Shimano's Refocused 2012 Deore XT Group Review

Jul 4, 2011
by Richard Cunningham  
Shimano reached out to hardcore enthusiasts to shape its original Deore XT components, and the group was an overnight success. Almost 30 years later, the Japanese Giant returns to the mountains to put Deore XT back on track.

This is a story about Shimano's newest Deore XT ensemble. While it shares many visual and technical features of last year's parts, like the Shadow rear derailleur, asymmetrical chain, 11 x 36 cassette and the Dynasys triple crankset, 2012 Deore XT has been re-energized as a stand-alone component group, specifically designed to serve the needs of experienced trail riders. To fully understand the reasons that drove Shimano to refocus XT, step into the Pinkbike time machine for a minute of MTB history.

Intense Tracer 2 with 2012 Deore XT
Intense gave Pinkbike a Tracer 2 as a test bike for Shimano's Northstar launch. The 2011/2012 Deore XT ensemble finally delivers the goods for trail and enduro riders with positive-feedback shifting, wide-rim tubeless wheelsets, one-finger disc-brake power, through-axle rear hubs and two-by-ten crankset options with stump-puller climbing gears.
Pinkbike featured a first-look at Shimano's 2011/2012 Deore XT  in April at the Sea Otter Classic. It looks a lot better on an Intense Tracer 2.
Pinkbike featured a first-look at Shimano's 2011/2012 Deore XT in April at the Sea Otter Classic. It looks a lot better on an Intense Tracer 2.

Unimaginable today perhaps, but Shimano's mountain bike components were once disdained by early mountain bikers as second-place backmarkers to long forgotten names like Suntour, Dia-Compe and Huret which owned the fledgling MTB market in the early 1980s. After Shimano made a few unsuccessful stabs at producing mountain bike parts using its in-house design staff, a decision was made to send a fact-finding posse to the USA to gather information from top riders and mountain bike makers. The man responsible for that effort was John Ute - a mild-mannered, slightly balding man with a booming voice - and the rare ability to listen.

Montage of DXT
Shimano Deore XT history at a glance:
(clockwise from upper left) Shimano's original 6-speed M700 Deore XT group was beautifully executed and changed the face of the mountain bike in 1983. The Deore crankset sported the traditional 48, 38, 28 chainring combination of the time. Circa 1986: Deore XT gets SIS, the first reliable index shifting system for the rear derailleur - and the U-Brake, quite possibly the worst innovation to appear on a mountain bike. By 1995, Deore XT has front and rear index thumb-shifting and the V-Brake, the most practical MTB rim-braking system ever, (first introduced by a teenager named Ben Capron). Shimano evolved to a 9-speed system and revolutionized the MTB drivetrain with RapidFire Plus trigger shifting. Deore XT breaks tradition again in 1999 with the tubular splined Octalink bottom bracket axle and a powerful stopping 4-piston Deore XT hydraulic disc brake. The M737 was the affordable clipless pedal that finally ended the foolishness of leather straps and toeclips on off-road bicycles. (Center) The original Deore XT deer still makes its appearance on select XT components.

Deore XT Timeline
Shimano brought a a small Deore XT museum to Northstar along with a timeline of its development. Quite a piece of history.

The Rise and Fall of Deore XT
John and a small cadre of ever-changing Shimano faces traveled around the country asking questions for almost two years, visiting every garage frame maker, MTB pioneer and cult bike shop that existed. The information they gathered was sent back to Japan where, armed with the right information, Shimano's engineering staff drew up a completely new component ensemble. Shimano introduced "Deore XT," its first worthy mountain bike group, in 1983. 'Deore,' which means 'deer,' was a winner from the start - sturdy and relatively lightweight, beautifully machined and finished, its derailleurs and shifters operated smoothly, and the look and finish of each part was that of an integrated whole. Deore instantly propelled Shimano from not-me to must-have status.

Tomoc Dre RC talk DXT
Backwoods development in action: Tomoc Yamamoto (center) the leader of Shimano's Deore XT development team in Osaka, Japan, talks about the future addition of 20-millimeter through axles with Shimano development rider Andreas Hestler and Pinkbike's RC. Yamamoto's on-the-trail presence speaks well of Shimano's commitment to Deore XT.

Deore XT became the ultimate do-everything parts group. It had to, because at that time mountain bikers used one bike for everything – trail-riding, XC racing, DH, and even trials. When Shimano introduced its racing-specific XTR group, however, Deore XT's 'for the rider, by the rider' design axiom faded into obscurity and the group quickly drifted into the role of ‘XTR lite,’ a value-based parts ensemble comprised mostly of XTR hand-me-downs. 'Deore,' a revered symbol in Japan, was dropped and Shimano's pioneer MTB group emerged as 'XT' from the lips of the sport's elite.

