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  1. #1
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    XT shadow plus reliability

    Has anyone else had problems breaking their XT Shadow derailleurs? I upgraded to a 2x10 in July from a 2x9 and I have already broken the tension bolt off the clutch. I read this problem is unique to the XTs. I am one bike (HD) guy so waiting for warranty parts is really annoying. Are XTRs more reliable? I'd like to go to an XX1 but can't justify the cost.
    XT shadow plus reliability-image.jpg

  2. #2
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    I have one of the original XTR Shadow Plus derailleurs (before the XT version came out), and it's been pretty reliable. I've had to had it overhauled, but otherwise, it's been great (knock on wood). For the coin it cost, I'm glad it is. That sucker was expensive. Everything else on my bike is XT and Saint.
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  3. #3
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    I have had two tension bolts (really the U-shaped sheet metal piece that you show) break. First one was at the back band (like yours?) and now right down the middle of the tapped hole. I haven't done anything crazy and the latest one is on a warranty replacement der. The last guy to touch it was a Shimano tech at a race that said every looked good. ??? I'll be trying to get another replacement shortly.
    nix that, livin la vida bandos is a good idea when you're on a Mojo HD

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  4. #4
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    I've snugged mine twice after it worked lose, but no failure yet! I'm still really liking mine.

  5. #5
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    I broke a few and know of others as well. There seems to be a fine line between having a working clutch and breaking it.

  6. #6
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    I've been running the XTR plus pretty hard for about a year now....no issues.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies. Salespunk, did you break XTRs or just XTs?

    I bought the derailleur from Jenson and they said I can return it for a refund. I think I'll buy a new one and return the old one after it arrives so I can keep riding. It sounds like the XTRs are more reliable but I'd rather not run such and expensive piece of equipment on my rocky trails. Up until this shadow plus problem, the XT derailleurs have been extremely bomb proof in the rocks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiO2 View Post
    the XT derailleurs have been extremely bomb proof in the rocks.
    I completely killed one in the rocks after about 3 weeks after installing one, well not completely after torquing on it A LOT I got it lined up enough so one chain-ring/cog combo worked well enough to ride back to the car.
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  9. #9
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    XTR's for me. If you send it to Shimano they will fix/replace it for free. When I sent mine in I got brand new ones back.

  10. #10
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    The XTR clutch mech. and XT mech. are different (I've owned and worked on both). The problem is with the XT clutch mech. as mentioned above. There is a U shaped piece that places tension on the clutch as the lever is turned to the on position. When it breaks the clutch will act like it's always in the off position. Shimano denies having a problem with these but I have seen numerous XT derailleurs break like this. The XTR shadow plus rear derailleurs appears to be more reliable (the parts are not the same nor are they interchangeable).

  11. #11
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    I solved my problem of not wanting to be bike-less while waiting for a warranty by buying a second XT derailleur and sending the broken one back for a full refund. I wanted to go XTR but it was 2.5 times the cost of an XT. There are too many derailleur killing commando rocks on my trails for such an expensive piece of equipment. I'll just keep doing this until Shimano builds a reliable derailleur or until I get a huge raise and can afford an XX1 1x11.

  12. #12
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    You can get XT/Clutch's for pretty cheap now $70
    Shimano XT Shadow Plus RD-M786 Rear Derailleur | Backcountry.com

    I killed a second XT with another rock tap, that makes 2 in a month. The parallelogram gets torqed out of shape way to easy. Gonna try an STX, hopefully less alum will make it a bit more durable.
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  13. #13
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    I have killed two or three XT/XTR derailleurs now. I switched back to XT after the last XTR destruction event. I have been hard on them, but the XTR clutches held up fine. I destroyed them with too-short-of-a-chain-on-a-medium-cage (from the LBS like that) or derailleur killer sticks.

    The XT I have now has survived being bonked with rocks and such, but I had to replace it because that clutch ring retainer bolt broke on it too. If the LBS/Shimano keep replacing it (and have one in stock to do so) I'll just keep using it. I have a spare XTR shadow plus in my toolbox, but it is one of the early ones w/o the direct mount setup.
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  14. #14
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    The XTR and XT may have different parts, but they break. The clutch mechanism breaks in half if it gets too tight.

  15. #15
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    If you're having problems with them maybe this is a cheaper solution. I have one on my TBc which I got before the clutch derailleurs and it works, no chain slap or dropped chains. Having one on my for bike I haven't felt the need to upgrade to a new clutched RD.

    XT shadow plus reliability-c-guide-page-data.jpg
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  16. #16
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    So I was out on my ride tonight fixing a flat and noticed my replacement XT Shadow derailleur I put on less than a month ago broke its clutch again. It was easy to send return my first one so I'll try one more time. If I break the next one then I'll go back to a clutch-less derailleur and save my money for a XX1 System.

    My verdict: Shimano's shadow XT derailleur line is garbage.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiO2 View Post
    So I was out on my ride tonight fixing a flat and noticed my replacement XT Shadow derailleur I put on less than a month ago broke its clutch again. It was easy to send return my first one so I'll try one more time. If I break the next one then I'll go back to a clutch-less derailleur and save my money for a XX1 System.

