By Vernon Felton
Perhaps there have been occassions when you've read a glowing review of some pimped-out bike or caviar-level component and you felt like your day might get just a little bit better if you could only thrust an ice pick in the reviewer’s eye. Not for long, mind you, just a quick jab.
Perhaps you found yourself thinking something along the lines of "Of course, the friggin' thing rides well—it costs as much as my house, you f@cking dimwit!"
We understand. Really. Even though we are the folks often writing the reviews of said pricey items, we still agree—bikes and parts have become stupidly expensive.
This post, however, is all about the budget stuff. The products that no one brags about, but which make it feasible for a lot of folks to actually get out there and surf the dirt.
Put away the ice pick–this one's for you.
DEORE GETS A MAKEOVER
Shimano is famous for trickling down the high-end features from its premier groups on, essentially, an annual basis. Thus, the fifth generation of XTR (M980) hit the dirt in 2011 and was followed by a revised version of XT in 2012 and SLX in 2013. Now, it's time for Deore to get the same trickle-down love. The new parts below should be available by late summer of 2013.
DOUBLE AND TRIPLE DRIVETRAINS
Shimano is still a firm believer in its close-step, Dyna-Sys trip drivetrains, but they understand that a good many riders have made the jump to 2×10. Consequently, you can get Deore cransets in both configurations. It's worth noting that Shimano is now also offering a more compact version (40-30-22) of its close-step triple gearing—to accommodate the surge in 29ers and 650b bikes.
CLUTCH REAR DERAILLEUR
Anyone who has bolted a clutch-equipped rear derailleur on their bike becomes a quick convert. Clutch mechanisms won't stop the curse of dropped chains, but it reduces that evil and silences a good deal of chain slap. It's great to see it on an entry-level derailleur. Shimano is also offering Direct Mount versions of both Deore front and rear derailleurs.
ICE TECH-COMPATIBLE BRAKES
All new Deore calipers make them compatible with Shimano's pre-existing Ice Tech radiator-style pads. No, those don't come stock on Deore stoppers—you're going to have to upgrade to those bad boys.