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  1. #1
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    Should I swap-out my new Alivio shifters for 3 year old XT shifters?

    I have a 2011 Specialized Camber 29er, which came equipped with Shimano Alivio SL-M430 9-speed shifters. I was thinking about swapping the Alivio shifters out with a 3 year old set of Shimano XT SL-M770 shifters that are on my old mountain bike. I am a little reluctant to do this because the XT shifters require more finger or thumb force to change gears than all of the other Shimano Shifters Iíve used over the years. Could this extra be attributed to friction in the shifting cables or are the SL-M770 shifters harder to shift than other Shimano shifter?

  2. #2
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    Other than the cables, are the M770 shifters pulling a shadow derailleur? The shadow series have more tension than the non-shadow.

  3. #3
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    Yes both the Alivio and XT shifters are pulling XT shadow rear derailleurs with full length cable housing. The Alivio shifters are controlling a new RD-M772 and the XT shifters are controlling a three year old XT shadow derailleur, which I assume is the same model as the newer one. The Alivio shifters are very easy to shift while the the XT shifters require more effort to shift.

  4. #4
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    I found the Alivio shifters when new are surprisingly good and crisp, very similar to higher end shifters but if you are using them a lot the internal bushings wear down and they get slack pretty quickly. Your XT shifters may just need cleaning and lubing internally if it's not the cables / housing causing drag. I would stick with the Alivio if you like how they shift and replace them with the XT when they wear out.

  5. #5
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    +2 on using the Alivio until they wear out and cleaning the XT's. The grease in LX and XT shifters can dry out and cause excessive friction, there is a thread or two on this site about how to take them apart and clean them.

    If you want the ultimate in smooth shifters I would sell those XT's on fleabay and get a set of XTR's. I usually don't go for XTR over XT but the shifters are so smooth.

  6. #6
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    I am on XT with M970 XTR shifters, couldn't agree more - with hindsight I am very glad that the local Shimano dist was completely out of stock for 2 months on XT shifters so I had to splash out on the XTR they are superb. My only other dabbles with XTR kit have been expensive failures - bling bling carbon cage RD's that break before the RD Hanger bends, cassettes that wear out quicker than chains etc etc

  7. #7
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    If it isnít broken donít fix itóyah I was thinking the same thing about leaving the Alivioís on my 29er. I will look up the post on how to grease my XT shifters and keep them on my 26er for the time being. What differentiates one Shimano Shifter from another? For example, other than a few grams of weight, do my XT shifters have better bushings/bearings and more durable internal than my Alivio shifters?

  8. #8
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    In upgrading from alivio to XT you get (in addition to lower weight):
    instant release (changes gears when lever is pushed in vs when it returns)
    removable optical display
    smaller form factor
    additional metal parts in place of the plastic ones
    higher quality bushings (have to go to XTR to get bearings)
    stronger spring

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