With a distinctive angular design and dark colouring, the Deore groupset has a particularly aggressive look. Like the similarly priced SRAM X5, this iteration of Deore eschews the 10-speed tech and sticks with nine sprockets, and uses a standard non-Dyna-Sys chainset.
As with X5, you often don’t realise you're a gear down and that’s the case with Dyna-Sys specced rings. The 11-32-tooth cassette provides a good range with no obvious jumps in ratios. The chainset is stiff despite simple scalloped crank arms, and the cassette and chain are noticeably more beefy than Shimano’s 10-speed equivalents.
Steel rings make up some of the mass, but they'll last for ages and are cheap to replace, reinforcing the value aspect of the Deore group. Shifting is good, not as light as SLX or XT, needing a harder longer push, but you still get a positive feeling click at the end of the stroke.
Finger triggers feel vague and mushy though, but dual release at least allows you to choose which way you want to change. The build seems fair for the money though, solid if a little rough around the edges. Compared to its X5 rival, it has it beaten just about everywhere.