    My verdict: Shimano's shadow XT derailleur line is garbage.
    Right because I've read nothing but good on the XX1 RDs.
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  18. #18
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    What is the issue with XX1 besides the knocking noise? I have not seen any breakage issues at all.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    What is the issue with XX1 besides the knocking noise? I have not seen any breakage issues at all.
    Nor here. I've heard they were shipping a bit too dry from the factory, and the knocking bit, but I've been riding the shiz out of mine and so far it's been flawless. I've not heard anything about breakage with XX1.

    That said, the XTR Shadow+ I had on my HD was super solid through the worst crap I could give it too...

    Maybe I need to spend more time in the Drivetrain forum...?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiO2 View Post
    Has anyone else had problems breaking their XT Shadow derailleurs? I upgraded to a 2x10 in July from a 2x9 and I have already broken the tension bolt off the clutch. I read this problem is unique to the XTs. I am one bike (HD) guy so waiting for warranty parts is really annoying. Are XTRs more reliable? I'd like to go to an XX1 but can't justify the cost.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Exact same thing just happened to my derailleur. Such a bummer, but I guess I'm lucky I have another back-up derailleur to use while I go through the warranty process. It lasted about 10 months.

  21. #21
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    I'm running 3x10 XT setup and was thinking about goin 1x10 but was told I'd have to switch to the XT Shadow plus but after reading all the problems y'all are having with the clutch derailer I'm thinking I should just keep what I have. I'm pretty hard on stuff being 6ft 225 and Kline to jump stuff so I'm thinking the Shadow Plus probably isn't for me!

  22. #22
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    First off, I’m 6’ 4”, 230, ride a Mojo HD pretty hard, and have been running a 3x10 XTR drivetrain w/shadow+ rear D completely problem free for about a year and a half. Those fold-out instruction sheets that come with everything Shimano contain a wealth of information, set-up and otherwise, in damn near any language that exists, for anyone who takes the time to figure out how to read them (a good 5 minutes or so for the relatively intuitive). I've been setting up my Shimano drivetrains per their exact instructions for over a decade now...not one warranty issue....ever. Just sayin’.

    Secondly, I doubt you absolutely need a shadow+ rear D, you just need some sort of chain tensioner with a 1x10 set-up. At least one alternative has been mentioned in this thread.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrappy jr. View Post
    I'm running 3x10 XT setup and was thinking about goin 1x10 but was told I'd have to switch to the XT Shadow plus but after reading all the problems y'all are having with the clutch derailer I'm thinking I should just keep what I have. I'm pretty hard on stuff being 6ft 225 and Kline to jump stuff so I'm thinking the Shadow Plus probably isn't for me!
    I'm going to 1x10 without a Shadow plus. I'm using a RaceFace WN front ring and the Bionicon I post in #15 above.
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  24. #24
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    Here is my experience with the XT+ as well as an aside concerning the Sram T2 in case you are interested:

    Short Version: I picked up an XT shadow+ about a year ago for my previous bike. Loved it and never had any issues even with all the rocky chatter on local trails as well as (just 10 days of) desert riding in Durango & Moab.

    Conclusion: All in all, It looks like I've put maybe 1500 miles on the XT+ without issue and really like it's smooth action. I will be keeping it on the other bike for now. Have fewer miles (700?) on the Sram T2 but it is pretty quiet now despite retaining the relatively high break-away force. Based on my experience and reading others it seems that neither option is perfect 100% of the time but for most it is still a worth-while improvement over non-clutch type derailleurs.

    Long Version: Got the HDR in late August and decided to try the Sram X9 Type 2 since I'm a big fan of the new gripshift in 1x applications (so light and clean but haters be hatin'). Built this machine up with BikeCo and apparently they modified the T2 derailleur in an effort to make it less clunky as that was a concern of mine.

    Was getting to know the bike for about a month before BME Moab and one of my only complaints was the initial stiction of the T2 clutch that resulted in that famous "click" noise. Also seemed that on small chatter the high break-free force would keep it locked up and the chain would go crazy since there was no "give".

    So I got desperate and toiled with cable pull so that I could run the Shimano XT+ and it actually shifted really well while being smooth and quiet! I ran this set-up for a few months, including some desert riding and the Moab Big Mountain Enduro.

    For the last few months of our "riding season" I tried the Sram T2 again just for fun and the slightly better shifting. It seems to have worn-in and isn't nearly as sticky or noisy. I remember when it was new, just pushing down to compress the rear suspension and hearing a distinct click. That is gone now so I'm happy!

    In hindsight, I think the slightly longer cage of the XT+ would have been happier with another link or so of chain for better shifting. Also, a lot of the racket from the Sram T2 seemed to be caused by chain chatter against the metal chain-suck plate, not the actual derailleur. I verified this by covering the plate with a couple layers of electrical splicing tape (same stuff on my chain stay) and observing that most noise disappeared. With a 32T ring the chain runs so close to the plate that it is bound to whip it, even with the XT+. I will be running a 34T E13 narrow-wide once the snow melts and see how that effects chain noise.

  25. #25
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    2 years on my HD, waiting on my THRID warranty from Shitmano.

    Safe to say Ive been nothing but disappointed from what should be considered a Top Shelf groupo.

    Not only has the clutch crapped out 3 times now, but from day ONE I drop chains on the regular. Granted, I am running no chain guide and Im on the aggro side of gravity fed stuff, but isnt that the whole point of the clutch?!

    Id swap from blue to red and go 11sp in a heartbeat if it were so GD expensive...

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