Kumpulan Sepeda Jalan: Apa yang Harus Diketahui
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Kumpulan Sepeda Jalan: Apa yang Harus Diketahui

Terdiri dari engkol, cincin rantai (roda depan), rantai, kaset (roda belakang), rem, pemindah gigi, dan pemindah gigi, kumpulan grup adalah sirkuit tertutup yang menggerakkan sepeda Anda dan menghentikannya lagi. Saat Anda mengerjakan hierarki kumpulan grup, material berubah, bobot komponen berkurang, dan sebagai akibatnya sering kali harga naik. Dengan mengingat hal itu, ada beberapa hal yang harus diperhatikan ketika berbicara tentang ruang mesin sepeda Anda, termasuk fitur drivetrain elektrik dan mekanis, hal-hal yang harus diperhatikan untuk perbedaan lain yang mungkin Anda temui saat mencari. untuk kelompok yang sempurna.

Jadi tanpa basa-basi lagi, bergabunglah dengan kami saat kami melihat secara mendalam kumpulan sepeda jalan raya.

Dikejar waktu? Lompat langsung ke setiap bagian di bawah ini.


Perbedaan Antara Grup Mekanik dan Elektronik

Setiap penyedia groupset utama menawarkan beberapa opsi mekanis dan elektronik dengan nama dan prosedur pengoperasian yang berbeda. Dalam varian perpindahan elektronik, Campagnolo memiliki ‘EPS’ yang merupakan singkatan dari ‘Electronic Power Shift’, Shimano memiliki ‘Di2’ yang merupakan singkatan dari ‘Digital Integrated Intelligence’, dan SRAM memiliki ‘AXS’, yang merupakan singkatan dari ‘Access’. Campagnolo dan Shimano keduanya menggunakan kabel yang menggerakkan derailleur depan dan belakang melalui pelatuk di shifter. SRAM eTap adalah groupset nirkabel sepenuhnya pertama, yang sekarang menggunakan protokol berpemilik yang disebut AXS. Ini bekerja dengan cara yang mirip dengan ANT+ atau Bluetooth untuk berkomunikasi antara pemindah dan pemindah gigi serta produk lain dalam keluarga produk SRAM AXS.

Pergeseran mekanis bekerja melalui kabel yang dipasang ke pemindah gigi, dan dijalankan melalui rangka (secara internal atau eksternal) ke pemindah gigi depan dan belakang. Memindahkan tuas pemindah akan menarik atau melepaskan kabel, yang kemudian mengaktifkan pemindah gigi untuk bergeser ke atas atau ke bawah. Manfaat pemindahan gigi mekanis datang dalam bentuk pengurangan berat, penurunan biaya, dan rasa pemindahan gigi yang lebih “alami”. Sebaliknya, sisi negatif dari perpindahan mekanis adalah seringkali tidak sempurna karena bergantung pada kabel agar berfungsi dengan baik. Selain itu, rangka dengan pipa rangka yang panjang dan sudut yang tajam dapat mempersulit pemasangan kabel dan menurunkan kinerja keseluruhan sistem jika tidak disesuaikan secara teratur.

Pergeseran elektronik bekerja melalui kabel yang terpasang pada pemindah gigi dan pemindah gigi yang mentransfer sinyal, atau melalui teknologi nirkabel yang serupa dengan perangkat Bluetooth atau ANT+. Manfaat perpindahan gigi elektronik adalah perpindahan gigi yang presisi, kurangnya penyimpangan dari penyetelan yang ditetapkan, perpindahan tuas yang lebih mudah, kesulitan perutean kabel yang berkurang, perpindahan gigi yang dapat diprogram, dan informasi yang dapat diunduh tentang kebiasaan dan efisiensi perpindahan gigi. Kelemahan dari pemindahan gigi elektronik adalah sistem mogok jika baterai tidak diisi, kenaikan harga dan bobot yang umumnya lebih berat jika dibandingkan dengan rekan mekanisnya.


