First Look | Shimano Deore M6100 1×12 Drivetrain & 4-Piston Brakes

Shimano Deore M6100 Goes 12-Speed

Shimano has just launched the Deore M6100 component range, which becomes the cheapest 12-speed groupset available from the Japanese brand. Trickling down technology from the latest XTR, XT and SLX groupsets, Deore M6100 aims to bring 1×12 drivetrains to the masses with a huge 10-51T cassette and a new single-chainring crankset. There’s also the option of 2-piston and 4-piston disc brakes, which feature the latest mid-clamp lever design and I-Spec EV mounting system found on more expensive Shimano brakes.

shimano deore m6100 1x12 drivetrain cassette 4-piston brakes
It might have the exotic flavour of XTR, but we’re still very excited by the arrival of Shimano’s new Deore M6100 groupset!

Aaaand There’s 11-Speed AND 10-Speed Deore Too!

That’s right, Shimano is rolling out two other groupsets as well – Deore M5100 (11-speed) and Deore M4100 (10-speed). These two drivetrains share a similar aesthetic to the new 12-speed stuff, but package it into an even more budget-friendly approach with 1x and 2x setups on offer. On top of that, Shimano is also announcing new 630Wh e-MTB batteries, additional XTR crank options, new wheels, and flat-mount brake calliper options for the XTR, XT and SLX groupsets. Seriously, there is a TONNE of new stuff to talk about.

Right now though, we’re going to take a closer look at the M6100 groupset that we’ve just received for testing. Read on for specs, pricing, confirmed weights, and a look at all the details that make up this new budget 1×12 groupset.

Shimano Deore M6100 Crankset

shimano deore m6100 crankset
The cranks are very sharp – nice black finish on these along with a new direct-mount 1x chainring.

At the centre of the new Deore M6100 drivetrain is the new crankset. With a slick black finish, these look far more expensive than they are. The Deore cranks maintain the classic 24mm hollow steel axle that is compatible with both threaded and press-fit bottom brackets from Shimano. The arms now use a direct-mount chainring system, and they come fitted with a new 1x chainring that features Shimano’s DCT narrow-wide tooth profile. Only 30T and 32T chainrings will be available though.

Unlike its more expensive siblings that use hollow crank arms, the Deore crankset uses solid forged arms, which is partly how the price has been brought down. It does result in more weight – these are over 150g heavier than the SLX cranks. The Deore cranks will be available with 170 or 175mm arm lengths, and in three chainline options: 52mm (142/148mm), 55mm (148mm Boost) and 56.5mm (157mm Super Boost).

Shimano Deore M6100 10-51T Cassette

shimano deore m6100 cassette
The 12-speed cassette gets a huge 10-51T ratio.

Then there’s that mahoosif cassette in all its silver-steel glory. The ratio is the same as XTR/XT/SLX, so you’ve got a whopping 510% range from the 10-51T spread. However, there will be no 10-45T option with Deore. The cassette does use the Micro Spline mounting standard, which is less of an issue now that Shimano has finally relaxed the licensing restrictions for other hub brands to produce Micro Spline freehub bodies. Still, you’ll want to check that you can get a compatible Micro Spline freehub body for your wheelset if you’re eyeing off a new Deore groupset.

All the sprockets are made from steel, which does increase weight but also provides more durability compared to alloy and titanium sprockets. The seven largest sprockets are riveted to an alloy central spider, while the next four sprockets sit individually on the freehub body. The smallest 10T sprocket locks into the 12T sprocket. You’ll notice lots of ridges and grooves machined into the cassette teeth, and that’s Shimano’s Hyperglide+ technology, which allows you to up and down-shift under load.

Shimano Deore M6100 Derailleur

shimano deore m6100 derailleur
There’s only one Deore 12-speed rear derailleur, and it shares a lot in common with its SLX counterpart.

The Deore rear derailleur bears a striking resemblance to the XT equivalent with its black finish, and indeed much of the architecture is the same. There’s a one-way Shadow Plus friction clutch for dampening chain bounce, and a heavily offset upper pulley for covering the spread on that big 10-51T cassette. Like the SLX derailleur, the 13T pulley wheels use bushings instead of sealed bearings, otherwise the construction is very similar.

Shimano Deore M6100 Shifter

It’s a similar story with the 12-speed Deore shifter, which is very close in design to the SLX M7100 shifter. You get textured paddle surfaces, and the smaller lever uses the 2-Way Release system that allows you to push or pull to up-shift. The shifter can be had in a standard band clamp version, or an I-Spec EV version (as shown here) that will mount directly to a compatible Shimano right-hand brake lever. You don’t get quite as much angular adjustment (5-15°) as you get with the SLX version though (5-25°). There’s also an Optical Gear Display as an option for those who want a visual indicator of what gear they’re in.

Shimano Deore M6100 Chain

To go with the 1×12 drivetrain, Shimano has a Deore-level 12-speed chain. Coming in at a lick over $40, this is likely to be a popular consumable item for those with XTR/XT/SLX drivetrains who want to save a few bucks at their next service. The M6100 chain misses out on the SIL-TEC and chromizing treatments of the more expensive chains, but it still gets the new chamfered inner profile that’s designed to mesh smoothly with the DCT chainring teeth. And it comes with a quick-link too.

Shimano Deore M6120 Disc Brakes

shimano deore m6120 disc brakes
We’ve got a set of the 4-piston Deore M6120 disc brakes to test out. These share a very similar design to the SLX/XT and XTR equivalents.

Another big news story out of the Deore M6100 groupset is the redesigned disc brake system. Here we’ve got the 4-piston (M6120) option, but there are 2-piston (M6100) brakes as well. Both share the same levers, which takes on the same shape and design found on XTR. The handlebar clamp has been moved to the centre of the lever body, and the edge of the body now nestles up along the handlebar surface to increase structural stiffness.