Deore XT: Back on Track

Shimano designers head back into the mountains and rediscover Deore XT's roots

Shimano DXT camp
Deore XT 2012 is specifically designed for trail riders who need pamper-free components that can routinely take a beating in the back country and make it home for another round - any day, every season. Sterling Lorence photo

First ride on Shimano’s Refocused Deore XT
Pinkbike was invited by Shimano to spend a week riding its 2012 Deore XT components in and around California's famous Northstar-at-Tahoe resort. The idea was to demonstrate the many innovations and improvements that its people have bestowed upon the group and more importantly, to announce Deore XT's return to its roots as Shimano's premier, do-it-all mountain bike ensemble. After riding it over a variety of terrain, from AM park stuff to bouncing over rocks and high-speed runs down perfectly groomed trails, we can say that the new Dore XT hits the mark - with the fun-meter pegged.

After two full days riding Shimano’s new Deore XT in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and later, for a week in the French Alps, we put together a review on the group’s key components. For weights, prices and to learn about every option that Shimano offers for 2012 Deore XT check out Tyler's first-look feature story. To discover how it performs on some of the world’s best trails, read on.

Shimano Deore XT Launch in Lake Tahoe Cailfornia USA - June 2011
Father and son: Shimano's M780 Deore XT crankset is a world different from the originals. The monster-geared 48, 38, 28 M700 crank powered a 13 x 28-tooth, six speed cogset - and used a fragile, square-taper 17mm bottom bracket axle. Sterling Lorence photo

Double and Triple Crankset Options
For 2011, Shimano extolled the benefits of its close-ratio Dynasys 3 x 10 transmission and ignored the fact that top trail riders were opting for 2-by cranksets. Shimano now offers two different Deore XT 2-by cranksets: the way-too-tall 40 x 28 and the one we all really want, the 38 x 26 option that provides low gearing with an instant-shifting, failsafe double crankset. No news on a bash ring option though and Shimano isn’t even talking about roller guides, saying: “Shimano’s front derailleur technology is unparalleled.” We agree, but chains still fall off in the real world.

Tooth profile
Wild tooth profiles, a plastic guide on the center sprocket and an asymmetrical chain make Shimano's front shifting the one to beat.

Riding it: Extensive tooth profiling and a wild-looking molded-plastic faces on the sprockets work together to make the Deore XT’s front derailleur look like it is playing tennis with the chain. The Dynasys triple crankset shifts surprisingly well. Riding the 3 x 10 Dynasys system feels a bit backwards at first, because it is quicker to bounce back and forth between chainrings than it is to double and triple shift the rear derailleur when the trail grade is undulating. The closer-spaced chainrings feel like there is a two-and-a-half cog jump between them, so when the terrain is sharply rolling, the easiest way to get from fast down to steep up is to leave the chain somewhere in the middle of the cassette and turn the bike into a wide-range three-speed with the left shifter. For longer uphills and easier grade changes, we spent most of the time in the middle chainring and banged through the ten-speed cassette with the right shifter.

Double crankset detail
Deore XT's double crankset requires a spacer between the frame and bottom bracket cup for proper chain alignment. The chainrings are farther apart than the triple setup. A plastic insert on the big ring facilitates rapid shifts.

Make ours a Double: We had minimal time on the 38 x 26 double crankset, but from that experience, we came back with the notion that this is what we’d want on our personal rides. There are moments when the smaller big ring is spun out, but not many of them. Taking advantage of Deore XT 2-by’s tighter overall gear spread, we spent most of the time riding in the big chainring and tended to use the small sprocket as an instant hill-climber option. The front derailleur shifts between the two chainrings so fast and securely that we could power up the face of a hill to squeeze out every bit of our momentum in the big ring and then pop the left shift paddle to drop to the 26 at precisely the right time to maintain pace. The 2-by crankset feels like it maintains way more speed over the course of a ride than the bigger, 42-tooth ring of the 3-by crankset may offer on the occasional smooth descent.

HIgh Sierras Deore XT 2012
Deore XT's optional 38 x 26 gearing makes it possible to enjoy high altitude climbs with a double-chainring crankset. Sterling Lorence photo
Shimano Deore XT Launch in Lake Tahoe Cailfornia USA - June 2011
On-trail view of Deore XT Rapidfire Plus shifters by Sterling Lorence. Shimano offers direct mount shifters for the first time, which will make many riders happy.


Good Feeling Shifters and a Mode Converter
Shimano has been wrestling with the feel of its trigger shifters since the debut of RapidFire, and it seems that it may have hit the balance between light shifting forces and positive feeling feedback in the 2012 Deore XT system. Shimano calls it ‘Vivid Index’ and offers up a detailed explanation of the shifter’s intricacies, but the bottom line is that the indexing system finally has a substantial feeling click, accompanied by a loud enough sound to let the rider know that a shift has taken place while banging through a technical section. Those who buy a 3 x 10 and suddenly wish for a 2-by crankset will revel in the knowledge that the Deore XT left-side shifter has a mode converter that switches the indexing to adapt to both two and three-ring cranksets. There is no need to buy a new front derailleur or left shifter.

front and rear derailleurs
The low-profile Shadow rear derailleur gets across the 11 x 36 wide-range ten-speed cassette with ease and up front, new leverage and spring rates make the front changer feel effortless. One front derailleur handles double and triple cranksets.

