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Shimano, Inc.
Public KK
Traded as TYO: 7309
Industry Leisure products
Founded (February 1921 (1921-02))
Founder Shozaburo Shimano
Headquarters 3-77 Oimatsu-cho, Sakai-ku, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture 590-8577, Japan
Key people
Yozo Shimano, (CEO and President)
Revenue Increase $ 2.57 billion (FY 2013) (¥ 271.04 billion) (FY 2013)
Increase $ 342.1 million (FY 2013) (¥ 35.08 billion) (FY 2013)
Number of employees
12,967 (consolidated, as of December 31, 2013)
Website Official website
Footnotes / references

Shimano, Inc. (株式会社シマノ Kabushiki-gaisha Shimano?) is a Japanese multinational manufacturer of cycling components, fishing tackle, and rowing equipment. It produced golf supplies until 2005 and snowboarding gear until 2008. Headquartered in Sakai, Japan, the company has 32 consolidated subsidiaries and 11 unconsolidated subsidiaries. Shimano's primary manufacturing plants are in Kunshan, China; Malaysia; and Singapore.

In 2005, Shimano had net sales of US $1.4 billion, 41% in Europe and 17% in North America. Bicycle components represented 75%, fishing tackle 23%, and other products 2%. The company is publicly traded, with 102.8 million shares of common stock outstanding.[4]


Shimano 600, 1980
A 2008 Shimano XT rear derailleur

Shimano product sales constitute 50% of the global bicycle component market. Its products include drivetrain, brake, wheel and pedal components for road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.

The components include: crankset comprising cranks and chainrings; bottom bracket; chain; rear chain sprockets or cassette; front and rear wheel hubs; gear shift levers; brakes; brake levers; cables; front and rear gear mechanisms or dérailleurs. Shimano Total Integration (STI) is Shimano's integrated shifter and brake lever combination for road bicycles.

The Italian firm Campagnolo as well as US based SRAM are Shimano's primary competitors in the cycling marketplace.

When the 1970s United States bike boom exceeded the capacity of the European bicycle component manufacturers, Japanese manufacturers SunTour and Shimano rapidly stepped in to fill the void. While both companies provided products for all price-ranges of the market, SunTour also focused on refinement of existing systems and designs for higher end products, while Shimano initially paid more attention to rethinking the basic systems and bringing out innovations such as Positron shifting (a precursor to index shifting) and front freewheel systems at the low end of the market.

In the 1980s, with Shimano pushing technological innovation and lower prices, the more traditional European component manufacturers lost significant market presence. During this period, in contrast to the near-universal marketing technique of introducing innovations on the expensive side of the marketplace and relying on consumer demand to emulate early adopters along with economy of scale to bring them into the mass market, Shimano and SunTour (to a lesser extent) introduced new technologies at the lowest end of the bicycle market, using lower cost and often heavier and less durable materials and techniques, only moving them further upmarket if they established themselves in the lower market segments.

In the 1980–1983 period, Shimano introduced three groupsets with "AX" technology: Dura-Ace & 600 (high-end), and Adamas in the low-end. Features of these components include aerodynamic styling, centre-pull brakes, brake levers with concealed cables, and ergonomic pedals.

By 1985 Shimano introduced innovation only at the highest quality level (Dura-Ace for road bikes and XTR for mountain bikes), then trickled the technology down to lower product levels as it became proven and accepted. Innovations include index shifting (known as SIS, Shimano Index System introduced in 1984),[5] freehubs, dual-pivot brakes, 8-9-10 speed drivetrains, and the integration of shifters and brake levers. Also, these components could only work properly when used with other Shimano components, e.g. its rear dérailleurs have to be used with the correct Shimano gear levers, cables, freehub and cassette.

SunTour tried to catch up to this technological leap, but by the end of the 1980s SunTour had lost the technological and commercial battle and Shimano had achieved the status as the largest manufacturer of bicycle components in the world.

