2020 Pinkbike Awards: Value Product of the Year Winner

Dec 28, 2020
by Daniel Sapp  

Value Product of the Year Winner

2020's Value Product of the Year nominees included Microshift's Advent X drivetrain, RockShox's DebonAir spring and Marzocchi's Z1 coil upgrade, which all offer a whole lot of performance for the money but to us, the winner is Shimano's Deore drivetrain.

Why it's the winner

Deore has always been the more budget-friendly drivetrain from Shimano and the updates it received this year put it in a class of its own. Not only does it perform well, but it's widely compatible and has accompanying 11 and 10-speed groupsets which carry over a lot of the features of the full-featured 12-speed edition in an even more value-focused package.

At under $300 USD for a derailleur, shifter, cassette, chain, and crankset, it's a value that is hard to beat. It comes in at a fraction of the price of Shimano's XT and XTR groups. While it does weigh a bit more, it offers a lot of the performance we see in the higher tier groups and is the widest range drivetrain in this price range we have seen perform at the level it does. The cassette and chain use Shimano's Hyperglide+ technology which allows riders to shift while they're pedaling hard, under load, without it feeling like you're going to break your bike...and in this case, it keeps your bank account intact as well.

Yes, we know that it also won 'Component of the Year' but, it's also the best value product in our minds for a lot of the same reasons.

A solid drivetrain to log miles on.


  • 97 0
 In a world full of overpriced, fancy, bling components (that we all love and drool over) Deore parts really do shine as a part that just plain flat out works well and is soooo cheap in comparison to the high end parts.

Good work Shimano.
  • 82 0
 I read that in a deep movie trailer guy voice. It works.
  • 20 1
 And Deore delivers the knockout with the left hook (component of the year) and right jab (value product of the year). Kudos to Shimano.
  • 36 0
 aaaaand in comes [Out of stock] with the uppercut knockout to shimano!
  • 19 6
 I'd like an comparison as to why this won over AdventX, since both are impossible to find in stock. The AdventX is lighter and cheaper, but I'm guessing doesn't shift as well. Mine shifts really, really well, so I can only imagine how well the new Shimano stuff shifts.
  • 12 0
 i think the advantage went to Deore because it shifts well under load with the HG+ chain.
  • 6 6
 Shimano 12 is the best shifting stuff on the market-cable actuated or electronic. Standing up on a steep hill and need to grab a gear or 3......done!! The fact that for only a little more cash you can upgrade to SLX cranks and an XT shifter and get XT performance at half price is icing on the cake.
  • 4 0
 A major part of the new Deore's appeal to me is that the 12sp version is forward compatible with all of the higher end lines (i.e. SLX, XT, XTR). That is, with it using Microspline, you can mix and match every part of the drivetrain as you see fit. That's something you can't do with Advent X, not to mention SRAM SX and NX.
  • 10 5
 I've had both. Advent is the better system. Not sure why everyone is so head over heels with the Shimano stuff. It feels downright cheap (both the actuation and the components). My 12 speed XT already had to have its clutch rebuilt....The 12 speed deore system that came on a bike I was riding for a few months kept on having random days where it wouldn't shift into the lowest gear even after replacing cable, housing etc. That shifter felt wayyy cheaper than the Advent and frankly the shifting precisions/speed felt equal.
  • 8 2
 @cdoggums: I would argue Microspline is a negative, not a positive. Advent X or any SRAM 12speed (with the 11-50 cassette) will fit a standard HG hub. You don't need the XD cassette for SRAM unless you want the lighter cassette.

I have the Deore 11 on my new fat bike and its been good, but not amazing.
  • 15 11
 @Klainmeister: I am very sorry for you poor experiences with Shimano products. Before voicing you complaint please ensure you have taken the time to set up your drivetrain correctly? It doesn't come perfectly tuned out of the box as not all bikes are the same.

Our top secret new design features the ability to deliver the perfect shift every time right out of the box, even if you put the derailleur on upside down. But sadly our patented Magic-Shift MS-M9200 technology was not available for the 2020 models but please watch for it in the next iteration in 2024.

In the meanwhile, please take your bike to the nearest Shimano- licensed professional bicyle mechanic who can help you enjoy the full benefit of Shimano 12spd HG+.


