Shimano have announced an all-new entry-level road groupset for 2013, and it goes by the name of Claris. As an evolution of the 2300 group, Claris is an 8-speed setup that aims to offer a quality feel for new road riders.
Both triple and double chainset options will be available, the triple using a 50/39/30 gear combination while doubles will be a standard 50/34T or compact 46/34T. All chainsets will use Shimano's Octalink bottom bracket standard. The group is said to work best with Shimano's HG50 8-speed 11-32T cassette.
Claris offers both dual control and flat-bar shifter options. The former emulate more expensive units in that you only need your fingers to operate them, and they also get a beginner-friendly optical gear indicator.
The flat bar shifters are available in double or triple, and as standalone units or a combined brake lever option. All include a gear indicator, so beginners won't get lost in their cassettes. The flat bar shifters also use Shimano's two-way release system, so riders can change gears using just a thumb or a thumb and forefinger.
Claris also gets a dual-pivot caliper brake and its own lever. The BL-2400 lever is also compatible with the company's mechanical discs, V-brakes and cantilevers.
The new Claris brake lever
Finally, Claris hubs will be available. We can expect the usual Shimano features here, with cup and cone bearings for easy maintenance and adjustment. The freehub body is now rated to support the additional torque that a 32-tooth cassette commands.
Most of the Claris group is finished in what Shimano refer to as 'stone metallic silver', but some components will be available in black as well. See our image gallery for a closer look at each part, and www.shimano.com for more information on Shimano products.