Is the cycling world on the wrong track?

The presentation of the new Shimano group is symptomatic of the times we live in, where almost everything is expensive. And especially when it comes to mobility. Inevitably, a car, truck, light utility vehicle or bicycle is a complex product, assembled from hundreds, even thousands of supplier parts, transported by truck or ship. A huge and complex supply chain, highly dependent on raw materials and the cost of energy. 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 shortages and the gap between supply and demand, and you’ll quickly understand why the average price of new cars is skyrocketing, just like that of bikes… and parts. If bicycle brands have preferential rates on groupsets (cranks, cassettes, derailleurs, brakes, wheels, etc.) when ordering large volumes of OEM original equipment, this is not the case for people when they want to buy a piece. In this case they pay full pot. And in these times of sales, don’t expect too many group discounts, whether for electric bikesmountain bikes, road bikes.

Shimano 105 Di2, expected, but disappointing?

The principle does not change: Di2 is “semi wireless”. The connection between the levers and the central battery (located in the seat tube) is wireless. The battery then sends its power to the two derailleurs through cables housed in the frame.© Shimano

First of all, obviously we do not yet have this group in our hands to give us an opinion on its use. So we won’t comment too much on its reliability and quality, even if some of our colleagues who have driven it report that its use is quite convincing. But it is frankly an understatement to say that the Shimano 105 Di2 groupset (12-speed, a first) was expected. I think on a personal level it must have been about 5 years since I heard about this “Arlesian”. So, here it is finally. But was it worth the wait? Yeah, it seems that with this Di2 electronic versionShimano has decided purely and simply do without a 105 mechanical groupset (with cables and brake pads). Too bad though, it was a great transmission, inexpensive, reliable and highly recommended. Therefore, the less fortunate will have to resort to Di2 (the upper ranges Ultegra and Dura Ace are now only sold in Di2…). But at what price! These are some prices (recommended retail price) communicated by the Japanese giant:

  • Crankset: €182.99
  • Complete front or rear disc brake: €362.99
  • di2 lever: €274.99
  • Di2 rear derailleur: €274.99
  • Shimano has worked on the ergonomics of
    Shimano has worked on the ergonomics of the “cocottes”, and we know how uncomfortable disc brake hoods can be due to the prominence induced by the brake fluid reservoir.© Shimano

You want to buy the complete groupset, crankset, brakes, gears, cassettes (with an unpublished 11/36, a novelty that those who climb should like), lever… it will cost you around €1,900. That’s almost €1000 more than the old 105 groupset with 11 speeds and pad brakes! And a few years ago you had a perfectly decent, full-featured bike with a mechanical 105 groupset at that price. Above all, this Shimano group is advertised at 2999 gr. Rather heavy, rather expensive, the “village group” is not so much anymore. Delirious.

Shimano continues to advertise technologies borrowed from the old Di2 Ultegra and Dura Ace groupsets, and even the presence of Hyperglide (specific machining of the cassette sprocket profile for smoother, faster gear changes). But no more advanced Hyperglide+ is obviously reserved for the top ranges Ultegra and Dura Ace. Logic. But is the 105 worth its price? It is very difficult to say if the increase is entirely attributable to raw materials and inflation, or if Shimano (but not only) profits 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 trajectory, where inequalities are increasing. Obviously, the 105 is not Shimano’s cheapest groupset. Tourney (7-speed), Claris (8-speed), Sora (9-speed) and Tiagra (10-speed) they are much more accessible to the general public. But it is not impossible that these groups follow the trend by earning a pinion each. And seeing their prices go up at the same time. If we had to give you some advice, it would be this: get parts inventory and Shimano 11-speed mechanical groupsets (well-tested components that are reliable, durable, and easy to maintain), in either 105, Ultegra, or Dura Ace. But still you will need to find some second handthe merchandise becomes as rare as the cheap second-hand car.

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

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