Shimano

Pemimpin pasar yang jelas, Shimano memiliki rangkaian grup khusus jalan terbesar dan juga menjadi favorit tim profesional. Shimano memelopori tuas STI (Shimano Total Integration), yang merupakan tuas yang paling umum digunakan saat ini. Sistem yang cerdik memungkinkan pengguna untuk mengganti persneling ke atas atau ke bawah dan mengerem dengan satu tangan. Tuas kanan mengontrol pemindah gigi belakang dan rem depan (orientasi rem dapat berubah berdasarkan negara), sedangkan tuas kiri mengontrol pemindah gigi depan dan rem belakang. Tuas STI memungkinkan untuk beberapa perpindahan dan berarti tidak perlu memindahkan posisi tangan Anda untuk memperlambat atau mengganti persneling. Untuk mengoperasikannya, tuas rem mengayun ke dalam untuk menarik pemindah gigi ke satu arah, dengan tuas pemindah gigi yang lebih kecil berada di belakang tuas rem yang melepaskan kabel agar pemindah gigi bergerak ke arah yang berlawanan.

Sebagian besar grupset Shimano dirancang untuk bekerja sama (selama mereka memiliki jumlah roda gigi yang sama), sehingga memungkinkan untuk menggabungkan komponen, meskipun untuk kinerja optimal sebaiknya tetap menjaga keseragaman.

  • Jernih: Claris adalah groupset entry-level Shimano yang paling cocok untuk sepeda rekreasi atau kebugaran. Ini memiliki kaset 8 kecepatan dan tersedia dalam dua atau tiga set engkol yang menyediakan banyak pilihan persneling. Triple tersedia sebagai engkol gigi 50/39/30, sedangkan double tersedia dalam pengaturan kompak gigi 50/34 tradisional atau opsi 46/34 yang lebih kecil. Claris menggunakan tuas kontrol ganda yang sederhana dan intuitif dengan indikator roda gigi sehingga Anda akan selalu tahu di mana gigi Anda berada tanpa harus memeriksa kaset di belakang. Claris juga memiliki pilihan untuk sepeda flat bar road, tuas persneling yang dibuat khusus yang dikenal sebagai ‘RAPIDFIRE Plus’.

  • Sora: Sora menambahkan perlengkapan ekstra di atas Claris, karena biasanya jenis ini digunakan pada sepeda jalan raya tingkat pemula. Dengan sejumlah kaset 9-percepatan yang ditawarkan, ukuran roda gigi maksimum 30T pedalaman dan penyempurnaan yang dibuat untuk kualitas dan daya tahan shift, Sora mewakili nilai yang luar biasa. Sora memiliki estetika yang berbeda dengan Claris, lebih sejalan dengan opsi berorientasi kinerja lainnya di jajaran produk Shimano. Dengan iterasi R3000 terbaru dari Sora, crankset 4 dan 5 lengan juga ditawarkan dalam konfigurasi ganda dan tiga. Selain itu, Sora menawarkan tuas persneling ‘RAPIDFIRE Plus’ untuk digunakan pada sepeda flat bar road serta hub depan dan belakang.

  • Tiagra: Muncul di banyak sepeda jalan raya tingkat pemula, Tiagra mencetak roda gigi lain dengan groupset 10 kecepatan yang mewakili kombinasi ketahanan dan kinerja yang baik. Groupset ini juga yang pertama dalam hierarki yang mencetak skor kompatibilitas rem cakram seri, dengan penawaran tuas dan kaliper. Crankset juga tersedia dalam double dan triple, dengan sproket hingga 34T tersedia di kaset belakang yang menyediakan berbagai macam gigi. Untuk mengakomodasi sproket yang lebih besar, pemindah gigi belakang Tiagra hadir dalam opsi sangkar panjang dan pendek. Opsi untuk set engkol bertambah satu, dengan tersedia opsi gigi 52/36 ‘mid-compact’, yang telah terbukti populer di set grup tingkat atas.

  • 105: Dianggap sebagai langkah pertama Shimano ke pasar groupset yang berorientasi kinerja dan 105 sebagian besar disebut sebagai “groupset orang pekerja” dan secara tradisional merupakan opsi groupset paling populer di lineup. Dirombak pada tahun 2022, 105 R7100 ditujukan untuk pengendara jalan raya tingkat pemula. Dengan mengingat hal itu, 105 adalah bagian yang sama tahan lama dan andal serta menampilkan banyak teknologi yang sama yang ditemukan pada grup Ultegra dan Dura-Ace yang lebih mahal. Sebagai groupset 12 kecepatan, 105 menampilkan 12 roda gigi pada kaset, sama seperti saudara kandungnya yang lebih mahal, memungkinkan pengendara untuk mencampur dan mencocokkan komponen antara ketiga groupset. 105 memiliki fitur kaliper cakram hidrolik dudukan datar dalam seri untuk melengkapi opsi kumpulan khusus cakram lengkap. Pemindah gigi belakang akan sesuai dengan kaset hingga 11-36T, sementara crankset 50-34t dan 52-36T yang berfokus pada daya tahan juga ditawarkan.

