The race-inspired double-ring chainset is the jewel in the XTR crown, proving to be incredibly stiff while barely tickling the scales. It shifts well; moving into the larger chainring is effortless with a slick feeling click, which is mirrored with the cassette as the directional chain shunts the chain up to the larger titanium sprockets in an instant.
Shifting into the smaller rings is a different story. The plasticky ‘composite’ cable release shifter levers feel clumpy with a noticeable amount of play. However, dual release paddles, two- or three-speed selector switch and the ability to shift multiple gears in both directions, as well as adjustable pod position, does make them versatile. Mechs are light, but the composite theme cheapens the look. Re-engineered Shadow design does its job admirably.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.