With its mind an effort recently set mainly towards entry-level, Shimano offers us the new Altus, a groupset which despite its belonging to the lower class of components is promising to deliver more that it did until now.
So, what’s new? The biggest change is the addition of an extra sprocket, thus transforming Altus into a 9-speed groupset, but if you want to go for the old-school 8-sprocket version you still can. In terms of materials used to build the components, changes are hardly detectable in contrast to the new design which underwent some serious improvements.
The 9th sprocket is not the only news concerning the drivetrain, the new rear derailleur being now slightly narrower, which in turn will lead to a more closer position from the frame. The main feat achieved through this are the diminished chances of obstacles found on the trail damaging the derailleur. Although it is far from the brilliant Shadow Plus technology, it is a step forward in comparison to earlier groups.
Changes paid the front derailleur a visit as well, especially regarding its visual but you must also keep in mind that the manufacturer offers the component in 4 versions, including top- or downswing ones. The crankset’s design was also modified as well as its mounting system, which fits on a square bottom bracket. Trekking enthusiats should be glad to hear that Shimano included a 48-36-26 tooth combination for them, besides the 44-32-22 already available for mountain bikes, so gear ratios don’t seem to be a menace given that sprockets range from 11 to 32 or from 11 to 34 tooth.
More in handy for users will now also be the shifter which has a version to which the brake lever was added. Although it might not work like Deore, it borrowed its design and it works with disc brakes as well as with V-brakes.
No prices have been yet announced and as far as availability goes, it is set for the second part of the year.