Claris and Sora might be occupying the lowest ranks on the Shimano hierarchy, but that doesn’t make them inferior. Quite the contrary, these two groupsets are a fantastic choice for entry-level cyclists. But how do Claris vs Sora groupsets compare?
Generally, Claris is lighter, more affordable, and more compatible with 8-speed entry-level bikes. Sora, in contrast, is slightly heavier and costlier but is more compatible with 9-speed entry-level bikes and enjoys smoother shifting.
So, these two groupsets generally differ in weight, cost, bike compatibility, shifters, and cassette.
For that reason, I’ll compare them according to those factors. But as you’ll discover, these two groupsets also have a few similarities, which explains why they are neighbors on the Shimano groupset hierarchy.
In a rush? Here are Claris and Sora groupsets you can get for your entry-level bike:
Before we can start comparing the two groupsets, here’s a table summary of their primary differences.
|Cost||Most affordable||Cost more than Claris|
|Compatibility||More compatible with high-speed bikes||Compatible with most bikes but suits 9-speed bikes more|
|Shifters||Simple dual-control shifters that are best for high-speed shifting||Sleeker dual-control shifters that are best for low-speed shifting|
|Rear Cassette||Double or triple rear cassette with 8-speed||Double or triple rear cassette with 9-speed|
|Front Derailleur||Shifting to the larger chainring offers some resistance||Shifting to the larger chainring is almost seamless|
|Brakes||More responsive brakes on both Shimano and other bikes||Brakes are only more responsive on Shimano bikes|
|Chainring||Promotes a more aggressive shifting||Promotes a less aggressive shifting|
Claris generally occupies the lowest end of the Shimano hierarchy and is typically associated with entry-level bikes. In particular, Shimano Claris is popular on touring bikes, road bikes, and fitness bikes.
Claris is not just cheaper but has less maintenances. Moreover, it’s decent in shifting and offers you an 8-speed, perfect for high-speed cycling.
In terms of shifters, Claris comes with dual-control shifters, which also serve as brake levers. And when it comes to groupset weight, Claris has fewer components, therefore, weighs less.
Sora occupies a much higher rank than Claris on the Shimano hierarchy. That’s primarily due to its slightly high-end specs (when compared with Claris). For example, its shifters have the same dual-control design as Claris’s but are sleeker due to their internal cabling.
Speed-wise, Sora is more compatible with low-speed bikes, unlike Claris, which suits high-speed cycles more. But when it comes to the rear cassette, it enjoys nine-speed, which is more than Claris. Thus, the gears don’t suffer lots of jumps, which translates to smoother shifting.
In terms of weight, Sora weighs slightly more for featuring slightly more components.
Claris Vs Sora Detailed Comparison
Here’s how the two groupsets differ:
1. Claris Vs Sora Weight
Claris has one less cog (8) compared to Sora’s 9. For that reason, Claris is slightly lighter. Most cyclists, however, don’t notice the difference because of the smooth-shifting advantage that Sora enjoys over Claris.
Overall Verdict – Claris is more lightweight than Sora
2. Sora Vs Claris Shifters
Both Claris and Sora enjoy Shimano’s traditional dual-control design, where the shifters also serve as the brake levers. So, appearance-wise, the shifters are alike.
The only difference is that Sora’s shifters enjoy internal cable routing, which makes them appear sleeker. But other than that, there is nothing to spate.
Overall Verdict – Even though Sora’s shifters have a sleeker design, they look almost the same, thanks to their dual-control design.
Both groupsets enjoy a double or triple rear cassette design. The difference is the speed, where Sora has one more cog, which translates to 9 speeds while Claris has only eight speeds.
For that reason, shifting with Sora is more seamless as the extra cog reduces jumps. Claris rear cassette may suffer smaller jumps when shifting due to having fewer cogs.
Overall Verdict – Sora doesn’t suffer jumps as in Claris’s case, and that’s because of its extra cog.
In general, shifting is smoother and seamless when it comes to their rear derailleur. The difference is in the front derailleur.
While shifting into the smaller chainring of the Claris rear derailleur is almost seamless, you may suffer some resistance when moving into the larger chainring.
On Sora, however, you can shift into the smaller or larger chainring seamlessly.
Overall Verdict – Sora allows you to shift seamlessly regardless of the derailleur and therefore wins here.
5. Sora Vs Claris Brakes
With Claris, the brakes are more powerful and more responsive on Shimano bikes and other entry-level bikes.
Brakes, especially rim-types, are underwhelming in performance on other bikes when it comes to Sora. Sora brakes work best with other Shimano components.
On other bikes, Sora brakes take much longer to respond. Claris brakes, in contrast, are more responsive, making them more reliable for racing bikes and road bikes.
Overall Verdict – Claris has the upper hand as it’s compatible with different bikes and not just Shimano, as it’s the case with Sora.
