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Has Anyone Ever Been Dropped Because They Have Sora Components in Lieu of Dura Ace?


December 2018

I happened upon a Durianrider video the other day – now, nine-and-a-half times in ten I’m going to close that video down before he hits his first “carb the f*** up” but, for some reason, not this day.

In his four minute and change video he claimed that no one has ever been dropped because they were riding Sora components in lieu of Dura Ace, that Chris Froome could win the Tour de France on a Sora-equipped bike, and that if someone does get dropped riding Sora, it is due to their glycogen levels being low, or not properly carbing the f*** up, and that he could flog 99.9,% of all riders on his Sora-equipped steel LeMond… and my mind kinda shut him out after that.

I did pat myself on the back for making it to the end of the video – the guy tends to grate on me a bit. What if you’re not the great carbing the f*** up Durianrider, though?

First, I can tell you that I agree with him that Shimano Sora R3000 9sp is legit. I’ve got it on my gravel bike and it’s just as good as my 10sp 105 and close to the Ultegra line. There’s a weight penalty, but it’s not all that big a deal.

But question was, has anyone ever been dropped because they’re riding a Sora-equipped bike?

I’d argue yes, but not because Sora components are heavy or because they don’t operate excellently. In fact, for the extra Thousand Dollars for Dura Ace, my 23 pound Diverge would only drop down to 21.3 pounds, give or take. What is important is the extra two gears you gain going from 9 to 11 sp. Those two gears mean you’re jumping one or two teeth on the cassette instead of three or even four. Each tooth means about 5 rpm in cadence. Jumping five or ten rpm is reasonable. Fifteen or twenty, well now you’re likely to be in the wrong gear and struggling to spin too fast to keep up or push too hard on too heavy a gear. Pick your poison.

Take my Venge and put Sora R3000 on it, the bike is still only 17 pounds. Certainly no fatass, and definitely not enough weight to slow me down. That missing gear, though, dropping from 10 to 9sp… that would be a bit more problematic. Probably not insurmountable, but simply more work.

And therein lies the rub to Durianrider’s claims; how much more work can you handle before carbing the f*** up just won’t make up the difference?

Take my 15-3/4 pound carbon fiber everything, Ultegra equipped Venge with 38mm carbon fiber wheels, 25mm tires, and pit it against that 23 pound Sora equipped, alloy wheels, 28mm tires gravel bike and the detractors, the holes in the gearing, the extra weight, heavier wheels, and the aluminum frame become too much to overcome. No joke, the same ride on the Venge and the Diverge, you’re looking at another 50 watts to make the Diverge do the same thing as the Venge. Folks, it doesn’t matter how much “carb(ing) the f*** up” you do, you’re not making that up trying to hang with the 23-mph average gang.

I don’t know how big a percentage of riders I can whoop on my Venge, but I’ll guarantee you, it’s a much bigger chunk that I would on the Diverge.

Pass the bacon.


  1. Sheree says:

    Season’s Greetings to you and your family, and the bikes.

  2. capejohn says:

    I get dropped on every ride. I’m getting Dura Aces as soon as possible.

  3. I’m sure Froome could win the Tour on Sora, but I am not Froome so I’ll take every advantage I can get! With a close-ratio cassette on each – I wonder how a Venge with Sora (whaaat!) would compare to a Venge with Dura Ace?

    Congrats on enduring an entire Durianrider video, that’s an achievement! 😂

    • bgddyjim says:

      All kidding aside, the new Sora really is good stuff, man. That said, you didn’t see me trading in my 105 or Ultegra for it, either!

      And thanks for recognizing the strength of character needed to make it all the way through the video. 👍

  4. Nice analysis. I used to watch Durian videos but got fed up with them fairly quickly. I suppose it boils down to the sum of marginal gains when they all combined starting to make the difference. It would be very difficult to reproduce all the circumstances, other than those purely technical, to the exact last details (like sleep, recovery, mood etc) to be able to say if different groupset made the critical difference. But, I guess, from purely logical and theoretical at the same time, standpoint, yes – the grouppo can make the difference between being dropped and not. In the real life however, other factors are likely to play much bigger role.

  5. Richard says:

    LMAO yup l can only watch so much until it gets grading and repetitive . l discovered by adding gears helps alot with cadence and that does make a difference however l did try a close ratio cassette on my trek found myself annoyed and shifting for nothing .l found two gears differences worked best in high gears and 3 for lower ones .However l live in the prairies so it l might feel differently in the hills.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I like two teeth jumps for the lower and one for the higher. I do a fair amount of excessively fast riding and the smaller jump helps with matching cadence to effort and speed. It’s all about what you like, though.

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