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Verdict: 
Improved ergonomics, appearance and functionality make this a big step forward for Tiagra
Weight: 
2,584g
Shimano Tiagra 4700 groupset
8 10

Tiagra 4700 is the latest groupset from Shimano to get a makeover, and in doing so it has made Tiagra the best it's ever been. On its own, it's not quite as good as the more expensive 105, but if you're buying a new bike with Tiagra 4700, you won't be disappointed.

Tiagra is Shimano's fourth-tier groupset. It sits beneath Dura-Ace, Ultegra and 105. Shimano introduces its newest and best features first on Dura-Ace, then these advances trickle down through the ranges. Now, features first seen at the top have made their way onto this very affordable groupset.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Tiagra 4700 appears commonly on bikes in the £700-£1,200 price range, depending on the frame material and the rest of the specification. I tested the new groupset on a Raleigh Criterium Sport, a brand new aluminium road and sportive model from the British company. It has a £750 price tag, and uses the full Tiagra groupset. It's not uncommon to see cheaper brakes and chainsets substituted to hit certain price points.

The changes that Shimano has made mean this groupset is now much more similiar to the company's more expensive groupsets in appearance, ergonomics and functionality. If you're upgrading from previous Tiagra or a lower level groupset, you'll really appreciate the improvements.

Shifting up

The shifters have been updated, with the cables now routed underneath the handlebar tape, providing a much cleaner look at the front of the bike. No cables to hang your clothes out to dry though... The shape of the shifter body is the same compact shape as 105 and Ultegra – you'd be hard-pressed to notice the difference in your hand. The brake levers aren't carbon fibre, and the alloy lever adds a bit of weight but, importantly, it also reduces the cost and makes no difference to performance.

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 10.jpg

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 10.jpg

At the front and rear, the gears shift cleanly, smoothly and quietly. I never missed a gear or felt the shifter being unresponsive when I needed to change gear quickly. It shifts well under load as well. Shift feel is perhaps a little heavier than Dura-Ace or Ultegra, but that's an unfair criticism given the huge price difference, and it's being really picky. Shimano says it has revised the cable pitch on the rear derailleur, claiming it now offers 'precise and long-lasting shifting performance'. It's certainly living up to those claims compared with old Tiagra.

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 8

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 8

Then there is the all-new chainset. This is the biggest component in terms of visual appearance when viewing a bike from the side, and it's here that Shimano has made the biggest stride forward. It has taken the same four-arm design as first debuted on Dura-Ace all those years ago. The old Tiagra chainset really was an ugly duckling; hopefully Shimano won't make that mistake again.

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 1

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 1

It's available in 52/36 and 50/39/30 configurations but I suspect the 50/34 compact option I tested will be the most popular chosen by bike brands speccing new bikes. The new four-arm design has a 110mm bolt circle diameter (BCD) and allows you to swap the chainrings to any configuration, which saves swapping chainsets if you want to adjust the gear ratios. Different crank lengths are available too.

10-speed

Tiagra remains 10-speed, which rules out compatibility with higher level groupsets. I suspect that won't be much of a concern to the types of cyclists purchasing the bikes that will be equipped with the new Tiagra. That's perhaps the biggest decision when choosing this groupset, either on its own or on a new bike: whether you're happy with 10-speed or you really want 11-speed. I suspect the price difference between bikes with Tiagra and 105 will be the deciding factor.

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 9

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 9

There's no lack of gear range with 10-speed. We all managed just fine before 11-speed groupsets were introduced, after all. Shimano offers a few different cassette options, including the 11-32t cassette the Raleigh was fitted with. I suspect, like the compact chainset, this will be a popular choice. It's a fine choice too, providing enough top-end for high-speed blasting, and similarly at the opposite end there are enough low gears to spin your way up steep climbs quite happily. The long cage rear derailleur can accommodate up to a 34t cassette if you want more range, while the short cage version goes up to 28.

The chainset was fitted to the Raleigh with a tried-and-tested external bottom bracket, threaded into the frame. It's perfectly reliable and spares are easy to come by. I wasn't able to asses bearing life during this test, so a long-term test will be needed to really see if the bearings last. Given previous experience with Shimano bottom brackets, there's no reason to suspect they won't be anything but utterly reliable.

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 17

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 17

Shimano has given the brake callipers an update and claims an additional 30 per cent braking performance. They do provide more reassurance in their stopping abilities compared with old Tiagra, but the brakes are the strongest reminder of Tiagra's station. Braking performance just isn't a patch on 105. It's not bad, as such, the brakes will certainly stop you in a hurry, they're just lacking in feel and feedback through the levers.

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 13

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 13

The one-piece brake blocks also exhibit some flex too, and changing brake blocks isn't as simple as more expensive cartridge brakes such as those found on 105 and Ultegra.

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 5

Shimano Tiagra 4700 - 5

Weights

The groupset I've been testing came attached to a bike, so I wasn't able to weigh all the individual components – and Shimano hasn't published a weight yet. So we called them in and weighed them for you. Here are the numbers:

Chainset - 910g
Cassette - 355g
Bottom bracket - 90g
Calliper brake (rear) - 179g
Calliper brake (front) - 181g
Rear derailleur - 277g
Front derailleur - 106g
Levers - 486g

That all adds up to 2,584g, although cables will add another 200g or so. 

