A first look at the new Shimano XT groupset. It a nutshell Shimano XT M is an speed groupset that you can run with single chainsetdouble or a triple chainset but the really big news is Shimano has produced two XT cassettes, an similar to the current XTRand a new wider range New Shimano XT cassette has a unique spacing and speed specific tooth profile. Both the and will fit on a standard Shimano body. Shimano calls this Rhythm Step and claims these shock-free gear steps save rider energy and help maintain flow.
Both Shimano XT speed cassettes will work with a standard cassette body. Minor tweaks — the upper jockey wheels on the rear mech have a taller tooth profile for improved shifting and the clutch mechanism now mirrors the one used on XTR. To improve tyre clearance the front derailleur is offered in a new compact Side Swing design, again first introduced on XTR.
There are also several mounting options — direct mount, E-type, high and low clamp. Both top pull and down pull versions configured for double and triple shifting. The upper jockey wheel on the Shimano XT has a taller tooth profile.
Side Swing front derailleur improves tyre clearance. The shifter has the usual 2-Way Multi Release the indexing mechanism has been tweaked to improve accuracy. New i-spec shifter mounting is compatible with new and old brake levers. Apart from slimming down the master cylinder to free up a bit of bar space and slightly tweaking the Servo Wave mechanism to improve lever feel, the XT disc brake is identical to last year.
It has reach and bite point or Free Stroke in Shimano vernacular adjustment. IceTech rotors and adapters are sold separately. Slimmer master cyclinder on the Shimano XT levers frees up handlebar space. Yes and no. They look the same but there are minor tweaks to the height and width of the both the Race and Trail SPDs. The Race is 2. You can read our comprehensive Shimano XT groupset review here. The XT disc brakes are the best out there and Shimano easily has the best clutch mech and probably the edge when it comes to shifting performance.
Home News. Why is this a big deal?When Shimano released its new speed XTR group to the world last yeareveryone was excited to have a competitive 1 X 12 drivetrain from the Japan-based component makers. For most weekend warriors and budget minded shredders, however, the flash and lightweight XTR components will never grace their bikes.
The new XT cassettes come with 12 cogs in two configurations: a tooth and a You can choose between the wide range of the or the closer gear steps of the The XT gear ratios offer a tighter gear step on the last two cogs to help you shift into easier gears on hard steep climbs. The close range of the lower gears paired with the Hyperglide Plus gear ramping means you never have to let off the gas while climbing to shift.
For me, this feature really sets Shimano apart from other shifting systems. The ability to shift under pedalling load eliminates the need to ramp up your cadence to accommodate a shift when you would prefer to focus on the trail and your momentum. The new XT rear derailleur retains the inboard Shadow Plus design, but is now a 1-by specific mech with a tooth pulley that accepts cogs as large as tooth. There is a 2-by rear derailleur available, but it only accepts cogs as large as tooth.
The XT crank is a sleek looking Hollowtech design featuring a direct-mount chainring in , and tooth options. This feature builds on the previous generation of DCE to ensure even smoother and more secure chain retention. No chain guide required. Shimano also updated its front derailleur which comes in three mounting options.
XT borrows the Ispec bar-mounting system from XTR but does lose a slight amount of adjustability in favour of stronger clamps. I was able to get both brakes and shifters exactly where I wanted them with no issues. The front shifter is a mono-lever design: one push in to shift up and push again to shift back down. Shimano included a rubber pad on the levers to help with grip and avoid slipping when wet, which was a nice touch considering how much grip tape I see on lever blades these days.
When Shimano updated the XTR brakes, the company did a great job of improving the feel and modulation of the brakes. The new XTR four-piston trail brakes offer tons of easily manageable power with a comfortable lever. The new XT brakes offer some of the same great features including the four-piston caliper and adjustable lever position. Shimano has released two sets of wheels under the XT banner.
