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Shimano FD-M953 XTR 31.8 Downpull albino derailleur
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Consumer reviews: Submitted by Ryan R a Cross Country Rider from Long Island N.Y. Date Reviewed: 5/3/2004 3:08:48 PM FavoriteTrail: Pandora Duration Product Used: 3 months Price Paid: $85 Purchased At: Bike Junkie Strengths: Strong, cage is acutally a double cage for extra strength Light weight, for a double caged derailleur Stiff, Never misses a shift not a one, perfect shifting! Reliable, Once it's set it is eally a set a forget item! Weaknesses: A little on the pain in the a$$ to set up intially. At least the e-type model it took a little bit to set it but no it's a set and forget item . Took two rounds of tuning and a fine tune from a friend at a shop to get it running right. I have yet to have to mess with it since! A little expensive for a Front Derailluer Similar Products Tried: Mostly Shimano: LX (SUCKS) XT (Good but has draw backs) XTR (THE BOMB) Bike Setup: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR XC With a full Shimano XT XTR Drivetrain (soon to be switched out for SRAM X.0) with much too many goodies to list here and do you really want to read the list? Bottom Line: This is the one piece of drivetrain equipment on my bike that will survive my drivetrain rebuild! I like Shimano for their Crank sets so far so good with my XT's and I like the M525 Deore discbraks on my bike. They are inexpensive to mantain and cost less for parts then the XT or the way overpriced XTR's. If they do decide to go then I'm going for Avid or Hayes for brakes. As for this derailluer I like it allot. It has crisp action you don't get with the XT and it is much more reliabable than the LX that came on the bike. The LX never seemed to be able to stay tuned and I was always messing with it on the trails. I like to use my front derailluer I paid for all 27 gears I'm going to use them!! I have yet to miss a shift or have the chain drop of or jam up! It is a little of a chore to set it up though but I think this is only for the E-Type my buddy had no problems setting up his clamp style one what so ever! If your interested why I'm changing over to SRAM X.O see my newest review for the non rapid rise XTR rear derailluer. For this piece of the Shimano XTR drivetrain I like it! Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by MAXXED a Cross Country Rider from Honolulu Date Reviewed: 3/20/2004 11:12:42 PM Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $59 Purchased At: Price Point Strengths: Smooth, silent shifting. Never misses a shift! Weaknesses: Only comes in top swing configuration. Will not work on Cannondale Jekyll, Mountain Cycle San Andreas, and other frames that require a bottom swing derailleur. Similar Products Tried: Shimano LX, XT, and '03 XTR. Bike Setup: '04 Mountain Cycle Fury, Avid 160mm discs, Avid Speed Dial 7 brake levers, XTR front and rear derailleurs, '04 Shimano XT crankset, Progressive 5th Element rear shock. Bottom Line: This is a review of the '04 FD-M952 derailleur with differential plate action. The two side plates of the cage move independently and are hinged at the rear of the cage. Dramatic improvement in upshifting and downshifting over the rigid cage XTR '03 derailleur. Shifting is lightning fast and never slips or skips on the chainrings. It is noticeably quieter on upshifts and downshifts than the '03 XTR. The chain is literally lifted off the chainrings and dropped onto the next chainring. In the non diff plate action XTR, like the FD-M953, you can feel the chain being forced against the chainring, and grinding into it when you upshift. I was disappointed in the FD-M953, which displayed no improvement in shifting performance over the XT derailleur. The diff plate action also solves a nagging problem inherent in all conventional fixed plate front derailleurs; sluggish shifting or hanging up when downshifting to the granny gear. I can be in the smallest rear cog, and it will instantly and silently downshift to the granny gear. You'll never use that particular gear combo, but try doing it with your current derailleur! Upshifts are amazing silent and quick, without the grinding against the chainring to upshift as described above. Another welcome design improvement is the angled seatpost collar mounting setup. This is a blessing for those with full suspension bikes, as it makes it so much easier to access the derailleur mounting collar allen screw head. Also, the cable mounting clamp bolt is angled, making access much more convenient for those with full suspension frames and elevated chainstays. Another improvement is a wider derailleur cage that makes chain rub almost nonexistent in those awkward chainring/rear cog combos. The older FD-M953 was a real pain with it's narrow cage. It really limited the gearing combos you could use with each chainring. Shimano really did their homework on the new '04 diff plate derailleur! Only problem is, it is currently available only in top swing configuration, which will not work with all frames, as mentioned above. If you can't use a top swing derailleur, you're out of luck. It is quite a bit more expensive than their non diff plate action derailleur, but once you've tried it, there's just no comparison. I'm hooked, and can't go back to the non Diff Plate front derailleurs. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Saxon Victor a Cross Country Rider from Slovakia, Middle Europe Date Reviewed: 2/17/2004 11:52:52 AM FavoriteTrail: everything Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $80 Purchased At: Bike shop in the capital Strengths: Its beautiful! So strong, rigid, and it works like a dream Weaknesses: i havent found yet Similar Products Tried: Deore, LX, Ultegra Bike Setup: Merida SE, XT, XTR, Marzocchi, Truvativ, FSA, Maxxis Bottom Line: Ive changed my Deore2003 for this. The difference: night and day. It moves so lightly, with the XT rapidfire it moves like a Deore rapidfire without de derailleur. Its incredible for me, cos here in Slovakia we dont have the money to buy things like this, but i think we should. I recommend it to everyone who has the money, and wants incredible shifts. Anyway, i use it with LX chain and Truvativ Stylo Team cranks and its perfect, so i just cant imagine how would it be with XTR chain and XTR cranks... Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Thomas Vacek from Ithaca Date Reviewed: 4/23/2003 10:09:38 PM Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $60 Purchased At: not telling Strengths: very pretty, very precise shifting Weaknesses: none so far Similar Products Tried: shimano LX Bike Setup: trek Bottom Line: my shimano LX front derailleur won't even move now - i greased it plenty and it just won't move - i had to buy a new front derailleur - and this solved my problems. It is a very excellent mechanism. Don't let those cheap pansies with their stupid reviews discourage you. The bolt does not strip if you use a metric 5mm alan key. The dumbass was probably using alan keys in inches. the 2003 line of XTR is very good. I recently purchased the 2003 XTR crank and rear derailleur and have yet to try both. Very nice, quality products. I wouldn't pay the ridiculous retail for them, though. Find them in places other than online retaillers - and DON'T GO TO YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP. Mine always rapes me on pricing. They mark things up even beyond retail. It's ridiculous. Stupid! Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Darius a Racer from D-Town, TX Date Reviewed: 4/19/2003 11:23:22 PM Duration Product Used: More than 3 years Purchased At: wouldn't purchase, but work on them everyday Strengths: matches the paint on the other XTR drivetrain parts Weaknesses: Over priced, works as good as or worse than cheaper versions. Similar Products Tried: XT, LX, DEORE, STX, everything Bike Setup: Merlin Iliad, Sram drivetrain, Raceface Next LP cranx, XTR hubs ti spokes sun 0degreeXC rims, lots of light stuff Bottom Line: XTR front derailleurs are a waste of money no matter what version you get: 02 and before - On top swing versions, the parallel plate movement does absolutely nothing to improve shifting, but it does add weight for no apparent reason. Traditional versions are identical to XT and LX, they're just painted with XTR grey paint. WOOHOO! new 03 version- the cage is so narrow that an extrordinary amound of chain rub is inevetable, and the anchor bolt is far too easy to strip out. What's even more strange is, the steel bolt strips before the aluminum threads in the derailleur do. This adds to my conclusion that with the exception of the cranks, 03 XTR can eat a bunch of goat crap. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Matt a Cross Country Rider from Reno, NV, USA Date Reviewed: 2/23/2003 1:29:42 AM FavoriteTrail: Peavine Duration Product Used: 3 months Price Paid: $85 Purchased At: Bike Warehouse Strengths: Stiffness, Weight, Stiffness, Shiny Weaknesses: Failure can occur when a small rock wedges between the rotating cam and a pivot bar. Similar Products Tried: 1997, 2002 XT Bike Setup: Switchblade, XTR, King, Thomson, Hope Bottom Line: This is for the newly re-designed 2003 XTR Front Deraileur. This product is sooo stiff, and shifts so cleanly as long nothing gets in the works. There is a small little space inside of the unit that debris can get trapped in. This has happened to me FOUR TIMES in the last two months. A small rock becomes wedged in the space between the rotating cam and one of the stationary pivot bars when in the small chinring. When you try to shift up to a bigger ring, the gap closes. Anything solid (like a rock) in the gap prevents the shifter from working at all, and you have to get off and pop the rock out. Better have a small stick handy. Heaven forbid that this happens in a race. For all the positive attributes, the complicated dual pull design and abundance of stiff pivot points says one thing: Over-engineered. The old simple designs work better, and since the deraileur has completely failed me four times in two months, something that has never happened on any previous front deraileur that I've used, I'm only giving it one chili. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by .cliff a Cross Country Rider from City of Lights Date Reviewed: 2/8/2003 6:03:44 PM FavoriteTrail: single track Duration Product Used: 6 months Price Paid: $60 Purchased At: jenson.com Strengths: quick smooth light consistent Weaknesses: none except the rattle reminds me when I'm cross chaining from small front ring to smallest cog (mega 9) Similar Products Tried: STX, Alivio, Suntour (classical gas roaddie), Bike Setup: XT Mega 9 cassette/rear derailleur, XT shifters/cables, Stylo Team crankset (9spd type) Bottom Line: Nice, very nice - but I ride a lot of slower rough single track stuff using granny ring and, yeah it's bad, but for some short down stretches, I like to kick up to the small rear cog for speed for a few seconds before hitting a steep climb section (not have to shift the front up and the cassette down...then back again on the steep and rough -whine/complain) Bugs me to hear that chain scrape but I guess it doesn't hurt anything. Shimano even tells you in a separate little instruction sheet that you'll get the chain rubbing. Buddy told me to try a SRAM shifter with the extra clicks to move the cage over a little???? Anyone out there using a newer XTR front derailleur with the SRAM shifter??? If so, is it worth it? OK, bottom line is that the strengths are awesome. I set it up according to the instructions on a new Team Sylo crankset (22-32-44))without a problem. Haven't had to "readjust after breakin" or mess with it. Keep chain well lubed and I expect the derailler to last; if not will post again. After continual frustration trying to get and keep previous derailleurs adjusted/shifting right, I rate this one 5 flamers for value (way worth the price), and 4 for overall cause of the rattle (cage could be another mm wider or something). Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Martin a Weekend Warrior from San Diego Date Reviewed: 12/30/2002 11:22:36 PM Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $55 Purchased At: Supergo Strengths: Smooooth shifting, well made. Weaknesses: Pricey Similar Products Tried: XT, Alvio Bike Setup: Superlight/Bomber/XT/XTR Bottom Line: Had to replace an XT shifter that would not consistently shift to the granny ring despite constant adjustment (about 700 miles on it). Replaced with the XTR and front shifting has never been smoother. Setup is a little tricky and you will get some rubbing if you use gear combinations that are ill advised. Price is high but like most things you get what you pay for. Oh, and one nice thing. the limit screws are made out of real metal not the 'cheese' metal that Shimano use on the XT. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Philip Mitchell a Cross Country Rider from Berkshire, UK Date Reviewed: 11/13/2002 8:32:08 AM Duration Product Used: 3 months Price Paid: $100 Purchased At: Local store Strengths: Independent pin betwen plates - superbly smooth. Weaknesses: Price. Similar Products Tried: LX F/Mech Bottom Line: If you've got the money buy it because what this F/M really did for me was to highlight the deficiencies in my shifting and taught me to make sure I was shifting in time with my pedalling. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Joe a Cross Country Rider from Concord, MA, USA! Date Reviewed: 11/6/2002 12:44:31 PM Duration Product Used: 1 Year Price Paid: $50 Purchased At: www.jensonusa.com Strengths: Works extremely well. Never had any problem with this. Weaknesses: None Similar Products Tried: XTR rear der Bottom Line: This product kicks ass. I don't use the front derailleur often, but it has never failed me when I needed it. I think the secret is in the dual plates design, becuase it shifts much smoother than the XT model. Good work Shimano. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Dan a Racer from Atlanta Date Reviewed: 9/26/2002 12:32:38 PM Duration Product Used: 1 Year Purchased At: Gift Strengths: Light, Shifts Smooth and it will never miss when you need it the most. Weaknesses: Can't really think of one. Similar Products Tried: Any highend Derailleur Bike Setup: Litespeed Bottom Line: I've riden anything from LX and XT and had no problems but the response and accuracy of the XTR is unbeatable. I have to give this product 5 flamming terds. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Les a Cross Country Rider from Fairfax, VA Date Reviewed: 6/23/2002 4:17:32 PM FavoriteTrail: Fountainhead and Difficult Run Duration Product Used: 1 Year Price Paid: $30 Purchased At: Washington Bike Center Strengths: Precise Shifting, Extremely Reliable, Pretty Damn Durable Weaknesses: Are you kidding me? The only thing that even comes close is the original cable clamp, it's a little weak. Similar Products Tried: XT(also good, but not as good as XTR,LX and Deore (Both are crappy) Bike Setup: XT/XTR/LX/Easton and Thomson. Bottom Line: Put it on and forget about it. While setting it up maybe a little difficult, then again most front deraileurs are hard to set up. I have the top swing, top pull model and I have had no problems with it except for the clamp (see weaknesses area), I had to replace it because I cranked down on it too much (an LX clamp works great). Have fun with not having to adjust the front deraileur EVER. If you're sick of bad shifting, get this derailleur. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by J a Racer from Columbus, Ohio Date Reviewed: 6/4/2002 7:24:18 AM Duration Product Used: 3 months Price Paid: $49 Purchased At: supergo.com Strengths: Smoothest shifting derailleur. Inspires confidence even under the most strain. Hold up much better than their XT model (2 broken XT's in 1 year). Weaknesses: Can be costly if purchased at a retail shop. Similar Products Tried: XT Bike Setup: Specialized Stumpjumper, Mars fork, S-works wheels, XT Crank, XTR derailleurs Bottom Line: Worth every penny if you are serious about biking and expect your components to hold up. