Today, two of Shimano’s most in-demand road bike groupsets are Shimano Claris and Shimano 105. But what should you go for when it comes to Shimano Claris vs 105?
Generally, Shimano 105 has more high-end and lighter components, thus better suited to more experienced and enthusiastic road cyclists. Conversely, Shimano Claris is more robust and cheaper and suits entry-level road cyclists.
Overall, choosing between the two depends on your cycling level and budget. So, I’ll help you pick between the two based on factors like target user and cost.
However, I’ll also explain more on the component differences and how the two compare in weight, robustness, and upgradeability.
Let’s get into it.
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Shimano Claris vs 105: Side-By-Side Comparison
Let’s compare the two below:
Shimano 105 occupies a much higher level on the Shimano hierarchy when it comes to Shimano groupset components.
While Shimano 105 is more high-end than Claris and even Shimano Tiagra and Sora, it’s not as high-end Dura-Ace or Ultegra. Thus, it is best for enthusiasts and not pro racing, as shown in the table below.
|Shimano Groupset||Cyclist Level|
Let’s talk about how the two groupsets differ in terms of cassette, derailleur, shifters, and brakes:
Shimano Claris employs an 8-speed cassette, while Shimano 105 employs an 11-speed cassette. Generally, the higher the cassette speed, the smaller the gear jump if the two groupsets (105 and Claris) are on the same gear range.
So, that means Shimano 105 has a smaller gear jump than Claris, and therefore, Shimano 105 allows you to preserve your cadence when changing the gear.
Verdict – Shimano 105 enjoys a smaller gear jump, making it more comfortable for maintaining the cadence when shifting.
Overall, both Shimano groupsets allow you to shift without taking your hands off the hood. The only difference on their shifters is on the cable routing, brake compatibility, and routing option.
Let’s start with Shimano 105;
Shimano 105 has a hidden cable routing system, which makes the bike more aerodynamic. And when it comes to brake support, Shimano 105 is compatible with hydraulic disc brakes. And like we mentioned, it supports an 11-speed cassette.
Now unto Shimano Claris;
Its cable routing is not as hidden as that of Shimano 105, thus less aerodynamic. Plus, it supports an 8-speed cassette. It’s, however, not compatible with hydraulic disc brakes.
Verdict – Shimano 105 is more high-level when it comes to the use of shifters.
Claris’ front derailleur doesn’t offer you the advantage of adjusting the cable tension in multiple ways. In contrast, the newest Shimano 105 front derailleurs offer you more cable tension adjustment options.
The other problem with the Claris front derailleur is that it has shorter pull arms, which makes the levers hard to place. That, however, is not the case with Shimano 105.
Shimano 105 has a more extended pull arm that makes shifting easier.
Shimano 105’s rear derailleur can run with an 11-speed system and has smaller jumps, thus easier to shift.
Verdict – Shimano 105 has a superior derailleur architecture that offers more cable tension and is easier to shift.
Sadly, Shimano Claris groupsets don’t offer you disc brakes. If you want to have them on your bike, you have to buy them separately.
In contrast, Shimano 105 offers you hydraulic disc brakes that again contribute to their sophistication.
But let me compare their rim brakes for the sake of leveling the playing field.
Shimano 105 employs a slightly more advanced rim brake pull technology and is compatible with a direct-mount fork and frame.
But if your bike has a regular fork and frame and does not plan to use hydraulic disc brakes, you can do with Shimano Claris.
Verdict –Shimano 105 enjoys a more advanced rim pull brake system and offers you disc brakes (which you don’t get from Claris).
2. Shimano Claris Vs 105 Weight
Though Shimano 105 has more cassette speed, the fact that it has smaller gear jumps/gaps means it feels much lighter when shifting.
So, you are likely to be more comfortable using Shimano 105 than Claris.
Verdict – Shimano 105 feels lighter than Claris.
Here’s an area where the Claris scores a win over Shimano 105. Shimano Claris can take on more abuse than Shimano 105, thus better suited to imperfect roads.
Verdict – Shimano Claris is more robust than Shimano 105, making it better for bad roads and aggressive use.
Shimano 105’s 11-speed system offers you more flexibility for upgrades. You can even add some Ultegra or Dura-Ace components, and that’ll give your road bike a more high-end lift.
