Gimme Ultegra, hold the SL

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Hee haw. I’m with m’boy Big Jonny on the Bike Snob. Loved this bit about Ultegra and its new glitzy big-hair lip-synch’n cousin, Ultegra SL:

Nextly, the thing I always liked about Ultegra is that it’s the blue-collar group. It’s always been the cheapest legitimate racing gruppo. Good enough to take the start at a Pro/1/2 race, yet inexpensive enough to slap on that project bike or on your first ‘cross frame. Ultegra says, “I don’t care about shiny, I don’t care about grams, I just care about riding.”

That’s why pimping up Ultegra is stupid. It’s like when people take a perfectly good economy car and then put on wheels that cost three times as much as the vehicle. You go from looking like a sensible, economical person to looking like an idiot.

I’ve got Ultegra on just about everything, except a couple of bikes that have its ugly second cousin with the limp and the googly eye, Shimano 600. Some of them have bar-end shifters and aero’ brake levers instead of STI. Oh, the humanity. I quit buying Dura-Ace when (a) it started costing more than a top-shelf bottle of single malt, an 8-ball of Peruvian marching powder and a two-girl massage on Colfax, and; (b) I realized it didn’t make me any faster. Not even the marching powder will help there.

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About Patrick O'Grady

Making stuff up for money since 1977. Making stuff up about cycling for money since 1989. See VeloNews and Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, found crumpled near the crapper in stylish homes and pro bike shops worldwide.

3 Replies to “Gimme Ultegra, hold the SL”

  1. How about SRAM Rival? Similar price to Ultegra–but much lighter than even Ultegra SL. It is too bad the crank is so damn ugly.

  2. Shimano 600 indeed. I need something on my bike uglier than me, to take other’s eyes off this old turd.