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Reviews > Shimano XT (M770)10-Speed Drivetrain Review

Shimano XT (M770)10-Speed Drivetrain Review

Long term review of my Shimano XT drivetrain.
In Spring 2012 I received my new Cove G-Spot (read the review) and built it up with a 10 speed, SRAM X9 drivetrain (read the review). Although I found the SRAM shifters worked well, the X9 rear derailleur caused me problems. I went through 2 mechs in the first two months and ended up giving up and replacing the derailleurs and shifters with Shimano XT (M770). The XT drivetrain has been put through a full holiday season in Spain and has come out the other side. Read on for the full review and a comparison of my 10-speed drivetrain to my old 9-speed system.
Fitting
The Shimano XT Dyna-Sys shifters come with removable gear indicators and nice backing plates to cover the hole left when you remove them. Once the indicators are removed the shifters fit nicely onto the bars, sitting snugly against the Shimano XT brakes I am using (read the review). Normally with my SRAM shifters I would be able to set up the gears without using the barrell adjuster, however I found the Shimano ones slightly harder, probably due to the 2:1 actuation ratio. This didn’t cause any significant issues, it was just slightly more effort. What has been a constant surprise for me is the fact I haven’t had to adjust the gears again since fitting. The XT front derailleur comes with spacers to help if fit your bike, I didn’t need any of these for the Cove and fitting was easy. Everything was similarly easy with the XT rear derailleur. The one thing I hate with the Shimano derailleurs, (front and back), is the limit screws. Why are they so small, hard to reach and badly labelled? Guys, take a look at the SRAM versions, and redesign your Shimano ones to that standard!
Performance
Shifters and brake levers fit together well.
The new design of Shimano shifters is fantastic; you can change down using your fingers or thumbs, i.e. a combination of the older Shimano and the SRAM system. I tend not to use this, I shift how I shift, but it does mean that they are likely to suit more users. The shifting is light and precise, I find it slightly more precise feeling than my SRAM X9’s but there is so little in it that I would have to admit it might just be a variation in my memory. I have used Shimano XT cassettes, both 11-34 and 11-36. I far prefer the 11-36, that extra gear is a godsend when things get really steep. Especially if you don’t have a 25lb bike! I have also used both Shimano XT and a SRAM 1051 chains, and found that they worked equally well and changed smoothly.
Longevity
The offending limit screws, they are worse on the front derailleur
So far my Shimano derailleur has been impressively robust. This is also helped by the fact it sits less prominently than a similar SRAM derailleur, keeping it out of harms way. The trails in this part of Spain are rough and rocky and I wouldn’t say it was unusual for me to clip rocks. Some of us are rippers and some of us are clippers.Since fitting the Shimano XT drivetrain I have ripped the mech off 3 times, once in a crash (oops) and twice on rocks. Each time I refitted the derailleur with a new hanger and it was perfect. After around 6 months of daily use, and abuse, the rear mech is still true. There is a very slight play in the pivots but this is insignificant for the shifting performance. The shifters have been faultless as well. No issues with them sticking or slipping, however that isn’t entirely unexpected in 6 months, even of daily use. The front mech is perfect too, but then that’s exactly what you would expect for any halfway decent brand isn’t it? Since going to 10 speed I have changed my drivetrain once. That gives me around 4 months out of a drivetrain, or around 4,000km which is around what I got with my old 9 speed. I have snapped 2 chains all season, that is about normal for me and I certainly haven’t noticed an increase in breakages since going to 10 speed.
Weight
Shimano XT Shifter (Including Cable and Gear Indicator but not outers): 135g Shimano XT Front Derailleur: 140g Shimano XT Rear Derralieur: 230g Shimano XT Cassette (11-36): 335g
Summary
The change to 10 speed has worked well for me. The XT (M770) drivetrain has lasted and worked very well and I don’t see any increase in wear or breakages with the 10-speed system. + Reliable and robust shifting. + 36t cassette is great for those steep, steep, steeper moments. – Shimano, sort out your limit screws. You are letting yourself down. – Having to eat my words about never going 10 speed. – With all the different systems it has been some time since my LBS sold me the right thing first time!

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