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XT Shadow Rear Mech Review

XT Shadow Rear Mech Review

XT Shadow Rear Mech Review

Page Type: Article


Page By: Andy Livo

Created/Edited: Oct 31, 2008 / Feb 1, 2011

Object ID: 268527

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Page Score: 76.35%  - 7 Votes 

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XT Shadow Rear Mech Review

My Rear Mech was dead and I needed another. So I toyed with the XT Shadow at £35, as I certainly wasn’t going to pay the exorbitant price of £80 for the equivalent XTR, with little improvement in performance or notable loss in weight. Much has been written about it, especially the problems with the snap off bolt to protect the rear mech hanger. Many have said that this breaks far too easily and will leave you stranded as the replacement bolts are virtually impossible to get from Shimano.

XT Shadow Rear Mech Review
XT Shadow Rear Mech Review

The design is certainly different with a slimmed down inboard profile and rear facing cable clamp reducing the bend in the housing and so less drag on the cable. There is also no cable adjustment at the rear mech end. All has to be done at the shifter end. No problem here at all.

I plumped for it and fitted it to my beloved Ellsworth Isis. The rear cassette and chain are also XT and the crankset and shifters are XTR. I have to say that the shifting is flawless, crisp and a pleasure to ride. I really like the inboard design of the rear mech. This means that it is less prone to hits from rocks on technical descents and so will last longer. I found that the end of the QR took most of the hits as the rocks flew by because that is the most prominent part rather than the rear mech. On the occasions where the mech took a direct hit and it was robust. No breakage of the dropout bolt. Solid as the rock it hit and kept on that Shimano slick shifting!

So is it worth the money? Would I buy it again? Most definitely yes to both! A great piece of kit which does the job it is supposed to do very well and it is more protected from trail hazards. Six months down the line it is still shifting flawlessly and it has had some hammer!

Update 6th Dec 2008

Well after some seriously technical downhill in the Lakes and the Peaks the rear mech got smashed against some rocks and it twisted. I tried to straighten it out but never could recover the crisp shifting it once had. I ended up buying another. Expensive but that's mountain biking. Not the kit's fault but one of the hazards of the sport. Still think it is worth the money!


XT Shadow Rear Mech ReviewXT Shadow Rear Mech ReviewXT Shadow Rear Mech Review


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Viewing: 1-4 of 4

BeDrinkablehee hee ...


Voted 10/10

... 'mech'. You know, I've never thought that xtr was twice as good as xt, but I've also never spoken to anyonw who has a lot of experience with both. If you have, I'd be curious about your opinion.
Posted Nov 4, 2008 4:13 pm

Andy LivoRe: hee hee ...

Andy Livo

Hasn't voted

Not a lot of experience with both. I have always got XT and found that to be a great performing groupset. I had 7 spd XT thumb shifters for 15 yrs and cranks for 10yrs. The thumbies gave up the ghost and I couldn't get a replacement big ring for the crank. I was given some dosh for a birthday so lashed out on the XTR shifters and cranks. They work very well but like you say not twice as good. I've ridden a lot of bikes with other gear on. I would say that XT are just as good as XTR. Not as convinced with Sram though. Thanks for the vote BD.
Posted Nov 4, 2008 5:18 pm

MalibuGood Mech


Voted 10/10

I have been running one of these for about a month now and once I got beyond cable/housing stretch and got the adjustment right, it shifts great. Crisp, quick, smooth and more precise than my old Deore level model.

Now a story: Riding in Central OR last week, while easing through a small rock garden, I bounced the rear mech off a good sized rock pretty nicely. Scraped the X piece lower edge and the cage a little but did not bend anything. It still works perfectly with no additional adjust necessary. If this had been my old Deore which sticks out at least an inch further, it likely would have done some serious mech damage, bent the hanger or even have torn the thing off. The slim design certainly made a difference.
Posted Mar 15, 2010 9:56 pm

Andy LivoRe: Good Mech

Andy Livo

Hasn't voted

Cheers Mal. I do like these mechs too. I agree the "Tucked Away" design does reduce the damage. I have had this one for well over a year and some tech riding is still going strong. The jockey wheels are looking a bit worn inspite of chain changes. Suppose it is the grit and rubbish wearing them over time.
Posted Mar 16, 2010 12:28 pm

Viewing: 1-4 of 4