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Unboxing: microSHIFT Centos 11 Groupset

microSHIFT have been on the fringes of the big three groupset brands for a number of years, and are back with their latest 11-speed effort...

If you’re not familiar with microSHIFT they were founded in Taiwan in 1999, starting with twist-type shifters for MTB and then making their first dual control levers for road in 2007. The Centos 11 is one of two 11 speed groupsets microSHIFT currently offer, the other one being the quite unfortunately named Arsis 11 which is a higher end groupset pitched in between Ultegra and Dura-Ace if we’re to use Shimano as a comparison. For that you get slightly lighter components with added carbon in the levers and rear mech.  
Another plus point of using microSHIFT is that they are compatible with Shimano components, so you can mix and match if you just want to use microSHIFT levers, for example.

 

Microshift Centos 11 - levers.jpg

 

microSHIFT do genuinely offer something different to Sram, Shimano and Campagnolo, which is mostly to be seen in the levers. The thumb clickers are pretty sizeable, and perform single shifts. The big paddle performs simultaneous shifts, and you can do four shifts up and three shifts down with just one push of this big lever. Campagnolo’s groupsets offer a similar system whereby you can perform multiple shifts, but you can do this from the thumb buttons on theirs - so you could say microSHIFT are straddling between Shimano and Campag with this mechanism.
The rear mech weighs 194g which is actually a single gram lighter than an Ultegra 6800 rear mech. This is made with all aluminium, as is the front mech which weighs in slightly more than Ultegra and 105’s at 95g.

 

Microshift Centos 11 groupset.jpg

 

There’s been quite a few groupset announcements in the last twelve months, including FSA’s new electronic groupset, a new mid-range Campagnolo offering and sightings of an update to Shimano's all-conquering Ultegra, so it's fair to say there’s a lot of competition in the road market at the moment. Is there a place for microSHIFT? We’re going to put some miles into the Centos 11 and report back to see if this is the real deal, but on first impressions and the performance of the previous 10 speed version, it’s looking promising so far...

**Edit... when we shot the video we had no information on pricing for the Centos 11, however later that evening we heard back from microSHIFT's distributor - the shifters have an RRP of £197.99, the rear mech £48.49 and the front mech £31.99... which is comparatively cheap as chips! 

For more tech videos, check out our YouTube channel

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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19 comments

Avatar
dmartyn | 7 years ago
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so when does the full review come out Jack? Pretty keen to hear what you think of the groupset in action.

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to dmartyn | 7 years ago
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dmartyn wrote:

so when does the full review come out Jack? Pretty keen to hear what you think of the groupset in action.

For my sins the editorial team bunged them my way, they've just gone on to the steel bike replacing a 9-speed Tiagra setup - w00t, no more external shift cables. My first impression is - how can this cost £320 RRP? It feels like Campy Athena, maybe a bit better.

 

First ride tomorrow.

Avatar
dmartyn replied to KiwiMike | 6 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:

dmartyn wrote:

so when does the full review come out Jack? Pretty keen to hear what you think of the groupset in action.

For my sins the editorial team bunged them my way, they've just gone on to the steel bike replacing a 9-speed Tiagra setup - w00t, no more external shift cables. My first impression is - how can this cost £320 RRP? It feels like Campy Athena, maybe a bit better.

 

First ride tomorrow.

£320 seems a bit high for what it is, no brakes, BB, crankset etc. They can be found on other sites for quite cheap. So what are your thoughts? Thinking of upgrading my ultegra 10 speed but waiting for a road.cc review. I trust you guys!

Avatar
Asian Bike Man | 7 years ago
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small world. I have just put these shifters on my bike. I have them working with a  11speed 105 front derailleur and a tiagra 4700 rear derailleur (which works with 11speed shifters )...  also ultegra 11-32 cassette. so real mix and match. all works good but its going to take time to get used to the thumb shifters. I was a really big fan of the old 10 speed microshift stuff which to me had really good hand feel and contols.

