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Shimano's Newest Groupsets are Disappointing

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Shimano's Newest Groupsets are Disappointing

Old 05-06-17, 10:47 PM
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speshelite
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Shimano's Newest Groupsets are Disappointing

I've been a big fan of shimano componentry since the late 80's with the introduction of hyperglide. That single innovation made off road riding so much more enjoyable and practical it was a joke.

I've always been super impressed with their "higher" end stuff (the top two groups on the road and mtb side respectively). Until now. I feel like they've fallen off the back a little.

On the road side, SRAM has taken a big leap forward with wireless electronic. The wireless aspect is a huge boon for esthetics, not to mention simplicity in installation. Third the simplicity of the shifting controls is unparalleled. Shimano meanwhile decided inexplicably to go with a wired system, adding a great deal of clutter and hours to the install time. Four shift controls vs two is inferior ergonomically as well.

On the mountain side, shimano has fallen off the back sticking with a wired system and only very recently adopting a single ring design. Single rings have completely taken over the mtb market and reviews for Eagle, their 12 speed, are very positive.

I just saw the recent designs for dura ace and ultegra and the cranksets look absolutely awful. There is no innovation: basically minor tweaks with a major downgrade in esthetics.

I hate to say it, but shimano is becoming a stodgy, very conservative company afraid to take risks and innovate. They'd rather refine proven designs rather than risk striking out by swinging for home runs.

I feel like Eagle and Etap are home runs (well, maybe etap is a triple). Whereas Shimano is focused more on hitting a ton of uneventful singles. It's like Frank Thomas the Big Hurt vs Ichiro Suzuki.

My sense is that SRAM is poised to take the industry lead in components innovation. That's not a bad thing, but they were so dominant for so long, maybe it just took a rogue company like SRAM to show up Shimano's weaknesses.

If cost were no object, I would be going with Etap and Eagle, no question.

Who do you think becomes the market leader in the years to come? Will Shimano hang on as the top dog or can SRAM take the lead?
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Old 05-07-17, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
I hate to say it, but shimano is becoming a stodgy, very conservative company afraid to take risks and innovate. They'd rather refine proven designs rather than risk striking out by swinging for home runs.

Who do you think becomes the market leader in the years to come? Will Shimano hang on as the top dog or can SRAM take the lead?
In the cycling world, Shimano is estimated to have 70% of the components market and 50% of the drivetrain market. Shimano has such market saturation that even with a continuing downward trend in profit, they're down to "just" $2.27B last year, compared to the roughly $600M SRAM does every year. Shimano will remain the industry leader as long as they continue to churn out the bare-bones components that outfit BSOs. Frankly, super-niche products like Eagle and eTap aren't going to magically propel SRAM to industry dominance. As fascinated as I am by doodads, I don't think wireless shifting is even necessary-- much less game-changing.

I feel like Eagle and Etap are home runs (well, maybe etap is a triple). Whereas Shimano is focused more on hitting a ton of uneventful singles. It's like Frank Thomas the Big Hurt vs Ichiro Suzuki.
As a Chicago fan, and as much as I liked The Big Hurt playing for the Sox, that analogy works a whole lot better to show Shimano's dominance. Ichiro is on a whole different level. Ten straight years of 200+ hits and .300 batting average? Yep, that sounds like Shimano. Guys who hit a lot of home runs tend to strike out a lot, too.

But I'm still a guy that doesn't see a problem with derailleurs that use good old fashioned cables.
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Old 05-07-17, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
Shimano meanwhile decided inexplicably to go with a wired system, adding a great deal of clutter and hours to the install time.
Hours to the install time? Blindfolded?
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Old 05-07-17, 05:30 AM
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Reading your Frank Thomas vs Ichiro analogy I also couldn't help thinking that I'd rather have Ichiro in my line up. Shimano has the reputation of churning out great products that are reliable, not just in cycling, but in fishing gear. They are refined, and though their products may lack the pizzazz of competitors, consumers are willing to overlook that in favour of the reliability and refinement.
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Old 05-07-17, 08:59 AM
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You a parts manager at a major international bike brand..

Making the build pick for a million bikes then you have some say..

and realize the high end stuff sells very few bikes.. My small town LBS sees none ordered ,





.. because we don't have software code writers making the big google bucks in their 20's..



...
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Old 05-07-17, 09:18 AM
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From a road bike perspective:

Well, I've often felt that Dura-Ace (at least since it became incompatible with other lines) was over-priced and "stupid light", but the other lines, while sometimes being overpriced, are nonetheless the apex of cycling. Campagnolo, IMHO, is way overpriced for what you get, and aside from Super-Record, usually a bit below the comparable Shimano line. SRAM exists as a price-undercutting comparable, being a better deal for the money.

