Dura-Ace. XTR. Ultegra. XT. No matter how or where you ride, the chances are excellent that these Shimano bicycle component names are as familiar to you as the names Starbucks and Toyota. And, because Shimano makes among the widest range of cycling components, wheels and cycling shoes available, it's also likely that their fine components, wheels or accessories are on your favorite bikes, too.
Shimano is known for systems engineering, which means they make parts designed to work together. So when you buy a Shimano-equipped bicycle or any of Shimano's products from hydraulic-disc brakes to cranksets, derailleurs (click photo to enlarge), shifters and wheelsets, you know you'll experience flawless braking and shifting and outstanding reliability.
Also impressive is Shimano's commitment to cutting-edge design and engineering. Every component showcases the latest materials and the most revolutionary designs ensuring you have the lightest, strongest and best functioning component available. Just a few examples include their Hollowtech cranksets, which feature hollow, cold forged-aluminum arms and oversize integrated bottom-bracket axles for an amazing combination of strength and stiffness to weight; their Custom-Fit cycling shoes (click photo to enlarge), that boast the ultimate in pedaling efficiency and comfort because the shoes are heated and vacuum formed to fit your feet exactly right; and their wheelsets, which sport crossover-lateral spoking, angular-contact bearings and advanced rim alloys for top-notch strength, stiffness, weight and aerodynamics.
As a cyclist you may already know a lot about Shimano and their modern components, but did you know that they started in 1921 and their first product was for bicycles? It's true. It all started in Sakai City, Japan, a town well known for blacksmithing swords and gun barrels. Here, a young Shozaburo Shimano apprenticed at an iron works after high school.
Always fascinated with bicycles and their parts, he opened Shimano Iron Works with a single metal lathe in 1921 to produce a one-speed freewheel, a key component for city bikes of the time. And, just 10 years later, the young Shimano company was exporting its freewheel to China.
In 1956, production of the "external speed changer" (now known as a derailleur) began. Shortly after that, Shozaburo's 3-speed internal hub debuted at the International Toy and Cycle show in New York to a sensational response. This led to huge sales in America, and the opening of Shimano American Corporation in New York.
Fast forward to today, and Shimano is the world's largest manufacturer of bicycle components with 477 bike-related patents in America alone! Their list of firsts could fill this page, such as: AX components, the first aero racing parts group (1980); Deore XT, the first dedicated mountain-bike parts group (1982); SIS, groundbreaking index (click) shifting (1984); and Dual Control STI shift/brake levers that made controlling your bicycle easier than ever (1990). Always innovating, never stagnating, Shimano pushes bicycle technology ever forward.
When you install a Shimano component, you know that years of work have been spent extensively testing it in the lab, it's next been punished and proven by ProTour riders, then honed, polished and refined into the best possible product it can be. And, one turn of the pedals is all you'll need to appreciate the difference. Swing by the shop and test ride some Shimano components soon. You'll find them on road, mountain, comfort, hybrid, fitness, cruisers and every other type of bicycle imaginable, and we have a wide selection to upgrade your ride, too!