Always one to adapt their top-level tech into the more affordable groupsets that sell to a vast swat of the market and end up spec’d as OEM on tons of entry to mid level bikes, Shimano has just announced a new round of updates to their budget friendly off-road groupsets. From Deore down to Altus, these workingman’s groups all get a bit of reshaping and updating to more closely mimic the look and performance of the top level XT & XTR groups. But while the new groups get minor makeovers and the new X-thousand series designations, they stick with their current 10 & 9 speed variations and really only take on a few subtle changes. Out of the bunch the new Deore M6000 does add Boost spacing, and the familiar non-standard 4-bolt chainrings, plus a new 11-42 10 speed cassette that will likely see a lot of use shoehorned into other older groupsets. Check out all that is new after the jump…
Deore is Shimano’s budget group that ends up on everything from entry-level mountain bikes to commuters to touring & trekking bikes. Sticking with 10 speed spacing, it misses out on the compatibility with the higher end groups that it had for many years, but does get more range with new crankset & cassette offerings.
Its crank will now come in the unequally spaced 4-bolt in either double (38/28T, 36/26T, 34/24T) or triple (40/30/22T) configurations. The doubles also offer a version with Boost spacing moving the spider 3mm outboard to match up with wider rear ends. To complement the new cranks, Deore gets a new 11-42 10-speed cassette to go with the more typical 11-36/34/32 offerings. While previous derailleur versions were limited to a max 36T cog, we’d venture to guess that this new (and affordable) CS-HG500 11-42 cassette will see a lot of riders with existing 10 speed groups maxing out their b-tension screws to see if they can squeeze it into their current 10 speed drivetrains.
Previously Deore derailleurs came in a couple of versions with only the mid length cage being available with a clutch. Now all Deore rear derailleurs will get the Shadow+ tech to deliver improved chains retention and less noise. Up front there will still be multiple derailleur swing options (top, down & side) with 5 mount types to suit any frame.
Shifting itself looks unchanged, as does hydraulic braking, although they claim higher leverage levers and heat insulated calipers that let you use Shimano’s Ice Tech brake pads as well.
Deore hubs are mostly unchanged as well. But although the specs we were given don’t indicate a Boost version to match the cranks, the overall groupset photo does show a thru-axle rear hub which would be a first for the Deore level. It’s unclear if Boost hub spacing will make it down this far.
Alivio sticks with 9 speed, but now adds a new 2x crankset. The new double uses the same popular 36/22T configuration of the higher groups and gets the 3mm wider spacing of Boost to clear larger tires better (whether or not they are spec’d on bikes with Boost rear hubs), plus a two-piece construction with 24mm axle. Alivio also adds two more teeth to the cassette – bringing it up to an 11-36 9 speed (another nice upgrade for those out there running the previously biggest 9 speed 11-34), and adds a side swing front derailleur option for improved tire clearance.
Out of those updates, Acera gets the same 36/22T double with Boosted spacing, but swaps in a square taper BB. Otherwise it gets a small shifter update, and can share the same front derailleur and wider range cassette.
At the lower level, Altus is the only one to add a gear, making the jump up to 9 speed. With a 40/30/22T crankset, the new 3×9 drivetrain gets a big bump up in tech, even now coming with a direct-mount style Shadow rear derailleur.
The new mountain & trekking groups will hit the shops in May 2017, with Altus debuting a month earlier in April.