Shimano’s latest press release reminds us that, as much as we would all like to own a ten thousand dollar trail bike, many avid riders, and some first-time mountain bikers will be hitting the trails this season aboard far more modest steeds. The new M6000-level Deore component ensemble is targeted at the entry-level enthusiasts and cash strapped shredders who would much prefer XTR, but have not yet purchased a winning lottery ticket.
On the heels of the M6000 Deore ensemble, came the announcement that an SLX-level one-by drivetrain has finally been approved for production, and with an eleven–speed, 11 x 46-tooth, wide-range cassette – both of which will be released this Spring. The affordable one-by transmission, big-boy cassette and the concurrent release of XT-level wheelsets with Boost axle spacing reflect a large-scale adjustment in the Japanese parts maker’s range, presumably, to pull alongside SRAM in the OEM market and to ensure that those customers have the proper tools to outfit mid-priced performance mountain bikes with tip-to-toe Shimano componentry.
Shimano also added an SPD Trail pedal to its range that is reportedly priced to match the M6000 ensemble. The PDED500 pedal once again, puts one of Shimano’s most-wanted products into the hands of entry-level riders. Expect to see the 500-level pedals on demo fleets world wide. No price was available at the time of the press release.
Wheels have gradually become a staple product for Shimano and, while wide rims are still on the horizon, to keep in step, their wheel range is now available in Boost-width as well as standard-width axles. Two new 29” and 27.5” Deore XT wheelsets have wider axle options – a 110x15mm e-thru front- and a 148x12mm rear-axle spacing. Shimano says that the new wheelsets increase stiffness. Also new are rear thru axle hubs (AX-MT700 and AX-MT500) with smaller housings and lighter weights that feature greater clearance for frames and brake calipers.