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
Shimano is a household name when it comes to bike components and fishing reels.
This century-old Japanese conglomerate has previously produced snowboarding, golf, and rowing equipment.
Shimano is a name that everyone who owns a bike is familiar with; in my experience, it is very well built, reasonably priced (though it is becoming more expensive), and widely available.
Shimano also owns Pearl Izumi, a high-end biking apparel brand, and Lazer, a manufacturer of protective equipment. Pro brand makes stems, seat posts, frame accessories, as well as bike pumps and other accessories.
Shimano lacks Sram’s suspension fork branch (Rock Shox), but their groupset range and distribution network are larger. Shimano is the company that successfully commercialized the Di2 electronic groupset.
When in doubt, I go Shimano because boutique items are not only prohibitively expensive here, but also hit-or-miss.
In my country, the Sram network is a joke; you can get an entry-level rear derailleur for the price of an SLX, if one is available.
According to my personal experience, disc brakes are where Shimano falls short, and there is no other brand I prefer for disc brakes. In any case, I despise disc brakes.
Shimano’s most significant contributions are most likely the STI shifters, indexed shifting, and STEPS; albeit indexed shifting is not a Shimano invention. They did what they do best – popularised a useful technology at a fair price and decent quality.
They get into MTB component business with Shimano XT, after producing Deore for touring bikes. Lately, they introduced 105 Di2, reasonably priced electronic groupset for road bikes.
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
4 reasons why I don’t ride clipless pedals
Clipless pedals, – which is actually clipped pedals!- is not a very new idea. Almost a century ago, road bikers saw the benefit of locking their feet to the pedal. Obviously, they are not like clipless pedals but did what clipless pedals are meant to do. The idea with clipless pedals is to make the bike an extension of you – they attach your feet firmly to the pedals, so you pedal more efficiently. I tried using clipless pedals, got used to them, but then left using these. Why? I think they’re only good for road bikes, or trainers. If you don’t ride a road bike, I don’t see any point in using one. I won’t go into road / MTB-type pedals or tech details… I’m not a roadie, at least not my primary discipline/bike. So, here are my reasons… Continue Reading 4 reasons why I don’t ride clipless pedalsContinue 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
What is Shimano’s Di2 in detail, first successful electronic shifting system
Electronic shifting is not a Shimano invention, but it’s Shimano who did it commercially viable. It all started with Shimano Dura Ace 7970 Di2 in 2009, for road bikes, then came the XTR version for MTB, GRX for gravel bikes, and Alfine Di2 for gear hubs. First Di2, Dura Ace 7970 Di2 and newer Di2 versions are totally incompatible: the 5 plug version is very simplistic: it’s just wires connected to switches and derailleurs across junction boxes. Newer Di2 versions though, use CAN bus for communication between components. CAN bus is known for its extensive use in all modern cars, and became the norm for even the cheapest ones in late 2000’s. But CAN bus, being a data communication protocol, can be used in anything, and it is, including machinery. Unlike Sram’s eTap, which is designed to be wireless… Continue Reading What is Shimano’s Di2 in detail, first successful electronic shifting systemContinue 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
..so I bought a Shimano Tourney TY-501 crankset
While building a “road bike” for my trainer, I needed a crankset with 3 chainrings bigger chainring being 48t at least. It must be cheap, too, because it will be ridden on trainer only, and I’ve almost all the parts for a 8×3 groupset. I looked for a suitable second hand road crank. Not to mention 3 chainring versions are no easy find. Then I quit searching, and decided to look for a brand new, Chinese brand 8×3 crankset. Such cranksets are almost at the price range of a Tourney, so I made a new plan: my wife have a hybrid bike with a Tourney 48-38-28 crankset. This is a big bike with 29 wheels, and this setup is ridiculously big for bike and my wife. So I decided to buy her a Tourney crankset with smaller chainrings, and get… Continue Reading ..so I bought a Shimano Tourney TY-501 cranksetContinue 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
Why Shimano is sooo common?
When I ride my first bike, many components of it were made by different companies. Nowadays, you can buy or build a bike that is built on Shimano or Sram components, minus the frame. Well, sort of – Shimano does not own a fork brand, yet. Shimano makes all drivetrains, plus under the “Pro” brand, they make saddles, seat posts, cockpit components, headsets. And you’ll look posh on your bike with Pearl Izumi clothing and shoes, which are also owned by Shimano. Sram owns Rock Shox to absorb bumps, Avid to stop you, Truvativ to pedal. Looks like Avid and Truvativ will cease to exist as discrete brand names as I do not see Avid branded components anymore, and its unique design already adopted by Sram brake components. Even Sram is big on MTB in the USA, where riders don’t… Continue Reading Why Shimano is sooo common?Continue reading
Why and how Hollowtech II bottom brackets fail
On paper, Hollowtech II is a step forward to old 3-piece cranks. It’s lightweight, bottom brackets are easy to remove / replace, cranks are easier to pull out. Getting the Hollowtech II bottom bracket cups is very easy and foolproof thanks to sturdy tool; while “inboard” bottom brackets like the first Hollowtech, ISIS, or the classic, conventional threaded ones are harder to remove; because they tend to “fuse” with aluminium frames, where these threaded type bottom bracket bodies are steel. Galvanic corrosion due to two different metals touching together can also damage these parts, especially aluminium, in the long run. You can use copper grease to slow it down; but thats not a permanent way to stop it forever. Hollowtech II (or similar) cranks are also lighter due to simpler bottom brackets. There is a common misunderstanding that Hollowtech II… Continue Reading Why and how Hollowtech II bottom brackets failContinue reading