So, sometimes an 'upgrade' for the new season isn't much. You can't expect innovation EVERY year . And also, I can't see ANY advantage to ANY wireless system, but to each their own...
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Old 05-07-17, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
Campagnolo, IMHO, is way overpriced for what you get...
Campagnolo does have a reputation for being expensive, but if you look at pricing, their gear is actually priced competitively. Campagnolo Veloce is on par with Shimano 105, for example, in both price and quality. (Veloce is $375 from Ribble; 105 is $378.) Potenza and Ultegra are just a few dollars apart, too.
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Old 05-07-17, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
Campagnolo does have a reputation for being expensive, but if you look at pricing, their gear is actually priced competitively. Campagnolo Veloce is on par with Shimano 105, for example, in both price and quality. (Veloce is $375 from Ribble; 105 is $378.) Potenza and Ultegra are just a few dollars apart, too.
Note that Ribble is a British retailer. Campagnolo is ALWAYS priced higher in the US. However, even at comparable pricing, the Campagnolo stuff almost always is inferior in quality.
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Old 05-07-17, 10:33 AM
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I assume Shimano is a publicly held company. Shareholders want a return on their investment. Companies manufacture what sells.
How many 12 speed wireless setups do you think SRAM will sell? How much profit is made at the bleeding edge of innovation?

When I buy Shimano components I know they will work and work well, no surprises and usually easy setup.
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Old 05-07-17, 10:39 AM
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Shimano is also found in most box store BSO's, BTW, so I've venture to guess that a big part of their business is in supplying those manufacturers. SRAM and Campy's presence in that market is almost non-existent.
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Old 05-07-17, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
Note that Ribble is a British retailer...
True, but if you look online for Shimano or Campagnolo groupsets, it's hard to find a U.S. based seller among the Google results for either. If you're buying Shimano or Campy groupsets online, there's a good chance you're buying from a British seller, so it seems a fair comparison.

Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
However, even at comparable pricing, the Campagnolo stuff almost always is inferior in quality.
You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but it doesn't match my own personal experience, which is that they both make excellent gear, comparable at similar price points. Pick whichever floats your boat. I personally prefer Campy, but that decision is based on lever ergonomics, not a quality difference between Campagnolo and Shimano.

If there are any quantifiable or observable differences in quality, I'm interested to hear them, but perhaps that's a topic for a separate thread.
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Old 05-07-17, 01:30 PM
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Shimano has a significant edge when it comes to disc brake performance, especially for road discs. SRAM's mountain bike brakes are just now catching up to Shimano. And Campy is praying that discs aren't adopted soon, because they're out of business when that happens.

Personally, I'm not sold on the wireless shifters. I get the aesthetics, but I've always found wireless to be a mixed bag. It seems like SRAM has done their homework and created a reliable system. At the same time, if my Garmin is acting up I can just ride anyway. If my wireless shifters are acting up, I'm not going anywhere.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
If there are any quantifiable or observable differences in quality, I'm interested to hear them, but perhaps that's a topic for a separate thread.
To be honest, my opinions if Campagnolo quality are based mostly from a decade ago, when I was considering going brifter, and the Shimano offerings of the day had external cables (which I hate...), and the Campy did not. After trying both, I decided that the Campy offerings were just too crude for the money. Things may have improved since then.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:07 PM
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I really like the new Ultegra, aesthetically it's a home run to me.
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Old 05-07-17, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
Campagnolo does have a reputation for being expensive, but if you look at pricing, their gear is actually priced competitively. Campagnolo Veloce is on par with Shimano 105, for example, in both price and quality. (Veloce is $375 from Ribble; 105 is $378.) Potenza and Ultegra are just a few dollars apart, too.
Veloce is 10 speed, 105 is 11.

105 and Potenza are the lowest tier 11 speed groups from campy and shimano, so 105 should be compared to potenza not veloce.
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Old 05-07-17, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
Veloce is 10 speed, 105 is 11.

105 and Potenza are the lowest tier 11 speed groups from campy and shimano, so 105 should be compared to potenza not veloce.
Though Potenza and Ultegra stack up the same for overall 11s groupset weight.. so that's probably the correct comparison. Biking stratification is always about weight.
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Old 05-07-17, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
I've been a big fan of shimano componentry since the late 80's with the introduction of hyperglide. That single innovation made off road riding so much more enjoyable and practical it was a joke.

I've always been super impressed with their "higher" end stuff (the top two groups on the road and mtb side respectively). Until now. I feel like they've fallen off the back a little.

On the road side, SRAM has taken a big leap forward with wireless electronic. The wireless aspect is a huge boon for esthetics, not to mention simplicity in installation. Third the simplicity of the shifting controls is unparalleled. Shimano meanwhile decided inexplicably to go with a wired system, adding a great deal of clutter and hours to the install time. Four shift controls vs two is inferior ergonomically as well.

On the mountain side, shimano has fallen off the back sticking with a wired system and only very recently adopting a single ring design. Single rings have completely taken over the mtb market and reviews for Eagle, their 12 speed, are very positive.

I just saw the recent designs for dura ace and ultegra and the cranksets look absolutely awful. There is no innovation: basically minor tweaks with a major downgrade in esthetics.

