by Dave Anderson
April 11, 2014
Shimano XTR is going 11 speed. It’s been four years since Shimano’s flagship groupset was redesigned. Back then, it was expanded into two different ‘expressions’ – Trail and Race to show that there were two different markets for its highest groupset. Now, the lines are blurred again as Shimano includes XC Race, enduro or trail racing and regular trail riding.
It’s gone 11speed, but it’s not just 1×11. There will be full 1×11, 2×11 and 3×11 options. The beautiful new, forged chainset will work with a single, double or triple rings. There’s a new front derailleur where Shimano has basically taken the front mech and turned it on its side so that it will work in a far more horizontal way – it also leaves more room for pivots and rear tyres around the seat tube area.
Hmm… what else? Well, the shifting obviously now goes to 11, with a redesigned (carbon) thumb shift lever, a narrower bar clamp and an improved Servo-Wave brake lever. The 1×11 cassette has an 11-40 range and the single chainring will come in even numbers from 30, 32, 34 and 36. A chainset will come in at less than 600g for the single.
The 11 speed cassette has four steel cogs, six Ti and an aluminium 40 sprocket. There are two aluminium spiders to carry the sprockets and two carbon ones. Despite the extra sprocket, the cassette will fit onto a regular Shimano cassette body, so you don’t need to change your wheels (although Shimano didn’t appear to feature any 26in wheels in its XTR future)
To accommodate this new 11 speed system the rear derailleur has been redesigned; with a new plate design, with an offset jockey wheel cage that moves a lot more than before – which means that the derailleur body can move less. There’s also an adjustable clutch mechanism to tune the amount of resistance in the system.
We’ll let you digest this lot and then follow up with a few more ‘real world’ shots from the Sea Otter.
There’s also a brand new website: Ride XTR. http://ridextr.com/
There’s a new low-friction chain where everything – the inner and outer plates, and the rollers, has been coated in a new low-friction material to keep things smooth.
Here’s the official word from Shimano…
NEW XTR TAKES RIDER TUNED TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Mountain biking has rapidly evolved since the previous introduction of Shimano’s top level XTR groupset in 2010. Shimano sees different directions in mountain biking with wheel sizes and riding styles changing and now defines four main categories within mountain biking. Competitive Cross Country is driven by physical efforts while Enduro focuses on more technical challenges but both have equivalents at the non-competitive Trail level. To serve mountain bikers who will only settle for the best, Shimano today introduces the new rider tuned XTR M9000 groupset.
Rhythm is the essence of smooth power transfer and a proper gear step is the key to maintaining rhythm over varied terrain. The CS-M9000 11-speed 11-40T cassette is the widest range cassette Shimano has ever produced and also the most balanced. Thanks to its “rhythm step” progression it maintains calculated, shock-free gear steps from one gear to the next, saving riders energy and helping maintain their flow on the trail. Shimano also introduces a new premium 11-speed chain that delivers better performance for mountain bikers; the CN-HG900-11 uses a HG-X11 special asymmetric plate design and Shimano’s new SIL-TEC surface treatment.
Shimano’s rider tuned concept starts with the gear combinations and XTR M9000 has options for all riding styles and mountain bikes. The 1×11 drivetrain is the best option if you are a competitive Cross Country or Enduro racer and you know exactly your skills and the level of terrain you are going to face. If you want to be competitive and flexible then 2×11 is the non-compromise choice. For those who prefer an all-round bike to explore trails and conquer every climb, Shimano has developed a versatile and proven 3×11 drivetrain.
Besides the gear combinations there are two different crank arm options available. The first option is the FC-M9000 race specific crank arm with a Q-factor of just 158mm and a 3D hollow bonded lightweight left crank arm which can be used for single or double use. The other option is the FC-M9020, a trail specific crank arm with a cold forged super strong construction and a standard 168mm Q-factor for 1x, 2x or 3x setups. Both cranks have one PCD so if you want to change from a single ring to double or triple you only have to change the chainrings. The dedicated XTR 1x chainring features retention technology with a unique tooth profile that eliminates the need for chain retention devices. New XTR M9000 provides range and ensures rhythm for diverse riding styles and terrain to create smooth, harmonic pedalling – the ultimate goal of a drivetrain.
The all-new XTR M9000 wheels mark a serious turning point for Shimano in premium mountain bike wheelsets; these are Shimano’s first mountain bike wheels to feature carbon laminate rim technology. From ultra-light and durable race wheels to all-mountain tuned trail wheels in 27.5 and 29” options, the all new XTR wheels use 28 butted spokes both front and rear and include a new lightweight bearing and axle system.
Shimano’s legacy of leading brake design stems from its dedicated study of the components of control: heat, power and stiffness. New XTR M9000 brakes in race and trail versions offer varying levels of heat control from an insulated piston (glass fiber phenolic) and insulated pad coating that creates 10 percent more heat resistance. The XTR M9000 race is the ultimate balance between weight and power thanks to a magnesium caliper and master lever body as well as a carbon lever blade and also features the new handlebar-clearing I-spec II mounting. The XTR M9020 trail brake has a stiff monobody caliper and comes standard with Ice Technologies finned brake pads for further heat reduction. Together with the proven FREEZA SM-RT99 rotors these brakes give optimum brake performance in all conditions.
Good shifting performance gives riders the opportunity to operate the bike smoothly and in the most efficient gear. The enhanced ergonomic design of Shimano XTR M9000 redefines the gear change and delivers remarkable performance. The shift lever has a dual-textured anti slip surface, features multi, instant and 2-way release and is made of carbon to save weight. As per the road equivalent Dura-Ace, XTR uses polymer-coated inner cables to improve the control and lowers the shift effort by 20% compared to the previous XTR shift lever.
Shimano’s new FD-M9000 masters front shifting for double and triple crank sets with the first-ever Side-Swing front derailleur design that increases shift performance by 100 percent. Designed specifically with modern trail bikes in mind, Shimano’s XTR FD-M9000 Side-Swing front derailleur provides 15mm of increased tyre clearance whilst new cable routing dramatically reduces the shifting effort.
The new Shadow RD+ design has an even lower profile to keep it protected and optimizes the slant angle which lowers the shift effort and improves stability. The new Shadow RD+ clutch has a simpler external clutch adjustment and a wider range of movement for easier setup.
With a refined Shadow RD+ clutch rear derailleur, a new front derailleur structure and a new XTR chain, M9000 offers the most stable drivetrain the industry has ever seen. Together with the rider tuned options for cranks, brakes, wheels and pedals makes XTR M9000 the most complete mountain bike groupset in the market.