The M comes with a mm internal width aluminum rim and straight-pull spokes. The M has a mm internal width and j-bend spokes. The new XT pedals continue the trend of borrowing features from the top-end XTR by widening the contact platform on both the SPD pedals, creating a better platform and engagement with all types of shoes.
The trail pedal sees an extended rear interface that helps with stability on rough trails. Shimano is offering two sizes of flat-pedal options, both with adjustable pins and a concave shape to keep your feet glued to the pedals. I had the chance to try out the new parts in the loamy trails of Bellingham, Wash. The Hyperglide Plus shift ramping continues to impress me when it comes to smooth shifting.
Clean precise clicks from the shifter are matched with smooth transitions from one cog to the next. The tighter gear spacing on the easiest cogs and ability to shift under load really make a difference when the trail gets steep and you need to grab an easier gear without worrying about waiting for the shift or altering your cadence. I got so reckless while riding the new XT that when I came back to my own non-Hyperglide Plus bike I had to adjust back to timing shifts properly.
On descents, the brakes provided more than enough power to stop this size large journalist and the Santa Cruz Bronson I was atop. Even when things got wet, the brakes performed flawlessly.
The new front crank and chainring held my chain in place while crashing over rocks and roots without issue, while also maintaining a smooth feel while pedalling. Considering the price difference between XT and XTR, Shimano has done a great job of trickling down the best of XTR into a more affordable and likely more durable group of parts. If you are looking for something even more value-oriented, Shiamno has also released SLX at the same time.
SLX offers much of the same tech speed, Hyperglide Plus, four-piston brake caliperbut at an even lower cost than XT. Expect to see full groupsets of select XT parts available in Canada June Shimano Deore XT M derailleur and crank Shimano XT launch in Bellingham, Washington The new XT rear derailleur retains the inboard Shadow Plus design, but is now a 1-by specific mech with a tooth pulley that accepts cogs as large as tooth.Fanatical loyalism is rife in the world of drivetrains.
Starting in the early days of mountain biking, Shimano enjoyed unchecked domination of the drivetrain market for decades. As cassettes gained extra sprockets slowly and methodically over the years, SRAM Eagle suddenly arrived and everything changed. With 12 speeds and a tooth cassette, SRAM Eagle offered a range that instantly killed the need for a front derailleur on a mainstream trail bike.
For a number of years, Shimano offered no counter — yes the XT cassette grew a little bigger, but it seemed like there was no fight left in the dog. To find out which drivetrain is the king-of-the-ring, we have been putting both drivetrains to the test in our tough Scottish outdoor laboratory. We ran both drivetrains in a 1x configuration with a 32 T chainring and no chain guide.
It should be pointed out that if you want a 2X drivetrain then you can stop reading now, XTR M is the only drivetrain for you, and is available in a huge number of configurations.
But, if like most of us, you are looking for the ultimate 1X drivetrain, SRAM X01 Eagle has proven itself in our long-term reviews as an exemplorary performer. Let battle commence. While we have not yet racked up a year of riding on Shimano XTR M, despite our best backpedaling, bad-language and idiotic-shifting we could not get the chain to jump off the chainring.
SRAM has the edge by a few grams mainly due to the lighter carbon X01 crank. If you are a frequent pedal striker this may be worth some consideration.
When it was released, SRAM X01 Eagle redefined smooth shifting with even gear steps distributed through the mid-range. The sacrifice for that is a noticeable final jump onto the big 50 tooth chainring.
However, there are some noticeable cadence changes lower in the block. Which drivetrain you prefer will largely be determined by your riding style and terrain. Those who live on undulating terrain will love the sublime mid-gear spacing of SRAM X01 Eagle, while those who live in steep terrain with potent climbs will like the smoother cadence shifts in the final three ratios of Shimano XTR M A close round and another draw.
There is no doubt that SRAM X01 Eagle is a superb drivetrain, but, like a supercar, it does need careful setup and maintenance to achieve the best performance. If the B-tension is set incorrectly, or the cable tension slips, the smooth performance starts to falter and ghost-shifts and hesitations can occur. In our tests, Shimano XTR M requires a similar level of careful setup but in our tests it does operate more robustly when things are sub-optimal.
