Shimano XT 11-Speed

Shimano trickles down 11-speed to XT but adds the hallowed 42-tooth cog

Components Sea Otter Classic

2015 Sea Otter Classic

This Santa Cruz Bronson is decked out with the XT M8000 Group

This Santa Cruz Bronson is decked out with the XT M8000 Group (click to enlarge).

Groupset Includes:

Chainset: XT M8000 Single 11 Speed Crankset 50mm chainline
Chainring: XT M8000 Single Chainring (Note – NOT fitted to crankset)
Rear Derailleur: XT M8000 Shadow+ 11 Speed Rear Mech
Shifter: XT M8000 11 Speed Rear Trigger Shifter
Cassette: XT M8000 11 Speed Cassette
Chain: Ultegra 6800-XT M8000 11 Speed Chain 116 Links

What is it?

Who doesn’t like Shimano XT? Any serious mountain biker has touched XT at one point or another as it was the first dedicated mountain bike group and it has always been the standard for value and performance. XTR is the golden child of Shimano with the latest technology, the lightest weight and the best looks. And there’s always a lag between the launch of the new XTR and the ‘trickle-down’ of this new technology to XT. Well the wait is almost over as the new XT has been introduced at Sea Otter 2015.

Pricing just announced

The pricing has just been announced for XT and it is indeed competitive. A 2×11 system will be $1090 and a 1×11 system will be around $900. For comparison, the retail price for the current generation XT group is about the same.

The pricing for the new XT is very competitive both in 2x11 and 1x11.

The pricing for the new XT is very competitive both in 2×11 and 1×11.

More than trickle-down

The good news is since this space is ultra-competitive at the moment, Shimano seized the opportunity to introduce new technology in XT that was not present in the latest XTR. Most notable of which is the introduction of the 11-42T cassette. In addition to the 11-40T, this new 11-42T cassette will complement the XT group for 1×11 setups. This cassette can be used in existing 11 speed XTR setups as well. The spacing between the cogs will not be as close as the 11-40 but the presence of the 42T cog is critical for achieving a proper low gear in a 1×11 setup. The 11-42T is not approved for 2×11 use but we don’t know at the moment if it will not work or it is merely not advised for optimal operation.

XT M8000 Rear Derailleur
There are now two options for the rear cassette, 11-40 and 11-42 (click to enlarge).
Quite a looker but no Di2

The new XT group steals the crown from XTR as most desirable looking component group. The cranks look absolutely dialed and the black on black finish is understated and will match any bike.

Di2 is not present on XT at the moment but we fully expect that to be introduced in the future. Since everything on XT is compatible with XTR, one can conceivably purchase the Di2 specific components and match with some XT to lower the cost of entry into Di2.


We haven’t ridden the XT yet but we fully expect it to come very close to matching the performance of XTR just as it’s done so in the last few generations. The main compromise is usually weight. And we’ve been testing the latest 2×11 XTR group and it has been remarkable. Rear shifting is impeccable and front shifting is better than anything we’ve experienced before. With the wider range in the rear, Shimano was able to close the gap between the two front rings and this results in better shifting and less loss of pedaling cadence.

Expanded Rhythm Step gear options

Like its XTR sibling, Deore XT M8000 offers 1×11, 2×11, and 3×11 crank options to satisfy any type of rider ability level or terrain. New 2×11 and 3×11 M8000 drivetrains, expand range while maintaining even better rhythm when paired with an 11-40T cassette for optimized cadence control. An exciting addition for Deore XT M8000 is a 1×11 specific 11-42T cassette that expands Shimano’s 1×11 gear range slightly over the race inspired 11-40T of XTR.

  • HG-X11 specific tooth profile
  • Aluminum spider
  • Aluminum (40T/42T) and steel cogs
  • Rhythm Step progression
  • 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-27-31-35-40
  • 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32-37-42
Cranks are available for 2x or 1x.

Cranks are available for 2x or 1x (click to enlarge).

Deore XT cranks Rider Tuned for any terrain

Deore XT M8000 cranks feature Rider Tuned 11-speed gearing that will take you anywhere you want to go. Whatever option you choose, new materials provide consistent long-life shifting performance and chain management.

The Dynamic Chain Engagement (DCE) 1×11 tooth profile in new XTR and DEORE XT groups increases chain retention force by 150%, drastically decreasing dropped chains. Stainless steel chain ring teeth provide long life and lasting chain retention.

