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TECH NEWS

Shimano launch Tiagra 4700 groupset

Shimano's fourth-tier groupset gets four-arm cranks and redesigned mechs and shifters but triple and flat bar options are still available

Incoming! Everyone loves a new Shimano groupset, right? And you were probably counting off on your fingers what was most due an update. And give yourself a slap on the back if you worked out it was fourth-tier Tiagra that's next in line for a brush-up and polish. Or, in this case, quite a lot more than that.

When Shimano 105 went 11-speed and double only last time around it moved it very firmly into the racing/fast riding sphere where before it was very much on the watershed between that and touring, commuting and the like. So what's happened with the new Tiagra release? Well, lots. But the headlines are that it's still 10-speed and there's still triple and flat bar options, but there's a lot of trickle-down from the dearer groupsets too.

What's immediately obvious is that Tiagra has adopted the four-arm chainset design that has made its way down all the way from Dura Ace. Shimano have ditched the 53/39 as a standard option, opting instead for the mid-compact 52/36 and the 50/34 standard compact. What's different about the Tiagra chainset however is that it's also available as a 50/39/30 triple as well, which will please the many advocates of the triple; there's still plenty who'd prefer one over a compact double. The inner ring bolts on to the middle ring, and then both are attached to the spider. So there's no second bolt circle in the spider.

The design of the shifters is also very much like the more expensive groupsets. The neat under-tape cable routing is new for Tiagra, which until now had the gear cables exiting from the side of the lever. The new lever doesn't appear to carry over the gear indicator window, which some users may miss.

Derailleur-wise there are two options, a short cage and a mid cage. The short cage should see you right up to a 28T sprocket on the back, whereas the mid cage is good for anything up to a 34T. That's great news if you're planning a touring setup as the triple and wide cassette would give you a 23" gear on a 700c wheel which should be low enough for most loads and hills. That's assuming the mid-cage mech has enough capacity for that setup; we'll check.

The derailleurs, again, move towards the look of the more expensive groupsets. The cable pitch on the rear has been revised, and Shimano say it "offers precise and long-lasting shifting performance". But then they would. The front is redesigned too, with double and triple chainset versions available.

The brakes don't get the symmetrical pivot design of Shimano 105 and above, but Shimano say they're still a 30% improvement on the last incarnation in terms of braking power. Most likely they're a rebadged version of the last Ultegra brakeset; that's certainly what they look like.

As well as the drop-bar kit, Tiagra will be available with flat bar levers and shifters. The levers look like pretty standard Shimano units and we're not sure they're much changed from previous ones. The 10-speed shifter has a gear indicator window and two-way release on the downshift: you can push or pull the downshift lever to switch gears.

Shimano say the groupset will be available in June, so we'll expect to see it on plenty of bikes come the Eurobike show in September. We don't have UK prices, or weights for any of the components as yet. When we do, we'll let you know.

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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2nd Samuel 710 | 8 years ago
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Bike came with Tiagra 4600 triple front 30-39-50 and 11-32 cassette. I did not like the 11-32 because of big gaps- Wanted like 12-25 but needed 24 front to have same lower gear. Read in an Amazon review that they put 24 on a 105 setup that worked with 26 capacity- so I tried. It works. If I were not 65 years old sometimes packing 40 pound load I would do 12-21 with the 24-39-50 that I have. I will try 54 instead of 50 soon.

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CanAmSteve | 9 years ago
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Tiagra's weskness was its RD - functional but a 105 was much better for a few £ more. My Tiagra/105 builds shift much better than a full 105 - that cable routing is a nightmare. I guess I can see why fashionistas want cables under the tape, but it doesn't improve shifting or serviceability.

Yes, the shift indicators are dorky on drop bars, so lose them. Nice to see the triple lives and stays at cheaper 10 speeds.

My tip? Buy up the discounted previous shifters

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joewein | 9 years ago
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"the mid cage is good for anything up to a 34T. That's great news if you're planning a touring setup as the triple and wide cassette would give you a 23" gear on a 700c wheel which should be low enough for most loads and hills. That's assuming the mid-cage mech has enough capacity for that setup; we'll check." -- Any update on this? What's the official total capacity for the RD-4700-GS when used with a triple?

