Shimano have announced a new version of their Alivio groupset aimed at leisure cyclists, updates to their Alfine and Nexus systems, as well as a bunch of new wheels including disc brake and road tubeless options.
Shimano are introducing a new version of their Alivio groupset aimed squarely at trekking bike users.
Alivio has always been a mountain bike groupset but people have used it on flat-barred trekking bikes for many years. Shimano have now decided to make a dedicated trekking version that sits in the range alongside the newly redesigned mountain bike version.
Shimano say, “The new trekking groupset is the most silent and durable Alivio groupset ever made. Compared to the mountain bike version, the trekking groupset has cleaner appearance.
“The rear derailleur clearly shows the different design. The front derailleur has a wide link for longer durability and precise shifting and the front crank is available in 48-36-26 and 44-32-22.
“Overall Alivio trekking is a 9-speed groupset with a light, precise and silent shifting operation and ergonomic handling."
So, that’s the official line. To distinguish between the different components, the mountain bike kit gets an M in the product name and the trekking kit gets a – you guessed it – T. The Alivio mountain bike shifters, for example, are called ST-M4000 while the trekking shifters are ST-T4000. It’s all pretty logical.
Two different chainset/bottom bracket systems are available: a two-piece chainset construction (T4060) using outboard bottom bracket bearings, and an Octalink system (T4010, with an eight-spline connection between the cranks and the bottom bracket).
As mentioned above, the chainsets are triples and you get to choose between 44-32-22-tooth chainrings, and 48-36-26-tooth.
The shifter is a new Tap Fire Plus design with a gear display, and braking comes via V-brakes whereas the mountain bike version of Alivio now gets hydraulic disc brakes (ST-M4050 shifters, BR-M4050 hydraulic disc brake calipers).
In terms of looks, the trekking products have a smoother appearance than their mountain bike counterparts. They’re available in two different finishes: silver and black.
1.5W hub dynamo
Shimano are introducing new 1.5W hub dynamos. The new 1.5W models are significantly lighter than the existing 3W models (125g or around 23% lighter), the rotational torque – the resistance that creates the power – is about 50% lower, and the hub is more compact – about 20% smaller. You’ve got to love a few stats. Alfine, Nexus and Deore XT (pictured) versions will be available.
The main reason for these new 1.5W models is a law change in Germany that allows LEDs to be powered by dynamos. That means it’s likely that more manufacturers will be producing 1.5W compatible dynamo lights in the future, although Shimano don’t intend to produce any themselves.
Shimano have updated their Alfine city/comfort groupset with a new Inter-8 shift lever – SL-S7000-8. It’s a top-normal shifter meaning that it works in exactly the same way as a mountain bike shifter and the 11-speed Alfine shifter. The existing 8-speed Alfine shifter works the opposite way round to normal.
If you already have an Alfine 8-speed hub, you can use it with the new shifter as long as you get the new small parts too.
The Nexus Inter-8 groupset gets a completely new look that’s more co-ordinated than before, and it’s available in both black and silver options.
If you want a hub dynamo with this group, you can choose between 1.5W, 2.4W and 3W.
The cheaper Nexus Inter-7 system gets a smoother shifting performance, according to Shimano, thanks to an improved internal pawl engagement.
We told you about Shimano’s STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Power System) E-bike groupset last November so we won’t go into much detail here.
Essentially, STEPS is an integrated E-bike system that includes a drive unit, battery, chainset, cycle computer and chain. It engages when you are pedalling and cuts out at 25km/h (16mph).
STEPS has three types of power support modes: eco has a range up to 120km (75 miles), normal mode offers up to 100km (63 miles) and the high mode up to 80km (50 miles). Of course, this will all vary according to the terrain, the bike, the rider, and the conditions. The cycle computer gives feedback on battery life, riding speed, distance, and so on. You can integrate STEPS with Shimano’s Di2 internal hub gears.
Shimano are introducing a new high-end disc brake-compatible road bike wheel in the shape of the new WH-RX830. It comes with a 30mm-deep section rim, an aluminium structure, that on its own wouldn’t be strong enough, with carbon laminate laid over the top.
The rim is 17mm wide internally, the extra width being designed to create a greater than normal contact patch with the ground in order to improve braking performance. It’s 11-speed compatible and it’s designed for use with Shimano’s 140mm centre lock disc rotors.
The RX830 is built to Shimano’s existing OptBal (it’s short for ‘optimal balance and rigidity’) 2:1 spoke system, meaning that 14 of the spokes in the rear wheel go to the driveside, seven to the non-driveside. The idea is to balance the spoke tension leading to improved wheel rigidity and durability. As usual with Shimano, the hubs feature cup and cone bearings.
Last year Shimano introduced the Ultegra-level 11-speed compatible RS81 wheels with carbon laminate rim technology in 24 and 35mm rim depths. Both of these will be available in road tubeless versions (as opposed to clincher or tubular) in the future.
Maybe this will be the year when Road Tubeless finally takes off. If so, Shimano will be ready with more choice than before. The RS610 is another new road tubeless wheel option, this time using an all-aluminium rim so it’ll have a lower price (although we don’t have prices for any of these products yet).
The RS010 is a new entry-level system which will be Shimano’s lowest priced 11-speed compatible wheelset.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.