During our three months of testing we did not have to reach for the toolbox once setup, even when we detuned the B-tension, the shifts were still smooth and precise.
When it comes to setup and reliability, Shimano is the champion of fit-and-forget. Despite trying to avoid marketing hyperbole or inflammatory comments, we have to state that when it comes to shifting, Shimano XTR is also phenomenal. Even when shifting like an idiot, slamming up through the block under load, the derailleur mocked our futile attempts to break things, snicking through the gears with sewing-machine like precision.
The shifting is crisp and beautifully light, with just enough resistance to provide sublime feedback.By Tom Marvin.
Shimano also offers a t speed group and t speed option. Both groupsets have a 32t ring and mm cranks, and the X01 groupset has their well established Eagle t range with its X-Dome construction. SRAM has always had a super-positive feel, with no ambiguity as to whether the chain has shifted from one sprocket to the next, thanks to their X-Glide 2 teeth profiling.
With no significant difference between the chain and cassette on the AXS and mechanical X01 groupsetsthis is still the case. The use of an electronic shifter contributes to an incredibly smooth, accurate feel, and certainly in terms of the feel you get through your hands at the shifter. Shimano, on the other hand, has added some positivity to the shift. This latest generation of XTR is far more positive, without becoming clunky.
The actual shift of the chain up and down the cassette under power is excellent, thanks in part to the Hyperglide Plus engineering applied to the cassette and chain. Previous XTR groups had Hyperglide technology, helping the shifting into easier gears when under power, but this generation XTR sees the introduction of Hyperglide Plus, which has further sprocket tooth and chain profiling to aid shifts to harder gears while under power.
The main difference in feel is at the shifter end. Without the need to pull and release cables against spring tension, the AXS shifter has a distinct feel.
The paddle used to shift feels different when you push it forwards compared to when you push it up to complete the shift. Forward pushes have a more positive feel than the upward push, which is very light. SRAM also offers a ton of customisation via the app to get the shifter to perform how you want it. For example, the number of shifts that take place if you hold the button down, or what each flick of the paddle or second button do. So, we weighed the individual components from each of the groupsets to see if SRAM or Shimano would come out on top.
It does give you an idea of how they compare. A wireless groupset weighing only 2g less than a cable-actuated one is not what we expected. However, when you study the numbers for each component, there are some pretty standout differences that fall in favour for either brand.
For example, the Shimano rear derailleur weighed g less than the SRAM, but that is to be expected when you consider that the latter is also carrying the weight of the removable battery, motor, gearbox, Overload Clutch and Roller Bearing Clutch. The fact that both groupsets pretty much weigh the same just goes to show that wireless shifting saves on cable weight, but comes with the penalty of bringing electronics along for the ride.
So which groupset is best? You can set up the shifter to do as you please, and the dual-clutch design of the mech should reduce some crash anxiety. However, it is pricey should you total the mech off a rock. The rear derailleur has an adjustable clutch and is cheaper to replace if it all goes wrong.
The SLX cassette, mech and cranks will add weight, but will also save you a packet without genuinely impacting performance on the trails. Riding since the age of 13, Technical Editor Tom has ridden hundreds of bikes over the past few years, from aero race bikes to EWS-ready enduro rigs, with a fair few others in between. Most likely found in the woods practicing his scandi-flicks. September 2, at pm. We pit the two rival top-tier MTB groupsets against each other to see which comes out lightest.
Tom Marvin Technical Editor. Daily Deals. Enduro Bike of the Year contender Starling Twist review. How cycling can help improve your mental health 7 tips for the coronavirus lockdown. Review Gloworm X2 Adventure light. You may also like. Getting hands-on with Shimano XTR speed. Buying Guides.The differences between Shimano's new second- and third-tier mountain bike groups. By Jack Luke.
