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  1. #1
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    XT vs XTR 9-speed cassette dilemma

    Another "is XTR worth it" question...
    I've been into MTB for about 3 years now. I got a new Stumpjumper last year and just changed the chain on it for the first time at around 800 miles. That move revealed that my cassette has toasted 3, 4, and 5 cogs as they now skip like crazy with my new chain. Would others agree that a worn cassette is the most likely culprit? The cassette is the stock Shimano HG-50 LX, 9-speed, 11x34t. I weigh about 185-190 lbs and ride around 1000 miles/yr of pretty hard XC. I would have thought that changing the chain once a year was pretty good, but apparently it needs to be done more often than that to maintain the drivetrain? My current dilemma now is upgrading to the nicest cassette worth it? The LBS quoted me around $80 for the XT and around $150 for the XTR. I'm the type of person who does not mind upgrading when it is time to replace, but that is a big jump from XT to the XTR! The chain I threw on is XTR because it was only about 25% more expensive than XT, but almost double the price for the cassatte makes me wonder if the XTR is just not worth it. Any comments?

    I'm not really a weight weenie, but like I said I don't mind upgrading when it is time to replace components even if an upgrade is not totally necessary. I'm not a competitive racer, although I did do acouple this summer and won the beginner class in one race...Maybe if I had an XTR chain/cassette combo I could win more?? j/k I do plan on entering at least that many races again next year for fun.

  2. #2
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    I *believe* the XTR cassette is only a little bit lighter than the XT. To me, it is not worth the cost.

  3. #3
    mechmann_mtb
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    same here. i bought the XT because they were so much more affordable. today i was riding with a guy that had a new SRAM cassete. they have a red aluminum spider. high bling factor. i want to get one to go with my new red CK hubs.

  4. #4
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    294g vs 242g for the 11-34.
    Is it worth it ? How fat is your wallet. Hongkong bikeshop on ebay had the xtr for around 100 and pretty quick shipping.

    Anyway 800miles on a single cassette is too short. I run 4 chains per cassette and switch out every 3 months or so. My cassetts last several yrs then i flog them off on ebay for what ever people are prepared to pay, I usually get 40-50 bucks which makes them cheaper than XT in the long run.

  5. #5
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Only get the XTR cassette if you want to save weight. It won't last longer or shift better. Put the money left over after you get the XT into other nice bits like some cool tires or something. I generally buy the best except when it comes to high-wear parts like the drivetrain.
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  6. #6
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    Not really worth the extra cost but

    it is lighter and I think the XTR shifts a fraction better. XTR has a 5 arm spider compared a 4 arm spider on XT and it makes the rings a bit more rigid, so it shifts a fraction better and I thinkit puts the power down a fraction better.

  7. #7
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    reviews are not that good for the XT cassette

    thanks for all the replies. i guess my thoughts so far are if the two models have the same life span then I will go with XT. I just got through reading some reviews on the XT and there are not so many hot chilis.... Out of 11 reviews, 5 are only a 1/5 chili on overall rating. I guess I don't take that as a positive sign. But offsetting that are the other 6 5/5 chilis?? I guess you get a champ or a lemon with no inbetween. there are no reviews on the XTR, what's up with that?
    Last edited by ewarnerusa; 11-26-2005 at 12:11 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewarnerusa
    Another "is XTR worth it" question...
    I've been into MTB for about 3 years now. I got a new Stumpjumper last year and just changed the chain on it for the first time at around 800 miles. That move revealed that my cassette has toasted 3, 4, and 5 cogs as they now skip like crazy with my new chain. Would others agree that a worn cassette is the most likely culprit? The cassette is the stock Shimano HG-50 LX, 9-speed, 11x34t. I weigh about 185-190 lbs and ride around 1000 miles/yr of pretty hard XC. I would have thought that changing the chain once a year was pretty good, but apparently it needs to be done more often than that to maintain the drivetrain? My current dilemma now is upgrading to the nicest cassette worth it? The LBS quoted me around $80 for the XT and around $150 for the XTR. I'm the type of person who does not mind upgrading when it is time to replace, but that is a big jump from XT to the XTR! The chain I threw on is XTR because it was only about 25% more expensive than XT, but almost double the price for the cassatte makes me wonder if the XTR is just not worth it. Any comments?

    I'm not really a weight weenie, but like I said I don't mind upgrading when it is time to replace components even if an upgrade is not totally necessary. I'm not a competitive racer, although I did do acouple this summer and won the beginner class in one race...Maybe if I had an XTR chain/cassette combo I could win more?? j/k I do plan on entering at least that many races again next year for fun.

    Go XT, unless you need to lose a very minimal amount of weight. By my experience XT will last far longer than XTR will

  9. #9
    Meh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong Ti
    it is lighter and I think the XTR shifts a fraction better. XTR has a 5 arm spider compared a 4 arm spider on XT and it makes the rings a bit more rigid, so it shifts a fraction better and I thinkit puts the power down a fraction better.
    XT 11-34 uses 5 arm.

