The drivetrain is the parts of the bike that make it move:- gear shifters, chain, cassette, crank, derailleurs. In its simplest terms, a groupset refers to all of the components involved in making a bike shift gears and brake. These parts come in many different qualities which affect the price and performance of the bike. Obviously the more expensive it is the better it works and the lighter it will be. These are also commonly referred to as “Groupsets”. Often, when looking at buying a new bike, the level of the groupset will give you a good indicator of the quality of the overall bike. For most bike companies, the groupset will consist of components from either Shimano or SRAM.
Nowadays bikes come in different speed variances as below:- (front x rear)
3 x 7 – Basic gear sets on low-end bikes (21 Speed)
3 x 8 – Basic gear sets on low-end bikes ( 24 Speed)
3 x 9 – Found on entry-level bikes (27 Speed)
3 x 10 – Found on medium level bikes (30 Speed)
2 x 10 – Found on medium level bikes
1 x 10 – Found on high-end bikes
1 x 11 – Found on the high end and performance bikes
1 x 12 – The latest technology normally found on high-end bikes.
When it comes to gears/speeds, is more better?
Generally speaking one would think 30 gears would be more efficient than 20 or 11. But nowadays, cogs or cassettes come in varying teeth sizes which means you can do the same range of gear levels and climbing abilities on a 1 x 11 bike as you could on a 3 x 10 bike. What happens is the weight of the bike is reduced, the maintenance becomes easier as you have fewer moving parts and you will have a smoother shifting performance. What you do is sacrifice the bigger gear rings that give you higher flat speed as you would need on a road bike.
While 1 x 11 or 1 x 12 is the ultimate choice for a mountain bike, those gear sets generally come on more expensive higher-range bikes. If you are looking for entry-level, look for something like 2 x 10 rather than 3 x 9 or 8-speed bikes.
What parts make up a Group Set?
Chain – A series of links that drives the bike forward by linking the cassette and the crank. Chains vary by speed and must match the speed of the groupset.
Crank – Consists of chainrings of varying sizes (1 to 3), crank arm (the thing the pedals are attached to and come in 3 different lengths), and a bottom bracket (The bearing component that fits the crank to the bike via a hollow section in the frame).
Rear Derailleur(Rear Mech) – Found on the rear triangle of the bike. Its job is to shift the chain on the rear cassette depending on which gear is required. Shifters correspond with the number of gears on the groupset. For example, you buy a 7-speed derailleur for a seven-speed groupset.
Front Derailleur – Moves the chain from one chainring to another on the crank. (Note not on 1 by bikes).
Shifters – Found on the bike’s handlebars, they are the levers the rider uses to move or “shift” the gears of the bike. They connect to the Derailleurs with steel cables housed inside the plastic casing. Normally there is one lever for the front derailleur and one for the back.
Brake Levers – Attach to the handlebars and connects to the brakes via a plastic housing containing hydraulics(Mineral or Dot Oil depending on the brand). In older cases, the lever connects to the brake with a wire.
Brake Caliper –The brake drum or device that houses the brake pads and clamps onto the rotor when the brake levers are pulled, thus stopping the bike.
Rotors – Metal discs that attach to the wheel. The brakes clamp on them to stop the bike. Discs come in sizes from 140mm to 218mm depending on the style of bike. Generally speaking, DH bikes have bigger rotors than XC bikes, the bigger the rotor the more stopping power and control.
Cassette – The number of cogs and cog sizes are the most important factors for a cassette. Situated at the rear wheel, the cassette manages the gear changes and which speed the bike is in. Cog numbers can be anywhere from 7 to 12. Each cog has Teeth, and this will vary depending on the purpose the group set is for, ie – climbing, downhill, XC…
The different Levels/Qualities of Group Set.
In Nepal, there are two main brands of drivetrain components availble on the Market. Here is a list of their level of components. Here is listed from cheapest (Basic/Entry Level) to most expensive (highest Performance).
- Alivio (M430)
- Deore (M610)
- DEORE (M6000)
- SLX (M7000)
- Deore XT (M8000)
- Deore XT Di2 (M8050)
- Deore XTR (M9000)
- Shimano also has ZEE and SAINT Components which are for DH and ENDURO Bikes.
- NX Eagle (12 Speed or 1x 12)
- GX Eagle (12 Speed or 1x 12)
- EX 1 (For E-Bikes)
- X01 Eagle (12 Speed or 1x 12)
- XX1 Eagle (12 Speed or 1x 12)
- X01 Eagle AXS (12 Speed or 1x 12)
- XX1 Eagle AXS (12 Speed or 1x 12)
SOME GENERAL RULES OF GROUPSETS
Please note you can mix up your level of components, ie have xtr brakes, an SLX Chain, and an XT Shifter on the same bike as long as they are the same SPEED. A 10-speed shifter will not work with a 7-speed derailleur etc….
Shimano and SRAM are not interchangeable in most cases. You must have a full Groupset of the same brand. Though you can use Shimano brakes with a Sram Chainset and vice versa. But the Chain, Crank, Cassette, and Shifters normally should be the same brand.
If you buy a bike of say 9 speed you can upgrade it to a 2 x 10 or 1x 11 or any other combination by changing the components. You don’t have to get a new bike!