Ultegra series road bike component

Shimano's marketplace domination that developed in the 1990s quickly led to the perception by some critics that Shimano had become a marketplace bully with monopolistic intentions. This viewpoint was based on the fact that Shimano became oriented towards integrating all of their components with each other, with the result being that if any Shimano components were to be used, then the entire bike would need to be built from matching Shimano components. The alternative perspective is that by controlling the mix of components on the bicycle, a manufacturer such as Shimano can control how well their own product functions. Shimano's primary competitors (Campagnolo and SRAM) also make proprietary designs that limit the opportunity to mix and match componentry. In a technology-driven industry such as the bicycle industry, which has not demonstrated a proactive attitude toward standardization throughout its 100+ year history, the market leader will always be criticized as monopolistic when introducing proprietary innovations. Shimano seems to cycle between this "integrated system" approach and more open approaches as it tries to find a balance between the market's desire for innovation and its desire for openness and flexibility.[original research?]

For the most recent example, in 2003 Shimano introduced "Dual Control" to mountain bikes, where the gear shift mechanism is integrated into the brake levers. This development was controversial as the use of Dual Control integrated shifting for hydraulic disc brakes required using Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, locking competitors out of the premium end of the market. However, with their 2007 product line, Shimano moved back to making separate braking and shifting components fully available in addition to the integrated "Dual Control" components, a move to satisfy riders that wished to use Shimano shifting with other brands of disc brakes.

Shimano in 1990 introduced the Shimano Pedaling Dynamics (SPD) range of clipless pedals and matching shoes, specifically designed so that the shoes could be used for walking. The shoes have a recess in the bottom of the sole for fitting the smaller cleats and therefore it does not protrude, while conventional clipless road pedals are designed for road cycling shoes which have smooth soles with large protruding cleats, which are awkward for walking. The SPD range, in addition to other off-road refinements, were designed to be used with treaded soles that more closely resemble rugged hiking boots. SPD pedals and shoes soon established themselves as the market standard in this sector, although many other manufacturers have developed alternatives which are arguably less prone to being clogged by mud and/or easier to adjust. However, the SPD dominance in this sector has meant that alternative pedal manufacturers nearly always design their pedals to be usable with Shimano shoes, and likewise mountain bike shoe manufacturers make their shoes "Shimano SPD" compatible. SPD has spawned 2 types of road cleats which are incompatible with standard SPD pedals and some shoes – SPD-R and SPD-SL. SPD-R is a now defunct pedal standard. SPD-SL is basically a copy of the standard Look clipless pedal system. It has a wide, one-sided platform and a triangular cleat that is Look 3-bolt compatible.

Shimano products

Shimano has developed many new items, some successful and others not.

