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  1. #1
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    XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur review -- initial impressions

    My overall impression is that I don't like it. There's no chain noise, which is nice, but the shifting is so stiff, I couldn't get used to it.

    I forgot to specify...I am using the long cage version
    Last edited by happyriding; 09-10-2012 at 09:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    I got no problem with it, and this coming from someone who used to get sore thumbs at the end of a long ride from shifting. I can tell a difference on the workstand, but not while riding.

    You could just turn the switch to the off position and it will be smoother. Maybe turn it on again the next time you buy new cable and housing.

    Honestly, I haven't noticed a big benefit from a mid cage without the clutch. Both of those are way better than a long cage, though.
    Last edited by Gilarider; 09-11-2012 at 10:26 AM.

  3. #3
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    Is the clutch tension adjustable? The manual that came with the derailleur is useless. About all it says is be sure the chain is the right length, and it shows a picture of the derailleur(although with no description of the parts or features).
    Last edited by happyriding; 09-10-2012 at 10:08 PM.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    The XT and Zee do not adjust like the XTR (I have both.) You have to take the cover off and use needle nose pliers to adjust the tension (or at least I found this easiest to do.) They don't come with the small key tool that the XTR does.

    I like them both, Zee short cage on the trail bike and XT mid on the steel hardtail. I do notice they are harder to shift in the stand, but as mentioned, I do not notice it at all on the trail.
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  6. #6
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    interesting

  7. #7
    greedy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilarider View Post
    Honestly, I haven't noticed a big benefit from a mid cage without the clutch. Both of those are way better than a long cage, though.
    This was my experience. I ran a 1x10 with an xt mid cage and then an xtr mid cage shadow plus. I ended up breaking the carbon cage on the xtr. When I went back to the xt, I didn't really notice any change in noise or performance. My riding is pretty rocky, but I've never needed a chainguide, so their may be some who are riding really nasty stuff who benefit more.

    I used a Widgit chainring with my 1x setup, so that helped prevent dropped chains already.
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  8. #8
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    Interested in this because I've got an XT Shadow+ mid cage in the post on its way to me for my new 29er build.

    My question to those already using one is - if I don't like the shifting action with the clutch on, can I just switch it off and it'll behave exactly like a non-plus mech? Ie, I haven't lost anything by having it there, but have gained the option of using the clutch should I wish to.

    Thanks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerthMTB View Post
    Interested in this because I've got an XT Shadow+ mid cage in the post on its way to me for my new 29er build.

    My question to those already using one is - if I don't like the shifting action with the clutch on, can I just switch it off and it'll behave exactly like a non-plus mech? Ie, I haven't lost anything by having it there, but have gained the option of using the clutch should I wish to.

    Thanks.
    More or less yes, there's a switch that flips it on and off. You are supposed to flip it off to make the wheel easier to take off, but I see no reason why you coudn't ride it most of the time with it off.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rscecil007 View Post
    More or less yes, there's a switch that flips it on and off. You are supposed to flip it off to make the wheel easier to take off, but I see no reason why you coudn't ride it most of the time with it off.
    Thanks. In fact my new RD arrived with the postman this morning, so I've been having a play with it! Seems that with the switch off it has about the same amount of tension as the 'normal' SLX its going to replace, but with the switch on there's massively more resistance.

    Gonna have a ride on it tomorrow and compare the shifting with switch on & off.

    Hopefully, there's no downside to having a Shadow+, if you don't like the clunky shifting just leave the switch off and it behaves like a normal RD.

    By the way, one rather strange thing I did notice....

    The top jockey wheel on the Shadow+ doesn't seem to have any side to side play, like on all the other jockey wheels I've ever had on Shimano mechs! Is this something to do with the clutch not working very well with that feature I wonder? Anyone else noticed this, or in fact can confirm this is normal on a Shadow+?

    Thanks.

  11. #11
    Ninja Master Powers
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    I can confirm I love my XTR Shadow plus. Been runni g it since early Feb. with ZERO problems.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWill View Post
    I can confirm I love my XTR Shadow plus. Been runni g it since early Feb. with ZERO problems.
    Dwill - does the XTR have any lateral play in the upper jockey wheel?

  13. #13
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    So, had my first ride with the shadow plus today - and there's definitely more of a 'clunk' to the shifting with the clutch on, but not in a bad way, and in fact reminds me of the more positive action of my nine speed Saint.

    I wasa little worried the extra tension might give me some problems shifting up 14T on the front with my new 24/38 XT double cranks, but the shifts were smooth and trouble free!

    It also shifted perfectly well with the clutch off, if a little more 'softly' - so I guess you really can choose to run it in either mode.

    Have to say I like it and based on my limited experience so far will probably just run it with the clutch on all the time. Now, if only Shimano would bring out shadow+ nine speed mechs I could upgrade my other bike...

  14. #14
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    So zee or xt for 1x10?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop View Post
    So zee or xt for 1x10?
    Zee stuff seems to be Deore/SLX level in terms of the materials used - ie steel rear component versus ally on the XT.