  • Ultegra: Ditujukan tepat untuk pengendara jalan tingkat menengah hingga tinggi, groupset 11 kecepatan seri Ultegra R8000 masih ditawarkan pada sejumlah sepeda jalan raya kelas menengah dan merupakan level tertinggi dari groupset mekanis yang saat ini disediakan oleh pakaian Jepang. Iterasi terbaru menampilkan properti yang hampir identik dengan grupset Dura-Ace 9100 yang keluar, sangat diuntungkan dari teknologi trickle-down, meskipun dengan sedikit penalti berat. Iterasi terbaru dari Ultegra menampilkan opsi pelek dan rem cakram, . Kombinasi Crankset termasuk 53/39, 50/34, 52/36 dan 46/36T, sementara kaliper/rotor pelek dan rem cakram seri, pedal, dan shifter khusus time trial melengkapi line-up.

  • Ultegra Di2: Ultegra saat ini mewakili teknologi level awal Shimano Di2. Tidak seperti kumpulan grup mekanis yang memerlukan kabel untuk mengganti gigi, grup Di2 menggunakan mekanik yang digerakkan motor di pemindah gigi depan dan belakang untuk memberikan perpindahan gigi yang sempurna, setiap saat. Itu [R8120/R8170 Di2 groupsets] tidak lagi memiliki mitra mekanis dalam seri dan menampilkan beberapa fitur lebih banyak daripada kumpulan grup analog. Ini termasuk kompatibilitas pelek dan rem cakram, kaset dan pemindah gigi 12 kecepatan, protokol kabel Di2 yang semuanya baru, baterai yang diperbarui, koneksi semi-nirkabel antara pemindah gigi dan pemindah gigi, sistem pengereman yang dirombak yang meminjam dari kerikil khusus. GRX groupset dan konektivitas Bluetooth dan ANT+ bawaan kini ditempatkan di pemindah gigi belakang. Pergeseran dapat diaktifkan melalui pemindah khusus Di2 serta tombol satelit sementara aplikasi pendamping milik Shimano sendiri memungkinkan pengendara untuk menyesuaikan pengaturan perpindahan gigi, penggunaan baterai, dan karakteristik kelompok untuk pengalaman berkendara yang lebih personal. Seperti Dura-Ace yang dirinci di bawah, Ultegra juga memiliki kaliper rem cakram seri, roda, braket bawah, dan hub, sementara rantai dan rotor rem cakram telah dipinjam dari sisi pagar MTB dengan Ultegra dan Dura-Ace memanfaatkan 12 – rantai dan rotor XT/XTR MTB kecepatan yang telah terbukti mengurangi berat beberapa gram dan menghilangkan panas lebih baik daripada pendahulunya khusus jalan raya.

  • Dura-Ace Di2: Dura-Ace adalah standar emas kumpulan grup dari perusahaan Jepang. Groupset ini menggunakan campuran serat karbon, titanium, dan paduan bermutu tinggi untuk menciptakan perpindahan gigi yang presisi dan keandalan yang tak tertandingi. Tuas persneling Dura-Ace memiliki langkah tuas yang lebih pendek dan desain yang lebih ergonomis untuk meningkatkan rasa dan kenyamanan pengendara. Sangkar derailleur yang lebih panjang digunakan untuk mengakomodasi sproket 34T dengan sangkar derailleur itu sendiri meminjam teknologi dari dunia MTB, duduk lebih rendah dan lebih sentral untuk meningkatkan aerodinamika dan mengurangi kerusakan jika terjatuh. Pilihan rem cakram hidraulik pelek dan dudukan datar ditawarkan, begitu pula rangkaian penentu level Dura-Ace dan roda tubular, hub, pedal serat karbon, rantai, bantalan rem, dan braket bawah.


