Your road bike is an assemblage of pretty simple components until you install a proper groupset in it. A gear road bike comes with some complex mechanical units to propel the bike and improve its performance; together they are being called groupsets. Although cranksets and brakes are included in the groupsets as well, they can also be considered basic bike equipment. Let’s take a deep insight into the world of road bike groupsets.
What Are Road Bike Groupsets?
In layman's terms, a bike groupset is a collection of a few mechanical components such as cranksets, brakes, derailleurs, and shifters: the engine room of a bike. It doesn’t only propel a bike forward at a certain speed or motion but also helps it to come to a halt. Bike groupsets were once used to be expensive and typically installed in high-end bikes for performance improvement but now it also comes cheap with almost all types of road bikes. The basic function of groupsets in every bike remains the same to improve the acceleration in minimum effort and have an efficient braking system.
Road Bike Groupsets Parts
A groupset is a determining factor of your bike’s performance along with its frame and wheel quality. A groupset mainly consists of the following components: crankset, chains, brakes, bottom bracket, front derailleur, Bottom bracket, Rear derailleur, and shifters. Together these tools help propel your bike forward and are designed to work together. A bike groupset doesn’t only create momentum but also aids to maintain it throughout with proper shifting and braking system.
The Benefits Of High-Quality Road Bike Groupsets
The benefit of having high-end road bike groupsets in your road bike is huge. As the groupset is being called the engine room of the cycle, it controls the way you cycle. The more elite the groupset hierarchy, the lighter it will become and the more efficient it will work. However, to average bikers or beginners, the upgrade might not be noticeable at a first glance, to pros upgrading the old groupset is a blessing. With smooth shifting and braking technology, you’ll experience the way a proper bike could operate. Together with multiple tools, a groupset helps maintain a level of performance that you can expect from a bike, and with the proper gearing system of the groupset, you can control the speed of the bike easily. If you have an uphill to climb or slope to conquer, a decent quality of groupset is all you require along with the wheels and a strong frame structure.
Not always the best groupset for road bike are mechanical, they can be electric too. While mechanical groupsets are controlled by a cable, electrical groupsets are mostly maneuvered through wires. But with the advanced technology, leading manufacturers have gone one step ahead to introduce the wireless maneuver system. This wireless electronic groupset is capable of transferring signals to shifters or precise shifting and braking niches. Electronic groupsets have batteries attached with them that generate the power and help the wire to operate precisely. This minimizes the cable routing difficulty which you can experience in regular mechanical groupsets. Aside from its efficient shifting and braking, electronic groupsets can be heavier than conventional mechanical ones due to the batteries and they are costly as well.
How Many Brands Does Have The Road Bike Groupset?
The bike groupset market is heavily controlled by three manufacturer giants namely Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo. They manufacture various types of groupsets starting from the entry-level to elite or racing gear categories. Although you can find lots of other road bike groupsets for sale in the market, people tend to put their money on these three dominating manufacturers when it comes to high-end groupsets. Amongst these three Shimano is the clear favorite in every category.
Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo: The Big Three
The brand accounts for half of the industry and has pioneered high-end bike equipment technology since the vintage era. The Shimano road bike groupsets hierarchy goes like the following way: entry, performance, and Pro-level. While entry-level is for beginners and it mostly comprises budget groupsets; products like Tiagra, Claris, and Sora have slick designs that evoke a clear aesthetic appeal. Groupsets like Shimano 105 R7000 and Shimano Ultegra R8100 could be a stepping stone for you to enter the pro level. But if you want to go beast mode, you gotta opt for the lightweight Shimano Dura-Ace, a true choice for WorldTour bikers. Similarly, SRAM and Campagnolo also follow the same suit with entry, pro, and elite level categories but also may have been classified into other subcategories such as basic, mid-range, enthusiast, etc.
Should I Mix Brands or Buy A Complete Groupset of the Same Brand?
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions as to whether you should mix various brands or buy a complete groupset. If you do not want to buy a customized bike and assemble the equipment, you’re probably purchasing a ready-made bike. In this case, we often see that bike groupset components come with different brands. While this could be a budget-friendly option for many, purchasing complete groupsets of the same brand is always recommended due to their unique ability to work together. The best example, in this case, is the leading technology company Apple that designs its chips and processors for smooth and efficient software browsing. Mixing brands in groupsets could decrease the performance of your bike while you could see a different level of output when you install the complete groupset of Shimano or SRAM. Also, not all components of different brands are compatible with one another.
What Is The Best Road Bike Groupset?
SRAM RED eTap, Campagnolo Super Record, or Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 are the top groupsets for road bikes. These may be the greatest road bike groupsets on record, they come with some expensive price tags and might not be affordable for you. Does this imply that they're the most appropriate groupsets for you? Certainly not. Buying expensive groupsets doesn’t mean they will go with your bike well and last long.
How Do I Choose The Right Groupset For Me?
To choose your best groupsets, you have to trim down options according to your budget and requirement. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on your bikes but still somewhat want an upgrade, choose the entry or id-range groupsets of Shimano or Campagnolo. This could act as the stepping stone towards the pro-level. If you go for the expensive options, you may see shifting has become more precise with a smooth maneuver of chainrings and cassettes. This is mainly because the high-end options are designed for precise and smooth performance. This also comes with a cost, as you can notice that some parts are made of durable materials while other parts like chainrings and cassettes are made of lighter materials for precise output.
For inexpensive groupsets, things are made of more or less the same steel materials for average durability. For those who are obsessed with fine-tuning your cycle and are picky about every little aspect while riding, they may go for the high-end performance groupsets for stunning output. Naturally, to such people, efficiency and performance matter and they are not reluctant to spend some extra cash for this. Also, expensive high-end groupsets come with the latest features which could be missing in its lower versions. But, if you’re on a budget, Shimano or SRAM entry or mid-range would be best suited for you as Campagnolo products tend to be a bit more expensive.
Is it Worth Upgrade Your Road Bike Groupsets?
Upgrading the road bike groupsets has always been fancy to many. But, to notice the noticeable output, you may need to update it to some certain extent such as Shimano Claris to Shimano 105. You will not only get extra gears and precise shifting, but also the new features in electronic shifting. The new universal size is another advantage that comes with a higher-end groupset. It means you can change your chainring sizes without replacing the entire crankset. Only then you can truly comprehend the difference in the refurbishment. You’ll feel like you’re riding a completely new bike, such as the impact. But from entry to mid-range level upgrade might not be as cool as your preconceived expectation. The best time to upgrade your bike groupset is when the existing groupset becomes worn out, a perfect excuse to replace the thing.
A decent groupsets last only a few thousand miles. After that, you’ll slowly notice the signs of your groupset components losing their intensity. So, unless you really want to replace them, ride your old one before they completely wear off. Finally, when you do replace them, keep the above-mentioned points in mind to get the ideal groupsets for your road bike. Even if some of the low-end groupsets are very underrated and packed with unique features. So, it’s not always the high-end expensive groupsets that are ideal to upgrade, select budget groupsets can also be an affordable option for many.