We knew it was coming, but today marks the official unveiling of Shimano’s new XTR groupset. As we all suspected Shimano have made the move up to 11 speed, but not in the way we thought that they might have. Shimano have sent out a clear message with this groupset that they don’t think a 1×11 setup is for everyone, instead they’ve gone down the route of offering single, double, and triple ring setups. It’s all about choice you see, much like their ‘Trail’ and ‘Race’ brakes and pedals etc.
Somewhat crucially Shimano have decided not to try and match SRAM’s 10-42t cassette, instead they’ve gone 11-40 in order to keep the gaps between gears to what they deem to be the optimum. This means that to get a range of gears that’ll rival XX1 you’ll need to run a double chainset with this XTR. I get why Shimano like to keep the gaps between the gears smaller, but if you’re into giving riders choice (which is what the rest of the groupset seems to be about) then surely it’s not too hard to offer another wider range cassette for those who are willing to compromise a little in order to get a wider range with a single ring up front. Because the cassette sticks with an 11t as the smallest sprocket it does however fit on a standard freehub body. That said, it does sound like you might run into spoke clearance issues with certain wheels.
Anyway, to see more of the new groupset, and to find out more about it, click on the gallery below…
Open Gallery15 Images
So what are your first impressions? Do you think Shimano are on the back foot a little? Do you think they should have challenged XX1 head-on? Only time will tell if this new groupset works significantly better than SRAM’s offerings, therefore outweighing any shortcomings in terms of the cassette range. Oh, and one question we still can’t get an answer to is whether or not the new XTR mech and shifter will work with an XX1 cassette. If it does then that might well turn out to be a popular setup amongst those who prefer the feel and performance of a Shimano system.