After 4 years of service, the old M410 was replaced by the new Shimano Alivio M430. This is more than a simple change of guard, as the new Alivio was given a new design, borrowed from its higher spec siblings, an improved functioning, while also losing 25 grams compared to its predecessor. Now it weights 287 grams.
Weight wise, it is almost a menace for the mid-level Deore, whose weight is 280 grams. But Shimano does not intend to stir internal competition for its own products, and this can be seen from the way Alivio behaves on the track. There is quite a difference as compared with Deore.
The 2011 Alivio’s construction reminds us of Shimano’s Shadow technology, as it manages to maintain an acceptable distance from the chainstay’s lower side. This means that when riding over bumps, the derailleur will no longer hit your frame. Even so, its smaller profile does not automatically make it a Shadow derailleur. Shimano carefully keeps this technology for more advanced derailleurs in its components range.
As for functionality, Alivio M430 offers the basic functions of entry level rear derailleur and a little bit of extra. Shifting gears has become slightly more refined compared to the old model, but the noise has not been completely eliminated. Also, for medium gear ratios shifting sometimes is brutal.
Best is not pushing things and shift gears under load. We tried it a couple of times and everything went smooth. But on the long run we can’t tell how the derailleur will work and to what extent it will be affected by more severe conditions of use. Alivio is recommended for easy riding in the mountains, trails or forest, and extreme stuff does not suit it.
You can use it with an 11-34 tooth cassette, and combined with a set of Shimano Alivio shifters, it will function much better. Not to mention that the new shifters feature a 2 Way Release function, meaning that they can be actuated both ways. The display showing you what gear you’re in is now bigger, more clear and more precise, with three distinct areas so you always know what sprocket you’re using.
In brief, we were impressed by the changes brought by Shimano to its 2011 Alivio. Its improved performance makes it a very good offer, as the price continues to remain low. It’s not on the same level as the Shadow technology -endowed Deore, but it’s a real progress compared to the older model, M410. And, why not admit, it looks much better!
Weight: 287 grams