Long live the front derailleur.
It's never been the sexiest, shiniest Shimano drivetrain, or the cheapest, but this year, SLX has finally been granted its moment in the spotlight. From the looks of things, it's going to be a long moment. Receiving an overhaul spanning from cranksets to trigger shifters, SLX emerged from the dust a glittering new groupset, with the 11-speed appeal of its attention-grabbing siblings, XTR and XT. Replete with trickle-down technology, the SLX FD-M7020-D 2x11 Front Derailleur returns better than ever for 2016, with functionality that belies its affordable price.
Arguably the most significant change to the front derailleur this year is its side swing design, accommodating the stubbier chainstays and longer-travel trail bikes and enduro sleds that seem to be spawning directly onto the trails by the day as of late. Shimano also cleaned up the shifting action, aiming for smoother, quieter transitions between small and big ring and back again, without the jingling and heavy-handed lever throwing required by your finicky first hardtail years ago. If you're loathe to part with your granny gear for the times when the singletrack becomes a massive wall in front of you, the FD-M7020 confidently demonstrates that the front derailleur can keep up with changing times as much as any one-by setup.
- Updated SLX front derailleur for trail and enduro riding
- Requires less effort for quieter, more precise shifts
- New side-swing design increases tire clearance
- Adapted for shorter chainstays and modern frame geometry