Campagnolo

Campagnolo adalah produsen groupset terlama dan telah aktif berinovasi dalam industri bersepeda selama lebih dari 80 tahun. Banyak pengendara memiliki gagasan romantis tentang perusahaan Italia berkat umur panjang, estetika, dan reputasinya untuk produk-produk kelas atas. Sebagian besar pekerjaan komponen Campagnolo masih dilakukan di kantor pusat perusahaan di Vicenza, Italia.

Campagnolo memiliki lima kumpulan grup tetapi memasuki pasar jalan raya dengan harga yang lebih tinggi daripada saingannya SRAM dan Shimano. Karena itu, sangat jarang melihat grup Campagnolo dengan sepeda jalan murah, tetapi sangat umum pada sepeda jalan raya Italia kelas atas dan kreasi pesanan yang mahal.

Tuas Campagnolo menampilkan kap melengkung untuk meningkatkan ergonomis dan pemindahan gigi yang unik, tuas tunggal di belakang tuas rem digunakan untuk pindah ke gigi yang lebih mudah, sementara tuas ibu jari kecil di bagian dalam kap digunakan untuk pindah ke gigi yang lebih keras. Desain ini membuat hampir tidak mungkin untuk salah mengira pergeseran naik menjadi turun dan sebaliknya. Ini juga dikatakan memungkinkan akses yang lebih mudah untuk berpindah saat stang jatuh dan menutupi rem.

  • Centaurus: [Centaur replaces Campagnolo’s long-standing 10-speed groupset, Veloce, with plenty of enhancements and modern touches. The groupset is now 11-speed, has a wide gear range capacity, an updated crankset, two different finishes and even wheelsets to match. The groupset is a lower-cost version of the mid-range Potenza with the stylish looks of more fancied Campagnolo groupsets Chorus, Record and Super Record. As the Centaur is targeted at recreational and entry-level cyclists, its chainrings options include the traditional compact 50/34 and the popular semi or mid-compact 52/36, paired with a choice of 11-29T, 11-32T, and 12-32T cassettes.

  • Potenza: Potenza is an Italian noun for power, intensity and strength and sits as Campagnolo’s mid-range groupset Potenza features a four-arm crank and re-designed front and rear derailleur to improve shifting. While the Potenza features resemble Chorus, Record and Super Record, a mix of alloys are used throughout the groupset to cut down costs. The introduction of an 11-32 cassette is a welcome addition and requires a change in rear derailleur geometry to accommodate the larger range. The new design allows owners to fit compact (50/34T), semi-compact (52/36T), and standard (53/39T) chainrings to the same crankset.

  • Chorus: Campagnolo describe Chorus as ‘the perfect solution for sophisticated cyclists searching for Super Record performance at a more competitive price. With high-grade carbon fibre featuring throughout the groupset, buyer be warned though that Chrous will still likely be priced in excess of it’s Shimano Ultegra and SRAM Force competition. Chrous has the regular chainring options; 53/39, 52/36, 50/34, but still only the three crank lengths; 170, 172.5, 175 mm.

  • Chorus EPS: Chorus is the first groupset in Campagnolo’s range to have the option of electronic shifting known as ‘EPS’ (Electronic Power Shift). EPS allows the rider to make adjustments on the fly, the “mode” buttons allowing riders to check battery charge, make fine adjustments to the rear or front derailleur and set the zero position of the rear and front derailleur.

  • Record: Updated for 2019 Record is a professional quality groupset despite having one groupset sitting above it and as such often compared Shimano Dura-Ace and SRAM Red. With 12-speed shifting and both rim and disc brake options on offer, Record combines carbon fibre and high-quality alloys to create a groupset that is lightweight, looks stunning and is said to perform impeccably out in the real world. With the addition of another cog out back, the shifters, derailleurs, chain, crankset and cassette have all seen a significant upgrade from their outgoing 11-speed counterparts.

  • Record EPS: The electronic version of the already elite Record groupset. At this level, it is possible to ‘manage your bike fleet and personalise the way your Record EPS groupset works inline with your preferences ‘ via the ‘MyCampy App’. You can even add the information gathered from your shifting habits to your usual riding metrics like power, speed, heart rate and distance.

  • Super Record: As previously mentioned, Campagnolo have been innovating for over 80 years, trying to push the limits of performance and with their elite performance groupset, they think they’ve found it. The Record groupset was already so good Campagnolo could only come up with one name for a groupset even better, ‘Super Record’. Campagnolo describes this as ‘the maximum evolutionary and technological expression of a mechanical drivetrain for bikes’. The differences between Record and Super Record are minor, mostly based around the inclusion of carbon fibre, titanium and ceramic bearings, which further decrease weight and improve efficiency. Super Record is for elite cyclists or ones without budget restraints.

