Introduction to Shimano Road Groupsets
A bicycle groupset includes all parts involved in braking, changing gear or running the drivetrain.
The components of a full groupset are:
- Crankset (also called the chainset),
- Bottom bracket,
- Brake levers/shift levers,
- Rear derailleur (RD),
- Front derailleur (FD),
You can buy a complete groupset or individual components. Shimano is the largest manufacturer of these components.
Shimano produces a range of road groupsets for different levels of cycling performance, from entry-level to high-end racing. The performance groupsets are also available in electronic versions, where a battery and motors shift gears for you in response to electronic commands sent either via wires or wirelessly to the derailleurs.
Here are some of the most popular Shimano road bike groupset hierarchy
Shimano Claris is an entry-level road bike groupset that is designed for beginner cyclists. It features an 8-speed cassette and shifters, with a 2x8 drivetrain. Claris components are known for their durability and ease of use.
Shimano Sora is a step-up from Claris and is designed for recreational and fitness cyclists. It features a 9-speed cassette and shifters, with a 2x9 drivetrain. Sora components are known for their reliable performance and affordability.
Shimano Tiagra is a mid-range road groupset that is popular among commuters and touring cyclists. It features a 10-speed cassette and shifters, with a 2x10 drivetrain. Tiagra components are known for their smooth and precise shifting.
Shimano 105 is a high-performance road groupset that is used by many competitive cyclists. It features an 11-speed cassette and shifters, with a 2x11 or 1x11 drivetrain. 105 components are known for their light weight and responsive shifting.
The electronic version of Shimano 105 was launched in July 2022. The groupset has 12-speed gearing and semi-wireless design – meaning the derailleurs are connected to the same battery with the shifters connecting wirelessly. One important point to be noted is that Shimano 105 Di2 is disc-brake only.
Shimano Ultegra is a top-of-the-line road groupset that is used by professional and elite-level cyclists. It features an 11-speed cassette and shifters, with a 2x11 or 1x11 drivetrain. Ultegra components are known for their precision and high-end performance. Ultegra is very versatile, allowing cassettes from 11-23t to 11-34t , thus ensuring Ultegra can be utilised by racers and adventure riders and everyone else in between
An electronic version of the mechanical Shimano Ultegra groupset, shifts are effortless, accurate and instant at the push of a button with Ultegra Di2
The best of the best, Shimano Dura-Ace is the flagship road groupset and is used by the world's top professional cyclists. Dura-Ace components are known for their cutting-edge technology, unparalleled performance and minimum weight.
The pinnacle of Shimano road technology and innovation, the new 12-speed R9200 DURA-ACE is our fastest, most inspired drivetrains ever.
A long-life battery powers this lightweight unit for miles of shifting with ease. The latest Di2 groupset now comes with 12 gears, updated lever ergonomics, along with improvement to the braking performance.
Overall, Shimano road groupsets offer a range of options for road bikers of different levels and goals, with each groupset offering specific features and benefits.