Since the introduction of 11, 12, and who knows what else is coming, 9 speed groups don’t get a lot of attention these days. But that doesn’t mean they’re long forgotten. When it comes to repurposing previous years’ cutting edge tech into today’s entry level groups, Shimano is one of the best. Because of that, Alivio, Acera, and Altus are getting some big boosts.
On the crankset side, both Acera and Altus gain new models with improved looks and new gear ranges. The Acera FC-MT300-3 is a 3×9 triple that keeps user-replaceable chainrings, the crank will be available in 44-32-22t and 40-30-22t options. Altus cranks will be available now in a 2×9 36-22t, and 3×9 44-32-22t and 40-30-22t options. All three include a black anodized appearance to better match with modern mountain bikes.
Speaking of boosts, the affordable MT-200 and MT-400 hubsets have been upgraded to be compatible with Boost spacing. The MT-400 runs 15 x 110mm front and 12 x 148mm rear spacing, while the MT-200 runs a 15 x 110 thru axle front and 141mm QR rear.
If the new Alivio BL-MT400 looks familiar, that’s because it gets a lot of its DNA from previous XTR, XT, SLX, and Deore lever shapes. There will be a two finger lever as well as a three finger version, and the levers feature a 75mm reach with an additional 25mm of adjustment for better fit for smaller hands.
For bikes still running a front derailleur, having an affordable side swing option is key. Enter the new Alivio FD-M4020 which will fill the need on higher end frames with affordable builds. All of these components will be available starting in June 2018.
On their wheel side, Shimano has a number of interesting new additions which all fall into the “affordable” category. For the gravel crowd, the WH-RS370-TL is a multi-surface wheelset with a 19mm internal width meant for tubeless and non-tubeless tires from 28-38mm wide. Compatible with 10 and 11 speed cassettes, the wheels are 12mm thru axle compatible, disc brake only, and sell for $254.99 a set.
The WH-RS300-CL-F are sort of the performance special in their affordable line up with a low 16/20 spoke count for better aerodynamics, straight pull spokes for better stiffness, 10/11 speed compatibility, and wider 17mm rims for road tires. The wheels have a claimed 1820g weight for the set, and $229.99 price tag.
Calling them their most affordable 11 speed road wheels, the WH-RS100-CL wheels are only $134.99 a set and feature 17mm wide internal rims and a 1920g weight for the set.