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First look: Shimano offers a peek into its 2014 product line

Shimano releases details regarding its 2014 product line, which includes a number of new wheels and a new component group

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BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — Shimano offered a peek into its 2014 product line on Thursday, focusing primarily on a move into the world of 27.5-inch mountain bikes and on the continued expansion of its road wheel line. (It is noteworthy that the 800-pound gorilla of the cycling industry has gone with 27.5” rather than 650b, too.)

The Japanese component giant will expand its Dyna-Sys gearing options for trail riders on 27.5 in and 29” bikes, expand its wheel offerings to include 27.5”, add a new Deore M610 component group available in 2×10 and 3×10 setups, and debut new, more durable mountain chains for its XT and SLX groups.

On the road side, the company will finally make public the 24-mm carbon tubular wheelset that teams like Sky and Agros-Shimano have been on for some time, and will add three new carbon/aluminum sets of 50-millimeter, 35mm and 24mm depths. All the new Shimano wheels will be 11-speed compatible.

Big wheel support

Shimano will debut a number of products for 2014 aimed at 29” and 27.5” riders, most obviously with the inclusion of XT level and MT35 level 27.5” wheelsets, as well as a MT-15 level wheel that will be available in both 29” and 26” versions.

The company’s Dyna-Sys front shifting gains triple gear ratios tailored specifically to larger wheels. The new 40-30-22 tooth chainrings will be available for XT, SLX, and the new Deore 610 group, providing more realistic gear ratios for riders turning the big wheels. Shimano already provides a 29’er ready 38/26-tooth double.

The compact triple, as Shimano is calling it, will feature a composite, 30-tooth middle ring.

New Deore group

Deore is Shimano’s value-oriented group, an attempt to squeeze out as much performance as possible at a much lower price than XT or XTR. The new M610 version will be available in 2×10 or 3×10 versions with Dyna-Sys technology, Shadow+ chain stabilization, and IceTec compatible disc brakes. In short, the budget group gets all the best features of the latest high-end gear.

New, more durable mountain chains

Shimano will update its XT and SLX chains soon, bringing to the table a “more durable and smoother running HG-X chain” to the market. The chains will incorporate an advanced surface treatment, designed to reduce friction and increase the chain’s ability to retain lubricant, resulting in smoother shifts and longer service life.

New 11-speed road wheels and carbon pedals

It was with some surprise that we failed to see an updated version of Shimano’s popular 24mm carbon wheels, the C24, with the launch of Dura-Ace 9000. Teams with Shimano wheels sponsorship have been using a 24mm carbon rim laced to Dura-Ace 9000 hubs since late 2011, so we knew they existed, but the sets remained out of catalogs for a year.

That hole has finally been filled for consumers with the all-new Dura-Ace C24-TU tubular wheelset, which Shimano claims is its lightest yet, with a “target weight” of 1,100 grams.

Shimano will also roll out a collection of hybrid carbon/aluminum wheels, utilizing metal brake tracks. Dura-Ace level hybrid wheels will be available in 50mm, 35mm, and 24mm depths. A new price-point all-aluminum wheel, the 30mm deep RS31, will roll into shops soon as well.

All Shimano’s new wheels will be 11-speed compatible, as well as reverse compatible with 8, 9, and 10-speed drivetrains, except for an all-new disc brake compatible, 700c wheelset designed for casual riders (read: heavy), which will only be 10-speed compatible.

Shimano will also trickle down its carbon pedal technology to the 105 level, dropping weight off the 105 SPD-SL pedal model. How much? No idea.

New recreational components

Shimano also announced a brand new group for recreational riders, placed between Sora and Tourney in the brand hierarchy. The 8-speed group will be available with drop bar or flat bar shifters, with the choice of 50/34- or 46/34-tooth doubles or a 50/39/30-tooth triple crankset. A 12-32-tooth cassette will be available for easy climbing.

This is certainly not the last announcement Shimano will be making over the next few months. Stay tuned.