Shimano Claris Vs. Tiagra: Which is The Better Shimano Groupset

When we talk about bike components, especially the drivetrain, shifters, and brake set, those of high-end or quality ones, there is one brand that always stands out., Shimano.

Many bike companies use the brand name Shimano to further enhance their reputation and advertise their respective bikes’ top quality.

Shimano is a world-class bike components manufacturer, but there are different Shimano groupsets. Two of these are the Shimano Claris groupset and Shimano Tiagra. They are mainly “low-end” Shimano road bike groupset.

Shimano Claris Vs. Tiagra, which among the two are preferred by most bike companies and cyclists, and why? As a rider who wants a customized bike and assembling one for their own, which is preferable? The debate is on.

Shimano: Elite Bike Components Manufacturer

Shimano Industries is a Japanese manufacturing company that produces various equipment, components, and supplies. Shimano manufactures fishing tackles and is also into golfing and rowing equipment.

But it is in the cycling world that Shimano truly made its mark, producing top-quality biking parts and components since the seventies. Experts estimate that Shimano supplies more than three-fourths of the biking components of cycling companies worldwide.

Shimano caters to many biking companies, from elite ones to middle-tier ones. We can expect that there is a “Shimano groupset hierarchy.”

Experts believe that the Dure Ace groupset occupies the top position in the Shimano hierarchy, followed by the Shimano Ultegra. It is due to the high quality of those groupsets and their high price. Those two are in demand among leading, elite bicycle companies.

Shimano Claris Vs Tiagra
Shimano gear

The Tiagra and Shimano Claris groupset occupies the lower position in the Shimano hierarchy, the two being in demand among those mass-producing all types of bikes. They are also sought by those assembling and customizing their bicycles.

Because of that, it is more important for most of us to know which of the Shimano Claris and Tiagra groupset is the better.

See more: Want to know what bike component manufacturers are preferred by many? See this:

Shimano Claris vs. Tiagra: Looking at the Groupset

Many considered the Tiagra groupset the fourth best groupset in the Shimano hierarchy, below Shimano Dura Ace, Shimano Ultegra, and Shimano 105 R7000, but above the Sora groupset. Many considered the Shimano Claris groupset as the most low end, the one that occupies the lowest rank in the Shimano hierarchy.

Why is this the case? Let us compare the Shimano Claris Groupset with that of Tiagra.


The Shimano Tiagra road groupset is priced at more than $400 and nearly $700 with hydraulic disc brakes. On the other hand, the Shimano Claris road bike groupset is around $350.

We can ask why there is a significant difference between the two groupsets. Usually, differences in prices entail differences in quality. Let us dig deeper and examine the quality of the Claris and Tiagra groupset.


Which has the better brakes? Comparing the two group sets, both have rim brakes, the standard ones in most bikes. Does the fact that the Tiagra group set is more expensive mean that it has better stopping power, or it only means that it is more high-end?

Shimano Claris Vs Tiagra
A brake

What clinched it, though, for Tiagra is that it has hydraulic disc brakes. That alone should be enough for us to consider Tiagra as having more quality brakes.


Shimano Claris sports a 2×8 speed; Tiagra, on the other hand, has a 2×10 speed. It means there are far many options for gear in Tiagra. Tiagra also allows for a smoother shift, needing smaller jumps as you shift gear.

On the other hand, Shimano Claris offers eight-speed, fewer options, and not-so-smooth shifting. The crankset of Tiagra is stiffer and lighter, at least in comparison to that of Claris, and makes for smoother shifting.

Tiagra also has options for a triple chainset and a dual one.

Comparing the two road bike groupset, Tiagra has a more fluid and smooth shift compared to that of Claris, making it better, especially under varying road conditions.


Here Tiagra has a clear advantage over Claris. Tiagra allows you to change gears more smoothly in comparison with Claris. Claris enable you to shift three gears at a stroke, but quick shifting does not necessarily entail a smooth one.

Or at least, it is not as smooth as that of Tiagra. Tiagra provides just a smoother, crisper shift.

Both offer the so-called optical gear display, showing the rider the selected gear position as he blazes on the road.

Front Derailleur

The Claris groupset and Tiagra have an excellent front derailleur, allowing smoother shifting compared to other brands. Tiagra, however, has a far longer lever, allowing the rider more leverage and instantaneous shifts.

Meanwhile, Claris, with a shorter lever, does not offer the same leverage as Tiagra. You need to apply firmer pressure to make that supposedly smooth shift.

