Ultegra vs. 105 Cassette- Which is the best group set for your bike?

If you are torn between Ultegra and 105 Cassette, here is all you need to know to help you pick the best one for you.

Without getting too technical, Ultegra and 105 Cassette are among the top quality group sets in the market. A group set is simply a manufacturer’s collection of all the mechanical that go together. Usually, a group set is a collection of shifters, derailleurs, cassettes, brakes and chain.

Because group sets are not exactly everyone’s forte, I have gone ahead to do the research for you. In this article, I have reviewed Ultegra and 105 Cassette that are two quality options whenever you are looking for products to upgrade your bike. Which then between the two is the top contender?

What are the key differences between Ultegra and 105 Cassette?

Model
Ultegra
105 Cassette
Package includes
Crank set, Bottom Bracket,  Shifters, Chain and Brakes (housing and cables)

 

Speed cassette and speed chain, Trickle Down technology
Weight
8lbs
12.8oz
Speed
11
11
Availability

Ultegra vs. 105 Cassette – How do they differ?

Performance

If you are looking for an impressive performance, Ultegra and 105 Cassette are built for the job. One thing you need to consider is the kind of results you want to get with these products. For example, Ultegra is quite light but it is also durable. This means that you can comfortably use Ultegra for racing as well as on the long rides across tough terrain.

For 105 Cassette there are many riders who can swear by the exquisite performance you get with it. While Ultegra sure has its big selling points, 105 Cassette is still on the map because most riders really enjoy the consistent and stable workouts you get with them.

While Ultegra is the more recent group set, the 105 Cassette does not shy away in delivering an impressive performance.

Design

While Ultegra and 105 Cassette belong to the same group set (11-speed) they do have their structural differences. First, the Ultegra has a sleek and more refined finish than the 105 Cassette. This is because it is subtly designed with durable coatings and light-weight materials. While the weight difference between them is almost negligible (200g) you get a different kind of design with the Ultegra.

To add, both the Ultegra and 105 Cassette are designed with Hollowtech technology to make them firm and stiff while still as lightweight as possible. 105 Cassette is also designed with Trickle Down technology.

Both group sets are built to be efficient but still with an eye-catchy design.

Gearing and Electronic Shifting

If you are looking for the best tech-features a group has to offer, you need to consider the gearing and electronic shifting. With Ultegra, you get an optimized set that delivers on consistent shifting by the pairing up of the chain, cassette and chain rings. On the other hand, 105 Cassette has a rather mechanical system that is quite bulky.

As for their gearing, Ultegra and 105 Cassette offer the same kind of options. They both come with short and mid-cage derailleurs that have the same requirements.

Ultegra vs. 105 Cassette – A Comparison Overview

Ultegra – Overview

Ultegra vs. 105 Cassette

While the Shimano Ultegra is quite pricey, it does come jammed with the premium quality features making it well worth the buy. First, its design has been tweaked to make it easy and comfortable to use. For example, the shape of the brake lever makes it easy for you to wrap your finger around it for smooth braking. If you want to hard brake, you can also quickly add all your fingers to it to come to a hard stop.

Secondly, Ultegra is manufactured with carbon-fiber plastic brackets that are reinforced. This is partly why they are more expensive but you do get a compact and lightweight product that is easy to use. With Ultegra, you also get specially designed chains that go through a Sil-Tec friction plating process. This means you get a smooth running chain that requires close to no maintenance. As for the pedals, Ultegra has stainless steel body pedals with widely spaced bearings. Together, you get pedals that are not prone to wear and tear and they give you more clearance of up to 33 degrees.

To add, Shimano usually updates its group sets every three years. With the Ultegra, the most up to date version is the R8000 so you should consider going for that. The hydraulic disk brakes are R8070 and the disc brakes are R8020. They are also tweaked to be as long lasting as possible. For instance, the rear derailleur is designed with an aluminum cover that protects the parts from any external elements as well as absorbs all impacts and shocks.

Pros

  • Compact sized and lightweight
  • Durable
  • Smooth gear changes

Cons

  • Quite pricey

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105 Cassette- Overview

Ultegra vs. 105 Cassette

105 Cassette is a rather heavy group set that still does not compromise on the kind of performance you can get with it. First, 105 is designed with aluminum levers and glass-fiber reinforced plastic brackets. While this makes it quite different from the high-end Ultegra, the difference in performance is almost negligible.

Secondly, 105 Cassette are redesigned every so often to make them a great fit for you. For instance, the lever has been made more square and the shift snappier to make the shifting mechanisms more comfortable for you. With 105 Cassette, you also get a compact group set that has a firm, rubber cover for proper grip on the hoods.

Another quality feature of the 105 Cassette is that the new models make use of the hydraulic brake/mechanical shift unit. With a smooth finish, you get a good looking product that has enough grip to perform in the wet. The pedals fitted on the 105 Cassette are also uniquely designed for adjustable entry and durability. They are configured to last you quite a while even with many intense workouts.

Also keep in mind that Shimano regularly updates its group sets every three years. The latest version of the 105 Cassette is the R7000 and the disk brakes are R7020.

Pros

  • More affordable for almost the same kind of performance
  • Efficient performance
  • Long lasting

Cons

  • Quite heavy

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Conclusion: So, which is better- Ultegra or 105 Cassette?

If you have closely read through this article then you know that Ultegra and 105 Cassette do not have stark differences between them. For instance, they have the same technological features, engineering and shaping.

However, the Ultegra costs more and you do get a lot for the extra bucks. It is lightweight yet durable enough to last you quite a while making it the best value for your money. If you are on a budget, be assured that the performance you get with 105 Cassette is still one of the best.

FAQ’s

What speeds are Ultegra and 105 Cassette?

They are both 11-speed group sets. To get the best out of both worlds, you can pick and mix whichever parts you like the most from each set.

Are they durable?

Yes, they both are. You can expect more durability with Ultegra though. It is lighter in weight and also has tweaked features to reduce wear and tear.