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New Shimano LX: it's LX, but not as we know it.

New Shimano LX: it's LX, but not as we know it.

Shimano's new SLX gear had left LX as a bit of a fifth wheel in the Japanese giant's MTB armoury, so the decision was made to rebrand the groupset as touring and urban kit. We've been running some of this kit on an urban bike for the last month... The most obvious changes in the design are the chainset, which is now available in a road-friendly 46/36/26, and the control gear which comes as an integrated V-brake and shifter unit, with big, friendly displays and chunky levers. Technology wise the 09 groupset is at a similar level - you get the dual release on the shifters, and Hollowtech II technology - and the prices are a fairly close match too. Shimano claim to have shaved a couple of hundred grams off the overall weight. So what's it like to ride? well, the chainset, which in terms of ratios sits between a MTB triple and a compact, gives pretty much the perfect range of gears for your urban riding. I was pairing it with a 12-25 cassette; the mech will handle anything up to an 11-30, so it can go lower, but even on the steeps the 26/25 bottom gear was plenty low enough. The shifters take a bit of getting used to, both in terms of looks and function, but the changes (longer levers, bigger displays) are well thought out given the urban bent. Shifting is light and accurate. We didn't run the V-brakes but we wouldn't anticipate any problems, as they look only cosmetically different to last year's offerings. Overall it's a good full groupset in a sector where manufacturers normally have to use a bit of a mix-and match approach to spec. Expect to see it adorning plenty of £700-£1000 urban steeds in 2009. Click here for the image gallery

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