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Tech How will Shimano Sora fare?

hellerphant

Speeding Up
Mar 23, 2022
55
83
So now that I'm close to being wire free, and can get back on a bike I've started looking at new bike options. My wife doesn't want me to ride the bike I had the accident on, so I'm looking at a few months of saving, and then spending roughly 200,000ish.

I narrowed my choices down to a Bianchi Via Nirone 7 105, and a Cannondale Synapse 2 Sora. But looking at Y's Road and other places, there are no Bianchi's in my price range available until March next year, and I do not want to be off the road that long.

I kinda have two options. I can buy something with Sora. My concerns here are that everyone on reddit screams at you for not getting a 105 and says they are so much better, and it only has 9 gears. I'm not super fit, and I won't be racing, but will I regret not having a few half-steps once I do get stronger? I'm going to be hitting 100km + rides pretty regularly, and I just worry about hills.

If the Sora will be fine, then I might go the Cannondale Synapse 2, or a CAAD13. I like the Bianchi but they seem really hard to actually get a hold of right now, and I like the looks of the Cannondales quite a bit too.

The other option is I just watch Buychari and wait for a nice 105 Synapse, or a Bianchi and jump on it. I'd like a new bike, but Buychari seem to have decent bikes and at least it's from a store and I don't need to deal with Mercari stuff.

Spewing that my surgery cost me so much as there is a GORGEOUS Synapse on Buychari right now for a decent price, but I just don't have the money as my wife lost her job right after and I wasn't able to work for a while.

Anyways, it's good to be back, and advice would be appreciated.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,223
1,679
Good luck with whatever you get, and welcome back to dreaming about bikes!
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,356
5,128
If you are planning to do a lot of miles and want a non-throw-away bike - I can see why people push toward 105.
When things wear out, they are compatible with upgrade that would require a complete drivetrain swap if you wanted to upgrade sora.

Sora is fine for what it is - a budget drivetrain with no new/exciting upgrades.
A great rider would still be a great rider on Sora - so it isn't like it is useless crap that would make you suck.
The engine is you - so a $5000 bike with $3 legs is going to go like a $3 bike. ;)
Sora will shift a little slower and be less precise, but it still works and it is better than older more expensive drivetrains that were once considered great.

I do line myself up with the 'at least 105' group for anyone who fancies themselves doing bigger/longer rides than the recreational cyclist who just putters around.
 

hellerphant

Speeding Up
Mar 23, 2022
55
83
If you are planning to do a lot of miles and want a non-throw-away bike - I can see why people push toward 105.
When things wear out, they are compatible with upgrade that would require a complete drivetrain swap if you wanted to upgrade sora.

Sora is fine for what it is - a budget drivetrain with no new/exciting upgrades.
A great rider would still be a great rider on Sora - so it isn't like it is useless crap that would make you suck.
The engine is you - so a $5000 bike with $3 legs is going to go like a $3 bike. ;)
Sora will shift a little slower and be less precise, but it still works and it is better than older more expensive drivetrains that were once considered great.

I do line myself up with the 'at least 105' group for anyone who fancies themselves doing bigger/longer rides than the recreational cyclist who just putters around.
Yeah, this is what I thought and I’d much rather do a little future proofing now in case I need it. My ambition is to do quite a few multi-day trips so having a little extra headroom would be nice.

I guess I’ll cry about missing this Synapse now lest I stumble into some money this weekend haha. But sounds like a secondhand nice 105 from buychari will be the way to go.
 

Winston Leg-Thigh

Maximum Pace
Mar 31, 2015
180
213
FWIW I've got one bike with Sora (3500) and one with 105 (5800). I've had the bike with Sora for 7 years and had no problems with it. Shifts fine, runs smoothly, and the cassettes and chains are much cheaper. I flip between the two bikes all the time and I don't miss the extra two gears when I'm on the bike with Sora (46/30 11-30 on the Sora, 46/36 11-40 on the 105 - had 11-36 on there before so had the same 1-1 as the Sora).
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
2,159
1,862
If I were you, I’d just save for a few months longer and get something like a CAAD13 with a105 group set and hydraulic disc brakes. Last I checked, those were 250,000 ¥ at our big LBS.

