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Old 02-10-12, 06:46 AM   #1
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Shimano's Parts Hierarchy

This information is for those people who are looking to buy a new bicycle or are wanting to upgrade their old one. Understanding these gradings will give you greater knowledge of what makes a bike the price and style that it is.

MOUNTAIN BIKE PARTS
LEVEL 1 (entry level)
SIS-5 speed/6 speed/7 speed.
ALTUS-7 speed.
ACERA-7 speed/8 speed.
The above (3) are mainly used on bikes that are used on weekends,bike path riding and some commuting bikes.
LEVEL 2
ALIVO-7 speed/8 speed.
DEORE-9 speed.
These (2) are used a lot by people who commute most days as well as for bikes which are ridden on weekends. This componentry is suitable for off road use and is generally a good starting point for racing components.
LEVEL 3
DEORE LX-9 speed.
LX is a very good quality component which is well weighted and designed. LX is mainly used for serious recreation and racing. As well as for those people who want a very stable and strong commuting bike.
LEVEL 4
DEORE XT-9 speed.
XT is once again a very smooth and reliable group set, used on many racebikes as well as top end town bikes. XT is remarkably strong and very durable as well as being a delight to use.2004 saw a big change in LX when the hollow tech 2 crank set was introduced, as well as the introduction of the rapid shift levers
LEVEL 5
DEORE XTR-9 speed.
XTR is predominately used on top end race bikes. It is very light and smooth, however it does require some maintenance as it is such a precision made component.XTR also has the Hollow tech 2 crank set with an awesome disc brake and wheel set being available.
The above groupsets are how the bicycle industry group the qualities of parts, meaning the parts on the bike such as gears, brakes, hubs, cranks etc., to a bike. For example a bicycle with an Alloy frame and ALIVO components will vary in price from $500-$700 depending on the other components such as rims, handle bars, seats and forks.

ROAD BIKE PARTS.
LEVEL 1 (entry level)
SIS.
SORA.
SIS is not found on many road bikes now. However Sora is extremely popular. Many general commuting and entry level road bikes will be Sora equipped. Sora has STI levers and a very reliable gear and braking system, without being too pricey. Sora is a 8 speed group set and will come on bicyles ranged between $700-$1200.
LEVEL 2
Tiagra.
Tiagra is the first road group set that is 9 speed. Tiagra is used a lot by road cyclists that want the reliablity and smoothness of 9 speed without the price tag.
LEVEL 3
105.
This is a very commonly used component set a lot of top road bikes and training bikes will be equipped with 105 as it is exceptionally smooth in its changes and a very durable and reliable group set. 105 is also a 9 speed group set and its body predominantly made of alloy, thus making it very light. People who want good stuff that will last this is it.
LEVEL 4
ULTEGRA.
Once again used a lot for top end racing. Not often used for training bikes, however it is durable enough to do so. Very smooth and very light on its actions. This means changes with little effort.
LEVEL 5
DURA ACE.
The top of the line. Fairly expensive for the general rider.Dura Ace has been converted into a 10 speed system, with massive changes to the levers and crank sets, both so much smoother and lighter to use.

Just for those wondering.
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Old 02-10-12, 08:01 AM   #2
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Actually there is also a road level priced between Tiagra and 105. I have ordered some brake calipers from this particular series and they will arrive next Tuesday. The reason I can't tell you the model is because they are from Shimano's "model-less" line, so they only have a code number. I'm assuming you have access to these models in the USA.

Also below Sora there is 2300 http://cycle.shimano.co.jp/publish/c...300series.html
There is also 2200 available in the USA.
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Old 02-10-12, 09:02 AM   #3
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One thing I've noticed when I was bike shopping and comparing components on some popular models, is how, as an example, a lot of manufacturers combine level 1 and level 2 components only changing one out such as leaving an Acera FD and only change out the RD with an Alivio calling it an upgrade.

I bought my bike based on this practice and chose one that all the components were of the same grade, and that included the FD, the RD, and the crank set.

Did it make that much of a difference?.....I don't know that it made that much, but what I do know is if I'm paying for an upgrade, I want to at least feel like I'm getting one.

Last edited by Jimbo47; 02-10-12 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 02-10-12, 09:33 AM   #4
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Yeah, I've seen that. The bike has a level above RD, as many customers think that is the main component for changing gears, but the rear deraileur is basically a spring with two screws. The shifters (IMO) would be the choice of the upgrade as I believe they actually contribute greater. I'm not a mechanic as you probably guessed, but that's my observation.
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Old 02-10-12, 09:37 AM   #5
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On the mtb side, the 'hierarchy' is about right, but the listings descriptions are waaaaay out of date!
XTR: 10 spd.
XT: 10 spd.
SLX Dynasys: 10 spd.
SLX (Trekking): 9 spd.
Deore: 10 spd.
Alivio: 9 spd.
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Old 02-10-12, 09:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo47 View Post
One thing I've noticed when I was bike shopping and comparing components on some popular models, is how, as an example, a lot of manufacturers combine level 1 and level 2 components only changing one out such as leaving an Acera FD and only change out the RD with an Alivio calling it an upgrade.

