We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: Shimano Deore stands as one of the best choices when it comes down to quality/price ratio, while Deore XT rivals high-end groupsets like XTR or SRAM X.0. The price makes the two components very attractive, but which are the differences between them? We’ll get to that in this article by analyzing individual weight of the components, their peformance, as well as their price, in order to conclude which option turns out to be the best according to your needs.
Setting things straight, Shimano Deore is the Japanese manufacturer’s mid-level range and, along with the Deore XT range, performs at its best when put to cross-country use, olympic style or marathon. Yet, Shimano recommends the XT also for all-mountain or enduro, judging by performance and weight.
Both cranksets’ chainrings help the chain glide over them in a speedy manner, but things work a little better in the case of the XT, we must say. As far as similarities further go, both feature triple-cranksets, although the XT is available in the double version and from 2014 Deore will embrace this option too, and have a scratch-sensible surface that’s bound to get hurt in muddy rides. As a difference, the manufacturer claims that XT’s crank arms are stiffer, offering a better power transfer.
When put on the weight scale, the Shimano Deore FC M590 reaches 930 grams, while Shimano XT M782 810 grams, bottom bracket included. Regarding prices, the XT will cost you 165 euros, unlike its close relative which is 100 euros cheaper. Our choice, keeping into notice the quality, price and performance would be Shimano Deore.
As expected, Deore XT does much better in terms of the materials’ quality, do not have a display to indicate the gear you’re using and are much lighter. The lower lever can be positioned towards the interior or the exterior of the handlebar, depending on your preference and we mustn’t forget about the inner mechanism which makes shifting very accurate. Still, this may also represent the efect of the superior derailleurs.
In terms of weight, the Shimano XT shifters tip the scale at 278 grams/pair, 30 grams less than the Deore ones. The situation dramatically changes when passing on to pricing, Deore XT claiming 88 euros from your wallet, while the others a mere 43.
The Deore XT sprockets are designed to simply shift faster, having a more refined construction compared to Deore’s. Still, weight difference is of only 10 grams, the first weighing 350 grams, and the latter 360, whereas prices differ much more, respectively 53 euros compared to 30 euro. Both examples are taken for a 10-speed 11-36 cassette.
Thanks to its levers, the Deore XT operates smoother and faster and since the price difference is minimal, you should go for the greater product. The XT bests Deore in terms of weight, 148 grams versus 162, in the case of the top swing 3×10 version, even though the prices are even closer, of 30 and 22 euros.
Things hardly get more clear than they do here: completely different materials for the cage and parallelogram, important weight difference and also a distinction in terms of performance. Deore XT carries the big advantage of having the Shadow Plus technology (link), unlike the Deore which in the best case has the Shadow compact design. Simply put, the XT works faster, more accurately, more silently and doesn’t need regular service for adjustement.
A 28 gram gap sits between the 258-gram Deore XT Shadow Plus and 286-gram Deore Shadow derailleurs, probably due to the usage of steel for the latter’s cage. 80 euros will get you in the possesion of the XT, at the same time a Deore derailleur only inflicting a 38-euro damage on your bank account.
The two of them can be brutal, yet XT’s modulation allows you to better control it. Fading occurs when descending for a longer period and braking with the Deores, a situation that didn’t evem came close to happening using the XT brakes. Probably the ICE Tech rotors should get most of the credits for this, their construction contributing to a better heat dissipation. Furthermore, the XT brakes are consistent with cross-country usage, but also for enduro riding, where prolonged and repeated braking comes into play. Some riders even use them for World Cup downhill competitions. On the other hand, the Deore brakes can’t go further than cross-country and all-mountain.
None of these 2 brakes are light, being easily toped by competitors such as Avid and Formula, but they are stronger and able to handle even serious collisions with the ground. Without their rotors, the XT weighs 287 grams and the Deore 329, and cost 105 euros/piece and 43 euros/piece respectively.
What should you go for then?
Without any doubt, if you’re willing to spend a considerable amount of money on a bunch of components, then Deore XT passes as the groupset to choose, even more so if you have higher expectations in terms of quality and performance. XT stands as a line for weight weenies seeking enhanced strength, while Deore is proper to recreational riders that look for good value products.
Shimano Deore XT humors us thanks to its heavy duty construction and high-end ranking, especially that it features the Shadow Plus system. From a budget point of view, Deore wins the match being one of the best-priced mid-level groupsets, performing more than decently and having an affordable price tag. And to picture things accurately, the only sensible difference between the 2 sets are the sprockets and rear derailleur and how they work together, the rest of the components having only a marginal differentiation.
Total price: Shimano Deore XT will set you back 626 euros, while Shimano Deore only claims 284 euros from your wallet. The 342 euros saved can be turned into a new set of wheels or a new suspension fork, not necessarily from this season, previous models probably having now lower prices.
Total weight: Deore XT tips the scale at 2.412 grams, whereas Deore goes a further 292 grams, to 2.704 grams. Talking about the wheelset or suspension fork mentioned above, either one of the 2 components can make up for the extra grams of Deore.