Shimano is known for many groupsets, but two options that occupy different levels on the hierarchy are Sora and 105. So, how does Shimano Sora vs 105 compare?
Shimano Sora, which occupies a lower hierarchy level, comes in 9-speed and is cheaper and more compatible with flat-bar bike frames. Conversely, Shimano 105 comes in 11-speed, is generally lighter and faster, and enjoys more reliable brakes and shifters.
Of course, there are other differences with respect to the brakes, shifters, cranksets, and derailleurs. Moreover, there is the price difference, which tends to favor low-ranked groupsets, which in our case is Shimano Sora.
I’ll talk about all these basics that set the two groupsets apart to help you pick between them.
But if you are in a rush, see what Amazon’s customers think about the two groupsets below.
Side-By-Side Comparison Of Shimano Sora Vs 105
Here’s how the two Shimano groupsets compare side by side:
This is the critical distinction between the two. Currently, Shimano 105 comes with an 11-speed gear system, while Shimano system offers you nine speeds.
But does the two-speed difference makes any performance difference?
Well, it depends on where you plan to ride. Generally, the more the speed, the smaller the gear jumps and the smoother the gearing.
So, if you plan to take on the hills, Shimano 105 is a better choice. But if you don’t mind slightly steep ascents or plan to ride on flat ground, you can settle for Shimano Sora.
Verdict – Shimano 105 has a climbing advantage, thus more superior than Shimano Sora.
2. Shimano Sora Vs 105 Brakes
The brakes are another area where it’s easy to decide between the two. While both options offer you disc brakes, Sora is more inclined to mechanical disc brakes, while Shimano 105 boasts more sophisticated and powerful hydraulic disc brakes.
Both options also offer you caliper brakes.
For an entry-level cyclist, Sora’s rim brakes and even mechanical disc brakes are fine. But if you want a more high-end experience, Shimano 105 promises that.
Verdict – 105 wins in the brake category due to their more reliable
3. Shimano Sora Vs Shimano 105 Shifter
Interestingly, both Shimano 105 and Sora have similar shifter designs which work the same way. Their shifters are integrated with brake levers, and you need to pull the brake levers back when braking or swing them inside when shifting.
Plus, there is a slight shift button for opposite shifting.
So, what’s the deal-breaker?
Shimano 105 shifter is lighter and more ergonomic, making it more comfortable to hold. Plus, gear switching is more precise and a little seamless.
Sora shifters, in contrast, are not as refined or lighter as 105 shifters, thus slightly cumbersome. Though the shifting is flawless, it requires a bit extra effort and may feel slightly rougher.
However, one advantage of Sora shifters is that they offer flat-bar configuration, which makes them compatible with MTBs, gravel bikes, city bikes, and commuter bikes.
Verdict – Shimano 105 has a superior shifter, which promises a much smoother gear change.
4. Shimano Sora Vs 105 Derailleur
If you are not extra keen, you may mistake one front derailleur for the other. That’s how nearly identical they are.
They both come in polished silver and offer you clamp-band and brace-on mounting options.
So, what’s the difference?
While 105’s front derailleur is only compatible with double chainsets, the Sora’s front derailleur accommodates both double and triple options.
But performance-wise, there is nothing to separate the two.
Verdict – While the front derailleurs of the two groupsets are similar in performance, Sora offers you more compatibility.
Their rear derailleurs, just like the front derailleurs, look almost identical. They come in sleek black designs and are available in short-cage (SS) and medium-cage (GS) options.
Their GS versions have a configuration that’s compatible with rear cassettes that have up to 34 teeth. That’s, however, where their similarities stop.
But how do they differ?
The 105’s rear derailleur has a more low-profile design, which reduces their size and weight and offers them more stability, even when taking on technical terrains.
The other difference is that Sora’s short cage only fits up to 32 teeth when 105 can only accommodate a maximum of 30.
Verdict – 105 has a much lower profile and is more stable. It, however, falls short in sprocket number compatibility.
Both groupsets have a similar crankset design. They feature a 4-arm crank fixed to the chainring and enjoy sleek finishes.
So, what sets them apart?
