Probably one of the most easy to guess developments this year was that Shimano Deore would be going 12 speed. Yes, Deore M6100 is 12 speed – and we’ll get to that in a minute – however what also needs shouting about is that formerly ten-speed Deore has been completely re-done to go 12 speed, but will also have an 11 speed version, as well as retaining a ten speed version too. This is good news for bike manufacturers looking to mix and match components to make a bike hit a price – but it’s excellent news as well for riders looking to upgrade their bike on a budget to take advantage of modern gear developments.
Shimano Deore M6100
Let’s start at the top then, with Shimano’s workhorse Deore M6100 group. With its origins in flagship XTR, this is trickle-down at work. The new Deore M6100 is a 1 x 12 groupset using much of the technology that appeared on XTR and subsequently XT and SLX. It’ll be heavier and perhaps not as refined, but all of that racing DNA is in there somewhere.
Deore M6100 Chainset
12 speed Deore M6100 is a pure 1 x 12 group and, starting with the chainset, there’s a single chainring with Shimano’s Dynamic Chain Retention (thick/thin teeth and more profiles and bits and pieces to keep your chain on). The finish is a smart looking black satin with what appears to be a prismatic decal similar to a 1970s Raleigh Chopper. It’s not subtle, but it gets our vote! We assume the ‘chainring bolts’ are part of the manufacturing process as they’re not user serviceable. However, the chainring is a direct-mount, meaning that the whole ring can be swapped in a couple of minutes.
Chainrings come in 30T, 32T and 34T options and there are three different Q-factors and chainring spacing for old school 142mm, Boost 148mm and Super Boost at 157mm.
Here’s a handy crank chart for you.
Deore M6100 Transmission
Moving on to the cassette, shifters and derailleur… The single new Deore 6100 rear mech will cope with a 10-51T cassette, features large, 13 tooth jockey wheels and a switchable clutch mechanism.
The cassette is a Microspline job, with 10-51 gear ratios. Unlike the multiple material cassettes of the higher groups, the sprockets here are steel, but are still cutout and airy enough that the cassette doesn’t look mega heavy – certainly compared to previous Deore level cassettes. And, being based on Shimano’s new Microspline standard, it is compatible with other Microspline hubs, allowing up and downspeccing of replacement parts as they wear out.
The shifters have both standalone and i-Spec EV options. The iSpec lever allows for 14mm of side to side movement and 10° of rotation within the clamp. Both shifter options feature two-way shifting on the finger trigger.
Deore M6100 Brakes
Given that this is Shimano’s ‘entry level’ mountain bike groupset, there’s a huge amount of serious business spec going on. The 6100 brakes some in a two piston XC-specific model and a more trail/enduro spec four piston model. The levers incorporate Shimano’s Servo Wave system that speeds the brake pads on to the disc, before then increasing the power as you squeeze further. There’s no tool free reach adjust, but for £79 or £99 an end, that seems a reasonable ommission.
And there is also a Shimano dropper post lever for your now empty left hand Deore brake lever clamp. It fits seamlessly in with the left lever and allows operation of nearly any dropper post.
And 10 speed and 11 speed too…
This has all been reasonably easy to predict, but we’re impressed with the general look of the whole new Deore groupset. But also… Shimano are keeping a ten speed Deore as well as introducing an 11 speed Deore group too. This has all sorts of implications for the majority of riders who upgrade their bikes piecemeal as bits wear out.
Shimano M5100 Deore 11 speed.
Shimano’s M5100 Deore 11 speed group has a number of options. It includes the great-looking two and four pot brakes and slim lever of the M6100 12 speed group but the rear mech is a more regular looking Shadow rear derailleur. The cassette is of great interest, though, as it’s an 11 speed Hyperglide model that will fit normal (non-Microspline) hubs, but which offers a huge 11-51T range.
Due to Shimano’s intercompatibility within the same speeds, this means that a rider with current 11speed SLX could add the new £69.99 Deore 11speed, 11-51T cassette and £44.99 mech and have a wall-climbing eleven speed system for very little outlay.
Deore 11 speed also has a 2×11 option (you’re limited to an 11-42T cassette there) and there’s even a front mech!
Deore M4100 10 speed
Deore 10 speed still has few options. There’s a 1×10 or a 2×10 version. The 1×10 features an 11-46T cassette for a good amount of range, or you can get a wide range 11-42 with a 36/26T up front.
All this stuff should be appearing on bikes in the summer and in shops aftermarket too. While it’s great to see that Deore M6100 is getting much of the good stuff from XTR and XT, and we’re excited to try it, we’re also very excited about the bodging potential of revitalising previously worn out 1×10 or 1×11 systems with new Deore for a reasonable price.
Here are some prices for you:
Deore M6100 – 12 speed
- Chainset – 1 x £69.99-89.99 2 x £119.99
- Cassette – 12sp 10-51T £89.99
- Brakes – £99 a wheel four pot. £79.99 two pot. (Rotors extra)
- Rear mech – £59.99
- Shifters – £32.99
- Dropper lever – £22.99
- Hubs F: £19.99 and R: £34.99
Deore M5100 – 11 speed
- Chainset £54.99-£59.99
- Cassette £59.99 (11-42T) £69.99 (11-51T)
- Rear mech £39.99 – £44.99
For more developments, keep tuned here for news as we get it. Or check out Madison’s website Freewheel as stock comes in.