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Upgrade my bike to Ultegra 6800 - long


JerrySTL
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Good work!

I had the same sort of idea a while back after I got used to my new Tarmac with Di2. My Roubaix, with 10sp DA mechanical sat forlorn in the corner, so I popped for a 11sp Di2 Ultegra upgrade kit and had that swapped onto the Roubaix. It definitely is nice since both bikes now have essentially the same set-up (11sp Di2 with a 50/34 & 11-28 cassette).  Braking is greatly improved on the Roubaix as well.

Your bike looks great!

Tom

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1 hour ago, JerrySTL said:

My 2009 Giant Defy Advance 3 Triple was starting to show its age. Both Shimano 105 brifters and derailleurs were original and had well over 30K miles on them. I had changed the cassette, chain (multiple times) plus the middle chain ring on the FSA triple crankset. I’d also swapped out the original Tektro brakes for some older Ultegra brakes.

I been missing shifts plus not all that happy with the triple when it did work well. Replacing the cables and housings didn’t help anymore. The frame, fork, seat post, handlebars, etc. were in good shape still. I’d had the headset and crank bearing replaced last year. So I had to choose between getting a new bike for about $3000 and fixing up the old Giant for around $800.

I opted to buy a Shimano Ultegra 6800 compact double groupset from Chain Reaction Cycles in the UK for $600 which included shipping and taxes. I went with a compact double with a 50-34 crankset and 11-32 cassette. That actually gives me a higher high gear and lower low than the 50-39-30 / 12-27 setup that came with the bike.

The kit arrived pretty quickly; however, it needed a few things to be complete.

It didn’t come with brake cables or housings. The brake cable kit was about $20.

It came with derailleur cables but no housings. I bought 25 foot of the cable housings so I’d probably never need to again. $28.

It didn’t come with the small alignment tool needed for the front derailleur. $8.

My old 105 had derailleur adjustment mechanisms on the brifters while the Ultegra brifters do not. I need a pair of frame adjusters which were pretty cheap. About $12.

Most disappointing was that I needed a new rear wheel. My old rear wheel would not take the 11-speed cassette. So that was another $200. I also put on a new tire and tube for $75.

New handlebar tape, but the old tape was dirty and frayed anyway. $20.

I took my time and did the install over a couple of days. My biggest worry was the crank. The groupset came with a threaded bottom bracket; however, the Defy uses BB86 pressed-in bearings. Fortunately the crankset fit perfectly with those BB86 bearings.

Everything else was straight forward except the front derailleur. I mentioned the FD alignment tool, but there was much more than that! The downloaded installation manual was 18 pages that you need to read very carefully. I almost missed one important step plus was confused about two little pieces of metal in a bag. Also make sure that you have a 2 mm Allen wrench as you’ll need it. A simple thing like a front derailleur was the most difficult part of the upgrade. The second hardest part was wrapping the handlebars as I’ve never gotten that right the first (or second) time.

After getting everything installed and adjusted, I took the bike for a 29 miles shake-down ride. I brought a bunch of tools but didn’t need to adjust anything. The bike shifts and stops better than it did when new and quite an improvement over what it has been doing recently. It’s going to take a while to get use to the different gearing, but I’ll do that quickly.

Before upgrade with the triple:

Defy Before Side.jpg

The old cable setup. Notice the derailleur cables coming out of the brifters.

Defy Before Handlebars.jpg

After with the compact double.

Defy After Side.jpg

Much cleaner looking cable routing.

Defy After handlebars.jpg

Defy Before Triple.jpg

Defy After Double.jpg

Those two little pieces of metal that confused you were to stick on a carbon fiber frame to protect it from the derailleur banging into it if the low gear limit screw isn't set properly. One is a spare.

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26 minutes ago, Rattlecan said:

Those two little pieces of metal that confused you were to stick on a carbon fiber frame to protect it from the derailleur banging into it if the low gear limit screw isn't set properly. One is a spare.

Yep except one is flat and the other curved to match the shape of the seat tube. My bike is a carbon frame so it's a good thing that I read the instructions!

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13 hours ago, JerrySTL said:

Before upgrade with the triple:

The old cable setup. Notice the derailleur cables coming out of the brifters.

Defy Before Handlebars.jpg

After with the compact double.

Much cleaner looking cable routing.

Defy After handlebars.jpg

It is funny how after riding the old DA for years with the shift cables cluttering the front, I am still pleasantly shocked when I look down during a ride at my decluttered/decabled cockpit.  It is really nice.  When I see old ride video I shot from the handlebars, the cables stick out like sore thumbs. It definitely is a more tidy set-up now.

Tom

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2 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

It is funny how after riding the old DA for years with the shift cables cluttering the front, I am still pleasantly shocked when I look down during a ride at my decluttered/decabled cockpit.  It is really nice.  When I see old ride video I shot from the handlebars, the cables stick out like sore thumbs. It definitely is a more tidy set-up now.

Tom

I really like how Shimano routed the shifter cables along side the brake cables, so much cleaner, nicely done.

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10 hours ago, JerrySTL said:

Yep except one is flat and the other curved to match the shape of the seat tube. My bike is a carbon frame so it's a good thing that I read the instructions!

Right you are.

Well done on the build. Dialing the front derailleur is the most frustrating part, and they are doing nothing to make it any easier.

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BTW - this is the classic "reason"/"justification" we all use :whistle: :

Quote

I been missing shifts plus not all that happy with the triple when it did work well. Replacing the cables and housings didn’t help anymore. The frame, fork, seat post, handlebars, etc. were in good shape still. I’d had the headset and crank bearing replaced last year. So I had to choose between getting a new bike for about $3000 and fixing up the old Giant for around $800.

Tom

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6 hours ago, Parr8hed said:

Your neighbor has a camper in the front yard! :runcirclsmiley:

Yea. He's a case. Retired from the USAF after 20 years as an E-5. That's damned difficult to do without at least getting an Article 15. However he's much better than the neighbors on the other side. Strange people.

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7 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

BTW - this is the classic "reason"/"justification" we all use :whistle: :

Tom

A better one is having a mid-lief crisis and choosing between a $50K sports car or a $5K bicycle. Especially effective when the wife realized that someone else can also sit in the sports car.....

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