How cheap is it to replace STI levers with SENSAH?

Posted at: Mar. 19, 2021

We have examined the cost performance of replacing Shimano STI levers with SENSAH. In terms of actual selling price, how much more cost effective is the SENSAH than replacing Shimano STI levers?

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Price comparison of Shimano’s STI levers and SENSAH’s levers by number of gears

First, let’s compare the prices of Shimano and SENSAH left and right lever sets for road bikes with the same number of gears.

The comparison models are both current models, and the prices are based on new Amazon Japan prices. It is assumed that Shimano components are used except for the levers.

Speed Shimano STI levers SENSAH levers Price difference Off rate
11 speed $195 (ST-R7000) $98(Team Pro) $96 49%
10 speed $247 (ST-4700) $95(Quantum) $152 61%
9 speed $189 (ST-R3000) $85(IGNITE) $104 55%
8 speed $133 (ST-R3000) $85(REFLEX) $48 36%

The biggest price difference was in the 10-speed. This is probably due to the fact that the Tiagra ST-4700 is sold at almost a fixed price on Amazon.

On the other hand, the ST-R7000, the latest STI lever for 105, which is a popular road bike upgrade, is almost the same price as the SORA STI lever, probably because there is a lot of demand for it.

Incidentally, the worst cosmetic option for upgrading was the 8-speed, but it’s still about 40% cheaper than Shimano’s ST-R2000, so I’d say it’s highly cosmetic.

Componentry set to compare.

Next, let’s take a look at the cost performance of SENSAH’s 11-speed set, which is sold on Amazon Japan and is said to be the “most cost effective”.

SENSAH STI Levers Bicycle Left/Right Transmission/Shifter ' Shift lever 2X11S included/shift and brake cables

This set includes left and right levers, front derailleur, and rear derailleur for 16,580 yen(about $166), considering that EMPIRE levers cost about 12,000 yen(about $120) for left and right.

When compared with Shimano’s 105 and R7000 series with the same number of steps.

Parts Shimano’s 11-speed SENSAH’s 11-speed
STI Lever $195 (ST-R7000) $166(EMPIRE Set)
Front Derailleur $36 (FD-R7000) $0(Included in Set)
Rear Derailleur $49 (RD-R7000-SS) $0 (included in set)
Total $279 $166

A new drivetrain set is less than $200, so of course it is cheap, but compared to Shimano, it is about $100 cheaper.

The problem with choosing SENSAH

Set version is not compatible with Shimano

The SENSAH EMPIRE set that I just picked up is not compatible with Shimano components in all parts, even the SENSAH 11-speed, so you will have to replace everything when you want to go back to Shimano components.

If you are satisfied with the SENSAH EMPIRE set, it is not a problem, but keep in mind that there is a risk there if you build an “all SENSAH” set.

Low resale potential

Shimano parts can be sold at auction or flea market for a good price even if the model is 10 years old if it is in good condition. For example, the popular 105 series, the 10-year-old ST-5700 can be sold at auction for around $100 in Japan. A new ST-R7000 costs around $200 in Japan, which means that even a 10-year-old used ST-R7000 retains 50% of its value.

On the other hand, SENSAH composers are not well known to begin with, and since the price of a new one is low to begin with, the price is often quite low. Considering that SENSAH’s used products are only a couple of years old, the price drop is significant.

SENSAH’s levers are so cosy! But let’s think about the “after”.

As we have seen, when replacing the current Shimano STI levers with SENSAH levers, the replacement cost can be reduced by about half.

On the other hand, there is a risk that SENSAH levers are not compatible with some Shimano components and are not highly resalable at auctions.

When purchasing SENSAH levers, be sure to consider such points before making your purchase.

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