Shimano Groupset Hierarchy Explained (From Best Level to Worst Level)

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Shimano groupset hierarchy featured

A groupset is a collection of mechanical and electronic parts that make up the drivetrain, braking system, and other components on your bicycle. It includes things like shifters, derailleurs, brakes, crankset, cassette, and chain. Think of it as the heart and soul of your bike, responsible for its performance and functionality.

And Shimano is one of the leading manufacturers of these bicycle components, known for their innovation, reliability, and wide range of offerings. They produce groupsets for various types of bicycles, including road, mountain, gravel, and hybrid bikes. In this article, we’ll focus on the Shimano groupset hierarchy for each type of bike, from the best level to the worst level, so you can find the perfect fit for your cycling needs.

Road Groupset Levels

Dura-Ace

If you’re a serious cyclist looking for the ultimate road groupset that delivers top-notch performance and cutting-edge technology, look no further than the Shimano Dura-Ace. Designed for professional racing and high-performance cycling, Dura-Ace is the pinnacle of Shimano’s road groupsets, offering the lightest, fastest, and most reliable components on the market.

Dura-Ace

Shimano Dura-Ace is renowned for its advanced technology, premium materials, and meticulous engineering. Its components have been meticulously designed to maximize performance, efficiency, and durability. From the crankset to the cassette, every part of the Dura-Ace groupset has been optimized to deliver unrivaled performance on the road.

One of the standout features of the Dura-Ace groupset is its versatility. It offers both mechanical and electronic shifting options, allowing you to choose the system that best suits your preferences. Mechanical shifting provides a tactile and responsive feel, while electronic shifting offers effortless and precise gear changes at the touch of a button.

In addition to the shifting options, Dura-Ace also gives you the choice between hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes provide superior stopping power and modulation in all weather conditions, while rim brakes offer a lightweight and aerodynamic option for those seeking maximum speed.

Dura-Ace is available in a variety of configurations to suit different riding styles and preferences. It features an 11-speed cassette in the R9100 series or a 12-speed cassette in the R9200 series, paired with a 2x chainring setup. This wide range of gear options ensures that you can find the perfect setup to tackle any terrain or ride with ease.

To cater to the diverse needs of cyclists, Shimano offers Dura-Ace in six different versions. The R9100 series is available with mechanical rim brakes, the R9120 series comes with mechanical disc brakes, and the R9170 series features hydraulic disc brakes. For those looking for electronic shifting, the R9200 series offers semi-wireless rim brakes, the R9220 series provides semi-wireless disc brakes, and the R9270 series delivers the ultimate wireless disc brake experience.

No matter which version you choose, Dura-Ace guarantees fast and flawless shifting, allowing you to effortlessly find the perfect gear ratio for any situation. The hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes provide powerful and controlled stopping power, giving you the confidence to tackle descents and corner with precision.

Not only does Dura-Ace excel in performance, but it also boasts a sleek and aerodynamic design. Every component has been carefully shaped and optimized to reduce drag and maximize efficiency. With Dura-Ace, you can slice through the wind with ease, giving you a competitive edge on the road.

When it comes to performance cycling, weight matters. Dura-Ace delivers on this front as well, with the R9100 series weighing in at approximately 1.9 kg for the whole groupset, and the R9200 series weighing around 2.4 kg for the complete setup. This lightweight construction ensures that you can tackle climbs with ease and maintain speed on the flats.

The current generation of Dura-Ace is the R9200 series, which was launched in 2023. This latest iteration features a 12-speed cassette, wireless connectivity for a clean and clutter-free setup, improved aerodynamics, and enhanced ergonomics for optimal comfort and control.

As expected from a top-of-the-line groupset, Dura-Ace does come with a premium price tag. The price range for Dura-Ace varies depending on the configuration and can range from $3,000 to $5,000 USD. While the cost may be a consideration, the performance gains and long-term durability make it a worthwhile investment for serious cyclists.

Some popular road bikes that feature the Shimano Dura-Ace groupset include the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, Trek Madone SLR 9, and Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc. These bikes are designed to maximize the potential of the Dura-Ace components and provide an exceptional riding experience.