All new Deore XT cranks turn on an updated bottom bracket that reduces weight and bearing drag while improving mud durability.

  • Most advanced Deore XT chainrings ever produced
  • Long wearing and great shifting
  • Carbon/stainless steel construction (outer or middle ring)
  • 1×11 with Dynamic Chain Engagement
  • Offered in 30T, 32T, and 34T
  • True Trail 2×11
  • Optimized gear combination for improving shifting quality and driving efficiency
  • Offered in 34-24T, 36-26T, 38-28T
  • Bold 3×11 for the lowest gear and widest range ever produced
  • Offered in 40-30-22T
  • Chainline +3mm outboard cranks offered for 148 OLD hubs
  • +3mm outboard chain line
  • 1×11 with 30T, 32T, and 34T
  • 2×11 with 36-26T
  • New bottom bracket
  • Press fit and threaded options
  • Improved durability
  • Reduced seal drag
  • Lighter weight
Rear derailleurs have lighter action.

Rear derailleurs have lighter action (click to enlarge).

Redesigned, lighter action derailleurs

Both the front and rear Deore XT M8000 derailleurs receive a complete makeover.

The Deore XT M8000 rear derailleur features Shimano’s pioneering Shadow RD + technology and a refined geometry for increased stability. The Shadow RD + is also now more easily adjustable for either maximum stability or lower shift effort.

  • New Shadow design with optimized, shallow slant angle
  • Extremely low profile design
  • Reduced shift effort
  • Improved driving and shifting stability
  • External adjusting clutch tension
  • 1×11 and 2×11 compatible GS and 3×11 compatible SGS options
  • High efficiency pulleys
  • Direct mount compatible

Debuted on XTR M9000, the Deore XT Side Swing front derailleur brings a drastic reduction in shift effort while also increasing tire clearance.

  • FD-M8020 2×11 and FD-M8000 3×11 options
  • Light, crisp shift action
  • New structure with current mounting options and new cable routing
  • High clamp, Low clamp, D-type, E-type (without plate)
  • Increased tire clearance allows for shorter chainstays
  • Designed with long travel trail bikes in mind
Continue to page 2 for more on the Deore XT M8000 and full photo gallery »

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • oldmtb says:

    Whenever I get around to upgrading my 9 speed drivetrain I might go back to triple. Flat trail cruising while standing on the pedals and going at a relaxing cadence pushing 42×11 is too much fun on my “old bike”.

  • Chicken_Rider says:

    When will it be available?

  • Teleken says:

    Glad they still support 3x and getting rid of the annoying sun reflecting silver caps on the brake reservoir.

  • Emilio says:

    hope i can buy this in low
    price in my country…….

  • Shark says:

    Direct mount front rings are king! Come on Shimano…..

  • David says:

    When will it be available in the western US?

  • AngryBee says:

    Finally Shimano Answers SRAM………..

  • oldmtb says:

    You know there are a few design advantages to 2x and 3x. First when you’re climbing with a granny ring you get better chainline for all the easy gears on the cassette. Similarly for all the hard gears on the cassette, a 2x will have better chainline when you’re in the big ring than a 1x which will only be optimal for the middle of the cassette. Why’s this important? Because with 11 speed the gears are narrower and narrower which means they will wear faster. So the more of an angle you have on the chain between the cassette and crank, the faster you’ll wear the chain and cassette. (Add to that every time a 1x drops its chain, the rider has to physically get off to put it back on. With a front der I can just shift it back on while riding and I only mis a pedal stroke or two.)

  • old man says:

    seems a little misleading to say the price is great because its the same as the current XT. If you remove the front Derr, shifter and cables, and reduce front chainrings from 2 or 3 down to 1, it should be considerably less.
    Also, why the move to only small front chainrings? old days we could do a 44/11. Its nice to have these bikes set up for serious climbing, but many of us do casual climbing and more distance. 44 with a 42/11 would pretty much climb anything i’ve ever needed, and be able to crank down a firetrail while others are coasting. Not knocking the smaller chainrings for those who want them, but wish there were better options for XC riding.

  • h.m.o says:

    hi friends. 26-36T crank and 11-44T casette. İ must buy rd-m8000 gs or sgs? Thank you.

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