When I originally built my Kinesis I opted for a full 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset, it fit my budget and was on special for an incredibly good price. To try and shed a few grams and for pure PIMP value, this time I’ve plumped for a mix of top shelf Dura Ace with a sprinkling of R8000 Ultegra. As part of the rebuilt process, I spent the afternoon in the garage weighing every component for your benefit. You can totally thank me later. Here’s what I found:
Shifters – Shimano 105 to Dura Ace: The Dura Ace shifters offer much slicker performance and better ergonomics than the outgoing 105 pair. Mine were still in working order, but were pretty scuffed up following my recent tumble. Weight saving? 102 grams. Plus everyone deserves a bit of Dura Ace in their life!
Chainset – 105 to Ultegra: I was expecting the majority of weight loss gains to come from the chainset. It’s a pretty big component and carries some heft – in reality it was only a 56 gram difference. The higher spec R8000 Ultegra could possibly be stiffer offering better power transfer though. Who knows.
Front & Rear Mech – 105 to Ultegra: Here’s one for you, the spanking new R8000 Ultegra front mech weighed exactly the same as my older 105 one. It has been totally redesigned though. So much so that I had to Google how to run the cable! Front shifting is vastly improved with the lever feel much lighter and shorter. The Ultegra rear derailleur came in at 48 grams lighter.
Re-designed Ultegra R8000 front mech with new cable routing.
Brakes – 105 to Dura Ace: Shimano’s Dura Ace level brakes are the gold standard when it comes to braking performance. Stopping is important. Sure the 105 brakes were more than adequate, but these are damn awesome! Combined with the Dura Ace levers they offer unparalleled feel and performance. I didn’t buy these for the weight saving, but the pair did shed 61 grams from my bike.
Cassette – 105 11-32T to Ultegra 11-30T: This was the cassette ratio I originally wanted for the bike, but it wasn’t on sale when I was buying last time. It’s twice the price of the 105 cassette and only saved 36 grams. You could save a few more grams moving to a closer ratio Dura Ace or Miche cassette, but they cost the earth and don’t last as long.
I saved a few more grams running a shorter chain as I went from a 32T down to a 30T biggest cog, plus a couple more grams worth of clipped cables. I will admit, Dura Ace components don’t come cheap. Pick them up when they are offered on big discount if you are in the market. Also buying a complete OEM groupset is usually cheaper than mix and match. Shop around. After all the dollars were spent, upgrading the groupset got me a total weight saving of 324 grams.
Three hundred and twenty four grams.
That’s not a lot, equivalent to around half a bottle of water! Of course there are the “performance” gains that come with it too. Whether it is worth it or not depends on your own situation and budget of course. In post three I’ll go through and give you some running totals, plus outline a few other weight savings I managed to eek out. There’s more grams to be shed yet!