Riding it: Three cheers for the Vivid indexing system. Feedback is a good thing, especially when the senses are blurred by speed and terrain and one must pull off an accurate shift in between technical events. The forward trigger lever could use some rework. The lever is crafted so it can be shifted with the index finger like the original RapidFire Plus, or with a push of the thumb as in SRAM X0. The lever seems too close for the index finger and too far off to easily reach with the thumb. The Pinkbike jury is still undecided on that item.

Larger-diameter caliper pistons significantly boost Deore XT's stopping power, while ICE Tech cooling fins usher away gobs of heat from the brake pads.
ICE rotor det
A close-up and personal look at the ICE Tech rotor clearly reveals the aluminum layer sandwiched between two stainless steel braking surfaces.

ICE Technology AND Real Braking Power
If any single part showcases Shimano’s individual attention to Deore XT, it is the new disc braking system. While one would expect Shimano to bring its ICE Tech from XTR to Deore XT at some point, the XT design is far more aggressive, with braking power that approaches one-finger monster-stoppers like Formula’s The One system. New Deore XT brakes use larger-diameter, 22-millimeter ceramic pistons in the calipers to boost clamping force, ICE Tech finned brake pads and stainless steel/aluminum sandwich rotors to dissipate heat, and the Servo-Wave one-finger brake levers allow the caliper pistons to retract farther to help eliminate brake rubbing. ICE Tech rotors are offered in 160, 180 and 203-millimeter diameters and for the first time, in a six-bolt configuration instead of Centerlock-only.

brake lever
Shimano's shorty lever and redesigned in-line master cylinder framed by Spring flowers on the Immigrant Trail near the infamous Donner Camp Heritage barbecue site. The large knob sets the lever reach, while the small Phillips screw near the master cylinder adjusts the free-stroke engagement point.

Riding it: We have heard grumblings about Deore XT’s shorty brake levers, but on trail, the abbreviated lever blades rule. The well-sculpted aluminum blades fit one or two fingers well and the new master cylinder design features both free-stroke and lever-reach adjustments. Perhaps the only downside of the short lever design is that riders who like the shift levers mounted inboard of the lever clamp may find the levers do not reach outboard enough to grab with more than one finger. Shimano also offers standard width-levers for those cases. While OEM brakes will feature softer-stopping resin brake pads, Shimano set up our test bikes with the aftermarket-standard semi-metallic pads that stop much harder and wear longer. Those who want no-nonsense braking power with a comfortable squeeze of one or two fingers will love the new Deore XT brakes. Modulation is predictable and the brakes feel consistent when they heat up. Shimano says the ICE Tech rotors reduce heat buildup by 100 degrees Celsius, while the ICE Tech finned pads will eliminate another 50 degrees. We put in some smoking descents which may have substantiated their claims. For trail riders, the muscular Deore XT brakes put Shimano back on the map.

New 785 pedal pic
We were skeptical about the effectiveness of the M785 semi-platform pedal, but became converts after the first trail day. The minimalist extensions make it easier to stay planted on the bike, and facilitate quicker engagements.

Semi-Platform Pedals
Wider and positioned slightly more outboard on the axles, Shimano redesigned the XTR semi-platform pedal to be more compatible with wider, more flexible shoes like the SPD-compatible Five Ten. The Deore XT M785 pedal has an open, mud-shedding design and its thin-section aluminum platform adds very little weight when compared to the bare-bones XC version. Shimano states the M785 trail pedal weight at 408 grams a pair while the new Deore XT XC racing pedal, the M780 weighs 343 grams a pair.

Riding it: Switching back and forth between Shimano’s standard XCR pedals and the new semi-platform Deore XT model, reveals a noticeable improvement in stability when pounding over tooth-jarring technical sections or deep braking bumps. There is also an improvement when mounting up on a tricky section of trail or when re-engaging a pedal after dragging a foot through a corner. While the improvements may be marginal, the security bonus easily offsets the 55-gram weight penalty of the platforms.

DXT wheel det
Deore XT tubeless wheels use the same braze-on spoke pads and externally-threaded nipples as XTR - but the real magic is in the 21-millimeter width option that XT offers.

Wider Wheels
Deore XT wheelsets are worth mention here because Shimano now offers a standard 19-millimeter width rim for XC and a wider, 21-millimeter width rim for trail. Both wheelsets feature Centerlock rear hubs, 24 spoke lacing (front and rear) and share Shimano’s no-rim-strip tubeless design that features threaded, brazed-on reinforcements at each spoke interface. The XC versions feature standard quick release rear and 15 QR or quick release front hubs, while the wider trail wheels can be purchased with 15QR front axles and the rear wheels comes in a 142/12-millimeter through-axle or quick release configuration. Unfortunately, a 20-millimeter front axle option is not planned.

DXT rim det
Brazed on pads minimize the extra material necessary to reinforce the spoke interfaces. The benefit is that the spokes do not penetrate the inside of the rim, which makes for an air-tight seal for tubeless tires.

