Shimano releases electric XT Di2 and adds 11 speed to SLX
Big news from groupset giants
We've had two huge dollops of drivetrain news from Shimano today - it has added Di2 electrics to XT and SLX has got an 11 speed upgrade. Check out all the details below:
Shimano XT Di2
Whatever your opinion on electronic shifting, it's pretty clear that Shimano thinks it's the way forward as it has just added a Di2 kit to its XT groupset. The XTR Di2 launched just two years ago and while the cost has probably prohibited most of us from giving it a go, those that have ridden it are always impressed by its efficiency and shifting speed.
As the years go by you can expect this tech to trickle down to more affordable levels and the XT is the first step in that. The XT system shares many of the same features as the XTR Di2 such as the Synchronised Shift system that allows you to change up and down with one shifter while the computer decides what combination of gears to use.
Also shared is the battery life of "a minimum of several hundred kilometres" and the durability thanks to a sealed, waterproof system and a shifting motor that's twice as powerful as the road models.
One thing it trumps XTR Di2 on is a new Bluetooth system that allows you to set up your system via an app on your phone. It will also allow you to check your battery life on the fly using a device as well. This will be made available to XTR users too, but they will need a new display and battery.
So, who's it for? Well Shimano seems to be claiming it's for amateur racers, but if it's anything like the standard XT then we can expect to see it popping up at trail centres up and down the country.
Of course, that largely depends on how much you're willing to splash on it. We've just had the prices through from Madison and while it's certainly not cheap it's definitely a massive leap in price down from the XTR Di2:
Front derailleur - £149.99 SRP (compared to £249.99 for XTR)
Rear derailleur - £224.99 SRP (compared to £399.99 for XTR)
Firebolt shifters - £79.99 SRP per side (compared to £149.99 for XTR)
System display - £109.99 SRP (compared to £84.99 for XTR)
These parts alone come to £550, which will only escalate if you need to add in a cassette, a chainring or all the batteries, junction boxes and cables (which are priced the same as XTR). When SRAM is offering its Eagle drivetrain for £1,173, this could create a very tough choice for anyone in the market for a boutique drivetrain.
The Shimano XT Di2 will be available in September.
Shimano SLX 11 speed
Hot on the heels of SRAM's budget NX 1x11 drivetrain comes the updated Shimano SLX drivetrain which can now be run as a 1x11, 2x11 or 3x10 system.
There are two 11 speed cassettes available of 11-40T (which seems anorexic in the age of Eagle) or 11-42T, with 1x riders able to choose between 30T, 32T or 34T chainrings. The 11-40T cassette weighs 467 grams, which makes it lighter than the NX by 70 grams (with a smaller range) but far from sprightly.
It's not just the SLX cassette that has been updated though, the hubs have been redesigned to offer better all-weather durability - great for British riders. The rear hubs have been refined and now offer 36 points (10°) of engagment. The front hubs weight 189 or 148 grams and the rear hubs are 384 or 357 grams. Boost versions are available.
A full price breakdown is below:
BB (MT800, same as XT) - £29.99 SRP
Cassette - £64.99 SRP both sizes
11 speed Chain – (HG601, already available) - £24.99 SRP
Single cranks - £79.99 to £84.99 SRP (+3mm Boost costs £5 more)
Single chainring - £29.99
Double chainset - £109.99 to £114.99 SRP (+3mm Boost costs £5 more)
Triple chainset - £109.99 SRP
Disc brakes - £79.99 SRP per end
Centerlock rotors - £24.99 (160mm), £29.99 (180mm) and £34.99 (203mm) SRP
Front derailleurs - £24.99 SRP
15mm Front hub (100 and 110mm) - £39.99 SRP
Rear hub (142 and 148mm) - £54.99 SRP
Rear derailleur - £59.99 SRP
LH shifter - £29.99 SRP
RH shifter - £29.99 SRP
We reckon this means you can cobble together a 1x11 system for £290, just £40 more than the SRAM NX. The new SLX components will be available in June/July.
For more information, click here.