 

Avatar
Vejnemojnen | 7 years ago
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whoever laughs at the name "arsis" should ridicule mavic for the r-sys as well!  1

Avatar
Jamminatrix | 7 years ago
1 like

****Compatible with Shimano****

You need to clarify which Shimano era. Microshift 10spd stuff worked with the older cable pull Shimano​ (7900, 6700, 5700), but not with new 11spd Shimano (9000, 6800, 5800). Just looking at the pictures of the front derailleur, it looks low swing like older Shimano and not newer stuff.

Avatar
Drpepper99uk replied to Jamminatrix | 7 years ago
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Jamminatrix wrote:

****Compatible with Shimano**** You need to clarify which Shimano era. Microshift 10spd stuff worked with the older cable pull Shimano​ (7900, 6700, 5700), but not with new 11spd Shimano (9000, 6800, 5800). Just looking at the pictures of the front derailleur, it looks low swing like older Shimano and not newer stuff.

 

I can confirm this groupset and the Arsis model will work with the newer 11 speed Shimano groupset should you wish to mix and match. I used the front shifters with an 6800 Ultegra rear mech for a short time whilst waiting for my matching rear mech to arrive from Taiwan and it worked just fine.

 

One thing I will mention is that the front mech trim function of the levers from Microshift does have slightly more movement/ adjustment so when using a Shimano Ultegra 6800 front mech I had to adjust it a bit more to stop chain rub in places- this was resolved when I swapped over to the Microshift front mech.

 

hope this helps.

Avatar
srchar | 7 years ago
1 like

Unboxing vids, what is this, macworld?

I'm still none the wiser about how the lever arrangement works.

Avatar
joules1975 replied to srchar | 7 years ago
2 likes

srchar wrote:

Unboxing vids, what is this, macworld?

I'm still none the wiser about how the lever arrangement works.

Does seem a little odd, until you realise that it's a great way to show various bits of a product that a simple set of photos can't.

That said, Road.cc need to take a look at what a good unboxing video contains ... a man sat on a sofa waving something around in the distance doesn't really cut it.

Avatar
cyclisto | 7 years ago
1 like

I was seriously looking into Microshift when I wanted to do a conversion and discovered the ridiculous price of new Sora shifters. I finally bought second hand at mint condition but the very good prices Microshift offers are always into my mind. I believe they could break the market with a cheap 9x3 disc-braked road groupset, that would be very attractive as an OEM equipment

Avatar
Ratfink | 7 years ago
0 likes

What are they like for comfort?

Avatar
Drpepper99uk replied to Ratfink | 7 years ago
1 like

Ratfink wrote:

What are they like for comfort?

 

This is subjective, I found the hood shape to be more comfortable for me( it's slightly slimmer in profile to Shimano Ultegra)and I also like the textured surface underneath the hoods which provided enhanced grip in wet weather. 

 

 

Avatar
Drpepper99uk | 7 years ago
4 likes

Hi,

 

I have the 11 speed Arsis which is carbon wrapped on the shifters and front/rear mech and no different mechanically to the Centos model.(yes you can laugh at the name) on a current road bike and it's great. The video as mentioned does give confusing info which is annoying considering it's supposed to be giving factual infomation and promoting awareness of the brand. I'm probably only a handful of people in the U.K actually using it and it does give cause for laughter when I mention the name of it) I actually swapped my Ultegra 6800 groupset over to this and wouldn't look back despite the raised eyebrows.

 

My groupset allows for upto 4 shifts down the cassette using the paddle, and 3 up using the thumb shifter. It's compatible with both Shimano and Sram components(chains, cassettes) and it's been excellent to use. I have actually produced a few video's of it working on youtube as there is such little info around on the net about the Microshift road groupsets I thought it might help those elsewhere in the world looking to purchase it. The shifting can be best described as "positive" like campy....if you're after a smooth sweeping action of levers like Ultegra and silent rear shifts then look elsewhere!! I couldn't get used to it at first, however it's now not even thought about and I actually prefer the click/gear in approach.

 

I bought my shifters and front mech from a U.K seller(sadly no longer around) but I had to source the rear derailleur of Ebay of all places from a seller in Taiwan! The brand does have quite a few pro teams using it at national level(Jelly-Belly being one) so it's had plenty of chances to be used on all levels and if it's good enough for them, it was good enough for me. Sadly the big 3 have been around long enough and i'd hazard a guess most ridiers would be weary of trying something else out of the norm to what they would otherwise consider...

