When Shozaburo Shimano opened the Shimano Iron Works factory in 1921, nobody could have predicted that would be the beginning of what would eventually become the biggest brand in world cycling. But unlike so many cycling companies that come to the category from other backgrounds, Shimano was started with the intention of making bicycle freewheels, which they started in 1922.

By 1940 Shimano employed around 300 people and Shozaburo Shimano officially became the first president of Shimano Iron Works Co. Ltd. The next five decades saw innovation after innovation like the 3-speed hub in 1961, the launch of the fishing division in 1970, the first ever Dura-Ace groupset in 1973, the introduction of 105 and Deore XT in 1982 before in, 1990, arguably the most important innovation in modern road cycling: the STI lever with the Shimano Index System.

That lever integrated the shifting system into the brake lever, combining two things that had, historically, always been separate on a bicycle. Dura-Ace 7400 also used indexed gears on the rear derailleur rather than the classic friction shifting which meant you could change gears without removing your hands from the bars. It put competitors in a rapid scramble to catch up, and firmly established Shimano as the finest groupset manufacturer in the world.

In 2009, Shimano took things a step further with the release of the Digital Integrated Intelligence (Di2) electronic shifting system. It was an immediate success with both professional and amateur riders alike and subsequent generation have gone on to be the most popular groupsets on the planet for performance road bikes.

Today, Shimano is in arguably the biggest company in cycling, making components for every sort of bike whether you’re a casual cyclist, commuter, mountain biker, gravel racer or road cyclist. Its products are known for being innovative, reliable and functioning beautifully, allowing you to focus on the experience of riding a bike rather than worrying about how well that bike works.


Plus, with multiple victories in basically every major bike race on the planet across all disciplines – including being the groupset of choice for 14 of the 18 World Tour Road teams – Shimano is the undisputed first choice of professional cyclists everywhere.