Shimano gears have become the de facto standard of quality and one of the bestselling brands of parts for bicycling enthusiasts who are both knowledgeable about their hobby and looking for reasonably priced parts to increase their enjoyment of the outdoors. There are some basics about these gears which should be known in order to make the selection an easier process and insure that a purchase is well-advised. Having this knowledge will allow a rider to choose a suitable bicycle gear that can increase performance and add longevity to the bike.
Shimano gears are most generally classified into two distinct groups in the same way that all other brands are divided. There are the front gears and then there are the rear gears, they both have similar purposes, but careful attention can reveal subtle differentiating factors among the products. The front gears are going to be the biggest contributor to a change in pedaling effort and total speed of the bike. Bikes which are not custom built will usually have a common gear with 50/34 teeth, but there are other alternatives such as the 52/36 or 53/39 double. As well, there are triples with something like 50/39/30 teeth available as well. The best selection will depend mostly on the type of terrain that will be encountered most frequently as well as some other factors. Gear theory can be quite a complex endeavor and it is best to seek the advice of a professional who can best recommend something for your particular needs. However, all of the Shimano cranksets are solid choices and will get the job done.
If the front gears are the major contributors, then the rear gears are the fine tuners of the entire assembly. These gears provide 8-11 speeds through the integration of a cassette. A tradeoff is made between the smoothness of shifting and the availability of certain “help” gear ratios which will provided extra assistance for steep hills or other obstacles during a ride.
As with other manufacturer’s products, Shimano gears have a hierarchy which can be used as a guide for shopping. This spectrum delivers a range of products that are suited for economical and beginning riders on one end to professional riders on the opposite side of the spectrum. So it starts with the Claris set which is the basic entry level groupset that can meet the needs of most casual riders. The ladder then goes up to the Sora and Tiagra lines which are slightly more intermediate products. The 105 and Ultegra lines are another notch up in performance and then their is the high-end DuraAce line which has a price signifying its use in professional bikers’ repertoires. DuraAce can be integrated with electronic shifting for absolute top-notch shifting which will bring the envy of many fellow biker friends. So, the choices are to be made and one should usually go with the best product that can fit within the budget. That way, the bike will grow with the rider.