Regarding upgrading the group set, an obstacle to upgrading is that you’d have to change everything, you couldn’t do it piecemeal.
 

hellerphant

Speeding Up
Mar 23, 2022
55
83
If I were you, I’d just save for a few months longer and get something like a CAAD13 with a105 group set and hydraulic disc brakes. Last I checked, those were 250,000 ¥ at our big LBS.

Regarding upgrading the group set, an obstacle to upgrading is that you’d have to change everything, you couldn’t do it piecemeal.
It does look like this is the way. Which is your LBS chain? The only one I have around me is a Y’s road and then some other boutique places. The only CAAD13s listed anywhere even on the Cannondale site are Tiagra, so I think that’s where I’m headed.

And while I save, I’ll just keep checking Buychari weekly and if a Via Nirone 7 105, or another Cannondale 105 pops up at a cheaper price I might go for it!
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
1,296
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The bike I most commonly ride on longer rides has (10-speed) Tiagra brifters and rear derailer (front is 105) and it's good enough for me.

I have no reason to think that Sora would not be good enough for me.

A friend was, for some time, riding one bike equipped with (8-speed) Claris and another with (11-speed) Ultegra and very easily zooming ahead of me on either, and I don't remember her complaining about the former. (Or indeed about the latter.) I have no reason to think that Claris would not be good enough for me.

Also, in my over-half-century of riding, I've never bought (or stolen, or been given) a new bike.

My newest (in a way) bike is a 15-speed, has a mostly 1970s drivetrain, and has already done a couple of "centuries", each time going over Kazahari. Despite its lack of six or seven sprockets on the back, and its lack of brifters, indexed shifting, hydraulic braking, and other essentials, and despite its deeply unfashionable third chainwheel, it took me in some comfort.

But I'm a feeble old geezer. I don't go up or down inclines of more than 15% so often, I rarely ride farther than 200 km, and [understatement!] I don't race. Your requirements may be very different.

I don't have a "LBS chain". I have fairly local bike shops that are distinctly unchained. They're excellent. But if I want something straightforward and I happen to be near a branch of Y's or whatever, I'll get it there. And as for LBS chains: Recently I've realized how much the "Book Off Super Bazaars" can vary: this branch has a surprising number of road bikes (and frames, and wheels, etc). A month or so back it had what I least expected: an old steel Zunow frame; that has now gone, but a few days ago it had a steel Bottecchia frame of similar vintage. As well, of course, as aluminium- and plastic-framed bikes.
 

OreoCookie

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Dec 2, 2017
2,159
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It does look like this is the way. Which is your LBS chain? The only one I have around me is a Y’s road and then some other boutique places. The only CAAD13s listed anywhere even on the Cannondale site are Tiagra, so I think that’s where I’m headed.
It is a smaller chain called Hayasaka. Here in Sendai they have several shops and the fastest racing team. You can also order bikes, although it may take a while until they get in. So if they carry Cannondale, they can order one of the other configurations. Also keep in mind that the store might not have your size in stock, so they may have to order your bike anyway. Most of the showpieces here are in sizes XS or S (or equivalent, usually no larger than 52 cm), so I can rarely even test ride a bike that is only one size too small. Never, ever buy a bike in the wrong size, no matter how big the discount.
And while I save, I’ll just keep checking Buychari weekly and if a Via Nirone 7 105, or another Cannondale 105 pops up at a cheaper price I might go for it!
What size do you need? If you need M (54 cm) or L (56+ cm), this is probably not a very good idea. Finding bikes in larger sizes is hard.
 

hellerphant

Speeding Up
Mar 23, 2022
55
83
Oh, and for ¥200,000 there is a Cannondale Topstone 5 in size M on offer on this forum: this one has a carbon frame, GRX components, hydraulic disc brakes and seems like an all around great bike.
They let you sort by size on BuyChari. I’m a 54/56 according to Cannondale website (177cm) and they have this beauty there but as I said due to financial issues I can’t grab it right now https://buychari.com/bike-roadbike-5422052510003.html

So I think unless something really great pops up on there I will go down the ordering route once I have the 250,000 for a new one. The issue being that it’ll take me until Jan or Feb to hit that goal for me with everything going on. Still need a lot of dental work and we have our wedding coming up etc.