I bought my bike based on this practice and chose one that all the components were of the same grade, and that included the FD, the RD, and the crank set.

Did it make that much of a difference?.....I don't know that it made that much, but what I do know is if I'm paying for an upgrade, I want to at least feel like I'm getting one.
Pretty common marketing practice: the r/d is the one bit 'hanging out there in plain sight', so throw a Tiagra group on a bike, but switch the r/d to 105, and mfg. can claim that bike X has a "105/Tiagra mix". Not going to do it with the shifters, brifters or rapidfire, 'cos they're expensive (cost) relative to a r/d!
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Old 02-10-12, 10:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
Pretty common marketing practice: the r/d is the one bit 'hanging out there in plain sight', so throw a Tiagra group on a bike, but switch the r/d to 105, and mfg. can claim that bike X has a "105/Tiagra mix". Not going to do it with the shifters, brifters or rapidfire, 'cos they're expensive (cost) relative to a r/d!
Exactly. The Rear derailleur is what people look at and bike salesmen know this and take advantage of it.
The crank, which is the most important component weight-wise and the most expensive one ... is often 2 or more steps lower than the RD.
In Belgium and Holland we have a few local brands that sell bikes with full groupsets by default ... those are the brands I trust and respect.
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Old 02-10-12, 12:58 PM   #8
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Sora is now 9speed. Tiagra, 105, Ultegra, Dura-Ace are all 10speed. Shimano is supposed to come out with 11speed some time this year i think. Nice post though. Can someone list the SRAM hierarchy too please.
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Old 02-10-12, 01:05 PM   #9
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You forgot Tourney and 2200.

Mountain Bike Components:
XTR
Saint
DXR
XT
LX
Hone
Deore
Alivio
Acera
Altus
Tourney

Road Bike Components:
Dura-Ace
Ultegra
105
Tiagra
Sora
2200
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Old 02-10-12, 01:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
Pretty common marketing practice: the r/d is the one bit 'hanging out there in plain sight', so throw a Tiagra group on a bike, but switch the r/d to 105, and mfg. can claim that bike X has a "105/Tiagra mix". Not going to do it with the shifters, brifters or rapidfire, 'cos they're expensive (cost) relative to a r/d!
That and the name is prominently stamped on the RD. Before I knew better, I almost bought a bike with all almost all Sora and Ultrega RD thinking it was pretty high end.
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Old 02-10-12, 01:28 PM   #11
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I don't think I'd lump Deore and Alivio into the same category though. Deore is where stuff starts getting good.

Last edited by jsdavis; 02-10-12 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 02-10-12, 01:45 PM   #12
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I don't think I'd lump Deore and Alivio into the same category though. Deore is where stuff starts getting good.
Yep! Deore (roughly) Tiagra; SLX roughly 105, and on up.
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Old 02-10-12, 01:50 PM   #13
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... Can someone list the SRAM hierarchy too please.
Here you go:

Mtn:
XX (10 sp)
X0 (10 sp)
X9 (10 sp)
X7 (10 sp)
X5 (9/10 sp)
X4 (8/9 sp)
X3 (7 sp)

Road:
Red (10 sp)
Force (10 sp)
Rival (10 sp)
Apex (10 sp)
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Old 02-10-12, 01:52 PM   #14
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I don't think I'd lump Deore and Alivio into the same category though. Deore is where stuff starts getting good.
This ^^^ Mixing the components, which makes my point exactly, and they call it an upgrade, and up the price of the bike!
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Old 02-10-12, 02:00 PM   #15
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awesome post, OP. Can I suggest you use some spacing and bolding to make the information easier to read? Thanks. An SRAM hierarchy would be useful. I got Shimano more or less down. Used the wiki to find that out.

One more thing: this thread applies to all bikes, not only hybrids. Maybe it would be more useful in the General Cycling subforum as a sticky.

Last edited by SurlyLaika; 02-10-12 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 02-10-12, 02:04 PM   #16
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Well when moving to Deore, you get strong and lighter crank with external BB. The Alivio shifters are quirky IMO, unlike the Rapidfire shifters I'm accustomed to, the lever for going to smaller gear is on top rather than the bottom side of the shifter pod.

As far as price goes, I almost bought a bike with Alivo cranks, Deore FD, RD, shifters, Shimano 4xx hydraulic brakes (Alivio grade?) for $600. Pretty good deal IMO, but I didn't like the ride so for me it would have been a bad deal.
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Old 02-10-12, 02:18 PM   #17
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Are components on flat bar hybrids as much of a big deal as they on STI road bikes? The biggest thing people complain about on STI bikes is the 2300 and Sora shifters. With Tiagra and up, you don't have to use your thumb to shift up, hence the popularity among people who ride on the drops a lot. I would think that people using a flat bar bike wouldn't have any sort of problem with this.
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Old 02-10-12, 02:43 PM   #18
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Shimano specifically documents what end-use each mtb group is suitable for on page 25 of their dealer catalogues. For example Saint is the ONLY group suitable for DH use.

