The press release bandwagon has been in high gear here of late. Now news has come of Shimano’s new components for XTR and a new carbon tubular XC racing wheel set for 29″ers.
With so many XC racers now using 29 inch wheels, Shimano has seen fit to introduce a “race day” class wheel for the highest levels of competition. Obviously a tubular carbon rim is not going to be for everyone! Shimano has designed a rather impressive wheel here with a full carbon, offset spoke bed rim with a claimed weight of 280 grams. The wheel is designed with 28 spokes front and rear. Shimano specifies the expected Center Lock brake mount here and the front wheel will not be offered in a traditional 9mm quick release, but in a 15QR format only.Rear wheels are offered in traditional quick release or in the 12 X 142 through axle format. Shimano uses a “quick engagement” free hub body with 36 points of engagement.
Weights for the wheels are claimed at 1349 grams for the front/rear through axle type and a svelte 1298 grams for the 15QR front/traditional quick release rear. These will be offered as a “limited edition” wheel with the XTR WH-M980 designation.
New Lightweight XTR Brakes: Shimano also introduces the new XTR brakes which are essentially a “hot rodded” version of the already great XTR Race brakes. Shimano also brought over the finned rotors from the down hill oriented Saint group.
The new calipers are now made from magnesium and are said to have the same power as the M-985 Race brake. The master cylinder is also made from magnesium. Further weight reduction was realized in the lever by the use of carbon fiber in the blade. The levers also feature titanium fasteners. Overall, the weight savings added up to a claimed 40 grams over the XTR Race M-985 brake.
The lever is “i-spec” compatible, and the new caliper is also compatible with Ice Tech finned brake pads. The new brakes bear the BR-M-987 model number and Shimano claims these are its lightest ever hydraulic brakes.
The SM-RT99 rotors with the aluminum fins in between the rotor spokes are said to reduce rotor temperatures by up to 40° over the previous version of the rotors. The new rotors are also optimized for mud shedding. Sizes offered will be 180mm, 160mm, and 140mm.
Drive Train Refinements: Shimano also lists a few new drive train refinements. First up is for the bottom bracket. Shimano will now offer a “premium level” bottom bracket in the SM-BB93/SM-BB94 models which will be added in threaded and press fit options saving a claimed 19 grams. Shimano also claims better free spinning bearings and seals that are optimized for severe conditions.
Chains also get upgrades in the form of the new CN-M981 model which has a new coating dubbed “Sil-Tech”, which debuted on Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace group. The Sil-Tech plating is said to increase both performance and durability for the ultra-narrow chains required by 10 speed systems. Shimano also claims a better mud shedding design and better lubrication holding properties over the current XTR level chain.
All this is new for 2014, so don’t go running out to buy this just yet.
Note: Images and information used in this report were provided by Shimano.