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by rob a Racer from santa cruz Date Reviewed: 5/31/2002 9:11:25 AM FavoriteTrail: twin gates Duration Product Used: 3 months Price Paid: $85 Purchased At: Sprockets Strengths: it shifts great, and is a major step up from the XT! Weaknesses: none yet. i hope i don't have any at all. Similar Products Tried: Shimano XT Bike Setup: Klien Mantra Pro, Judy, Mavic, titec, and all shimano XT and XTR compenents. Bottom Line: great product and is worth the price. the low weight is great. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Stefan Gluske a Cross Country Rider from Nuertingen Germany Date Reviewed: 5/27/2002 7:05:30 AM FavoriteTrail: Schwaebische Alp Duration Product Used: 6 months Price Paid: $55 Purchased At: LocalBikeShop Strengths: Great shifting action Weaknesses: not easy to install (like all front derailleurs) Similar Products Tried: Shimano XT topswing Bike Setup: Steppenwolf hardtail, Rond Magura Air Front Shock w/Firmtech Rimbrake, XTR-Drivetrain except LX Crankset Bottom Line: Found that 98s Front Derailleur at my bikeshop for a good price and it works well w/9speed setup and the LX Crankset (smaller chainrings than XTR). Anything works well in every condition (snow, rain, mud...). Shifting is a little faster and quieter than XT. Not really a must-to-have, buy it when you see a special offer. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by J K a Racer from Sterile Heights, mi, US of A Date Reviewed: 5/9/2002 8:22:09 AM FavoriteTrail: poontang trail Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $85 Purchased At: Antoonns Strengths: The shifting is smooth, accurate and done when I want, not when the component wants. A wise investment if your are not happy with XT or less. Weaknesses: It requires breaking the chain to install. I advise having the shop do it. If you buy it from them maybe they'll do it for free. Similar Products Tried: XT Bike Setup: '97 Swine Moab, Bottom Line: If you are getting into some hard-core XC racing this is a good investment. Sometimes climbs are not easily foreseen and the confidence this derailleur instills is worth the $$. I give this 5 flaming poops. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Sam VeraSforzza a Racer from Seattle, Wa, USA Date Reviewed: 4/25/2002 12:21:18 PM FavoriteTrail: Whistler BC Duration Product Used: 1 Year Price Paid: $80 Purchased At: online somewhere Strengths: Fastest front shifting, better quality than XT and especilly LX, weight, overall function is awesome. Weaknesses: Sometimes price depending on where you get it but the best always costs a finger or two. A little intolernt of the wnt to shift to baby ring, oh well I never need the 26 small ring. Similar Products Tried: LX & XT Bike Setup: 19.8 lb 2000 S-Works M4 with all the bling-bling, the important thing is that I can push a 26/36/48 XTR rings and shifting is just like the rear, works even better/faster since I don't need the small chain ring. Bottom Line: Must have, all XTR is greaat, but this is one of the best XTR components, world of difference over LX, and still very noticeible improvement over XT, AAA+. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Joe from Houston Date Reviewed: 3/16/2002 9:18:35 PM FavoriteTrail: Jack Brooks Duration Product Used: 3 months Price Paid: $50 Purchased At: Pricepoint.com Strengths: light, looks great, works well, easy to install, easy to set up, and easy to clean.. Weaknesses: none Similar Products Tried: Deor LX Bike Setup: Trek 4900, Marzocchi Dirt jumper, XTR everything, Avid disk, Race Face Turbine LP, Race Face SRX BB, Chris King nothread headset Bottom Line: Great product. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Giant -- a Cross Country Rider from Singapore Date Reviewed: 1/5/2002 11:14:49 PM FavoriteTrail: all XC Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $110 Purchased At: T.H.H Strengths: Very smooth n light shifting, good looking n well designed, very light n easy to clean. Weaknesses: None Similar Products Tried: Alivio Bike Setup: GIANT ATX890, xt brakes disc n hubs, xtr drivetrain, xt crank. Bottom Line: A reasonable price for this derailleur. N Its smooth enough even i cant feel the chain was changing. i like its nickel plated chain cage color almost like titanium colors. N really the cage is wide enough for the chain from rubbing against it. no others. i think i really pay for the resonable price for the best looking n smoothest derailleur without regret. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Mike from PA Date Reviewed: 10/15/2001 7:01:41 PM Duration Product Used: 3 months Bottom Line: This is a review for the '01 top-pull, traditional (high/top mount) design. I went from an LX to the XTR when my new Klein FS frame (old frame cracked) required a different front derailure due to the chainstay/seat tube pivot. Huge difference. Front shifting is smooth and requires much less effort. I set the derailure up myself quite easily and it has worked flawlessly. Pricey but definitely worth it. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Gary Gao a Weekend Warrior from Shanghai China Date Reviewed: 9/27/2001 8:44:57 AM Duration Product Used: 1 Year Price Paid: $30 Purchased At: a local shop Strengths: incredible shift accuracy, light, able to use a 48teeth chainring, the colour,the different plates mechanism Weaknesses: perfect adjustment takes too much time Similar Products Tried: acera-x Bike Setup: bridgestone hardtail, rockshox indy-c, xt-xtr Bottom Line: my previous fd kept making me headache. i wanted to buy a bottom pull xt fd, but in vain. and i happened to find this xtr fd, after installing, i found a big difference. no more worry, not at all! just pedal,click,and this machine will guide the chain to where u want. though my crank is a 96 xt 5-arm, but no problem with the xtr fd. it makes the front shift as fast and accurate as the rear. i love its exquisite design. two different plates move independently which makes the shift an ease. so if u are not a downhiller, buy this xtr front deraillieur, it's worth every penny u pay. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by T P from Reno/Tahoe Ablaze! Date Reviewed: 7/18/2001 10:37:03 PM FavoriteTrail: Charcoaled! Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $89 Purchased At: Adrenaline Strengths: Blew away my XT-Specifically paid a fortune to find a 34.9 top swing top pull FD950 8 speed model, almost extinct, still riding 8 speed. This baby can handle a 46,34,22 spread. Weaknesses: None-time will tell Similar Products Tried: XT Bike Setup: Litespeed Obed, Uraccos, XTR der's, Race Face Crank, Avid SD brakes, Sram 68 chain xray shifters. Bottom Line: No problem with chain drops, mechanism is really cool. Power shifts are possible with finess. Wide cage, can shift 5 cogs in rear without trim adj. Worry free shifting has made me more confident downshifting before the big speed climbs. I use a 68/107 BB Chainline-perfect. Worth the gouge to find an honest-new one. Will baby untill 8 speed is dead and fossilized. Good for aagro riders! Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by a Weekend Warrior from Wisconsin Date Reviewed: 7/10/2001 10:50:58 PM FavoriteTrail: the one you can't find Duration Product Used: 6 months Price Paid: $60 Strengths: The front now shifts as rapidly and precisely as the rear, pimp factor Weaknesses: price, hard to set up Similar Products Tried: Deore, LX Bike Setup: 27 speed converted to 18 Bottom Line: This derailleur was intended for three front cogs, spaced 12 teeth apart. I am running a funky setup with two Race Face rings. At first, this screwed up the shifting with lots of chain suck/dropping, but everything was fixed by a competent mechanic. Now it works fine and has withstood various abuses, both urban and offroad. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Aaron a Cross Country Rider from Maine Date Reviewed: 6/26/2001 5:08:04 PM FavoriteTrail: secret Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Price Paid: $75 Purchased At: LBS Strengths: OHHHHHHHHHH, so smooth. I'm finally able to shift to the outer ring without problem. Weaknesses: NONE! Similar Products Tried: LX Bike Setup: 2000 Paragon, XT, XTR Bottom Line: This is the most justifiable XTR upgrade. There has been a total night and day difference between my old LX and the new XTR. If what everyone says is true, have your LBS set it up, I did. Just get it! You won't be disappointed! You'll pay for it, but you'll never regret it. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by minimag a Cross Country Rider from teulon Date Reviewed: 6/24/2001 3:48:00 PM Duration Product Used: 3 months Price Paid: $49 Purchased At: jensonusa Strengths: shifts well once set up, top swing doesn't interfere with water bottle mounts on my seat tube Weaknesses: has very short reach- you better have a really low profile crank. fussy set-up Similar Products Tried: regular bottom swing xtr and xt Bike Setup: sandvik titanium, all xtr, raceface next Bottom Line: i found installing this derailleur pretty annoying, you have to break the chain and you know how good that is for shimano chains. also it didn't reach far enough outward to shift into the large chainring. i had to get a 107mm bb. if this derailleur comes with your new bike, fine, but it's not a worthwhile upgrade. more trouble than it's worth. certainly dosn't seem to shift any better than regular xtr or xt.2 for value because it is NOT worth the price, 3 for overall because it's not really a bad shifter, it's just no better than averge Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Ray Jaimez a Cross Country Rider from Cedar Park,Tx Date Reviewed: 6/21/2001 9:03:05 PM FavoriteTrail: Rocky Hill Ranch in Smithville,Tx Duration Product Used: More than 3 years Price Paid: $50 Purchased At: Mail Order Strengths: Best shifting front derailler you can buy. It works really well under any conditions. See Craig's comment in the next review below. Weaknesses: None. It truly kicks tail. Similar Products Tried: STX,LX,XT. Bike Setup: Full XTR. Bottom Line: If your looking to upgrade your bike to XTR, do it! You will not be disappointed. Remember! If you do not spend the time to clean and maintain your bike, it will ride like crap. Do not blame your bike. This is a Five Jalepeno product. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Craig a Cross Country Rider from St. Louis MO Date Reviewed: 6/6/2001 8:54:51 PM Duration Product Used: 1 Year Price Paid: $40 Purchased At: LBS Strengths: The performance of this deraileur is incredible!! On most front deraileurs, you have to often turn or push the shifter a little bit past the indexed point. This bike give constant accurate shifts without thinking, and in all conditions. Weaknesses: It is hard to set up - compared to other fds. If you have never doen it before, take it to your LBS and get it done right. You will not be disappointed Similar Products Tried: XT, LX Bike Setup: Specalized StumpJumper, Full XTR, SID, Mavic (FOR SALE!!!) Bottom Line: Get it, install it right, and you will not be disapointed, in any condition. It is worth the extra scrillas. 25 flamin chillis! Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Terrence from New York, New York Date Reviewed: 5/17/2001 6:34:21 AM Duration Product Used: 6 months Price Paid: $50 Strengths: From all the other reviews I'm sure the xtr is a quality product, the problem is I have a Race Face 9 speed crank set, I was told that this derauiler will never work properly??? Weaknesses: set up Similar Products Tried: lx Bike Setup: klein attitude comp, race face cranks, xtr rear/front deraulier, rock shox xc Bottom Line: somebody help, the bike store told me the xtr front derailer will never work properly with my raceface cranks, this bike store is very reputable so I'm thinking they are right. Can anyone tell me for sure wether this is true? If it is what is my best bet for smooth shifting?? Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Jobe Biker a Weekend Warrior from NYC Date Reviewed: 5/12/2001 10:44:21 AM FavoriteTrail: RingWood Duration Product Used: 1 Year Price Paid: $50 Purchased At: Internet (I forget witch site) Strengths: Great shifting for real MTBs with big rings. Weaknesses: Very hard to set up. Similar Products Tried: lx, xt, that one under lx Bike Setup: Gary Fisher Kaitai, XTR Crankset upgrade Bottom Line: It took me a long time to set up the shifting setup; My original setup had a avilo crank and derailleur that really sucked!! BigTime!! They were about as tuff a lead & It was the e-type derailleur witch I truly don’t see the point of. So I had to switch out my BB crank and my derailleur to make it all good. The install was a B*tch for the the new front derailleur. So I gave up and ended up bringing it to 2 different bike shops nether got it working the way I expected. . . . (a span of time) . . . . Then I got a job in NYC and had to move and find a new bike shop. Who would think there would be anyplace yet alone a great place to bring my bike in this $hit hole. (I have yet to adjust to life in the big apple, My apologies to all of its fans) Anyway back on topic, they had it working perfectly in a few minutes. Now I never have to think about shifting. It shifts every time with no problems. It truly makes my biking experience more enjoyable. So my bottom line is that the XTR Front Derailleur is great but if you’re not a pro you have to find someone that is to set it up for you. The shop I used is in West Wood NJ I highly recommend them, e-mail me if you want more info. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Jonathan Maddock a Cross Country Rider from Wolfeboro, NH, USA Date Reviewed: 5/7/2001 5:25:13 PM FavoriteTrail: Tumbledown Dick Mountain Road Duration Product Used: 2 Years Price Paid: $55 Purchased At: Supergo Strengths: Great flwless shifting. It never screwed up a shift, except on it's last ride. Weaknesses: Pivot pin works loose & drops out Similar Products Tried: LX Bike Setup: XT all over except XTR large chain rings 46-34-24 Bottom Line: I like the standard size rings, so there is no other choice. I'll keep a closer eye on the pivot pin that articulates the cage. After the pin dropped, the outer part of the cage caught in the chain ring & snapped off. Nasty! I could shift up, but had to use my toe to down shift the rest of the ride home. Just bought a new one with hopes of better durability. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Adam from Visalia Date Reviewed: 3/4/2001 10:26:42 PM FavoriteTrail: Cow trails Duration Product Used: 2 Years Price Paid: $50 Purchased At: Trisport Strengths: shift the front as fast as the rear Weaknesses: price (almost 3 times as much as XT) Similar Products Tried: LX, XT Bike Setup: Custom frame, XTR Bottom Line: THE BEST EVER. Worth every penny. Difference between night & day. The only thing is it needs plenty of room to get to the granny gear. Make sure your bottom bracket is long enough. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by SANTA from NORTH POLE Date Reviewed: 12/24/2000 6:18:33 PM Duration Product Used: 2 Years Strengths: SMOOTH SHIFTING, LIGHT, SET-UP Weaknesses: RELIABILITY, PRICE Bike Setup: KIND THINGS ALL OVER Bottom Line: THIS DER IS GOOD IF IT IS GIVEN TO YOU FREE. OTHERWISE YOUR IN FOR A SURPRISE WHEN THIS CRAP FAILS ON THE TRAIL. IT IS LIGHT AND SLEEK BUT THE COMPRAMISEIS STRENGTH AND RELIABILITY. FOR THOSE WITH DEEP POCKETS IT'S GOLD BUT IF YOU RELY AND DEPEND ON YOUR EQUIPMENT TO CARRY THROUGH THE RUFF STUFF THEN YOU MIGHT WANT A CHEAPER REPLACEABLE ALTERNATIVE. I BROKE ONE AT A HINGE POINT WHEN SHIFTING DOWNHILL ON THE FLY. NO CRASH, NO FORCING, JUST BLEW OUT. