Boothstorming Sea Otter: Shimano highlights new XTR 11-speed group

Brakes Components Sea Otter Classic Wheels

Not surprisingly, Shimano’s Sea Otter presence was focused on the launch of their new XTR11-speed 9000-series mountain component group. The company used a modified shipping container to house the new wares, which drew plenty of attention once people began to hear about the group which was announced yesterday.

Though the entire XTR gout gets a revamp and redesign, at the heart of it is Shimano’s new 11-speed cassette which features a high-tech mix of carbon, titanium, steel and aluminum construction. Shimano says the new cassette is lighter, stiffer and wider-ranging than its predecessors. It also works on existing 10-speed cassette bodies.

Shimano’s current generation of off-road hydraulic brakes have been a standout for years and the company has revamped its heat management to be even more efficient through the use of their Freeza Ice Tech rotor (top left). The new 9000-series brakes come in a trail-tuned version (right photos) that feature heatsink fins on the brake pads themselves. The race-tuned version of the brakes (lower left) eschew the heatsinks in favor of lighter weight.

Though Shimano is offering dedicated 1x chainring set-ups for the new XTR, they’re still in favor of using a front derailed and offer 2x and 3x options with the group. This 2x front derailleur features the new Side-Swing configuration that moves the mechanism next to the seat tube instead of behind it. The set-up creates more clearance for tires and improves cable routing for lighter shifting action, according to Shimano.

Shimano’s new XTR carbon laminated wheelsets come in both Race (lightweight) and Trail (beefier) tunings, as well as a Race tubular version. Clincher versions use 28 butted spokes front and rear, and are available in 27.5- and 29-inch options, while the tubular is 29er-only.

Shimano’s Joe Lawwill extolls the virtues of the new XTR group to booth visitors as the throngs fawn and drool over the new kit.

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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  • I'mRight says:

    I always tore the sprockets off the old XTR cassettes, now there even lighter, no thanks!

  • gshock says:

    The Shimano 1x looks terrible. Maybe it will perform well but I’m definitely going Sram now.

  • Tom says:

    Yeah, I tore off sprockets off old EIGHT SPEED XTR cassettes, too. I think time and progress have marched on. No problems for ages!

  • Pete says:

    I like the rear cassette and love that it’s compatible with my current wheel. The chain retention idea seems reasonable, but did they have to make the big ring look like a hubcap in doing so? For now I’ll wait for xt version in a year & still probably just keep my current WT ring set up.

  • Denis says:

    I’ve used and been a big fan of Shimano for many years, but made the big move to XX1 over a year ago and absolutely love it. Seems to me Shimano has tried to have an each way bet and not really committed to 1×11. By sticking to the existing freehub, which rules out a 10 tooth ring, and not going as far as 42 at the other end of the cassette, their gear range is compromised at both ends. Also no sign of the wide-narrow chainring and jockey wheel teeth that do so much to aid chain retention.

  • luisM. says:

    Love Shimano but I’m not impressed with this new set up. If I’m going to pay big bucks for big gears on a single…. I’ll go SRAM . They did it right!

  • MJ says:

    It looks beautiful but that is the end of it. All sparkle and no sizzle. Why are the conversion 42T rings so popular? I for one want Shimanos version of the 1×11 SRAM kit. Yes I need a smooth shifting 42T with a 10T for range and no I do not want a front derailleur. Are you guys paying attention? An upgraded 2x what???? SRAM will be getting even more new business. Just SAD.

  • Stampers says:

    The crank looks pretty fugly…I like the flexibility of the drivetrain. Not everyone wants a 1x setup or may want to change between based on trail conditions, locations etc…can you bump from 1x to 2x on SRAM? no

    As for the cassette range…the 10 tooth? meh…who needs it…and if I’m too unfit to push a 40 tooth gear then I don’t need to be on a 1x to begin with….

    Alas, I will wait for an XT or SLX version in a few years though…way better value. In the meantime…SRAM’s XX1 will be on my next bike.

  • eroc says:

    Oh yea If you don’t like to ride your bike and have to warranty your SRAM junk all the time continue to drink the red kool-aid. Not to mention THE worst brakes on the planet in AVID or the XX W/C failure recall. OH yea hydro-R brakes that they tried to kill their pro riders on before a massive recall on the whole market. Yea they make a fantastic product. JUNK! XTR is to advanced for a lot of people to understand how it works. 1x 2x or 3x options with the crank a vast and open range of gears to adapt to your ridding. Com-on really..

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