Riding it: Wider is better, especially for tubeless because it reduces the leverage that the tire has to unseat the beads or distort the tire profile when laterally stressed. Wider rims also make for more stable cornering at lower tire pressures, so we expect that weight-conscious XC riders will soon be moving up to wider rims as the industry catches up to this fact. We didn’t test the 19-millimeter versions, but we did ride the 21s, and even with rather narrow 2.125-inch tires, the feel was solid in the turns and fast on the flats. With heavy hitters like Easton and now Shimano on the program, we hope to see more lightweight trail wheels sporting rims in the 20-millimeter-plus range.

Work crew det
Give and take: Shimano surprised journalists with some volunteer trail work, where journos and Shimano's staff went shoulder to shoulder for half a day...
HIgh Sierras Deore XT 2012
...but the payback was three days of shred in the High Sierras in perfect conditions. That's a win-win If there ever was one. Sterling Lorence photo

Pinkbike’s Take on Shimano’s Refocused Deore XT
Shimano made good on its promise to rebuild Deore XT to suit the needs of experienced trail riders who need more durable drivetrain components, harder hitting brakes and more intelligent gearing options than the pampered-racer-specific, carbon-encrusted, cost-is-no-object jewelry that XTR has become. The refreshing performance of new Deore XT proves that Shimano has been reaching out to hard core trail riders again. It’s a good start, and if Shimano maintains its commitment to Deore XT, the original trailbike ensemble may once again stand alone as the must-have components for the sport's hardest charging riders.

For weights, prices and to learn about every option that Shimano offers for 2012 Deore XT check out Tyler's first-look feature story.

Got any thoughts about the latest version of Deore XT? We'd love to hear them. Until then, check out Shimano's Deore XT page and we'll see you on the trail.


109 Comments

  • + 18
 It would be nice if Richard had bothered (considering he WAS around back then) to get the damn photographs and timelines right for those older parts. Rapidfire Plus shifters came out in 1992. The crank with the Shimano DEORE printed on it next to the new 2012 XT is NOT a Deore XT crank. It was in fact the Deore DX level crank from 1990-92. The arms were melt-forged where the Deore XT cranks got cold-forged arms. They simply have the word SHIMANO stamped into them. As to the "wimpy 17mm spindle", not only do lots of us STILL ride on square-taper cranks and BBs (shimano in fact still makes lots of usage of them) but many of us still have our Deore XT BBs from before shimano went to cartridge unit BBs which are very easily serviced and rebuilt (and the bearing races and spindles are nearly indestructible).

Lets see what else...the original 1983 Deore XT group didn't include a crankset at all, but many bikes with the group used a cold-forged crankset stamped Tourney XT made by Takagi, with alloy 28/38/48 rings. Cassettes didn't come out until about 1986, before that pretty much all off-road and road groups used freewheels still. They certainly weren't a part of the 1983 group. V-Brakes were first introduced by shimano in 1996 but they essentially stole the idea from other direct-pull long-arm brake offerings from IRD, Paul's, Marinovative (the Ben Capron guy they mentioned) and for that matter, Keith Bontrager who built such brakes for the Kestrel Nitro full suspension composite show bike from the 1989 Interbike.
  • + 1
 great info
want that 'groupo' actually called deerhead??

and no, its not 'unimaginable' that shimano is now a market leader. back then suntour and the like were making great quality kit - its all business

unimaginable to a lot of pinkbikers maybe, the ones who dont take enough time to learn about the history to their now enjoyment and only care and the newest and best product
  • + 5
 Shimano brought a display of the highlights of Deore XT over the years to the launch at Tahoe, and I thought that Pinkbike would love a peek.I figured that there would be some historian out there that would ding me for generalizing on Shimano's history, so I posted Shimano's timeline. There are discrepancies due to the fact that the year that a product is "released" to OEMs is a model year ahead of the actual time the product appears. Also, some later developments were launched on XTR and handed down to XT. I purposely glossed over Biopace chainrings, which were a huge part of early Deore XT, but not a high-point of the development of MTB parts. I got to ride all that stuff when it first came out, but it seems like a different lifetime, now that derailleurs derail, shifters shift and brakes stop the bike - every time.
RC
  • + 2
 Ha! I actually remember buying Biopace chainrings aftermarket, to 'upgrade'. I totally believed the hype, but I blame the cool force graph they had on the package. And yes, I'm one of those who still rides daily on square BB's that are literally 15 years old, minimum. I've got Truvativ and Shimano external BB's and they're fine, but the squares just get smoother every year.
  • + 1
 yep square taper
often i hear the remark 'you still run square taper?'
well yeah, it does the same job

