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The Japanese market leader for bicycle gears and components is also the oldest manufacturer in this sector: Shimano was founded by Shozaburo Shimano as early as 1921 - in 2021 Shimano was 100 years old!
The first product was a freewheel for bicycles. Shimano grew quickly and steadily expanded its product range for bike parts. In 1961, the history of Shimano gears began - with a 3-speed hub gear. Twelve years later, the first Dura Ace group was presented. Today, it is established as a top product for racing bikes.
Besides bicycle parts, Shimano also manufactures fishing products. However, this division is comparatively small, accounting for about one-fifth of the company's turnover. The bicycle division, meanwhile, is growing constantly. Shimano offers products for every conceivable bicycle category. The product range has been permanently expanded. Shimano also offers clothing and is known for its SPD clipless pedal system and matching shoes. With the boom of e-bikes, the Shimano e-bike range also grew. Today, the Shimano Steps system is one of the most proven drivetrain system for electric bikes.
Drivetrain groupsets are Shimano's core business. In addition, the Japanese company offers all kinds of other products for bikes and their riders. You will find the following products in the Shimano portfolio:
Shimano is synonymous with gear shifting on bicycles. Shimano stands for quality, precision and durability. Not without reason: Shimano is always up to date with its products. However, they don't rely uncompromisingly on the latest trends. Instead, they wait until they can offer an advanced solution. The best example of this philosophy is the new Shimano Dura Ace groupset. It comes with a 12-speed cassette and is partially wireless. Other manufacturers were faster. But with Shimano's new groupset you can be sure that everything is fully developed and works reliably.
Shimano stands for innovation and progress. But not all Shimano ideas have been successful. Good examples are the "Biopace" technology from the 1990s: With oval chainrings, Shimano promised more efficient pedalling. However, it did not catch on. The "Airlines" pneumatic shifting system, which was celebrated as revolutionary at the time, also never made it into large-scale production. The idea was so good, however, that it was imitated several times over the years.
In contrast to such experiments, other Shimano products have fully established themselves. Many of them continue to redefine the standards. These undoubtedly include the Shimano Dura Ace groupset for road bikes and the Shimano XTR groupset as the top drivetrain for mountain bikes. The Shimano XT groupset for mountain bikes is the proven workhorse with the best price-performance ratio.
Even on a small budget, you don't have to do without proven Shimano functionality: On road bikes, mountain bikes or trekking bikes: Shimano has both high-end groupsets and entry-level products in its range. In the road bike sector, the Shimano 105 groupset has always been a good choice for affordable entry-level bikes. The mountain bike counterpart is the Shimano Deore.
Today, Shimano Di2 is a synonym for state-of-the-art shifting technology from Shimano. When you hear Di2, you first think of a Shimano Dura Ace group or Shimano XTR for mountain bikes. But did you know that Di2 has its origins in the city bike sector? The term Di2 first appeared in 2001: On a comfort bike with automatic shifting.
A lot has happened since then. Di2 was introduced for road bikes, and with it the Japanese ushered in the age of electronic gear shifting. Initially with an external battery: it was attached to the frame and came with rather clumsy connectors for the numerous electronic cables. Today it all looks much more elegant: The latest Dura Ace Di2 groupset has an internal battery. This is only wired to the rear derailleur and the front derailleur. The rest works wirelessly, which makes for much easier handling. It also gives the new bike models an incredibly clean look. From year to year, the precision and speed of the shifting group has been improved. With the last Dura Ace update, Shimano took a consistent step: the top racing bike groupset is now only available as an electronic version.
Di2 has long since conquered all areas of cycling. In the road bike sector, electronic shifting is available down to the entry-level 105 groupset.
Shimano also offers brake systems to match all drivetrains, which integrate seamlessly into the Japanese group philosophy. Every Shimano brake is absolutely sophisticated and top-notch in terms of both ergonomics and handling. Unlike most other brake manufacturers, Shimano uses mineral oil instead of brake fluid. This has several advantages:
Mineral oil does not bind water. This means that the quality is maintained for longer and you don't have to change the brake fluid as often.
Unlike brake fluid, mineral oil is non-toxic. You should only be careful that it does not drip onto the brake disc.
Do you already know the new Shimano gears with Hyperglide, ICE-Tech and Di2? Sometimes you could wish for a little dictionary for the product description of Bikeparts. And that's exactly what we have here. Let us briefly explain you the most important Shimano technologies.
This is what Shimano calls the special shape of its new 12-speed mountain bike cassettes. Various indentations on the individual cogs are perfectly matched to the shape of the chain. This enables extremely precise, fast and smooth shifting.
The Hyperglide counterpart for 11-speed cassettes. The robust, specially shaped teeth of the cogs also ensure fast and smooth shifting.
This is what Shimano calls its cooling concept for its own disc brakes. Both the brake cylinders and the discs have integrated cooling fins. These dissipate the heat generated and thus guarantee consistently high braking performance.
