Shimano Dura Ace Di2 Tour de France domination Team Sky Chris Froome yellow Pro bartape photo by Wouter Roosenboom
courtesy Shimano, photo by Wouter Roosenboom

One groupset winning a race over another isn’t really something that we take notice of too often, and certainly doesn’t justify much editorial time here. It isn’t just to be fair to one brand or another, but the top road groupsets being raced from Campagnolo, Shimano & SRAM truly are each excellent performance wise. But when we look at the Tour de France – the premier road race in the world – and see the winners of each of the four final classifications plus every one of the 21 individual stage victories, every one of those wins was taken on the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group, it’s hard to not reflect. It wasn’t like Shimano was the only show in town at the start line either. Sure a lot of teams rode Shimano, but we spotted Campy & SRAM groups too. But even those on Shimano weren’t always on complete versions of the newest R9100 series groupsets

Shimano Dura Ace Di2 Tour de France domination four final classification winners

Shimano is calling it a Tour de France clean sweep, and as much as that sounds like bragging, it’s hard to argue with.

The race opened with Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas racing the time trial on a Pinarello with a R9150 Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 TT setup in Dusseldorf, and ran al the way through to the last stage sprint in Paris taken by LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen on a R9150 equipped Bianchi. Every win in between was also taken on Di2. Then to round out the final classifications – overall winner Chris Froome rode a R9150 group on his Sky Pinarellos, young rider Simon Yates R9150 on his Orica Scott, and green jersey sprint winner Michael Matthews & polka dotted best climber Warren Barguil both on R9150 Giants from their Team Sunweb. Matthews even rode early stages on a disc brake R9170 equipped Giant Propel Disc prototype.

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Shimano Dura Ace Di2 Tour de France domination Team Sky Chris Froome Osymetric chainrings

Interesting to note though, even through Di2 domination many of the individual winners, didn’t race on totally complete Dura-Ace groupsets. Froome famously runs his own preferred Osymetric non-round chainrings to smooth out his pedal stroke as well as the glue-on Stages power meter instead of the new R9100 integrated power meter. Otherwise the Shimano sponsored Tour winner rode Dura-Ace kit from drivetrain to brakes, even including D-A wheels, pedals, and Pro integrated bar/stem & bartape. Groenewegen also took his win on a different power meter, using the older 9000 series crankset paired with sponsor Pioneer’s power meter. Marcel Kittel won the most stages of the Tour on his completely Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 disc brake Specialized Venge, although with a 4iiii power meter.

Out of the 22 teams racing le Tour, just eight are actually sponsored by Shimano to race on Di2 – FDJ, Trek-Segafredo, LottoNL-Jumbo, Sunweb, Orica-Scott, BMC, Bora-Hansgrohe & Sky. They alone account for 11 of the stage wins (including stages 13-18 in the mountains) and all of the final classifications. The other 10 stage wins come from the nine teams that buy their own Di2 kit, often mixing it with components like cranksets, power meters & wheels from other component sponsors. It seems many buy Shimano just because of a history of many of the current crop of pros having raced on Di2 for years, but of course also due to its continued proven performance.

SRAM Red eTap

Shimano Dura Ace Di2 Tour de France domination Katusha SRAM Red eTap

From our count, the only World Tour team riding a SRAM groupset is Katusha. Their Red eTap equipped Canyons have been winning races this spring and summer. They just couldn’t pull it off this July in France. SRAM also outfit Team Fortuneo-Oscaro who race on Look bikes and cranks. We’ve seen a lot more of SRAM represented in the women’s pro peloton, and on North American teams, but SRAM has yet to woo many of the top European men’s pro teams.

Campagnolo Super Record EPS

Shimano Dura Ace Di2 Tour de France domination Lotto Soudal Campagnolo Super Record EPS

Campagnolo was a bit better represented. We spotted Super Record EPS at least on the Ridleys of Lotto Soudal, the Canyons of Movistar, and the Colnagos of UAE. None of the three teams were able to pull out a win at the Tour, but Campy as a brand seems to have been able to leverage their years of racing heritage to hold a solid place in the pro peloton.

With the ever imminent adoption of disc brakes in the pro peloton, we’ll be curious to see if that shake up leads to any changes in which groupsets are found in the peloton. Shimano has surely built an empire on Di2, and with five stage wins on their disc brake groupset at the Tour that might continue. But SRAM has made pretty good impressions with their eTap Hydro HRD disc brake group, and from out own rides on the Campagnolo Disc Brake project it looks to be able to match or even outperform the other two as well.