  • "Shimano Alfine" – The Alfine 700 is an internally geared hub with 11 speeds which weighs less than 1700 grams (auxiliary components not included). The product was introduced to the market in the fall of 2010. It comprises four stepped planetary series offering a total of 11 speeds.
Biopace chainrings.
  • "Biopace" – is the Shimano tradename for a type of ovoid cycle chainring manufactured from 1983 to 1993. The design intended overcome the "dead-zone" where the pedals are at top dead centre and bottom dead centre (that is, the crank arms are vertical) where a rider has little or no mechanical advantage. When the pedal is at TDC (or, obviously, BDC for the opposing pedal) the effective diameter of the chainring is small, thus making the cranks easier to turn for any given power output as measured at the wheel. By having the chainring at its peak (largest) effective diameter with the cranks at or near horizontal (that is, where the rider has maximum mechanical leverage over the crank during the downward power stroke) more efficient use can be made of a rider's power output. Biopace chainrings are rotated around the mounting points on the crank/axle combination (approximately 90 degrees) in order to achieve almost exactly the opposite to this: the effectively reduced chainring diameter now coincides with the cranks being (at or near) horizontal. The reasoning behind this is that it smooths the pedalling action, allowing the rider to carry a lot of momentum through the (downwards-based) power stroke, having it smoothly removed at the bottom of the stroke. A side effect is that it does not foster nor encourage a rider to use larger chainrings and/or push larger gear ratios, consequently risking knee damage due to higher knee joint loadings.
  • "Dyna Drive" – A pedal system with no pedal axle and with the bearings located in the part of the pedal which screws into the crank. This required an oversized hole in the crank 25mm (1" diameter) to accept the Dyna Drive pedals. The theory behind this was to allow the foot to be lower than the pedal axle for better biomechanics. This system was relatively short lived, one reason being that the pedal bearings wore out quickly. However, they were used by Alexi Grewal (USA) in his gold medal winning ride in the 1984 Olympic cycling road race in Los Angeles.
Shimano 7-speed cassette showing the Hyperglide teeth profiles.
  • "Freehub" – Shimano introduced a combined rear hub and freewheel in the late 1970s which they named "freehub". But it did not catch on, as its arrangement of internally splined sprockets sliding onto the matching externally splined freehub was incompatible with the then standard separate hub and screw-on freewheel. When a larger number of rear sprockets came to be used, the freehub concept was re-introduced, and is now the dominant rear hub type. Freehub style hubs are inherently stronger than screw on sprocket and freewheel set ups because it allows the bearings on the drive side of the hub to sit nearer to the end of the hub axle, reducing bending in the axle caused by chain tension and rider weight, a significant problem leading to fatigue failure in many axles as 6 and 7 speed blocks were introduced.
  • "Hollowtech" cranks – These are cranks which are pressure die cast as tubes open at the pedal end and forged closed before being threaded for the pedals. Previous to this hollow cranks tended to be tubes with a solid part welded to each end to take the pedals and the bottom bracket.
  • "Hollowtech II" – This was the next iteration after Hollowtech cranks. For this system the bottom bracket axle was fused to the drive side crank and the non drive side crank fitted on a spline on the axle using pinch bolts. The bottom bracket bearings sat outside the BB shell in the frame, allowing the BB axle to be a larger diameter, making it stiffer and lighter. The bearing reliability of this system remains quite variable compared to previous Shimano cartridge BB's as Hollowtech II bearing alignment is at the mercy of the alignment of the BB shell threads and the facing of the BB shell rather than factory set by Shimano in the case of the cartridge BB's. Race face make a system with compatible bearings which they call X-Type.
SPD clipless pedal PD-M520
  • "Hyperglide HG" – Cutaways on the rear gear sprockets (called the cassette if it slides onto a freehub body) that allow smoother downshifting (shifting from a small sprocket to a bigger one) as the cutaways allow the chain to roll from one sprocket to another without lifting as far off the sprocket teeth. This allows a certain amount of gear shifting under power, though this remains hard on the drivetrain.
  • "Interactive Glide" (IG) – Gears feature "pick-up teeth" and specially shaped tooth profiles for smoother and faster shifting.
  • Metric chain – Shimano designed chains with a 10 mm pitch instead of the conventional half inch pitch as well as sprockets and chainrings for use with this metric chain; however this did not catch on. For a time 10 mm pitch chains, sprockets, and chainrings, were used for motor-paced racing, to reduce the size and weight of the transmission system.
  • "Shimano Nexus" – Shimano's family of internally geared hubs. Available in 3-, 7- and 8-speed with or without a coaster brake. The Nexus hubs are comparable in range to a full 16–20 speed system.
  • "Servo Wave" – This is a system Shimano introduced to brake levers which allowed them to pull more brake cable at the start of the lever stroke than at the end, giving improved separation between the brake blocks and the rim to allow for mud and lack of trueness in the wheels while still delivering the same braking power as systems which have a constant ratio between lever movement and cable pull and therefore less pad clearance. This was introduced during the mid-1990s. This was implemented initially by mounting the brake cable on a roller that moves towards the lever pivot in a slot in the lever blade as the lever is pulled. A second design pulled the brake cable downwards towards a cam near to the brake lever pivot instead. Servo wave has appeared for the first time on a hydraulic disk brake lever on the 2008 Shimano XT groupset.
File:Shimano 105-5500 shifters.jpg
Shimano 105 9-speed STI levers.
  • SLR ("Shimano Linear Response") – Integration of a return spring into the brake lever, pushing the brake cable back when the lever is released. The idea behind this was that the return spring in the actual brake could be designed to be weaker, thus giving an overall feeling of easier operation.
  • SPD ("Shimano Pedaling Dynamics") – The SPD pedal was released by Shimano in 1990 and forms one part of a clipless bicycle shoe/pedal system. While not the first, its innovation was its small cleat which fitted into a recess in the sole of a shoe designed for SPD use. The recess allowed an SPD-equipped shoe to be used for relatively comfortable short walks, whereas previous systems tended to have a large, protruding cleat which prevented this. Clipless pedals use a system of cleat retention which resembles that of downhill skis, allowing for rapid shoe release, ergo clipless pedals are deemed safer than the older style(s) of pedal/shoe integration using toe-straps, et al.
  • STI ("Shimano Total Integration") – The marketing terminology for the integration of shifting into the brake levers for road bikes, enabling the rider to shift without taking the hands off the brake levers. This made it possible to shift during uphill passages that require getting out of the saddle, and added general convenience for the rider.