Claris’ chainring is durable than Sora chainring but promotes a more aggressive shifting. Meanwhile, while Sora chainring is just as durable as Sora, it offers a less aggressive shifting. Thus, you are likelier to have a more seamless ride with Sora than Claris.
Overall Verdict – Sora wins for having a more durable chainring but still offering a more seamless shifting.
In terms of bikes, Claris is more compatible with high-speed entry-level bicycles. That makes it the best for road bikes, fitness bikes, and even touring bikes.
On the other hand, Sora is more compatible with low-speed bikes like mountain bikes. But still, Sora works on road bikes, but you may not go as fast as someone riding a Claris road bike.
Remember, however, that Sora’s nine sprockets work best on 9-speed bikes while Claris 8-speed sprockets work best on 8-speed bikes.
Overall Verdict – Claris is more compatible with high-speed bikes while Sora suits low-speed bicycles more.
Owing to Sora’s sleeker design and slightly high-end specs, Sora groupsets are costlier than Claris.
Overall Verdict – It’s cheaper to buy Claris than Sora
Pros and Cons of the Shimano Claris Groupset Vs Shimano Sora Groupset
- Cheapest Shimano groupset
- It suits high-speed bikes more
- Less maintenance
- Simple shifter design
- Seamless shifting into the smaller chainring
- Not best for high-speed bikes
- Suffers gear jumps when shifting
- The chainring promotes a more aggressive shifting
- Sleeker shifters
- Best for low-speed entry-level bikes
- Best for climbing
- He doesn’t suffer many gear jumps
- High-quality specs
- Cost more than Claris
- The rim brakes aren’t great
- Not compatible with 8-speed
- Requires regular tuning
Is Shimano Claris Better Than Sora?
Choosing between Claris and Sora primarily depends on the bike type and your budget.
Generally, Claris suits high-speed entry bikes more. That includes entry-level fitness and road bikes. Sora, in contrast, fits high-speed entry bikes more, especially mountain bikes and hybrid bikes.
And when it comes to the budget, you have to pay more for Sora than Claris.
In that case, Claris is better when you are on a budget and want a high-speed groupset for casual riding.
But if you want to ride a mountain bike or any other low-speed bike, go for Sora. However, you may need to upgrade the brakes if they are rim types, as rim brakes are not always great.
Is Shimano Sora Better Than Claris?
Shimano Sora may be occupying a higher rank on the Shimano hierarchy than Claris, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better choice. That unless we are talking about mountain bikes and other low-speed bikes.
If that is the case, then Shimano Sora offers a better choice. Sora allows you to shift smoothly and enjoys a sleeker design, which makes you more aerodynamic.
But as far as the cost and weight are concerned, Claris is a better choice as it’s cheaper and lighter.
People Also Ask
1. Is Shimano Sora Any Good?
If all you want is a high-speed bike on a budget, which has less maintenances, then Shimano Sora is good. That’s more important if you want an entry-level road or fitness bike.
Shimano Sora also promises a more seamless shifting, important when climbing and taking on challenging terrains.
2. Is Shimano Sora Groupset Suitable for Mountain Bikes?
Shimano Sora generally suits low-speed bikes, and that makes it suitable for mountain bikes. Note, however, that this Shimano groupset is only best for entry-level mountain bikes.
If you want a pro-level mountain bike option, you have to go higher on the Shimano hierarchy and choose Ultegra or Dura-Ace.
3. Can I Race with Shimano Claris?
Although you can fit a Shimano Claris groupset on a racing bike, it’s not the best. For one, it’s heavier, and that translates to a heavier cycle. The groupset also suffers some shifting resistance, especially into the larger ring. So, you won’t have smooth shifting all the time, making it unreliable for racing.
4. Is It Worth Upgrading Shimano Claris?
When it comes to upgrading your Shimano Claris groupset, you only have two options. You either have a Claris upgrade or maybe change the entire Shimano groupset. That might be a bit expensive. It’s not cost-effective to upgrade a Shimano Claris groupset
5. Which Is Better Tiagra or Claris?
Tiagra occupies a higher rank on the Shimano hierarchy. It’s not just beginner-friendly but promises better shifting and an overall lightweight groupset. That makes Tiagra a better choice for entry-level bikes than Claris.
But overall, if you want a more high-end groupset, neither offers you that. You may have to go for Shimano 105 or anything higher.
Now you know what sets Claris vs Sora apart. On the one hand, Claris offers you a cheaper groupset with less maintenances and generally suits high-speed entry bikes.
On the other hand, Sora offers you a slightly high-end groupset that promises better shifting and suits low-speed bikes.
So, you have to pick the one that suits your bike and budget. But overall, these two groupsets are decent choices for entry-level bikes and thus good value for money.