Shimano GS vs SGS Comparison: Which Suits You Better?

Are you confused about Shimano GS vs SGS rear derailleurs? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. In this article, we’ll briefly break down the differences between the two types to help you determine the better option for your biking needs. Let’s dive right in!

Shimano GS vs SGS? What Is The Difference? 

Looks Sleek and compactRobust and elongated
Cage lengthMediumLong
Cassette compatibilityUp to 33 teethUp to 45 teeth
Chain growthUp to 3.2 mmUp to 4 mm
WeightLighter 271 gHeavier 274 g
PriceLower- below $100Higher – Above $100
MaintenanceEasierMore difficult
PerformanceSmooth shiftingEnhanced chain stability


The SGS derailleur has a distinct design with its aluminum frame and a low-profile appearance that is appealing to many due to its elongated cage. 

However, the wide structure of the SGS derailleur seems overwhelming for some users. In contrast, the GS derailleur offers a sleeker look with its close alignment to the chains and a more compact design. It results in a more aggressive visual appeal and a distinctive sensation. 

Ultimately, your preference will be the deciding factor in choosing between the two. If you favor a closely integrated look, the GS derailleur is the better option, while the SGS derailleur will work well for others.

Cage Length

The cage length refers to the size of the derailleur’s cage, which holds the chain. A Shimano GS derailleur has a medium-length cage, while the SGS derailleur features a longer cage. 

The difference in cage length impacts the maximum chain slack and the overall gear capacity. A longer cage on the SGS allows it to handle larger cassette sizes, accommodating up to 45 teeth, compared to the GS’s maximum of 33 teeth. 

If you plan to use a wider range of gears with a larger cassette, the SGS derailleur is better suited for your needs.

Cassette Compatibility

Cassette compatibility refers to the range of teeth the derailleur can handle on the rear cassette. The Shimano GS derailleur is designed to work with cassettes of up to 33 teeth, while the SGS derailleur can accommodate larger cassettes of up to 45 teeth. 

This difference in compatibility affects the gear range available to you. If you need a wider gear range, particularly for tackling steep climbs or varied terrain, the SGS derailleur offers greater cassette compatibility, allowing for more versatile gearing options.

Conversely, GS is not a bad choice if you frequently cycle on flat roads or gentle inclines.

shimano gs vs sgs

Chain Growth

Chain growth happens when the bike’s suspension squishes down, and the chain moves forward. It’s like when you press on a spring, it gets longer. The chain grows to follow the suspension movement.

The Shimano GS derailleur enables the chain to grow up to 3.2 mm, while the SGS derailleur accepts 4 mm. The SGS derailleur’s bigger chain growth helps keep the chain steady and stable when the suspension moves. 

It is important for full-suspension mountain bikes to prevent the chain from hitting the bike and to make shifting gears smoother.

On the other hand, the GS derailleur’s moderate chain growth works well for bikes with moderate suspension or no rear suspension. 

It guarantees shifting without too much suspension movement. That’s why it’s commonly used on road, gravel, hybrid, and hardtail mountain bikes.


A derailleur’s weight can impact your bike’s overall weight, which can affect its maneuverability and performance. Generally, the Shimano GS derailleur tends to be lighter than the SGS derailleur due to the differences in their design and materials used. 

If you prioritize having a lightweight setup, such as for road or gravel riding where efficiency and speed are part and parcel, the GS derailleur’s lighter weight may be preferable. 

However, if weight is not a significant concern or if you value durability and stability, the slightly heavier SGS derailleur could be a suitable choice, particularly for mountain biking.


The SGS derailleur has a broader frame, making it more prone to collecting dust and dirt. Its protruding design increases the chances of getting dirty while riding in mountainous areas. 

In contrast, the GS derailleur is renowned for its sleek and flush design. It doesn’t stick out as much, reducing the likelihood of accumulating mud and debris.

Therefore, the GS derailleur offers both an elegant appearance and easier maintenance. Its streamlined design is less likely to get filthy, making it simpler to clean and maintain.


The GS derailleur delivers quick and precise shifts, making it well-suited for road and gravel riding, where speed and efficient gear changes are crucial. Its medium-length cage ensures tighten chain tension, resulting in faster and crisper shifts. 

On the other hand, the SGS derailleur excels in chain retention and stability with its longer cage. It provides better chain control, minimizing the risk of chain drops, especially on rough and unpredictable mountain bike trails. 

Additionally, the SGS derailleur’s compatibility with larger cassettes come with a wider gear range, enhancing the climbing ability for tackling steep ascents and demanding off-road terrain.

Lastly, it’s important to note that regardless of the derailleur choice, ensuring proper bike chain tightness is essential for optimal performance, preventing chain drops and inconsistent shifting for a smoother and more enjoyable ride.


Typically, the Shimano GS derailleur is priced lower than the SGS derailleur. The price difference can stem from features, materials, and construction variations. 

If you’re on a budget or seeking cost-effective options, the GS derailleur can serve reliable shifting performance without breaking the bank.

Meanwhile, when you long for advanced features, increased compatibility, or the specific requirements of mountain biking, the SGS derailleur’s higher price may be compensated for the added capabilities it provides.

Shimano GS vs SGS rear derailleur

Which One Is Better, Shimano GS or SGS? 

The answer depends on the type of bike and your riding plan (terrains).

If you have a road, gravel, or bike without rear suspension, the Shimano GS derailleur is a good choice. It offers quick and precise shifts and is easier to maintain because it doesn’t stick out as much and is less likely to get dirty.

But let’s say you have a mountain bike with full suspension; the Shimano SGS derailleur is recommended. It provides better chain retention and stability, which is important when riding on rough and bumpy trails. A wider gear range is also available, making it easier to climb steep hills.

Shimano GS or SGS for my bike


How can I determine if I need Shimano GS or SGS for my bike?

Think about your bike type (road/gravel or mountain with suspension), your preference for quick shifts or steady chain control, and if you’ll be climbing steep hills or need a wider gear range. 

Based on these factors, you can choose GS for roads/gravel or non-suspension bikes or SGS for mountain bikes with suspension and better chain stability.

Can I use Shimano GS or SGS with different bike brands?

Yes. You can use them with different bike brands if the derailleur is compatible with your bike’s frame and drivetrain. Shimano derailleurs are designed to work with various bike brands, but it’s essential to check the specific compatibility requirements for your bike model. 

Consider factors like the number of gears, frame mounting, and rear dropout design to ensure a proper fit. 


That is all the ins and outs about Shimano GS vs SGS. These rear derailleurs are both great derailleurs, but they’re not perfect. 

GS derailleurs are lighter and more compact but have a shorter cage length. SGS derailleurs have a longer cage length, which allows them to accommodate larger cassettes. 

Ultimately, the best derailleur for you depends on your bike’s drivetrain, terrain, and personal preference.

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