In turnover terms Shimano is among the world's largest sporting goods companies, with net sales worth almost £1.8 billion in its 2014 financial year.
Shozaburo Shimano founded Shimano Iron Works in February 1921. Almost a century later, the company is run by his descendent Yozo Shimano.
Shimano organises its products into component groups of equivalent levels of quality and finish. From highest to lowest price the road components are Dura-Ace, Ultegra, 105, Tiagra, Sora and Claris.
In 2009 Shimano brought to market the first commercially successful electronically-operated shifting system, Dura-Ace Di2. An Ultegra version followed in 2011. The two were upgraded to 11-speed in 2012 and 2014 respectively.