In this article, we will be differentiating between two bicycle component manufacturers. These two manufacturers are SRAM and Shimano. Both these companies are at the top in the Bicycle components market, but the debate is still inconclusive. When it comes down to which one is best. Both companies specialize in different areas as SRAM is a high-end brand, and its main focus is on manufacturing in such parts. It's a USA-based company. Shimano has expanded in more sectors. It manufactures fishing equipment and rowing equipment along with Bicycle parts. As this is a Japanese Company, it is spread worldwide and covers a large chunk of the Bicycle market, almost 50%.
Further, as we look into the two, we can see that their operations differ as they have different forms of ownership. SRAM is a privately owned company with more room for autonomy, whereas Shimano is a Public Company or functions as a public sector enterprise. This is also one of the reasons why the expansion of Shimano is more than that of SRAM. The Major reason why comparing the two is hard is that the products from both these companies of the same price range work equally well, and individual preferences are the only way one can be termed better than the other.
SRAM vs. Shimano
The key point of differences between the two are technical. One of them is the shift auction ratio. It is the ratio between the shifter and the indexer. For SRAM, the ratio is 1:1, and for Shimano, the ratio is 2:1. The main difference that this ratio makes is that it calculates the cable shift or how farther it moves for the ratio of 1:1; it moves far, so less mud and other things will cause issues for the Bicycle.
The other major difference is the shifters. A high-quality shifter can change the experience of cycling. SRAM uses high-end double-tap shifting to move one lever up and down. Shimano, on the other hand, has the traditional system of shifters that have two lever systems, which is preferred by some of the cyclists, as the difference in performance is dependent on the cyclist. Many other things differ between the two companies, like the innovations in the equipment, the service provided by them, and the customer services, etc. All of these things are highly dependent on the performance of the product and its price.
Difference Between SRAM and Shimano in Tabular Form
|Markets||It has focused on the market of bicycles made mainly on high-end and low-end roads and off-road biking components.||It has focused on the market of bicycles made mainly on high-end and low-end roads and off-road biking components as well as the market of fishing equipment.|
|Founded in||This company started in the year 1987. The company has been in the business of bicycles ever since.||This company started in the year 1921 and it released its first groupset in 1973.|
|Revenue||The revenue made by this is quite significant and reaches $500 million.||This Company has shown its capability to cover a major part of the Bicycle component market. This also makes up about 75% of its revenue. The total revenue of this Companu is $2.1 Billion.|
|Important people involved||The founders of this Company are Scott and Stanley Ray. The present CEO of the company is Kenneth Lousberg.||The present CEO and Chairman of Shimano are Tomohiro Ohtsu and Tomohiro Ohtsu.|
|Innovations made||This Company brought in innovations in the Bicycle components like Double tap Shifting and Grip Shifting both of these features are considered high-end.||It introduced innovation in Bicycle manufacturing by adding index shifting, Clipless Pedestal and electric Shifting. All these have helped improve the cycling experience.|
|Headquarters located at||This Company is Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, USA.||This company has its headquarters at Sasaki. Osaka, Japan.|
|Component Hierarchy involved||It has an entry-level to pro-level Hierarchy, from X3 to XX1 level.||This Company has a hierarchy from entry-level to pro level that is from SIS to XTR level.|
|Cycling products manufactured||They manufacture Cycling Products like Drivetrain.||They manufacture cycling products like Drivetrains, wheels, pedals and Brakes.|
What is SRAM?
SRAM started in 1987; at that time, it sold a single product, Grip Shift. This was introduced for use in mountain bikes; this technology was very effective and allowed the company to grow swiftly after this. In 1995, it had even introduced it's first bike derailleur, dubbed ESP, that featured a new and unique 1:1 cable actuation ratio, which was easier to set up and more resistant to the environment. They made many other changes to their bike, which gave better results, and sales increased. SRAM wanted to go big and expand simultaneously, so it decided to purchase Sachs, a German manufacturing company that worked to manufacture chains and gear; this made the production of products way easier for SRAM as Sachs's skilled labor force benefited in positively.
After the acquisition of Sachs, SRAM introduced a new model of a cycle in 2001, which was also a success. In 2002, SRAM decided to acquire another bicycle suspension manufacturer, RockShox, a known name in the industry; this was known as the industry innovator who originally brought in the market front suspension thus reshaping mountain biking for the entire world. After Avid was acquired in 2004, Avid's popular and proven brake systems, specifically their hydraulic disc brakes, gave SRAM even more means to compete in the component market. In 2006, they ventured into the road cycling business they launched their Force and Rival mechanical 10-speed groupsets. All these details have made it clear that SRAM has continued to grow with the years and has made considerable innovations by adopting new technology and acquiring more skilled workers as well.
