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Chris Bell   -   Shimano gears

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I am often asked 'Does it shift as well as Shimano?' Well there is more to this question than you might realise...

If you study a new Shimano chainring or sprocket you might think that it is nearly worn out already! Its thin, shallow teeth make it easy to derail the chain sideways onto the next one, which means that gear shifts are easy. But the downside is that, with so little metal to begin with, they don't last so long and have to be replaced sooner.

Most of the chainrings and sprockets sold by Highpath have a fuller tooth profile and last longer than Shimano ones, but you can't abuse them in the same way.

Full-height teeth
full teeth
They last a long time but don't
release the chain so easily

Shimano HG teeth
Shimano teeth
They don't last so long but
the chain derails easily

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Easy shifting or long life?

You can't have both...  If you want 'idiot-proof' shifting then buy Shimano cassettes and be prepared to replace them regularly. If you prefer longterm reliability then consider other makes and practise shifting gears properly:

  1. Always change in good time and slacken off the pressure on your pedals while the shift is taking place.
    (This is like using the clutch when changing gear in a car - you could manage without it but the gearbox wouldn't last very long. Your sprockets will wear out quicker if you always change under load.)
  2. Push and hold the shifter - don't release it until the shift is complete.

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Shimano rear derailleurs

Shimano mechBecause their sprockets derail so easily, Shimano can fit weak springs in their rear mechs to make a lighter action. However derailleurs with stronger springs are more reliable in the long term and work better on sprockets with longer teeth.

Shimano derailleurs also have a floating top jockey wheel. You'll probably find that shifts are more positive if you replace this with a normal, non-floating jockey wheel.

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