Shimano Claris vs Tourney:  What’s Best for Your Needs? (groupset analysis)

Shimano Claris and Shimano Tourney are both lower-end groupsets in Shimano’s road hierarchy.

Out of the two, Shimano Claris components are known to be of notably higher class.

However, higher-end components are not the best choice for every project. After all, sometimes it’s more practical to buy a cheaper car than a shinier one.

On the basis of this notion, a comparison between Claris and Tourney isn’t out of place, especially from the perspective of a beginner.

The aim of this post is to compare the two groupsets and help people choose the one that fits their needs better.

Claris and Tourney In Shimano’s Groupset Hierarchy

Entry LevelClaris8
RecreationSora, Tiagra9, 10

The Main Differences Between Shimano Claris and Tourney

  • Focus

Shimano Claris is strictly a road groupset whereas Tourney is found on entry-level MTBs, road bikes, and urban models. That property makes Tourney more universal whereas Claris is more “focused”.

  • Claris = Newer Technology

Claris components are more modern in comparison to Tourney.

  • The Cranks

Claris cranks are designed for external bottom brackets. Consequently, the bottom bracket spindle is attached to the drive-side crank. This property is considered beneficial because the spindle and the cranks can be more rigid. The lower degree of flex results in greater efficiency.

In different, Tourney cranks use the old square taper bottom brackets and do not offer sufficient stiffness for people who look for a more “luxurious” performance.

That being said, the non-pretentiousness and affordability of Tourney cranks are its strengths too.

  • Rear Derailleur

The Tourney rear derailleur meets the minimum requirements for performance. In short, it covers the basics and nothing more.

The spring mechanism isn’t as robust and the chain routinely hits the chainstay (hence why it’s recommended to cover the drive-side chainstay with a protector or else the chain will quickly remove the paint and dig into the frame).

The Claris rear derailleurs are slightly better and offer a smoother shifting experience and better chain retention. That being said, they still lack in comparison to 105 groupsets.

  • Shifters

The shifters of Claris are very similar to those found on higher-end bikes when it comes to both looks and performance. Tourney brake-shifters, on the other hand, have external brake cables (the brake cable and housing do not run under the bar tape) and a small lever secondary lever rather than one under the main brake lever.

  • Brakes

Currently, there are no modern Shimano Tourney calipers. That being said, there are old-school Tourney center-pull brakes. But there is little incentive to go for them unless the goal is to have a retro setup.

Cassette Comparison

Shimano Claris

Shimano Claris cassettes have 8-speed available in five gradations:

Cassette ModelTotal capacitySprocket
Individual cogs*Weight
ECSHG508130P11-30Steel11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30 330-350g

Note: The weight data is approximate.

*This column shows the number of teeth per cog.

Shimano Tourney

Cassette ModelTotal capacitySprocket
Individual cogs*Weight
CS-HG20-7 (7-speed model)12-28Steel12-14-16-18-21-24-28259g
CS-HG20-7 (7-speed model)11-32Steel12-14-16-18-21-26-32260g

Conclusion: Shimano Claris cassettes come in greater variety. The 11-25 models offer smooth transitions between the gears whereas the 11-34 units provide a lower first gear which makes climbing easier. Meanwhile, Tourney cassettes are very limited.

Note: Tourney offers a great number of freewheels that aren’t included in this comparison. Freewheels are not part of Claris’ repertoire and are found only on old and budget builds.

Winner: Claris

Shifter Comparison

Shimano Claris Brake-ShiftersShimano Tourney Brake-Shifters
TypeDCL Dual controlDCL Dual control
Optical gear displayYes (not all models)Yes
Reach AdjustYesYes
Lever MaterialAluminumAluminum
Hidden Cable RoutingYesNo
Hydraulic Disc Brake OptionNoNo
Approximate Weight (pair)500 grams500 grams

The main downside of Tourney levers is that they’re designed for 7-speeds. This means that the rear shifter has only 6 clicks and cannot be used with 8-speed cassettes. This property further narrows down the cassette options that Tourney offers.

A 7-speed cassette has larger transitions between the gears making it harder to maintain smooth cadence. Cadence is a term describing the rotation of the cranks per 1 minute. A higher cadence such as 90 RPM is considered more efficient and allows the rider to maintain a higher average speed.

That said, both brake-shifter types have many overlapping points on paper. The overall quality and comfort of Claris are higher nonetheless.

Winner: Claris

Front Derailleur Comparison

Shimano Claris Front DerailleurShimano Tourney Front Derailleur
Special Adjustments
Front Derailleur TypeBrazed-On, Clamp, High ClampClamp, High Clamp
Shifting system8-speed6,7,8-speed
Chainset compatibilityDouble and TripleDouble and Triple
Weightabout 128 gramsabout 185 grams

Front derailleurs are much simpler than the rear mech. Consequently, one can use an entry-level model with satisfactory results. Claris front derailleurs are lighter and some people could argue that they look better.

Nonetheless, Tourney front derailleurs offer satisfactory performance too.

Shimano Claris Rear DerailleurShimano Tourney Rear Derailleur
MaterialAluminum, glass-fiber reinforced polymerAluminum, glass-fiber reinforced polymer
Top-Normal spring type | Double servoYesYes
Barrel AdjusterYesYes
Max. front difference2020
Low sprocket|Max.3434
Low sprocket|Min.2528
Top sprocket|Max.1314
Top sprocket|Min.1111

Once again, the stats of both derailleurs are similar, but the real difference is in the details. Tourney meets the bare minimum criteria in terms of performance and quality whereas Claris is visibly on a higher level.

That said, Tourney works and is a good option when one’s budget is limited.

Cranks and Bottom Bracket Comparison

Shimano Claris CranksShimano Tourney Cranks
Number of
Crank Arm
Chainring MaterialSteelSteel
Axle MaterialSteelSteel
Bottom BracketOctalink, Hollowtech II Square Taper
Bottom Bracket Weightabout 260gabout 355g
Chainring ConnectionBoltsRivets

The main advantages of Claris cranks over Tourney are:

  • Compatible with modern bottom brackets
  • Bolted connection (The chainrings of Claris cranks connect to the crank arms via bolts and are therefore replaceable. Meanwhile, Tourney’s cranks are riveted. When a chainring wears down, the crank arms have to be replaced too.)
  • Lighter

Hubs Comparison

Shimano Claris HubsShimano Tourney Hubs
Axle TypeQuick-releaseQuick-release
Brake TypeRim brakes onlyRim and disc brake options (only for MTB)
Weight (front)about 214gabout 200g
Weight (rear)about 459gabout 455g

What Are The Advantages Of Shimano Tourney?

The strongest point of Shimano Tourney components is that they meet the minimum requirements for satisfactory performance without costing too much. This makes them perfect for non-pretentious bikes that are going to serve as commuters or fitness machines.

What Are The Advantages of Shimano Claris?

Claris is a significant step up from Tourney when the main goal is affordable performance. The components look a lot more modern and incorporate the design and quality found in the higher-end groupsets.

Claris is the most logical choice when one is building an affordable road bike that can still offer some decent technical qualities and comfort. Truth be told, some people consider Claris better than Sora because the main difference between the two is the extra speed that Sora comes with it.

Remember That You Can Always Upgrade

At the end of the day, one can always upgrade various groupset components to higher-end models. Not only that, but cassettes, chainrings, and chains are consumables anyway. For that reason, there is no need to get particularly obsessed with purchasing high-end components right away.

The frame, the fork, and the wheels are a lot more important than the cranks, for example. If the bike is of the right size for you and is sufficiently comfortable, you can get by with a cheap set of cranks and shifters until you can afford better ones.

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