One of the major differences between Sram and Shimano that are reflected in the way SRAM functions is that it is a privately owned Company that bravely ventures and explores different techniques and technologies to get a better and desired result. This is one of the reasons it is a competitor of a giant like Shimano.
What is Shimano?
Shimano is a famous sports gear Japanese manufacturing company that produces bicycle parts and sports gear for fishing and rowing. Interestingly, It was also into manufacturing products for golfing till 2005 and gears for snowboarding till 2008. Even though it works in three sectors of manufacturing, the majority of its focus is on the Bicycle production industry. The gross sales of Shimano are estimated at 70% to 80% of sales of the entire global bicycle market. The company had ventured to produce a variety of products for bicycles like Brakes, wheels, and drive trains for roads, track, and mountain bikes.
This company is named after its founder, Shozaburo Shimano. Its headquarters are in Japan. The Shimano company has expanded well and now has 32 subsidiaries and 11 unconsolidated subsidiaries under it. Despite facing strong competition, the revenue made by Shimano is in Billions. As an international manufacturer, it supplies to different parts of the world, including Europe and America. Shimano had started to the market for bicycles in the 1990s, at that time people thought that it was acting as a bully and trying to create a monopoly but that was not the case as the company had simply begun the implementation of a new strategy. The Shinamo products were now designed in a way that if one of the Shinamo products was to be used in building any bike, then the entire bike had to be built from Shinamo products as they only fit well with each other. This compelled buyers to purchase all the compatible products. This was done not just by Shinamo even SRAM made proprietary designs, so the designs they made would also not go with parts from a different company. It introduced innovation in Bicycle manufacturing by adding index shifting, Clipless Pedestal, and electric Shifting. All these have helped improve the cycling experience. These innovations also helped improve the sales of the bicycles manufactured by it. Other than the fact that it was quick to meet the rising demands as it did when there was a high demand for Bicycles in the US. One of the events that have made the bike Company popular is when different Bikers like Alexi Grewal used their bikes to win Games like the Olympics, which naturally increased its popularity among the Biking consumers.
Main Difference Between SRAM and Shimano in Points
- Sales or Revenue: When we compare two Companies like SRAM and Shimano, who are equally popular, the revenue difference as suck is usually almost negligible, so this is not the case between these two as Shinamo has become a giant in the Bicycle industry and makes up 70 to 80% of its sales unlike this the SRAM though popular is not a match when it comes to sales. Sales made by Shinamo are in Billions. In comparison to this, sales of SRAM are in Millions, which in itself shows a stark difference.
- Ownership: SRAM is a privately owned Bicycle product manufacturer. It is based out in the USA and has expanded considerably in the past year, but is still a private industry. This is with Shinamo, which is a publicly owned company with huge revenue. Its headquarters is in Japan. It is also an international supplier of these products.
- Markets: Both of them are competing in the same market. It is the market of High-end to low-end road and off-road biking components. Though Shimano also works to manufacture products for two other sports, its major focus remains the bicycle manufacturing industry.
- Product Line: Both of the Companies have a range from SRAM mountain bike ranges from group sets run from entry-level X.5 products, up through X.7, X.9, X0, X01, to the XX and XX1 proline. The products for Shimano range bike lines run from entry-level SIS products to Tourney, Altus, Acera, Alivio, Deore, SLX, Deore XT, Zee, Saint, and finally XTR pro-level components.
- Warranty and Customer Services: Shimano offers a two-year warranty for the material quality and workmanship of most of its products, and when it comes to the Dura-Ace and XTR component lines, the company provides a three-year warranty. Shinamo's customer service is fairly decent, as all the calls are reverted within 3 to 5 days of the issue. SRAM, on the other hand, provides a two-year warranty for material and workmanship. But when it comes to Customer service, SRAM is a bit different as it does not provide direct customer service. It's the retail bike shop that is supposed to deal with customer queries, and the issue with this at the time is hard on the customers who live away from the shop or do not have a good one near them.
In this article, we discussed the difference between Bicycle parts manufacturing giants. SRAM and Shimano both work on similar products, but there is a huge difference in the technology incorporated, their marketing strategy, ownership, and revenue, as we have seen in this article. Despite this, Consumers are unable to decide which one is a better choice. When it comes to bicycles, the performance of the products from both these companies is great, and individual preference is the end player when people make a choice. At times it could also be the product guarantee or customer service, but all of these come second to the quality of the product which for both these companies has stayed similar. The major difference is also that one of them is a public type of company as the other is a Private company, though both have shown considerable growth and have acquired a fair share of companies and made several innovations to be the best. When we look at the Companies from the point of view of a consumer, the differences between the two look minimal. But when we see them as businesses, one of the major differences between the two Companies is the revenue. Shimano's revenue is huge, and its hold on the market is phenomenal, but the majority of this is because of its wide international reach in comparison to SRAM.