Ultegra

Designed for serious enthusiasts and competitive cyclists, the Ultegra groupset offers a high-performance experience without breaking the bank. It’s the second-highest level in Shimano’s road groupset hierarchy, just below the top-tier Dura-Ace. While Dura-Ace is known for its lightweight and cutting-edge technology, Ultegra shares many of the same features and innovations at a slightly lower price point.

Ultegra

One of the standout features of Ultegra is its versatility. It’s available in both mechanical and electronic shifting options, allowing riders to choose the system that best suits their preferences. Mechanical shifting provides a tactile feel and precise control, while electronic shifting offers seamless and effortless gear changes at the push of a button. Whichever option you choose, Ultegra delivers smooth and reliable shifting performance.

In addition to shifting options, Ultegra also gives riders a choice between hydraulic disc brakes or traditional rim brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power and modulation, particularly in wet or challenging conditions. Rim brakes, on the other hand, offer a lightweight and aerodynamic advantage. Whichever braking system you prefer, Ultegra delivers responsive and reliable stopping power.

Ultegra is not just for enthusiasts—it’s also a groupset used by many professional cyclists and teams. Its performance and reliability have made it a popular choice among riders in the peloton. Whether you’re racing or riding for pleasure, Ultegra’s performance will help you push your limits and achieve your goals on the road.

Ultegra is available in multiple versions to cater to different rider preferences.

The R8000 series features an 11-speed cassette and is available in mechanical rim brakes (R8000), mechanical disc brakes (R8020), and hydraulic disc brakes (R8070).

The R8100 series, the latest generation of Ultegra launched in 2023, features a 12-speed cassette and wireless connectivity. It includes options such as electronic rim brakes (R8100), electronic disc brakes (R8120), electronic wireless disc brakes (R8170), electronic semi-wireless rim brakes (R8200), electronic semi-wireless disc brakes (R8220), electronic wireless disc brakes with power meter (R8270), electronic wireless rim brakes with power meter (R8300), electronic wireless disc brakes with power meter (R8320), and electronic wireless disc brakes with power meter and suspension (R8370).

With these options, you can choose the configuration that best suits your riding style and preferences.

Ultegra is designed with a focus on lightweight and aerodynamic performance. While it may not be as featherlight as Dura-Ace, it still offers a significant weight reduction compared to lower-tier groupsets. The R8000 version of Ultegra weighs around 2 kg for the entire groupset, while the R8100 version weighs around 2.3 kg. This weight reduction can make a noticeable difference in your bike’s overall weight and handling.

For riders who love climbing, Ultegra offers a variety of gear options. It includes a sub-compact crankset, which provides smaller chainrings for easier climbing. This allows you to spin up steep ascents with less effort, keeping your legs fresh and ready for the next challenge.

The price range for Ultegra varies depending on the configuration you choose. It typically falls between $1,500 and $3,000 USD. While this may seem like a significant investment, the performance and durability of Ultegra make it well worth the price for serious cyclists.

Several road bikes incorporate the Ultegra groupset, including the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Carbon Disc Ultegra, Scott Addict RC 15, and Cervelo R5 Disc Ultegra Di2. These bikes are designed to take full advantage of Ultegra’s capabilities, providing a high-performance package for riders who demand the best.

105

Designed for intermediate to advanced cyclists, 105 offers a reliable and versatile groupset that can handle a wide range of riding conditions and styles. While not as high-end as Shimano’s Ultegra or Dura-Ace groupsets, 105 still packs a punch in terms of performance.

105

The current generation of 105 is the R7000 series, which was launched in 2018. It features an 11-speed cassette, improved ergonomics, and refined aesthetics. With 105, you’ll get most of the same technologies and innovations found in Ultegra, but with slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components.

One of the standout features of 105 is its shifting options. It offers only mechanical shifting options, which means you won’t find electronic shifting like you would in higher-end groupsets. However, you can choose between hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes, depending on your preferences and riding style.

When it comes to performance, 105 delivers. It offers fast and accurate shifting, powerful and modulated braking, and an ergonomic design that ensures comfort during long rides. The groupset also boasts a wide range of gear ratios and cassette options to suit different riding styles and terrains.

In terms of weight, the 105 groupset weighs about 2.1 kg for the whole setup (R7000 version). Keep in mind that the weight can vary depending on the specific components and configuration you choose.

