In not altogether unexpected news, Shimano trickles-down electronic shifting to XT level with a new M8050 group. Before you get all excited, this stuff isn’t hitting the shelves until September 2016, so you might still be pulling cable and not pushing electrons to shift for a while longer.
The new XT group gets most of the features of the XTR M9050, but adds Bluetooth and ANT compatibility, and optional control of Fox electronic suspension lockouts. Now XT can communicate with tablets and cellphones, previously XTR Di2 only communicated with Windows machines. An app allows easy control of the many fine tuning options, including using a single shifter to control front and rear shifting and shift speed when holding down a shift button for multiple shifts.
Riders with XTR Di2 can upgrade to Bluetooth tech with the purchase of a new battery and head unit. Future XTR groups will receive a running change to the new Bluetooth tech.
While it was announced previously, there will be an 11-46 cassette, which is a great option for single-ring drivetrains. Doubles can use either the 11-40 or 11-42. The Di2 drivetrain shares nonelectronic parts (crank, cassette, chain, brakes, wheels) with the mechanical XT M8000 group.
Pricing is substantially lower than XTR Di2, but obviously, still not cheap.
Front derailleur – $189
Rear derailleur – $293
Digital Display Unit – $150.00
Shift lever (right or left) – $220.00
3x E-Tube wires 70.00
Junction Box 29.00
Also new, but also expected, SLX moves to 11 speed. We don’t have pricing, and haven’t even seen this stuff in person, but we do know you should be able to buy it by July 2016. The entire group is new, with many features seen on the 11-speed XTR and XT groups.
There are single, double and triple crank options, paired with an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette. The rear derailleur can shift up to a 46 tooth cog, so riders looking for more range can swap in the 11-46 XT cassette. Brakes are lighter and utilize the Servo-Wave linkage for more power and control.
More info as we get it.