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2008 Shimano XT and shadow mech

2008 Shimano XT and shadow mech

Shimano XT groupset might be 25 years old, but the designers continue to innovate for 2008. With a rash of SRAM mechs on downhillers rigs, the new XT mech featuring shadow technology may well provide a big enough advantage to turn the tables back to the big 'S'.

Rather than tease you, let's jump straight in to the juicy detail. The highlight of the groupset is no doubt the 'shadow' rear mech, which looks to solve a few problems for us downhillers. Especially ones with lines on their local trail nicknamed 'mech wrecker' like the middle rock garden line on "Peaty's track" at Wharncliffe!

Basically, the mech moves inboard, sitting more inside the dropout, sticking no further out that a QR skewer. This looks like it could be a winner in the rocks and stumps. Here's the lowdown straight from the press office:

Highlight of the new Deore XT is definitely the "Shimano Shadow" rear derailleur RD-M772. Originally developed for All Mountain riders it will for sure be popular among many other types of mountain bikers too. "Shimano Shadow" features a rear derailleur with an extra thin profile that minimizes the chance to damage the derailleur by hitting any object on the trail.

Furthermore the "Shadow" derailleur has an increased vertical stability to prevent hitting the chain stay in very bumpy terrain. No need to worry about the derailleur when taking extreme trails with high speed. It will stay focused and perform its tasks flawlessly.

This derailleur is a real lightweight champion and it offers a crisp shift feeling as required for more extreme usage. The cable routing has been shortened since less cable simply means less friction for improved response. RD-M772 will be available in a short cage and a long cage version, in Top-Normal technology only. Designed to work best with Rapidfire Plus shifters.

New mech - note the shorter gear cable routing for less friction

Old (left) v's New (right). Check the low-pro in-board design.

It looks like a winner to me - the advantages of the competition's direct cable routing and no chainstay 'knock' coupled with some innovative thinking on the low-pro approach for increased clearance. All wrapped up in a light package at hopefully a price that's affordable too. One less excuse in the rocks and stumps now!

The rest of the groupset gets a makeover. In the stopping department, servo-wave technology makes the move onto the hydro systems with a claimed 20% more power and faster pad to rotor contact. From the pictures, the XT calipers look tiny, perhaps too small for full on DH but with the claimed power increase, they've got to be worth a look for certain. Definately one for the hardtail!

Completely redesigned lightweight caliper and brake lever. One for the hardtail?

The targeted all mountain groupset also adds wheels as well as cranksets and new SPD pedals to the lineup. This gives a pretty good up to date feel to what is commonly felt to be the best price/performance groupset out there - it's got the long life and light weight without the crippling cost.

The 2008 XT groupset is currently due into the UK during July. I've got my eye on a shadow mech so watch this space.

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More articles from the 'scene | hardware' section:
[ Shimano Saint Groupset - 2013 Update ] - posted on 19th April 2012 by Phil.

[ Shimano 2013 SLX Groupset - RD+ Mech ] - posted on 18th April 2012 by Phil.

[ P45 that big chain ring! Gamut P30 review ] - posted on 4th December 2009 by Phil.

[ 2008 Shimano XT and shadow mech ] - posted on 1st June 2007 by Phil.

[ Intense Socom FRO frame review ] - posted on 17th February 2007 by Paul Mackie.

[ Imperial brakes and grips ] - posted on 26th November 2006 by Trig.

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