  10. #10
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    Shop around and look at the Sram Cassette also. I bought two cassettes this year, one a Sram and one an XT and paid $48 for each. As far as chain wear it can vary. Get a tool to measure the stretch in the chain. Earlier this year I only got 300 miles out of a chain after running it through a lot of mud in races and training. Consider buying extra chains and cassettes when they are on sale. I bought my pc-69 chains for less than $15 each earlier this year.

  11. #11
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    Dude, seriously save yourself some cash and buy another LX cassette. I just picked one up off JensonUSA for $24 WAY cheaper than your LBS is quoting for the XT. Maybe you ride in some very nasty conditions - very sandy, wet mud etc- and this will wear your drive train out faster than say a guy who only rides in hardpack dry stuff. Also you say your a masher so that also needs factoring in. Sadly they are all sold out since it was the older LX cassette, but still online you can pick up a XT cassette for under $50 easily. Or if you want something light weight and VERY BLING you could get one of the new SRAM PG990 cassettes for around the same $80 your LBS is suggesting for the XT.
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  12. #12
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    changing a cassette yourself requires some specialized tools, right? chain whips, etc? My self-wrenching tool collection is still very small. I just bought my first bike specific tool, a pedal wrench. Sounds like a chain checker might be a nice investment for me, too.

  13. #13
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    An XT 11-32 weighs 264g. The 11-34 weighs 290g. All XTR cassettes weigh 240g regardless of the size. You should only get the XTR if you are looking to build the lightest bike possible. I have one for my race bake which is as practically light as I care to make it but for everything else I use XT. Shifting performance is roughly identical since they share the same ramping. The main difference besides the use of Ti on the 4 largest cogs of the XTR is that its treated to avoid rust and has a sort of smoother "quietness" to it when shifting with the XTR. The XT is all chrome plated steel. I would not recommend the LX unless you are short on cash. The price jump to XT is usually pretty small but the LX has no aluminium spider so its considerably heavier even by non-weight weenie standards. The cogs are all one piece steel pieces riveted together.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    An XT 11-32 weighs 264g. The 11-34 weighs 290g. All XTR cassettes weigh 240g regardless of the size. You should only get the XTR if you are looking to build the lightest bike possible. I have one for my race bake which is as practically light as I care to make it but for everything else I use XT. Shifting performance is roughly identical since they share the same ramping. The main difference besides the use of Ti on the 4 largest cogs of the XTR is that its treated to avoid rust and has a sort of smoother "quietness" to it when shifting with the XTR. The XT is all chrome plated steel. I would not recommend the LX unless you are short on cash. The price jump to XT is usually pretty small but the LX has no aluminium spider so its considerably heavier even by non-weight weenie standards. The cogs are all one piece steel pieces riveted together.
    thanks, great info. XT it is...

  15. #15
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    Funny I had the exact same problem last week; threw on a new XTR chain replacing an old Sram PC950 and the chain just won't mesh with my 3 yr old Deore 11-32 cassette (with very very minor visible wear), the chain would just skip everytime I climb or when I'm starting off with a high gear (like forgetting to shift down while getting caught in road traffic). I ended up getting a new XT 11-32 cassette (I'm 220lbs so I thought the titanium cogs on the XTR won't last very long with the amount of torque I can put down).

    The XTR chain does seem to shift very fast compare to other chains I've owned b4 (Deore, LX, PC950) or maybe it's just in my head >.<

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewarnerusa
    changing a cassette yourself requires some specialized tools, right? chain whips, etc? My self-wrenching tool collection is still very small. I just bought my first bike specific tool, a pedal wrench. Sounds like a chain checker might be a nice investment for me, too.
    No not really, you need a CHAIN WHIP and a CASSETTE LOCKRING Tool that's about it.AND the know how, check Park's site for very good instructions.
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  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=ewarnerusa]I would have thought that changing the chain once a year was pretty good, but apparently it needs to be done more often than that to maintain the drivetrain? QUOTE]

    What kind of chain was it? I have found that cheap chains that wear out fast can eat cassettes alive. I think that an XT cassette with a low end SRAM chain will treat you very nice. Inspect your middle ring closely, it may be very worn too which will make this problem come back. Dirty drivetrains are bad as well.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=Severum]
    Quote Originally Posted by ewarnerusa
    I would have thought that changing the chain once a year was pretty good, but apparently it needs to be done more often than that to maintain the drivetrain? QUOTE]

    What kind of chain was it? I have found that cheap chains that wear out fast can eat cassettes alive. I think that an XT cassette with a low end SRAM chain will treat you very nice. Inspect your middle ring closely, it may be very worn too which will make this problem come back. Dirty drivetrains are bad as well.
    i clean my bike and drive train pretty regularly. the chain was stock, whatever that was. i'll have an XT cassette on it soon along with the XTR chain.

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