Shimano’s SLX groupset is famed for its no-nonsense, highly cost-effective performance, and the latest double crankset is superb, so long as you don’t need a fat axle.
The stiff yet light Hollowtech forged arms are attached to a four-bolt spider for compatibility with a range of aftermarket twin and single rings. The shaped tips of the spider mean it doesn’t sync with a lot of external-mount bashguards, though, so choose Shimano’s reinforced Zee if you want armoured cranks.
You can use an adapter to fit the 24mm axle in a BB30 frame, but you’re not getting the supposed stiffness benefits. Still, the ring and crank package feels stiff and flex free, despite being lighter than some of the competition.
Shifting performance from the ramped and pinned rings is excellent, heaving the chain into the big ring even at high torque. The steel inner ring is hardwearing, while the alloy outer and the BB last longer than most of the competition.
It’s compatible with big boutique BB brands if you want to upgrade, and naked alloy arms mean scuffing isn’t an issue, sealing its high performance workhorse reputation.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.