Nowadays, bicycles have become a popular asset to own. Whether it be for burning some extra calories or going around in the neighborhood, owning a bicycle makes it all very easy.
If you’re already familiar with bicycle brands, then you are no stranger to the Japanese groupset manufacturer Shimano.
They are certainly one of the heavyweights when it comes to bike parts, manufacturing everything from the gears to brakes.
When you’re investing in a bicycle or even building one from scratch, the individual components might have you puzzled.
So, today we are going to look at Shimano gears from best to worst to help you choose or build the right bike for you!
Shimano Gears Best to Worst Review
We have put a considerable amount of time into our research to present to you our top 5 picks. So let’s get right to it!
1. Shimano Ultegra R8000 Groupset
If you’re looking to gain some high-speed action on your bike, you can’t go wrong with the Ultegra R8000.
With its upgraded aesthetics from its predecessor, the Ultegra 6800, this will definitely get your bike zooming across the streets.
This groupset follows a similar design pattern to a lot of the higher-end brands.
The upgraded grip on the gear shifters offers a premium feel to the bike. Also, the derailleurs have been improved to give you smoother shifts in gear.
Furthermore, we must applaud Shimano on their ability to build such lightweight groupsets that don’t compromise on quality.
The Ultegra R8000 is just another example of this. They have spent a good amount of time in reducing the weight from its predecessor, the Ultegra 6800.
The reduction in weight decreases the overall weight of the bike, enabling it to reach high speeds.
Related Guide: Cyclocross vs Hybrid Bike
2. Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 Compact Groupset
It is safe to say, the Dura-Ace R9100 is considered to be one of Shimano’s high-end products.
This groupset provides you with a wide variety of options to choose from when building your bike, ranging from hydraulic disc brakes to even a power meter!
Let’s talk about aesthetics! This series of groupsets have been designed with sharp edges, which will add to the overall sleek design of your bike.
Also, the crank arm features an asymmetric design, which reduces weight and aids the smooth-shifting mechanism.
The new Dura-Ace R9100 series features a new set of derailleurs that are similar in design to the brand’s mountain bike components.
This adaptation ensures the longevity of the rear mech, in case you crash into anything.
What’s more, the improved derailleur will be compatible with any gear system of your choosing, which includes the 11-30 cassette.
While this is a compact variant, you can also get its standard variant, which features a large chainring of 53 teeth and a smaller ring of 39 teeth.
3. Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 Standard Groupset
Next, we present to you the standard variant of the Shimano Dura-Ace R9100.
Shimano has spent quite a lot of their time getting the details right with this one, as it is super lightweight and provides smooth shifting of the gear.
What’s more, this groupset comes equipped with brakes that are angular in design, making them much slimmer.
This is great to add to the minimalistic look of your bike. Also, the brake calipers have been reinvented to be compatible with 28mm tires, offering you more flexibility.
The weight on this group set will amaze you! Shimano has gone to extreme lengths to reduce the weight as much as possible.
While the Ultegra’s shifter pair weighs 295 grams, the Dura-Ace shifters weigh 230 grams.
And the derailleurs have an aluminum construction, which reduces the weight further, compared to steel construction groupsets.
Related Review: Top Cantilever Brakes
4. Shimano SLX M7000 Complete Group
If you’re searching for a sturdy mechanical groupset, then look no further. The SLX M7000 features a strong transmission along with a well-performing mechanical crankset.
Surprisingly enough, this is an 11- speed transmission groupset at a very affordable price.
When it comes to the braking mechanism, the SLX M7000 puts up a tough fight against most higher-priced groupsets.
The resin pads on the calipers provide for smooth and easy deceleration.
This product features an improved chainring design, and narrow and rounded teeth prevent the chain from dropping.
And this new design is the perfect match for the rear mech that comes with it, giving you a smooth and stable ride all throughout.
We must talk about the most attention-grabbing element of the groupset, the cranks.
