Shimano bike component reviews and buying advice

Latest on Shimano's road and mountain bike gear

Shimano bike components are by far the most popular brand with cyclists, dominating sales globally. The Japanese company produces well-regarded, well-priced groupsets and parts for road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids and e-bikes.

Besides bike components, Shimano also makes cycling clothing and accessories, plus a wide range of fishing and rowing equipment. It used to make golf and snowboarding equipment, but moved away from these areas in the early part of the 21st century. Nowadays, bike components account for around three-quarters of Shimano's annual sales.

Who is Shimano?

Shimano is the oldest and most widely used of the three main bike component brands (Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo). Originally established as Shimano Iron Works, the firm produces innovative components that helped shape bicycles into the machines we use today.

Shimano began life in Japan in 1921 when founder Shozaburo Shimano decided to start making freewheels in a rented corner of a demolished celluloid factory. In the past century it has directly contributed to many of cycling's biggest innovations, including indexed shifting, clipless pedals that pair with recessed shoe cleats, dual-pivot brakes and more.

What bike components does Shimano make?

Shimano Dura-Ace is the Japanese company's elite-level road offering
Shimano Dura-Ace is the Japanese company's elite-level road offering

Shimano is best known for its road and MTB groupsets and wheels, though it also manufactures handlebars, stems, seatposts, saddles, forks, wheels and accessories under the PRO brand.

The company now offers electronic Di2 shifting in its top-end road (Dura-Ace/Ultegra) and MTB (XTR and XT) groupsets, and in the past few years has also added hydraulic disc brakes to its higher-end road groupsets.

The company produces a wide range of groupsets across the different cycling disciplines. For example, in road cycling alone it has six: Claris (budget), Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace (pro-level).

Shimano XTR Di2 tops the company's MTB range
Shimano XTR Di2 tops the company's MTB range

For mountain bikers, there are four cross-country groupsets: Deore (budget), SLX, Deore XT and XTR (pro-level). There are also two different downhill/freeride lines (Zee and Saint) and five recreational MTB groupsets (Tourney, Altus, Acera, Alivio and Deore).

Add in more groupsets like the Capreo for folding bikes, Nexave for hybrid bikes, DXR for BMXers and Steps for e-bikes, and you can see that there's a huge, ever-changing range of Shimano components out there. And that's before we start talking about the discontinued ones…

Does Shimano make anything else?

Shimano also produces a popular range of cycle clothing, including the S-Phyre line
Shimano also produces a popular range of cycle clothing, including the S-Phyre line

Yes, Shimano also makes well-regarded cycle clothing, action cameras, eyewear, bags and footwear. These are spread across four different ranges: the top-end S-Phyre line, the Performance line, the Fusion line and the Explorer series.

Where can you buy Shimano bike components and clothing?

Shimano bike components, accessories and clothing can be found in pretty much any bike shop, anywhere. They are far and away the most common choice of the big bike brands.

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