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Whether you’re shopping for a bike or intending to build or upgrade one on your own, you will need to know about the essential parts that make it work. Every bike has a groupset, which is a collection of parts and pieces that are responsible for making the bike run.

One of the top manufacturers for these parts is Shimano. As an incredibly reputable manufacturer, when it comes time to upgrade your existing unit or parts, you’ll want to know all about the hierarchy to make sure you’re choosing the right groupset.

In this guide, we’ll discuss which groupsets are recommended for certain types of riders to make your choice simpler.

What Is a Groupset?

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Before we get into the hierarchy, let’s delve into the definition of a groupset, as most novice riders might not know the importance of this term.

As previously mentioned, a groupset is a collection of parts that work together to make your bike work. This includes the brake levers, brake calipers (front and rear), shifters, bottom bracket, cassette, chain, crankset, and the derailleurs (front and back).

It is highly recommended to pay close attention to these features after choosing the perfect frame to make sure you’re getting the right bike for your riding style and your budget.

Shimano’s Components Hierarchy

It’s important to remember that when choosing components, you need to find the right ones for your style. Some riders might not need the power behind professional components, whereas professionals won’t get the performance they need out of groupsets on the lower end of the hierarchy.

From most to least expensive, these are the premier Shimano components:

Shimano Dura-Ace (R9170, R9150, R9120, R9100)

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As the top-tier selection for bike riders, Dura-Ace is the premier option in the hierarchy of Shimano parts.

Not only are they top-of-the-line in terms of price, but they also excel in performance where the other groupsets fall short. The excellence of these components is seen primarily through the secure shifting that sets into place with an effortless click.

Racers will also love how this groupset is by far the most lightweight in the entire Shimano range, providing effortless riding with minimal effort.

You’ll also find that the shifters are indescribably comfortable as they are ergonomic, making them ideal for advanced riders. It’s important to note the Dura-Ace is available with electronic shifting, as well.

Shimano Ultegra (R8070, R8050, R8020, R8000)

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With the Ultegra, you’re backing far away from entry-level components and dipping your toes into the waters of competitive racing. The strength and stiffness of the cranks are impeccable, as is the sharpness of the brakes against the rims.

You’ll find the Ultegra is designed to be customized for the rider, so you will be able to manage the cassette from 11-23 to 11-32. This gives you access to plenty of smaller gears.

Another benefit is the lightness of the components. These are specifically designed for racing bikes so that they won’t add a substantial burden to your frame. Also, Ultegra systems work effortlessly, allowing you to shift gears fluidly so that you can feel more confident while riding.

Shimano 105 (R7025, R7000)

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Shimano 105 components are ideal for bike enthusiasts who are ready to take a step up from their entry-level parts but still don’t want to invest in the higher-end groupsets. You’ll appreciate the longevity, weight, and manufacturing quality of the 105 parts.

As it’s a step-up from Tiagra, you’ll notice a couple of improvements. First, your gear shifting is going to be substantially faster. The crankset is also stiffer, but it still doesn’t feel too overwhelming to be used for daily commuting.

In 2015, Shimano 105 systems were newly available in 11 speed, when they were first introduced as a 10-speed option for riders.

Shimano Tiagra (4700)

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As another entry-level groupset that you can get your hands on, the Tiagra is best suited for riders who want immaculate gear changes with no jerking.

When you shift gears, it will be sharp and crisp, which is by far the most significant selling point of this groupset, especially as you won’t see much wear and tear after daily commuting over years of use.

Another exciting feature of these components is they are available in eight, nine, and 10 ranges of speed. These are also found in compact, double-, and triple-chainring options.

Shimano Sora (R3000)

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Bikes equipped with Sora components are going to be slightly more expensive than those with Claris parts. This is mostly because they have drastically improved the quality and use of the elements.

One of the most significant advancements was the shift from an eight-speed to a nine-speed system, which also offers dual-control. Similar to the Claris, you can typically choose between triple or compact chainrings as well as 14-25 and 11-32 cassettes, which are ideal for up and downhill travel.

If you’re someone who is a fan of aesthetics, you’ll love to know that the entire groupset is painted in deep black, which will surely add to the modern look of your frame.

Shimano Claris (R2000)

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Claris is often referred to as an entry-level groupset, but you will still be receiving high-quality parts for everyday rides. Commuters and sports enthusiasts will appreciate these components, primarily as these feature eight speeds with multiple configurations to choose from.

Riders will also appreciate that you can find anything from hubs to shifters in both triple and compact styles. According to triptothewild.com, adjusting the gears is equally as simple as with other entry-level groupsets, making it an incredibly user-friendly option for anyone.

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Final Thoughts

Although all Shimano components are made with impeccable attention to detail, the performance of the higher-end groupsets far outweighs their entry-level options.

From the Claris to the Dura-Ace, you will find that Shimano offers components built for every type of rider. Thanks to this, you can have the most confident, comfortable, and enjoyable ride possible.


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