The 11-speed transmission is well-managed efficiently with the newer crank designs. Furthermore, using the same crank arm, the SLX M7000 will give you both 1×11 and 2×11 settings.
Suggested Topic: Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro or Fluid 2
5. Shimano SLX M7000 175mm Complete Group
If you love the thrill of going on a trail or explore the mountains, then this groupset is perfect for you.
Bringing together some of the best features in the mid-range off-road category, you cannot miss the SLX M7000.
This product features Shimano’s innovative Dynamic Chain Engagement system, which brings smoothness to the shifting mechanism.
This feature also significantly reduces the chances of dropping your chain on those rocky terrains.
Furthermore, the shift levers featured in this groupset are exceptional as they allow you to shift multiple gears in one stroke.
With one stroke on the Rapidfire Plus shifters, you can go three gears down! This simplistic functionality yields a more stable and seamless shift in gears.
The hubs on the SLX M7000 have been built with longevity in mind. And the angular contact bearings and super strong sealing allow it to withstand all sorts of weather conditions.
Related article: Grand Prix 4 Season vs Gatorskin
How Can You Choose the Best One
Choosing the right groupset depending on your preferences might be a bit tricky, given all the eye-catching features they provide.
Let’s look at some pointers laid down below to aid your purchase decision.
Whether you are building a bike or purchasing one, you need to be clear about its purpose.
If the bike is a casual traveling bike, then you wouldn’t have to focus much on the weight of the groupset.
However, if you want a racing bike, you will want to get your hands on groupsets that offer super-lightweight components.
The lighter the weight, the more acceleration you will be able to get out of it.
The two most popular braking systems are the disc brakes and the rim brakes.
And the disc brake will offer you more precision and almost an instant braking experience.
The rim brakes, on the other hand, have brake pads that press up against the rim of your tires in order to stop the bike, providing a softer braking experience.
The shifters on your bike are like switches that enable you to change your gears.
High-quality shifters offer smooth and fluid shifting, some may not even make the clicking noise!
It is important to pay attention to the shifters as you will be using them quite a bit.
Some people do prefer clicky and stiff shifters for a more mechanical feeling, but that’s up to personal preference.
This is very important when it comes to settling on a groupset. The various speed settings enable you to go up slopes or gain high speeds with ease.
For example, if you are into trailing and riding across mountains, the 11-speed transmission groupset would be perfect for you.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a bike to ride on flat roads, you can just get a groupset with a lower speed setting. It all comes down to preference!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have the most commonly asked queries regarding Shimano Gears:
Can I buy separate parts instead of a complete groupset?
Buying separate parts rather than a complete groupset is a more economical option. However, it does mean that you need to be careful whether all your components will be compatible with the separate parts you’re looking to add. Purchasing a complete groupset is always the best way to go, as the individual components are tested to work best with their original group.
How can I choose the best groupset?
Depending on your preferences, you should be able to make a sound decision. Focus on your budget, this will allow you to narrow down your options. You will also need to know the exact dimensions of your wheels, and cassette fittings in order to buy a compatible groupset.
Is it possible to mix the hardware of my Ultegra with Dura-Ace?
Yes, it is possible. However, you must know that there will be certain limitations.
Can I upgrade my gear from a 9 speed to 10-speed settings?
Yes, you can. To upgrade, you simply need to change the shifters, chain, and cassette with the newer transmission parts.
Will my road shifters be compatible with the Mtb derailleurs?
There are high chance that they will be compatible. However, you might want to refer to the compatibility charts online to get a better idea.
Of all the Shimano best to worst gears in our list of reviews, the Dura-Ace 9100 is undoubtedly one of the toppers.
With its lightweight construction and flexibility, you will be cutting through the air at great speeds! But if you are looking for something more affordable, we’d suggest the Ultegra R8000.
Above all, always pay close attention to your preferences and you should be satisfied with your purchase.