As for the Topstone, I did see that but I’m not a fan of the reviews I’ve read around that bike. Got my heart set on a Synapse or a CAAD13, unless a great Bianchi pops up cheap.
 

mr tim

Warming-Up
Mar 11, 2022
27
11
So now that I'm close to being wire free, and can get back on a bike I've started looking at new bike options. My wife doesn't want me to ride the bike I had the accident on, so I'm looking at a few months of saving, and then spending roughly 200,000ish.

I narrowed my choices down to a Bianchi Via Nirone 7 105, and a Cannondale Synapse 2 Sora. But looking at Y's Road and other places, there are no Bianchi's in my price range available until March next year, and I do not want to be off the road that long.

Anyways, it's good to be back, and advice would be appreciated.
Good to see you back up and running :)

Do you check the blog of the Bianchi Store in Machida? It's updated every week and I would assume they get stock priority over Ys. They have some Nirone models listed. They list what's available in their other stores too.

Happy shopping :)
 

hellerphant

Speeding Up
Mar 23, 2022
55
83
Good to see you back up and running :)

Do you check the blog of the Bianchi Store in Machida? It's updated every week and I would assume they get stock priority over Ys. They have some Nirone models listed. They list what's available in their other stores too.

Happy shopping :)
Hello! I actually went to the store today while we were getting groceries, and they had about…. 10 bikes in total I rekkon. It was so empty, no wonder no one else has stock either. I actually saw the Via Nirone 7 in person and I didn’t like the way it looks, feels quite small and not what I was expecting at all. So my wife gave me the all good to spend more and get a CAAD 13. Guess I’ll be off the road until next year though which is sad :(
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,356
5,128
Not to throw another wild opinion out there...
Don't fall in love with bikes, fall in love with Geometry.
Endurance bikes, Road Race, etc...

Use geometry geeks, 99spokes, etc to compare geometries of different bikes.
From Trek, I am a fan of their H2 geo. I have had 2 bikes with it (one was an Emonda).
The new Emonda is H1.5 - so it became a little more aggressive than I want.
So the same model bike from year to year can be what you do or down want.

Also - I have a Sage "All-Road" bike hat does my road and gravel duties with different wheelsets.
The gravel crew hates on it because it isn't pure gravel and only accepts 40mm tires.
The road crew hates on it because it isn't a dedicated roadie and not the most Aero.

I am putting PRs down on this bike all over the place and running it on & off road.
My only gripe is the toe overlap with big wheels. I look at it like a roadie on steroids and I could not be happier.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
3,916
2,150
I'm with @bloaker My bikes are all from very minor brands but they fit me perfectly. I won't be selling any of them.
Write down what you want in your next bike and then run that through what is available,
Start with budget then fit, brakes tires componentry and last of all colors and brands, you may be doing it back to front.
How did the old Giant fit? Go from there. And I wish I could lose 15kgs, too chicken to have a bust jaw.
You guys have had a tough few months but the worst seems to be behind you, well done.
 

rarirureroberto

Riding in Tokyo, but looking forward to go beyond.
Mar 12, 2019
57
38
@hellerphant, like others have pointed out, try to figure out what kind of cyclist you'll be. But that is pretty hard stuff. I can tell you that I have invested heavily to ride outdoors (camping gear included), but now I am stuck indoors for the foreseeable future. For my riding these days, I could have bought any bike, a smart trainer, and a TR subscription. But we never know how things will work out.

I vouch for you to pick up a better groupset if you believe you'll be putting a lot of km. And, again, wait for sale days. I got my Cannondale CAAD12, with an Ultegra groupset for ¥167,232 back in 2019.

