Shimano Deore Shadow rear derailleur (M592) – £49.99
It might not boast the exotic materials and general bling of Shimano’s flagship XTR, but the Deore rear mech looses nothing in terms of performance.
Eventually, tech from the top-end products trickles down to stuff we can actually afford. And so is the case with Deore, with Shadow technology featuring. Here the mech has a much narrower profile, with the parallelogram sticking out far less and sitting inboard of the rear dropout, so there’s a lot less chance of it being ripped off if you get a little too close to a rock or other trail obstacle.
Weight is higher, it’s 286g. Instead of carbon and titanium, the Deore mech makes do with a aluminium and steel construction, with steel inner and outer plates. While it looses out on the weight front, only a problem if a few grams concerns you, it’s a bit tougher and stands up better in crashes. And crucially won’t bring you to tears if you smash it up, as trashing an XTR rear mech will undoubtedly have you on your knees.
We tested a Deore 9-speed groupset, next year it makes the leap to 10-speed. The single tension spring noticeably prevents the mech from bouncing around resulting in better shifting over rough ground with less body movement. Also improved is cable routing. The cable now takes a much more direct path which not only looks cleaner on the bike but also reduces that large loop that usually tries to snag on every hazard on the trail.
Shifting doesn’t feel quite as precise and smooth as XT or XTR, but you’ll be hard pressed to really notice much difference out on the trail. If anything, the shifters make more of an impact on the shift performance and feel than the actual rear mech unit, but paired with Deore shifters we found the shifting flawless.
As much as it would be nice to have the bling of an XTR rear mech, truth be told that the Deore mech works just as well and costs a far lot less, and we’ll happily live with the weight penalty. With the excellent performance and low cost , you really can’t go wrong.