After appearing to be heading headlong down the Dual Control route, you could almost hear the cheers when Shimano reintroduced XTR Rapidfire – and it’s even better than before.
The neat little pods have a much faster minimal movement release, and you can sweep/pull them through to change several gears in either direction in one go. Ball-bearing internals mean the shifts themselves are as light as you’ll get – to the point where some riders complained about not being able to feel the shift apart from noticing the ratio change. Keeping them that smooth depends on clean, well maintained cables, though. Sideways adjustment lets you run them inside or outside your brakes, while metal adjusters and release levers enhance the precise, quality feel. They’re £80 cheaper than X.0 (or the same price as X9).