If you are looking for a new race bike, you probably have encountered the term “gear group” or “group” often. These are concepts that are not familiar to everyone, but which differ in the quality, weight, and price of the bike. A race bike is made to handle many kilometers and at a fast pace. Therefore, he is aerodynamically shaped and lightweight. A race bike is not intended for other purposes, such as residential traffic. The type of group you choose depends on the number of kilometers that you plan to make yearly and will be placed during the bicycle removal phase. You can buy a cheap race bike with a Shimano group, buy a cheap race bike with a Campagnolo group and buy a cheap race bike with a SRAM group. These are all three of good quality and here you will find explanations that you can use to make a choice between these three.
What is a gear group?
The name already says that the gearbox consists of a number of parts. These components combine the gear system and the drive of the bicycle. The entire package consists of the rear and rear derailleur, brakes, crankshaft, shifters, cassette and chain. So you have the choice of three major brands and choose a different brand, so you will soon deliver quality. The most famous is Shimano, which is the most widely chosen, followed by SRAM and Campagnolo. In addition to the brand, you also have the choice of a particular class in which your group is subdivided. These are the beginner class, middle class, high middle class and top class. Once you’ve determined your brand, you can look at the number of kilometers you drive and assess your class. If you purchased a good race bike as a beginner, you can also upgrade it by setting up a higher grade gear group as these are also available separately. If you want to buy a cheap race bike with Shimano group, buy a cheap race bike with a Campagnolo group or buy a cheap race bike with a SRAM group, you can read more about what these brands have in the different classes.
The different classes
You can decide which group suits you best when looking at your bike behavior. A beginner, who is not too often on the bike, can drive a cheaper and simple group, while anyone who cycles or sports in the daily life needs a better quality group. An experienced cyclist will notice a difference between the groups in terms of durability, speed, reliability, finish and weight, but for a layman this is hardly noticeable. Each brand has a particular group or multiple groups for each class, each of which has its own name.
Groups for beginners
You are in the beginner class if you do not ride more than 2000 kilometers a year. This means about 40 kilometers a week, which is not a lot and means you probably go out once a week. So you do not need a professional group and a gram more or less to make your bike also no difference. You can get out of the way with a group from the beginner class and if you are well maintained, you can use it for years. If you want to buy a cheap race bike with a Shimano group from the beginner class, you have the choice between the Shimano Claris (seen on board models, 8 sprocket wheels), the Shimano Sora (9 sprocket wheels) and the Shimano Tiagra (10 sprocket wheels). If you prefer a race bike with a Campagnolo group, you will find the Xenon and Mirage groups (10 sprocket wheels) on older models, even though they are no longer manufactured today. The current group that Campagnolo produces for the beginner class is the Campagnolo Veloce (10 sprocket wheels), similar to the Shimano Tiagra. If you are buying a cheap race bike with a SRAM group, the SRAM Apex (10 sprocket wheels) group is available for the beginner class.
Middle class groups
If you cycle between 2000 and 4000 kilometers a year, which is about 40 to 80 kilometers a week, you will be in the middle class. This is a fairly average number of kilometers and you can enjoy your free time here, so you will be here soon. Because you will be heavier in the case of the group, you should choose a better quality group because it will take longer. In addition, these include 10 or 11 sprocket wheels, which is quite enough if you exercise the sport seriously. Shimano has developed the Shimano 105 group for this class. This contains 11 sprocket wheels and was also meant for the top class. If you prefer to buy a cheap race bike with a Campagnolo group for this class, then this will contain the 10-spoke Castagnola Centaur group and you would rather buy a cheap race bike with this SRAM group, then this manufacturer has the SRAM Rival in the offer, also with 10 sprockets.
Groups for the high middle class
If you plan to cycle more than 80 kilometers a week or to spend more than 4000 kilometers annually, you will soon be in the middle class. Because you are often on the bike and probably have mastered the nice tricks of the sport, a qualitative switching and operating system is no unnecessary luxury. These groups are characterized by being lighter, able to handle more miles before showing defects and often made of carbon or aluminum. If you want to buy a cheap race bike with a Shimano group suitable for this middle class then you have the choice of the Shimano Ultegra or the Shimano Ultegra DI12. The difference between these two is that the latter switches electrically and no cables are required. Both groups contain a 11-pin cassette. If you choose to buy a cheap race bike with a Campagnolo group for this particular class, there is the Campagnolo Chorus group, the Campagnola Athena and the Campagnola Centaur Carbon. All have 10 sprockets and are made of high quality and light materials such as carbon and titanium. If you want an electrical circuit system, choose the Athena + EPS. SRAM has also produced a group for this high middle class, namely the SRAM Force. This group has 11 sprockets and is made of the best alloys.
Groups for the top class
If you get on the race bike daily, you will need a group of the best materials and preferably with 11 sprocket wheels so you have the most switching options. These groups are made for professional cyclists and sports practitioners who have a lot of money and make a lot of miles. If you do not fall into that category, you really do not have to spend a fortune for an expensive group in this class. You can also choose an electronic switching model, if you wish. No cables will be needed anymore, and the switch will be smoother, smoother, more precise and will keep your corridor uninterrupted. Such an electronic system is controlled by a battery usually under the saddle. Of course, electrical switching is not required and manual groups are also offered in this top class. The materials are high quality, durable and as an experienced cyclist you can notice a difference in the use of these different groups. Shimano has produced the Dura Ace and the Dura Ace DI12 in this class, the latter of which switches again electrically. Campagnolo has the Record and Super Record groups and choose the EPS variant, you can also switch electrically. Lastly, you will find SRAM the Red group with which Tour de France has been won several times.
The right group for your new bike
Hopefully this information helped you choose the right group for your new race bike. Perhaps it will become clearer when you buy a new race bike. Online, you can quickly and easily buy a cheap race bike with a Shimano group, buy a cheap race bike with a Campagnolo group or buy a cheap race bike with a SRAM group, but it’s wise if you know what you’re getting home. If you have a race bike that you like very well then you can of course also consider buying a new group instead of buying a completely new bike. The following table summarizes the above information briefly.
Class Number of km per year Shimano group Campagnolo group SRAM group
Beginners class <2000 Claris, Sora, Tiagra Mirage, Xenon, Veloce Apex Middle class 2000 - 4000 105 Centaur Rival High middle class > 4000 Ultegra, Ultegra DI12 Centaur Carbon, Athena, Chorus Force
Top class Professional, daily use Dura Ace, Dura Ace DI12 Record, Record EPS, Super Record, Super Record EPS Red