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.
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.
ALIVO-7 speed/8 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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. :)