Shimano cycling products have proven their quality and effectiveness, time and time again, at both the highest levels of professional cycling and on the bikes of the everyday rider. Cheque out the stunning range of Shimano cycling products from bike shops and private sellers across the US on BikeExchange.
Shimano is a name that is synonymous with many things; but in particular, with cycling. There is a good chance that, if you have ridden bicycles in the last twenty years, you have ridden one that was driven by Shimano components.
The Japanese multinational company’s headquarters remain in Osaka to this day, but has expanded to manufacture products in China, Singapore and Malaysia.
Shimano first came on the scene in the 70’s. Cycling was growing uncontrollably as the favourite recreational past time in the US, and the big component manufacturers in Italy couldn’t keep with demand. Shimano and then successful Suntour, stepped in to fill the gaps.
The Japanese companies took a different approach to the market than their competitors were at the time, opting to provide products across the whole span of the market, from inexpensive systems suited to children’s and utility bikes, to high end racing groupsets.
Shimano in particular was pushing lower prices and focusing on design innovation, and pretty soon, Suntour found that it couldn’t keep up. Shimano components were starting to appear on bike models all over the world.
Early on, Shimano focused their resources on innovating pre-existing technologies at the lower end of the market. By the mid 80’s - as they began to gain market share - they switched to focusing on innovation at the higher end of the spectrum, putting all efforts into Shimano’s upper echelon of racing groupsets: the Dura-Ace model. It was important that Shimano be seen as a serious manufacturer that could provide reliable componentry to the conservative end of the market, while pushing the boundaries at the top end. Design and engineering advances that were initially successful across the racing end of the spectrum would later be applied to lower end models, eventually becoming stock standard across all models.
Shimano was the first company to design index shifting, which they would later develop into Shimano Total Integration. STI changed the way that road cyclists could cycle through their gears, combining gear shifters seamlessly with the brake levers, allowing them to change gears on the fly without taking their fingers off the brakes.
For the mountain, Shimano’s SPD (Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) clipless pedal systems made all the difference when riders stepped off the pedals. Road pedals feature cleats that stick out quite dramatically making them difficult to walk in. Shimano designed a pedal and matching shoe system that allows for the integration of the cleat into the sole of the shoe meaning it doesn’t stick out on road shoes. Mountain bikers and commuters in particular saw the benefits of SPD as they could now walk comfortably into the café, or up the steep stuff if they came off half way up.
Shimano’s products line as expanded dramatically over the years. No longer do they only make groupset components. They also produce a huge range of accessories, wheels and wheel parts, shoes and cleats. However, they still specialise in componentry, designing a range of cranks, derailleurs, gear shifters, brake levers and brakes systems, cassettes and much more.