While the launch of 12-speed Shimano XTR and then XT will likely garner more immediate consumer interest, it’s the new SLX group that’s arguably the most important new entrant into the mountain bike component world. Like SRAM’s popular Eagle GX group, SLX will deliver wide range gearing (and presumably reliable performance) at a more friendly price point. And when you factor in that many if not most riders are not overly weight conscious, the benefits of SLX only grow larger.
Mtbr has yet to spend any time on the new group, so for now we’ll rely on Shimano to present key features. Here’s their spin on new SLX, which will be available starting in July.
Meet Shimano SLX
Following the release of SHIMANO XTR M9100 and then DEORE XT M8100, Shimano rounds out its now entirely 12-speed performance mountain bike component lines with SLX M7100, which will be available on complete bikes at bicycle retailers beginning in July.
Employing the technological innovations found throughout XTR M9100 and DEORE XT M8100, new SLX components also have significant refinements to longstanding Shimano technologies that enhance riding performance and reliability. Examples of these innovations and refinements include:
• Refined SERVO-WAVE brake levers match up with next generation I-SPEC EV RAPIDFIRE PLUS shifters featuring 2-WAY RELEASE.
• The CN-M7100 chain’s extended inner link plate is a key component of smooth HYPERGLIDE+ shifting and improved chain retention of Shimano’s DYNAMIC CHAIN ENGAGMENT (DCE+) single front chain rings.
• The new construction of the low-profile RD-M7100 SHADOW RD+ rear derailleur improves shift quality, range of adjustment and chain retention while allowing for a wide range of gearing options.
The new 12-speed SLX M7100 drivetrain offers wide range 10-51 and rhythm step 10-45 cassettes with single and double front chainrings and delivers Shimano’s widest range 1×12 gear option. Additionally, Shimano refined chain line specifications for SLX M7100 including a 55mm chain line, ensuring that the drivetrain is optimized for a greater variety of frame designs.
Inheriting HYPERGLIDE+ technology also found on XTR M9100 and DEORE XT M8100, the SLX M7100 group uses redesigned chain plates and shift ramps which guide the chain both up and down the cassette providing faster, smoother shifting in both directions even under pedaling load.
Adding to SLX M7100’s smooth drivetrain transmission, the new CN-M7100 HG chain features SHIMANO’s DYNAMIC CHAIN ENGAGEMENT (DCE+) technology. An extended inner link plate of the chain connects with new chainring tooth shapes for better chain retention and smoother, quieter pedaling. The new design reduces natural vibrations normally caused by the inner and outer chain plates rolling onto the chainring, while also providing stronger contact between the two components. Chainring options are 30, 32, 34T and there are three Q-Factor and chain line options.
Expanding SHIMANO’s mountain bike braking technology to more riders, SLX increases braking performance and includes both 2-piston and 4-piston calipers to deliver the right amount of power for a variety of terrain and riding styles.
The SLX M7100 brake levers are designed after XTR M9100 and DEORE XT M8100 with more inboard clamp position and added bracing for increased efficiency and control. The new design minimizes impact on cockpit real estate, creating space between the clamp and support point for mounting other handlebar accessories.
Here’s a rundown of pricing and weights, plus a useful comparison chart between all three new groups.
To learn more head over to mtb.shimano.com.