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dave atkinson replied to joewein | 9 years ago
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joewein wrote:

"the mid cage is good for anything up to a 34T. That's great news if you're planning a touring setup as the triple and wide cassette would give you a 23" gear on a 700c wheel which should be low enough for most loads and hills. That's assuming the mid-cage mech has enough capacity for that setup; we'll check." -- Any update on this? What's the official total capacity for the RD-4700-GS when used with a triple?

Shimano say: According to the spec sheet it's a 41T total capacity (32T - 11T on the largest and smallest cassette sprockets) + (50T - 30T largest and smallest chainrings). You can find the specs in our Product Info database here: http://productinfo.shimano.com/#/spec/1.5/ROAD/Rear%20Derailleur

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LondonDynaslow | 9 years ago
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Really good news. If this had been out when I built my winter bike, I probably would have used it instead of 105. If anything on that bike breaks, I think I'd now replace it with this.

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matthewn5 | 9 years ago
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Shimano used to make a Tiagra 9-speed flat bar shifter, and an Ultegra 10-speed flat bar shifter.

Do they now make an Ultegra 11-speed flat bar shifter?

It's been a few years since I've bought a new Shimano group, my Ultegra 6600 with exposed gear cables is still going strong.

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TimC340 replied to matthewn5 | 9 years ago
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drmatthewhardy wrote:

Shimano used to make a Tiagra 9-speed flat bar shifter, and an Ultegra 10-speed flat bar shifter.

Do they now make an Ultegra 11-speed flat bar shifter?

It's been a few years since I've bought a new Shimano group, my Ultegra 6600 with exposed gear cables is still going strong.

I have Ultegra 6600 on one of my bikes, 6800 on another and 105-5700 (using a triple) on a third. There's little to choose between 6600 and 6800 in shift quality, though 6800 requires less lever movement. 5700 is nowhere near as good as either. The current Tiagra 4600 is a bit clunky, and the rear derailleur is weak. This new generation looks a world apart in quality, and I hope it shifts better than 5700!

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V33nlo | 9 years ago
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Please don't let this be an April fools!!!  22

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ChrisB200SX | 9 years ago
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I find it nearly impossible to see the gear indicators anyway, less clutter ahead of the stem is a great thing for lights and/or aero.

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stenmeister | 9 years ago
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My firstborn likes bikes, I'll ask her what she thinks of this.

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Lantern | 9 years ago
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I'm glad they're keeping it as 10 speed, and it's a well deserved upgrade for this groupset. I'm also pleased with the new chainset- a cheaper introduction to easily interchangable chainrings and it just looks cool.
I've also just upgraded to 5700 shifters with the rest of the components as Tiagra so it's good to know I'll still be able to get decent spares without hassle.

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bikebot replied to Lantern | 9 years ago
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Lantern wrote:

I'm glad they're keeping it as 10 speed, and it's a well deserved upgrade for this groupset. I'm also pleased with the new chainset- a cheaper introduction to easily interchangable chainrings and it just looks cool.
I've also just upgraded to 5700 shifters with the rest of the components as Tiagra so it's good to know I'll still be able to get decent spares without hassle.

But note the new cable pull, you won't be able to mix derailleurs and shifters from old and new.

I'm just doing exactly the same upgrade with my CX bike, and will use a CX70 derailleur on the front with 5700 shifters. It looks like I wouldn't be able to use these because of the change.

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edster99 | 9 years ago
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I also hate the exposed cables. 'Classic bikes' ? er no - they had down tube shifters. After that, we moved to under the tape shifting and braking. So for a 'not best bike' group - probably excellent VFM - cheap replacement parts for my 10sp cross bike that has 105 on when I keep breaking things too  1

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Bez | 9 years ago
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Hurrah for the hidden gear cables! I have a world of love for the hidden gear cables.

