The Braintrust of Shimano GRX – Q&A with the GRX Team!

JOM of the Gravel Cyclist crew caught up with two of the key players involved with the development of Shimano’s GRX groupset, mechanical and Di2. Also joining is Mr. Nick Legan, a recent addition to Shimano’s team.

shimano grx di2 review
What is going on here?

In the photos above, meet:

  • Dave Lawrence (Left) – Road Product Manager, Shimano North America
  • Hiroshi Matsumoto (Middle)  – Road/Gravel/Adventure, Shimano Japan
  • Nick Legan (Right) – Road Brand Manager, Shimano North America – Nick is also the author of the book, “Gravel Cycling“.

Please pardon the odd audio issue or two.

In this interview, the team answers questions and talks about gear range, ergonomics, tyre clearance, why GRX vs a Shimano Road groupset and more.

Other links of interest:

Thanks for watching!

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  1. Avatar Huddy

    Kind of related: I hope you get a chance to review the new ‘PRO’ gravel saddle.

    • JOM JOM

      I am certain there is a prototype version on the Pivot bike I showed in my GRX video… that bike is inbound at the moment.

  2. Avatar W G Scott

    Thanks for posting this interview. This is one of the most helpful videos I have seen. I especially appreciated the explanation for why the 48/31T crank was chosen. I’ve been using a 46/30T White Industries crank for a few years with my otherwise Ultegra Di2 setup, along with a 11-34T cassette, and 38mm Compass tires. On a whim, I recently purchased the 46/30T GRX crank, and managed to get it working with the Ultegra (band-clamped) front derailleur, despite the chain-line. I was hesitant to get the 48/31T crankset, because I didn’t want to change too many things at once, but now I realize I might have been better off. (The $150 GRX 46/30T shifts better than the White Industries crankset did, FWIW.)

  3. Avatar Tom McGreevy

    Hi Jom,
    I have a stock Raliegh Roker Sport – which I bought some time ago after I saw your video extolling it’s virtues. It still has the original Tiagra group set. So I’ve kind of been toying with he idea of upgrading to a Shimano di2. I’m wondering if now that the GRX group set has appeared whether this would be something to go for.

    Any thoughts? On one hand I wonder wether to put that much time and effort and money into this older bike (2017) is a good idea, but maybe much less expensive to add these upgrades than going for a new expensive bike. Plus I’m thinking if I do build a new bike someday, I can move these components to the newer bike.

    Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Or, is this a reasonable project?



  4. Avatar James Ballew

    I wish there had been discussions about why a product is announced but not readily available for 4 months after the initial announcement. As a shop employee this really creates a pickle for the shop and the consumer and Shimano isn’t helping.

    • Avatar Sean

      I too find product announcements frustrating. My Niner is waiting on GRX DI2 and Easton 47/32 chain rings and carbon cranks for several months.
      I don’t even want to talk about how long I been waiting on my 2020 Pivot Mach 4SL

  5. Avatar Dirty Dave

    And yet, Niner, in their infinite wisdom have decided to do this to their $5300.00 2020 RLT 9 RDO 5 star Shimano “GRX 800 2x” build … “CRANKSET EASTON EA90 47X32T” SMH!

    • JOM JOM

      Good catch, I missed that! I am chatting with someone at Niner HQ about a review sample, I will inquire if that is a typo?

      • Avatar James Ballew

        JOM – That’d be great if you could do that. The build spec on the RLTs are really mysterious. Putting a $120 MSRP crank on a $5000 build is silly. Not to mention because of that they’re not putting the GRX FD on the bikes. Heck half of the “GRX drivetrain” isn’t even GRX.

        If Shimano is so constrained to where manufacturers are having to go 3rd party, that’s really unfortunate. But cutting corners to keep margins in check, well, that’s equally as unfortunate.

        I was stoked to pick up a 2020 RLT 9 Steel, cash in hand, but with the build specs and price points I’m actively pursuing alternatives.

        • Avatar Jim Rupert

          I ride my 2019 RLT Steel every day. It’s a joy to ride. IMO, buy the bike, be real patient, and you’ll end up a very happy guy ?

          • Avatar James Ballew

            Jim – Thanks. I’ve already got a 2018 4-Star that I love. But I was real interested in a 2020 4-Star for GRX and to be able to use my Hunt Dynamo wheelset. It’s currently much cheaper to go frameset and build it as a proper GRX build.

  6. Avatar pkram

    I don’t really believe the answer regarding the Ultegra RX800 rear mech. It’s no longer listed on Shimano website, so I suspect they have actually killed it as some had predicted.

  7. Avatar Ovi

    Hi JOM, great site and reviews!!! I am reading conflicting or at least incomplete reports on the GRX group. When using the Di2-800 2X 48-31 crank, can one use the 11-40 cassette with the long cage GRX derailleur? or is it limited to the 11-34 cassette. If so why? I viewed your video showing that the short cage has more range but why wouldn’t one use the other available derailleur – or is it limited to 1X use for some reason?

      • Avatar Ovidiu Schiopu

        Thanks JON, interesting demo. Did you perform that with the RX815 or the RX817 rear derailleur. Would the RX817 that is specked for a 42 rear work better – I don’t know why Shimano specs the RX817 for their 1X groupset but doesn’t make mention for their 2X chainset??? Is it because it has a shorter cage and can’t take up the slack when going between 31X48 chainrings?

        • JOM JOM

          Firstly, it is JOM, not JON. Shimano makes the rules with their derailleurs, not I, therefore, they set the specification as they desire. I have heard from one site visitor that the 1x RX817 rear derailleur works well with 2x, but as always, you use at your own risk by going against Shimano’s recommendations.

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