Shimano Debuts XTR M9050 Di2 Group- by Guitar Ted

Years ago when Di2 first came around I figured it wouldn’t take long for the electronically controlled derailleurs to make their way to the dirt. I was wrong. A few years went by, but I still felt that someday, “it would happen” and the electronic shifting days would totally change the way we ride and view the once simple mountain bike. That day is today. Will it revolutionize mountain biking as we know it? Likely, yes….it probably will. Those who are feeling a bit reticent or outright enraged by this should probably stop reading here and go back to those single speeds. For everyone else….read on!

Rear Derailleurfront derailleurshifter 2






Customizable, Upgradeable, Advanced: Shimano claims this new Di2 XTR group is their “latest and greatest” Di2 effort to date, and when you look at the feature set here, it is hard to argue that point. You can obviously do several of the things you’ve heard about with road Di2, but there is more. For instance, Shimano Synchronized Shift: a programmable, mappable, single shift option that controls both derailleurs!

  • XTR M9050 derailleurs communicate gear position and can select a larger or smaller gear, front or rear, when a rider is sequentially selecting a gear.
  • The XTR M9050 can be personalized through mapping whereby the front derailleur shifts can be predetermined using two different customizable mapping programs based on terrain and shifting preferences. An audible alarm sounds just before a preprogrammed front shift so a rider can choose to override the planned shift if they so choose.
  • Riders can choose to run two “FIREBOLT” XTR triggers and shift manually as well, so the Synchronized Shifting can be used or not.

FIREBOLT Shifters: Of course, the shifting is controlled by triggers, but as with Di2 road components, the effort to push them and travel of the triggers is much easier to initiate and more ergonomic as well. Shimano designed the triggers to be rotated to match a sweet spot for every rider’s grip and preference. Also, you can program the triggers to preference, use the Synchronized Shift option, and control Fox Racing Shox components!!

Front & Rear Derailleurs: Featuring much the same technologies as the new M9000 mechanical XTR along with the auto-trim feature for the front derailleur that road Di2 has also enjoyed, these components work with the tried and true “e-tube” wiring and have a fail safe feature in case of damage while riding.

SC-M9050 Display unit for the XTR M9050 Di2 group

SC-M9050 Display unit for the XTR M9050 Di2 group

Display Unit: There is also a handle bar mounted display unit which is fed information via the e-tube wiring harness. It’s more than just a dashboard, however, as Shimano has provided a port here to recharge a battery, (especially nice for internal battery set ups), and the unit is also where you program and choose how the triggers work, either manually, or in one of the two Synchronized shift modes. The audible front shift alarm is here, and the display unit is already compatible with Fox Racing Shox electronic suspension components which will also use the e-tube wiring harness system to communicate with the display unit.

BATExternal Battery: Along with the integrated battery options which we suspect most future editions of bikes equipped with Di2 will utilize, there is an external cylindrical battery which mounts via water bottle bosses and has six e-tube ports for connectivity and future integration with other components.

FAQs: Interestingly, the press release included a FAQ which addresses a complaint many of you readers made when we ran the M9000 post. That being that Shimano’s cassette option for 1X set ups did not go to a 42T or lower gear on the 11 speed cassette. Shimano states in the FAQ that a 1X system can “can never cover the range of 2x or 3x.” They also stated that their benchmark for shifting ratios is to never have shifting differences between cogs be more than 15% so the shifts have as little effect on cadence as possible. Thus, they feel that a 2X or 3X is still the most viable option for the majority of riders. That said, the new XTR M9050 Di2 is also available in 1X, 2X, or 3X 11 options.

Obviously, the new Di2 XTR is going to be very expensive, with Shimano telling us that it will be approximately 40% more than a 2X XTR M9000 mechanical group. In most options, it will also be slightly heavier, since you have a battery and display unit as additional pieces, but Shimano did also say that the one trigger option with a 2X M9050 group is the same weight as a 2X M9000 mechanical group, since the cables and housings are heavier than an e-tube harness.

Logically, Shimano would likely bring this to an XT level at some point, but they are moot on any such plans at this time. Look for XTR M9050 Di2 to be available in the 4th quarter of 2014.

Here’s a Shimano video on the new Di2 XTR

Twenty Nine Inches would like to thank Shimano for the information and images used in this post.