I wrote about the expenses of my first year riding in Japan (2019). You can check it here to have an idea of how it went: http://jo.robertomartins.net/en/2020/entrada-20200909-All the money spent on cycling.html

Good luck!
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
2,159
1,862
They let you sort by size on BuyChari. I’m a 54/56 according to Cannondale website (177cm) and they have this beauty there but as I said due to financial issues I can’t grab it right now https://buychari.com/bike-roadbike-5422052510003.html
I’d try to ride a few bikes in different sizes and geometries. For example, the Synapse and the CAAD13 are very different bikes. When I got my first (actually second) road bike a few years ago, I got an endurance road bike. On paper, this made great sense: I came from a mountain bike background and had no plans of racing at the time. But the geometry never gelled with me, I am infinitely happier my new road bike that has a very aggressive geometry. Fortunately, I knew from trying a few sizes that I needed 56 cm/size L.

So try a few bikes. Sometimes bike shops have demo days, and I strongly recommend that you try different bikes. Other times bike stores have dedicated demo bikes. Mine occasionally gets a few 3T bikes, for example. Very often you will have a hard time finding something in size L. But you’ll definitely have quite a bit of choice in size M — and find out whether M is too small or not. On one demo event, only the Cannondale stand had a bike in size L. (Pro tip: Always make sure that the stems are tightened. On that day I rode two, three bikes where the stem wasn’t tightened.) Don’t go by charts, just try.
So I think unless something really great pops up on there I will go down the ordering route once I have the 250,000 for a new one. The issue being that it’ll take me until Jan or Feb to hit that goal for me with everything going on. Still need a lot of dental work and we have our wedding coming up etc.
Personally, I am a big fan of saving up money before spending it. So you are doing the right thing. Be patient. It’ll feel amazing. Also, if you are not sure whether you should go for compromise A or compromise B, save up a bit longer and get what you really want.

At this stage, I would definitely opt for an aluminum frame — unless you can get a lucky deal. But aluminum is great and the few hundred g of extra weight are nothing to worry about.
As for the Topstone, I did see that but I’m not a fan of the reviews I’ve read around that bike. Got my heart set on a Synapse or a CAAD13, unless a great Bianchi pops up cheap.
I haven’t checked the reviews, but it ticks all the boxes, has a carbon frame, an 11-speed group set and is super versatile. With proper road tires, you’ll easily hang in any group ride. However, given that you don’t have the money now, this is largely academic.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
2,159
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And, again, wait for sale days. I got my Cannondale CAAD12, with an Ultegra groupset for ¥167,232 back in 2019.
That’s a cracking deal.
Plus, I like that you list all the other stuff you bought for your bike, which are essentials. Among them:

- 1 pair of bib shorts. Skip the bargain basement ones, go for mid-priced ones. Pro tip: a few people on this forum sell new clothing from last season for very cheap. I got 2 top-of-the-line bib shorts, 1 pair of winter gloves and 1 pair of neoprene overshoes for less than my 7Mesh bib shorts.
- 1 jersey
- pedals (105-level is plenty) —> if you are new to the sport, I’d go for mountain bike pedals, though
- cycling shoes (Velokicks makes excellent cycling shoes for very little money!)
- helmet (try them on and make sure they fit)
- gloves
- rechargeable rear bike light

After that, I’d get the following:

- upgrade your tires. Yes, it seems stupid, they all look the same, but tires will make the biggest different to anything, and this is a safety item.
- arm warmers (very cheap and super useful)
- saddle bag with multitool, small pump and inner tube
- a set of allen keys
- plastic bike stand for indoors
- if you don’t wear eye glasses, get a cheaper set of cycling glasses
- a cheaper bike computer like Garmin’s 130-series
- rechargeable front light
 
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OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
2,159
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I couldn’t let this pass without adding my 2 ¥. As usual, @bloaker’s suggestions are on point.
Not to throw another wild opinion out there...
Don't fall in love with bikes, fall in love with Geometry.
Endurance bikes, Road Race, etc...
Yes, this.
Most people with little experience go off of specs: group sets, is the frame carbon or aluminum, … But what matters is geometry and fit, then contact points (saddle, handlebars, pedals). What you like or don’t like is purely personal preference.

