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.
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.
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: http://singletrackworld.com/2012/03/shimano-2013-alfine-di2-and-other-shimano-tech/