Shimano's Deore XT Pedals inherit the same enhancements and body options of the XTR line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Shimano's Deore XT Pedals inherit the same enhancements and body options of the XTR line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Shimano unveiled a few new technologies to its top two groups in its mountain bike lineup that may be of interest to some cyclocross racers and perhaps of particular interest to the monster cross crowd.  As expected, the Deore XT component group, celebrating its 30th Anniversary, now inherits technologies releases last year in the XTR line, including reshaped SPD pedals with more contact surface area, double ring cranksets and an enhanced Shadow rear derailleur. Deore XT has come a long way since the early “Deerhead” components, and these mountain bike components are still finding their way onto cyclocrossers’ bikes.

Shimano XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur gets an on/off switch to prevent chain slap © Cyclocross Magazine

Shimano XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur gets an on/off switch to prevent chain slap © Cyclocross Magazine

In the top-of-the-line XTR group, the main innovation features an on/off switch that essentially locks the derailleur’s pulley cage’s pivot to prevent unwanted chainslap and inconsistent chain tension. Tired of that chain beating up your chainstay?  Perhaps an XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur will do the trick – but keep in mind that with Dyna-Sys they are no longer compatible the road shifters but would work on flat bar cyclocross bike.  

One little-known option for cyclocrossers, although not new, is the wide-range cassette options for Dyna-Sys groups.  11-32t, 11-34t, and 11-36t 10-speed cassettes are also fun options to ride or race your cyclocross bike on the local trails and in your local mountain bike race.  Another product that’s especially attractive to newer cyclocrossers are the longer platform “All Mountain” versions of the Deore XT and XTR pedals. These body options provide a larger target and more stable platform especially when not clipped in during dismounts and remounts.

Official details on some of the new products that might be of interest for the cyclocrosser below:


XTR RD-M985 Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur

The newest addition to the XTR Dyna-Sys drivetrain is the RD-M985 Shadow Plus rear derailleur. The Shadow Plus feature provides a selectable pivot for the pulley cage that can use a heavier spring and increased pivot friction to counteract the forces of up and down chain momentum in rough terrain. The chain bouncing can often cause noise as the chain slaps the top and bottom of the chainstay, or even cause the chain to derail from the front ring in extreme circumstances. The new pivot when selected to the “ON” position dampens the cage and consequent chain movement for a nearly silent and stable riding experience. In the “OFF” position the derailleur will function like a standard Shadow rear derailleur and eases the installation and removal of the rear wheel by relaxing the spring tension on the cage.

• MSRP: $249.99

• Weight: 210g (estimated)

• Available: Late May 2011

Deore XT Gets Double Cranksets, New Pedals for 2012. photo: courtesy

Deore XT Gets Double Cranksets, New Pedals for 2012. photo: courtesy

Deore XT

The debut of Dyna-Sys in 2010 on Deore XT was the first step towards the full group make-over for the 2012 model. Having firmly established a host of new features for XTR, those features now work their way into Deore XT, once again boosting the value and relevance of the group. While the core of XT is still biased toward trail use, several options allow for even more customized application to specific terrain, bike types, and cosmetics. Two of the major options will be the addition of a double crank along with the popular triple and the choice of black or silver for the components.

Pedals: PD-M780 / PD-M785

Shimano's Deore XT Pedals inherit the same enhancements and body options of the XTR line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Shimano's all-mountain Deore XT Pedals' extra platform may just provide the extra confidence for a newer cyclocrosser. © Cyclocross Magazine

The PD-M780 pedals increase pedal surface contact area by 5 times vs. the PD-M770 for incredible pedaling stability. An offset binding allows mud to flow through the pedal better than prior designs for the best possible performance in muddy conditions.

A completely new pedal for 2012, the PD-M785 is an XT quality pedal aimed at trail use. An integrated pedal cage offers greater stability even when not clipped in with an increase in surface area of 8.5 times over the PD-M770.

Crankset  – Double or Triple FC-M780 / FC-M785

The central component to the Dyna-Sys drivetrain comes in two varieties: a double or triple. The rider can choose the option that best suits their style, fitness, or terrain. The ever popular and more versatile triple comes with a 42-32-24T ring set with the proven composite enhanced middle ring for maximum shift smoothness. Most notably, the 24T inner ring offers a significant improvement in efficiency compared with a 22T and still provides a very low gear for climbing when paired with a 36T rear cog. A trail oriented 2X10 crank debuts with a 38-26T ring set as well as a more XC oriented 40-28T combo. Both double cranks feature a unique crank with a 48.8mm chainline for better frame clearance and best compatibility on a wide range of bikes.

• Triple or double gearing: 42-32-24T, 40-28T, or 38-26T

• Carbon composite reinforced middle ring on triple reduces weight and provides smooth, quiet shifting

• MSRP: $319.99, any spec

• Weight: 860g, triple w/BB (double 820g w/BB)

• Available: June 2011

SL-M780 Rapidfire Shifter

Advanced Light Action shifting with VIVID index requires the same amount of force to shift between the two largest cogs as it takes to shift between the two smallest. The VIVID index establishes intuitive shifting feedback without adding unnecessary shifting force to the system. Instant, multi-, and 2-way release are all integrated into the newest generation shifter as well as a mode converter that allows the left hand unit to be tuned specifically to the crank set being used.

• Ispec (integrated brake lever mount) version available

• MSRP: $159.99

• Weight: 255g

• Available: June 2011

RD-M780 Shadow Rear Derailleur

The Shadow rear derailleur design continues to be improved and combined with the newest shifter design optimizes the overall system stability. The new longer arm geometry of the cable fixing anchor takes stability a step further as well as provides a more tolerant system adjustment.

• Enhanced system stability with Shadow technology

• MSRP: $109.99

• Weight: 234g (Super Long Cage)

• Available: June 2011

FD-M780/M781/M785/M786 Front Derailleur

Angled adjustment screws and clamp bolt make the new front derailleur more mechanic friendly and the option for direct mount create greater options for frame designers.

• Four mounting style available to accommodate most frames: Low clamp, high clamp, E-type, and direct mount

• Double or triple specific versions provides precision shifting for either format

• Cage design optimized for tire and frame clearance

• MSRP: $54.99 (all specs)

• Weight: 153g (low clamp, top swing)

• Available: June 2011

CN-HG94 / CS-M771

The drive-train is completed with the Dyna-Sys 10-speed CN-HG94 and CS-M771 cogset introduced in 2010. The HG-X asymmetric design chain has inner and outer plates that take specific advantage of the contours of the Hyperglide cogset. Cassette options are 11-36T, 11-34T and 11-32T.

• MSRP: CN-HG94 > $49.99, CS-M771 > $99.99

• Weight: CN-HG94 > 343g, CS-M771 > 273g

• Available: currently available