Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

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Psamathe
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Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby Psamathe » 22 Dec 2014, 3:02pm

My bike is fitted with Tiagra shifters and I've pretty well always found them "rather poor". Initially as a beginner I assumed that was just how STIs were. But over the last year I've either become fussier or they have got worse. At bike shop the other day they spent two hours trying to get is all going good (incl. some repairs after a fall that had bent the rear mech). Ended-up with a new rear mech, new cable and cable outers, new chain (cassette was OK) and lots of time trying to set-up. And still, even on a stand they could not get it 100%. And out riding it is even worse. (Excellent shop, very experienced with a fantastic reputation so I'm not doubting the LBS in any way and am 110% sure they did the best possible).

Problem: to change gear sometimes one click will do nothing, sometimes give you two gear changes, sometimes two gear changes with a clattering noise (which then needs a click in the opposite direction), sometimes one gear change with a clattering noise (needing a click in the opposite direction). And even occasionally you get the gear change you intended !!

So I'm considering upgrading to 105 shifters (given pretty well everything else in the system has been replaced). People (in the shops) say the 105s are more precise and better, though they are not pushing them as "a solution".

(n.b. 10 speed with compact double).

So do people think it might be a solution/might help or a big waste of money ?

Many thanks
Ian

iandriver
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Location: Cambridge.

Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby iandriver » 22 Dec 2014, 3:10pm

I've used Tiagra 9 speed shifters for years with flawless rear shifting. The problem is not them as a product. There is either something faulty with your shifters or the problem lies else where.

Edit, I'd start by checking your B screw adjustment:
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-hel ... derailleur
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

Psamathe
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Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby Psamathe » 22 Dec 2014, 3:49pm

iandriver wrote:I've used Tiagra 9 speed shifters for years with flawless rear shifting. The problem is not them as a product. There is either something faulty with your shifters or the problem lies else where.

Edit, I'd start by checking your B screw adjustment:
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-hel ... derailleur

LBS tried (and adjusted) that as well. I am sure as I was watching and learning and they described the adjustment as "the angle of dangle".

Thing I can't see is, new rear mech (upgraded to 105 as the price difference was very little). Alignment of rear mech checked (and adjusted as I must have bent it in a bit when I came off), new chain, new cable, new outers on cable (everywhere), cassette OK (not slipping), everything cleaned/degreased the other day, I can see what else there is that could be wrong. But I am a novice (been cycling little over a year, 6k miles).

Thanks
Ian

Brucey
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby Brucey » 22 Dec 2014, 3:55pm

I would be interested to know what chain and cassette you are using, exactly.

Assuming these are kosher items and in good condition, I'd put money on the true problem being a slightly misaligned gear hanger before assuming the shifters are bad.

NB all the shifters do is pull cable. You can easily measure if the shifters are pulling the correct amount of cable; just measure the cable movement directly. It can only be right or wrong....

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Psamathe
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby Psamathe » 22 Dec 2014, 4:18pm

Brucey wrote:I would be interested to know what chain and cassette you are using, exactly.

Assuming these are kosher items and in good condition, I'd put money on the true problem being a slightly misaligned gear hanger before assuming the shifters are bad.

NB all the shifters do is pull cable. You can easily measure if the shifters are pulling the correct amount of cable; just measure the cable movement directly. It can only be right or wrong....

cheers

Cassette is a Shimano 12-30 (standard/basic HG one). Chains were SRAM ones but now changed to a Shimano chain (LBS said they find then better at changing gear than the SRAM ones). Sorry I don't know which models as they have always been fitted by LBS (as I don't yet have a chain link removal tool). Shimano one has slits on the side of each link.

What I think is varying is the amount the cable is pulled depending on how hard/far you push the shifters. LBS noticed this and I think it is probably what is happening when I ride. I appreciate that the instructions talk about a 2 gear change if you push the lever long way over but I don't recall ever doing that.

Edit (additional info): In the LBS the problem was worse on the 4 smaller cogs of the cassette and was not really affected by which front cog was being used. When riding the problem is encountered more in the middle section of the cassette (probably as I don't use the smaller and larger cogs as much).

LBS used a special tool that bolted into the rear mech hanger threaded hole on the frame and allowed them to check the alignment relative to the wheel (and they adjusted it as I must have knocked it out of true when I came off recently). They also spent quite a lot of time adjusting the left/right alignment using the cable adjuster bits to get things the best possible.