Alexi Grewal used a bicycle equipped with Shimano DynaDrive chainset and pedals (the remainder of the components on his bicycle were primarily Suntour and DiaCompe) to win the 1984 Olympic road race in Los Angeles. In the 1988 Giro d'Italia, Andy Hampsten rode Shimano to its first Grand Tour victory. In 2002, world championships in both the road and time trial disciplines were won on Shimano equipment. Alberto Contador's 2007 victory in the Tour de France on a Shimano-equipped bicycle represents the first official General Classification victory in that race by a rider using Shimano components.[6]


"VIA" ("Vehicle Inspection Authority") is stamped on all Shimano parts. It is an official approval stamp used to certify parts of Japanese vehicles – including bicycles. This mark signifies compliance with certain quality standards and is similar to the "UL" (Underwriters Laboratories) mark.

Road groupsets

File:Electronic front derailleur.jpg
Di2 electronic front derailleur
Di2 electronic shifting control unit and battery pack mounted to bottom of bottom bracket and left chain stay. Hollowtech II external bearing cups are also visible, between the crank arms and the bottom bracket shell.
Di2 electronic rear derailleur
File:Electronic shift lever.jpg
Di2 Electronic shift lever
groupset Dura-Ace[7] Ultegra (600) 105 Tiagra Sora Claris
1973 7100 : introduction
1974 6000
1976 track 6100
1978 7200 EX 6200
1980 7300 AX
1981 6300
1983 A105:Golden Arrow
1984 7400 : 6 speed and SIS
1985 7600 : track
1987 7400 : 7 speed 105SC : 6 speed
1988 7400 : 8 speed 6400
1990 7400 : STI levers 105SC : 7 speed
1993 FC-7410 low profile crankset
FD-7410 front derailleur
105SC : 8 speed
1996 7700 : 9 speed
1997 6500 : 9 speed
1999 5500 : 9 speed
2001 4400 : 9 speed
2002 3300 : 8 speed
2003 7800 : 10 speed 2200
2005 6600 : 10 speed
2007 5600 : 10 speed 4500 : 9 speed
2008 7900 : 10 speed
2009 7970 : 10 speed Di2 6700 : 10 speed 3400 : 9 speed
2010 2300 : 8 speed
2011 6770 : 10 speed Di2 5700 : 10 speed
2012 9070 : 11 speed Di2
9000 : 11 speed
4600 : 10 speed
2013 6800 : 11 speed 3500  : 9 speed with STI
2014 6870 : 11 speed Di2 5800 : 11 speed[8][9] 2400 : 8 speed
2015 4700 : 10 speed[10]

