Brakes & Gears Etc




DIRT ISSUE 148 – JUNE 2014

Words by Ed H. Photos by Ed H

Thanks to Shimano’s love of regularity we knew that we’d be seeing a new Shimano XTR groupset this year, but that was as much as we knew, the rest was just a guessing game. Would it be 11 speed? Would it be electric? Everyone had their own theories, but now the speculation is over…

The biggest news of course is that this latest incarnation of Shimano XTR is indeed 11 speed, but those hoping for an XX1 alternative may be a little disappointed. You see Shimano have decided to stick with a cassette that mounts onto a conventional freehub body, which immediately stops them from running anything smaller than an 11 tooth sprocket (SRAM’s XX1 goes down to a 10t). Of course they could have tried to offer the same kind of wide range that you get with XX1 by going larger than 42t at the opposite end of the spectrum, but Shimano have actually decided to go smaller with a 40t sprocket. You might think that just a few teeth here and there might not make much difference, but Shimano’s new 11–40t cassette will have a noticeably smaller range than SRAM’s 10–42t.

Why have Shimano decided to do this? Well apparently they firmly believe that for optimum performance you don’t want to make the gaps between the gears too big. Personally I have never had a problem with the gaps in an XX1 cassette, and considering that the whole ‘Rider Tuned’ concept is supposedly a big part of what XTR offers (think Trail or Race brakes etc.), I find it a little strange that when it comes to something as important as the cassette Shimano are giving riders no options. Surely if you are into giving riders a choice you should let them choose if wide range or close gear ratios are more important to them?>>



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