Shimano SLX Dyna-Sys 10-speed chainset - £149.99
Arranged in the middle of Shimano’s groupset offerings, SLX offers great value for money with top-level performance, and its chainset is a popular sight on many bikes across a wide spectrum of price points.
The SLX triple chainset, now with added Dyna-Sys for compatibility with 10-speed drivetrains, is an impressive example of how consumers benefit from the trickle down process. It’s considerably lighter than the cheaper Deore chainset but only a snifter heavier than the next up Deore XT version, while sharing a lot in common with the later, bar the price.
The arms are hollow-forged for lightness and the middle ring is carbon composite with steel teeth, the inner ring is made from steel and the outer from aluminium. Shifting pins and ramps on the inside of the rings ensure shifting is up to the usual high Shimano standard, with crisp and quiet shifts each and every time.
A Hollowtech II bottom bracket is easy to fit and the bearings are smooth and, so far, reliable with no durability concerns, the sealing doing a good job of keeping the British weather out. Despite plenty of miles, the SLX chainset is still looking in good nick tooo, with the polished arms not showing the signs of shoe or ankle rub. They look more expensive than they actually are when fitted to a bike, I'd even go as far as saying they look better than the more expensive XT cranks.
As a result of the Dyna-Sys update last year SLX chainsets are now 10-speed, a transition from 9-speed that is rapidly sweeping across the mountain bike world. If you’re upgrading from a 27-speed setup the important thing you need to know is that the granny rin is two teeth bigger and the big ring looses two teeth, making it now 2-32-24T.
When teamed with the SLX 11-36t cassette, you get roughly the same set of gear ratios as the previous setup, but the important change is how you can spend longer in the middle ring. For many UK trails and rolling climbs that gradually increase in steepness, being able to stay in the middle ring a while longer than you would have pre-Dyna-Sys is a bonus. Granted it's not a huge change to your riding, but it's a small improvement, with more useable gears at your disposal in the middle ring, where most spend the majority of their time. It also has advantages on some suspension designs, too.
Outstanding value for money and impressive performance, it’s hard to justify spending any more than this.