So, how much does Shimano 105 cost? The price range for 105 groupsets is typically between $700 and $1,500 USD, depending on the configuration you go for. It’s a high-performance groupset that’s popular among road cyclists of all levels, offering excellent value for money.

Some examples of road bikes that use Shimano 105 include the Giant Defy Advanced 2, Specialized Roubaix Sport, and Trek Emonda SL 5 Disc. These bikes are known for their reliability and performance, making them great options for riders looking to take their cycling to the next level.

Tiagra

If you’re a beginner to intermediate cyclist or looking for a more budget-friendly option, Shimano Tiagra is worth considering. Tiagra is the fourth-highest road groupset level in Shimano’s lineup, and it’s designed to offer durability and affordability without compromising on performance.

Tiagra

The current generation of Tiagra is the 4700 series, launched in 2016. It features a 10-speed cassette, improved ergonomics, and refined aesthetics. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end groupsets, Tiagra still delivers smooth and precise shifting and braking.

Similar to 105, Tiagra offers only mechanical shifting options. You can choose between hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes, depending on your preferences. This allows you to have reliable stopping power, regardless of the terrain or weather conditions you encounter.

Tiagra is suitable for a range of riders, including intermediate road riders, sportive riders, and endurance riders. It has a sleek design and offers a compact crankset option, which can be beneficial for riders who prefer a lower range of gears.

In terms of weight, the Tiagra groupset weighs about 2.3 kg for the whole setup, slightly heavier than the 105 groupset. Again, keep in mind that the weight can vary depending on the specific components and configuration you choose.

When it comes to price, Tiagra is more budget-friendly compared to 105. The price range for Tiagra groupsets typically falls between $400 and $800 USD, depending on the configuration you choose. It’s an excellent choice for riders who want a reliable groupset without breaking the bank.

Some examples of road bikes that use Shimano Tiagra include the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Tiagra, Scott Speedster 10 Disc, and Giant Contend AR 2. These bikes offer a great balance of performance and affordability, making them ideal choices for riders looking to get into road cycling or upgrade their current setup.

Sora

If you’re a recreational or entry-level cyclist looking for a reliable and straightforward groupset, Sora is a great choice. Positioned as the fifth-highest level in Shimano’s road groupset lineup, Sora strikes a balance between performance and affordability.

Sora

Designed with simplicity in mind, Sora is perfect for riders who want a dependable groupset that can handle their basic riding needs. It features some of the same technologies and innovations found in Shimano’s higher-level groupsets like Tiagra but with slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components.

Sora offers only mechanical shifting options, but you can choose between hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes depending on your preference. The current generation of Sora, the R3000 series, was launched in 2017 and comes with a 9-speed cassette, improved ergonomics, and refined aesthetics.

One of the advantages of Sora is its versatility. It’s suitable for a variety of road bikes, including entry-level road bikes, fitness bikes, and touring bikes. With a 9-speed cassette and the option of 2x or 3x chainrings, Sora provides a wide range of gearing options to tackle different terrains.

Sora groupsets typically weigh around 2.6 kg for the entire set. The price range for Sora configurations varies from $300 to $600 USD, depending on the specific components and options you choose.

Some examples of road bikes that use Sora groupsets include the Specialized Allez E5 Elite, Trek Domane AL 3 Disc, and Giant Contend 3. These bikes offer a solid entry into road cycling without breaking the bank.

Claris

For those on a tighter budget or just starting out in road cycling, Shimano’s Claris groupset is a fantastic option. As the most affordable and basic level in Shimano’s road groupset range, Claris provides reliable shifting and braking performance at an accessible price point.

Claris

Similar to Sora, Claris features mechanical shifting options with the choice of hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes. The current generation, the R2000 series, was launched in 2017 and comes with an 8-speed cassette, improved ergonomics, and refined aesthetics.

Claris is designed for casual and beginner cyclists who want a basic and economical groupset that can handle light riding needs. It shares some technologies and innovations with the higher-level Sora groupset but with slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components.

With an 8-speed cassette and the option of 2x or 3x chainrings, Claris provides enough gearing options to tackle various terrains and riding conditions. The entire Claris groupset typically weighs around 2.9 kg.

In terms of pricing, Claris configurations range from $200 to $400 USD, making it a cost-effective choice for beginners, commuters, and casual riders.