Shimano has today launched speed versions of XT and SLX, its second- and third-tier mountain bike groupsets. Determining a total weight for a groupset is very complicated. It is doubly complicated with Shimano because unlike, say, SRAM, double chainsets and multiple caliper options are available. As such, we have decided not to quote a full groupset weight. Note that the following weights are claimed weights from Shimano.
Nonetheless, once we have the groupsets in hand, we will update this article with actual weights. This is obviously a fairly vague figure and comparisons are best made from the list below. Shimano has also supplied us with prices for select components.
We only have prices for these individual components in the UK and US so far. The US distributor supplies the cranks with a chainring. However, the UK one does and the prices are the same for either wheelset. We suspect the same will be true of the US pricing. Thus far, Shimano Australia has only been able to supply us with the approximate whole groupset costs. The shifters are the main highlight — we cover exactly why we think they feel better in the performance section of this article, but it boils down to the inclusion of the Multi Shift function on the XT levers.
This allows you to dump up to two gears at once and is very useful in practice. The XT shifters also gain a nice rubber gripper on each shift lever. There is no free stroke adjuster on the SLX levers, though this is no great loss. The XT brake levers also get dimples drilled into the levers to improve feel. It has this lovely dark, sparkly and understated finish that looks really premium, even on a high-end bike.
This setup made sense because XT, being the racier of the two, is more likely to be specced on go-fast, race-oriented bikes. The first thing that stands out is the lightness of the shifting on both of the groupsets. The lever feel is exceptionally effortless and the instant release means downshifts are almost instantaneous. The rubber grippers on each shift lever are also a welcome addition.
However, where XT really shines is on downshifts i. The multi release function, which allows you to dump up to two cogs at once, is incredibly useful. When going for an effort out of the saddle, you can get into a harder gear that bit quicker. This feature is not available on its groupsets and I had no idea how much I needed it in my life.
Of all the differences between the two groupsets, this is the most notable and I can totally foresee many riders opting to upgrade their SLX-equipped bikes to an XT shifter.
We tried our damndest to force the groupset into skipping or complaining to no avail. It really does hold fast under even my most middling of power. The chain is literally being held in place on downshifts, so this makes sense. How much this really matters, and whether the improvements to chain security under hard efforts is worth the tradeoff, remains to be seen.
Braking performance is broadly similar between the two groupsets, though the textured lever on the XT lever is certainly welcome. The supporting nub on both brakes is also welcome. This system completely disengaged the freehub internals when coasting. Both feature quick pickup and have a pleasing freewheel humm on the trail. The custom wheel market is miniscule compared to the demand for complete wheels and offering such a wide variety of options across pretty much every discipline and tier must be a huge logistical nightmare.When it comes to mountain biking components, Shimano is a pretty big name.
Now, more than ever, people are taking mountain biking quite seriously, and there are a lot of different products on the market. When it comes to Shimano, they have a couple of different offerings and it can be quite confusing to figure out what you need. Keep reading as we break down their different lines and who they are for.
First, we have the Shimano Deore XT. Instead of having a cable-actuated derailleur, these actually have a small wire to provide it power, and when you shift a little tiny motor moves the derailleur. The benefits of this system are that the shifting is extremely crispeven when you are riding uphill. The only downside to the Di2 components is that they tend to cost quite a bit more than their traditional brethren.
The XT components will take a beating and still keep working just as well as they did when you rolled out of the shop. This makes them an excellent choice for the mountain biking enthusiast who loves to get out on rides whenever they can. They also are great for lower-priced racing builds, since you are still going to get great functionality from them, but can save some money compared to the XTRs, which we will talk about next.
Next, we have the Shimano XTR line. The Shimano XTR line is their line of premium race components.
Battle of the Drivetrain Big-Hitters: Shimano XTR M9100 vs. SRAM X01 Eagle
The downside to the XTR components is that they cost more than the XT and SLX lines, and some people question their durability because of their lightweight construction. If you are a serious racer or somebody who really wants their bike to be decked out with the nicest components, then the XTR is for you. The Shimano SLX components are based on the XT line but are designed in a way that allows them to be manufactured cheaper and, thus, sold at a lower price point.
