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  1. #1
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    my observation of shimano components

    i have owned several mtb bikes. i have had acera, altus,alivio lx, xt, xtr stuff. right now im riding lx shifters xt front xtr rear. it it all works pretty well. but i have had decade old alivio crap that worked excellent as well. my commuter is a 2003 kona with acera stuff that very used and also works well. do all of these groups work the same and more expensive ones are just a gimmick ? that cant be it. i just have not seen a HUGE difference. btw i have never owned a new bike. so i have only experienced these parts second hand

  2. #2
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    It is partially a gimmick. For example many will say that higher end groups have better ergonomics, e.g. a thumb shifter paddle, and this is true. But better ergonomics isn't more labor or capital intensive to produce. Shimano could easily outfit all of their lines with ergonomic perfection without having to add to the cost of manufacturing. But they must distinguish their top tier components somehow, and ergonomics is one how. What is absurd is the notion that Shimano, having thorough knowledge of biomechanics and ergonomy, actually deliberates less ergonomic designs for their lower tier lines so as to separate them from the top tier. Imagine, a room full of Shimano engineers, well versed in biomechanics and ergonomy, scheming and calculating how to make the Acera shifters less ergonomic.

  3. #3
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by nailtrail View Post
    i have owned several mtb bikes. i have had acera, altus,alivio lx, xt, xtr stuff. right now im riding lx shifters xt front xtr rear. it it all works pretty well. but i have had decade old alivio crap that worked excellent as well. my commuter is a 2003 kona with acera stuff that very used and also works well. do all of these groups work the same and more expensive ones are just a gimmick ? that cant be it. i just have not seen a HUGE difference. btw i have never owned a new bike. so i have only experienced these parts second hand
    Agreed. A lot of riders here turn their nose up at anything under XT. Truth be known most of the low end groups work fine.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  4. #4
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    There is a difference, BUT, not in the way the price reflects - XT mechs are better than aceras - no doubt...XTR?...now it's weight/bling...


    To be noted, the same applies for SRAM

    And don't get me started on grip shifters...
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  5. #5
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    I am sure the lower end stuff work just as well, but with /$$$ not being a limiting factor, then XT or XTR looks to give you the 'extra edge' as it is deem to be 'better'? Isn't it?

  6. #6
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    Angular is surely correct in that Shimano sales and marketing people are making deliberate decisions on what features to push into the higher-end components. What will get people to spend twice as much on an XT shifter that we can make for the same cost as an SLX shifter? That's the sort of question the people at Shimano must surely be asking themselves when they do product design. It is an unavoidable question, really, no matter what the product.

    However, there are real differences as one goes up the line. Ergonomics is one. Lever-feel is another, but difficult to quantify. Weight is a biggie. Recently I replaced a damaged SRAM X7 derailleur with an X9. The weight difference was two ounces. That's pretty significant. Save two ounces eight times, and you've shaved a pound from your bike.

    You're right though, in that the lower-end components are generally functional. Recently I rebuilt a department-store bike that had some of the cheesiest-looking Shimano-brand shifters I've ever seen. They were clicky-paddle shifters desigened to look like trigger shifter, but they weren't really triggers at all. Cheap junk, and obviously designed as trigger-shifter-like objects to make the bike look like something it wasn't. Yet those shifters do shift gears accurately.

    All of us eventually find some range of component levels that we can afford, that we can be happy with. Then we go ride.

  7. #7
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    Sorry I have noticed differences between low end and high end products....

    Most notably in the life of the product in tough winter conditions....going on 7 years of winter riding.

    The materials and seals tend to be better.

    Yeah the cheap stuff is cheap but I can blow through a bottom bracket or a hub in a couple of months.

    The high end stuff just keeps going and going...(with new bearings every year).

    The high end stuff is demonstrably cheaper than the low end stuff....unless you are willing to ride with a drive train efficiency of about 50%.

  8. #8
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    The nicer Shimano stuff has more metal parts. Check out LX shifter versus XTR. The XTR is nearly all metal - the LX has a lot of plastic parts that you touch, see, and feel.

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    higher end series like XT and XTR are lighter, but XTR cost 2-3 times more.....is it worth it? no idea.
    I own Deore, SLX and XT sets on different bikes, I can feel the shifting is smoother in XT and SLX than Deore, but SLX and XT feel almost the same, SLX is a bit heavier. I never tried XTR, so I cant do a comparison.

  10. #10
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    It's looks, offroad performance, durability, ergonomic, bling, weight. Acera and XT may perform about the same on road or flatter terrain but when trail get steep and nasty it's a different story. You can tell the difference between LX and XTR when it comes to smoothness and reliability. Shimano weight difference is not significant enough from one trim line to another for example the clipless pedal, less than 100g separate the top of the line to the entry level ones. The margin is much larger in Cranks Bro.

    I'd usually go by an easy formula, XT is about 80-85% performance of XTR but cost up to 100% less, SLX has less performance and durability than XT due to material and production process forged VS cast and so on down the line. Is it worth it? It depends on your need in term of performance, weight, durability and bling.

  11. #11
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    In my own experience I too have noticed that the higher end stuff performs better for longer. Tolerances just seem tighter and they seem to wear out less quickly. That being said I don't think the high-high end stuff is worth it unless you're just into the weight savings or are sponsored. The cost difference between SLX-XT-XTR is just too great in my opinion for the performance obtained.

  12. #12
    usually cranky
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    the main difference i have heard is durability. but i get bored with a part faster than it wears out any ways.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    the main difference i have heard is durability. but i get bored with a part faster than it wears out any ways.

    Good luck, they may break before they wear out. I shift at least 2x more than the avg riders, got that from Joe Lawwill clinic he said to make good habit of shifting often and try to wear the shifter and der out, I've not managed to break them yet except in a crash. Most people change out the parts for different reason than just worn out shifter/der.

  14. #14
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    Ergonomics is one.
    You are correct. Higher end parts usually do have better ergonomics. But why couldn't the lower end parts have the same ergonomics but just use lesser quality materials? Functionally they'd be the same.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  15. #15
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    In my experience, the new Deore level seems to be closer to the higher end than the older line up. For example, Jenson had some M592 Shadow derailluers on the cheap several months ago and a bought some, it feels identical in perfromance to SLX and XT to me. Much better than my older M510 Deore and M750 XT, ridgid and crisp. The SLX has an AL outer link, and the Deore is steel on both sides. Similarly, they had M590 Deore shifters on sale (take off) last year and those feel much better than the older LX (M570), but not as smooth as the M750 shifters.
    If the price was similar, I'd go higher end, but when there is a large difference I look to the value end or take-offs.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    You are correct. Higher end parts usually do have better ergonomics. But why couldn't the lower end parts have the same ergonomics but just use lesser quality materials? Functionally they'd be the same.
    I can think of several possible reasons, and they all probably contribute: 1) Design work and tooling might cost more, 2) Some aspects of ergonomic design may not be possible with cheaper material--for example, plastic might need to be thicker than metal for the same strength, 3) The sort of product differentiation that angular_momentum talked about earlier in this thread.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSabarese View Post
    In my experience, the new Deore level seems to be closer to the higher end than the older line up.
    Yep, the ongoing advancements to the lower end parts is great. But the high end stuff is getting better at the same time too, so it's not necessarily closer to the current high end

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