Some examples of road bikes equipped with Claris groupsets include the Cannondale CAAD Optimo Claris, Scott Speedster 20 Disc, and Giant Contend AR 4. These bikes offer a solid entry point into road cycling and provide a reliable platform for riders to develop their skills.

Mountain Groupset Levels

XTR

The XTR groupset is the pinnacle of Shimano’s engineering prowess, incorporating the most advanced technology and materials. It’s the lightest, fastest, and most reliable mountain groupset available, making it the go-to choice for elite mountain bikers, cross-country champions, and enduro winners.

XTR

Let’s dive into the key features of the XTR groupset:

1. Shifting Options and Brakes

The XTR groupset offers both mechanical and electronic shifting options, allowing riders to choose their preferred method of gear changes. Whether you prefer the tactile feel of mechanical shifting or the precise, lightning-fast shifts of electronic systems, XTR has you covered.

When it comes to braking, the XTR series offers the choice between hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes provide exceptional stopping power and modulation, giving riders confidence in all conditions. Rim brakes, on the other hand, offer a lightweight and aerodynamic option for those who prioritize speed and efficiency.

2. Speed and Chainring Options

The XTR groupset boasts a 12-speed cassette, providing a wide range of gears for tackling any terrain. With a 10-51T cassette, you’ll have plenty of options for both climbing steep gradients and sprinting on the flats.

In terms of chainring options, the XTR groupset allows for either a 1x or 2x setup. A 1x drivetrain simplifies the gear range and reduces weight, while a 2x setup provides a wider gear range for riders who tackle a variety of terrains.

3. Micro Spline Compatibility

The XTR groupset is compatible with Shimano’s Micro Spline freehub body. This proprietary technology allows for a more secure and efficient engagement between the cassette and the hub, resulting in improved power transfer and durability.

4. Weight and Materials

For the weight-conscious rider, the XTR groupset is a dream come true. With magnesium master cylinders, titanium bolts, and careful material selection throughout, Shimano has managed to keep the weight of the XTR groupset down to a remarkable 1.6 kg for the whole groupset.

5. Wireless Shifting Option

One of the standout features of the XTR groupset is the availability of wireless shifting. With the Di2 electronic shifting system, you can enjoy the benefits of precise and effortless shifting without the hassle of cables and housing. This wireless option further enhances the sleek and clean aesthetics of your mountain bike.

6. Latest Generation: M9100 Series

The current generation of XTR is the M9100 series, which was launched in 2018. This series introduced the 12-speed cassette, offering even more gear options for riders. The M9100 series also brought improved ergonomics, enhanced durability, and refined performance to the XTR lineup.

7. Price Range

As you would expect from a top-of-the-line groupset, the XTR series comes with a premium price tag. The price range for an XTR groupset can vary depending on the configuration, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 USD for the complete set.

To give you an idea of the bikes that use the XTR groupset, here are a couple of examples:

Specialized S-Works Epic EVO AXS XTR Di2: This carbon fiber mountain bike features top-tier components throughout, including the XTR Di2 groupset, carbon wheels, XX1 Eagle AXS carbon crankset, dropper post, handlebar, saddle, and more.

Scott Spark RC 900 SL AXS: Another top-level mountain bike that combines the XTR groupset with cutting-edge technology. This bike features a lightweight carbon frame, AXS electronic shifting, and other premium components.

Deore XT

The Deore XT shares many of the same technologies and innovations as its top-tier sibling, the XTR, but at a slightly lower price point. Shimano has achieved this by using slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components. Don’t worry, though, the Deore XT still offers top-notch performance and quality.

Deore XT

One of the great things about the Deore XT is that it offers both mechanical and electronic shifting options. Whether you prefer the traditional feel of mechanical shifting or the precision and convenience of electronic shifting, the Deore XT has got you covered.

When it comes to brakes, you can choose between hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes, depending on your personal preference and riding style. Both options provide excellent stopping power and control, so you can ride with confidence.

The Deore XT is a professional-level groupset designed for mountain bikes. It’s ideal for pro mountain bikers, cross-country racers, and enduro racers who demand the best performance, quality, and technology. With its 12-speed cassette and the option for either a 1x or 2x chainring setup, you’ll have plenty of gear options to tackle any trail.