49 COMMENTS

  1. I have no proof, but I would guess teams not sponsored by, but using Shimano product, do so because it’s the most affordable option, or because it’s the most compatible with their other sponsor supplied parts (cranks, wheels, etc). It’s not about the bike, or the parts on it. How many mechanicals did Froome have btw? That Shimano is so much better because all the winners were using their product is a flimsy debate.

    • Indeed. And even if the quality of componentry would be somehow ‘proven’ by wins, consider this:

      2017
      Giro winner – Shimano
      Tour winner – Shimano
      Vuelta winner – ???

      2016
      Giro winner – Campagnolo
      Tour winner – Shimano
      Vuelta winner – Campagnolo

      2015
      Giro winner – Shimano
      Tour winner – Shimano
      Vuelta winner – Campagnolo

      2014
      Giro winner – Campagnolo
      Tour winner – Campagnolo
      Vuelta winner – SRAM

      Now consider that Shimano has an ±80% market share among Wourld Tour teams, where Campanolo and SRAM have (very very roughly) 15% and 5%… This means Shimano is actually under-represented.

      However, to determine which brans ‘dominates’ it’s of course much better to look at the number of mechanicals each brand has.

    • SRAM is typically cheaper than Shimano at wholesale. However Shimano probably has a much larger marketing budget, and can make it very attractive for teams.

      It doesn’t hurt that DA Di2 is one of the best groups ever too.

    • Quite a few teams pay straight out of pocket for Shimano, despite sponsorship offerings from SRAM. It’s simply the most reliable.
      A couple years ago, there were some big names that changed groups but insisted on riding Shimano…

  2. Nothing against Shimano or Campagnolo, I just like the way SRAM shifts. I don’t want my whole brake lever to move back and forth or have to use my thumb. It’s weird. #nonproguy

    • Legit preference, but a wiggling brake lever is not a complaint you can level against Campy, which has a solid brake lever and 2 shift mechanisms for up and down.

  3. Sram is junk. Flimsy crap.
    Shimano is good funtional if not ugly.
    Champag is beautiful functional but expensive. End of

    • Flimsy crap…I managed 70,000 miles on first gen Rival. Those shifters and derailleurs are still going on a friend’s bike.

    • Actually I really like the sram road gruppos. They have good ergonomics and good service life.
      Minus the ft ders.
      But the rest of it is flimsy crap.

    • I’m with you Bmx. It’s quite funny when you ask a polish person what Sram means in their language. It’s literally I shit on you haha.

      As an ex race-mechanic on a continental team, I’ll tell why teams are buying Shimano. For the same reason not sponsored teams were buying Campy in the late 90s early 2000s : because Shimano is it, period.

      Sram? What a joke! EPS or Di2 outperform e-tap in any situation. The shifting delay of etap is very unpleasant. The only real argument Sram has with etap is the fact it’s wireless. No auto-adjustment for the front mech, unlike EPS or Di2. No crash-mode on the rear mech like di2. The crash recovery mode on a di2 rear derailleur could save you from some nasty stuff. And I’m not even talking about firmware updates and the freedom to setup your di2 drivetrain to your like. It’s simply second to none!

      As of mechanical groupset, well Sram has a unique and positive feeling when you shift. It feels like an AK47 mechanism. The only difference is that it doesn’t work as long as an AK47. After a certain cycle of use, it goes into pieces! Campy doesn’t live up to its name when it comes to mechanical drivetrain. Since the introduction of their 11sp groupset it’s rubbish, big time! I used a big fan of Campy. Nothing works like a 10sp Record or Super Record. Their skeletons calipers are also rubbish big time. With the DA 7800, 9000 and 9100, Shimano have done a fantastic job. Their calipers? The best of their class! And it’s reliable, easy to setup and to work on. It works better than the competition.

      So why on earth would you buy junk? You want the groupset that work the best, for as cheap as possible with the best performance in terms of reliability. Today it’s Shimano. Yesterday it was Campy. Who knows, maybe it’s going to be Sram someday.

      • What is/are the issue(s) with Campy 11 speed mechanical? Set up? Durability? Performance? Cost? Proprietary tooling? Ergonomics? I’m asking because I’d like to know.

