SHIMANO SLX Series, for those exploring the MTB calling…

The new Shimano SLX series features a 12-speed cassette with either a 10-45T or 10-51T range. Chose from a 1×12 or 2×12 drivetrain and either a 2-piston or 4-piston brake caliper. The shifters have increased adjustability whilst the derailleurs and hubs are 12-speed optimized. All in all the Shimano SLX series brings premium technology to those discovering true mountain biking.

Joe Schwartz in Cumberland, British Columbia, Canada rallying the Shimano SLX series.


The new SLX 1×12 crankset features HOLLOWTECH II technology with an integrated bottom bracket axle and hollow crank arms. Chainrings come with a Dynamic Chain Engagement+ tooth profile, which, with its narrow/wide teeth, aids chain retention, smoothness, and quietness of the drivetrain. To securely and quickly mount the chainring the crank is equipped with a direct mount system. The crankset comes with 30T, 32T and 34T chainring options, interchangeable with XTR and DEORE XT rings, and has crank length options of 165 mm, 170 mm and 175 mm. The new cranksets are available in three chain lines with weights that range from 631g to 656g in the 175mm, 32T without BB iteration.

The SLX 2×12 HOLLOWTECH II 36-26T crankset offers the ultimate range when matched with the 10-45T cassette, maximizing your possibilities on all sorts of terrain while maintaining small gear steps. Two 2x cranksets are available, both featuring a 2-bolt system for fixing the left side crank arm in place on the spindle. Weights for the 2x cranksets range from 674g to 682g in the 36T-26T, 175mm length without BB.


SLX12-speed cassettes come with the MICRO SPLINE fitting system and are available in a 10-45T option for small gear steps or a 10-51T option for maximum range. Both cassettes also feature HYPERGLIDE+, allowing for quick up and downshifts and an extremely quiet drivetrain. The cassettes have an aluminum spider to house eleven steel sprockets and one aluminum sprocket for the best balance of durability, weight and riding styles. Weights are 513grams and 534grams respectively.


The SLX new 12-speed HG chain has been redesigned with an extended inner plate to improve chain engagement and retention and comes with SIL-TEC roller link plates for smoother running and more durability in all conditions. Weight is 252g for 113 links + Quick Link.


Coming in either single or double chainring variants, the SLX rear derailleur enables precise and quick shifting over that huge 12-speed gear range. Both derailleurs feature SHIMANO SHADOW RD+ positioning as well as bump stoppers and 13T pulley wheels to make rides quieter and more enjoyable. Rear derailleurs weights are 316g and 322g. The SLX front derailleur comes in one specification for both 48.8mm & 51.8mm chain lines but is available for D-type, E-type or M-type mountings. Front derailleur weights range from 114g to 166g.


With side adjustment and rotational adjustment options the ISPEC-EV shifters, which bolt neatly to the brake lever, offer solutions for tailoring the riding feel. For riders using a 2×12 set-up, a MONO lever on the left shifts the front derailleur both up and down with an extremely light and precise action. SLX shifters are also available in a clamp band version and weights are either 73g or 121g.


SLX brake calipers are available in an XC-specific 2-piston version or a Trail/Enduro 4-piston version. The 2-piston version shares the same design as the previous version, which means the previous SLX-level resin brake pads or metal pads are compatible. The 4-piston version is a completely new construction drawn from the XTR design and and such uses resin or metal pads, with a finned option too.

The SLX brake levers work with both the XC and Trail/Enduro calipers and come equipped with Shimano’s Servo wave system for quicker engagement, improved power and a shorter free stroke. The brake levers are now angled in two positions against the handlebar for a stiffer brake sensation. The levers also feature a reach adjust dial for simple brake tune-ups on the trail. XC style brake kits with 160mm rotors and brake pads weigh 425g and the Enduro style brake kits weigh 444g including rotors and pads.


The SLX-level ICE TECH rotors are designed to cool rapidly thanks to a sandwiched aluminum core, fused in a durable steel outer layer, resulting in consistent brake performance and longer lasting brake pads. Sizes available are 140mm (121g), 160mm (133g), 180mm (159g) and 203mm (193g).


Individual SLX front hubs and rear FREEHUBs are available in widths of 100mm and 142mm, 110mm and 148mm, or 157mm. The FREEHUB features a cassette body with Shimano’s MICRO SPLINE design.

The new Shimano SLX series shares many of the same DNA strands as the new XT series, but draws on inspiration to bring quality performance to those discovering the fun of mountain biking. Henry Bosch, Shimano Europe MTB product coordinator: “Whilst speed, focus and control was the mantra we lived by during the XTR development, we needed to widen that for DEORE XT and SLX. We thought a lot about how and why people ride mountain bikes. For us the answer was in making a set of components in the right grade and specification to match the competitive ambitions, the adventurous riding styles and the performance quality of mountain bikers across the globe, above all making sure that riders receive durable performance to have as much fun as possible.”

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