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Westy a Racer from Peterborough, Ontario Date Reviewed: 11/28/2000 5:07:01 PM Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Purchased At: Cyclepath Peterborough Strengths: Light, XTR cool factor. Best fr. unit available. Weaknesses: You gotta pay for it (a lot). Similar Products Tried: LX STX/RC XT Bike Setup: XTR drivetrain with Race Face Turbine LPs and rings. Bottom Line: One sweet derailer. A lot of the guys I ride with say "it is just the fr. derailer," XTR actually made a difference. Smooth shifting, especially between my 32 and 44 tooth rings. Looks way cooler than an XT. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Julian Hughes from Exeter,UK Date Reviewed: 7/22/2000 1:33:37 PM FavoriteTrail: everywhere Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Strengths: will run a bigger chainring. shifts flawlessly. looks nice Weaknesses: costs lots. tricky to get set up perfectly but must be done perfectly. Similar Products Tried: lx,ultegra,105,dura ace Bike Setup: rigid mtb,slicks,suntour compact drive cranks,but with 26,36,46 TA rings,11-23 ultegra casstte on rear.. lx shifters. Bottom Line: This was the ONLY front derailler i could find which would both fit my bike,(have to use a topswing because of bottle bosses location)and will also run bigger chainrings than a 44. It is VERY specifically designed to work with a middle chainring 12 teeth smaller than the big one,with the inner plate carefully machined and spaced to be almost snug to the middle ring when you're running the big one so set up was a little painstaking with a 10 tooth difference...but it works when nothing else would and it works perfectly... in the end. This isnt a criticism of the derailler as it is very clearly brilliantly designed to work within its own groupset. The criticism is that these days if you want something beyond whats available within a Shimano groupset it might be a lot more difficult to achieve than would have been the case a few years ago,tho if you stick to the groupsets you do get a slick package of course,everything works together...I shouldnt complain. The bottom line is this derailler is the best available and (over)priced accordingly.loses 1 chillie for the price. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Barry a Cross Country Rider from Vancouver, BC Canada Date Reviewed: 7/8/2000 10:14:00 PM Duration Product Used: 3 months Strengths: crisp shifts using Shimano thumbshifters much more positive action than XT Weaknesses: no significant ones Similar Products Tried: XT various vintages Bike Setup: 2000 Rocky Mountain Vertex with Race Face stuff, and thumbsifters (retro-land) Bottom Line: For the retro-grouches using 7/3 speed thumbshifters this is a primo upgrade, and now that the 8 speed XTR stuff is out of style, it's availabel at a fair price. The shifter action is much more positive, especially with the RF Race Rings with ramps/pins. Clear improvement over XT. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by a Cross Country Rider from Boulder CO Date Reviewed: 4/16/2000 11:10:23 AM Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month Bottom Line: I just got the 2000 model about 2 weeks ago. I have always had trouble with my LX model, but didn't know that it was because the LX is a cheap piece of metal. After only 1 use I could tell the XTR was worth it. Smooth shifting and when downshifting to my small ring it doesn't pop off like my LX did sometimes. Great deal for only 60 bucks. Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Piers a Weekend Warrior from Austin, TX Date Reviewed: 1/26/2000 3:22:48 PM FavoriteTrail: City Park, Austin, TX Duration Product Used: 3 months Strengths: This works *way* better than the stock Alivio that came on my Cannie F500, and way better than the LX I upgraded to. It seems to grab that chain and push it onto that small cog very well. Weaknesses: Too expensive to buy from the retail store I'm afraid, so you'll have to mail order! Bike Setup: Cannondale F500, XTR front, XTR rear. Great combo. Bottom Line: If you can get it for $65 or so, I'd say it's well worth it and removes all that front-derailleur frustrations! Value Rating: Overall Rating: Submitted by Bill W. a Cross-Country Rider from Baltimore Date Reviewed: 1/7/2000 FavoriteTrail: Patapsco-McKeldin Duration Product Used: 2 Years Strengths: Light, XTR bragging rights, shifts well Weaknesses: Had no choice; others didn't work Similar Products Tried: Pre-articulating XTR, LX, XT Bike Setup: Dagger FSR Elite, FS Mac-strut, 8 speed compact drive, Gripshift Bottom Line: It works great for me, though I had to replace the previous one because one of the pivots took a dive (I made it work for a while by replacing it with a cable end - thanks Heloise), but the last one was free so... I tried to get away with a MEGA-9 XT but it couldn't be adjusted so it wouldn't hit my 8 speed compact chainrings but still shift correctly. Moving soon to standard chainrings so maybe that will get rid of the occasional chainsuck and chains thrown onto the bottom bracket. 4 chilis because it works well, but not 5 because it doesn't work as well as my old '95 XTR group, which NEVER suffered from crainsuck or derailment. Overall Rating: Submitted by hank a Cross-Country Rider from pasadena Date Reviewed: 8/25/1999 Duration Product Used: more than 3 years Strengths: strength Weaknesses: not free Similar Products Tried: xt lx stx Bike Setup: xtr on cannondale Bottom Line: bike makers spec higher end rear derailleurs than front because the rear derailleur is more visible and glamorous (glamorous for a bike parts anyway ...). I would rather have an xtr front and xt rear derailleur than the other way around. the reason: the cheaper rear derailleurs i've owned never really misshifted, but the cheaper front derailleurs suck compared to the xtr. An xtr front derailleur slaps the chain down into a lower ring when you are grinding uphill (yeah, shift early, but sometimes this situation come up anyway) like Ike to Tina. The xtr derailleur pushes your chain very hard. This is not so with the less-than xtr front derailleurs that only suggest to the chain that it might want to down shift when it is convenient. My chain shifts on my schedule, not its own, even when it is wet, dry, gummed up or frozen.PLUS the cost difference between an xt and an xtr front derailleur is low compared to other parts. Overall Rating: Submitted by dave a Racer from boulder, co Date Reviewed: 8/20/1999 Duration Product Used: 6 months Strengths: shifted great Weaknesses: reliability, broke Similar Products Tried: campy, xcpro, xt, 95xtr, lots o others Bike Setup: steel hardtail, Man SXti Bottom Line: The derailer, in good conditions, worked great. However, riding in winter, ice sludge would freeze the der and make it inoperable. 1st time this has ever happened to me with a frt der. Winter passed, frt der good again. whooaaa. There are 2 pins at the lower rear section of the cage that allow the mechanism to articulate. Watch those pins carefully. I had one pin remove itself from the der last weekend in a race. When that happened, and I shifted to the big ring, the der overshifted, I dropped my chain on the outside, and the outer der plate broke off. Snap! I called Shimano & they will warranty the der, but this wouldn't have happened with a regular design der. I'm going back to my '95 XTR - it's a good thing I had one around! Hey, no frt der is perfect, so I'd have given it a 4, but how often do you break one of these? I'll average out 2 chilis. Overall Rating: Submitted by Bikey Boy a Cross-Country Rider from Auckland Date Reviewed: 8/15/1999 FavoriteTrail: lots in OZ Duration Product Used: less than 1 month Strengths: light, it's XTR, easy set up Weaknesses: have to break the chain to fit it. Similar Products Tried: 1997 XT Bike Setup: Now all XTR drive train on 24lb Marin Quake 9.0 FRS with 1999 Plasma Gripshift shifters. Bottom Line: I had used the OEM XT that was fitted and it seemed to work ok.I fitted the XTR the other day and discovered that front shifting is so much smoother and easier now. If you don't use one you will not know how much better it is compared to others. Well worth the money! Overall Rating: Submitted by Mark Finney a Cross-Country Rider from Lund, Sweden Date Reviewed: 7/30/1999 Duration Product Used: 3 months Strengths: Light. Good up-shifts Weaknesses: Misses shifts down to smallest chainring. Sensitive for mud and stones Similar Products Tried: Deore DX Bike Setup: Litespeed Unicoi. 