Mid Term: Shimano SLX Group- by Grannygear
I have enough time on trail with the Shimano SLX 2×10 group to report back with a mid term post. We began here with weights, etc, then moved to the build-up on a Specialized FSR that seemed to be a decent choice. With the quite excellent White Brothers Loop fork @130mm and the Easton Havens with Bontrager 29-4 2.35 tires, dropper post, wide, Truvative bars, etc, it has been a good base to hang the SLX parts on.
To begin with, the SLX is the working man’s group but with all the function of the chi-chi stuff. You pay a penalty in weight, especially in things like rear der’s, etc (sometimes SLX is surprisingly competitive weight wise with XT) but it takes a smaller bite out of your wallet. Frankly, I can see why some parts, like the brakes or cranks, are very popular for a selective build as they are give you a lot of bang for the buck. If it were me, I might upgrade to an XT rear der, but other than that?
So what has been the highs and lows so far?
- The shifting is just what we have come to expect from a modern 2×10 drivetrain and that is solid, accurate, and fast.
- The gearing, while still not what I would REALLY prefer on a 30lb trail bike like this, is adequately low in range and much more in the top end than I need. I would trade off to a 22/36T 2x crank if I could and I would want a real bash ring if possible. But the 24/38T crank gearing is likely to be fine for a lot of riders as gearing needs are such a personal thing. Give me the lower option, please.
- The Shadow Plus rear der is just darn nice on there. I put it in the workstand and ran the bike through the gears, switching the feature on and off and I could not really tell any change in shifting effort, etc, so I just left it on all the time. On rocky, very rutted trails and roads, it was dead quiet…no chain slap. I even left in it in the small ring sometimes on rough sections just to see if I could get it to misbehave. Good to go, although on the DH runs, I typically shifted up into the 38T ring just to be proper (and to satisfy old habits).
- The brakes are 99% stunning. The effort at the lever is very low for the amount of braking you get and I have never needed more than one finger. They do come on pretty fast though, but any good rider adapts to that. The rear brake will heat up and howl a bit on extended runs then it will drag ever so slightly as the pads move in a bit under heat expansion. That is really all the bad I have to say about them.
I will keep riding this bike through the summer and will report back then for a longer look at things, but as it sits, this is solid stuff for the average Joe or Jill that does not want to dent the kid’s college fund to kit out a bike.
Note: Shimano sent over this SLX group at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.