Before I delve into this post, I want to acknowledge the team at Shimano and all the awesome support they give me. 

Late last week I received numerous messages from my local bike shop Avanti Plus, Richmond and was super excited to go out and see a box that had just arrived with the new XTR group set. 


I’ve been working with Shimano for a while now and I’ve been on the XTR DI2 electronic group set for some time. XTR is the pinnacle of Shimano’s mountain bike group sets, some use it for racing, some for enduro, for myself I use it for backcountry adventures, instructing, and guiding people on multi day trips around New Zealand. 

For me, XTR represents durability, reliability and precision, performing at the same high level day in and day out. This is a big deal when guiding and adventuring in the backcountry. 

When Shimano announced they had a new XTR group set, I was really confident that they were going to bring a group set out that would be built for the modern demands of the mountain bike community, whether you are racing or adventuring or a weekend warrior.

Back to the bike shop….I started opening the box up and all the mechanics and store staff gathered around to see this new group set. We were all stunned… totally impressed by the finish quality and the way it was presented with layers of different components.

My XTR configuration

There is a heap of information out there on the internet on the details of this group set, below are a few highlights for me and how I am going to configure it on my bike. 

Hubs and 10-51 cassette!

There are a few different options for how you can set up the new XTR, my configuration is 12-speed with the new 10 by 51 tooth cassette. Along with this build I am going to build up a new set of wheels with the Santa Cruz reserve 30 rims. These will be laced to Shimano’s new XTR 32 spoke boost hubs and Shimano have developed a new Micro Spline which basically gives the ability to run this wide-range cassette.

Along with the new cassette, Shimano have developed a new chain and a new hyperglide+, essentially what this means is that you can change gear under load, which is pretty darn cool. 

Crank set - Single direct mount chainring

The newly designed crank set that I’ll be running will be a single direct mount chainring. I’ll be running a 32 narrow-wide chainring.  With the new set up you can now run from a 30-38 size chainring. 

2019 XTR Crank set with single direct mount chainring.jpeg


Staying with the transmission, there is a completely new M9100 SGS rear derailleur, this derailleur is a work of art. I’ll be running the long version as I am running the large cassette. Married up with this new derailleur there is obviously a new shifter, and I just heard today that if you are going to run one thing out of the XTR group set, run the shifter. One of the highlights of this shifter that I am really keen to try out is the newly designed thumb pads. 

You may have heard the I-Spec EV feature talked about in product reviews, basically it means you can give a wider range of adjustment to the control points mounted on the handle bars. I talk about this a lot with customers I guide and teach, configuring the position and reach of their control points for better handling of their bike.

4 piston Brakes!

Brakes are a big deal, especially if like me you live in Nelson, N.Z The brake configuration I will be running with are the enduro brakes, they are changing to a 4 piston enduro caliper. The levers have been re-designed with a new aluminium lever and a new mounting system to basically reduce the lever flex, and a new I-Spec EV direct-mount interface.

2019 XTR Enduro brake levers.jpeg
XTR 4 piston enduro caliper..jpeg

Ice technologies Freeza

Obviously the world cup downhill racers must be pretty impressed by the braking power of these new enduro brakes. One of the features of the last group set which really impressed me were the rotors, and the cooling features they had on them, and if they were anything to go by these newer versions should be pretty impressive. Look out for the ‘Ice Technologies Freeza.’

So, I’m really looking forward to getting back in the bike shop, building this up on my bike and testing it out on the steep trails in Nelson.