9 cog XTR drivetrain. Bottom Line: The only XTR component that has not impressed. This mech has often missed down shifts due to mud or small stones blocking one of its many linkages. It usually works well at the start of a ride, but on a wet track I tend to try and avoid the smaller chainring (often involuntarily). The difference between this review and the many happy users below could be the 9-speed system's fault. The old DX had its own problems, but was still better. Overall Rating: Submitted by Dave a Weekend Warrior from Sparks, MD Date Reviewed: 7/15/1999 FavoriteTrail: Bunker Hill Duration Product Used: 2 Years Strengths: Light Smooth Reliable Status Weaknesses: None Similar Products Tried: XT, LX, STX-RC Bike Setup: 1997 Jamis Dakar Bottom Line: Just look at the XTR. It is a piece of art. Even though this is one of my least used components, the XTR has always worked flawlessly. I love when something works so well that it is not noticed. With XTR rapid fire shifters, you don't have to touch it more than once to get a clean, positive shift. Go total XTR drivetrain and you can't go wrong. Overall Rating: Submitted by Fat Boy a Cross-Country Rider from Highland Lakes Date Reviewed: 6/28/1999 Duration Product Used: 2 Years Strengths: Shifts well Weaknesses: no better than XT Similar Products Tried: LX Bike Setup: Caad3 w/ SX TI & XTR Bottom Line: Can't complain about performance, it works fine but it is at least twice the price as XT and I haven't noticed a big gain in performance. Overall Rating: Submitted by Mr. K2 a Weekend Warrior from CA Date Reviewed: 6/23/1999 FavoriteTrail: East Government Duration Product Used: 3 months Strengths: good shifting, light Weaknesses: not much better than lx, where did the pricetag come from? Similar Products Tried: LX, XT Bike Setup: my bike Bottom Line: It shifts more smoothly than any other der. I've tried, but certainly not worth 70 bucks. I would have stuck to my Lx if I had known. Overall Rating: Submitted by Jeff a Cross-Country Rider from TRaverse City Date Reviewed: 3/31/1999 FavoriteTrail: Vasa-North Country Duration Product Used: 2 Years Strengths: Flawless shifting Weaknesses: Little tricky to set up Similar Products Tried: Older XTR Front derailuer Bike Setup: Klein Attitude, Judy Sl Bottom Line: Far and away the best front derailuer on the market. Setup takes an extra minute because of the independent cage but it's worth it. Shifts flawlessly from dry to mud and crud. I've used a few different sets of rings and different chains, and no matter the setup this thing flat out rules. XT may be half the price, but spend the extra dough and get the XTR, mine is going on three years of awesome performance something you just cant put a price tag on. 5 big ass flammin peppers Overall Rating: Submitted by squish a Weekend Warrior from redfield, sd Date Reviewed: 3/27/1999 FavoriteTrail: draper lake oklahoma Duration Product Used: 3 months Strengths: shifts flawlessly...once it's set up...very light...dependable...looks good...doesn't plug up in the mud...i love it Weaknesses: expensive...can be a bit picky to set up... Similar Products Tried: lx...and xt...neither come even close Bike Setup: gary fisher big sur with full xtr drivetrain Bottom Line: great procuct...light...durable...shifts flawlessly...i'm impressed by the full xtr line 4 chillis for the difficult set up Overall Rating: Submitted by Max from Berkeley High Racing Team a cross-country rider from Berkeley Ca, USA Date Reviewed: 3/7/1999 Bottom Line: I would have check the racer, xc, dh and weekend warrior, but they wouldn't let me. Anyways, I went from LX, to XT, thinking there would be a difference. The only change was a few grams lost, no performance. Later my sponser said I should look at an XT and XTR, I did, and jesus, there is a huge difference. XTR uses pivots, springs and an actual moving cage, that lifts the chain up, and over, resulting in perfect shifting, even under heavy pedalling. A better upgrade the even a rear XTR, though those also work like dreams. Spend the extra cash, save weight, and never worry about shifting, XTR rules, oh and, BERKELEY HIGH RACING TEAM is the shit, and a shout out to my bike company, NORTHSIDE BIKES 5 flaming psychedelic chili peppers Overall Rating: Submitted by Jason a cross-country rider from Brookfield, WI Date Reviewed: 3/5/1999 Bottom Line: Absolutely one of the best upgrades for the money. I have ridden with LX and XT before, if only I had known the performance of the XTR much earlier. I couldn't count the number of times I have looked down at the front chainrings making sure it shifted. It always has. The XTR operation is smooth, fast, and seamless. It's dual cages moves the chain quickly and without hesitation. It operates well under load. I am using XT chainrings and a IG-90 chain. It has remained bulletproof, needing no adjustment. Overall Rating: Submitted by Juanita Fajita a weekend warrior from From in your Mom Date Reviewed: 2/23/1999 Bottom Line: These are great. They remind me of your mom last night. Now I am just writing to get 30 words so just go find yourself in the corner. 1 2 3 Overall Rating: Submitted by DanK from monterey ca Date Reviewed: 2/21/1999 Bottom Line: I have the topswing xtr and it works excellently! I used to have the older xtr version and this newer version works noticeably better. I got it for $47 and it's well worth it. In fact, I can't find one thing wrong with this simple yet effective derailleur. Overall Rating: Submitted by Jan Saver a racer from Belgium Date Reviewed: 2/20/1999 Bottom Line: Somewhere last year I reported some negetive things about the xtr's ability to shift back to larger gears. It's all fixed now : it turned out the chain was a bit too short. Be sure to check this before you start blaming the derailleur or, worse, investing in expensie xtr shifters (as i did). Must add though that the whole set up is not yet satistfactory : shifting from 38 to 48 is still tricky and very delicate, but at leats I don't have to use the tip of my shoe anymore to assist it. Overall Rating: Submitted by Chris a cross-country rider from San Diego Date Reviewed: 1/27/1999 Bottom Line: I had this set up on XT cranks and it shifted better with that than it did XTR cranks I installed that it was desined for. I then took it off and put my XT back on which is a bottom swing not top swing like this and it shifts far superior. The spring tension noticed at the shifter is much lighter with the XT Bottom pull and its stationary plates. I think that is why it out performs its big brother. They came out with a new bottom pull model this year because of this it is the M953 I believe... Supergo has them but they list them as top pull on thier site... Overall Rating: Submitted by chris a cross-country rider Date Reviewed: 1/27/1999 Bottom Line: sorry the word I should have been using was swing not pull, for the type... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17. Overall Rating: Submitted by Andy a cross-country rider from Johannesburg South Africa Date Reviewed: 1/17/1999 Bottom Line: Like all XTR stuff, the XTR front mech is light, durable and expensive. Its main forte is that it will work with bigger ring combinations better than an XT or LX shifter. I (like many other XC racers) was very happy with my standard 22 - 32 - 42 compact drive rings for a good couple of seasons, but then realised I needed bigger rings for more speed. I upgraded to an XTR crank with 24-34-46 rings and thats where my LX front mech suffered. I bit the bullet, bought the XTR mech fitted it and forgot it. I've never since missed a shift, changed cables, or done anything else. For me, thats the definition of quality. Anyway 5 stars for functionality, durability and lightness. minus 1 star for cost. Overall Rating: Submitted by Caleb Story a racer from NM Date Reviewed: 12/12/1998 Bottom Line: works good but is expensive and hard to put on ( you have to break the chain ) all in all its light and worth the money. you should buy it and put it on immediately. Overall Rating: Submitted by Ben Romero a racer from USA Date Reviewed: 12/2/1998 Bottom Line: Would a XTR derailleur work on my LX crank? I need to know because Im considering buying one and if it doesnt work im gonna stick with XT. Its been ok, but it kinda sucks. I race tons and want the best.