As we’ve previously mentioned, this is the time of year when bike industry product managers are busily speccing next year’s bikes. Which means that they need to know what they’ve got to choose from. And we get to find out too. Here, then, is some of what Shimano’s got cooking for 2005…
The big news is the all-new Hone group. It’s pitched as an “enduro” group, taking some of the heavy-duty ideas from the Saint freeride/DH components and mixing them with more XCish stuff. If you’re into proper big stuff then you’re meant to use Saint, if you want light weight then XT should be your choice. Hone is the inbetweeny all-rounder and should therefore be a popular choice – lots of people are inbetweeny all-rounders too… It’ll also be cheaper than either Saint or XT, being pitched somewhere vaguely around LX pricing.
Cranks are Hollowtech II, as seen on XTR, XT and Saint – they’re not as massive as the Saint ones but meatier than the XT ones. The rear mech shares Saint’s axle-end mounting for better damage resistance. It’s a great idea although it slows wheel removal (not really a big deal for the intended application) and the rear mech floats around if you take the wheel out to put the bike in the car…
Brakes are hydraulic discs, naturally. 203mm rotors are standard with 160mm as an option. They’re Center Lock splined items, compatible with existing XT/XTR splines. Saint uses a bigger front spline to clear a 20mm axle, so Hone offers a possible rotor size upgrade path for XT/XTR users. It’s interesting that Shimano are offering a 203mm rotor on a regular front hub, given the rarity of forks warrantied for such a combination. We’d still like to see 180mm-ish rotors from Shimano, particularly on a group like Hone pitched at the big-terrain but not necessarily World Cup DH terrain rider.
The brake calipers are superficially similar to XT and Saint although the Hone units are two-piece calipers for reduced cost. A variety of front mechs are available – BB mount, top swing, bottom swing – and Dual Control shifter/brake levers are standard issue.
It looks like good stuff, and we like where Shimano are positioning Hone. It won’t be available until November, though, so we’ll have to see how it stacks up in real life. More pics below…
Shimano’s high-end freeride group gets expanded for 2005. The current incarnation isn’t a full group – you need to use shifters, brake levers and front mechs from elsewhere – but for 2005 all the gaps are filled in. There’ll be Saint Dual Control levers as well as brake levers for those who’d rather use alternative shifters.
There’ll also be new rear hubs and bottom brackets for compatibility with over-width freeride/DH frames. The new hub will be 150mm over-locknut width with a 12mm axle, with a new BB for 83mm shells so it all lines up. The existing hubs and BB will of course still be available, and the rest of the group remains unchanged.
Down towards the inexpensive end of the market, Shimano has announced new mechanical disc brakes compatible with Center Lock splined hubs. The new brakes have adjustable pad clearance on both sides for easier set-up and are available in two models, a cheaper M465 and a lighter but still inexpensive M495. There’ll also be new mid-range Center Lock hubs to go with them, offering manufacturers the possibility of speccing cheaper hubs and higher-end brakes. The new hub and rotor can also be used with the existing Deore-level hydraulic discs.
Only mentioned in passing by Shimano but clearly there in the line-up is a pleasant surprise for anyone who’s fretting about Dual Control taking over the world. These are the new-for-2005 RapidFire+ shifters, Shimano having certainly not given up on them completely. They’re called M751, which puts them at XT level, and they’ll be available in silver or black. Happy now?