Mountain bike groupsets

Current mountain bike groupsets include:

Cross country component

  • XTR (top of the range for cross-country and trail mountain bikes)
    • XTR [M9000] (11 speed)
    • XTR DI2 [M9050] ( 11 speed)
  • Deore XT (high level mountain bike groupset)
    • Deore XT [M8000] (11 Speed) since 2015
    • Deore XT [M780] (10 speed)
    • Deore XT [M760] ( 9 speed)
  • SLX (mid level mountain bike groupset)
    • SLX [M670] (10 speed) since 2013
    • SLX [M660] (9 and 10 speed) discontinued
  • Deore LX (no longer cross country- see Trekking below)
    • Deore LX [M580] (9 speed) discontinued
    • Deore LX [M570] (9 speed) discontinued
  • Deore (entry-level mountain bike groupset)
    • Deore [M610] (10 speed) since 2014
    • Deore [M590] (9 speed) since 2009
    • Deore [M530] discontinued
    • Deore [M510] discontinued
  • Non-series (brakeparts, cranks and pedals)

Trekking component

  • Deore XT [T780] (10 speed)
  • Deore LX [T660] (9 speed)
  • Deore [T590] (10 speed)
  • Deore [M590] (9 speed)

Downhill/Freeride component

  • Saint [M820] (10 speed) – Top of the range for downhill and freeride bikes
  • Zee [M640] (10 speed)
  • Hone [M600] (9 speed) – discontinued in 2008

Recreational mountain bikes component

  • Fox [M520 and M540]
  • Alivio [M410] (8 speed), [M430 and M4000] (9 speed)
  • Acera [M360 and M390] (8 and 9 speed)
  • Altus [M310] (8 speed)
  • Tourney (6, 7, 8 speed) – Includes several different levels of quality, and can be found on department-store bicycles

Other groupsets

Other current groupsets include:

  • Capreo [F700] – This is a groupset designed for small-wheeled bikes such as folders and features a cassette with a 9-tooth sprocket
  • Nexave [C810] – This consists of several sub-groupsets designed for comfort and commuting bikes some of which feature internal hub gears and roller brakes.
  • DXR [MX70] – Performance BMX racing component

Groupsets no longer offered include:

  • Deore DX – Mountain groupset positioned below Deore XT and above Deore LX. Discontinued after 1993.
  • STX-RC – Mountain bike groupset – Predecessor to Deore available during the mid-1990s
  • STX – Mountain bike groupset – between STX-RC and Alivio groups. For a limited time mid-1990s.
  • Deore II – Mountain bike groupset above mountain LX level for a limited time from 1989.
  • mountain LX - Mountain bike groupset below Deore II level for a limited time from 1989.


Shimano is a founding Member[11] of the Global Alliance for EcoMobility, an international partnership that works to promote EcoMobility and thus reduce citizens’ dependency on private motorized vehicles worldwide. The EcoMobility Alliance was founded by a group of leading global organizations on the occasion of the Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007.

Financial results

Financial results[12][13]
Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Revenue (in $ billion) 1.8 1.8 2.3 2.5 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.5 2.8 -
Operating Margin (%) 15 12.3 14.8 15 11 - - - - -
Free Cash Flow (in $ million) 200 98 252 109 373 - - - - -



  1. "Company Profile". Retrieved August 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Company History". Retrieved August 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Shimano Financial Statements". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved August 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Shimano Annual Report, 2005 (English)
  5. " Key Events in Shimano History"
  7. "Dura-Ace History". Cycling-Passion.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Global Alliance for EcoMobility Website
  12. Wolinsky, Jacob (June 7, 2010). "Shimano Inc". Daily Markets. Retrieved 2013-06-04. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Shimano Inc (7309:Osaka)". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2013-06-04. Currency in Millions of Japanese Yens at 100 JPY per USD for 2009-2012 Revenues = 186,686.0; 213,596.0; 221,770.0; 245,843.0 Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links