Shimano have today announced quicklinks, a new cassette, and new 1x chainrings utilising “dynamic chain engagement”, which seems to be a lot like other narrow-wide chainrings, with alternating thick and thin teeth. XT rings will be steel plated, and XTR will be hardened aluminium. It’s an interesting move from Shimano, who’ve gone out of their way before to avoid narrow-wide, with standard XT rings having tall, square cornered steel teeth instead.
David and Chipps both rode 1x XT equipped setups last year, and were both impressed with their chain retention abilities. It’s unclear from Shimano release what, if any, shortcomings these new chainrings will address. The new chainrings with bear the model numbers SM-CRM91 (XTR) and SM-CRM81 (XT).
There’s no word yet on whether the new quicklinks are reusable or not, but we’ve requested clarification (and are guessing they’re probably not).
The new cassette has an 11-46t range, bringing 1x drivetrains in reach of even smaller legs and even steeper hills. The release mentions it has having a “weight target” of 450g, which with the product renders above implies nothing outside of prototypes exists yet. It says the chainrings have been developed “thanks to studies with world level cross-country and trail riders in all conditions, from the dry and dusty conditions of the Americas and southern Europe to the heavy mud of winter-time northern Europe.” It’s reassuring that they’re taking British weather into account, unlike so many bike component manufacturers hailing from sunnier climes.
As well as these pretty large mid-product cycle revisions, Shimano have also announced come new cranksets and brakes. From the release:
“New gear combinations offered on new 2×11 and 3×10 cranksets are focused on lower gears for riders riding in steep mountainous areas. The DYNA-SIS 11 FC-MT700 34-24T crankset features HOLLOWTECH II crank arms. Meanwhile the 3×10 MT500 crankset provides 40-30-22T rings and a 2-piece crank arm with a stiff, solid and robust construction.
Sitting just below ACERA level, Shimano introduces two new non-series M365 and M315 hydraulic disc brakes. The M365 comes with a lighter aluminum lever and both brakes offer technology adopted from top-of-the-range disc brakes such as noise-free stable braking performance, and quick and clean bleeding.
Complementing the new M365 and M315 disc brakes is a new lock ring style for 160mm or 180mm SM-RT10 rotors, designed to simplify handling and operation for workshops and manufacturers. Two new tools provide quick and easy maintenance for rotor installation, either the TL-FC36 outer serration wrench or the TL-LR11 inner serration socket tool.”