Rear Derailleur

Both the Claris and Tiagra groupset have impressive Rear Derailleur. This time, there is not much significant difference between Tiagra and Claris groupset. Each gives that crisp and precise shift as you move.

The efficiency of both is visible when you need to shift as you race and spring or when you are trying to make the shift as you take a climb or having difficulties uphill.


Overall, the Tiagra groupset is of materials that make it more refined compared to the Claris groupset. The cassette, front, and rear derailleur are lighter too. Overall, the Tiagra groupset is significantly more lightweight than its Claris counterpart.

A lighter groupset is ideal for racing and doing that uphill climb over a heavier one.

Comparing the Two Groupset

We mention first the price because there lies the apparent difference between Claris and Tiagra, which will give us the point of departure needed when comparing the two.

Tiagra is more expensive than Claris because its material makes it lighter and more refined than Claris. That is not merely for aesthetic effect, but rather translates into overall better performance than the other.

A lighter groupset is preferable because it will result in more incredible speed. As a cardinal rule, heavier components result in a more heavy bike, resulting in the biker riding slower. That is one significant advantage of Tiagra over Claris.

Shimano Claris Vs Tiagra

The second is in performance. Both are excellent groupsets and can make the difference in a race and performance. But Tiagra has small advantages in almost all aspects, except in rear derailleur.

Those little advantages: quicker and smoother shift, lighter pressure needed for the front derailleur, when added cumulatively, can result in a significant advantage in performance.

Casual riders may not notice the significant differences, but those who are real cycling enthusiasts do. More so among the athletes whose passion and bread and butter usually depend on biking and winning.

That will explain why Shimano Tiagra is more expensive compared to Claris groupset.

But suppose we add that Tiagra groupset becomes significantly more expensive when we hydraulic disc brakes. In that case, we can deduce how far important performance is when talking about specs and groupsets.

Why Buy Shimano Claris Groupset?

There is one good enough reason why others will choose a Shimano Claris groupset.

The Claris groupset is the lowest in the Shimano groupset hierarchy, but it does not mean it is low quality. No, far from it. It is still one of the better groupsets in the market and can give a great biking experience for those who employ them in their bikes.

For one, it may not be as good as Tiagra, but only slightly. Considering the price and balancing it with the pros and cons, others cyclists might consider buying the Shimano Claris groupset.

One can ask whether those differences justify that significant price difference. Others may agree, but others may not.

Shimano Claris Vs Tiagra
Chain and Sprocket

Why Buy Shimano Tiagra

But there are reasons too why others would prefer Tiagra groupset. Among these are:

It is Better Than Claris

A slight advantage may be, but Tiagra is still better than Claris groupset, no matter how we look at it. Tiagra may be more expensive, but it has features far better than the Shimano Claris.

And having them can result in better performance on the road.

High-End Quality For a Lower Price

Tiagra is less expensive than high-end Shimano groupsets like Dura-Ace groupset or Ultegra. Tiagra may not be even near, but still, what you have is a real quality groupset that is better than most groupsets not named Shimano.

In short, you have a groupset that might be high-end in its own right. Tiagra can deliver the goods for a price not as high as the high-end ones.

Remember that it is still Shimano and may not be as expensive as the Dure Ace or Ultegra groupset, but it is not inexpensive either.

But at least you need not buy costly ones.

See more: New to road bike and want to learn some tips in buying one? See this:

Shimano Claris vs. Tiagra: “Low-End” But High Quality

Experts describe the Claris and Tiagra groupset as “low end” only if we compare it to their more distinguished counterparts, namely Dure Ace groupset and Ultegra, or even Shimano 105 R7000. In truth, however, they are still among the better ones in the biking world.

Claris might be closer to the Sora groupset, while Tiagra may approximate that of Shimano 105 R7000. But there is no question about quality.

Shimano Claris Vs Tiagra

Most entry-level road bikes use Shimano Claris groupset because of its high quality. Bikes like them acquit themselves well on the road while remaining affordable and inexpensive.

The same thing with those who want to customize their road bike; they can either have Shimano Claris or Shimano Tiagra groupset for better quality.

The Shimano Claris vs. Tiagra battle is about which of the two has the better quality at a price that may be deemed reasonable and fair. Claris groupset is a cheaper, quality alternative, while those who want a flawless, smoother shifting may opt for Tiagra groupset.

Thomas Kersten

Hi, I am a passionate biker, and I have been riding for more than ten years and share my biking tips and tricks with the world. I've tested more than 300 bikes.

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