Is the cycling world on the wrong track?

The presentation of the new Shimano group is symptomatic of the time we live in, where almost everything is expensive. And especially when it comes to mobility. Inevitably, a car, a truck, a light supply or a bicycle is a complex product, assembled with hundreds, even thousands of parts from suppliers, transported by truck or boat. A huge and complex supply chain, highly dependent on raw materials and energy costs. As a result, the slightest increase in one of the links in the chain sometimes leads to a very significant inflation of the finished product. Combine this with a shortage and a gap between supply and demand, and you will quickly understand why the average price of new cars skyrockets, in the same way as for bicycles … and spare parts. If bicycle brands have advantageous prices on groups (cranksets, cassettes, shifters, brakes, wheels, etc.) by ordering large quantities for original OEM equipment, This is not the case for individuals when they want to buy a part. In this case, they pay full pot. And during these sales times, do not expect too much discount on groups, whether it is for electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes.

Shimano 105 Di2, expected but disappointing?

The principle does not change: Di2 is “semi-wireless”. The connection between the handles and the central battery (located in the seat tube) is wireless. The battery then sends its energy to the two switches through the cables placed in the frame.© Shimano

First of all, we have obviously not yet got our fingers in this group to give us an opinion on its use. We will therefore not comment too much on its reliability and quality, although some of our colleagues who have operated it state that it is quite convincing in use. But it is frankly an understatement to say that the Shimano 105 Di2 group (12 speeds, a first) was expected. I believe on a personal level that it must have been about 5 years ago that I heard about this “arlesier”. So here it is finally. But was the wait worth it? Already now it seems that Shimano with this Di2 electronic version has decided simply do without a mechanical 105 group (with cables and brake pads). Too bad, but it was a great transmission, cheap, reliable and highly recommendable. The less fortunate will therefore have to turn to Di2 (the upper series Ultegra and Dura Ace are now only sold in Di2 …). But at what price! Here are some prices (recommended retail price) communicated by the Japanese giant:

  • Crankset: € 182.99
  • Complete disc brake front or rear: 362.99 €
  • Di2 handle: 274.99 €
  • Di2 rear derailleur: € 274.99
  • Shimano has worked with the ergonomics of
    Shimano has been working on the ergonomics of the “cocots”, and we know how uncomfortable disc brake caps can be due to the prominent space that the brake fluid reservoir induces.© Shimano

You want to buy the complete group set, crankset, brakes, gear shifters, cassettes (with an unpublished 36/11, a novelty that should appeal to those who climb), handles … it will cost you around 1900 €. That’s almost € 1000 more than the old 105 group set with 11 gears and pad brakes! And a few years ago you had a perfectly decent bike with all the features with a mechanical 105 group set for that price point. Above all, this Shimano group is advertised for 2999 gr. Pretty heavy, pretty expensive, the “group of people” it is no longer. Delusions.

Shimano is still announcing technologies borrowed from the old Di2 Ultegra and Dura Ace groups, and even the presence of Hyperglide (specific machining of the cassette wheel profile for a smoother and faster gear shift). But no more advanced Hyperglide + is of course reserved for the upper Ultegra and Dura Ace series. Logic. But is the 105 worth the price? It is very difficult to say whether the increase can be attributed solely to commodities and inflation, or whether Shimano (but not only) is benefiting from it in passing to increase margins, neither seen nor known.

The poor on foot, the rich on pedelecs / bicycles and electric cars?

The world of mobility seems to be following a strange path where inequalities are growing. Of course, 105 is not the cheapest group set at Shimano. Tourney (7 speed), Claris (8 speed), Sora (9 speed) and Tiagra (10 speed) are much more accessible to the public. But it is not impossible that these groups follow the trend of getting a pinion each. And to see their prices rise at the same time. If we had to give you one piece of advice, it would be this: Stock up on mechanical Shimano 11-gear parts and group kits (highly proven components that are reliable, durable and easy to maintain), whether in 105, Ultegra or Dura Ace. But it will still be necessary to find used, the item will be as rare as the cheap used car.

For others, we will have to pray that the global economic crisis will subside in the coming years and that producers will come to their senses. But nothing is less certain. In the automotive sector, Mercedes has already announced that the focus will be on high-end (and very high-end) cars, to the detriment of compact and intermediate areas. Sell ​​smaller but more expensive while maximizing margins: a strategy that works for manufacturers, but for how long?

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