Shimano's new SLX group might be the bargain of the year

High-value group gains 11spd options and tech trickle-down from XT

While news of the new XT Di2 groupset might grab the big headlines, for many riders the new SLX groupset is arguably more relevant, bringing Shimano’s 11spd gearing to the MTB masses.

As you’d expect from Shimano’s long held tradition of trickling down technology from higher end groups over time, the M7000 SLX group takes its design cues from the current XT transmission. You get a pick of single- or double-ring setups paired to an 11spd cassette, but if overall range is your thing then there’s still a 10spd triple ring option.

The 11spd cassettes being offered are either 11-40t or 11-42t. That means Shimano now has an answer to SRAM’s NX groupset, which also offers an 11-42t gear range on a normal freehub body, rather than the XD driver that SRAM’s other 11spd transmissions require for their greater 10-42t range.

The 11spd rear derailleur has also seen an update to the XT-style Shadow RD+ design, with adjustable clutch tension and a shift that’s claimed to be 20% lighter. That’s also paired to shifters that have longer levers to help reduce shift effort further. The shifter pods are now also lower profile and have the 2-Way Release system that allows you to dump multiple gears in either direction.

The crankset also borrows technology from the XT and XTR groups, with a 3D composite chainring paired to stainless steel teeth. The 1x specific rings come in 30, 32 and 34t options and use the Dynamic Chain Engagement tooth profile for a claimed increase in chain retention of 150%. The 11spd double comes in 34-24t, 36-26t and 38-28t variants but if you want the 10spd triple then you’re stuck with 40-30-22T. The cranks are also available in the wider Boost 148 standard too, as are the Centerlock equipped hubs.

The brakes have also seen an update, with a slimmer master cylinder helping weight loss and a narrower clamp helping to free up some bar space. They use a slightly tweaked version of the Servo Wave cam system on the lever that is said to improve feel too. You can now also get SLX-level Centerlock specific rotors that use an alloy carrier in order to help heat dissipation.

M7000 SLX 1x11 Group  
 CASSETTE SPROCKET,SLX,11-42 OR 11-40 $67.99 £64.99
FC-M7000-B1,SLX,175,W/O C-RING $89.99  £79.99
 CHAINRING,1X11, SLX $29.99 £29.99
 DISC-BRAKE SET FRONT, SLX $104.99£79.99 
 DISC-BRAKE SET REAR, SLX $109.99 £79.99
SHIFTER, SLX, Right  $34.99£29.99 
CN-HG701 11-SP CHAIN  $28.99 £24.99
 SM-RT70 160mm INDIVIDUAL ROTOR $24.99 £24.99
 Total cost $557.91 £449.92

Availability is said to be June/July of this year for all components, so we’ll be back with a full review as soon as we get our hands on it.

Jon Woodhouse

Technical Editor, France
Jon's been working with bikes for as long as he can remember, from spanner monkey to product tester. He's always looking out for new kit that'll give an edge when the going gets rough and is happiest experimenting with geometry, rubber and suspension.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Big days out that pack in the steep and technical
  • Current Bikes: Mondraker Foxy Carbon, BTR Fabrications Custom hardtail, BMC Teamelite SE02 SLX
  • Dream Bike: Nicolai Ion 16 Longest
  • Beer of Choice: Franziskaner Weissbier
  • Location: Paris, France
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