While the new brake levers do require a hex key to adjust lever reach, they share many of the same features as their pricier counterparts – there’s a Servo Wave linkage, I-Spec EV compatibility, one-way bleeding, and the callipers will take the same pads found in the SLX and XT brakes.

Shimano MT500 Dropper Post Lever

To go with the Deore M6100 groupset, Shimano has sent us the new matching MT500 dropper post lever. This is very similar to the MT800 lever, and it comes in both standard bar clamp and I-Spec EV mount options. The materials and finishing are cheaper, and you miss out on the sealed bearing, but the paddle shape is the same and it gets a textured surface too.

shimano deore m6100 1x12 drivetrain 10-51t cassette 4-piston brakes
For less than a grand for a 1×12 drivetrain AND 4-piston disc brakes, this is one value-packed groupset.

How Does Deore M6100 Compare To SLX M7100?

In terms of performance, we don’t know as we’ve not ridden the new Deore groupset just yet. We’ll be mounting it up shortly, so stay tuned for a full review coming your way in the future. What we can say from getting up close and personal with the M6100 components is that the quality of construction is really impressive, and really there isn’t a lot separating the two – even in price. A Deore M6100 1×12 drivetrain and 4-piston brake set comes in at $921. Compare that to $1,153 for the SLX M7100 equivalent.

While Deore is cheaper, it isn’t that much cheaper. So anyone looking at buying a whole new groupset will surely be tempted to pay that little bit extra to go SLX. However, it’s in the OEM market where Deore is likely to make the biggest splash – for big bike brands like Giant & Specialized, saving a few bucks on a derailleur or crankset makes a big difference when you’re building bikes in the tens of thousands. From that end, we expect to see a huge amount of Deore being spec’d on 2021 mountain bikes.

Also worth mentioning is that Shimano’s 12-speed mountain bike components are largely inter-compatible. For example, you could combine an XT crankset with an SLX shifter and derailleur, along with a Deore cassette and chain. That means for existing Shimano 1×12 riders, the new Deore range presents a slightly cheaper option when it comes time for service and replacement.

shimano deore m5100 drivetrain brakes
The new Deore M5100 groupset brings the same tech, but in a 1×11 and 2×11 drivetrain.

What About Deore 11-Speed?

Yep, Deore M5100 is coming in a big way too, with both 1×11 and 2×11 drivetrain options. The cassette shares a similar construction to the new 12-speed version, but it doesn’t use the Micro Spline freehub standard – it uses a good old fashioned HG mount with 11-42T and 11-51T ratios on offer. The crankset doesn’t get a direct-mount chainring though, which means there are both 1x and 2x specific options. The brakes are the otherwise the same as those found in the 12-speed groupset.

shimano deore m4100 1x10 drivetrain
We expect to see the new 10-speed Deore components on a tonne of bikes for 2021.

And 10-Speed Too – Whoa!

Like the 11-speed groupset, this Deore M4100 10-speed groupset is likely to see some serious OEM spec for 2021 bikes. Also available in 1×10 and 2×10 drivetrain options, Deore M4100 still sees a Shadow Plus clutched derailleur, an I-Spec EV shifter option, and the new mid-mount brake lever design. These levers are designed to pair up with the M410 callipers (2-piston) or the M420 callipers (4-piston). The cassette uses a HG spline and is offered in 11-42T and 11-46T ratios, and the crankset comes in both 1x and 2x specific options.

And That New 630Wh STEPS Battery…

As if that wasn’t enough, Shimano has also quietly introduced some new components for the STEPS e-Bike component line, which includes a new 630Wh battery. This is kinda big news really, because the current battery is only 504Wh, and Shimano has been trumped on capacity by the likes of Bosch (625Wh), Norco (630Wh) and Specialized (700Wh). The new battery will be available in an internal version (BT-E8036) and an external version (BT-E8016). Again, expect to see some new 2021 e-MTBs being launched soon with this new bigger capacity battery option.

Shimano also has a new Super Boost compatible chainring option for the STEPS E8000 and E7000 drive units. This suggests there’s sufficient demand from manufacturers like Pivot, which uses Super Boost spacing on its Shuttle e-MTB, and perhaps we’ll see more models from other brands coming out with 157x12mm back ends.

Plus New Flat-Mount Brake Callipers & Deore-Level Wheels

As if that wasn’t enough for you, Shimano has also announced it will now be producing SLX, XT and XTR brake callipers in the Flat Mount standard. The twin-piston callipers share a similarly compact shape to Shimano’s road disc brakes, and they’re designed to fit neatly inside the rear triangle on compatible mountain bike frames – the Canyon Lux and Cannondale Scalpel being current examples that have adopted the Flat Mount standard. That said, if Shimano is producing three new Flat Mount callipers, there’s a strong chance more brands will have requested this for their 2021 model year bikes.

And finally, there are also some new wheels too! The MT601 is a Deore-level wheelset that will be available in both 27.5in and 29in diameters with Boost and non-Boost thru-axle hubs. These Micro Spline compatible wheels will sit alongside the more expensive XT wheels, though the MT601s are heavier (2,230g claimed), only available with a 25mm internal rim width and use a pawl-based freehub mechanism.

Right, got all that? Stay tuned for an in-depth review on the new Deore M6100 groupset, and as always, hit us up with any questions on any of the above and we’ll do our best to answer them for y’all.

Mo’ Flow Please!

Enjoyed that article?

If you’re looking for more information on which groupset to select for your bike, take a look at our rundown on the Shimano SLX groupset. We also recently compared two of the main mid-range groupset contenders in our Shimano SLX vs SRAM GX Eagle shootout.

Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow!

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