Conventional bicycle brakes, gear changers and chains are manufactured and mounted as separate units, but when Shimano began developing new ones, it treated them all as part of a single group. The result was a more responsive mountain bike. Shimano also applied its superior technical approach to racing bikes for the Tour de France and other competitions. The best example of the new technology is Shimano's dual control leverit offers one system with two functions,braking and gear changing. The lever lets racers keep both hands on the handle bar when changing gears, so they can concentrate on the race.
The Shimano system was used by about half of the racers in the 2001 Tour de France. The overall winner, Lance Armstrong from the United States, was one of them.