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Shimano Claris - Road Bicycle Groupset Overview

  • Know your Bicycle
Shimano Claris - Road Bicycle Groupset Overview

Shimano is one of the world leaders in the segment of bicycle component manufacturing. The Japanese multinational company manufactures bicycle gear shifters, derailleurs, wheels, hubs, pedals, shoes a more such performance accessories for cycling. Here is an Overview of the Shimano Claris R2400 groupset.

Shimano Claris is the Japanese manufacturing giant’s base groupset model for the road bicycle segment. Shimano Claris is the type of group set that you typically see on entry-level road bicycles that fall in the price range of Rs 35000-45000. The Claris comes as an entire groupset, rather than just the shifters and derailleurs, which means that the system comes with brake levers, brake calipers, chainset, cassette, and front and rear derailleurs.  The entire groupset that we tested came with the following components: 

  • Shimano Claris 8 speed 2X 50/34 front chainwheel crank
  • Shimano Claris 8 speed Front and Rear Dual Control brake and shift levers
  • Shimano Claris 2x8 Front Derailleur
  • Shimano Claris 8 speed Rear Derailleur
  • Shimano Claris 8 speed 11-32 cassette 
  • Shimano Claris Front and Rear brakes 

Shimano Claris - Road Bicycle Groupset Overview-1
Shimano Claris - Road Bicycle Groupset Overview-2

The design of the Shimano Claris is not something that is very dynamic or an eye pleaser like the more expensive groupsets from Shimano, but being the very basic groupset, one doesn’t concentrate on aesthetics as much as functionality. As expected as this price range, the functioning is not quite as smooth and refined as Shimano’s more expensive, high-end options, but once set-up, works surprisingly very well. The shifters come with a dual control option, which means the brake levers double up as the shifters also. The shifting is initiated by a small click either on the smaller or the longer shifter levers on either side, initiating an upshift or downshift. The brake/shifter levers function well, but have a cheap plastic-like look to it. But as formerly mentioned, entry- level groupsets do not concentrate on aesthetics as much as they do on functionality. 

The Claris’ rear shifter is the best performing component of the entire groupset, especially when shifting up into the harder gears. The shifting is sharp and quite precise despite a slight delay in the response by a few milliseconds, and even works fairly well when performing under load (on a climb or while accelerating). Since the Claris is an 8-speed system, the jumps between the gears is always huge, the smallest being at least 2 teeth and the biggest as much as 4 teeth. This might be one of the primary reasons for the slight delay in upshifting. The rear derailleur comes with a long cage, which makes it possible to fit bigger cassettes too, but that would only compound the shift response delay. 

Shimano Claris - Road Bicycle Groupset Overview-3
Shimano Claris - Road Bicycle Groupset Overview-4

Compared to the rear derailleur, the performance of the front derailleur is not all that impressive. Downshifting into the smaller chainring is smooth and easy, but since the pull-arm of the front derailleur is considerably shorter, upshifting from the 34T to the 50T chainring requires a bit of effort and a hard push on the shifter lever, which might not be very easy when shifting with cold or tired hands at the end of a long ride. Even though the shifting isn’t very easy, there were no chain slips and the shifting was always precise. This was something that I found impressive on an entry-level groupset. 

The Claris 2x8 Chainwheel comes with the ‘Octalink’ bottom bracket system which is a bit more sophisticated than the old-fashioned bottom bracket types that are seen in most low-end road bicycles. The chainwheel also comes with a 3x8 option, since the Claris is still on entry-level road bicycles which might be used by amateur to recreational riders.  The Shimano Claris brakes look and feel much more sophisticated than most other brakes that are usually mounted on entry-level road bicycles, but the braking capacity is not something that is very effective or impressive. The brakes feel soft and spongy, and do not have the stopping capacity to instantly bring a fast moving bicycle to an immediate halt, but still provide decent braking power and modulation. Probably replacing the brake pads with some better ones available in the market should improve their braking capacity. 

Shimano Claris - Road Bicycle Groupset Overview-5

A decently performing groupset for an entry-level range, the Shimano Claris surely outperforms all other low-end shifter components that are usually used on entry-level road bicycles. While the fact remains that they are Shimano’s heaviest groupset, most riders would hardly notice it as it usually comes fitted on bicycles that are already upwards of 10 kgs or more.


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