Ian

tim-b
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby tim-b » 23 Dec 2014, 5:41am

Hi

As suggested above...there's nothing wrong with Tiagra
I've had STI levers with the thumb "button" (?Sora 8s?) that never missed a gearchange

I'd go through the transmission setup again and maybe ask for a second opinion, a new STI lever set will be around £100

Regards
tim-b
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Brucey
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby Brucey » 23 Dec 2014, 7:19am

It is reasonably certain that, after a year's use, a crash, etc that you would have needed new cables, the gear hanger checking, a new chain, and maybe a new mech. So whatever work you have had carried out thus far probably isn't a complete waste of time or anything.

But past that, there is a question of how you approach this kind of problem. Most people go about this kind of thing in a particular way, often without understanding why they are doing what they are doing. But in essence it boils down to two extreme approaches;

a) exact correlation of observed symptoms with observable defects, leading to a precise course of remedial action, or

b) 'parts swap bingo'.

Parts Swap Bingo (PSB) is when you effectively change whole elements in the system and see if it makes any difference or not. It can be a fantastic method for diagnosis with some systems; if you have a shelf full of 'known good' modules which can be tried very quickly with no risk then you can identify a faulty module very quickly even in a complex system which you don't understand perfectly.

But if fitting each module is time consuming, expensive, or indeed itself prone to introducing faults then PSB isn't such a good approach; once parts are fitted they are often on for good (or ill) and there is always a chance of an original fault being masked by a whole new swathe of faults that have been introduced accidentally.

So in this case when someone suggests that you simply fit new STIs, this is a type b) PSB approach (albeit a fairly reasoned one; they may feel that they have eliminated every other possibility). When I suggest that you measure the cable pull directly, this is a type a) approach.

My suggestion is that you attach some tape to an exposed part of the gear cable and another piece of tape to the frame just behind. You need then to make marks so that you can see the exact positions of the tape markers when the gears are 'in' correctly. If you get a mis-shift and the tape markers are in the wrong place then you know that there is a fault with the accuracy of the cable pull. The shifter should pull something like 2.4mm of cable per shift, and if there is an error of more than about 0.5mm then you will likely get a mis-shift.

Even then it isn't necessarily the shifters that are at fault; it could be a bad cable, some dirt in the mechanism, lack of the correct lube in the mechanism, a strand of old cable in the workings, a bad ferrule, a badly prepped cable housing (hidden inside a cable ferrule....) a burr on a cable housing, or one of a hundred other niggly things. And you might not find this out because when the shifters are swapped out a load of this stuff gets changed anyway.

The guts of the shimano 'thumb button' STIs have for years been fundamentally different to those found in shimano 'twin paddle' STI shifters. Essentially the former are like a scaled down MTB shifter pod turned on its side, and the latter are built differently. The former mechanism contains a lot of pressed steel parts and plastic bushings, where the latter typically contains more precisely made ratchet parts that pivot on more precise bearings. Perhaps as a consequence of the design and manufacture of the internals, the 'thumb button' STIs do seem to be less reliable than the paddle type. Most of them get wrecked in crashes though; often dirt gets forced into the workings and then they are never quite the same again...

Both types need lube and if you use the wrong lube on the ones with lots of plastic bushings, it is possible that the STI will go sticky inside and stay that way even if it is 'cleaned' later on.

In MTB guise the most common pod faults are dry lube and then frayed cable strand jams. About 2/3rds of all scrap MTB pod faults appear to be easily fixable, if my diagnosis of LBS scrap bin contents is anything to go by. That probably reflects a PSB approach, and maybe that is OK in a bike shop, even if it isn't exactly what I'd do at home.

So if it were my bike I'd like to be sure that I knew what the problem really was before I 'fixed it'. Note also that changing from 'washing line' STIs to under-bar tape ones may look all fancy but in many cases it becomes just another way to generate yet more faults and more maintenance; the system becomes more sensitive to cable condition, the diagnosis and repair of which is in turn more complex and time-consuming because the bar tape has to be fiddled with every time.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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531colin
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby 531colin » 23 Dec 2014, 8:44am

You could simply upgrade to an 8 or 9 speed triple with downtube or bar end levers, and get a wider range of gears, consumables that are both cheaper and longer lasting, and the thing will simply work, year in, year out, whether its clean and lubed or caked in filth.
What price fashion?

reohn2
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby reohn2 » 23 Dec 2014, 8:57am

