Bike tourers may be the most “nostalgic” group amongst other bikers. They usually stick to their Brooks saddles, Ortlieb Classics, Ryde (formerly Rigida) rims, and of course, Schwalbe Marathon’s. And one other mysterious thing: Deore LX groupset. Yes. This groupset may not be that prominent as other items in the list, but amongst bike tourers, Deore LX is very highly regarded. There is a cloud of mystery around Deore LX. Most people love their hubs, and swore they are better than enything else. Some people say the rear derailleurs are unmatched. And most people love their cranksets, including me. Was Deore LX is really that legendary? Are Deore LX parts manufactured with better materials, or workmanship? Why Shimano stopped making a legendary groupset? I’ll try to answer all those questions. After reading, I know many people will hate me, too… Continue Reading What happened to Deore LX, and how good was that?Continue reading
Groupsets is a hot topic, because they effect the performance and ride quality of a bike, and you want to “improve” it in time. It was easier in the past, because lots of components were compatible. Especially in the last decade, new standards emerged, some vanished very quickly – like ISIS compatible cranks from Truvativ, for example. Even GXP from Sram, which is considerably new, is about to go extinct as ISIS.
Just a few years ago, we have road bike and MTB groupsets, now Shimano makes GRX, which is gravel specific, and Campagnolo followed with 1x Ekar. Recently, Shimano introduced its first e-bike specific groupset, CUES. Things are getting even more complex.
And also we have electronic groupsets: Shimano DuraAce Di2, Ultegra Di2 and now it goes mid-level too, 105 Di2. Sram has eTap electronic groupsets like Red. Campagnolo, like Shimano, have electronic versions of their top contenders, Record and Super Record EPS. FSA introduced its own electronic groupset too, and both Shimano and Sram extending their electronic groupset line.
Not surprisingly, even the gear hubs going electronic these days. Shimano’s Nexus and Alfine have Di2 versions now. Even Rohloff’s legendary 14 speed SpeedHub go electronic with E-14.
Deore M4100, M5100 and M6100 groupsets
Almost everybody getting serious about MTB’s probably started with a Shimano Deore equipped bike. When I was looking for an MTB decades ago, almost every bike shop adviced me a bike with a Deore groupset, because I’m heavy, and least, strong at the time. There seems to be a concensus about Deore is that, it’s the cheapest, proper groupset for “all-terrain” bikes. I did not share this view. At the time, I bought a cheap bike with a Tourney, then directly jumped off the Deore XT. Frankly, I only owned a Deore bottom bracket and a set of V-brakes and disc brakes, which I still keep. Am I impressed ? Absolutely not. V-brakes were good, I loved them, until one of the pads just fell off and lost. Hydraulic disc brakes? I know people loves them, but was the worst… Continue Reading Deore M4100, M5100 and M6100 groupsetsContinue reading
Ltwoo – Chinese groupset maker to watch
With the component / bike / parts shortage Covid-19 created, people turned their heads to somewhere else, the Chinese manufacturers. Unfortunately for both sides, the Chinese manufacturers did not use the opportunity, and we faced high prices, low volumes and long delivery dates. The main problem with Chinese manufacturers is, creating a brand identity, and also sales channels issues. I even can’t find their websites, if any at all, and they seem to run their business entirely on AliExpress. I don’t trust AliExpress for buying anything more than 100$ – there are lots of sellers, and even the most highest rated ones disappear time to time. Parcel prices rose to incredible amounts for my country, so that sometimes buying a SRAM component directly from USA seems to be cheaper than 3x cheaper Chinese part. I quit buying any bike related… Continue Reading Ltwoo – Chinese groupset maker to watchContinue reading
Shimano 105 Di2 groupset price and specs: R7100 Di2, revolution or coup?