Stupid irregular four-arm cranksets can get to soddery, though.

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RobD | 9 years ago
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Gotta say I really like it, especially the under tape cable routing, that's probably what bugs me most about my Tiagra equipped bike (although not enough to have replaced it with 10 speed 105 ones clearly...)
I think it's a good move, it'll make bikes in the £750-£1100 range that often use Tiagra look a lot better.

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Welsh boy | 9 years ago
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It seems that I am the only one who thinks that the chainset is so ugly that it is untrue. Yes, i know function should be the prime consideration but really, this is Tiagra we are looking at, not race-level kit. At least now you can have a chainset as ugly as DuraAce for a fraction of the price.

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parksey | 9 years ago
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Looks like a decent upgrade to Tiagra, I'm particularly glad they've ditched the awful"dinner plate" chainset design of the previous version. That was genuinely a reason I wouldn't have bought a Tiagra-equipped bike before. Under-tape cabling is another aesthetic bonus too.

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alotronic | 9 years ago
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Triples... mmm... yes please. Means I can basically run single-tooth differences in rear cluster AND get a hill friendly lower ratio.

I grew up on 42,52 with 13-18 or 21 clusters so got very used to close gearing - compacts dive me nuts.

Let see, triple setups I have used in the the last year: 28,38,48 with 11-23 block - super tight! 30,42,53 with 13-28 block - hilltastic! Look mum, no fecking great gaps in my ratios.

Added bonus that no one takes you seriously on a triple, so you can ride along at your own pace, not macho pace. So yes, for 'tourers' - or those us us who can think for ourselves  26

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Ham-planet | 9 years ago
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Any weights published? How does it compare to 5700?

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Skylark | 9 years ago
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Brakes do not look like last iteration Ultegra. Brakes look more like last iteration Tiagra.

They put in a tighter spring and increased the forging alignment of the pivot arms.

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Farky | 9 years ago
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So a Tiagra triple crackset will replace my old 105-5700 triple?

Need a price now.

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Skynet | 9 years ago
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Agree about the gear indicator, who the heck looks at them?

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CanAmSteve | 9 years ago
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Too bad about the move to under-tape shift cable routing. I liked the old exposed cable setup (but hated the indicator windows) as it had the look of the classic bikes and made a nice upgrade. Now, 105/Tiagra is less of a difference.

I have noticed recently that 10-spd 105 prices have come down to be only a bit more than Tiagra (no doubt clearing out old stock) so it will be interesting to see the pricing. The Tiagra RD was always the weak spot - this new model looks much better.

And yes, lots of cyclists still use triples and ten speed clusters are more than enough for any sort of normal or recreational rider (two more than enough, in fact)  1

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ChrisB200SX | 9 years ago
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Am I the only one seeing a colour mis-match of the crank arm?

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Pub bike replied to ChrisB200SX | 9 years ago
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ChrisB200SX wrote:

Am I the only one seeing a colour mis-match of the crank arm?

Optical illusion. The groupset is actually white and gold.

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nortonpdj replied to ChrisB200SX | 9 years ago
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not blue and black?

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2 Wheeled Idiot | 9 years ago
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It looks like a good vfm groupset.
Does ANYONE still use a triple out of choice?????

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bikebot replied to 2 Wheeled Idiot | 9 years ago
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2 Wheeled Idiot wrote:

It looks like a good vfm groupset.
Does ANYONE still use a triple out of choice?????

Tourers.

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patto583 replied to 2 Wheeled Idiot | 9 years ago
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Yes, some of are unfit and ride in hilly areas. The decline of the triple has been annoying me more and more.

As far as the touring bike goes I also dislike the fact that you can't combine road and MTB bits on 10 speed, thus limiting the ability to run properly wide ratios with STI shifters.

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CroMo Rocks replied to patto583 | 9 years ago
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I put a Shimano Deore long cage rear mech and an 11-36 tooth 10 sp cassette running with a compact double on my Croix de Fer, it works well for me, unfit 50 plus with an aversion to hills!

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