Acera Vs Shimano Altus Groupsets | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • The Altus groupset may be your better choice if you're on a tight budget.
  • The Acera groupset is a better option if you need a wider range of off-roading gears.
  • The Altus crankset has a wider chainring spacing for more flexibility when pedaling.
  • The Acera rear derailleurs are more durable and sturdier than the Altus.
  • To keep your groupset running smoothly, you'll need to clean and lubricate it regularly.

You’ve probably come across the terms "Acera" and "Altus" when researching groupsets. But what exactly are these groupsets, and how do they compare?

Acera is more flexible and efficient, with an optical display for easier gear changes and better force distribution for braking. On the other hand, Shimano Altus is generally considered the higher-end option, with smoother and more efficient shifting, a more durable crankset, and lighter weight.

While both the Acera and Shimano Altus groupsets are affordable and entry-level options, there are some key differences to consider. That means that your needs and preferences will determine which is better for you. Based on my own experience and research, as well as feedback from other cyclists and industry experts, I have compiled a detailed review to help you choose the right group set. Read on to learn more.



Acera Vs. Shimano Altus Groupsets Overview

Acera and Altus groupsets are both from Shimano Brand. When choosing between two Shimano groupsets for your mountain bike, it's important to understand the differences between them. So, what do these groupsets entail? Let’s take a look.

What Is Acera?

The Shimano Acera groupset is a mid-range option that offers a good balance between performance and affordability.

It's suitable for a wide range of bikes, including mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and touring bikes. Shimano Acera groupsets typically have 9 or 10-speed drivetrains. They’re also known for their smooth performance and reliability.

The main stand-out feature of the Acera groupset is its Rapidfire Plus shifters. These Acera shifters allow you to shift up to three gears at once. This can be a great advantage for mountain bike riders when climbing a hill or trying to keep up with a fast ride.

What Is Shimano Altus?

The Shimano Altus groupset is an entry-level option for entry-level mountain bikers. They’re also designed for recreational riders and commuters.

It's a budget-friendly choice that offers reliable performance and smooth shifting for mountain biking. Altus groupsets typically have 7 or 8-speed drivetrains, which are suitable for most casual riders.

What stands out about the Shimano Altus groupset is its two-release shifters. If you’re a mountain bike rider, these shifters allow you to shift up or down with a thumb or forefinger. This can be a real advantage when you’re navigating tricky terrain or trying to maintain your speed on a flat road.

Major Differences Between Shimano Altus Vs. Acera

If you're in the market for an affordable entry-level groupset for your mountain bike, you might be considering the Shimano Altus and Acera groupsets.

While both groupsets are smooth, durable, flexible, and efficient, there are some key differences between the two that might influence your decision. You want to ensure you choose the best groupset matching your bike components.

Here's a summary table that highlights the major differences between the Shimano Altus and Acera groupsets:

Feature/Point of Comparison Shimano Altus Shimano Acera
Shifting Gears Two-way release feature and optical display Rapidfire Plus technology
Braking Performance V-brake compatible V-brake and disc brake compatible
Rear Derailleurs RD-M3100-SGS RD-M3000-SGS
Front Derailleurs FD-M3100-M6 FD-M3000-M6
Weight 1,110 grams 1,296 grams
General Looks Sleek and modern Traditional and classic
Quality and Technology Entry-level components with basic technology Mid-level components with advanced technology
Overall Performance Smooth and efficient, suitable for casual riders Smooth and efficient, suitable for more serious riders
Price and Value for Money Affordable and good value for money Slightly more expensive, but still good value for money

Acera Vs. Shimano Altus: Performance and Durability

When it comes to choosing between the Shimano Altus and Acera groupsets, performance and durability are two important factors to consider. Both groupsets are designed to provide smooth and efficient gear shifting.

Still, some differences between them can affect their performance and durability. Here are some of the components that affect the performance and durability of Acera and Shimano Altus:

Quality of Components

One of the main differences between the Shimano Acera groupset vs. the Shimano Altus groupset is the quality of their components.

Shimano Acera is generally considered to be of higher quality than the Altus groupset, with better cranks, front derailleur, and rear derailleur.