If this describes your type of riding, then it would be smart to get the SLX components due to the fact that you are going to save some money and get a time-tested tech that has trickled down from the XT line.
Well, you see, that is tough because honestly, all three lines are going to be great for the proper rider. On the same note, you might find yourself disappointed if you are a casual rider who commutes to work and rides off-road half a dozen times a year after shelling out the cash to outfit your bike in all of the best components from the XTR line.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is what you can afford and what type of riding you plan on doing. However, we can offer some suggestions if you are building a bike or looking to upgrade. So instead of dropping the cash on the fancy front derailleur, take that money and outfit your bikes with brakes from one of the higher-end lines like the XT or even XTR. Another way you can save some money while still upgrading your bike is by upgrading the shifters as opposed to the derailleurs.
Obviously, if you could upgrade both, that would be the best option. But if you find yourself deciding between the two, keep in mind that the higher-end shifters often can shift smoother, have better indexing, and can up-shift more gears in one push of the lever than the lower-end shifters. We hope that you found this article informative and have a better idea of what kind of components you should have your eyes on when buying a new bike, building up a frame, or considering some upgrades for your current bike.
One thing to remember is that no matter what kind of components you have, a bad day of mountain biking is better than a good day at the office. Have fun, ride hard, and stay safe out there!
Shimano XT: better than XTR, cheaper the SRAM?
Jake V is an avid cyclist from Wisconsin. Over the last 12 years, he has explored the worlds of road biking, mountain biking, cyclocross, and urban riding. He currently has too many bikes if that is even possiblebut his favorite would be his Colnago EPS or Cinelli Tutto, depending on what kind of riding is in store for him that day. When he is not riding bikes, he likes to go sailing, skiing, and enjoy a few craft beers.
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox. Share Tweet Pin it. Jake V. Related Posts. No comments yet Leave a Comment Cancel reply. Leave this field empty. Get more stuff Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.FREE U. Words by: Liam Woods. Is there a winner? Which is better? Opinion or fact? These are what could be considered the biggest rivals in the MTB world right now.
Many people stay true to the brand they have been riding and many others just ride it because it is what it is. For a handful of people, brakes are very important and knowing the exact differences between rivals like SRAM and Shimano is essential for them to stay alive. Because of this, we dissected the two to make it easy for you. Now, let's break apart these two disc brakes and see what each have to offer! A reliable brake with tons of power, many bikes from high end to low end started to rock the Shimano XT brakes.
Avid brakes, at the time, had some reliability issues, so Shimano XT remained the ticket. Probably the only thing to stay the same is the use of DOT fluid and their Matchmaker clamp system. Both sets are one level from the highest end, but are still affordable to some extent, so let's break into these brakes. There is a lot to argue which one is better. In my eyes they both can be bled easily, they can both be difficult to handle, and neither can be mixed. Also, I wouldn't get either on my skin if I could avoid it.
Both brake sets have a tool-free lever adjustment, which is an easy-to-turn knob on the front of the lever. The contact adjustment on SRAM is very defined and really easy to feel the difference. When comparing the two in this department, the SRAM comes out as the clear winner. Down at the caliper things get a bit different…Shimano XT has a two piston design 4 piston coming soon, but not yet available that uses ceramic pistons.
While we have not done any testing with finned and non-finned pads, Shimano claims there is a significant improvement with air flow. The pistons are a bit smaller than their Shimano counterpart, but while the pistons are a bit reduced in size, you get two more for a total of 4 more is betterer, right? This redesign makes it significantly easier to hook up a bleeding syringe.
When done, tighten it up without any loss of fluid and the system becomes closed with no chance of air getting in. With Shimano, a simple cup at the lever and pushing some fluid from the caliper up to the lever is half the process.
Then a simple cycling of the brake lever to push the air out.