haha yeah the wrong orientation of biopace
just so you know, you can get eggrings and the like now which live upto the hype of biopace AND worke properly
expensive though!
  • + 1
 I remember my first MTB purchase (1987) and I had to chose between 2 bikes, one had Biopace and one had round. I didn't buy into the philosophy and opted for the round which I never regretted. All the other riders I met complained about the "Bio-pain". My Hardrock had Suntour bits but I quickly purchased a Deore XT upgrade kit: 7spd Top mount shifters, R.Der, chain and UG Freewheel was fantastic. Soon came the HG cogs and SG-X chainrings that put Suntour into its downward spiral.
  • + 2
 yes i laughed at the square taper remark to. pah.
  • + 1
 So the Deerhead still appears on some XT? I didn't know that.
BTW, there was a Deore BEFORE Deehead and the crank had a really cool 50.4BCD like a TA crankset. It used that DynaDrive oversized pedal, though. It was a touring gruppo.
  • + 16
 Pretty sure a deer is called 'Shika' in Japanese and 'Deore" is how they would pronounce the English word 'deer'. They don't have letters that spell words like we do that make different sounds depending on situations, they have very strict sounds that don't change. "deh-oh-reh" or "day-o-ray" depending on if you're Canadian or not would be how they say it. Just fyi.
  • + 6
 That is one confusing title..
  • + 2
 love those brake levers!
  • + 1
 I remember a story in a german bike mag in the '90s were they said "Deore" has its roots in the italian "de oro"- "from gold"... I asked myself why a japanese company would choose an italian name...
  • + 13
 They won't offer a bash guard or chain retention system???? Who exactly did they listen to again??? Not your average trail rider from the PNW or any where else that you need it for that matter.
  • + 4
 to be fair, if i want a chain retention system, i'm not going to look at shimano anyway, i'll look at e-thirteen or mrp. If i want brakes/drivetrain i'll go to shimano, but not for a chain guide. Though if they were truly aiming their groupset at all-round trail riders, then yeah, a chain retention system should have been in there somewhere. I haven't ridden with a granny ring in about a year and a half!
  • + 1
 Well, Sram just re-labeled a MRP. Aren't they guilty too?
  • + 8
 Honestly, Shimano needs to do a better job at pointing out the differences between XT, SLX, Deore, etc.

It's nice to have tech docs exploded views with part numbers for everything: techdocs.shimano.com/techdocs/blevel.jsp

But, I want to know stuff like material differences, extra machining done, higher quality bearings, springs, finish (polishing), etc. We're really just left to speculate what the differences are. People can say XT is better than SLX while others can argue that SLX performs just as well, but just weighs more. At least with XTR, they point out Ti cogs, carbon+steel chainrings, new tech, etc. Easy to tell where the money's going into there, but SLX vs XT, not so much.
  • + 0
 Materials used is the main differences which maintains the strength but drops the weight.
  • + 1
 very good point there as above its generally materials but not always, its just marketed as better for all we know, we could be buying worse but they need to inform in laymans terms also
  • + 3
 They used to list the differences i,e borozon pins and diamond polished hub surfaces but they no longer do.
  • + 7
 Give me a break...If Shimano is listening, where is:

1: A chain retention device for AM riders? Look at the popularity of such devices with 2x setups, Shimano is drinking their own cool-aid again. A Front derailleur alone is not sufficient. The new XTR derailleur goes a long way but it's not available on XT yet.
2. No 20 mm front axle option. They're pushing their 15mm 'standard' despite most AM riders asking for 20mm.
3. 26 x 36 gearing is NOT low enough for those mortals among us who still choose to pedal the steepest possible terain. A 24 x 36 option is needed just to reach 22 x 32 gearing and still isn't as low as 22 x 34 that most AM riders still rely on. 26 x 36 might be OK for the plains of the midwest, but not for a true AM rider.

Is this Journalism or a blatant you scratch my back I scratch yours PR?
  • + 1
 My 24 is perfect with a 34 in the back. I live in the east climbing muddy rooted hills and it is plenty easy. When I was running a 22 I had to ride big hills in second or third or it was just too many rotations.
  • + 1
 I agree, the gearing options are fine - I think they prob assume at least a moderate fitness level out of guys buying a groupset like this Wink
  • + 1
 1. E13, MRP, Blackspire
2. XT, XTR, SLX, Saint front hubs are all offered in 20mm.
3. If 26 front is too big why are you looking at 2x10? in 3x10, 24x36 is 0.647 while 22x34 was 0.666, that's only 3 less pedal strokes per 100...
  • + 6
 ''Deore'' dosen't mean ''Deere'' in Japanese It was actually a typo that found itself on the first batch on casting molds circa 1982-ish. The grouppo was supposed to be nammed ''Deere'', but the second E was cast as a ''O''. Instead of fixing the problem, the name stuck.
  • + 5
 hah makes even more sense now.
  • + 4
 "The grouppo was supposed to be nammed ''Deere'', but the second E was cast as a ''O''."....and there were also concerns about upsetting a certain heavy machinery manufacturer...
  • + 6
 Great coverage guys. XT is getting closer to all mountain but there is still a gap between this group and the saint group. The hub options are way out of touch with the realities of all mountain bike designs. As are the crank set options.Plus at the end of the day, why would I want chain slap and no bash guard on my rig? You can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig.
  • + 9
 and once again, they are shafting us AM guys that like 20 mm thru axle
  • + 1
 I think they're just finding a better niche for XT (XC/trail) and leaving the gravity/AM stuff to their Saint line. Their Saint components are great--it's not only for DH/FR.
  • + 2
 I don't understand their wheelsets, they're supposedly designing it to be an all-round package, but they don't seem to be offering many options. How hard is it to offer a 20mm adaptor for the front axle and to offer a 135x12mm adaptor for the rear? I mean how many bikes actually have a 142mm rear axle? Not a lot... yet....
  • + 3
 Saint is pretty heavy for AM.
  • + 1
 I find a good mix of shimano components does the job exceedingly well. It really doesn't matter to me if all of my parts have XT or LX/SLX stamped on them, what matters is that they work in unison b/c if you actually ride your AM/XC/Trail or whatever bike like it's made to be, you'll have to tune shit eventually... lets quit worrying about 5 pounds, make ourselves stronger and do what matters.... RIDE!!
  • + 1
 er.. dude.. 5 pounds is a shit tone of weight..... 5 pounds and my p2 would be considered obesse (its 26 pounds right now) light weight is in, and it makes bikes ride exponentially better.

