Shimano is going toe-to-toe with SRAM’s 1x11 drivetrains with an expanded range cassette and a new chainring design. Riders who prefer more than one chainring will be glad to read that Shimano is still catering to the multi-ring crowd with more 2x and 3x chainring combinations. Also new for this spring, Shimano has two new budget minded hydraulic brake systems designed to bring Shimano reliability to price point bikes.
Shimano takes 1x seriously
Shimano has long been adamant that multi-ring drivetrains were the best for most mountain bikers, but it seems like it has softened that stance with the announcement of a new, wide range 11-46t cassette compatible with XT and XTR 11-speed setups.
That means Shimano's 1x range is nearly on par with SRAM, offering an impressive 418% range to SRAM's 420% range, while offering more low-end gearing than SRAM when running the same chainring. Unlike SRAM's 11-speed drivetrains, which require a special 'XD' freehub body, the new cassette will fit onto any normal hub, making the process of upgrading simpler and cheaper.
The claimed weight for the CS-M8000 cassette is 540g.
In addition to this wide-range cassette, Shimano is also rolling out a new 1x-specific chainring design dubbed the Dynamic Chain Engagement, or DCE.
Shimano's new 1x chainring appears to use a narrow/wide design
The CRM91 and CRM81 chainrings feature modified tooth profiles intended to improve chain retention. The XT-level CRM81 chainring features steel-plated teeth for increased durability, while the XTR-level CRM91 version uses strengthened alloy teeth to keep the weight down.
Finally, a Shimano quick-link!
The last item in this new drivetrain release is long overdue. Shimano finally has a quick-link to simplify chain installation and make trailside repairs much easier. The SM-CN90011 link is compatible with all of the company’s 11-speed chains.
Updated chainring combinations
Shimano isn't abandoning riders who want more than a single chainring. The company is offering lower geared options for 2x11 and 3x10 drivetrains
Shimano is still catering to riders who prefer more than one chainring. The new ring combinations on 2x11 and 3x10 drivetrains are intended to provide scope for riders in need of lower gears for steeper terrain. The FC-MT700 crankset features 34/24t chainrings, while the FC-MT500 crankset offers a 40/30/22t spread.
Budget hydraulic brakes
Last up from this new release is a pair of budget-minded hydraulic disc brakes systems. The M365 offers a lighter alloy lever than the entry-level M315 system. Both brakes benefit from trickle-down tech from Shimano’s higher-end series brake systems.
Pricing and availability
The pricing of these new drivetrain and brake bits is unknown. Expect to see these new components available for purchase this summer.