        • Bikemark, when mechanical C11 came out, poor frame routing (cable drag) was a huge problem. I’m not sure how much better it is now, but I assume it’s no longer an issue.

        • Like brian said, since the introduction of C11 Campy have moved away from its traditional cable pull ratio. And the result is a disaster … The shifters still have the nice and classic Campy’s ergonomic, you can still downshift quite a few gears at the same time on a the rear even while sprinting. But you have the feeling it shifts like some kind cheap stuff. It’s neither smooth or precise but flimsy. Though, the C11 chains and cassette last way way longer than Shimano or Sram. At least twice longer, honest!

          Regarding maintenance well they have changed their cable pull ratio a second time for their 11sp drivetrains. The new one was refined yes but I’m not sold at all. A campy cable-set still costs too much and derailleurs don’t respond to different settings as well as Shimano or Sram.

          • The problems I’ve seen with C11 can usually be traced back to the following causes: 1) the lever hood is interfering with operation; 2) the rear derailleur loop is too short; 3) extreme bends in cable routing to the rear derailleur; 4) improperly aligned derailleur hanger; and/or 5) mechanic error. Except for the first cause (hoods) none of these are unique to Campy.

            Flimsy? Yeah I agree if we are talking about Centaur/Veloce with the Powershift mechanism. That stuff is disposable — even though it is on my daily rider and working just fine. I’ve never found C11 Record or Chorus to be a disaster or flimsy. Perhaps Athena was but we don’t see much of that.

            Yes the cable set is expensive. Yes the Skeleton brakes are terrible.

            • Well their cable set is not just expensive, it’s over priced for what it actually is. If it’s the price to pay to have italian made inner and outer I’m okay with that.

              First time I’ve worked with one of their very first C11 groupset I thought it was defective lol. Campy send us a new one, same flimsy feeling when shifting. Then I gave them a call just to make sure I was not doing everything wrong. They were a bit embarrassed but they put me on the next course their were giving. Once I knew I was doing anything by the book, I drag the truth out of them. For them, the R and SR C11 were not near their 10sp counterpart.

              Truth is that over the last couple of years, quite a few old time Campy users we have as customers have switched to a Shimano mechanical drive-train. They were sick and tired of their C11 after only a few ride.

      • Have you ONLY worked for pro teams? Anyone with real time in a shop has seen clickless Shimano shifters that don’t do a thing.

        • Oh please. Shimano is known for its reliability and 90% of people would agree with that reputation. Your last comment Holds so little water you’ve resorted to (deleted) and generic points that don’t correlate to anything. For example, ‘most phones I see coming into the shop are broken iphones’ , therefore iPhones are breaking down all the time (ignoring the 6 billion other iPhones outlasting their Android counterparts)

          • Actually… The pawls ratchet mech. in Shimano shift levers are very common to gum up and stop working. It’s nothing a solid cleaning won’t fix for most. It’s pretty common, especially on flat bar shift levers. Also, 5700/6700/7800 era 10sp were prone to eating shift cables. Literally shearing the head off of cables. Shimano claimed it was from use of SRAM, Jagwire, etc. cables.

        • Like many I was introduce to bike mechanic as a part time teenager. Since 1996 I’ve seed it all my friend and to be honest Shimano is the best for me and many other in our field of work.

          Dude they’re not perfect, none are, but I doing a course for their products could help you. Many mechanics are doing it wrong when it comes to some daily tasks. Such as fitting a new pin on a Shimano chain. How many shops are still using that piece of junk of a chain-breaker from Park? When you use the proper tool from Shimano, aka the CN-TL34, the chain is way stronger than a quick link.

          And don’t forget we are talking about the top of the line. I work in a showroom, we only use ultegra or better. Same with Sram or Campy.

      • Completely agree with this, although I will say the pre-2015 Campy 11 speed stuff was still pretty good. The new stuff just doesn’t work as well though. EPS does perform well, but unless you’re sponsored (or a rich dude building up your C60 or other Italian deal) there’s no reason to buy it over Di2. And then, as you said, there are the brakes…

        • D*mn right you are. The pre-15 C11 was better than what it is.