if any one remembers, shimano and fox were the first to launch the whole 15mm front end dealio, i dont see them breaking from that any time soon...
  • + 1
 So what are you saying exactly, Daemongrad? That it is a waste for people to worry about every part of their group being xt? I agree with you there. I think what shimano is trying to claim here is that these new xt parts will fit the five inch travel trail niche perfectly is weight and strength. So, when your old derailleur or crank gets boring or whatever, if you fit this niche, they suggest you get this part up grade.
I'd prefer SLX personally and for everything else I'll keep sram, but I'm kinda rough on my stuff since I'm 180lbs and I climb and do drops and jumps but am not a hucker.
  • + 1
 Aye, taletotell, I am 190 myself and ride in the same manner as you describe.... and NWray, isn't the p2 urban/jump? I agree 5 pounds is a shit tonne on that, but on a coiler,(as you see mine in my profile), sure it might be nice to shave the 5 lbs, but inside of a month of the build I gained size and tone in my legs and abs... the extra weight doesn't feel like its there anymore, and my old ride feels like a toy that would snap now, lol.
Back to you tale.... what sram setup would you suggest, I just switched to deore shadow with lx shifters myself, it is nice, but I hear lotsa good stuff about the sram groupo.... very precise?!?
  • + 1
 Precise is pretty much exactly how I'd describe it. I picked up some x-0 shifters on trade and I have an x-9 rear mech. I have had no problem with it in a year of hard riding. And that is all in a muddy hilly area and with some winter riding too. I did some minor adjustments during the first couple months until the cables all stretched and then it was perfect. My front derailleur is a deore, but I think they are mostly all the same.
  • + 3
 Also XTR introduced the Octalink splined bottom brackets in 1995, and it was shimano's refusal to license the spline pattern's patent to any bottom bracket makers for aftermarket sales (they DID license FSA to make them for OEM sales) that led to the whole ISIS debacle FSA, ChrisKing and Raceface (and everyone else that followed suit), complete with crappy bearing durability. And shimano had discontinued all higher-end thumbshifter production by the end of 1993, but everything from XTR down to the Altus level stuff went to trigger & thumb rapidfire plus shifters in 1993.
  • + 1
 Seems like Shimano makes everything except for frames, tires, and shocks nowadays, counting the PRO line. While they did seem to not want to license anything and pay royalties, probably since they had engineers that could make a better working design, they did license UST for their rims.
  • + 3
 Bashless dual ring make no sense around here. And I get all the gears I ever need (around here) out of a 22,32 with 11-32. more range is pointless and heavier.

But with a 11-36 and something like a 30 (maybe 2Cool up front I would be pretty happy I think.. or make it 9-36 with a nice crank to run a 28-30t single on and I'd be saving my pennies .
  • + 4
 skid Buy a HG-61 cassette which is 12-36 9 speed. Replace the 12t with an 11t and you'll get 11-36 cassette. I run this with 32 up front. The only problem is the HG-61 is steel!
  • + 2
 I remember saving up like hell for the XT V-brake levers on my first ever MTB, some Ammaco rigid jobbie. Then I could only afford to get one set of the actual brakes. They're back in my folk's house gathering dust. I'll stick with Sram XO for shifters now but I did recently get the XT crankset to replace my Truvative Five-D chainset. They lasted about 5 years, I couldn't believe the weight of the BB when I took it out.
  • + 2
 SRAM is still an evolutionary step or two ahead of Shimano. Not sure why Shimano has lagged so badly. No disrespect to RC, he has been around forever, but I don't think guys like that have a pulse on what is really going on in mtb today and tomorrow.
  • + 2
 Can't speak to much shimano stuff, and I love my sram shifters and derailluer, but shimano cranks are a world ahead of sram design wise. I'm selling 2 pairs of truvativ cranks because I hate the bad design. The sram interface between spindle and non-drive side crank is just stupid, often resulting in failure after only a couple years. The shimano spindle set up will last forever easily.
  • + 1
 i love my shimano saint cranks soo much
  • + 3
 Same I run SRAM everything but when it comes to cranks shimano they will stay
  • + 1
 totally agree, shimano cranks cannot be beaten for performance, durability, function, ease of fitting and sheer value for money; their front derailleurs are easily the best too Wink


Truvativ's cranksets are *terrible*....


