All-new Shimano LX for 2005 - Bike Magic

Bike Magic - Mountain Bike News, Videos and Reviews. Keep up with the latest Biking Gear, Events and Trail Guides at BikeMagic.



All-new Shimano LX for 2005

We brought you news of lots of Shimano’s 2005 gear a little while back, but the big S was keeping some stuff back. Now, though, we can show you the component giant’s new mid-range contender, the completely redesigned Deore LX groupset…

The Shimano LX has become something of a “forgotten” group, with lots of manufacturers going for a selection from Deore, LX and XT rather than a full LX group. It’s understandable – the current LX bits are perfectly decent but, with the notable exception of the cranks, they’re not all that pretty. Readers with elephantine memories may remember the all-new LX that came out in 1993 – all the features of the swish new XTR at a considerably lower price. Well, the same thing’s going on with the ’05 parts – all the stuff that Shimano debuted with ’03 XTR and trickled down to ’04 XT will feature on LX for 2005. So let’s dive in – there’re bigger pictures hiding behind the small ones…

Most notable is everyone’s favourite bit of the current Shimano generation, Hollowtech II cranks. The LX version (or FC-M580 to its friends) shares all the key features of its more expensive brethren – integrated drive-side crank and bottom bracket axle for strength and stiffness, outboard oversized bearings for durability, hollow crank arms for light weight. The rings are a 22/32/44 combo, although Shimano are also pushing the LX group for “trekking” bikes so there’s an M581 with 26/36/48 rings too.

The new LX colour scheme is a tasteful silver/black combination that does a great job of elevating the appearance of the components above their price point. It’s certainly better-looking than the current bluey-grey hue.

We can’t see too many dissenting voices fretting about the cranks. The shifters, though, are perhaps more controversial – yes, Dual Control has filtered down to LX level. We’ve ridden DC on quite a few bikes now and it’s definitely growing on us, but we know that lots of people don’t get on with it. Fear not, Deore, LX, XT and XTR RF+ units are still listed in Shimano’s 2005 line-up. We’re just happy to see the new shifters available at a more accessible price point…

The levers pictured are the hydraulic versions – there’s also a version with cables for V or mechanical disc users.

There’s not a great deal to say about front mechs – there’ll be five of them covering all the cable pull/frame size/ring size bases, but there’s nothing terribly innovative about them. Out back, though, a new Low Normal mech arrives. If Dual Control splits opinion, Low Normal hacks it in two with an axe. For what it’s worth, once we’ve managed to get our heads around which way to push the levers, we don’t have any particular issues with it. Yes, you can occasionally get caught out in a dip with no easy way to grab a handful of low gears, but having downshifts driven by a spring has let us drop a gear or two in situations that would have been distinctly marginal propositions otherwise. We expect that some manufacturers will continue to spec the “high normal” mechs, but they’ll have to do without the angular new LX look…

Having got going, you need to stop. Dealing with all your mid-priced deceleration needs will be the new LX disc brakes (there’s V brakes too but you don’t need to see those – they’re metal sticks with a pivot at one end, a cable at the other and a pad somewhere inbetween…). The new calipers follow the sleek, compact look of XTR, XT and Saint. They’re two-piston units, and owners of post-mount forks will find them a direct fit – there’s a selection of brackets for IS mounts.

Rotors are 160mm diameter and follow Shimano’s Centerlock splined fitting – there are of course new hubs to fit (as well as non-disc hubs should you want them) although the rotors will fit XT and XTR hubs and vice versa.

It all looks rather spangly, and it’s great to see stuff like Hollowtech II cranks and compact brakes appearing at LX’s “everyman” price point. It’s interesting to ponder the philosophical differences between Shimano and key rival SRAM. Shimano loves its integration, while SRAM goes for flexibility. From an OEM’s perspective, having Shimano’s new technology available at three different price levels, two degrees of burliness (with LX, XT and XTR at one and Saint and the new Hone group at the other) and a high degree of interchangeability on the one hand and SRAM’s ability to offer independently-branded transmissions, brakes and forks should make for some very interesting speccing decisions on 2005’s bikes…


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.