Mountain biking is a hugely popular sport, and the gear you use can be the difference between a good and bad experience. Mountain Bike Groupsets are the collection of parts that make up a bicycle’s drivetrain, including the crankset, chainrings, cassette, derailleurs, and shifters. There are three main types of groupsets: Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your riding style and needs.

A good groupset can make shifting gears smoother, help you save energy on climbs, and make descending safer. In this article, we will take a look at the different types of mountain bike gear and groupsets available and explain what each one does. We will also talk about compatibility issues and provide tips for choosing the right set-up for your needs. Knowing all this will help you choose the best mountain bike group set for your riding style. 

Major Mountain Bike Gear Components 

There are a few different mountain bike groupsets manufacturers, with Shimano and SRAM being the most popular. Both companies offer a few different levels of mountain bike groupsets, with lower-end models being more affordable but also generally heavier and less durable. The components in a mountain bike gear groupset can be divided into a few different categories. 

Major Mountain Bike Gear Components 

Shifters are the levers that you use to change gears. They are usually mounted on the handlebars, and they’re operated with your hands while you are riding. Shimano Deore shifters are highly respected for their precision and durability.

Chainsets include the chainrings (the large gears that the chain wraps around) and the crank arms (the long pieces of metal that connect the pedals to the chainrings). The number of chainrings included in a chainset can vary, but most mountain bikes have either two or three. 

Cassettes are the group of smaller gears located at the rear of the bike, and they work with the chainrings to provide a range of gears for pedaling up hills and cruising on flat terrain. 

Derailleurs are responsible for moving the chain from one MTB gear to another, and they’re usually located near the cassette at the rear of the bike. 

Brakes are essential for stopping, and mountain bikes typically have either disc brakes or rim brakes. 

Bottom bracket is where the crank arms attach to the frame, and it’s what allows you to pedal effectively. 

Chains are what connects everything together – they wrap around the chainrings and cassettes, providing traction so you can pedal forwards. 

Top Group Set MTB Manufacturers 

In the world of mountain biking, there are two main groupset manufacturers that dominate the market: SRAM and Shimano. Both brands offer a wide range of products, from entry-level to high-end, and each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses.  

Top Group Set MTB Manufacturers 


SRAM is widely considered to be the leader in innovation, with a history of introducing new technologies that have transformed the sport of mountain biking. One of their most notable innovations is the 1x drivetrain, which ditches the front derailleur in favor of a single chainring upfront. This simplifies the shifting process and reduces weight, making it a popular choice for both competitive riders and casual enthusiasts alike. 

SRAM is also known for its Eagle groupsets, which feature a massive 10-50t cassette that provides an incredible range of MTB gears for climbing and descending. However, SRAM’s products tend to be on the pricier side, so they may not be the best option if you are on a budget.

  • X5
  • X7
  • X9
  • X01 Eagle/AXS
  • GX Eagle
  • NX Eagle
  • XX1 Eagle/AXS
SRAM XPLR Gravel Groupset Ranking
  • Force eTap AXS XPLR: 12-speed wireless electronic
  • Rival eTap AXS XPLR: 12-speed wireless electronic
  • Red eTap AXS XPLR: 12-speed wireless electronic
SRAM Groupset Levels Ranking
  • Apex 1: 11-speed
  • Apex: 10-speed
  • Rival eTap AXS: 12-speed wireless electronic
  • Rival: 11-speed
  • Force eTap AXS: 12-speed wireless electronic
  • Force: 11-speed
  • Red eTap: 11-speed
  • Red eTap AXS: 12-speed wireless electronic


Shimano, on the other hand, is known for their reliability and durability. Their products are often seen as being more ‘traditional’, but they continue to evolve with the times. In recent years, Shimano has introduced Di2, which offers lightning-fast shifts with perfect precision.  


And while Shimano doesn’t have quite as wide a range of MTB gears as SRAM, they make up for it with their impressive speed range. Shimano’s products are also affordable making them a great option if you’re looking to get into mountain biking without breaking the bank. 

  • Altus
  • Tourney
  • Alivio
  • Acera
  • SLX
  • Deore
  • XTR Di2
  • XTR
  • ZEE
Shimano Gravel Groupset Ranking
  • GRX RX600: 11-speed (apart from 10-speed version of crank)
  • The GRX RX400: 10-speed
  • The GRX RX815: 11-speed electronic
  • GRX RX810: 11-speed
Shimano Road Groupset Ranking
  • Sora R3000: 9-speed
  • Claris R2000: 8-speed
  • 105 R7000: 11-speed
  • Tiagra 4700: 10-speed
  • Ultegra Di2 R8100: 12-speed electronic only
  • 105 Di2 R7150: 12-speed electronic only
  • Dura-Ace Di2 R9200: 12-speed electronic only

How to Get the Best Mountain Bike Groupsets?

Here are 10 tips for choosing the best mountain bike gear sets and MTB parts :

Get the Best Mountain Bike Groupsets

  1. Do your research: take the time to read reviews and compare features before making a decision. If you have the best full suspension mountain bike, you might need different groupsets than for a road bike.
  2. Consider your budget: Bicycle groupsets can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, so it’s important to set a realistic budget before you start shopping.
  3. Choose a groupset that is compatible with your bike frame: Not all bicycle groupsets will work with every frame, so make sure to check compatibility before making a purchase.
  4. Decide which features are most important: do you need a groupset with hydraulic brakes? Or would disc brakes suffice? What about suspension? Think about which features are most important to you and use that as a starting point for your search. For example, if you use a hardtail mountain bike, your preferences will be different than a fat tire mountain bike.
  5. Compare weights before making your final decision. 
  6. Consider durability especially if you plan on riding in rough conditions.
  7. Don’t forget about aesthetics, after all, you want your bike to look good as well as perform well! 
  8. Check for warranty coverage: Some mountain bike gear sets come with a limited warranty, so be sure to check for this before making your purchase. 
  9. Ask for advice: if you are still not sure which groupset is right for you, ask for advice from friends or family who are more experienced riders. 
  10. Go for a test ride: once you have narrowed down your options, take each group set out for a test ride, and see how it feels before making your final decision.
  11. Consider the Rack. With bike gears comes weight and we need to be cautious of our bike transport as per the racks we are using. Be it hitch mount bike rack or roof racks, always keep in mind the weight of the bike with added groupsets. 

Some Last Words

When it comes to mountain biking, groupsets are an important consideration. They can affect everything from the bike’s weight and performance to how much you spend. We hope this article has helped you understand the different types of groupsets available and what to look for when making your purchase. Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to start shopping around and see which set will take your riding to the next level. Happy trails!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Do electric unicycles have a groupset?

Most electric unicycles do not have groupsets, which are common on traditional bicycles. Groupsets typically include the pedals, cranks, chains, and gears, and they are designed to work together as a single unit. However, electric unicycles typically have only a single speed, so there is no need for multiple gears. 

Additionally, electric unicycles typically have a direct-drive motor that is located in the hub of the wheel. This design eliminates the need for a chain, further simplifying the unicycle. As a result, even the best electric unicycles mostly do not have groupsets.

Q2. Can mountain bike gear sets work with hybrid bikes?

Many MTB gear sets can also be used with hybrid bikes, which are a cross between road and mountain bikes. While not all gear sets are compatible with all hybrid bike models, the best hybrid bikes will have mounting points that allow you to use a variety of different gear sets. 


I am David, one of the best contributing tech editors. I have written more than a million words about thousands of bikes and equipment. To make sure my hobby turned profession inspires others, I have also penned 3 bike-related books and have given interviews to many YouTubers.