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When you’re replacing components of your bike, it’s important to pick a high quality group set. Shimano is a biking manufacturer that has multiple group sets available. Two popular choices are the Acera and the Altus. What are the biggest differences between these two, and how do you pick the right one for your bike?

#1. Acera
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Maximum compatibilityModerateExpensive
#2. Altus

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Some compatibilityHighInexpensive

#1. Shimano Acera

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The Shimano Acera group set is the mid-level group set when you compare different Shimano MTB pieces. The pieces within the set are more lightweight than you often get at this price point. In particular, the brakes and derailleurs have been designed to help people with core trail riding. Every year, a new set in the line is released with improvements upon the previous design.

The Acera has one of the most vesatile shifters on the market, which means that it’s appealing to a wide range of buyers. Because of the way the pod is designed, you can use the shifter with any brake lever you want. Another thing that sets the shifter apart is the amount of friction in the design. There’s hardly any friction when you shift from gear to gear, allowing for much smoother transitions. The shifter can be adjusted easily and set up quickly, so you’ll be ready to ride in no time.

The MTB series of group sets includes a disc brake system. There’s also a hydraulic disc available. The brake’s performance tends to be on par with that of the other brakes at this price point, and it should be strong enough to stop you even on a steep descent. It’s made for mountain biking in particular.

As for cranksets, there have been multiple improvements to Acera’s. Cranksets are often overlooked when people buy new parts for their bike, but they make a huge difference. These particular cranks are both sturdy and durable, but they’re also made with lightweight material that will keep the bike from dragging.

You can use the sets with any kind of shifter and chain. To get even more bang for your buck, you can invest in the triple M361 crankset. This set comes with a hyperdrive system that makes it even easier to shift from gear to gear without noise or hassle.

The derailleurs are one of the most important pieces of a bicycle group set. There are multiple types of derailleur available in the Acera group set. The three configurations are 3 x 7, 3 x 8, and 3 x 9 speeds. The derailleurs for the front of the bike have an available swing model feature. Like the other pieces in the set, these are made from lightweight materials, and adjusting the cable tensions is easy.

#2. Shimano Altus

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The Shimano Altus group set is designed to be used with mountain bikes or hybrid bikes. It’s not meant to be compatible with your average road or racing bike, though the set may work for this in a pinch. For those who have built their own hybrid bike, the Altus group set is a great starter choice before you upgrade.

There are many specialized features built into the different pieces in this set.

The set includes both a shifter and shift levers. They are meant to go together, and one will struggle to function without the other. Unlike the Acera shifter, the Altus shifter does not have versatile compatibility. In fact, the shifter will only work with Alfine S7000-8 hubs and not with any other models. The shifter includes an optical gear display and a two-way release for convenience.

The Altus comes with maximum performance brakes that tend to outdo the Acera in terms of fast stopping. The brakes are designed to be more comfortable for long-term use, and they’re also more flexible overall. As such, they’re more likely to stand up to heavy wear-and-tear. If used correctly, the brakes can instantaneously stop the bike, which is ideal in emergencies.

There are three different sizes of crankset available for the Altus. They can fit two chainring sizes. Your original chainring can be replaced by the crankset, which is finished in black and allows you to shift speeds reliably.

The rear derailleur has a notable quality and durability. It is capable of working with bikes of both seven and eight speeds.


Though each of the sets comes with the same basic components, there are some noticeable differences between the two.

The Acera pieces tend to be more lightweight and sturdier than the Altus. But because of this, they also tend to be more expensive. People shopping on a budget might have a hard time affording the Acera group set.

The Acera is also more versatile than the Altus. If you purchase Altus pieces, you’ll need to double check that your bike frame has the appropriate compatibility. The Altus works with different bike speeds than the Acera, so you should always be sure you’re picking the component that’s built for your type of bike.

One place the Altus does outperform the Acera, though, is in the brakes. These brakes can allow for instantaneous stopping of the bike with ease. The Acera brakes are still high performance, but they’re not quite as flexible or comfortable to use.

Final Thoughts

When you compare these two group sets, the Acera tends to outperform the Altus in terms of lightweight construction and overall durability. It is also highly versatile, so you can use the components across several bike models.

By comparison, the Altus tends to be a little more inexpensive, so it’s a good choice for those on a budget. The group set also includes high performance brakes that will appeal to mountain bikers who often ride on tough trails.

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