Japanese component juggernaut shot one across the bow today, unveiling a gravel-specific groupset lineup that spans wide price points. Called GRX, this new groupset platform sits alongside Ultegra, Dura Ace, Deore, XTR, and other platforms Shimano made famous. As of today there is now GRX 10-speed, GRX 11-speed, and GRX Di2 electronic groupset.
What’s a little different is that, while Dura Ace is differentiated both by use case and level, GRX is simply use case. It’s just gravel, and everything underneath GRX is, by part code, RX400, RX600, RX810, and those numeric designations tell you where the groupset sits in the hierarchy. The RX400 groupsets are 10sp only, and only come in a 2x. RX600 are 11sp, and come in 1x and 2x.
There are also mechanical and electronic options. The RX810 is the topline groupset, and is further enhanced by electronic sub-ins, such as the RX815 RD that is for electronic 2x set-ups, and the RX817, an electronic 1x RD.
The RX810 and electronic versions of the RDs are pretty sick looking and I mean that in a good way. Stripped down. Reminds me of a Huret Jubilee from 40 or so years ago.
The chain line on the 2x groupsets has been pushed outboard by 2.5mm. I’m going to need to wrap my brain around whether I like this. But I don't typically come out ahead when I question Shimano on shifting performance.
There appears a lot of cross-compatibility among components.
The sweet spot in Shimano’s 1x and 2x lineups has been, for awhile, as regards gravel, cassettes and compatible derailleurs that sit in between SRAM’s 11-32 (and its new AXS 10-33) and its 10- and 11-50 Eagle cassettes.
Pricing for aftermarket has already been released. SRAM is likely to downstream its AXS to mechanical fairly quickly; mechanical is what SRAM has done best. But Shimano released the entire suite today, up- and downstream.
Shimano calls this a platform dedicated to gravel. The first of this type. SRAM is, in my opinion, heading in a different direction: It’s hoping to create products that work across use cases – road, gravel, lighter-duty MTB – that are all cross-compatible.
This is the first, very cursory, look at a very welcome addition to the market for gravel lovers like me. Here’s more from Shimano about these new groupsets.