This means that Shimano components are likely to be more durable and flexible. Due to its durable materials, it’s a better choice for more demanding mountain bike rides.


In terms of weight, the Shimano Altus groupset is slightly lighter than the Shimano Acera. This can make a slight difference if you’re looking for a lightweight bike.

However, the Shimano Acera is generally more efficient and provides better force transfer, which can make it easier to pedal and climb hills.

Braking Performance

When it comes to braking, both groupsets offer good performance and sturdiness, but the Acera groupset provides better brake levers and, therefore, better braking efficiency and control. This can be important when riding on steep and challenging terrain.

Gear Performance

Both Altus and Acera offer a wide range of gears, but Acera has more options, especially regarding the number of rear derailleur options. This means that Acera can provide a smooth transition and a more efficient gear-shifting experience, especially when you are riding on challenging terrain.

Crankset Performance

The crankset is an essential component of any groupset, and both Altus and Acera offer a range of options. However, Acera's cranksets are generally more flexible and efficient, providing a more comfortable and smooth ride.


Both groupsets require regular cleaning and lubrication to ensure smooth and efficient gear shifting. However, the Shimano Acera groupset generally needs minimal maintenance and repair, with more flexible components that can be adjusted more easily.

Overall, both the Shimano Altus and Acera groupsets offer good performance and durability, but the Acera groupset is generally considered to be of higher quality and better value for money.

Acera Vs. Altus Pros and Cons

When it comes to choosing between Shimano Acera and Altus groupsets, there are several pros and cons to consider. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect from each:

Shimano Acera Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Better for Trail Riding: The Acera groupset is designed to handle rough terrain and is better suited for trail riding than the Altus groupset. More Expensive than Altus: The Acera groupset is generally more expensive than the Altus groupset, which may not be ideal for budget-conscious riders.
More Gears: The Acera groupset offers more gears than the Altus groupset, which can be helpful when navigating different types of terrain. Heavier: The Acera groupset is slightly heavier than the Altus groupset, which may not be ideal for riders looking to shave off weight from their bikes.
Better Shifting Performance: The Acera groupset offers a smoother shifting performance than the Altus groupset, which can make for a more enjoyable riding experience.

Shimano Altus Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Affordable: The Altus groupset is generally cheaper than the Acera groupset, which can make it a more attractive option for budget-conscious riders. Limited Compatibility: The Altus groupset is not as widely compatible with different types of bikes as the Acera groupset.
Suitable for Road Riding: While not as well-suited for trail riding as the Acera groupset, the Altus groupset is suitable for road riding. Fewer Gears: The Altus groupset offers fewer gears than the Acera groupset, which can be limiting when navigating different types of terrain.
Lightweight: The Altus groupset is slightly lighter than the Acera groupset, which can be helpful for riders looking to reduce weight on their bikes. Less Smooth Shifting Performance: The Altus groupset does not offer as smooth of shifting performance as the Acera groupset, which can make for a less enjoyable riding experience.

Overall, both the Shimano Acera and Altus groupsets have their pros and cons. It's important to consider your individual needs and preferences when choosing between the two.

Whether you need a groupset that can handle rough terrain and offer smooth shifting performance, or you're simply looking for a more budget-friendly option, the choice is yours.

Shimano Altus Vs. Acera, Which Is Better and Why? My Take

Both Altus and Acera groupsets are popular choices for budget bikes and offer a range of features that make them suitable for different riding styles. But which one is better for you?

If you are on a tight budget, Altus will be a reasonable option for you. It's a great option for budget bikes and provides excellent value for money. However, Acera is the way to go if you are looking for better performance and value for money.

Acera groupset is also a better option for anyone looking for a wider range of gear for off-roading. This groupset offers 3x9-speed combinations, while the Altus only offers 3x8-speed combinations.

Ultimately, the choice you settle for between the two will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and the amount of money you’re willing to spend on the groupset.

That said, it’s important to note that Altus is Shimano's entry-level groupset, while Acera is considered a mid-level groupset. This means that Acera components are generally of higher quality than Altus components, which translates to better performance and durability.