What’s the difference between Shimano road groupsets?

Photo of a Shimano Dura Ace groupset

Like its main competitors SRAM and Campagnolo, Shimano has a hierarchy of groupsets with levels offering different weights, number of gears and – of course – prices!

It’s important to remember that while each groupset name maintains its place in the hierarchy, they are usually updated every few years. So, for instance, when Dura Ace – Shimano’s top-of-the-line groupset – was launched way back in 1973 (as Dura Ace 7100), it was 6-speed; it is now 11-speed (Dura Ace 91xx).

I will try to keep this list current, please give me a shout if I mess up!

WeightBrakesRear sprockets*Chainrings Low sprocket max teeth**Electronic
Dura Ace R91702389Disc11230Y
Dura Ace R91502051Rim11230Y
Dura Ace R91202355Disc11230N
Dura Ace R91002007Rim11230N
Ultegra R80702627Disc11234Y
Ultegra R80502353Rim11234Y
Ultegra R80202512Disc11234N
Ultegra R80002266Rim11234N
105 R7025Disc11234N
105 R7000Rim11234N
Tiagra 47002585Rim102 or 334 or 32N
Sora R3000Rim92 or 334N
Claris R2000Rim82 or 334N

* the more spockets, the smaller the jump between adjacent gears.
** the more teeth, the easier the bottom gear will be.