The Shimano Team (not actually)
  • 8 0
 Personally I'd rather have advent x. Lighter, cheaper, works perfectly. I don't need to pay more to see "Shimano" printing on it lol. Different strokes for different folks but advent x definitely should have won this one. Deore is great but best value it is not.
  • 5 1
 @Shred-BC: idk why the downvotes. I thought that was hilarious.
  • 5 0
 @Shred-BC: Thanks for reaching out Shimango

My local mechanic installed the cassette correctly on my crank spindle and we doublechecked the FD mount height was correct for the derailleur, which we tested with both clutch on and off. We even went ahead and tried the more traditional double-loop method for the cable going over, then under, and back over the top of the pully to ensure the throw was correct.

Even after this, still had exceptionally mediocre experience and still couldn't climb my local steeps despite the new gearing.

Any other suggestions before I throw it through the glass windows of my local Specialized retailer?
  • 5 1
 @CycleKrieg: If I was spending $3k+ on a new bike, I would not be buying one with a an old hub standard that limits my upgrade options. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of bikes are spec'ed with NX, but fortunately manufacturers are now starting to spec Deore in that price range.
  • 3 0
 @Klainmeister: It seems you may have a case of a faulty drivetrain experience. Your LBS mechanic is a great place to start when having issues, but, please be advised that Shimano licensed mechanics are put through rigorous training to best solve your Shimano product problems. And, as a company we cannot guarantee that unlicensed mechanics have been put through the same training and have the knowledge to diagnose and correct any issues.

An excellent resource available to consumers is our 'HELP: Shimano Troubleshooting 101 (TS-M7400)' manual which may be able to give you an insight into the highly advanced, but simple technologies in all products in the Shimano range.

As for problems with climbing hills you have a few options. Our massive 510% range allows most riders to climb grades in excess of 100%. If your incline grades are steeper than the recommended degree consider down sizing to a 30t or 28t chainring to change your gear ratio.
The turbo trainer is a fine place to build fitness but I personally a road or gravel bike with a Shimano Ultegra R9000 or Tiagra 7000 groupset. Both offer massive range, good ergonomics and a pleasurable experience.
Your last option is our brand new E-STEPS M9000 electric motor system which is garunteed to flatten out those hills.

Shimano does not condone the damage of any other company in the industry, no matter how much they deserve it. Shimano will not claim responsibility for any conflicts and all liability will be on the culprit.

The Shimanö Team (not actually)
  • 11 2
 Deore derailleur works with Sram Shifters and vice versa. Good enough reason to win the award, as it makes changing a broken SRAM part much more manageable thing.
  • 2 1
 Is that actually confirmed?
  • 8 1
 @pbuser2299: Yes, running gx shifter with slx derailleur as we speak. Perfect function and easier to set up.
  • 3 1
 @pbuser2299: Yes, yes it is. Its a hair finicky, but it absolutely works and works quite well once you get cable tension dialed in.
  • 3 3
 Works like crap. I’ve tried SRamano 12 in various combinations. The slight difference in cable pull means the shifting is always worse than either brand’s complete drivetrain.

As affordable as Deore 12 is, I’d say just go all the way.
  • 4 0
 @pbuser2299: Running GX shifter and XT derailleur. Flawless. Only negative is need to change to longer housing when swapping in XT derailleur because of Shimano's inferior derailleur cable routing.
  • 3 0
 Cool, thanks all, thats good to know
  • 4 0
 @Kiotae: sames...no problemo

Had a shop nerd heatedly try to school me on this but it's too late as I've already set up 2 of my bikes w. this configuration
  • 1 1
 @peleton7: so if you match shifter and cassette brands, either derailleur should work since it has nothing to do with indexing. Correct? I’ll be sticking to all shimano for the foreseeable future but this is an interesting point for discussion.
  • 1 0
 @OldDert: well you’ll want to match the Shimano chain and cassette at least to get the benefit of shifting under load but I don’t think any of the other parts play into that, so you should be able to mix and match if that is truly the case
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: good point on the chain. And good to know what parts can mixed given the current availability of various components in case something is needed in a pinch.
  • 2 5
 @peleton7: Than it's set up incorrectly or something else is amiss. As someone else mentioned, since the rear derailleur isn't indexed it doesn't care about differences in cable pull.

Chain, cassette and shifter all need to match, but the derailleur is wild.
  • 3 3
 @Mr-Horse: Reformed shop nerd here. So many have no clue what they're talking about. I worked in multiple well regarded shops over a 15 year period and it's astounding how often there's only 1-2 people on staff who are truly knowledgeable.
  • 3 3
 @Kiotae: The derailleur is not wild and its leverage ratio is matched to the corresponding index of the shifters it is designed for.

Try running a 9/10/11 speed derailleur with a 12 speed cassette, chain and shifter, same goes for road shifters to mtb derailleurs.

