Shimano previewed its next generation groupsets during February at a special press event. The new sets include the new Ultegra, 2300 and Deore ranges, as well as the latest SLX grade wheelsets.
At the showcase, Shimano said that it is aware price increases will render some groupsets out of bounds to many budgets as a result of the sterling to yen currency fluctuations. Those concerns have led Deore to shift focus this year, by tailoring product for those with a set budget, while still seeking a performance trail-worthy groupset.
The firm revealed that the new Deore product borrows aesthetics and ideas from recent higher-end product, as with a Shadow rear derailleur, two-way release rapid-fire shifters and two-piston hydraulic brakes feature, all at Deore price points.
Oil routing has been improved on previous disc designs, with a new system that guarantees no air bubbles will remain in the calliper. The accompanying levers have been developed with a tool-less reach adjust, much like the higher end XT and SLX levers. A revised V-brake model also features in the range.
The latest crankset is of a two-piece construction with outboard bearings and an integrated bottom bracket, meaning, despite weight shavings, Deore should be an incredibly rigid package for the price. Gearing options come in both 44-32-22 or 48-36-26, in either black or silver. The initial shipment is due in June this year.
Trekking and hybrid bikes also got an upgraded Deore groupset, consisting of an integrated brake and shift lever with a revamped display for greater visibility on the move. The three-finger lever blades have been given subtle performance upgrades, such as a rubber bumper to silence the lever. Again, a two-piece crankset features, complete with Hyperdrive chainrings and a new chain guard design. The trekking/hybrid groupset is due for August this year.
Two new medium-range wheelsets will feature in the Shimano catalogue this year, too. As before, the focus is on striking a good balance between cost and performance, although these are some of the first Shimano products to come UST tubeless compatible. The new WH-MT65 will be available in both Centre Lock and six-bolt versions and will be straight pull laced for high torsional rigidity. The first batch of MT65 Center lock wheels will be available from July, with the six-bolt version following in August.
The second of the wheelsets – the WH-MT15 – is designed for disc brake use and is built with 28 bladed, stainless steel spokes for both front and rear. This model will be available from September.
Catering for the entry-level road market, the Shimano 2300 eight-speed series is notably smooth in operation and borrows aesthetics from higher-spec groupsets. Available from July, the 2300 will be available in both a double (52-39) and triple (52-42-30) set ups.