shimano deore Groupset – Reimagined
It always seems to be the ‘latest and greatest’ products that get us mountain bikers talking. If a company releases some new high-end wonder then you can bet that we’ll be talking about it, even if there’s not a cat in hells chance that we’ll ever be able to afford it. That’s all well and good, but I reckon we should stop for a moment and instead focus for a minute on appreciating just how good something can be, even if it’s neither expensive nor particularly exciting…
From Dirt Issue 134 – April 2013
Words by Ed H. Photos by Shimano.
I think it’s probably fair to say that very few, if any, of our readers aspire to own a Deore equipped bike. XTR, XT, X0 etc. then maybe, but Deore? No. The thing is though that ever since it was first introduced many years ago I reckon Deore has probably been Shimano’s best value groupset. I think we almost take for granted these days just how well it works. Yes it’s obviously a bit heavier than more expensive offerings, and it might not have all the latest bells and whistles, but when I had a quick spin on this latest version it struck me that it’s probably all that I really need.
Let’s start with the gears. The shifter feels light and positive, it worked for me in terms of ergonomics, and it even has ‘2–way release’. Should you wish to you can even get an ‘I–spec’ version which mounts directly to your brake levers. Yes it may well have some plastic internals that aren’t quite as robust as those found in more expensive shifters, but if you make sure your gear cables never get too grotty then that’s unlikely to ever become an issue. At the back Deore now gets a Shadow+ clutch system on the rear mech. Perfect. There’s no short cage option, but a medium will do the job. In terms of actual shifting performance both front and rear, if the truth be told it felt just as crisp and quick as my XTR set–up. Oh, and of course you can get a Deore 10 speed 11–36t cassette, plus I reckon the cranks (which are plenty stiff and strong enough) actually look pretty decent.
I’ll ignore the hubs, because although they are dirt cheap I just can’t be bothered to deal with cup and cone bearings these days. Sorry Mr Shimano. That then really leaves me with just the brakes, and those are possibly the biggest Deore success story. The previous brakes were so good that Shimano have taken the wise move to leave them largely unchanged. What they have done however is make the brakes compatible with Ice–Tec pads (should you want to upgrade at a later date), and they now come with a new cheaper Ice–Tec rotor (which makes more difference than the pads anyway). OK, so you need a tool to adjust the reach and you don’t get any bite point adjuster, but that makes little difference on the models which do have it and crucially in use you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between these and the incredible XTR trail brakes. Remember though, these brakes will set you back just a fraction of the cost.
So now do you see why I reckon we should be singing the praises of Deore? It might not be sexy or cool, but it works a treat and doesn’t cost a fortune. Personally I’d like to see more bikes coming equipped with Deore and then any money that is saved by doing that can be spent on upgrading more crucial parts like suspension and wheels instead. I mean I’d much rather ride a bike with those bits sorted and some Deore than a bike dripping in XTR which has suffered cost cutting as a result elsewhere. The Shimano Deore really does embody the whole ‘trickledown technology’ thing, and maybe the smartest move is to let all the suckers fund pushing things forward while you sit back and reap the bargain benefits.