Shimano Claris vs. Sora vs. Tiagra: A Comprehensive Guide

Shimano Claris vs. Sora vs. Tiagra groupsets compared.

When choosing an entry-level road bike, you will most likely encounter Shimano Claris, Sora, or Tiagra groupsets.

In this article, I will compare their weights, performance, and prices to help you decide which one to choose.

I also share my experience, add my perspective, and suggest a few questions you should think about before you decide to pay extra for a better groupset.

Quick summary:
If your budget allows, I recommend buying Tiagra because it offers the widest gear selection (2×10 or 3×10spd). It also has shifting cables routed under the handlebar tape, not externally like Claris. But Claris and Sora are good starting points, especially if you don’t plan to ride often.

Shimano Road Groupsets Hierarchy

According to this estimate, Shimano has about 70 % market share. It’s the go-to choice of most cyclists. Its competitors, like SRAM and Campagnolo, are less popular, especially in the lower-end spectrum of road bikes.

See the following table that summarizes the Shimano road bike groupsets hierarchy.

Mid-range105 Di2Electronic
ProUltegra Di2Electronic
ProDura-Ace Di2Electronic
Shimano road groupsets hierarchy (from entry-level to pro) with the info about their type.

The other three groupsets (105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace) can be found on higher-end road bikes. Those groupsets are electronic and more expensive. The same also applies to SRAM eTap AXS groupsets.

Naming and Generations

Each of these groupsets is already several generations old. The product cycle for Shimano groupsets is approximately 4-5 years.

However, Claris, Sora, and Tiagra were not updated for a long time, so we will see when Shimano updates them.

The name of each groupset is specified by a number (e.g., R3000). All these groupsets are mechanical.

Below are the latest generations:

  • Shimano Claris (2400, R2000) [2×8 or 3×8spd]
  • Shimano Sora (3400, 3500, R3000) [2×9 or 3×9spd]
  • Shimano Tiagra (4500, 4600, 4700) [2×10 or 3×10spd]

Sources: Shimano Claris history, Shimano Sora history, Shimano Tiagra history


Groupsets like Claris, Sora, and Tiagra are significantly cheaper than 105, for example. It’s no surprise that entry-level road bikes use them.

Claris (R2000)~$350
Sora (R3000)~$400
Tiagra (4700)~$450
Shimano Claris, Sora, and Tiagra prices.

Generally, beginner road bikes use Claris, Sora, or Tiagra (depending on the price range), road bikes for under $1000 have Claris or Sora, and those under $2000 have Tiagra or 105.

You might be interested in my article How Much to Spend on a Bike, where I explain the different price ranges and components to expect.

Ride Feel

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to try these groupsets. I have experience with the higher-end ones.

But I read many reviews and talked with many cyclists. I learned that the main difference between these groupsets is the jumps between gears.

The Claris cassette has only 8 speeds, while Sora 9 and Tiagra 10. This means the jumps between gears are larger on Claris than on Tiagra.

This can result in the problem that, in certain situations (especially in mountainous terrain), you may not find the right gear to suit your preferred cadence.

Although the 3X option offers more gears than 2X road bike groupsets, it’s not very popular on road bikes due to its weight and complexity.

Shifting speed, accuracy, and reliability is on par with all of these groupsets. Even the ergonomics of the shifters is similar.

Shimano Claris, Sora, Tiagra shift levers compared.
Shimano Claris, Sora, and Tiagra shifting levers compared

So, the two main differences are the number of gears and how the shifting cables are routed.

The older Claris and Sora have the shifting cables routed externally. Tiagra has them routed internally. The same also applies to the newer Sora.

Overall Weight

The overall weight of the individual groupsets depends on multiple factors. Mainly on the used materials, a rim or disc brake version, the cassette/chainring size, number of speeds, etc.

Unfortunately, Shimano doesn’t provide claimed weights for the components of these groupsets. However, the overall weight fluctuates around 2700g (rim brake version).

Shimano Claris vs. Sora vs. Tiagra: Summary

The following table compares the key features of these groupsets:

Latest generationR2000R30004700
Rim brakeYesYesYes
Disc brakeNoNoYes
Groupset weightn/a~2660g~2585g
The summary of Shimano Claris vs. Sora vs. Tiagra groupsets.
The price depends on the exact specification of the groupset.

Besides weight and price, there’s not much difference between them, right? So let’s finally answer the question:

Shimano Claris, Sora or Tiagra? Which One Should You Choose?

Regarding shifting speed and reliability, all three groupsets are pretty much the same. The main differences are the number of speeds, weight, cable routing, and price.

I recommend choosing Tiagra 2×10spd because it’s the closest to the experience of the Shimano 105 mechanical and newer 2×12spd groupsets.

But even Claris and Sora will do their job well. Just remember you will have larger jumps between gears. The biggest disadvantage of Claris is the external shifting cable routing.

Shimano Road Bike Groupsets FAQ


Shimano Claris, Sora, and Tiagra differ mainly in the number of speeds they offer, cable routing, weight, and price.

For those of you who are just starting out and have a tight budget, I recommend Claris (2×8spd). It’s the cheapest road bike groupset from Shimano.

But if you can, spare a little more and get Tiagra. You will get extra gears that might be useful in hilly or mountainous terrain.

Additionally, its shifting cables are routed under the handlebar tape, not externally, making the cockpit look cleaner.

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