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Shimano Improves Entry-Level Components

Trickle down theory in action

Shimano doesn’t command the same share of the drivetrain market it once did , but it has always been consistent in its brakes. They work. They work well, and they keep working for a long time. That is no easy feat when it comes to a hydraulic system that receives so much abuse. We love Shimano’s Deore-level offering, which is already an amalgamation of XTR, XT and SLX features brought to a lower price, and now that same process has reached Alivio--Shimano’s entry level hydraulic mountain bike brake.

The updated Alivio brake now has the same race-inspired lever found on other Shimano stoppers. The new Alivio doesn’t have all the same adjustments and lightweight features you’ll find in the high end. You get reach adjustment, and that’s about it. This isn’t a huge overhaul, but it is a step in the right direction, bringing higher-end technology to a lower price point, which is why it caught our eye. We’re not expecting to see riders flocking to the Alivios as aftermarket upgrades, but these brakes will be specced on entry level bikes. And that will result in bringing the price down and the quality up--something I’m pretty sure we can all get behind.

Though the M400 Caliper got a facelift, it still uses the same M05 brake pads, which are only available in a resin compound from Shimano.

Along with the Alivio brake, Shimano has also announced new multi-ring cranksets and boost-standard hubs. The Acera and Altus cranksets both got a new black anodized look. The Acera has replaceable chainrings and works with a 3×9 system. The Altus will work with a 2×9 or 3×9 system.

The MT-400 and MT-200 hubs have both been updated to fit boost spacing--yet another example of what started as high-end tech trickling down to entry-level mountain bikes.