-Ben Overall Rating: Submitted by f. jordheim a cross-country rider from st. paul mn Date Reviewed: 12/1/1998 Bottom Line: This is a fine product and works very well. However being a mechanic for many years i must tell those people who are considering using this front derailluer to keep it matched with xtr cranks and rings. it doesn't match up well with certain crank/ring combinations. You should know by now that shimano doesn't build stuff to work with anything but their own line of products. they didn't get to be the biggest by designing stuff around others products. I wish they would though. - 1 star for noncompatibility with non OE cranks and rings. Overall Rating: Submitted by IGGH a cross-country rider from Victoria CANADA Date Reviewed: 11/24/1998 Bottom Line: I have an E-type front derailleur and my bike came with the braze-on boss already installed. I have all XTR drive train components except for cranks, rings and BB. Because this is an XTR derailleur review I think it would be helpful to decribe my experieince as it points to an XTR limitation.I wanted RaceFace cranks and an XT BB as I am a heavier guy than most and it seemed like a good robust alternative to the XTR crank/BB system. This opened the door for ring options and I chose Real. (Yes, this is a derailleur review, really...)The crux of the problem arose when I tried to use REAL compact 22-32-42 rings with my XTR E-type front derailleur. According to Shimano, the XTR front derailleurs can only be used with standard rings. XT and lesser can be used with compact. Strange but true. There is no compact-compatible XTR front derailleur. Having said that, the compact rings did shift with the XTR derailleur albeit poorly and with a lot of free-spinning. Ouch.Shimano says XTR front derailleurs can manage a minimum of 24 teeth and a maximum of 48 teeth. For smaller (compact) grannies (18, 20, 22) you must use XT or below.So I changed my rings to be 24-34-42 and increased the ring spacing a bit as a separate solution. Now the rings shift like butter using the XTR rapid-fire pod. Unfortunately, my LBS was not able to obtain a REAL 24 tooth granny immediately so I'm using a Black Spire in that position with REAL 34 and 42 tooth rings. Its a fine ring too. Oh well.... I can only assume that a REAL 24-tooth granny would work as well (and would have been my preference - only from a cosmetic prespective.In summary, ring spacing and tooth-count are both critical factors in successful shifting with the XTR front derailleur. Don't assume that all derailleurs will work with all ring sizes. I am able to continue using my IG-90 chain as the ring-spacing modification added to the solution.Thanks again to Physical Culture for excellent service and a willingness to solve problems. As for Real, they did answer my email although they did not specifically solve the problem. It seems that the XTR/compact incompatibility issue is not well known. Shimano technical support was extremely helpful and they didn't really try to presure me into buying Shimano rings and cranks although they did, quite rightly, point out that compatibility would be assured with full-on Shimano.In summary, with proper ring tooth selection and chain-line set-up, this derailleur does what it should - quickly, smoothly, and with a minimum of effort.Five flaming triple-coilers with a DQ twist. Overall Rating: Submitted by Ian a downhiller from Philadelphia, PA Date Reviewed: 11/22/1998 Bottom Line: I decided to write a review for this part after installing the second one I've purchased on a bike. I recently (last night) built up a Yeti Lawill DH6 for trail riding. One of the main selling points of this bike for me was the ability to mount a front derailleur. So this morning I took the bike out for it's maiden ride and the front shifting was incredible - even better than my I.F. which has the same drivetrain. To me, the best feature of the XTR top swing der. is how the cage moves in an upside down j pattern, lifting the chain on to the big ring and surrounding it there. I bombed down stuff that would have thrown the chain on my old Foes (with an old style XTR derailleur). Whenever I asked it to shift, it was there.I have found this derailleur to be very easy to install. The cage can be set extremely tight to the big ring and I have never had a problem with cable runs. I would recommend using a flat head screwdriver to set the limit screws.Also, to JWallace of State College Pa; I don't know if your derailleur came in the box, but mine has clearly printed on it, A special boss must be brazed on the seat tube to mount this deraileur. Overall Rating: Submitted by John D a racer from Columbia, Maryland Date Reviewed: 11/21/1998 Bottom Line: I replaced an XT with an XTR about 3 months ago and had the exact same experience as Dave (see below). When I adjusted the min and max screws for the first time, they stripped. Inexcusable for a product this expensive. I replaced the cheesy aluminum screws with the steel ones off of my old XT (the cheesy clip that holds the pivots together on the old XT snapped, but that's another story) and it has worked flawlessly ever since. The rest of the derailleur appears to be built extremely well and seems ridiculous that Shimano would sacrifice reliability for a few grams. My only other gripe, and it is minor one, is that the XTR derailleur cage cannot be unbolted open like the XT can. 1 chili for the reliability of the screws and 5 chilis for performance. 3 chilis overall. Overall Rating: Submitted by Dave a cross-country rider from Redmond, WA Date Reviewed: 11/16/1998 Bottom Line: OK, an update on my previous post where I described how the min/max screws melted down on my 98 XTR front. The mechanic at the bike shop explained (and I'm taking his word for it) that the 98 front XTR (at least the one on my bike) had aluminum screws to save weight. I told him I didn't need to save the weight of two screws and so he replaced them with stainless steel ones. He also explained that the 98 XTR has a lighter spring than the 97 and 99 and that this was due to complaints about the amount of effort it took at the shifter. That said, he demonstrated that the less load is on the chain, the better the front shifts. He said that it may be a little more quirky compared to the other year models as a result. Regardless, my experience after he worked on it has been superb. I haven't had to adjust it at all and the shifting performance both up and down has been flawless. So with the screw upgrade, 5 flames. Oh yeah, any mechanical engineers or metallurgists want to comment on the use of aluminum screws? Overall Rating: Submitted by dave collins a cross-country rider from Orillia ont Date Reviewed: 10/30/1998 Bottom Line: To Dave, I put on the front XTR derailleur and followed the directions on the sheets in the box. It worked perfectly and the shifts have been smooth as puppy poop in tall grass. I suggest you take it back to the dealer and get him to replace it and you put it on yourself. It's not hard. Overall Rating: Submitted by Dave a cross-country rider from Redmond, WA Date Reviewed: 10/29/1998 Bottom Line: I have the 98 XTR front. When it's setup correctly, it shifts very cleanly. However, 2 days out of the shop and I couldn't get into the granny gear at all. It was very smooth for 2 days over a 50/50 mix of road riding and smooth single track. I brought it back to the house and tried to adjust it using the min/max adjuster screws. After some effort turning the screws, the shifting didn't improve at all. Finally, I removed the screws completely and lo and behold, the one that controls the stop on the granny gear was ground to bits. It goes halfway down through the plastic part and then all of a sudden the diameter of the screw is half what it was. It seemed stripped but this is ridiculous. I couldn't believe that Shimano's top mountain bike front derailleur uses screws that are made of balsa wood. How about titanium or something? So back to the shop with it. If you're considering an upgrade, I'd look at the options and cost closely before you dive into XTR. We'll see if it improves after the screws have been fixed. 