Since we’re only just starting to wake up to the fact that Summer 2007 is upon us, the Gods of manufacture have embarked on lifting the skirts on their 2008 kit so we can plan what we’re going to be replacing our worn out kit with next Spring.
It’s a safe bet that for a good proportion of us (excepting SRAM-boys and Shimano-phobes) some Deore XT kit will be finding it’s way onto our Mountain Bikes. It tends to offer a reasonable balance of bling and performance without totally emptying the wallet, although I remain an advocate of Shimano’s unsung foot soldier, the Deore LX groupset. In fact, my On-one Inbred is kitted out with a 2004 LX groupset to prove the point.
But back to the new XT stuff. Shimano have just announced their 2008 XT range to the press and it’s been reported in detail by Singletrack and Bikemagic, including mention of the fact that the Deore XT range is 25 years old. Apart from the fact that this allows Shimano to trump SRAM (who are only a mere 20 years old), I don’t see the point except in a Trigger’s Broom kind of way. It’s not as if there’s anything in common with the original range except the name, although looking at the photo of the original range on Singletrack it does give you the chance to comment on flange size (snigger).
The most notable item appears to be the new ‘Shadow’ design for the rear mech which closely mirrors the cassette profile in its movement, allowing for a much
more compact derailleur. So compact in fact that it doesn’t appear to protrude beyond the rear dropout, hopefully shielding it from unscheduled rock crunches and tree stump tangles.
Other improvements include Servo Wave hydraulic brakes which are reported to apply 20% extra braking power, an appealing prospect for many especially coupled with the new one-peice caliper. Shimano brakes have been recommended to me by several riders now although personally I find them somewhat lacking aesthetically, whatever their supposed prowess. I can’t see that changing dramatically for 2008.
What I’m wondering is that if you have 20% more braking power and the new pads last 100% longer (as claimed), does that mean they wear out more quickly or less? Clearly that’s a calculation I have struggled with based on a hopeless inability to juggle basic numbers and a deep seated prejudice against Shimano brake pads. My Father-in-Law could easily tell me the answer, with figures to back up his findings. It would make a nice change for him from Sudoku I guess but then he doesn’t have to rely on the things to work!
So there you are. For the detail fiends out there and those for whom the working day features long empty minutes of blankness and the nagging thought that perhaps you ought to be doing something, here are the original articles to read: