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legal form Kabushiki-gaisha (joint stock company)
ISIN JP3358000002
founding 1921
Seat Sakai , Osaka Prefecture , Japan
management Yozo Shimano
Number of employees 12,440 (2016, entire group)
sales 335.8 billion yen (2017)
Branch Consumer goods

KK Shimano ( Japanese 株式会社 シ マ ノ , Kabushiki-gaisha Shimano , English Shimano Inc. ) is a Japanese manufacturer of bicycle components and accessories, fishing and snowboarding products as well as cold forgings . Shimano generates almost four fifths of its sales with bicycle components and almost one fifth with fishing accessories (rods and reels). Other products contribute less than one percent to sales.


The company was founded in 1921 as Shimano Tekkōjo ( 島 野 鉄 工 所 , English Shimano Iron Works ) by Shōzaburō Shimano ( 島 野 庄三郎 ) in Sakai . In 1931 Shimano began exporting its freewheel hubs . With the official change of the company to a stock corporation in 1940, the name was changed to KK Shimano Tekkōjo ( 株式会社 島 野 鉄 工 所 , English Shimano Iron Works Co., Ltd. ).

1951 the name of the company was changed to Shimano Kōgyō KK ( 島 野 工業 工業 , English Shimano Industrial Co. Ltd. ). With the presentation of the first three-speed gear hub at the International Toy and Cycle Show in New York in 1961, Shimano entered the gear shift market.

To expand the product range, Shimano began manufacturing the first fishing reels (DUX) in 1970 . In 1971 the company celebrated its 50th anniversary. In the same year the Shimano Adachi Co. Ltd. who made the first fishing rods .

Shimano Europe opened its European headquarters in Düsseldorf in 1972 . In January 2017, the European subsidiary moved to a new European headquarters in Eindhoven .

The high-quality Dura-Ace series for racing bikes was launched in 1973, and is still marketed today as Shimano's top product for racing bikes. Sales of fishing tackle in Europe began in 1974. In 1977, Kevlar was first used in rod production, and in 1980 production of the first aero reels began. The XT mountain bike group was first introduced in 1982. In 1988 Shimano entered the market for cycling shoes with Shimano Cycling Footwear , which in 1990 successfully transferred the technology introduced for racing bikes to the mountain bike market with the introduction of the clipless pedal for mountain bikes ( SPD , Shimano Pedaling Dynamics). In 1991 the company name was last changed to KK Shimano ( 株式会社 シ マ ノ ).

With the introduction of the Golf Division in 1999, Shimano tried to gain a foothold in the booming golf market and further expand its range. After only five years, the production of golf equipment was discontinued in 2004.

Developments in the bicycle sector

Shimano has an outstanding market position, particularly in gear groups for bicycles, and is the world market leader in all price categories. While the company initially concentrated on the inexpensive sector and ousted competition with large quantities and extremely inexpensive models, it now dominates the market for all bicycle components .

The top groups are traditionally the XT (R) for mountain bikes and the Dura Ace for cycling on track and road. Shimano was the first manufacturer to introduce fully coordinated groups of rear derailleurs, sprockets (or hub gears on city bikes), front derailleurs, cranksets, bearings and brakes, as well as shift and brake levers in one performance class, which can also be combined with each other. There are also suitable bike computers and care products.

The further development of the indexed switching u introduced by the Japanese competitor Suntour . a. for the mass market and the introduction of “Hyperglide” sprockets and chains was a technical milestone for modern and easy-to-use bicycle gears.

Bicycle technology and compatibility

Shimano repeatedly developed innovations in drive and brake technology, which then prevailed in the entire bicycle market. At the beginning of the 1990s, Shimano launched the first brake / shift combination, the Shimano Total Integration (STI) brake / shift lever. In a modified form, this technology is now standard at all manufacturers of racing bike groups.

While almost all Shimano drive parts, including racing bikes with MTB groupsets, could be combined with one another until the end of the 1990s, this has not been the case since the introduction of 9-speed rear derailleurs. The racing bike drive parts from competing manufacturers Campagnolo and Shimano were technically compatible up to 9-speed groupsets, even if both manufacturers recommended using only their own components. Shimano 6- to 8-speed systems, 9-speed, 10-speed and 11-speed systems are not compatible with each other, but within the respective groups. With the rear drive components for racing bike groups, all right shift / brake levers, rear derailleurs, cassettes and chains of the ten-speed groups, including current ones with previous versions, are compatible with each other (exceptions with some cassettes). The left shift / brake levers and derailleurs of groups 5700 (group 105), 6700 (Ultegra), 6600 (Ultegra) and 7800 (Dura-Ace) are all compatible with each other.

The following applies to the compatibility of cranks and chains: All double cranks for Shimano ten-speed systems (current and previous versions) can be driven with chains from groups 5600, 6600, 5700, 6700, 7800 and 7900. There is no longer compatibility with third-party brands. The chain manufacturers try to provide universal chains for all manufacturers, but this does not succeed in all cases.

With newer groups from 105, the respective brake lever can be adjusted by 10 millimeters in reach, which should be fair to drivers with different hand sizes.

Hydraulic systems

The 105 group from 2014 can also be ordered with mechanical-hydraulic brake-shift levers (STIs). A small mineral oil cylinder and the braking system are integrated into the mechanical lever.

Assembly series for racing bikes / gravel

Shimano Ultegra rear hub FH-6500
First generation Dura-Ace rear derailleur with “Crane” lettering
Shimano rear derailleur Deore DX
Shimano 600 front derailleur, 1980

Shimano offers the following series of assemblies for racing bikes (in descending order of quality / price):

Groups no longer available:

  • Santé
  • Ultegra SL
  • 600 ax
  • RX100
  • Exage 500 EX
  • Exage 400 EX
  • Exage 300 EX

Assembly series for mountain, cross and trekking bikes

Deore XT rear derailleur

The following groups are available for mountain bikes and trekking bikes (in descending order of quality / price):

  • XTR Di2 (since model year 2014; electrically operated gearshift)
  • XTR (since model year 2014 with M9000 1/2 / 3x11 gear, since model year 2019 also with 12 gears)
  • Deore XT (since model year 2015 1/2 / 3x11 speed)
  • Deore XT DI2 (since model year 2016; electrically operated gearshift)
  • Deore DX (no longer available; successor to Deore II)
  • SLX (since July 2008 successor to the LX (for MTB) and the Hone (3x10 gear, from model year 2012/13 also 2x10))
  • Deore LX (no longer available for MTB (now part of trekking bikes); successor to Mountain LX)
  • Deore (successor to the STX RC)
  • STX RC (no longer available; successor to Exage 500 LX or Mountain)
  • STX (no longer available; successor to Exage 400 LX or Trail)
  • Alivio
  • Acera
  • Altus
  • Tourney (also called TX)
Shimano et al. a. as a sponsor of the Mountain Bike World Cup in Schladming

Series of assemblies for freeride, downhill and BMX bikes

  • Airlines (air pressure switch for downhill, only 1000 pieces built; no longer available)
  • Saint (extreme freeride)
  • SLX (successor to the Hone)
  • ZEE (downhill beginners group)
  • Hone (Freeride; no longer available)
  • DXR (BMX)

Assembly series for city and touring bicycles

The following groups are also available for city and touring bikes:

  • Nexave
    • C810 (successor group of the C910 with power supply via the hub dynamo)
    • C910 (component group with electronically switched derailleur and damping control)
    • C500
    • C530 INTEGO (half derailleur, half hub gear)
    • T400
    • T300
    • C201
    • C101
  • Nexus
    • Alfine (component group with eight-speed or eleven-speed gear hub)
    • Cyber ​​Nexus (component group with electronically switched eight-speed hub and damping control)
    • Inter-8 premium (eight-speed gear hub (with red line on the housing): better storage than Inter-8)
    • Inter-8 (eight-speed gear hub)
    • Inter-7 (seven-speed gear hub)
    • Inter-5 (five-speed gear hub) (especially for pedelecs) (since Nov. 2018)
    • Inter-4 (four-speed gear hub) (in the Japanese version with electronic or mechanical immobilizer)
    • Inter-3 (three-speed gear hub)
    • Auto-D (automatically switched four-speed hub, replaced by the Inter-3D)
    • Inter-L (hub dynamos)
    • Inter-M (roller brakes)
  • Capreo (specially developed for folding bikes, allows 9 and 10 sprockets to accommodate the smaller wheels of the folding bikes)
  • STEPS (electronic bicycle drive)

Clipless pedal systems

  • SPD (trekking / MTB / racing bike)
  • SPD-SL (racing bike)
  • SPD-R (Former racing bike system, until around 2005)

Web links

Commons : Shimano  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d company data 2016 ( Memento from July 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), PDF
  2. ^ [1] Balance sheet, wallstreet online
  3. Shimano Europe opens new head office at Eindhoven ,
  4. Campagnolo, Shimano, Sram: 12 groupsets in comparison - Compatibility: How can you mix the groupsets? ,
  5. Shimano 105: 11-speed shifting, hydraulic braking ,
  6. Dura-Ace / DI2: Dual Control Lever ST-9070 ( Memento from February 3, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  7. MTB catalog 1989, SHIMANO system components - mountain bike groups , PDF
  8. MTB catalog 1991, SHIMANO Bicycle System Components , PDF