  • Super Record EPS: If Super Record is for ‘elite cyclists or ones without budget restraints’, Super Record EPS is even more so. The absolute top of the tree when it comes to groupsets, Super Record spares no expense or design innovation to create what Campagnolo calls “the ultimate groupset.”


SRAM

As well as being lightweight, SRAM is well known for its ‘YAW’ angle technology. In this, SRAM’s front derailleur cage has the ability to rotate as the gears change to maintain a consistent angular relationship with the chain. This optimises chain alignment and is said to improve shifting performance while reducing chain rub.

Shifting with SRAM is controlled by ‘Double Tap’ technology, utilising only one lever to change up and down, which is separate from the brake lever. Double Tap features throughout SRAM’s road range and incorporates ‘ZeroLoss’ resulting in ‘instant and precise’ gear changes. It’s a bit odd to explain, but a single shift of the lever actuates the derailleur in one direction, continue to push the lever and the derailleur is actuated in an opposite direction.

  • Apex: Sitting as the entry-level groupset of the SRAM road product line up, Apex features a 10-speed rear cassette, two chainrings up front and a five-arm alloy crankset. The front chainrings are a traditional compact set-up featuring a 50 tooth large chainring and a 34-tooth small chainring, perfectly suited for touring or recreational riding. Apex comes with an 11-32 cassette, perfect for beginners who are after easy pedalling gear ratios. The large cassette range offers more coverage than a standard triple crankset, eliminating the need for a triple crankset at all according to SRAM (who were first to bring the idea to road bikes). To accommodate the wider gear range the rear derailleur has a longer cage and slight variation in geometry.

  • Apex x1: As the name suggests, Apex x1 features only one front chainring, creating a single derailleur drivetrain. The technology is simple, easy to use and removes potential mechanical issues by having less moving parts. The 1x is available for drop or flat bar road bikes and features an enormous 11-42T cassette. There are four options for the chainrings; 38, 40, 42 and 44T, all of which feature ‘X-SYNC’ tooth profiles that are ‘tall and square’ to ‘engage the chain earlier than the traditional triangle shaped teeth’. Crank arms are only available in 170, 172.5, and 175mm. The 1x setup is ideal for commuters or those into adventure and/or off-road riding like cyclocross.

  • Rival: Rival is SRAM’s answer to Shimano’s 105 groupset aimed at the entry level rider with a lot of technology trickling down from the Force and Red groupsets. A step up to Rival gives you an extra gear on the rear cassette (11), providing 22 gears in total and a huge range with up to an 11-36T cassette available. Rival weighs less than Apex, has hydraulic disc options and a greater range of crankset lengths; 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5 and 175 mm. The chainrings are available in 52/36, 50/34, or 46/36, the traditional 53/39 set up saved for Force and Red. Rival still features aluminium crank arms and machined alloy ring and spiders.

  • Rival x1: Rival x1 is similar to Apex but extends its chainring options (38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50T), sheds a little weight, and has an even larger rear cassette available (10-42T).

  • Force: Force is similar to Rival in a lot of ways but at this price point, carbon replaces aluminium, making an appearance in the rear derailleur and crank arms. The crank arm utilizes unidirectional carbon, which is matched to a forged alloy spider, creating a lighter and stiffer crankset available in 165, 170, 172.5, 175 and 177.5mm. A traditional 53/39 set up is available along with 52/36, 50/34 and 46/36 options. Force is for intermediate to elite level racers looking for a lightweight, high performing groupset. Force too is hydraulic disc compatible and available in a 1x version. The rear cassette option extends to an 11-32 option but requires a longer cage version of the rear derailleur.

  • Force x1: Force x1 had been predominantly used for Cyclocross at an elite level as Red is currently only available in a double crankset option. The performance and reliability of 1x make it perfectly suited to the demands of cyclocross, but it has started to be seen more on crit specific and triathlon bikes that don’t require an extensive gear range. The chainring choice is impressive; 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52 and 54 enabling you to customise your drivetrain to any style of riding.

