Yesterday Shimano Australia announced the release of the new XTR groupset and wheelsets for MTB. There are a lot of options in the XTR range to suit style of mountain biking for racing and trail riding, so lets look at the key features that Shimano is promoting in this new series which will out in force during the 2014 UCI Cairns World Cup later this month.
The race XTR FC-M900 and trail XTR FC-M9020 cranks are ‘modular’ allowing single or double chain rings on the same crank arm and the race version uses Titanium, carbon and aluminium. Dedicated single chain rain cranks have a new tooth design/profile called “proprietary chain ring retention technology” that will ‘eliminate’ the need for chain retention devices.
The rear cassette CS-M9000 is promoted for “smooth power transfer” during gear changes over various terrain – keeping pedalling rhythm in mind to save energy, The 11 speed cassette has has an 11 – 40T range. A new 11 speed chain is also part of the package.
The shifters (SL-M900) have easier shifting, a new ‘ergonomic’ release shifter and better rider feedback on shifting. The new FD-M9000 (triple) and FD-M9020 (double) front derailleuers claim a 100 percent increase in shift performance although the benchmark for this is not disclosed. Both of these use a “Side-Swing” design and there is also a conventional derailluer (FD-9025). The rear derailluer has a slightly updated Shadow – RD M9000 with a lower profile and wider range of adjustment.
The new shifters as well as new brake levers conform to the new handlebar-clearing I-spec II mounting. The Race and Trail version brake cailipers reveal the most significant difference between the two versions with the XTR M9000 Race brake being lighter while the XTR M9020 Trail brake system is technical and beefier with the SERVO-Wave lever and ICE TECHNOLOGIES radiator pads as a heat sink. The rotor SM-RT99 is unchanged and compatible with XTR M9000and avilable in 140mm, 160mm, 180mm and 203mm.
In wheel technology, carbon fibre is all the rage with 27.5″ and 29″ wheels with UST Tubeless carbon laminated aluminium rims. The actual advantage of the ‘carbon lamination’ on the aluminium rims is not described. Racers have 20mm (internal width) rims in the WH-M9000-TL and the Trail version is 24mm (WH M9020-TL). XC racers also have a full carbon tubular wheel in 29″ as a ultra-light version though a weight has not been provided.
Finally there are new SPD pedals, the PD-M9000 suited for racing and the larger platform PD-M9020 for trails.