I run SRAM shifters(X-0), rear derailleur (X-7), cassette (PG-990), chain (PC-991) and Avid brakes (Elixir CR) but will always run Shimano cranks (SLX HT2), bottom bracket (AM70 HT2) and front derailleur (XTR) on my all-mountain bike

I've been riding MTB's since 1986, my 1st groupset was Shimano's 200GS which was nasty looking, heavy (plastic covered steel) but worked very well ¬

I currently run Shimano XT V-brake levers on my 700c commuting bike and they make the cheap Tektro v-brake arms feels absolutely crisp!
  • + 1
 sram cranks are stupid. i had 2 truvativ firex cranks (outboard, 2 different year models) and they fail in less than a year (bearing seals sucks, crank bolts get loose, fcuk!) and i've got a ruktion on my other bike and the spindle has 2 or 3mm of play from side to side. fcuk it! i can't believe truvativ is still in business. thank god for sponsored athletes! my shimano cranks? way awesome!

and how about their hammerschmidt? what happened to that? thank god no one buys expensive BS nowadays (i might be wrong, hehehe).
  • + 1
 i agree, truvativ make AWFUL cranks, i've no idea why anyone runs them (well i do, they're cheap, and for good reason). Shimano cranks are most definitely the way forward, even their less expensive models are reliable, easy to fit and easy on the eyes, what more do you want?
  • + 1
 Slx Cranks are 50% stiffer than XT, but also only 60g-ish heavier than XT, they downplay Slx sooooo much. I love Shimano gearing as well, Xtr 10x1 ftw.
  • + 2
 well here is the thing, Shimano admitted in their own information a few years back that SLX HT2 double crankset was 100% stiffer and 50% stiffer than XT, but only 60gm heavier than XT!

SLX has been the 'killer app' for Shimano, I cannot see why any hard riding rider would buy XT or Saint unless running a 83mm bottom bracket on a DH style frame

I have beaten the absolute sh*t out of both pairs of my SLX cranks, with 0% issues over 3 years
  • + 1
 "Same I run SRAM everything but when it comes to cranks shimano they will stay"

Agreed.
  • + 4
 Always had Shimano stuff on my bikes, its just so reliable. The new stuff is so damn sexy, especially in the all black look..Nicely done R.C and SHIMANO..
  • + 1
 Just finished two back country rides out at Tyax on my new Yeti ASR5 Carbon equipped with the new 2012 XT cranks, shifters and brakes. Overall very impressed. Highlights: braking and shifting was bullet proof and the feel was excellent even after two 6 hour rides in the unforgiving dusty and sandy conditions. Loved the close ratio rear cog-set and multiple dual thumb activated up-shifts. The air fins on the brake pads really work and I have the burns on my finger to prove it . Found myself looking for the shift indicators when faced with unfamiliar terrain, especially while climbing. Dislikes: black finish looks stealth but scratches too easily if you worry about that sort of thing.
  • + 5
 I ride 7th buck naked. You must be a poser
  • + 1
 I would like to known objective metrics and test, your ethernal-relatives percentages aren't enough, in an old magazine a RC colegue was thinking about nonesense statements in the industry,The one than i never forget is " if the brandfmakers had been offerng every year improves in their products such as 10% sthifer or 20% more power, in this moments we should to have a 210% better or more power products ( just take it from 1990 and 10% improvements)
So I only ask for standart test I know you PB peopple wil figure it out if you try
  • + 5
 I'm still running an SLX rear derailleur!
  • + 1
 I'm already riding the above 2012 XT brakes........

They are incredible value for the $'s, they match the performance of Trail XTR's........

The power/modulation of new generation Shimano brakes remind me of excellent brakes of back in the day ie. Hope 4 pots circa 04 or Shimano 4 Pots from the same era.....except these are lighter.

For most terrain you will be able to go down a size in rotors, they're that good!
  • + 1
 The spoke nipples are described as "double-threaded," but if they are anything like the nipples on the XT wheels I have, then that might be incorrect. My XT nipples thread into the rim, but not on the spokes. The spokes are threaded on the hub end. Any word on that?
  • + 4
 Why has this been reposted?
  • + 4
 Seems like pb is selling out these days.
  • + 2
 looks like it
  • + 1
 Sad. Back to Vital.
  • + 2
 PB was just trying to post up a new PR, and suddenly your calling "conspiracy on PB".

