What is a groupset?

I hear als this talk about groupsets and I see that Shimano has like 20 different sets for MTB and for road bikes, what is the difference?

Clear question, first lets explain what a groupset is. A groupset are the mechanical parts or components I like to call the stop and go parts. Basically the parts of your bicycle other then the frame, front fork, wheels plus tires, the saddle and the handlebars.
So those are:

  • bottom bracket
  • crankset
  • chain
  • cogset, freewheel or cassette
  • brake levers/shifters
  • brakes, front and rear
  • derailleurs, front and rear

Now lets look at what groupsets Shimano is offering. They have different groupset for road bikes and for MTB’s. This post only describes the different road bikes groupsets, leaving the MTB groupsets for another day.

The range of groupsets for road bikes consists of:

  • Claris – Entry level
  • Sora – Mid range touring
  • Tiagra – Mid range sport and fitness
  • 105 – Inspired hobbyist performance
  • Ultegra & Ultegra DI2 – Pro range
  • Dura Ace & Dura Ace DI2 – Top range pro race

So, there you have it. Now what are the differences?

Well different components for different usages, different materials, etc. All this results in very different prices. The Shimano Claris set can be bought only for around € 200 (in parts), while the the top of the line Dura Ace DI2 will cost you about € 2000.

Let’s first define the different components:

Bottom Bracket

Shimano Bottom Bracket

Shimano Bottom Bracket

The bottom bracket what you connect the crankset to. It goes into the bracket shell of you frame, the part of the frame that connects the down tube, seat tube and the chain stays. There are different bottom bracket types, but for now just know that there are different types, so that bottom brackets are brand and series specific.