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Shimano is a Japanese manufacturer known worldwide for its ranges of drivetrains for bicycles intended for occasional use up to competition practice.

Each range of groupset designed by Shimano corresponds to a use and a level of practice. In this article, we will present to you the characteristics of the drivetrain ranges designed and developed by Shimano currently available as well as those whose production has ceased.

Constitution of a traditional bicycle drivetrain:

The transmission of a bicycle consists of a crankset fitted with one or more chainrings on which the cyclist apply a force, a chain which transmits the mechanical power of the crankset to the rear wheel via a cassette made up of several sprockets, a freewheel fixed to the hub of the rear wheel and which supports the cassette. The shimano chain moves on the sprockets and the chainrings by means of derailleurs operated by gear levers actuated by the cyclist. These shifters make it possible to select the best reduction or gear ratio by the cyclist in order to adapt the torque and the speed of rotation of the crankset according to the profile of the field.

It was in 1956 that the first range of Shimano drivetrain appeared with the the first Shimano derailleur , it was a copy of the Simplex 3.3.3.

How to identify the Shimano drivetrain range on my bike:

Since its beginnings Shimano has chosen to write a part number to each item of the drivetrain offered. Indeed, for example the shifters have a code ST-xxxx, the ST for shifter and the x are numbers corresponding to the level of range, to the number of speeds and therefore gives us an indication of the compatibility and the corresponding generation.

Here is a table summarizing the codes used by Shimano:

Code Type of component
ST-xxxx shifter
RD-xxxx rear derailleur
FD-xxxx front derailleur
CS-xxxx cassette
CN-xxxx chain
FC-xxxx crankset
PD-xxxx pedals
FH-xxxx freewheel
SM-xxxx bottom bracket 
BR-xxxx brake

Shimano drivetrain ranges and compatibility:

For road bike:

In 1973 Shimano equipped a first professional team with the Shimano Dura-ace range, then in 1974 Shimano offered the first Positron indexed derailleur. In 1982, the first Shimano 105 group was offered, followed in 1983 by the Shimano 600 EX (range subsequently replaced by the ultegra). In 1984, the first Shimano Dura-ace 7400 group with indexed shifters (SIS system: Shimano Index System) was released on the market. 1990 marks the arrival of the first STI (Shimano Total Integration) indexed gear shifters, a revolution for the period. In 2009, Shimano offered its first electrically controlled drivetrain, the Shimano Dura-ace 7970 Di2, which allowed for faster and more accurate shifting.

Use Range Gears number Year

Dura-ace  6 speed 1973
Dura-ace 7100 6 speed 1977
Dura-ace EX 7200 6 speed 1978
Dura-ace AX 7300 6 speed 1980
Dura-ace 7400 6, 7 then 8 speed shifted SIS 1984
Dura-ace 7410 8 speed 1993
Dura-ace 7700 9 speed 1996
Dura-ace 7800 10 speed 2004
Dura-ace 7900 10 speed 2008
Dura-ace 7970 (di2) 10 speed electric control 2009
Dura-ace 9000 (di2) 11 speed electric control 2012
Dura-ace R9100/R9150 11 speed electric control 2016
Sportive use 600 AX 6 speed 1981
600 EX 6 speed 1983
ultegra 600 7 speed 1987
ultegra 6400 8 speed
ultegra 6500 9 speed
ultegra 6600 10 speed
ultegra 6700 (di2) 10 speed electric control
ultegra 6800 (di2) 11 speed electric control
ultegra r8000 (di2) 11 speed electric control
105 6 speed 1982
105 slr 1050 7 speed
105 1056 8 speed
105 5500 9 speed
105 5600 10 speed
105 5700 10 speed
105 5800 11 speed
105 r7000 11 speed

For MTB:

It was in 1982 that Shimano designed the world's first MTB drivetrain group, named deore xt M700. It is initially offered in 3 chainrings, 6 speeds and a cantilever braking system. Its number of gears will increase until it reaches 11 gears today. The braking system first proposed with rim pads has evolved into a more reliable disc system with better performance in all conditions. The shifters have also undergone many technical developments, in fact, the ergonomics of the levers have been improved and the cable can now be replaced by an electrical system.

Use Range Gears number Year
Competition XTR M900 3 x 8 speed 1992
XTR M970 3 x 9 speed
XTR M980 2 x 10 speed
XTR M9000 1 x 11 speed 2016
Sportive use Deore XT M700 3 x 6 speed SIS cantilever brakes 1982
Deore XT M730 3 x 6 speed U brake 1987
Deore XT  3 x 7 speed cantilever and U brake 1989
Deore XT M737 3 x 8 speed cantilever and V-brake 1994
Deore XT M739 3 x 9 speed V-brake 1996
Deore XT M760 3 x 9 speed dual control and disc brakes 2003
Deore XT M770 3 x 10 speed disc brakes 2010
Deore XT 1, 2 or 3 x 11 speed disc brakes 2015
Deore XT M8000 (Di2) 1 chainring, disc brakes, electric control 2016