The Deore XT is also compatible with the Micro Spline freehub body, which allows for a wider range of gear ratios and improves overall drivetrain efficiency. This means you can conquer steep climbs and fast descents with ease。

Let’s talk about some of the notable features that make the Deore XT stand out. First, we have Servo Wave levers, which provide quick and powerful braking response, allowing you to maintain control in any situation. Then there are the Ice Technologies pads, which help dissipate heat, keeping your brakes cool and consistent even during long descents. Lastly, the I-Spec EV integration allows for seamless integration of your shifters and brake levers, reducing clutter on your handlebars and providing a clean and ergonomic setup.

In terms of weight, the Deore XT groupset weighs about 1.7 kg in total. Keep in mind that this weight may vary depending on the specific components and configuration you choose.

Now, let’s talk price. The Deore XT is an excellent choice for those who want high-performance without breaking the bank. The price range for the Deore XT groupset is typically between $1,000 and $2,000 USD, depending on the configuration and retailer.

If you’re curious about which mountain bikes feature the Deore XT groupset, here are a few examples:

  1. Cannondale Scalpel Hi-MOD XT Mountain Bike 2023 – Cross Country Full Suspension MTB
  2. Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Pro 29er Mountain Bike 2023 – Trail Full Suspension MTB
  3. Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 29er Mountain Bike 2023 – Trail Full Suspension MTB

SLX

The Shimano SLX groupset is designed for riders who want the performance and reliability of a high-end groupset, without the hefty price tag. It sits just below the top-tier Shimano XTR and the second-tier Shimano Deore XT groupsets. With SLX, you get most of the same technologies and innovations found in the Deore XT, but with slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components.

SLX

One of the standout features of the SLX groupset is its excellent shifting and braking performance. While it only offers mechanical shifting options, it does come with hydraulic disc brakes, which provide reliable and consistent stopping power in all weather conditions. Whether you’re tackling steep descents or navigating technical trails, the SLX groupset will keep you in control.

The current generation of SLX, the M7100 series, features a 12-speed cassette with either a single or double chainring option. This gives you the flexibility to choose between a 1x or 2x setup, depending on your riding preferences and terrain. The 12-speed cassette provides a wide gear range, allowing you to tackle both steep climbs and fast descents with ease.

SLX groupsets come equipped with Rapidfire Plus shifters, which offer quick and precise shifting, allowing you to change gears effortlessly while riding. Additionally, SLX features Shimano’s Hyperglide+ technology, which ensures smooth and seamless gear changes, even under load. This means you can shift gears without worrying about any lag or missed shifts.

The SLX groupset is compatible with Shimano’s Micro Spline freehub body, ensuring easy installation and compatibility with a wide range of wheelsets. In terms of weight, the SLX groupset weighs about 1.8 kg for the whole set, making it a lightweight option for riders who value efficiency and speed.

The price range of the SLX groupset varies depending on the configuration, ranging from $500 to $1,000 USD. It’s worth noting that this price range is significantly lower than the higher-end XTR and Deore XT groupsets, making SLX an excellent choice for riders on a budget.

As for examples of mountain bikes that use the SLX groupset, popular models include the Cannondale Habit Carbon 3, Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29er, and the Giant Trance 29er. These bikes are designed for trail riding and enduro racing, and the SLX groupset provides the performance and reliability needed for these demanding disciplines.

Deore

Deore is the fourth-highest level in Shimano’s mountain bike groupset hierarchy. It’s aimed at recreational and entry-level riders who want a durable and affordable groupset that can handle their basic riding needs. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end groupsets like XTR or XT, Deore still offers reliable performance and excellent value for money.

Deore

Let’s dive deeper into what makes Deore a great choice for mountain biking:

Deore features some of the same technologies and innovations found in Shimano’s higher-tier groupsets, such as SLX. However, to keep the cost down, Deore is made with slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components. Despite this, it still delivers solid performance on the trails.

It offers only mechanical shifting options, which means you’ll have to manually change gears using a shifter and derailleur. However, it does come with hydraulic disc brakes, which provide excellent stopping power and modulation. The combination of mechanical shifting and hydraulic disc brakes ensures reliable and precise gear changes and powerful braking performance.

