Shimano was founded in 1921 as Shimano Tekkojo, Shimano Iron Works (in English), by Shozaburo Shimano in Sakai, Japan. In 1931 Shimano began exporting freewheel hubs. In 1961 the company announced the first 3 speed gear hubs. In 1973 their first series of Dura-Ace components was introduced to the market, which remains to this very day as Shimano's top product in racing bikes.
The company is a world leader in component groups for bicycles, especially XT(R) for mountain bikes and Dura Ace for racing bikes. Shimano was the first to have complete component groups consisting of rear and front derailleurs, freewheel, crankset, headset, BB and brakes, as well as shifters und brake levers.
Gentullio (Tullio) Campagnolo was born in Venice (Italy) in 1901 and began his enterprise with a small repair shop. He realised during his racing career that he lost a lot of time trying to unscrew his back tyre to turn it around, which at the time was the only way to change the wheel. As a solution to this problem, he developed clamps which made the changing of a tyre easier and more effective. In the following years he invented more and more bicycle parts, such as the prototypes of the modern derailleurs. During the 1940s Campagnolo continued to make a name for itself in the production of bicycle equipment and clothing. By 1950 Campagnolo had employeed 123 people. In 1955 the first complete group of components was introduced to the cycling market. In the 1990s the brand also produced motors for racing cars, helicopter parts and satellites, alongside the manufacture of first-class parts for racing bikes.