The road cycling world was expecting a revolution when Shimano announced their mid-level but highly acclaimed 105 groupset will go electronic, with the new 105 Di2 groupset. 105 have been the groupset that defined price and functionality level, and feared the competition, being the best bang for the buck. Logically, the R7100 series could be the milestone that will democratize the electronic groupset for the masses. Why not? Shimano could destroy the competition, as they have advantage of mass producing fast and cheaper then others, especially Campagnolo. Even the FSA would not be relevant anymore – I doubt it is, now. Unfortunately, 105 Di2 groupset, at least the first iteration of it, R7100 series, have been a major miss for most. Shimano 105 Di2 groupset price: it is not cheap. The main selling point of mechanical 105 groupset is, it… Continue Reading Shimano 105 Di2 groupset price and specs: R7100 Di2, revolution or coup?Continue reading
Groupset of the month: Deore XT (MTB-Touring)
Deore XT is my favorite, and Shimano’s first attempt to make an MTB groupset. It was first released in 1983, and still going strong, and wildly popular. For me, Deore XT is the way to go, except for the brakes. I love their hubs, love their rear derailleurs, love front derailleurs than anything else XTR included, but must say XTR shifters still beats them by a fair margin. Chains? I never buy fancy chains, but yeah, they are good too, at least Ultegra was, which was the same thing. XT cranksets are awesome, at least until now: they are bombproof, light enough, and not super expensive. When I was building my XTR-equipped bike, I skip XTR in 2 parts: one is the crankset, the other was the front derailleur. Cassette? Well…I used to have XT before. I had very good… Continue Reading Groupset of the month: Deore XT (MTB-Touring)Continue reading
Groupset of the month: Shimano 105 History (road)
Shimano 105 is the upper-middle groupset for road bikes, released back in 1982. Also, Shimano 105 Di2 is the cheapest and most recent electronic groupset of the company. Mechanical version sits between lower end Tiagra and higher end Ultegra. In MTB-line, it sits between Deore and SLX. It came to life “105 Golden Arrow” in 1980, then renamed to 105. There are various claims why it was called 105, most interesting one is its “501” in reverse, the most-loved and well regarded Levi’s jeans in Japan at the time. It was below Dura Ace and 600 (later Ultegra) when released, for price-concious competitive riders. It’s considered as the entry-level racing-ready groupset, even today. It’s not clear when 105 got indexed shifting, AKA STI shifters, AKA brifters. I know for sure that Dura-Ace 7400 has 8 speed STI shifters, in 1990.… Continue Reading Groupset of the month: Shimano 105 History (road)Continue reading
Does it make sense to buy racing spec groupsets like XTR, Dura Ace or Super Record?
It’ s common to use “durability”, “resilience”, “strength”, even “repairability” interchangeably. Formula 1 engines, depending on conditions, last as low as 1000 km’s. However, they have enormous strength – even the best performance car engine parts cannot stand those conditions a few seconds. An old Mercedes diesel engine can last over a million kilometers; they were extremely durable and repairable. For bike parts, that’s a bit more complicated, or straightforward, depending on how you approach the case. Bike components does not have to endure huge amount shock, except the …shocks. When you buy and wear out a bike component, it’ s hard to say when it becomes “useless” or “dangerous to operate”. If you’ re happily riding an old 7×3 Tourney bike, going out for short rides slowly and enjoying the scenery, this bike can serve you for life. On… Continue Reading Does it make sense to buy racing spec groupsets like XTR, Dura Ace or Super Record?Continue reading
Why electronic groupsets like Shimano Di2 are the future?
For years, many photographers insisted on DSLRs and ignored mirrorless cameras. Then, something very silly happened: camera makers started making mirrorless cameras with a DSLR “hunch”. Now, everybody is flocking to mirrorless cameras, selling their perfectly fine DSLRs for pocket money and grabbing mirrorless cameras at highly inflated prices. Why? People doesn’t like change. But when it’s unavoidable, or that change provides real opportunities, they follow the crowd. Electronic groupsets is good for ordinary people like you and me. The reason is not the groupset itself: they’re heavier and more expensive. Thing is, in Shimano-speak, they are capable of “syncro-shifting”. For those who don’t know what it is, it automatically adjusts gears so that each consecutive gear combination that is selected is the perfect combination. Let’s say you have hypothetical 3s chainrings, namely A,B,C; A being the biggest chainring. Then… Continue Reading Why electronic groupsets like Shimano Di2 are the future?Continue reading
Pros and cons of 1x drivetrains
We all love the idea of a simplified bike. One of the promises of 1x drivetrains was “simplification”. Have you ever seen anything simplified in the last decade, regarding bikes? First, we had 130mm rear hubs for road, 135mm rear hubs for MTB’s. We have QR (quick release) working well for almost a half century, made first by Campagnolo. Now we have a “Boost” standard, and almost nobody can explain. 135×10, 142×12, 150×12, 157×12 and 165×12. Now we have 148x12mm Boost hubs. Which thru axle to get? That’s so complicated! Or, we have hydraulic brakes now. You can’t be sure if your new caliper will fit your disc. No universal pad area size… For tires, we have 26 inch for a long time. Then 27.5 is the king for a short period, lost it to 29, now 27.5 getting a… Continue Reading Pros and cons of 1x drivetrainsContinue reading