          I always have mix feelings when I think about the EPS. Whilst the shifting performance is on par with di2, the ergonomics and the way it replicates a conventional unit are the real strength of EPS. On day one EPS was shifting way faster and offered continuous shifting.

          But too much cables, and their quality is so poor. It’s a shame regarding the price they’re asking. Or the time it took Campy to sort a reliable battery out. We had up to 75% of defective external eps battery.

  4. Good friend was a US domestic pro before going to World Tour a few yeas ago. When he first stepped up to the big leagues, everyone asked him whether he preferred Sram or Di2 (which he had just started riding in Europe). He told me “Sram’s crap. None of the guys in the pro peloton like it. It just doesn’t work well”. While a huge generalization, I would imagine these guys have different demands about components since they’re putting triple the amount of miles on them an often in high pressure situations. He also said that racing with Etap was difficult since you need both hands for the front shift and they often have musettes, clothing and other things they to do. I would never imagine that being an issue, but he said when they are climbing, eating, on the team car, being able to shift the left makes a difference.

    • I have a friend who was a Pro Tour mechanic, and he told me essentially the same thing. The riders hate SRAM: They put up with it for a while, but when people started losing races because of poor performance, everyone more or less switched over to Shimano.

      You’ll recall that, some years ago, Garmin just switched mid-year; buying all the groupsets out of pocket.

    • I can’t imagine shifting the FD being an actual issue. Also, it’s not as if these guys ride 1 handed until they’re done eating. Most empty their bags into their pockets and dump their bags.
      The feed zones are strategically placed too. They aren’t at the base of descents on rollers and are rarely at summits anymore.

  5. It’s been two years since eTap was announced, which to date has largely been a “paper launch”. Meaning, the availability was so little and constrained it amounted to an announcement only. eTap couldn’t initially be bought as a group; it was only coming on bikes. There hasn’t been a big push since from SRAM about eTap…

  6. Agreed that this fact does not justify editorial time. Even this article was a waste of ten minutes of my time. The biggest Tour teams are directly sponsored by Shimano. The biggest teams also happened to rack up most of the wins. I bet that if SRAM had been able to negotiate those contracts the article would be about how E-Tap is the new best-thing-ever. Shimano has a longer history, components are a known quantity (even down to mechanical shifters shredding cables), and riders naturally go with what they’re comfortable with.

  7. Pro Tour visibility is extremely expensive so I don’t really think the teams have to pay for any components from any manufacturer. I guess Shimano pays big money for the sponsored teams and supplies free components for the other teams. If a team can choose between free Shimano, Sram and Campa, they probably go for the most proven and reliable.

  8. I don’t know about you, but when I was building my bike (Defy SL frame), I went with Sram Force gearing because shifter and brake combo is much nicer and lighter than non series 685 and Yaw front derailleur doesn’t require trim unlike Shimano groups.

    Braking is also better than what I got on my older Defy Pro with 685.

    In any case Di2 was too expensive, fiddly with all the bits and pieces, significantly heavier and I needed to remember to charge the battery – why all this if I can avoid it.

    I did however get Ultegra cranks because I got a good price and already had bb installed, plus my frame is bb86 and not PF/BB30, so I don’t get to benefit from bb30 crankset.

    Shifting Force 22 is wonderful both front and rear. I like it’s got more positive action like X01 group on my MTB and paddles are easier to use, you can adjust reach on both independently and can bring them closer to the bars for sprinting.

  9. electronic equipment is the answer to a question no one asked… simple mechanical stuff is actually much more reliable and has a century of proof… down tube shifters with the shortest cable length are simply the best and lightest… no one not even the pros need all the convoluted junk being flogged by the companies… eleven speeds? ten speeds? what for? grow a brain, how many gears are really needed? five or six maybe seven but not more… batteries and wireless shifting is a scam… eleven speeds is a scam… fausto coppi rode basic gear and ruled the wasteland… suckers will buy any new crap the companies foist on them…

  10. Shimano is impressive in every way, been using their groups for decades with few minor adjustments needed and flawless smooth operation under the most demanding circumstances. Fitted one of my roadies with full Red22 but will go back to Shimano asap. Sram is flimsy, super noisy, hard shifting, requires more maintenance. Basically it needs many years of refinement to reach Shimano’s level of quality and functionality.

  11. It’s about the wheels. In that peloton, if you run Shimano, there’s a good chance you can find a compatible wheel quickly.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.