It is available in different versions, depending on the number of gears and chainring options. You can choose from 10-speed (M5100/M4100), 11-speed (M6100/M6120), or 12-speed (M8100/M8120/M9100/M9120/M9150/M9170) cassettes and opt for either a 1x or 2x chainring setup. This allows you to customize your drivetrain based on your riding preferences and terrain.

Despite being a mid-range groupset, Deore doesn’t compromise on performance. It offers fast and precise shifting, allowing you to quickly adapt to changing terrain. The hydraulic disc brakes provide powerful stopping power, giving you confidence on descents. Additionally, Deore is designed to be lightweight and durable, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of off-road riding.

The current generation of Deore is the M6100 series, which was launched in 2020. This series features a 12-speed cassette with either a single or double chainring option. The M6100 series has improved ergonomics, providing a better and more comfortable riding experience. It also boasts refined aesthetics, giving your bike a sleek and modern look.

The price range of Deore varies depending on the specific configuration you choose. It can range from $300 to $600 USD, making it a more affordable option compared to higher-end groupsets. The price point, combined with its performance and durability, makes Deore a popular choice for riders who want a reliable groupset without breaking the bank.

If you’re in the market for a mountain bike equipped with Deore, there are several options to consider. Some examples include the Cannondale Trail SE 1, Scott Spark 970, and Giant Fathom 1. These bikes feature Deore components and are designed to enhance your off-road riding experience.

Alivio

If you’re an avid cyclist who enjoys casual town rides and light trail riding, the Alivio groupset is a great option for you. It falls in the middle of Shimano’s mountain bike groupset hierarchy, offering a balance between performance and affordability.

Alivio

The Alivio groupset features some of the same technologies and innovations found in the lower-end road groupsets, but with lighter and more refined materials and components. This results in smoother shifting and improved overall performance.

One of the great things about the Alivio groupset is that it offers multiple options for shifting and braking. You can choose between mechanical shifting or opt for the precision and power of hydraulic disc brakes or the simplicity of rim brakes.

The current generation of Alivio is the M3100 series for 9-speed or the M4000 series for 8-speed. These groupsets were launched in 2020 (M3100) and 2014 (M4000), respectively, and they come with improved ergonomics and enhanced durability. This means you can expect a more comfortable and reliable riding experience with these newer versions.

In terms of pricing, the Alivio groupset typically ranges from $300 to $600 USD, depending on the specific configuration and speed option you choose.

Some examples of mountain bikes that use the Alivio groupset include the Cannondale Trail 5 Alivio, Scott Aspect 930 Alivio, and Giant Talon 1 Alivio. These bikes offer a combination of performance, durability, and affordability, making them great options for riders who want to enjoy both town and trail riding.

Acera

For riders who want a versatile mountain bike that can handle various riding scenarios, the Acera groupset is worth considering. It sits just below the Alivio groupset in Shimano’s hierarchy and offers a similar level of performance at a slightly lower price point.

Alivio

Like the Alivio groupset, Acera features technologies and innovations that provide smooth shifting and reliable performance. However, the materials and components used in Acera are slightly heavier and less expensive than those found in Alivio.

Similar to Alivio, Acera also offers mechanical shifting options as well as hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes, giving you the flexibility to choose the setup that best suits your riding style and preferences.

The current generation of Acera is the M3000 series, which was launched in 2016. This series features a 9-speed cassette with options for a single, double, or triple chainring setup. It also comes with improved ergonomics and refined aesthetics, ensuring a comfortable and stylish ride.

In terms of pricing, the Acera groupset generally ranges from $200 to $400 USD, depending on the specific configuration you choose.

If you’re in the market for a mountain bike equipped with the Acera groupset, some examples to consider are the Cannondale Trail 6 Acera, Scott Aspect 940 Acera, and Giant Talon 2 Acera. These bikes offer versatility, reliability, and affordability, making them great choices for riders who want a dependable mountain bike for various terrains.

Altus

Altus is Shimano’s seventh-highest mountain groupset level. It is designed for durable and affordable mountain bikes that can handle basic riding needs. While Altus may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-level groupsets, it still offers reliable performance.

Altus

One of the key features of Altus is its affordability. The materials and components used in Altus are slightly heavier and less expensive compared to higher-level groupsets like Deore or SLX. However, this does not mean that Altus compromises on functionality or performance.

