Shimano 2013 – New SLX

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Where else to hold the meeting for Shimano 2013 than the Rock Room!

Yep, it’s the turn of SLX – the workhorse of the mountain bike world – to have a makeover for 2013. More than a makeover, more of a ‘catch up and get all the cool features of the other groups’.

For a start, SLX gains the low-profile brake reservoir that we’ve seen on XTR and XT, one-way brake bleeding, reach adjust levers, Servo Wave and a reasonably smart Bladerunner aesthetic. It’s ‘Rider Tuned’ which is Shimano’s way of saying that it’ll come in a Trail and a Race (or XC) configuration. Trail version gets all the finned pads and Icetech rotors. Of course, you can mix and match if you’re buying aftermarket.

The hinged lever is also i-spec compatible, which means you can use one clamp for shifters and brake levers

Shifting also gains two-way shifting, so you can push or pull the ‘finger’ trigger for gear shifting.

Here’s the triple chainset (FC-M670) which’ll come in 42/32/24T triple, or as a double (FC-M675) in 40/28T, 38/26T and 38/24T


Have a look at this photo of a prototype SLX rear mech and you’ll see several interesting features.

The first is probably that odd (or graceful, depending if you’re an engineer) rear mech hanger. This is Simano’s new Direct Mount rear derailleur system. Before you get all up in arms about new standards and things, it works by replacing the standard, vertical, rear mech hanger with one that points backwards. This then attaches to the Shadow Plus rear mech where that extra ‘B-2’ plate used to be. It will be retrofittable to ShadowPlus mechs and (assuming it takes off) you’ll see them appearing on new frames next year.

So what’s the big advantage? Your wheel just drops vertically down, rather than you having to hold your mech out of the way. It’s not a huge thing, but might please those people who struggle and curse when getting wheels on and off.

Small but simple change – and it also seems to allow a much stronger looking rear mech hanger (if you want to make it stronger, that is)

But the other thing you might have noticed is that this SLX mech has the same Shadow Plus clutch lever on the cage pivot as some  XTR mechs do. When engaged, it puts a one-way clutch on the lower cage, so that the cage is always trying to keep the chain taut. It can move forwards, say under shifting, but it makes a dramatic difference to keeping your chain from bouncing off… There’ll be a Shadow Plus and a regular Shadow version. Both in SGS (long) cage length.

It'll work for QR rear hubs too - and will just need a new rear mech hanger.

The good news is that Shadow Plus will also be available on Shimano XT later in the year too, as well as already on XTR.


SLX Trail will also get the Icetech rotors and finned brake pads that you’ll see on Trail versions of XT and XTR. We expect that it’s going to be a pretty popular group… It should start appearing in May and June. We don’t have prices yet, but we’ll pass them on when we have them.


There are also new SLX level wheels, some entry level clipless pedals for leisure types and more 29er-friendly front mechs. Oh, and electric hub gears… Weren’t expecting that, were you? More here:


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (17)

    Very nice – I’ve been lusting after that XTR Clutch rear mech, but obviously the price has put me off. No I’ll just have to be patient for a bit instead.

    Will they be making it in 9sp?

    No, all MTB groups from Deore up at 10spd only now.

    been said before but why won’t shimano do shorter mech cages? even their gs isn’t that short. I’d like to see them do proper medium and some short cages like sram do.

    Also, maybe i missed it but is saint getting these upgrades like shadow plus / icetec etc?

    2013? That is soooo last season, why don´t they reveal 2014 stuff already… or better yet, 2015…

    SLX chainset now better looking than XT IMHO. Though that “polished” face does look to be a decal. But on the plus side that might mean that replacements are available when it gets scuffed up.

    And to be pedantic isn’t that new mount a new “standard”? I won’t be able to fit it to my existing steel frame will I?

    I love how these things are termed as “standards”. The whole point of a standard is surely so that items from any source fit on something from any other source. 5 or 6 BB or headsets standards aren’t standards.


    So…the direct mount hanger makes life easier by letting you drop your wheel out without moving the mech out of the way. But now you’ll have to undo and remove the QR to do so? Huh? Or am I being thick?

    ta cy, suspected as much 🙁

    New mount can be used with open QR dropouts, as well as closed bolt through ones Cheezpleez. The example shown just happens to not be QR.

    I’m SO glad the clutch thingamajig is coming to SLR. Good news.

    So I can have a shadow plus mech cheap so long as I want a long one, oh and a new frame, oh and a new drivetrain. Great.

    ShadowPlus mechs will come with a plate that attaches them to a normal mech hanger, but will be “upgradable” to the new mount just by removing the plate. No new frame required if you use the plate. That’s how I’ve read it all anyway.

    Very coticky thread this!

    Final nail in the coffin for 9-speed there, for me… Never really felt 10 is worth the expense of handing over til the clutch-doobrie came along, course they could make a 9-speed one if they wanted but they won’t.

    What Kelvin said. Should you happen to get a new frame and it’s got the new dropout on it, your Shadow+ mech will work. Should you need a new mech for your steel frame, that will work too.

    “Shifting also gains two-way shifting, so you can push or pull the ‘finger’ trigger for gear shifting”

    Didn’t 2009 SLX have that? And 2008ish Deore? And 2005 LX?

    Sorry James. How about ‘Shifting retains two-way shifting’

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