Steering is a big factor for me: my previous endurance road bike was no fun in the corners, it’d feel as it would resist to make tight, twisty turns. On my new aero road bike that is very different. The price I had to pay was some toe overlap. And on the mountain bike side, I seem to prefer hardtails, I get a level of enjoyment out of them even though I know they are slower in many circumstances.
Also - I have a Sage "All-Road" bike hat does my road and gravel duties with different wheelsets.
The gravel crew hates on it because it isn't pure gravel and only accepts 40mm tires.
The road crew hates on it because it isn't a dedicated roadie and not the most Aero.
Again, this.
I think the future of the majority of road bikes is right here: a take on endurance road bike geometry with clearance for wider tires. IMHO pretty much all endurance road bikes should come with clearance for 40 mm tires. And if you are not going for speed, I’d go for wider tires, perhaps with a little bit of tread on them (think Schwalbe G-One Speed or G-One Allround). On my aero road bike there have been many occasions where I’d either turn around or proceed veeeery slowly when the road turns to gravel or there has been a mudslide.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
1,296
836
[. . .] will I regret not having a few half-steps once I do get stronger? I'm going to be hitting 100km + rides pretty regularly, and I just worry about hills.

[. . .] Buychari seem to have decent bikes and at least it's from a store and I don't need to deal with Mercari stuff.

No you won't regret not having as many sprockets as your chums have. (Unless some road bike fred actually manages to convince you that you must have this or the other, because he -- always he! -- heard so from some "expert".)

Buychari do indeed have decent bikes; and if you seem interested, sane (etc), if they're not too busy, and if the road surface is dry and decent (so the bike won't have to be washed clean), they'll let you ride one or two (but probably only a short distance).

Get something decent, unpretentious and unglamorous, and have fun with it. If you're lucky, you'll have lots of fun with it; if less lucky, it will be a "learning experience": a year or more from now you'll be well informed (and in no rush) when you buy its replacement.

And now for @OreoCookie 's shopping list:
- "1 pair of bib shorts." I've never bothered. Instead, spongy cycling undies under a pair of lightweight, not-cycling-specific shorts.
- "1 jersey." At least two: one for summer, one for spring/autumn. What might become my favorite summer one (just the right size, very comfortable), I bought last week from Book Off for 810 yen.
- "pedals (105-level is plenty)" My feet are fidgety and I use platform pedals (from MKS)
- "cycling shoes" Not for me. I wear running shoes. (Not spongy sneakers.)
- "helmet" Mine's Kabuto: "JCF approved" and cheap.
- "gloves" Workman now sells fingerless cycling mitts
- "rechargeable rear bike light" Cat-Eye, because it fits a clip that in turn fits on almost anything, and rarely falls off.
- "upgrade your tires" Panaracer Gravelking non-knobbly seem pretty good. They're more than averagely puncture-resistant. If that doesn't concern you, your routes are too boring.
- "arm warmers" I hated the things. They're tight, or they fall off. In summer, wear long-sleeved jerseys, which, when it gets hot, are almost as cool in short-sleeved jerseys are. Bonus: less time wasted (no slathering sunblock over your arms).
- "saddle bag with multitool, small pump and inner tube / set of allen keys" See if a multitool is useful beyond the allen keys. Don't piss around with tiny pumps: get a well designed one of medium size and let it cohabit with a bottle cage. (Yes, yes, it weighs more. If that worries you, lose weight it shouldn't; just carry less stuff around with you, or do what I do, accept that your bike will, when loaded, weigh more than your friends' bikes.)
- "[....]"
- "rechargeable front light" Yes! Far more important than the rear light.

And there's more stuff too, but enough for now.

[Edited to remove accidentally obnoxious suggestion.]
 
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