 

Availability is also an issue, as mentioned above venturing into the unknown is a stopping point for many but also supply....I'd be interested to know if Jack sourced this groupset directly from Microshift themselves.

Avatar
philhubbard replied to Drpepper99uk | 7 years ago
0 likes

Drpepper99uk wrote:

Hi,

 

I have the 11 speed Arsis which is carbon wrapped on the shifters and front/rear mech and no different mechanically to the Centos model.(yes you can laugh at the name) on a current road bike and it's great. The video as mentioned does give confusing info which is annoying considering it's supposed to be giving factual infomation and promoting awareness of the brand. I'm probably only a handful of people in the U.K actually using it and it does give cause for laughter when I mention the name of it) I actually swapped my Ultegra 6800 groupset over to this and wouldn't look back despite the raised eyebrows.

 

My groupset allows for upto 4 shifts down the cassette using the paddle, and 3 up using the thumb shifter. It's compatible with both Shimano and Sram components(chains, cassettes) and it's been excellent to use. I have actually produced a few video's of it working on youtube as there is such little info around on the net about the Microshift road groupsets I thought it might help those elsewhere in the world looking to purchase it. The shifting can be best described as "positive" like campy....if you're after a smooth sweeping action of levers like Ultegra and silent rear shifts then look elsewhere!! I couldn't get used to it at first, however it's now not even thought about and I actually prefer the click/gear in approach.

 

I bought my shifters and front mech from a U.K seller(sadly no longer around) but I had to source the rear derailleur of Ebay of all places from a seller in Taiwan! The brand does have quite a few pro teams using it at national level(Jelly-Belly being one) so it's had plenty of chances to be used on all levels and if it's good enough for them, it was good enough for me. Sadly the big 3 have been around long enough and i'd hazard a guess most ridiers would be weary of trying something else out of the norm to what they would otherwise consider...

 

Availability is also an issue, as mentioned above venturing into the unknown is a stopping point for many but also supply....I'd be interested to know if Jack sourced this groupset directly from Microshift themselves.

 

Microshift are between distributor in the UK currently I think as it used to be Upgrade bikes but I think it's now Moore Large

Avatar
DaveE128 | 7 years ago
1 like

Road.cc vids could really benefit from a bit more polish...

I watched it hoping it would explain the detail about how the levers are used to do 4 shifts in one direction or 3 in the other, as this wasn't clear from the article, and found the video was just a bloke reading out the article - it really didn't add anything  2

Avatar
Jack Sexty replied to DaveE128 | 7 years ago
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DaveE128 wrote:

Road.cc vids could really benefit from a bit more polish...

I watched it hoping it would explain the detail about how the levers are used to do 4 shifts in one direction or 3 in the other, as this wasn't clear from the article, and found the video was just a bloke reading out the article - it really didn't add anything  2

Hey Dave... point taken about the unboxing format, it's obviously quite a challenge to demonstrate the workings of a groupset without it being on an actual bike... keep an eye our for the review, I'll definitely suggest a supporting video showing some close-ups of the mechanism.

Cheers,

Jack

Avatar
Freddy56 | 7 years ago
1 like

Forme had them on bikes a few years ago and our local shop just count shift them, People are sheep and want what works and what more experienced riders have. 

Avatar
reliablemeatloaf replied to Freddy56 | 7 years ago
2 likes

Freddy56 wrote:

Forme had them on bikes a few years ago and our local shop just count shift them, People are sheep and want what works and what more experienced riders have. 

 

It's sheepish to "want what works" and to emulate more experienced riders?

Why should people gamble their hard-earned money for something unproven, which may prove more trouble than it is worth, and cause them to give up cycling as too much bother?

 

Avatar
TypeVertigo | 7 years ago
0 likes

On their 10-speed stuff, MicroShift adopts the Campy ethos of "one lever one function" on their control levers, but does it with two shift levers stacked vertically behind the brake lever. It's a bit like the shift rocker switch layout of the FSA K-Force WE shifters, but with two levers and mechanical actuation.

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