Okay guys, I'd really like a few opinions. I'm getting an Intense 5.5. My dealer tells me the frame should arrive before the end of Feb. I hope! Anyway, I can't make up my mind XT or XTR.

I've just received my March 04 edition of MBA and in an article titled "Ten most Common Buying Mistakes" by Mr Cunningham... (yes I know, I know!) writes,

Item # 3) I spent too much:
I quote:
"You'll pay 30-percent more for Shimano 2004 XTR ensemble than you will pay for the Deore XT group --some of the parts are simply a different color, and insiders claim that the less-expensive parts are an improvement. The lesson here is that the increase in cost between top-level and second-tier models rarely justifies the meager increase in performance. Stow your pride and buy smart."

I can't help feeling that maybe he has a point. I am really just a trail and adventure rider and nuts about riding. I'll take on the occasional gnarley section, usually on the down runs and I climb quite a lot. I weigh about 200lbs. with full kit. How much more weight will XT account for over XTR? I have also seen first hand a set of XT dual controlls and the pods feel and look better than the covers on the XTR dual shifters. It's not so much that I mind spending the extra bucks, but is it worth it? the new 2004 XT group looks great. What do you think I should do?