Shimano are the biggest manufacturers of cycle components anywhere in the world. Based in Japan, Shimano make products for all the major cycling disciplines including road, mountain, trekking and leisure. With a huge range on offer they’ll definitely have something to suit you on almost any type of bike.
Shimano have developed its components to a suit a certain ride style and matched its gears, brake and wheels into a corresponding range or “groupset”
Components include: bottom bracket; brake callipers, brake discs, brake levers; cables; cassette; chain; chainset (cranks & chainrings); gear levers (or ‘STI’ combined gear and brake levers); gear mechanisms – often referred to as mechs or derailleurs - for front & rear; pedals and wheels.
Groupsets are identified by their own individual brand names with all the latest gadgets and innovations introduced at the top and steadily filtering down the range in following years. The mid-model groupsets of today now have features previously only seen on pro team bikes a few years earlier. Shimano’s latest invention sees the introduction of electronic shifting for road bikes called Di2. This started out of the top of the range groupset Durace and is now available in Ultegra for a cheaper price but with only small penalty of slight weight gain.
Groupsets are categorised by discipline and hierarchy as follows:
- Dura Ace – Tested by Pro cycling teams over grand tours and one day classic this is the pinnacle of Shimano’s road groupsets. Available in mechanical or Di2.
- Ultegra – Features many of the innovations seen on previous Durace models but at fraction of the price. Also available in mechanical or Di2
- 105 – Available in silver or black finishes and incorporates technology previously seen in Durace and Ultegra only a few years earlier.
- Tiagra – Offers the same level of engineering as the more premium groups but at a much more affordable price, a great robust all round group.
- Sora – Now with dual control just like the rest of the range, enjoy around 90% of the benefits of the more premium products at a bargain price.
- XTR – Top of the range MTB componentry featuring lightweight carbon and polished metal this is the cutting edge of cycle design and function.
- Deore XT – Still one of the best groupset Shimano has to offer and a cheaper price than XTR with only minimal weight gain.
- SLX – Come in 2x10 or 3x10 and offers smooth shifting, precise braking and great performance at a great price.
- Deore – Easy to use and easy to maintain, a top spec entry level system for the serious rider.
Downhill / Freeride
- Saint – Dedicated and designed purely for DH this groupset has been tested to the limits to deliver flawless, rock solid performance
- Zee – Using Saint technology of old Zee delivers great shifting and robust performance at a price you can afford.
Shimano are now also respected manufacturers of footwear producing a large range of many road, mountain, trail, commuting and BMX shoes. They also produce an ever expanding range of tools which are made to Shimano’s usual high standards.