It's a PR. Seriously? Shimano most likely didn't spend a penny on this specific article, and PB just wanted to really cover the products. If you are going to leave a site because a PR get's released, I hope you go back to your crappy sites. You guys are nothing but worthless scum who have not a clue about how anything works in the website world.

Did PB say you should buy these products NO. They just put up an honest PR post. That's it. If you don't like shimano, go buy from another company. You worse than these worthless political douche bags we have in the USA.

I say get over it. If your going to leave and go back to "vital", I say go for it. You won't be missed what so ever, and judging by your history of posts, that is confirmed.

Losers...



For shifters I'm XT all the way, although I'm using a SRAM X9 until I can muster up some more money due to me breaking mine (after 1,000 miles of DH riding and about 5 dozen bails). Shimano cranks... meh, I'll stick with my heavier Profile's that will last a nuclear blast. As of hubs, meh, I have a proprietary 20mm hub in back and a Hadley in front so not an issue. But I have run Shimano hubs since the DX came out for BMX casette hubs (back when I was younger and just moving to cassettes, and before the days of me riding 100% profile cassettes). Shimano hubs worked then, but probably a whole lot better now. Shimano has it's up's and downs, pros and cons, but when the day ends, I still have to say they have allowed me to have a whole lot of fun on a bike. And this is coming from someone riding from 1990 on both competitively and for fun. Nuf said.

Like said, complainers to PR stuff are worthless unintelligent fadsters. Go ride your fixies.
  • + 4
 sick component set, i want the brakes
  • + 0
 I like Shimano a lot for its performance and durability as well. However, some people consider Hayes disc brakes to be more powerful then Shimano's brakes, equal to formula. I am thinking to upgrade my shimano M575 and I am between to minds: the new SLX (Ice tech) series or Stroker trail?
  • + 1
 I agree about the shifters, I can't get it to feel right with my thumb (like my x9 on my other bike) and it is almost too much tucked under the bar for my index finger, more riding and adjusting I think!!
  • + 3
 Awesome report with lots of detail! I really like the look of those brakes
  • + 2
 i have that original XT setup from 86 on my dads old MTB which has been retired and turned into my "road" bike. ROOTS SON
  • + 3
 I agree - good review. All reviews should be like that!
  • + 2
 Correct me if i'm wrong, but didn't this article appear several days ago? How does it make today's news?
  • + 3
 Fantastic article with lots of detail. Keep them coming RC!
  • + 1
 availability in N.A. or Europe? I'm getting tired or reading about how great this stuff is, I'd like to actually get on some of it...
  • + 3
 is shimano paying for this to be posted?
  • + 2
 Of course they do. This whole news looks like a press release.
  • + 2
 Xt rear dérailleur FTW! Wink
  • + 1
 2013 XT rear derailleur with the switch from the '12 XTR trickled down FTW! :p
  • + 2
 what the hell those Free Stroke do? Wink
  • + 6
 It's the amount of movement in the lever before it starts to brake.
  • + 1
 I thought that's what bite point was.
  • + 1
 I meant before the brake pads even move. You might be right
  • + 8
 Same thing.
  • + 1
 Does the power matches Avid's Elixirs ? Coz in that case I might consider buying a pair ^^
  • + 1
 No one outside of press has seen them yet, so its hard to know. I'd assume they're adequately powerful for everything but racing DH, but I'm not in a position where I have any real idea.
  • + 1
 Alright I'll wait ^^
  • + 1
 My local shop has them actually.
  • + 1
 Did a little research and you're right, they should be hitting shops soon if not already. I feel like an idiot now.
  • + 1
 "It looks a lot better on an Intense Tracer 2."

Doesn't everything though?
  • + 1
 I have the 2000ish Deore XT drivetrain on my GT I love it. I would love to upgrade to the new stuff.
  • + 1
 The only things I want from Shimano (on my mountainbike): cassette, cranks, front derailleur.
  • + 2
 Why no 20 mm front axle??
  • - 4
flag rffr (Jul 4, 2011 at 23:27) (Below Threshold)
 Wtf are you talking about. NO ONE uses 20mm rear anymore. I have a 20mm through rear bike and I'll tell you, only 3-4 companies have and ever will use it. They are talking about a 20mm front axle, and a smaller rear axle if you didn't notice. Tell me what bike currently made runs a 20mm through rear and I'll give you a fucking trophie.
  • + 1
 hey shimano, make a slopestyle cassette with 3-4 gears already.
  • + 1
 Any news if saint is getting a remake ?
  • + 1
 Now that was thorough coverage!!
  • + 1
 Can't wait for 2013 Saint!
  • + 1
 sauce?
  • + 3
 None, but Shimano usually re-designs groupsets in 4-year cycles. I'm assuming Saint's next.
  • + 1
 those brakes look like pocket dildo things
  • + 1
 gotta love the brakes!
  • + 1
 so sick stoked
  • + 0
 Shimano really needs to make something similar to SRAM's Matchmaker.
  • + 1
 Hope makes some aftermarket ones.
  • + 6
 What's the difference between Shimano I-Spec and SRAM/Avid Matchmaker that makes them not "similar"?
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