    But Zee is available in a short cage unlike the XT, and in a close ratio version if you're running a road cassette.

    Otherwise there's not much in it - both will do the job - so I'd get whatever matches your cranks!

  16. #16
    Ninja Master Powers
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerthMTB View Post
    Dwill - does the XTR have any lateral play in the upper jockey wheel?
    Nope, none.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWill View Post
    Nope, none.
    Thanks, thats interesting.

    Seems that Shimano has quietly done away with something that's been a feature of rear mechs for the last 30 years - ie. sideways play of a few mm in the top jockey wheel to help smooth shifting.

    Can only imagine it was somehow incompatible with the extra tension that the shadow+ clutch puts on the chain.

    Have to watch out for that when it comes time to replace worn jockey wheels on a shadow+ then...

  18. #18
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    I got no problem with it, and this coming from someone who used to get sore thumbs at the end of a long ride from shifting.
    I'm in the same boat. I can't use SRAM because of the push/push--my thumb can't take it.

    I swapped in new housing and a new cable, and there's no change in the shifting. With the clutch on, the shifting is so stiff it is worse than any shifter I've ever owned. With the clutch off, the shifting is better, but still not as good as my old, broken XT M770-10 derailleur. Part of the thing I like about riding is feeling the smooth mechanical operation of the machine under me. The new Shadow plus technology compromises that feeling for me. I also notice occasional, somewhat severe pedal feedback when climbing rocky trails with the clutch on.

    So after giving it a fair chance, I've decided to bench the XT Shadow plus rear derailleur. I was going to order another XT M770-10 rear derailleur, but Jenson's has the XTR M980-10 rear derailleur on sale for $128. I replaced my big ring with a bash, so I only use my small and middle ring. Can I use a mid cage rear derailleur with that setup or do the mid cages only work with 2x spacing?

    Thanks.

  19. #19
    greedy
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    Can I use a mid cage rear derailleur with that setup or do the mid cages only work with 2x spacing?
    Run a medium cage. That is the setup I run. Took the big ring off and replaced it with a bash. Keeps the chain short and tighter.
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  20. #20
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    I have two long rides on an XT shadow plus after replacing a broken regular XT. I don't notice much difference in rear shifting effort or precision. The front shifting might be a touch slower when pedaling slowly, but it isn't a problem. Chain slap is reduced, but I didn't have too much trouble before. I did go from long cage SGS to mid cage GS and it works fine with 11-36 and 26/38, although I haven't tried a big cog/ big ring with full suspension flex (150mm) combo. I like it overall.

  21. #21
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    I swapped in new housing and a new cable, and there's no change in the shifting. With the clutch on, the shifting is so stiff it is worse than any shifter I've ever owned. With the clutch off, the shifting is better, but still not as good as my old, broken XT M770-10 derailleur. Part of the thing I like about riding is feeling the smooth mechanical operation of the machine under me. The new Shadow plus technology compromises that feeling for me. I also notice occasional, somewhat severe pedal feedback when climbing rocky trails with the clutch on.
    I can understand where you're coming from there, but I have to say that I did a 40K XC race with my new shadow+ yesterday and the shifting was faultless - in fact I'd say the positive, quick, no-nonsense shifting the shadow+ plus gives is just what you want in a race situation.

    Could I ask what shifters you're using with your Shadow+? I'm using the new M780 and Shimano claim ... "New vivid indexing provides a constant amount of shift lever force across all 10 sprockets. Multi-bearing design uses two ball bearing units to provide a low-friction and reliable shifting action."

    Dunno - I'm generally dubious about all the marketing-techno-speak about new components, but if you're finding the shadow+ mechs too stiff, it may just make a difference if you try these shifters...

    Edit: The fact that Shimano have chosen to offer both Shadow and Shadow+ models alongside each other suggests they realise there's pros & cons to the + technology, and it won't be to everyone's taste.
    Last edited by PerthMTB; 09-15-2012 at 08:17 PM.

  22. #22
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    I'm running XTR M980 shifters. They worked great with my XT M770-10 rear derailleur.

  23. #23
    @trailgrinder
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    Gotta chime in that I love my xtr shadow plus and really like the shifting and feel. I run it pretty tight and crisp too.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    I'm running XTR M980 shifters. They worked great with my XT M770-10 rear derailleur.
    Fair enough - won't notice any benefit by going M780 then, as the M980 are vivid index as well, and have four bearings to the XT's two.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    I'm in the same boat. I can't use SRAM because of the push/push--my thumb can't take it.

    I swapped in new housing and a new cable, and there's no change in the shifting. With the clutch on, the shifting is so stiff it is worse than any shifter I've ever owned. With the clutch off, the shifting is better, but still not as good as my old, broken XT M770-10 derailleur. Part of the thing I like about riding is feeling the smooth mechanical operation of the machine under me. The new Shadow plus technology compromises that feeling for me. I also notice occasional, somewhat severe pedal feedback when climbing rocky trails with the clutch on.

    What cables/housing are you using? I found that switching to Shimano housing instead of Jagwire made a really big difference.

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