April 19, 2013
Shimano’s flagship XTR group isn’t due for its traditional revamp until next year, but it seems that Shimano had done so much work to make its already light group even lighter for last year’s Olympic racers and the XC racing arms race, that a mid-term update is in order for the Race half of the XTR group.
Shimano has gone to a magnesium caliper body for the race brake, which saves a not insignificant 40g an end. It has also extended its finned IceTech ‘Freeza’ rotors, first seen on Saint, to all rotor sizes. Shimano claims that the 40degree temperature saving in running a finned rotor is like braking with a rotor the next size up. Which means that you can have the same braking as before, but with a smaller rotor. If you normally run a 180, you’ll get the same performance with a 160 and so on. So we will probably see more racers on 140mm rotors if that proves accurate.
Shimano hasn’t stopped there though. There’s a new wheelset (more of that in a sec) which comes with new pared-away hubs.
The Race brake lever gains a carbon brake lever and magnesium master cylinder to further drop weight. The claimed weights are below.
A Freeza rotor. As if the unholy alliance of steel rotors with an aluminium core isn’t enough. Now it’s wavy in the middle too!
So, talking about those wheels, Shimano has developed a carbon rimmed, 29er, tubular-only wheelsets for those singleminded racer types. Weights are low for a 29er wheel set (under 1300g in their lightest form) and they feature a wide carbon rim that you glue your tubular tyres to, cyclocross style. Why only a 29er wheel? Shimano started developing them in 2011 and the 27.5in ‘thing’ hadn’t hit the world yet. Anyway, all the racers we know are on 29ers and they’re probably going to want these for their race machines.
And the weight savings don’t stop there. Shimano has a new ten speed chain, with a special low-friction surface treatment called ‘Sil-Tec’ and helps reduce wear. The new chain has hollow pins too. Swanky.
And finally, Shimano has even found a way to lop off some grams off its press-fit and screw in bottom brackets, with the press-fit BB under 60g!
More news as we get it and more impressions when we get to give it a spin. Look at the new issue of Singletrack, out next week for our opinion on the current Shimano Race Brake and its rivals.
WEIGHT INFORMATION (from Shimano)
XTR M987-kit w/G01A resin pad, w/o adapter, for front , 800mm, postmount, W/RT99S
XTR M987-kit w/G01A resin pad, w/o adapter, for front , 800mm, postmount, W/O RT
CN-M981 HG-X, 114L, w/o ampoule type connect pin
SM-BB93, thread type
SM-BB94-41A, pressfit type