Altus offers both mechanical shifting options and hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes. The current generation of Altus is the M2000 series, which was launched in 2016. It features an 8-speed or 9-speed cassette with either a single, double, or triple chainring option. The M2000 series also boasts improved ergonomics and refined aesthetics.

When it comes to pricing, Altus is quite reasonable. Depending on the configuration, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 USD for an Altus groupset. Some examples of mountain bikes that use Altus are the Cannondale Trail 7 Altus, Scott Aspect 950 Altus, and Giant Talon 3 Altus.

Tourney

If you’re a casual rider or a beginner looking for a basic and economical groupset, then Tourney is the one for you. Tourney is Shimano’s lowest mountain groupset level, designed to handle light riding needs with simplicity and reliability.

Similar to Altus, Tourney features slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components. It offers mechanical shifting options and the choice between hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes. Tourney is the most basic and affordable Shimano groupset for mountain bikes.

The current generation of Tourney is the A070 series (for road bikes), A073 series (for hybrid bikes), or A075 series (for mountain bikes), which were launched in 2017. These series feature a 7-speed or 8-speed cassette with either a single or double chainring option. The ergonomics and aesthetics have also been improved in the latest Tourney groupsets.

When it comes to pricing, Tourney is even more budget-friendly than Altus. Depending on the configuration, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 USD for a Tourney groupset. Some examples of mountain bikes that use Tourney are the Cannondale Trail 8 Tourney, Scott Aspect 960 Tourney, and Giant ATX 3 Tourney.

Gravel Groupset Levels

GRX Di2

GRX Di2 is the top-of-the-line groupset designed for professional racing and high-performance gravel riding. It incorporates the most advanced technology, materials, and engineering from Shimano, resulting in the lightest, fastest, and most reliable gravel groupset available.

GRX Di2

One of the standout features of GRX Di2 is its electronic shifting options. With the push of a button, you can effortlessly shift gears, ensuring smooth and precise transitions even in the muddiest and roughest conditions. Additionally, GRX Di2 offers hydraulic disc brakes, providing excellent stopping power and control when tackling steep descents or navigating technical terrain.

The current generation of GRX Di2 is the RX815 series, which was launched in 2019. It features an 11-speed cassette with either a single or double chainring option, improved ergonomics for better comfort and control, and enhanced durability to withstand the demands of off-road riding. The price range for GRX Di2 groupsets ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 USD, depending on the configuration.

Some notable examples of gravel bikes that use GRX Di2 are the Canyon Grail CF SLX 8 eTap, Specialized Diverge Pro Carbon, and Giant Revolt Advanced Pro Force.

GRX 810

If you’re a serious enthusiast or a competitive rider looking for a high-performance groupset without breaking the bank, the GRX 810 is a fantastic option. It shares many of the same technologies and innovations as the GRX Di2 but with mechanical shifting options and slightly heavier and less expensive materials and components.

GRX 810

Similar to GRX Di2, GRX 810 offers hydraulic disc brakes for reliable stopping power and control. However, instead of electronic shifting, this groupset provides mechanical shifting options, which some riders prefer for its simplicity and reliability.

The RX810 series is the current generation of GRX 810, also launched in 2019. It features an 11-speed cassette with single or double chainring options, improved ergonomics for a comfortable and responsive riding experience, and enhanced durability to withstand the rigors of gravel riding. The price range for GRX 810 groupsets varies from $1,000 to $2,000 USD, depending on the configuration.

Some notable examples of gravel bikes that use GRX 810 are the Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 3, Scott Addict Gravel 10, and Cervelo Aspero GRX.

GRX 600

The GRX 600 is the third-highest level in Shimano’s gravel groupset range, making it an excellent choice for riders who have some experience under their belt and want a reliable and versatile groupset. It’s designed to handle a wide range of riding conditions and styles, making it perfect for adventure riders, bikepackers, and intermediate gravel enthusiasts.

Key Features of GRX 600:

1. Technology and Innovations: The GRX 600 shares many of the same technologies and innovations as the higher-level GRX 810. However, to make it slightly more affordable, Shimano uses slightly heavier materials and components in the construction.

2. Shifting Options: The GRX 600 offers both mechanical shifting and hydraulic disc brakes, giving you precise and smooth shifting capabilities. This ensures that you can tackle any terrain with confidence.