All else being equal ie;mech and cables,all cable routing good without kinks,etc,which seems like the LBS has done thoroughly,tape on an exposed inner cable and carefully measure how much it moves with each shift as Brucey says.
This will prove cable pull to be accurate or not.
The only other thing I'd check is the plastic cable guide under the BB to see if the cable wire has worn a tight groove in it or if the cable is routed through it correctly,but TBH if the LBS is as thorough as you say and as the bike isn't very old it should be OK.
Last edited by reohn2 on 23 Dec 2014, 5:02pm, edited 1 time in total.
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reohn2
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby reohn2 » 23 Dec 2014, 9:11am

531colin wrote:You could simply upgrade to an 8 or 9 speed triple with downtube or bar end levers, and get a wider range of gears, consumables that are both cheaper and longer lasting, and the thing will simply work, year in, year out, whether its clean and lubed or caked in filth.
What price fashion?


IMHO that's unfair comment and doesn't help the OP.
The vast majority of bikes today run STI's of either MTB or road flavours and the vast majority work flawlessly,caked in filth and crap year in year out.
STI's aren't fashion but a convenient means of gear change which have been the norm for 20 years or so.
A few old pharts like us use DT,B/ends,Kelly's etc,for various reasons,some of them practical,some quirky.But whatever we think STI's are good solid dependable kit that work well,personally I've done well in excess of 100K miles using them without issue other than maintenance and occasional lubing.
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531colin
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby 531colin » 23 Dec 2014, 9:31am

As Brucey's post points out in great detail, whether or not 10 speed works properly is dependent on tiny details of the set-up.
What is the point?

reohn2
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby reohn2 » 23 Dec 2014, 9:56am

531colin wrote:As Brucey's post points out in great detail, whether or not 10 speed works properly is dependent on tiny details of the set-up.
What is the point?


I can only comment on 7/8 & 9sp units which have worked flawlessly for me.
I've no need for any extra cogs,but only person I know who has 10sp reckons it's no more finicky than 8 and 9sp.
TBH I think Brucey over emphasises the small detail of setting up gearchange systems,and whilst it can only help,I've never gone to the extremes of squaring off outer ends.If cut carefully followed by a couple of strokes of a file to deburr the strands and 1.5mm allen key poked and riddled in the end to open up the inner sleeve is all I've ever done with cables.
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mercalia
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby mercalia » 23 Dec 2014, 9:56am

531colin wrote:You could simply upgrade to an 8 or 9 speed triple with downtube or bar end levers, and get a wider range of gears, consumables that are both cheaper and longer lasting, and the thing will simply work, year in, year out, whether its clean and lubed or caked in filth.
What price fashion?



downtube are the pits, the worst ever idea in all of human history! When I had them on my Dawes Horizon that position discouraged the use the gears as too much trouble to keep on bending. Some kind of finger flicking good controls encourge optimising things as the road changes moment by moment - great for those of us who dont have endless energy to grind through matters!

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CREPELLO
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby CREPELLO » 23 Dec 2014, 10:04am

That the OP states that he felt the STI action have been always rather poor, only to get worse, suggests to me that there was always something wrong with the bike's set up. That the LBS couldn't alleviate the problem suggests to me that the STI's are faulty in some way.

I have the 9 speed version of those STI's and I can only say that the the shifting is flawless, light, quiet and smooth. I'd love to understand exactly what is going on with your STI's, just because I haven't read or heard about such a fault with the actual STI (that wasn't attributed to the other factors outlined above)

The expensive and most straightforward fix (IMO) would be to swap/upgrade. In all likelyhood, that will fix the issue once and for all.

RonK
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Re: Upgrade STI Shifters From Tigra to 105

Postby RonK » 23 Dec 2014, 10:07am

mercalia wrote:
531colin wrote:You could simply upgrade to an 8 or 9 speed triple with downtube or bar end levers, and get a wider range of gears, consumables that are both cheaper and longer lasting, and the thing will simply work, year in, year out, whether its clean and lubed or caked in filth.
What price fashion?



downtube are the pits, the worst ever idea in all of human history! When I had them on my Dawes Horizon that position discouraged the use the gears as too much trouble to keep on bending. Some kind of finger flicking good controls encourge optimising things as the road changes moment by moment - great for those of us who dont have endless energy to grind through matters!

Hehe - I think I'll make some popcorn. :lol:
The theory is simple: a) cycling is inherently fun, and b) the less weight you carry, the more fun it is.

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