You, however, cannot do that on a Claris as you get stuck on its 8-speed world.
Verdict – Shimano 105 is more upgradeable than Claris.
5. Shimano 105 vs Shimano Claris Target User
From our above discussion, it’s clear that Shimano 105 is more high-end/sophisticated than Shimano Claris. That means one thing – Shimano 105 suits more experienced and enthusiastic cyclists.
Shimano Claris is more low-end on the Shimano groupset hierarchy and therefore suits entry-level cyclists more.
Verdict – While Shimano Claris suits entry-level cyclists (beginners), Shimano 105 is best for more experienced (enthusiastic cyclists).
Due to their sophisticated components, Shimano 105 groupsets are costlier than Shimano Claris. That, however, doesn’t make Claris low quality. It’s just that Claris is not as high-quality as Shimano 105.
Verdict – Opt for Shimano Claris if you are looking for a decent road bike Shimano groupset on a budget. It’s cheaper than Shimano 105.
Shimano Claris vs Shimano 105 Pro and Cons
Shimano Claris Groupset
- Claris groupsets are decent in quality and performance to suit beginners.
- Claris allows you to enjoy a decent groupset at a low price. As a result, it’s a good pick for budget buyers.
- Shimano Claris can take on more aggressive abuse as it has more robust parts.
- A Shimano Claris limits you to only an 8-speed cassette when a Shimano 105 offers you up t0 11 speeds.
- Since Claris experience higher jumps, its shifting is not as crisp as that of Shimano 105.
- Disc brakes absent
- Shimano Claris feels slightly heavier than Shimano 105.
- Shimano Claris is by default cheap, and that gives it a lower resale value.
- Less upgradable – It’s not cheap or easy to fit more high-end groupset components onto a Shimano Claris.
Shimano 105 Groupset
- Shimano 105 features more lightweight components, promoting smooth shifting and making the whole cycling experience more comfortable.
- Based on the Shimano groupset hierarchy, Shimano 105 occupies a higher level than Claris, thus more high-end. It’s, however, less high-end than Dura-Ace and Ultegra.
- You can fit more high-end components from Dura-Ace or Ultegra into Shimano 105. Shimano 105 is more upgradeable than its Claris sibling.
- Shimano 105 employs more high-end components, which improves its resale value. If you sell your road bike, you’ll have a higher chance of selling it for more than someone selling Claris’ road bike.
- Shimano 105 allows you to use either disc brakes or rim brakes. You are, however, limited to rim brakes when it comes to Claris.
- The biggest downside of Shimano 105 is the components’ high cost.
- Shimano 105 is less robust and thus less suited to imperfect roads.
1. Is Shimano 105 Better Than Claris?
Choosing between Shimano 105 and Claris depends on the type of cyclist you are and your budget. Go for a Shimano 105 if you are a more enthusiastic rider. But if you are a beginner on a budget, a Claris makes sense.
2. Is Shimano 105 Faster Than Claris?
Shimano 105 feels lighter and enjoys smaller jumps when shifting. It also offers you more cassette speed, therefore faster than Claris.
Note, however, that Shimano 105 is lower in the Shimano speed hierarchy as Dura-Ace and Ultegra are better suited to racing.
3. Can I Upgrade From Claris To 105?
Though you can upgrade from Claris to Shimano 105, it’s often not worth it as the costs are higher. You may end up spending at least 50% of the bike’s value on the upgrade.
From a budget standpoint, it doesn’t make sense.
4. Is Shimano Claris Good Enough?
Shimano Claris is more robust, thus great for imperfect roads. It’s also more affordable and generally suits entry-level cyclists. So, if you are a beginner on a budget, a Claris is good enough. Besides, it offers you up to 8 speeds, which is decent enough.
5. Is Shimano 105 Compatible With Claris?
All Shimano components are interchangeable as long as you get the replacements from the same generation. So, even though Shimano 105 and Shimano Claris employs different cassette speed, they are interchangeable.
Overall, consider upgrading from a low-level (Claris) to a higher level (Shimano 105).
Which Is Better; Shimano Claris vs 105? Closing Thought
In conclusion, Shimano Claris is cheaper but low-end, making it better suited to entry-level cyclists on a budget. On the other hand, Shimano 105 is more high-end, though costlier, and generally suits biking enthusiasts.