We showed you Shimano’s new Shadow XT derailleur a little while back – since then we’ve had a chance to get a few miles in on the 2008 XT group. More of that soon, but in the meantime here’s the first glimpse of the new Shimano XTR Shadow derailleur.
If you’re not familiar with the thinking behind Shadow, here’s a recap. The idea is to have a lower-profile mechanism that doesn’t stick out so much (up to 18mm narrower than a conventional derailleur) and is hence less vulnerable to rock/root/falling over damage. It’s also said to be stiffer thanks to generally shorter pieces linking the parts together and has shorter, more direct cable routing.
The forthcoming XTR (RD-M972) mech (available in September) uses an X-shaped outer plate and full carbon fibre cage to make it the lightest derailleur in the Shimano range at a claimed 180g. Short and long-cage versions will be available, and the unit will be top-normal (or “conventional” as we like to think of it) only for use with Rapidfire Plus shifters.