Shimano has added new 12-speed mountain bike groupsets – Deore XT and SLX – to the range-topping XTR 12-speed, which was launched last year. Shimano joined SRAM – which has 12-speed road and mountain bike groupsets – and Campagnolo's road groupsets, in adding an additional sprocket to their MTB drivetrains but have yet to launch a 12-speed groupset for the road.
Shimano's Deore XT and SLX groupsets have been completely overhauled with new drivetrain components, brakes, pedals and wheels, with availability for the new components expected mid-June of this year.
Both new groupsets can be configured in 1X or 2X setups, and while there is no suggestion of an impending 12-speed road groupset from the brand, the direction of travel towards 12-speed in the off-road discipline speaks volumes.
The new 12-speed chain for the groupsets has been redesigned and features an ‘extended inner plate to improve chain engagement and retention’. Shimano says their new SIL-TEC roller link plates contribute to the smoother running and more durability in all conditions.
The Deore XT 12-speed cassette is constructed with 10 steel sprockets and two aluminium sprockets and is available in a 10-51t or 10-45t range. The two cassettes weigh a claimed 470g and 461g, respectively.
The SLX 12-speed cassette features a single aluminium sprocket and is available again in a 10-51t or 10-45t range, weighing 534g and 513g, respectively.
Alongside the new drivetrain components, both groupsets also feature updated braking technology featuring trickle-down tech from XTR, with the Deore XT rotors receiving what Shimano calls ICE TECHNOLOGIES FREEZA technology. The new rotors are longer lasting and dissipate heat better than the previous iterations, says Shimano.
Various Shimano Deore XT wheel builds are available with the new products while the SLX-level groupset only includes new hubs.
Shimano says both groupsets will be available from mid-June and pricing was not available at the time of writing.