Why is Shimano a global leader in gears? A big part of the reason is Deore XT. When the mountain bike started to be commercialised in the 1980s Shimano and SunTour, both of Japan, were quick to discern market potential for MTBs, and much quicker than European rivals to ramp up production.
Both companies were also innovators, but it was Shimano which innovated the most: its Positron shifting was a precursor to index shifting and it created top-end groupsets for road bikes (Dura Ace was born in 1973) and the early mountain bikes, with Deore XT becoming the flagship gruppo of choice for racers and manufacturers.
Shimano quickly eclipsed SunTour, and slower moving European rivals, to become the dominant player in the bicycle component market, a position it still holds although it is now being challenged hard by SRAM of America.
Deore XT has now been revamped.
A statement from Shimano said: "From the early days until today, XT has been the benchmark in mountain bike component technology, excelling in quality, innovation and performance combined with an extensive product range to suit a wide range of riding styles. The new group fits well in this tradition."
Two of the major options will be the addition of a double crank along with the ever-popular triple and the choice of black or silver versions.
The triple – 42-32-24T – has an inner ring that "offers a significant improvement in efficiency compared with a 22T and still provides a very low gear for climbing when paired with a 36T rear sprocket," said Shimano.
A trail oriented 2X10 crank debuts with a 38-26T chain ring set as well as a more XC oriented 40-28T combination.
New XT Servo-Wave disc brakes provide improvements in braking, control and heat management. The new compact caliper with oversized 22mm ceramic pistons is combined with a lightweight lever for a brake that is lighter than the current version, yet provides more stopping power.
Mechanics will appreciate the integration of a one-way bleeding system.
There are also new Deore XT wheels, for trail and XC usage. The revamped groupset will be available in July.