Posted by Editoress on 05/25/18
At the Nove Mesto World Cup, Shimano officially launched the newest edition of its flagship XTR group. The group is so new, that the first three pros who will race it only got their first chance to try it on Thursday. Those pros are Joland Neff (Kross Racing), Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and Lukas Flueckiger ((Thomus-RN Racing).
Mathieu van der Poel tests the new XTR
While SRAM is moving ahead with the eTap electronic shifting program (which Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) previewed last weekend in Albstadt and at the Cape Epic), Shimano is sticking to their tried and proven mechanical system at this point - staff at the launch would only say Di2 for mountain bike is under development.
For the new XTR, Shimano has broken the market into three parts - XC, Marathon and Enduro. The heart of the new group is a gorgeous new crank, available in both single and double chainring configurations for 11 and 12 speed. XC and Marathon share the cranks, with the single available in 30 tooth, 32, 34, 36 and 38. Enduro gets a slightly different Q-factor version. The double is available in a 28/38 configuration (for XC/Marathon or Enduro). Both are effectively the same crank, with just the second (inner) chainring added for the double configuration.
One might ask: why even bother with a double chainring? Shimano says certain markets (such as Germany) still demand it.
There are two cogsets - 10-45 is available in 11 or 12 speed, while 10-51 is also available for 12 speed. the double chainring will only work with 10-45 (in 11 or 12 speed). The smallest cogs are steel, the middle ones titanium and outer ones aluminum. The 10-45 model is 10 - 20 grams lighter than previous versions (depending on 11 versus 12 speed).
For the 12 speed (and also compatible with the new 11 speed) there are new hubs, and the new 12 speed requires the new hub - no backwards compatibility of freehubs. Shimano is claiming 30% improvement in rigidity from the previous version
The 12 speed 10-51 also requires a different version of rear derailleur, the SGS version rather than the SG, although the SGS will work with both cogsets and in 11 or 12 speed, so it is the most versatile. The pulleys are larger (13 tooth) on both models. And, to make things a little more complicated, there is a separate model if you want to use a double chainring up front.
There is nothing really new about the front derailleur, but there is a new chain device for the single chainring version - primarily for the big hit Enduro market.
In the shift levers, the most interesting thing was the new mono lever for the front derailleur - push it once and it shifts to the larger chainring, push it again and it shifts back down; no pulling or separate levers. They also introduced a non-XTR specific seat post shift lever that can mount to brake levers just like the shift levers.
The new brakes are available in two models - a two piston-version meant for the XC and Marathon market, and a four-piston version for Enduro, which Shimano says offers Saint (DH) braking power. The levers have been redesigned to offer two points of contact to the handlebar for better stiffness - the clamp plus the end of the lever body. They are claiming 10% more rigid and 30% more stopping power than the previous XTR.
Shimano says that pricing will be comparable to the current version, and it will be available on the market in September.
Enduro XTR 4-piston brake caliper
XTR single chainring crank
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