Shimano is one of the, if not the biggest, bike part manufacturers in the world. The company’s range of products is vast, covering all parts of cycling. One of the biggest products it sells are groupsets.
It currently has two groupsets, the Sora and the 105, that offer some of the best bike riding parts on the market. However, there are quite a few differences between the two.
Let’s look into it!
What’s a Groupset?
A groupset is all of the parts of a bike that make it stop and go.
A groupset is made of quite a few components, but each one is important to the function of the bike. These include two gear shifters, two brake levers, front and rear brakes, front and rear derailleurs, a cassette, a crankset, a bottom bracket, and a chain for the bike.
We will be going over each component, but before we do let’s look at our two groupsets, the Sora and the 105.
Shimano Sora Groupset
- Good for budget-conscious bikers
- Solid quality brakes and discs
- Flat bar bike compatible
- Shifting gears can be clunky
Shimano 105 Groupset
- Great stability
- Stable on hills and other steep places
- Best option for racing
- Smooth gear shifts
- Costly to maintain
Shimano Sora vs 105: How Do They Differ
A Quick Look
|Shifters||Heavier and rugged build||Lighter and ergonomic|
|Shifter design||Inferior than 105||Superior|
|Gear shifting experience||Harder gear shifting||Easier, smoother, and seamless|
|Riding experience||Heavier||Lighter and flawless|
|Brakes||Disk and caliper brakes||Hydraulic, disk and caliper brakes|
|Rim brakes technology||New Super SLR||SLR EV|
|Front derailleur||Compatible with double and triple chainsets||Only works with double chainsets|
|Rear derailleur teeth||32 (SS version)||30 teeth (SS version)|
|Rear derailleur design||Ordinary||Sleek and unintrusive|
|Crankset||triple crankset||double crankset|
|Crankset quality||Rugged, sturdier and stronger||A little bit smoother|
|Chainring material||Steel||Anodized Aluminum|
|Cassette options||Available in 11-25T, 11-30T, 11-32T, 12-25T, 13-25T, and 14-25T||Come in 12-25, 11-28, 11-30, 11-32, and 11-34 configurations|
|Pairing||Pairs with 9-speed chains||Pairs with 11-speed chains|
|User suitability||Great for casual riders, commuters, or even weekend riders||Best for racers and speed lovers|
|Terrain support||flat, declined or inclined surfaces||Both Rough, bumpy terrains and flat surfaces|
|Cost||About $350 for caliper brakes and $400 for mechanical disc brakes||About $500 for caliper brakes and $700 for disc brakes|
1. Similar Shifters but with Obvious Distinctions
Both have integrated shift and brake levers. However, there are some key differences between them.
The Sora shifter is a heavier, more rugged build. This leads to shifting gears feeling heavier than usual. It can be installed on more casual, flat bar bike frames easier than the 105.
The 105’s shifter is ergonomic and lightweight, offering a smooth and seamless gear shift.
The 105’s shifter’s superior design offers an easy and flawless ride.
2. Braking Power
Both ranges offer both disc and caliper brake options.
The Sora’s brakes are mechanical disc brakes. Caliper brakes on the Sora groupset recently got a 20% upgrade on the brake strength from older models.
The 105 has hydraulic disk brakes. The caliper version also sports a dual-pivot design that allows for direct mounting, giving the brakes a better stopping power.
Hydraulic disk brakes tend to be more reliable than mechanical, so the 105 wins.
3. Front Derailleur
Both groupsets have two mounting options – clamp band and braze on. Each comes with a nice, shiny silver polish.
The front derailleur of the Sora is compatible with double and triple chainsets.
The 105’s front derailleur only works with double chainsets
Due to more compatibility options, the Sora is the better choice in this case.
You can use a double or triple crankset design with the Sora groupset.
4. Rear Derailleur
Both have black rear mechs and come in short cage (SS) and medium cage (GS) versions. The more common option for each groupset is the medium cage configuration, which accommodates rear cassettes with up to 34 teeth.
The SS version of the Sora is able to support more teeth than the 105, 32 instead of 30.
The 105’s Shimano Shadow RD technology has a nice low-profile design. The design reduces the total width and keeps the bike stable, even on rough terrain
The 105’s design is sleek and unintrusive, giving you the smoothest ride.
5. Double or Triple Crankset
The Sora sports a triple crankset, which is very rugged and great for riding down steep terrain.
The 105 has a double crankset, which is a bit smoother than the Sora’s triple crankset.
The Sora’s triple crankset, while rougher, offers a sturdier and stronger crankset than the 105.
The weight of a Sora chainset is 953g.
The weight of the 105 chainset is only 752g.
The 105 has the lighter build.
7. Cassette Options
Sora cassettes are available in 11-25T, 11-30T, 11-32T, 12-25T, 13-25T, and 14-25T. Sora groupsets can only pair with 9-speed chains
105 cassettes come in 12-25, 11-28, 11-30, 11-32, and 11-34 configurations. The 105 also pairs with 11-speed chains and is more lightweight than the Sora.
The 105’s 11-speed support and lightweight pull it ahead of the heavier Sora.
8. User suitability
Sora is a great set for those who want to upgrade their bikes, but don’t wan’t to go broke doing so. It is great for casual rides, commuting, or even weekend riding.
For those looking for something high end or for racing, then the 105 set will work great. It’s lightweight and its design built for smooth riding offer the best option for those looking to take their riding to the next level.
Each groupset is a great option, but it depends on what kind of riding you want to do. If you are a casual rider, then the Sora is better. If you like speed and flash, the 105 is better.
9. Ride feel
The Sora is a great groupset, but some components of it can make riding a little rough, especially for those looking to do mountain biking.
The 105 is an all-around better-built groupset. The riding is some of the best on the market. Everything feels seamless and it takes no effort to really get going on the 105.
The premium build of the 105 groupset really shines, offering some of the best biking experiences possible.
Each groupset comes with two brake options: caliper and disc brakes. Caliper brakes are cheaper, but aren’t as good as disc brakes.
Sora groupsets cost $350 for caliper brakes and $400 for mechanical disc brakes.
The 105 groupsets retail are about $500 with caliper brakes and $700 with disc brakes.
The Sora is much cheaper than 105, so for those looking to protect their wallets, the Sora is the best option.
When should you ride Sora?
If you are a casual rider and don’t plan on racing, or just someone looking to save money, the Sora is your go-to choice.
When should you ride 105?
The 105 groupset is an upgrade of the Sora, but it will cost you. Get the 105 groupset if you want a nice, smooth, and lightweight bike for a more thrilling experience.
Q. Can I replace Shimano Sora with 105?
It is possible, but that usually means that you have to replace the whole groupset.
Q. Can I race with Shimano 105?
With its lightweight and easy gear shift, the Shimano 105 makes a decent racing bike, but it will not be the best.