I hate to say it, but shimano is becoming a stodgy, very conservative company afraid to take risks and innovate. They'd rather refine proven designs rather than risk striking out by swinging for home runs.

I feel like Eagle and Etap are home runs (well, maybe etap is a triple). Whereas Shimano is focused more on hitting a ton of uneventful singles. It's like Frank Thomas the Big Hurt vs Ichiro Suzuki.

My sense is that SRAM is poised to take the industry lead in components innovation. That's not a bad thing, but they were so dominant for so long, maybe it just took a rogue company like SRAM to show up Shimano's weaknesses.

If cost were no object, I would be going with Etap and Eagle, no question.

Who do you think becomes the market leader in the years to come? Will Shimano hang on as the top dog or can SRAM take the lead?

Shimano Di2 is far more configurable than ETap. You want paddle-style shifting on Di2 (or any goofy config to do shifting), you can set it up on your phone in 30 seconds. You want auto-shifting of the FD-you can get it. Both are things AFAIK ETap cannot do. Also it has none of the obnoxious "features". Etap:

-The FD parallelogram bulges outboard it preventing it from working with certain cranksets, depending on arm-Q-factor.
-The battery bulges out back and to the inboard capping tire-size on many framesets. Hence why you don't see it on bigger-tire bikes, and only SRAM's 1X systems.
-The FD braze receiver is molded such that it caps high/low adjustability on the plethora of bikes with fixed FD brazes (and not clamp-on collars)
-The FD doesn't even have auto-trim.


Di2 is all around a home run, aside from needing to route wires. Which is only annoying once in the lifetime of a frame-and is only a problem on certain cranks/BBs depending on if they were designed for Di2 cable routing internally through the shell or not. Claiming Di2 is stodgy and not innovative is just plain funny. Further some of the above "features" SRAM has told reviewers they have no intention of ever actually fixing.

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Old 05-07-17, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
I just saw the recent designs for dura ace and ultegra and the cranksets look absolutely awful.
^^^This^^^ I agree with. To me, The current generation of Shimano cranks sets are the most unappealing design I have seen. There are very few bikes on the market that the cranks look proper when installed on.
How many aftermarket companies will make replacement chain rings when Shimano changes to the next generation design and quits supporting the current line?
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Old 05-07-17, 06:24 PM
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Frank Thomas was a great hitter and had 7 straight years of some of the best offensive numbers ever. He was not just a power hitter, and in fact had he focused more on home runs he likely could have hit 60+ with ease. He is a lifetime .300 hitter just to keep things in perspective. Huge Thomas fan, and he got screwed out an MVP by the cheater Jason Giambi. A true great offensive talent who played during the juicing era which overshadowed his awesomeness.

Regarding modern Shimano components, I have nothing at all to add lol.
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Old 05-07-17, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
Veloce is 10 speed, 105 is 11.
Currently, yes. But most years over the past two decades or so, Veloce and 105 have had the same number of speeds. It's just a matter of time before that's true again.

Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
105 and Potenza are the lowest tier 11 speed groups from campy and shimano, so 105 should be compared to potenza not veloce.
Number of speeds is one criterium, and an important one, but it's not the only one. Finish, weight, tactile feedback, construction details, price, etc. should also factor into groupset comparisons. Some of those are subjective, but you can find plenty of Ultegra/Potenza comparisons online, some of them even favoring Potenza.

I don't mean to sound like a Campy fanboy. Both companies make great gear and it's up to each of us to decide what we like individually, whether it's 105, Veloce, Ultegra, Potenza, or something else.
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Old 05-08-17, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
Veloce is 10 speed, 105 is 11.
This is correct, but I will freely admit I prefer Veloce to Ultegra, even lacking the 11th cog. So I have no problem comparing it to Shimano's 11-speed offerings.

Veloce is buttery smooth. A flick of the lever, and the only reason I know I've shifted is the change in effort in the pedals.

If only Campagnolo would pull their disc brake game together.
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Old 05-08-17, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
I really like the new Ultegra, aesthetically it's a home run to me.
...in keeping with the baseball analogies. Well played.
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Old 05-08-17, 02:22 PM
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As an aside, what is the significance of the 'mentioned' 'tagged' and 'quoted' stats? I don't want to start a thread about this topic, I was curious though.
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Old 05-08-17, 02:44 PM
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Well if you don't like Shimano cranksets, FSA's look pretty conventional, and that's what most bikes come with anyhow

Di2 is like 16 years old now, do you remember what wifi was like in 2001?
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Old 05-08-17, 02:49 PM
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If I do
Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
As an aside, what is the significance of the 'mentioned' 'tagged' and 'quoted' stats? I don't want to start a thread about this topic, I was curious though.
you get a +1 on your quote total.

If I do this @speshelite, you get a +1 on your mentions total.

Why they are totaled and displayed, I have no clue, other than bragging rights maybe?

I rarely see anyone with anything in their tagged total, so you'll have to wait for Alex to answer that one
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