Shimano Center Lock is Shimano's own fastening standard for brake discs. These are not fixed with six bolts, but are mounted on a lock ring: similar to a cassette on the freewheel. The lock ring is then fixed with a nut. This ensures an optimal frictional connection and is particularly user-friendly. Adapters are available so that you can also mount a Shimano Centerlock brake disc on a 6-speed hub.
Shimano Shadow Plus technology refers to the particularly high spring tension with which the cage of the rear derailleur is pulled backwards. This high tension effectively prevents the chain from hitting the chain stay. In general, it prevents the chain from jumping off. This technology allows the use of 1-speed groupsets without front derailleur and chain guard.
The abbreviation Di2 is used by Shimano for all electronic groupsets. Regardless of whether it's Shimano XT Di2 for mountain bikes, 105 Di2 for road bikes or Nexus Di2 for city bikes: all these groupsets are no longer operated by the classic steel cable, but by electronics.
Shimano offers an extensive clothing range for cyclists. Whether for road cycling, mountain biking, leisure cycling or especially for women: The range is impressively large and there is something for everyone. The Shimano S-Phyre collection is the performance line for ambitious racing athletes. It is developed together with scientists and athletes and is designed to help you get the most out of you. The Shimano Evolve collection is aimed at recreational athletes who want to ride comfortably but still value good function. Shimano also has an extensive range of women's clothing and plenty of clothing for off-road use.
Shimano sunglasses are packed with useful features. Their lenses are made of robust polycarbonate. They are lightweight, durable and scratch-resistant. They are also of high optical quality and avoid any distortion for optimal vision at all times. The surface of Shimano lenses has a water-repellent coating. Water, but also dust and dirt simply roll off. Sunglasses with self-tinting lenses are particularly easy to use. Their light transmission automatically adjusts to the environment, so you no longer have to change lenses. With the new Shimano Ridescape lenses, Shimano offers special lenses that are optimally adapted to the respective area of use. They are available for road cycling, gravel and mountain biking.
Shimano has managed to be so established in some areas that entire product lines are considered synonymous with a product group. Like the Shimano SPD technology, which is emblematic of the clipless pedal. SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. It refers to the Shimano clipless pedal system, which is available for both road bikes and mountain bikes. The respective SPD systems of the two categories are not compatible with each other. They each offer characteristics tailored to the area of use. The SPD system for road bikes is primarily designed for a stiff and highly efficient connection between shoe and pedal. The SPD cleats for mountain bikes offer high freedom of movement and yet a secure connection. In combination with a high profile of the sole, you can run well with the Shimano SPD system for mountain bikes. That is why these shoes are particularly suitable for everyday use.
Shimano wheels round off the Japanese product portfolio. Shimano offers the corresponding wheel sets for the top Dura Ace and Ultegra road bike groupsets. The Shimano C36 model is particularly light and ideal for mountain riding. The Shimano C60-HR model is aerodynamically optimised and best suited for high speeds. The Shimano C50 wheelset is a real all-rounder: it perfectly combines the two different features of the C36 and C60.
The Shimano Steps system has long since established itself in the e-bike sector. Shimano has drive units in various price and performance classes in its range - the right one for every e-bike! Combined with a Shimano hub gear, the result is an unrivalled ease of use. This is especially appreciated by occasional cyclists and beginners. "Autoshift" ensures that you can concentrate fully on your ride. The system does the rest. Your bike automatically selects the perfect gear and shifts down to a lower gear for starting off.
The Shimano EP 8 and EP6 e-bike motors are brand new and are characterised by high performance with minimal weight. Their dimensions are also very compact, so that they fit inconspicuously into modern e-bike concepts. This new Shimano e-bike motor generation is state-of-the-art. It perfectly matches modern rechargeable batteries and battery management systems.
DThe CUES Di2 is brand new. It offers electronic shifting performance for all e-bikes with EP8 and EP6 drivetrains. The new shifting group offers velvet-smooth shifting processes and an automatic mode, which is still completely new in the field of derailleur gears. Until now, this was only possible with Steps systems and DI2 gear hubs. Thanks to the Shimano Free Shift function, you can shift without pedalling, which significantly increases comfort.
Shimano offers various apps that make the configuration of the electronic components even easier and more efficient.
With the Shimano App, all kinds of settings for the electronic Shimano components can be adjusted. You can get additional information, adjust settings (for example, assign special functions to switches) and update the firmware. For e-bike systems, you can configure the assistance characteristics, the maximum torque or the starting aid.
This app turns your smartphone into a powerful bike computer. It allows you to navigate, keep an eye on your current riding data at all times and record all your rides. With the app, your smartphone can connect to the electronic components of your bike. For example, it can show you the current gear position. Or it tells you the battery level of your e-bike and its assistance power. For athletes, the connection with a Shimano power meter is exciting and opens up new training possibilities. After your ride, you can seamlessly upload all data to the Strava tracking platform.
With this app you can get the most out of your Shimano Powermeter. It gives you detailed insight into all riding data. It helps you manage and analyse this data. This makes it a valuable tool for improving your performance.