Shimano continues to improve its 10-speed mountain drivetrains with trickle-down technologies from the top-level XTR group to the XT and SLX groups.
At the top, the new Shimano XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur features a selectable pivot for the pulley cage (the small gold lever) that increases spring tension to minimize chain slap, which should also result in fewer dropped chains, when pedaling through rough terrain. Flipping the lever down reduces spring tension to the standard rate to make wheel removal easier.
The Shimano XT brakes now benefit from the XTR’s innovations, including Servo-Wave levers and Ice Tech braking. The pads have fins that extend to increase surface area dn cooling performance and the rotors are a sandwich of steel – aluminum – steel. According to Shimano they significantly increase cooling – and thus stopping – performance. Retail for the XT brakes (lever, hose and caliper) is $160 per wheel.
While XTR comes in both Race and Trail versions, XT is aimed squarely at trail riders, though it now come with options for triple or double cranksets.
New XT pedals will now be available in the traditional low-profile design and the larger platform Trail version.
There are also two new wheel options for 2012: one will have a 19mm wide rim with Q/R or 15mm front hub aimed at cross country rides, while the other will feature a wider 21mm rim offering a different platform for wider tires and will come with a 15mm front axle and the option for a 12x142mm rear.