I am not saying you cannot get your 12 speed sram shifter to run a 12 speed shimano derailleur, the pull ratios may be similar, but to say the derailleur is wild is simply incorrect.
  • 2 1
 Gotta get that new hotness so I can immediately set it up incorrectly.
  • 3 1
 @keewi: I was referring to the 12 speed groups being discussed here and trying to not be overly wordy. I didn't think I needed to explicitly mention that one can't simply throw any random derailleur and expect it to work. That may not (or may) work for a variety of reasons. The main problem is that older derailleurs can't handle huge cassettes. They'll move the chain nicely until around a 40t and then promptly explode.

Many of those combinations can work very well though, despite what you say. Will set up be finicky in some situations? Yes. Are there certain restrictions (like cog size)? Yes. An experienced tech can do all sorts of frankenstein drivetrains though. Before gravel was a market segment, I set up dozens of road bikes with mountain bike cassettes and derailleurs. I'm sure plenty others did as well.
  • 1 0
 Yup. And that's exactly where I am going. Gonna run an XT with a GX shifter, because my GX clutch has failed. When I finally wear out the GX 11 spd rings, will upgrade to the 12 spd cogs and shifters.
  • 2 2
 @Kiotae: the actuation ratio is between the derailleur and the shifter, so derailleurs matter.. this is why in the past, sram and shimano were very not compatible (sram was 1:1 and shimano was like 1.9 or something) now it’s 1.12 vs 1.1 so much closer. The derailleur is very much designed to work with a given cable pull, hense the ratio. Crazy how some people know so little about how little they know.
  • 1 1
 @Kiotae: the irony
  • 7 3
 Hopefully the plague of NX and SX OEM spec will end now. Shimano has made a groupset as durable and smooth shifting as their top end stuff for a fraction of the price. Even SRAM XX stuff doesn’t shift as well as Deore.
  • 4 0
 The only shame is that there isn't a hg cassette option. Was there no way to engineer something with less range that was almost as good?
  • 3 0
 They also upgraded the 10sp and 11sp Deore which fit the HG body. Not sure whether anyone actually reviews these in magazines as the 12sp is getting all the internet clicks, but I'd suppose the other new Deore stuff should be good as well. Though as far as I understand the ability to shift to a lighter gear under load is limited to the 12sp systems. Alternatively, you could probably use the 12sp with a SRAM NX/SX cassette on a HG body but again, it won't shift as well under load so going to 11sp or 10sp makes more sense I suppose.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: The valid options are there, but was an hg compatable option rejected so they could win the range dick measuring contest with SRAM? Is the microspline hub necessary for that hyperglide + shifting under load? The deore 10/11 speed drivetrains weren't sent to the standard sites for reviews and it is hard to find info on. It took me about 15 minutes to find the weight of their m5100 cranks (855g) which should be on their spec pages to begin with. It seems like Shimano wants you to buy their lower deore options with as little info as possible, which I feel is kind of sketchy. You might believe that the crankset would weigh the same as an M6100 one, but it's 70g more.
  • 2 0
 @JayUpNorth: Not sure how much choice websites have when reviewing products, but somehow I doubt Pinkbike would have reviewed the new 10sp Deore when a competing website would have got the 12sp Deore for a review. That said, it is good to notice that in the past year, a lot of OEM bikes were sold with a 1x12 drivetrain and at the pricepoint where Shimano couldn't deliver, their products simply weren't spec'd by the bigger brands. So they had to create something to compete with 12sp NX and SX. And the biggest complaint in reviews and comment sections seemed to be that these cassettes didn't come with a 10t sprocket. So that's where Shimano could have a competitive advantage. Considering these signals from the market, I think it would have been foolish to not take it.

As for the cranks being heavier, only reason I can think of would be that even the 1x one doesn't come from a dedicated 1x forging. That is, there still may be blank tabs (not drilled, not treaded) on there so that they could use that same forging to make a 2x and 3x crank. So yeah, that may be the reason it ended up slightly heavier than needed.