3. Cassette and Chainring Options: The GRX 600 features an 11-speed cassette and is available with either a 2x or 1x chainring setup. This gives you the flexibility to choose the gear ratios that best suit your riding style and preferences.

4. Weight: The entire GRX 600 groupset weighs around 2.4 kg, which is relatively lightweight considering its versatility and reliability.

5. Compatibility: The GRX 600 is compatible with both hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical disc brakes, allowing you to choose the braking system that suits your needs.

6. Latest Generation: The current generation of GRX 600 is the RX600 series, which was launched in 2019. This updated version features an 11-speed cassette, improved ergonomics, refined aesthetics, and a choice between a single or double chainring option.

7. Price Range: The price range for the GRX 600 groupset is typically between $700 and $1,500 USD, depending on the specific configuration.

Examples of Bikes with GRX 600: If you’re interested in a bike equipped with the GRX 600 groupset, check out options like the Giant Revolt Advanced 2, Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon, and Trek Checkpoint SL 5.

GRX 400

If you’re just getting started with gravel riding or you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the GRX 400 is an excellent choice. It offers reliable shifting and braking performance without breaking the bank, making it ideal for beginners, commuters, and casual riders.

GRX 400

Key Features of GRX 400:

1. Similar Technologies: The GRX 400 shares some of the same technologies and innovations as the higher-level GRX 600. However, to keep costs down, Shimano uses slightly heavier materials and components in this groupset.

2. Shifting Options: Like the GRX 600, the GRX 400 offers mechanical shifting options and hydraulic disc brakes. This ensures that you have precise and reliable shifting and braking capabilities on mixed terrains.

3. Cassette and Chainring Options: The GRX 400 features a 10-speed cassette and is available with either a 2x or 1x chainring setup. This gives you a good range of gear ratios to tackle various terrains.

4. Ergonomics and Braking: The GRX 400 features ergonomic levers, mechanical disc brakes, and Shimano’s Shadow RD+ technology, providing you with comfortable and reliable braking performance.

5. Weight: The entire GRX 400 groupset weighs around 2.6 kg, making it slightly heavier than the GRX 600.

6. Latest Generation: The current generation of GRX 400 is the RX400 series, which was launched in 2019. This updated version features a 10-speed cassette, improved ergonomics, refined aesthetics, and a choice between a single or double chainring option.

7. Price Range: The price range for the GRX 400 groupset is typically between $500 and $1,000 USD, depending on the specific configuration.

Examples of Bikes with GRX 400: If you’re considering a bike equipped with the GRX 400 groupset, take a look at options like the Cannondale Topstone Sora, Scott Speedster Gravel 20 Disc, and Giant Revolt 2.

Conclusion

In this article, we have provided a complete guide for cyclists who want to learn more about the Shimano groupset hierarchy for different bicycle types. We have explained what are the main features and functions of road, mountain, gravel, and hybrid groupsets, and how they differ in performance, quality, and price. We have also listed the Shimano groupset levels from highest to lowest for each bicycle type, and provided a brief description of each level, highlighting their key characteristics, benefits, drawbacks, and price range. We have also included some examples of popular bikes that use each level of Shimano groupset.

Shimano groupsets are known for their reliability, durability, versatility, and innovation. They offer a wide range of options for cyclists of all levels and preferences, from casual and beginner riders to professional and competitive racers. They also feature some of the most advanced technologies and innovations in the bicycle industry, such as electronic shifting, wireless connectivity, hydraulic disc brakes, and gravel-specific components.

If you are looking for a new groupset for your bike, or want to upgrade your existing one, you should consider Shimano groupsets as one of your best choices. You can choose the best Shimano groupset for your bike and budget by considering your bicycle type, riding style, performance goals, and personal preferences. You can also compare and contrast Shimano groupsets with other brands, such as SRAM and Campagnolo, and see how they stack up in terms of performance, quality, and price.

We hope you have enjoyed this article and found it useful and informative. If you have any feedback, questions, or experiences with Shimano groupsets that you would like to share with us, please feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you. Thank you for reading and happy cycling!

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AUTHOR

Randy Joycelyn

Randy is the founder and editor of Cycling Soigneur. He has been passionate about cycling since he was a kid. He has been riding bikes for over 10 years. Cycling has just become a part of life.

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