When new technology is introduced on the range-topping Shimano XTR line, many baulk at the price. Fortunately, these new ideas – such as the tucked-away-from-harm profile of Shadow mechs or clutches to control chain lash – slowly make their way down the range.
Deore is Shimano’s entry-level set of gears and brakes. The shifters now benefit from two-way shifting, where the upshift lever can be pulled or pushed, according to preference, though it still lacks Multi Release (multiple shifts in one swipe). The paddles are well shaped, and with I-Spec and standalone mounting options it’s easy to get them positioned right.
The stiff, clutch-controlled spring of the Shadow+ rear mech audibly reduces chain slap, which makes Deore ideal for 1×10 drivetrains, its low profile construction means that it’s less likely to get caught up in trailside debris.
To remove the rear wheel you have to disengage the clutch (a flick of a lever), but even when you forget to re-engage it, shifting is as reliable as ever. Our only complaint is that the shift action is a little heavy.
There are myriad options for the front derailleur; we tested a Direct Mount top-swing FD M615 E2. Setting the cable routing from under the bottom bracket and up through the mech can be a little tricky, and when the mech’s body shifted a little on the mount, the cable slipped off easily. Once set up properly, the mech performed well, with the snappy spring making downshifts almost instantaneous.
Shimano is well regarded for the quality of shifting across its rings, even under power, and Deore lives up to this. This may be Shimano’s cheapest option, but that hasn’t resulted in a lack of attention to detail: each chainring is constructed differently to balance use against weight and longevity. So the small inner ring is steel, the middle is a combination of steel and glass fibre and the large outer cog is aluminium.
Within four or five rides we’d worn the anodising off the crank arms, and were down to the bare metal. That’s disappointing (if not unusual), but both crank and chainring stiffness is impressive. There’s no front mech chain rub when out of the saddle.
We’ve been riding the M612 version too, which comes with slightly smaller chainrings. The 22/30/40 ratios are more 29er-friendly, counteracting the gearing-up of the bigger wheel. The latest Deore HG62 cassette comes in 11-34 and 11-36 flavours.