The 10sp and 11sp drivetrains not being HG+ may indeed be a strategic choice. Not necessarily to nudge people to the (more expensive) 12sp groupo, but also because otherwise people replacing their wear parts (chain and cassette) would automatically upgrade to a better performing drivetrain eventually. And as obviously most of us don't need a 10-51 cassette in the first place, we'd just happily ride our old 10sp and 11sp drivetrains to death and still enjohy improved performance (and no one would upgrade to the new 12sp stuff). So that would indeed be a business strategy based decision and event though it is a missed opportunity for us customers, I get it from their point of view. That said, I trust aftermarket chain and cassette manufacturers are clever enough to reverse engineer what HG+ is all about and bring it to 10sp and 11sp.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I agree with a lot of what you have say. With my other concerns and geo blocking, I just feel a bit sour about some of their business practices lately. On the other hand, it’s great that sx has competition. The sx/Truvativ crankset I had was probably the worst engineered part i’ve had on any decent bike.
  • 13 9
 It's like how Schitz Creek swept the Emmy awards. Except Deore doesn't suck.
  • 1 0
 True to it's name! Deore is a reliable friend & in the nearly 20 years I've used the group on a variety of bikes it's been trouble free unless I did something particularly ridiculous & then is still worked, just not as well.
  • 8 4
 Deore as component AND Value Component of the year?

  • 8 1
  • 7 1
  • 6 0
 Deore !
  • 4 0
  • 4 0
 @mitochris: Ee-deore!
  • 4 0
  • 6 0
  • 6 0
  • 3 0
  • 4 0
 D Oar
  • 1 5
flag Quinn-39 (Dec 28, 2020 at 11:03) (Below Threshold)
 Not saying it... Deore-sn't deserve it. (I'll see myself out in a moment)

Just hope all this acclaim doesn't mean it'll go up in price and never be available as an aftermarket purchase.

Get SRAM out of the budget drive-train business until they can do it right.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 @bman33: j'approuve ce commentaire.
  • 3 0
 @fracasnoxteam: Merci beaucoup. J'approuve votre approbation. Big Grin
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
  • 2 0
  • 4 0
 DEEEEEORE... DE EE EE ORE! Daylight come and me want go home.
  • 2 0
 I'll be just there crying for a hg+ lighweight 10 or 11s cassette. Guess ishould quit being a luddite tho.
  • 3 0
  • 4 3
 Sram better take note, cause both NX and SX doesn't work properly even under no pedal pressure at all..
  • 5 1
 Two seasons with a pile of riding on my GX and other than a new chain and a quick tune after replacing my shifter cable/housing I haven't touched it.
  • 3 1
 I bought the 2021 Stumpy with Sram NX Eagle. I haven't had any problem and I've done some very long technical climbs on it. I'm usually a Shimano guy but I have nothing to complaint about with the NX Eagle drivetrain so far. I'm not happy with how the Sram G2 brakes feel though, I will be swapping them out especially because I don't want to deal with DOT brake fluid and buying more tools to service SRAM brakes.
  • 2 0
 Can't argue with that
  • 1 0
 This needs a spoiler alert warning
  • 1 0
 The link to the nominees doesnt work and I couldnt find it anywhere.
  • 2 2
 Deore sweeping the PB awards across the board. Impressive showing.
  • 1 4
 Who makes stiff MTB cranks or do I have to buy the Cane Creek units??? I swear every SRAM and Shimano crankset flexes if you're over 140 lbs and riding big jumps, etc
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 does the flexing matters? I'm over 200 lbs and my shimano deore crankset flexes sideways even if i'm just running fast on a gravel descent, I thought it was normal (I ride a hardtail)
  • 1 1
 @daneribas: power loss.... and my real fear which is breaking one.. I've seen people break BMX cranks... and MTB have to be way weaker
  • 1 0
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: I really don't feel flexing on any cranksets I've ridden. It's mostly on the frame that you might feel a lot of flex. It's no wonder why companies like SRAM keeps creating new standards with different crank axle diameters, BB standards, and wheel axle standards. I've ridden the shit out of my bikes using the old standards and there's literally no flexing of any kind but frame flexing from steel and aluminum frames. All this stiffening up of components everywhere is just overkill for normal everyday riding, TBH. Unless you're heavily into racing or other competitions, you don't need a super stiff bike with super stiff components. There's always been a trade-off between stiffness, durability, and price. It's come to a point where companies bolster everything to make them bigger to prevent warrantying too many products because everyone wants to do Red Bull shit with their $3000 bikes.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: No it's definitely the cranks.... lol i could feel it on my hardtail and it is nowhere else it would be coming from.... mtb cranks are just too flexy and not stiff enough. I am into racing and want an enduro bike w/ a drivetrain that can handle the rollout if i decide to 180 a tabletop. Even my fixed bike w/ high quality SRAM ominum crankset I can feel a slight flex still, although they're the stiffest of any of my non-bmx cranksets. MTB/Road shit is just so soft compared to BMX stiffness w/ 4130 and other quality steel.
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