New Stuff for your approval, early March edition.
The springtime release of new products has begun and things got hot and heavy the last few weeks. Here is a digest of a few noteworthy new product releases.
Shimano Deore group and SLX 11-46 cassette
In a somewhat surprising move, Shimano released a new Deore group. Most expected a bump to 11-speed, but nope, 10-speed but with the option of an 11-42 cassette. It is hard to say if this is a smart or stubborn move by Shimano, but maybe it is a bit of both.
Stubborn because Shimano won’t be selling a single-ring crank, just doubles and triples. Smart because staying at 10 speed could keep retail costs down while providing the same gear range as SRAM’s lost cost 11-speed group, NX. Expect to see a lot of this group showing up on entry-level performance bikes in the near future, paired with the almost ubiquitous RaceFace single-ring cranks.
It is almost a shame that we probably won’t see a lot of the 2×10 drivetrains on bikes, as Shimano’s new side-swing front derailleurs and close ratio cranks shift superbly. But, after looking at the list of options for front derailleurs, SRAM’s decision to abandon the front derailleur on mountain bikes look completely rational.
The brakes are updated as well, although I didn’t seem much of a reason to mess with the old ones. The new brakes now have Servo Wave levers and heat shielded calipers.
SLX gets a trickle-down 11-46 cassette that retails at $75 (and will probably show up online for substantially less, assuming Shimano doesn’t crack down on gray market sales). It probably won’t be very light, but it is a great option to have when that 42 just isn’t enough.
Expect to be able to buy the new stuff in May 2017.
Cassette 11-42 $64.99
Disc Brake (each) $99.99
Front Derailleur $37.99
Rear Derailleur $84.99
Shifter (each) $36.99
Rear hub, Center Loc $43.99
Front hub, Center Loc $24.99
SLX CS-M7000 Cassette $74.99
RockShox coil shocks for trail bikes
Back in the late 90’s, the original RockShox Deluxe shocks were coil spring. Last year that name was resurrected on new air shocks with Metric sizing aimed at simplifying the number of shock offerings and increasing internal real estate for damping bits. Starting soon we’ll see new Super Deluxe Coil shocks for trail bikes as well.
Consumer demand seems to be pushing for coil shocks again, evidenced by shocks like Cane Creek’s Double Barrel lineup and Push Industries ElevenSix. The Super Deluxe Coil will be OE to start, but I am guessing we’ll at least of few of the options available for aftermarket sale soon enough.
There will be versions to fit everything up to full-on DH bikes, and the Super Deluxe Coil will replace the Vivid Coil. There is also a remote option for pedal platform activation to keep those Euros happy.
What does this mean for you? Probably not much unless you are shopping for a new bike this year. It is interesting to see a return to coil shocks on trail bikes after air shocks dominating the market for over a decade. It begs the question: Are coil sprung forks the next thing to return?
Cane Creek Helm
It comes as a bit of shock (pun entirely intended) that Cane Creek’s first fork doesn’t use its twin tube damper design. But forks are not shocks, and a more standard mono-tube damper design was deemed a better fit for the front end of the bike.
We are waiting on more info, but here are some bullet points
-27.5″ only. 29″ in the works
-160 mm travel stock, can be adjusted between 100-170 mm
-Air volume adjustment via a sliding piston. No spacers or tokens needed
-Adjustable positive and negative air springs
-44 mm offset, 110 mm Boost spacing
-35 mm stanchions
-damping adjustment for rebound, high- and low-speed compression
-Launch Blue or Black
-In stock and ready to ship
It seems a hell of a crowded market to enter right now, with the Fox 34 and 36, RockSox Pike and Yari, DVO Diamond, Ohlins RXF 34 and 36, MRP Stage and Ribbon, BOS Deville and even solid offerings from Suntour and X Fusion all making a play for attention. It will be interesting to see how the Helm can set itself apart.
e13 TRS+ Dropper
Speaking of crowded markets, e13 enters the ring with a dropper that is quite different than most anything on the market these days.
First, it uses a coil spring. Second, it locks (mechanically) into four positions. Third, it has no damper to bleed or leak. These three things keep cost and maintenance loooow. There are 30.9 and 31.6 versions in 150 or 125 mm of drop. The 150 mm post has 150-125-75-0 and the 125 mm is 125-95-65-0.
The shifter-style remote looks simple and well thought out. The cable is clamped at the remote, making installation and cable adjustments much easier. If this is simple and durable as claimed, it could be a real winner for backcountry explorers or people who are just sick of having one more bike component that needs to be fiddled with regularly.
The $279 price tag is reasonable and e13 claims the entire post is serviceable without any special tools. I was a fan of the old Fox DOSS dropper with set drop positions, so I’m looking forward to mounting up the post that just arrived last week.