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.

Shimano Alivio, Acera, & Altus get trickle down tech, affordable wheel options expand

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.

Shimano Alivio, Acera, & Altus get trickle down tech, affordable wheel options expand

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.

Shimano Alivio, Acera, & Altus get trickle down tech, affordable wheel options expand

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.

Shimano Alivio, Acera, & Altus get trickle down tech, affordable wheel options expand

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.

Shimano Alivio, Acera, & Altus get trickle down tech, affordable wheel options expand

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.


      • Not without an adapter. Road 10 is the same as 9, but mountain 10 introduced Dynasys, a new, better (?) cable pull.

        • doesn’t the shifter control how much the derailleur moves? so as long as the high and low are set for the derailleur, wouldn’t it work?

          • The shifter pulls a certain amount of cable per click. The road 10s from shimano pulls a different amount from “dynasys” shifters, which makes the deraileur move a different amount per click between the two, which means the limiters don’t factor into whether the deraileur will want to skip a cog or not. The fact that all the Shimano clutch deraileurs are based on the newer “Dynasys” cable pulls means they don’t work with non-dynasys shifters.
            Or one could run a friction shifter i guess? I’m starting to seriously consider that for a touring type setup, but i’m still hoping that shimano comes to their senses and starts doing “cx-specific” clutched deraileurs that work with the legacy shifters. It just makes sense.

      • You can use a SRAM 9 speed shifter with a Shimano 10 speed derailluer. The pull is *almost* right, so it works, but it can be tricky to adjust. One thing that can help is to put the cable on the opposite side of the cable clamp from where it’s supposed to go.

  1. And remember that 9 speeds was the last time road and mountain derailleur cable pulls were the same so you can put 9 speed mountain parts on a gravel or adventure bike to get wider gear ranges. Or put drop bars and brifters on your mountain bike to come at it from the other direction.

    • Yeah, Sram shows off what will probably the most expensive derailleur in history, in response to a question not yet asked by anyone.

      You’ll probably have to perform 3 or 4 root canals to the able to afford it. I bet Shimano sells more cheap front derailleurs than Sram does Etap eagle.

      • Shimano sells more cheap front deraileurs a year than SRAM will sell E-Tap Eagle over the course of its entire product cycle, by orders of magnitude, dude, several orders of magnitude. An eagle cassette alone costs more than the average price for a complete bicycle.
        It’s also a straw man. XTR Di2 is already available. Shimano and sram do not announce directly competing products on the same timeline. As they are OEM providers between the two of them, to almost every brand on the planet they just don’t play the whole launch season thing the same way.

  2. This is great news. Everyone always complains like you’re forced onto new tech but Shimano is really good at supporting older stuff. This is proof. Having 44t triple rings not die is great.

    When it comes to the shifting and gearing. I’ve never really felt more in tune with things, than with my 8sp 44-32-22 x 11-30. It never misses and the gear jumps just seem absolutely perfect for me.

    You can all enjoy your 1x and I’ll still get to use my 3x. Everyone wins.

    If only computer tech supported old stuff that works this well.

    • Great it indeed is, and not just because of compatibility, but because the level of quality of lower-end stuff keeps going up. I think back to what Altus was like in 1994 and it was just awful compared to this stuff. Come to think of it, 2018 Altus outperforms 1994 XTR in all areas except for maybe weight and shifting performance. Braking is light years ahead, especially in wet conditions, the cranks are two-piece (there were only two two-piece cranks on the market back then- Bullseye and Sweet Wings, both high end exotic gear), and the gear range has not suffered. So- yeah, progress. Now if only we could get external cable routing and threaded bottom brackets back for everyone…

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