Previewed: Shimano’s New SLX Group

After making significant changes to XT and XTR, Shimano has begun trickle down their component kung fu to more affordable groups. The new SLX group was recently introduced, which is designed to replace both LX and Hone. LX has not been eliminated, but has been overhauled to target the European trekking crowd so you aren’t likely to see it on many new mountain bikes in the States. SLX parts instead are designed to be tough and lightweight at an affordable price and include some unique options that are ideal for the all-mountain riding crowd, which was once ably serviced by the Hone group.

To begin with, the SLX rear derailleur receives the same Shadow design found at the XT and XTR component levels. You will not be able to buy an SLX derailleur that bolts directly to a hub thru-axle, as the Hone did (the SLX rear hub uses a QR). That said the SLX has a super low profile to prevent it from hitting trail objects in the first place. It also receives a more direct cable routing to enable crisp shifting and faster response and comes in medium or long cage.

RD-M662-GS/SGS Top Normal Rear Derailleur

  • Low profile Shimano Shadow rear derailleur technology
  • Direct cable routing design
  • Crisp and accurate shifting
  • No chain stay contact
  • Stronger guide spring
  • 260g (45g lighter than RD-M581)

The SLX Rapidfire Plus shifters feature 2-Way Release technology that enables the release lever to be operated in two directions. Furthermore it has an inboard/outboard mounting option and a removable optical gear display with an integrated cover plate, similar to that currently seen on Deore XT.

SL-M660 RapidFire Plus Shifter

  • 2-way release
  • In/Out-board 2-position mounting bracket
  • Removable Optical Gear Display with cover
  • BL-M665 Servo Wave Hydraulic Disc Brake Lever

The SLX Servo Wave brake lever combined with SLX disc brake caliper has 20% more stopping power than ’08 LX hydraulic disc brakes (BR-M585). The design is reminiscent of the XT Servo Wave lever and will have an updated reach adjust mechanism that’s easier to reach with gloved-fingers.

  • Tool Free reach adjustment
  • Ergonomic shape
  • Direct housing routing reduces handlebar clutter

The disc brakes feature 2-piston hydraulic calipers and boast 20% extra stopping power compared to previous generation LX and Hone brakesets thanks to the Shimano's Servo Wave technology in the lever.
BR-M665 Hydraulic Disc Brake Caliper

  • 20% more stopping power with Servo Wave brake lever (compare to BR-M585)
  • Opposed 2-piston design