Shimano 105 only offers you a double chainset while you get a triple-option from Shimano Sora. As far as the gearing is concerned, Sora offers you more leverage when taking on the steeps.
The shifting is not the smoothest, but the crankset is more rugged and better suited to steeper terrains.
Verdict – Shimano Sora has a more rugged crankset that can tolerate equally rugged terrains.
Shimano Sora Vs 105 Weight
There is a considerable weight difference between Shimano 105 and Sora. For example, a 105 chainset averages 752g while a Sora’s chainset weighs about 953g.
Verdict – Shimano 105 is lighter than Sora.
With Shimano 105 occupying a higher rank on the Shimano hierarchy and bossing its way with slightly more high-end components, it cost more.
Expect 105 groupsets to retail for about $700-$750 (disc brake options ) and $500-$550 (caliper options). You’ll, however, get Sora groupsets for about $350-$400.
Verdict – Shimano 105 is pricier than Sora as it has more high components.
Sora is a decent choice for budget buyers who want to upgrade from the basic Claris groupset. It’s an entry-level choice that you’ll not have to break the bank for.
Sora is best for running errands, weekend cruises, and short commutes. Overall, if you want a budget choice for your MTB, commuter, or gravel bike, Sora makes more sense.
But if you want something more high-end, either for competitive racing or casual biking, then you should get a Shimano 105 groupset. It’s lighter, sleeker, and sturdier.
Shimano Sora Vs 105 Review: Pros and Cons
Shimano Sora Groupset
- More rugged crankset
- Decent rim and disc brakes
- Compatible with flat bar bikes
- Suffer bigger gear jumps when shifting
- It weighs more, thus bulkier
Shimano 105 Groupset
- More stable on steeps
- Lighter and sleeker
- Better braking power
- Best for casual racing
- More front derailleur compatibility
- More stable
- Costs more
- Slightly expensive to maintain
Is Shimano Sora Better Than 105? My Overview
Shimano Sora’s biggest selling point and attraction is its price. Plus, Sora is compatible with flat-bar bikes such as entry-level MTBs, gravel bikes, performance bikes, and commuter bikes.
So, if you are looking for a budget groupset for an entry-level bike, Shimano Sora is better. But if you want a lighter, smoother, and more comfortable groupset for any racing, Shimano 105 is a safer bet.
Is Shimano 105 Better Than Sora? My Overview
Shimano Sora has some incredible properties that are pretty irresistible if you are a bike enthusiast. The groupset offers you more gearing range to allow you to shift smoothly.
The brakes are pretty impressive as the groupset is lighter and sleeker than Sora.
Perhaps the only criticism is the crankset which is not as rugged as that of Sora. There is also the price, which may be a concern for budget buyers.
But overall, if you are looking for a decent racer, Shimano 105 is better than Sora.
1. Is Shimano Sora Any Good?
Shimano Sora offers you a budget-friendly groupset that is a slight improvement of Claris. Its brakes and shifters are decent, and the groupset is tougher on steeps.
Overall, this groupset is a good choice for entry-level MTBs, gravel bikes, and commuter bicycles.
2. Can You Replace Shimano Sora with 105?
It’s generally possible to replace Shimano Sora with 105, but you may have to change the entire groupset. Overall, that allows you to make your bike faster and more comfortable uphill.
3. How Good is Shimano 105?
Shimano 105 is really good. It’s the perfect combination of lightweight, climbing efficiency, braking power, and smooth shifting.
Though it’s not the most high-end on the Shimano groupset hierarchy, it’s the closest you can get to the top on a lower budget.
4. Can You Race with Shimano 105?
The newest Shimano 105 groupsets come in a lower profile and are generally lighter and more comfortable to shift, thus decent racers. They are however not the best for pro racing.
Shimano Sora Vs 105 Closing Thought: What Groupset Should You Get?
Shimano packs its Sora and 105 groupsets with some impressive qualities. But overall, if you are looking for a lighter, sleeker, and stronger groupset with a wide gear range and decent braking power, the outright winner is Shimano 105.
But if the budget is an issue and you only need a decent casual bike, you can settle for Sora.