  • Red: Red is at the top of SRAM’s tree in terms of performance, featuring on professional teams and international level triathletes. SRAM describe Red as the ‘pinnacle of road racing technology’ and it’s the lightest groupset on the market. Carbon fibre features more heavily on Red, and the introduction of ceramic bearings further improves performance.
    The shifters feature ‘ErgoFit’ technology, which SRAM say ‘improves grip and finger wrap with reduced diameter, providing better control and a better transition to the bar’. The crankset features a ‘completely hollow construction all the way to the spider’ to further improve stiffness and save weight over Force. The mechanical Red 22 can cater for a large cassette sprocket up to 32T.

  • Red eTap AXS: SRAM eTap AXS is a wireless 12-speed groupset using a proprietary protocol called ‘AXS’ to communicate between the shifters and derailleurs, via tiny removable and interchangeable batteries located on each derailleur. Similar to its mountain bike stablemates, eTAP AXS requires riders to adopt an all-new XDR freehub to an existing wheelset to fit its 12-speed cassettes. Other changes from mechanical Red include wide range cassettes, direct-mount chainrings, an all-new flat top chain, an updated DUB bottom bracket standard, a fluid clutch rear derailleur and improved shift speed over the outgoing SRAM Red eTap 22. Despite the tiny size of the batteries fitted to the groupset, they have a 1,000km range and can be recharged in 45 minutes according to SRAM, and are compatible for use with both eTap AXS and SRAM Eagle eTap AXS.


Other Options

Whilst the three manufacturers above definitely dominate the market in terms of popularity, there are a number of other manufacturers in the industry who are looking to shake up the market. See below for a brief detail of some other options to consider.

  • Rotor 1×13: First teased at EuroBike, Rotor 1×13 was finally released to the market in early 2019. True to its name, the 1×13 groupset features a single chainring up front and 13-speed out back to make a groupset that said to have a similar range to a traditional 53/39 crankset paired to an 11-28T cassette. Whilst 13 cogs on the cassette is a definite highlight of the groupset, one other unique feature is that the groupset is solely run via hydraulics. As such the 1×13 groupset is flat-mount disc brake specific whilst the front and rear derailleurs are also actuated by hydraulic lines. This is said to make the system largely maintenance free, if not a bit finicky to set-up initially.
  • FSA K-Force WE: Italian outfit FSA are known throughout the cycling industry for its high-quality OEM and aftermarket bicycle components, so much so that they’ve taken to developing their own wireless groupset for the road. Standing for Wireless Electronic, K-Force WE much like SRAM eTap AXS is completely wireless, with both front and rear derailleurs and shifters all communicating with each other over an ANT+/BlueTooth Smart protocol. Unlike its competitors, FSA has opted to stick with a 2×11-speed setup. The groupset is finished off with the Italian company’s own brakes, chain, crankset, cassette, and bottom bracket.

Road Bike Groupset Hierarchy

Below is a table that highlights what type of riding each groupset is best suited to, where each sits in the overall hierarchy, and how they compare to each other.

Gearing Options

Gear ratios on road bikes vary depending on the purpose of the bike. The gear ratio is a combination of the number of chainrings on the front of the bike, the number of teeth on those chainrings, the number of cogs on the rear cassette and the number of teeth on those cogs.

Traditionally there will either be two or three chainrings on the front, although in recent times some road bikes, particularly gravel bikes, have followed the mountain bike trend of having a single chainring. Having a single chainring minimises potential mechanic issues and simplifies the shifting to the rear cassette, especially given the increasing popularity of 12-speed groupsets for the road. However, despite this, the majority of road bikes will have either two or three front chainrings, although three front chainrings (known as a ‘triple’) are commonly reserved for recreational, entry-level or touring bikes.

Bikes with two front chainrings are normally split into a ‘regular’, ‘compact’ or ‘pro-compact’ (also called a ‘mid-compact’ or ‘semi-compact’ set up). A regular set-up sees the large chainring with 53-teeth and the small chainring with 39-teeth and is most commonly used by professional riders. A compact set-up sees the large chainring with 50-teeth and the small chainring with 34-teeth, which provides easier pedalling ratios when compared to a regular set-up. A relatively new option, the mid-compact set-up, is in between the two – the large chainring has 52-teeth and the small chainring has 36-teeth. A common crankset option for commuting, fitness or cyclocross bike has a 46 tooth large chainring, paired with a 36 tooth small chain ring.

