra or 105 groupsets are likely more than adequate for your needs. Ultegra components are a little lighter, but in terms of durability, performance and affordability, the 105 groupset is hard to beat, according to CyclingNews.com, a leader in cycling news and information.