Conclusion: Is Tiagra worth the money?

Tiagra is a really impressive groupset. To get this level of performance, finish and attention to detail on such an affordable groupset is hugely impressive.

It's both better looking and better performing than the previous Tiagra, and in the changes that Shimano has made, the gap to the more expensive 105 has been significantly narrowed. The most notable improvement is the updated shifter bodies, which function very similarly to the more expensive groupsets, with the same shifter body shape. And the new chainset is a much better-looking bit of kit too. It doesn't look cheap, it looks expensive. That's good.

> Check out our review of Shimano's 105 groupset here

If I was buying a bike with the new Tiagra groupset, such as the Raleigh Criterium Sport, I would be very happy indeed. It does everything you want from a mid-level road bike with only a few very minor quibbles. The biggest decision to make when buying a bike at this price is whether you're really fussed about having the 11-speed of Shimano's more expensive 105, and will come down to your budget.

How about if you're building your own bike? At retail prices, the difference of around £100 between Tiagra and 105 might make it worth saving up a little longer, if only for the better brakes, small weight gains and the upgrade to 11-speed, which better future-proofs your bike against any purchases down the road.

If you're buying a new road bike with the latest Tiagra, there's no doubt about it, you're getting a better bike for your money.

Verdict

Improved ergonomics, appearance and functionality make this a big step forward for Tiagra

road.cc test report

Make and model: Shimano Tiagra 4700 groupset

Size tested: 50/34, 11-32

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Shimano says: "Offering progressive all-road performance and an even better introduction to road cycling...The new TIAGRA 4700 adopts key technologies featured on Shimano's other race-proven group sets, DURA-ACE, ULTEGRA and 105.

"Shimano's new TIAGRA group set gives grassroots and new road cyclists the opportunity to ride a group set inspired by professional riders, whether for challenging sportives, everyday commutes or long weekend rides."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Shimano says: "For the first time in its history TIAGRA supports internal cable routing, which gives the road bike a much more clean and professional look. Along with internal cable routing TIAGRA has also adopted the iconic four-arm crank design which is available in the popular gear combination for entry level riders of 52-36T and 50-34T. With the standard pitch cycle (bolt circle) diameter of 110mm both chain ring combinations are interchangeable because they fit on the same crank set.

"TIAGRA 4700 runs on a 10-speed drivetrain operated by improved ergonomic shift/brake levers (STI). The slim and compact bracket grip offers easy reach to the brake/shift lever from the hood position and a comfortable lever feeling for a wide range of riders. Besides the integrated shift/brake lever there is also an instant and two-way release flat handlebar shifter (SL-4700) available.

"With the new TIAGRA 4700 group set Shimano offers a great balance between performance, easy operation and low maintenance. The new rear derailleur has a revised cable pitch which offers precise and long-lasting shifting performance and is compatible with up to a 34T cassette. Meanwhile the new TIAGRA brake system offers consistent all-round control in all conditions. Compared to the previous generation the braking power has increased by 30%, while the modulation of the brakes has improved too."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Usual Shimano excellence on display here.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Performance is a big step up from old Tiagra, a noticeable improvement in ergonomics and functionality. The brakes could be better, they're merely adequate rather than sterling.

This wasn't a long-term test, but the groupset was fine for the time I was riding it on the Raleigh Criterium Sport test bike.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

You don't buy Tiagra for its low weight. I tested the groupset on a bike, so wasn't able to weigh the groupset components, but we got our hands on the separate parts and weighed them.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

The shifter body is comfortable in the hands and the gear levers are light and easy to operate.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

It's offering a shedload more performance than old Tiagra, and it looks much better as well. The gap to 105, if buying a complete groupset at discounted prices, is surprisingly narrow, so you might want to save up. But if you're buying a new bike with Tiagra you're getting a great deal, with the costs absorbed by the manufacturer.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The performance exceeds anything else at this price, and even though Shimano doesn't really have many rivals at this price point, it's still invested technology into Tiagra, which really benefits anyone buying a sub-£1,000 bike.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Looks really good and works well.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The brakes could be better. And it's not 11-speed, but that's not really a deal-breaker.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? If I couldn't afford 105, then yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Excellent construction, very good performance. With better braking it would perhaps be a 9...

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

13 comments

Avatar
Liaman [67 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

I enjoy the reviews here, but can we please stop pretending that the RRP is the real world price? It skews any assessment of value - You're describing Tiagra as good for the money at £450, when everybody knows that Ultegra 6800 can be had at that price with a cursory Google and 105 can be had for less than £300.

Can you include a "Can be found for roughly £xxx"? I just spent 20 seconds looking online and found it for £250. A review that is helpful on a practical level would tell me (for example) that it's a good groupset, but that 105 can be had for an extra £30 so probably better to invest the small extra - if for nothing else than the resale value at the other end.