A ‘triple’ will normally have a 50-tooth large chainring, a 39-tooth medium chainring and a 30 tooth small chain ring.

The front chainring set-up is the foundation for the gear ratios, which the cassette on the back compliments. The cassette is made up of a number of cogs or sprockets which can be changed to make the gear ratio easier or harder. Modern-day cassettes feature 11, or 12 sprockets providing up to 24 gears when paired with two front chainrings but older and more entry-level groupsets have either 8, 9 or 10-speed cassettes. Groupsets with a different number of cassette sprockets require the same speed components throughout the drivetrain to work effectively, you can’t simply swap an 8-speed chain with an 11-speed chain and expect it to work. Equally, even groupsets with the same amount of gears (105 and Ultegra for example) will not perform as well when the components are mixed, than if they are all the same.

The sprockets and chain of 12-speed groupsets are thinner to accommodate the extra gears and provide smoother shifting. The required tolerance of 12-speed groupsets is much tighter than 8, 9, 10, or 11-speed groupsets, meaning much careful tuning and fine adjustment.

The most common ratio on an 11-speed cassette is an 11-25 or 11-28, whereby the smallest cog has 11 teeth, and the largest cog has either 25 or 28 teeth. The cogs in between these two have a spread of teeth aimed to make shifting between gears a smooth progression. The larger the difference between the smallest and largest cog on the cassette, the greater the chain has to move and the less consistent a rider’s cadence becomes between gear changes.

Choosing a bike with smaller chainrings on the front and a larger ratio cassette on the back will provide a greater spread of gears and easier pedalling ratios. A bike with larger front chainrings and a smaller ratio cassette on the back will be more targeted for speed, provide less range of gears and provide consistently smaller changes to a rider’s cadence than a cassette with a larger ratio.

Crank Length

Crank length tends to vary according to the size of the bike and rider height. Typically, groupsets will range between 165 mm and 180 mm, but aftermarket creations can be made to any length. Most bikes will come with cranks between 170 mm and 175 mm. There is much debate about what constitutes the ‘correct’ crank length, but comfort and efficiency should be the two main priorities when deciding. If you are getting issues with your knees, hips or lower back, look at your crank length in addition to the usual factors like seat height, frame size and flexibility. Adjusting crank length will also require an adjustment to your seat height and potentially other areas such as handlebar height and reach.

Longer cranks: Longer cranks create more torque due to the increased leverage but require greater force to turn over. The longer the crank, the harder it is to maintain pedal efficiency, as it is harder to maintain consistent leverage throughout the pedal stroke when compared to a shorter crank. The longer crank will also require a greater range of motion, producing a straighter leg at the bottom of a pedal stroke and a more acute angle at the top. Ground clearance is also reduced, which could be problematic on tight corners or if you plan to go off-road. Another potential turning issue is the reduced clearance between your toe/shoe and the front wheel.

Shorter cranks: Shorter cranks require less effort to turn over but have less leverage and produce less torque as a result. A sign your cranks are too short is if you have trouble producing power on flat roads but not riding up hills. Track riders will typically opt for shorter cranks to keep their cadence high and reduce the initial force required to turn over a gear (as they are on a fixed gear and can’t change up or down as their pace increases or decreases). Shorter cranks require less flexibility as the range of motion is reduced, but this reduced range of motion can also be an opportunity to move the rider into a more aggressive position without compromising hip angle or reducing power.

Brake Systems

The type and quality of brakes will differ from groupset to groupset. There are now four brake types available, none of which are necessarily dependent on the price. The four options are cable-operated rim, cable-operated disc, hydraulic rim and hydraulic disc brakes.

Cable-operated rim brakes feature on the most basic of bikes, right up to the most expensive. Professional riders predominantly use cable-operated rim brakes, but some riders and teams have started using disc brakes, with many predicting the move to disc brakes permanently is inevitable. Cable-operated disc brakes will typically feature on entry-level bikes, while hydraulic disc brakes will typically feature on more expensive bikes. Road bikes are built to handle either rim brakes or disc brakes, and it’s often not possible to swap brake types on the same frame.

As with most other elements of the groupsets, as the price increases so do the quality of materials used, which provides lower weight, better modulation (brake control), durability and reliability.


BikeExchange is your online destination for road bike groupsets and bike parts, or if you’d prefer a more hands-on approach, search for your local bike shop to get further assistance.

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