Originally Posted by customcoco
Well I believe that the main problem, so to speak, is about how the industry is going to cope with the performance gap closing between components tiers.
We now have 3K carbon road bikes running 105, and that's absolutely fine, but then how does one justify buying an Ultegra ?
Sure, Dura Ace will naturally find buyers who are willing to shell out some outrageous money for marginal gains and the prestige associated with buying the best out there, but the middle groups will eventually suffer. I wouldn't upgrade from 105 to Ultegra on the same bike, I'd go straight to DA.
That's why I'm dubious of the entry of mid-tier electronic groupsets. Ultegra has to have something going for it in to remain attractive.
But then, I could be entirely wrong.
The casual rider likely won't (and shouldn't) care less about this, but cycling is like headphones... most that are "into it" aren't of the casual variety, and won't think twice about spending an extra $100 on shifters that weigh 100g less. But, even that doesn't justify the continued existence of the mid-tier group. Or the top tier, sometimes. Take SRAM Red, for example: unless you're stumping up for eTap, there is basically no difference, now, between the mechanical Red and Force groupsets. The one reason I ever considered (mechanical) Red for my bike was the Zero Loss right shifter. Now that's available on Force, which I think is more aesthetically pleasing to boot. Yaw is now on the Force front derailleur, as well. All of this, in my opinion, basically prices SRAM Red out of the mechanical market. I bet the same is true for mechanical Shimano DuraAce, as well. As for Campy... well, those riders are cultists; nothing will dissuade them from buying more, even if it brings nothing to the table.
But in the end, I think it will always be weight that drives the move upward. And when we hit a point where material science no longer supports weight reductions at higher ends, we'll see new "features" again being limited to only the high end, in an effort to save the idea of "low," "mid," and "high" end groupsets.