Avatar
Ush [1014 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Is there a handy table anywhere showing the (somewhat subjective) relationship between the different groupsets? e.g. does Campagnolo Veloce still roughly compare to Shimano-105?

Also, a brief googling trying to understand the numerical qualifiers attached to the old groupset names does not yield much in the way of explanation of what they are. Wikipedia shows e.g. that there are now at least two variants of Tiagra (4600 and 4700). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupset#List_of_Groupsets

Also, did they supply the flat-bar shifter for testing (as mentioned here http://road.cc/content/news/147338-shimano-launch-tiagra-4700-groupset) ?

Finally, thanks for the review, there aren't many sites that do such a decent job at the technical in-depth reviews.

Avatar
Langsam [59 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

On 'Deal of the Week', just above and to the right of this article on the front page, a complete Ultegra groupset is advertised at £420.

 

Avatar
gonedownhill [167 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Liaman wrote:

I enjoy the reviews here, but can we please stop pretending that the RRP is the real world price? It skews any assessment of value - You're describing Tiagra as good for the money at £450, when everybody knows that Ultegra 6800 can be had at that price with a cursory Google and 105 can be had for less than £300.

Can you include a "Can be found for roughly £xxx"? I just spent 20 seconds looking online and found it for £250. A review that is helpful on a practical level would tell me (for example) that it's a good groupset, but that 105 can be had for an extra £30 so probably better to invest the small extra - if for nothing else than the resale value at the other end.

 

Dunno if you're browsing on a phone or something but there is a panel showing the price and accompanying links to Wiggle and CRC just above where it says "The Verdict" on my PC browser - seems to be something similar on most reviews now, a welcome new feature.

On Ribble it's £230 for double and £240 , so there is still a pretty significant saving over 105.

Avatar
StantheVoice [117 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Liaman wrote:

I enjoy the reviews here, but can we please stop pretending that the RRP is the real world price? It skews any assessment of value - You're describing Tiagra as good for the money at £450, when everybody knows that Ultegra 6800 can be had at that price with a cursory Google and 105 can be had for less than £300.

Can you include a "Can be found for roughly £xxx"? I just spent 20 seconds looking online and found it for £250. A review that is helpful on a practical level would tell me (for example) that it's a good groupset, but that 105 can be had for an extra £30 so probably better to invest the small extra - if for nothing else than the resale value at the other end.

 

If you look just above the final box under where the headline says "Verdict" you'll find 2 links to the cheapest prices we could find on the web. So in answer to your question. Yes we can, and we do already. It might even have saved you 20 seconds of your time if you'd seen it!  1

Avatar
alotronic [532 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

And here's a screenshot on desktop/chrome showing that you can't see the deals  1

A

Avatar
Vejnemojnen [266 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

please note, that the new rear derailleur geometry follows the design of the 11speed groupsets, and, it is for a longer cable pull with decreased derailleur actuation ratio. Therefore, the shifting is less sensitive to cable stretch and the extra friction of the concealed cable routing of the shifters.

Shimano did a wonderful job in improving shifting performance and reliability. The brakes are not in the same league with higher end gruppos, but their stopping power could be enhanced with better cartridge style pads.

the only downside is the lack of reasonable cassette gear ratios.

Nobody needs 11t, who is not racing. And 2t jumps are just incredibly annoying, making it impossible to keep a comfortable cadence.

a 13-25/6 cassette offering with 50-34 would satisfy my wettest dreams. : )

The new four arm chainset looks stunning, much nicer, than its predecessor, albeit, heavier.

If I were to buy the groupset, I'd pick up a 13-25 cassette (6600 ultegra offers that ratio) with a compact chainset, and would upgrade the brakepads.

Thank you for the review.

Avatar
kitkat [480 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Now that CRC & Wiggle are chums maybe another supplier can be listed?

Otherwise, thanks for the review  1

Avatar
Disfunctional_T... [242 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

So Shimano is making a 10-speed 11-32 cassette this year? Before only SRAM was the only one making 10-speed 11-32's (and 11-36's).

Avatar
gonedownhill [167 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
alotronic wrote:

And here's a screenshot on desktop/chrome showing that you can't see the deals  1 A

 

Adblock?

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [563 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Could you combine the new Tiagra triple chainset and shifter with the rest of the 105 group for a massive spread of 33 gear ratios? Say, 27 useable, and closer-grouped, gear ratios? Would this require a long cage 105 derailleur?

Avatar
Welsh boy [429 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Vejnemojnen wrote:

a 13-25/6 cassette offering with 50-34 would satisfy my wettest dreams. : )

Have a look at this 13/26 cassette then http://www.acycles.co.uk/miche-primato-10-speed-cassette-shimano-1138.ht...

Avatar
Freshmn09 [6 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

One thing i see which is missing, is, 

what are the benefits of spending another 100 on a 4 year old 105? over the new tiagra?

weight;

Tiagra = 2,584g

105 = 2,967g

 

Action is now lighter, the styling is up-to-date, I see no issues here or are we talking about 2 intermediary gears? the blocks are still 11-25, 11-28, 11-32, 12-36.

who will notice that there is one missing in the middle of that lot!? no one but the pro's is my bet!