In May, Shimano released what many of us expected - as 12-speed version of their hard-wearing and high-performing Deore XT group set. They also released a 12-sapeed version of SLX as well, making their top 3 group sets all compatible and all with 10-51 and 10-45 cassette options, 2 or 4 pot brakes, and using dirvetrain technology that has made the quietest and fastest shifting setup we have ridden on.

Catch up on the launch details right here.

After a couple of solid days on the trails in Bellingham, Washington Staate, before the 12-speed group sets were released, it was pretty clear that Shimano had brought just about all the updates from their top tier XTR M9100 group set to the Deore XT and SLX options.

With the Transition Smuggler long term test bike needing a sweet group set to finish it off, Deore XT M8100 was the obvious choice. The frame is designed for a dedicated 1x system, and built around 180mm rotors. THis is perfect for the group set we wanted to test, and it was a relatively straight-forward build - the whole group set goes together really easily with no surprises. Take a look at the process and stay tuned for a review of the group in the coming months.

As it is, the group has got to be one of the most exciting things fro Shimano to release. Not only do you get a 510% gear range, you can have 4-pot brakes with incredible modulation, a chain, cassette and chainring that mesh and shift like nothing before (ok, except XTR M9100) and lots of options for crank lengths, chain ring sizes, and best of all - parts interchangeability up to XTR or down to SLX.