5 for the performance when it's right, 1 for the durability, average 3. Overall Rating: Submitted by celly a cross-country rider from Calgary, AB, Canada Date Reviewed: 10/19/1998 Bottom Line: I heard over and over so many times on this site that there is no need for XTR. XT is fine. I ran an XT for over a year on the front and was never truly satisfied with my shifting on the rings...especially when it's muddy. Now I never have that problem with XTR up front. Shifting is smooth and precise as advertised. I even find myself switching into and out of the rings in situations I didn't want to before with XT because it took too long before. The XT had also developed a lot of slop, but XTR seems to be working as well as it did when I bought it six months ago.I'm satisfied Overall Rating: Submitted by vince a cross-country rider from Goleta, CA Date Reviewed: 10/12/1998 Bottom Line: I've had my '94 XTR front derailleur for about 4 years and it still shifts ok, despite being tweeaked all to hell a few times. I just bent it back 'cuz I'm a cheap bastard and I didn't want to buy a new one. Anyhow - it works but never was spectacular. Overall Rating: Submitted by eboos a racer from Santiago, Chile Date Reviewed: 10/7/1998 Bottom Line: I can't beleave that this has a 4.41 avarage rating. This is the shortest lived product that I have ever owned. One months worth of use, and it has a large crack in the inner plate. What a piece of crap. It shifted ok, but that doesn't make up for the lack of duribility. I wish that the XT front derailleur fit my chainring setup. I never had a problem with the XT. $55.00 for a one month, disposible front derailleur gets one fat flaming turd. Hopefully, the 99s are a hell of a lot better. By the way, the rest of the Shimano components I have ever used, with the exception of the chains, were outstanding. Overall Rating: Submitted by Crazy a cross-country rider from USA Date Reviewed: 9/21/1998 Bottom Line: This thing is great, don't see how they can be beat, I have had bikes with less, and these are the best. 5 chile's. Very nice. MTBR outta give us less than 50 words because there is enuf said. Also, I based my purchase decision on other writer' comments. They were all right. Overall Rating: Submitted by Chris Go a cross-country rider from San Diego CA Date Reviewed: 8/24/1998 Bottom Line: It is a nice unit once you get it set up. I was a little concerned because I had micro drive 20-32-42 XT cranks, but if you follow the guide to a tee (the sticker that they put on the outside of the gate) and then set the minimum and maximum through settings it shifts great in both directions... I was bummed out at first because the inner gate was hitting the 2nd chanring once it ingaged to the outer ring but and that through all of the addustments off cause it did not use the sticker guide and it shifted like crap worse than my XT that I was replacing... but like I said once changing it so the rings mach up with the guid everything shifts great... Overall Rating: Submitted by HO HO a cross-country rider from Denver CO Date Reviewed: 8/7/1998 Bottom Line: Where does Shitmano get their engineers from? Local Tech schools. The new 98 XTR has some of the worst design i have ever seen. Who put that little cable guide on their bottom pull. It is not compatable with most bikes without manipulating the bb cable guide. It shifts no better than an old design xtr. And by the way Shitmano is redesigning the front XTR for 99.Cant wait for Sram to get their front out in the next year!! Overall Rating: Submitted by Skitch Mobley a cross-country rider from Pittsburgh Date Reviewed: 7/31/1998 Bottom Line: I don't know how anyone can say the new XTR front deraillure doesn't shift well. They probably don't have it set up right or their chainline is goofed up. It's a sensitive adjustment, but once it's there, it's there. The difference between XT and XTR is night and day. My XTR works so well, I find myself looking down at it in disbelief because it makes shifts so effortlessly. It shifts in the mud and it shifts under load. It'beautiful. It almost brings tears to my eyes. Overall Rating: Submitted by jspirtle from cross-country rider Date Reviewed: 7/3/1998 Bottom Line: OK-so it's XTR-so what? It shifts ok, but the moving cage plates actually create a lot more flex than shifting help. I can only guess that all the people who are raving about this silly thing either get it free or are moving up from pre-1988 Suntour components. Save your money for xt or buy a traditional XTR (yes, despite what your shop may tell you, they ARE still available). Fewer moving parts is always a good thing, and lighter as well! Overall Rating: Submitted by J Wallace a cross-country rider from State College PA Date Reviewed: 6/29/1998 Bottom Line: I bought this on sale in April to upgrade my not very trick '92 XT front. I got the version with the carbon fiber mount. What Shimano forgot to mention was the fact that this version, besides requiring a BB-cup with a right-side flange, also needs to be bolted to the frame. They include a second bolt, which looks just like the one used to secure the body to the mount plate, but mention nothing in the instructions. So, I'd try to shift and just twist the mount plate around. I went to Shimano's web site, found nothing. Finally, I went to my local LBS, and saw one of the new TREK carbon frames, and notoced a braze-on type hole right above the BB shell. I asked what it was for, and was told that since the frame was oversized/non-round, it needed the plate mount derailleur, which had to bolt on at that point. I had to buy a special clamp for $23.00 to do the same thing. Of course, it shifts so smoothly now I don't know it's there, and it never rubs the rings, so I guess it was worth it. I recently went back to Shimano's site, and noticed they'd updated everything, and that the newer groups also have plate mount FD's, and they finally mention the braze-on needed. So, great front der, but minus one flaming thing for bad instructions. Overall Rating: Submitted by Jan Saver from racer Date Reviewed: 6/13/1998 Bottom Line: I have a combination of XTR-front der, XTR-chainring (28-38-48 5spoke) and STX-rc shifters, and this isn't any good. Wjen i get to the middle front gear, it's impossible to get back to the 48, and it occasionally slips. I even sprained my ankle because of the damn setup. The 5spoke is an old one and was forced on me (for $500 -rip off or what ?) by a local bike shop. Now I switched shops and am having XTR shifters installed instead of the crappy stx-rc's. Hope it helps - I'll report as soon as I've done some miles with em. Overall Rating: Submitted by Bud a cross-country rider from SF Bay Area, CA, USA Date Reviewed: 6/6/1998 Bottom Line: I'm not convinced the '98 XTR front derailleur is an improvement over the '95 version. Mine (a top pull) doesn't seem to have the same muscle for downshifting from mid to granny ring. Any pedal pressure at all locks the chain on the middle ring, even though I'm using a Shimano XTR 36T chainring with shift gates. I'd give it 4 chillies for fit and finish, 2 for performance. Overall Rating: Submitted by David Zolotusky a cross-country rider from Acton, MA

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