The choice of a rear derailleur is most critical when a mtb styed bike is used off-road. Tourney, Altus and Acera are intended for city bikes which explains why so many people with mtb styled bikes end up with scrapped deralleurs when they start to use them off-road. Component use is about more than just a hierarchy.

I've gone out of my way to post the details in the MTB forums twice and most people apparently simply don't want to know.

Last edited by Burton; 02-10-12 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 02-10-12, 02:54 PM   #19
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Shimano specifically documents what end-use each mtb group is suitable for on page 25 of their dealer catalogues. For example Saint is the ONLY group suitable for DH use.

The choice of a rear derailleur is most critical when a mtb styed bike is used off-road. Tourney, Altus and Acera are intended for city bikes which explains why so many people with mtb styled bikes end up with scrapped deralleurs when they start to use them off-road. Component use is about more than just a hierarchy.

I've gone out of my way to post the details in the MTB forums twice and most people apparently simply don't want to know.

Good information. I think mixing and matching road and MTB components creates a lot of confusion.
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Old 02-10-12, 05:03 PM   #20
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Are components on flat bar hybrids as much of a big deal as they on STI road bikes?
I was just about to make the same point. With trigger shifters I don't think it makes nearly as much of a difference as the much more complicated road bike style integrated brake/shifters. I don't notice a big difference in shift quality with lower end trigger shifter setups but they require much more frequent tuning. So a higher level rear derailleur on a hybrid does make a difference. IME the front derailleur makes almost no difference in real world shift quality. Don't forget the crankshaft quality either, it's often a part manufacturers skimp on that I've heard makes a difference in shift quality.

Last edited by Dunbar; 02-10-12 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 02-10-12, 05:25 PM   #21
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I was just about to make the same point. With trigger shifters I don't think it makes nearly as much of a difference as the much more complicated road bike style integrated brake/shifters. I don't notice a big difference in shift quality with lower end trigger shifter setups but they require much more frequent tuning. So a higher level rear derailleur on a hybrid does make a difference. IME the front derailleur makes almost no difference in real world shift quality. Don't forget the crankshaft quality either, it's often a part manufacturers skimp on that I've heard makes a difference in shift quality.
I'll disagree a little here.
IMO, there is a noticeable difference in shifting quality/'lightness' of action/stability as one moves up the levels.
I've used road-based triggers from both Shimano and SRAM. There is a distinctly better 'feel' with Shimano's 770/780 series shifters, as compared to their 440 series. The former use ball-bearing pivots, the latter bushings. The same holds true for XTR/XT versus SLX and lower on the mtb side.
Quality matters.
Similarly, I now use SRAM's 'double tap' 10 spd flatbar shifters (Force/Rival level); I was able to compare these to their SL700 series ones before purchasing. The difference again was noticeable: lighter action/ease of use (along with the double-tap system, of course, which I like).
In both cases (SRAM and Shimano), I would expect the better materials/construction to result also in greater durability.
YMMV.
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Old 02-10-12, 09:07 PM   #22
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I just had a look at the double tap stuff by SRAM - VERY cool. I like how they were able to carry it over on to flat bar stuff too. That is some technology I can't wait to see trickle down.

It's an interesting point in regards to the 770/780 series. I figured shift action would be similar to the 440 series or lower. I guess I'd have to go test ride a 7.7 FX to find out how it really feels, though I've never even felt like my cheapy shifters are all that sloppy.
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Old 02-10-12, 09:54 PM   #23
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awesome post, OP. Can I suggest you use some spacing and bolding to make the information easier to read? Thanks. An SRAM hierarchy would be useful. I got Shimano more or less down. Used the wiki to find that out.

One more thing: this thread applies to all bikes, not only hybrids. Maybe it would be more useful in the General Cycling subforum as a sticky.
Thanks, I thought it might be a helpful starting guide for new cyclist. Was going to list the Scram next to the Shimano for comparison. But got lazy, and did not realize the response it would get. Wished I had now, tried to keep it basic information only. And everyone is so right about Bike Manufactures throwing on a nice rear DR, (cause people tend to look there first). I do think it would make a useful sticky in the General Cycling Forum with both the Scram, and Shimano together. Maybe some one with better computer, and grammar skills will make a nice one for them. ( Good Ideal ) Richard
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Old 02-10-12, 10:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Shimano specifically documents what end-use each mtb group is suitable for on page 25 of their dealer catalogues. For example Saint is the ONLY group suitable for DH use.

The choice of a rear derailleur is most critical when a mtb styed bike is used off-road. Tourney, Altus and Acera are intended for city bikes which explains why so many people with mtb styled bikes end up with scrapped deralleurs when they start to use them off-road. Component use is about more than just a hierarchy.

I've gone out of my way to post the details in the MTB forums twice and most people apparently simply don't want to know.
Good information on the MTB rear DR's .

I found this video on Youtube a few years ago, when I was using Scram X7 stuff. (Interesting)
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Old 02-10-12, 11:51 PM   #25
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So what am I supposed to take away from that video? Since the video is posted by SRAM, I wouldn't believe that it is unbiased. Click on the link for the user who posted it, and it says SRAM at the top.

Is the Shimano part moving because it's supposed to?
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