This time last year we were looking at Shimano's all-new SLX group and pontificating on the fact that the ostensibly 2009 model year parts were set to hit the market in July 2008. And now here we are with details of the all-new Shimano Deore components that will apparently reach the shelves this June. That sound you hear is the calendar being torn up and thrown away...
We've always been fans of Deore. It's never been flashy or in any way aspirational, but it's always been cheap and it's always got the job done. Traditionally it's lacked a couple of key features compared to higher-end groups, but it's hard to see what you're not getting with the new stuff and indeed we can see a couple of things that are better than more expensive options.
The tucked-in Shadow rear derailleur design is here, teamed with new RapidFire Plus shifters with 2-way release. Ergonomically, the main change is a longer, reshaped main lever, although the angular restyling is rather more noticeable. There are bottom- and top-swing front mechs, too.
At the other end of the chain is a new outboard-bearing chainset. It's not billed as Hollowtech II because it's not hollow. You do get quite a shapely crank arm, though. Chainrings are 44/32/22 with an aluminium outer and steel middle and inner.
Moving on to brakes, Deore adopts the radial master cylinder lever configuration as XTR, XT and SLX, teaming it with a hinged lever clamp and tool-free reach adjustment. The calipers are fairly chunky two-piston units that conveniently take the same pads as the rest of Shimano's brakes. Inside they've got a useful detail, too - a revised fluid path should make it a lot less likely that air gets trapped in the caliper when bleeding, a tweak for which anyone who's wrestled with, say, XT brakes will be thankful.
V brakes are still on the menu too, and the hubs offer a choice of Centerlock disc-ready or rim brake only options. There's also a version of Deore designed for hybrid and trekking bikes, of which we shall say no more.
Shimano describes Deore as its "workhorse MTB groupset" and it's hard to disagree with that. It's starting to show some quite fine breeding, though...