Monterey, CA—Shimano today unleashed several new weapons for your cross-country arsenal, including carbon wheels, lighter brakes, a lighter bottom bracket, and updated 10-speed chain.
Shimano’s long-awaited XTR entry in the twenty-niner wheel category has proven to be worth the wait. Raced and refined on the World Cup circuit and Olympic race courses, the amazingly light XTR WH-M980 29″ carbon tubular wheelset weighs a claimed sub 1300 grams (15mm front/10mm QR rear) and 1349 grams (15mm front/12mm rear) depending on axle choice.
Stiffness-to-weight has been the Achilles Heel of 29’er wheelsets, a problem Shimano has solved with the XTR WH-M980’s carbon tubular rims and 28 straight-pull, two-cross spokes per wheel. The option for front and rear through-axles should eliminate any reservations about the WH-M980’s handling capabilities and strength. It’s also encouraging to see the long-overdue end of 9 and 10mm quick-release axles drawing nigh, for any application. The carbon tubular wheels are impressive, showing excellent construction and finish. These wheels look as fast as they roll.
Further reducing the weight of your bike will be the new XTR BR-M987 hydraulic disc brake system. Losing none of the power but 40 grams worth of mass per wheel compared to the previous M985 brakes, Shimano has gone to a two-piece caliper made of magnesium, the combination of which drops weight, adds stiffness and manages heat build-up more effectively. Speaking of heat dissipation, Shimano’s innovative finned rotor, previously seen on the bikes of World Cup DH athletes, is part of the new XTR Race group. Aluminum cooling fins between the carrier arms help reduce heat by forty degrees F. The rotor employs ICE Technology—forging a layer of aluminum between two braking surface layers of stainless steel, which reduces heat and brake fade, and the new caliper is compatible with ICE Tech finned brake pads. Rotors will be available in 140/160/180 mm diameters.
At the control end of the (brake) line, a new, beyond-svelte, I-Spec lever body gets a new profile and carbon lever blade. Just like the caliper, the master cylinder is made of magnesium.
Whether it’s intentionally applied via brake pads or the result of countless little points of contact between metal bits on your bike, friction is the number one reason you are too slow. While a heavy hand on the brake lever is something only you can control, Shimano can help in less obvious areas. Sil-Tec technology adds a slippery surface coating to select Shimano drivetrain components, including the new super narrow XTR CN-M980 chain. This PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) treatment reduces friction, sheds mud, and holds lube better, resulting in a longer-wearing, faster chain.
Rounding out the new component line-up is a premium level SM-BB93/SM-BB94 mountain bike bottom bracket. Available in threaded and press-fit options, the SM-BB93/SM-BB94 is lighter by 19 grams, and offers lighter rotation and improved sealing for the toughest conditions.