The big Shimano surprise was a quite pleasant one, with the launch of the new Shimano XT range, as the new version comes with refreshed look.
The crankset is also all-new for the 2012 season, which makes the crank of the previous generation look at least boring, if not out of date. The Japanese have relied on a design inspiring a continuous rotational movement, a successful trick thanks to the shape of the arms, as can be easily seen in the pictures. Now, knowing that I was dealing with a new product that looks great, I got on the bike and started to pedal mountain paths that lay before me. Possessing a 2 x 10 crankset (with a 40 and a 28 tooth chainring), I adopted a more sustained riding.
Whereas the previous generation was marked with the Mega 9 logo, the new one uses Dyna Sys technology, accordingly marked on the outer chainring. Discussion about the benefits of new Dyna Sys technology can go on endlessly, so I will point out briefly that shift processes have been radically improved as compared to Mega 9, while the use of 10 sprockets (with a narrower SG-X chain) provides more opportunities to select ratios depending on the track.
Shifting is smooth, the chain moving without considerable effort from one chainring to the other. I also appreciated the chainrings construction, processed with great attention to detail. It is good to know that like the previous generation, the medium chainring was further reinforced with a carbon composite, both outside and inside (valid for the triple chainring crankset). The aim is to extend the life of this chainring, actually used very often. Those who are going to drop the outer chainring (as chainrings are detachable), must take into account that the crankset’s appearance will not be as aggressive, especially because the medium chainring does not look very well, dressed as it is in composite carbon that resembles plastic material.
The rest of the components remain identical to the previous generation: bottom bracket included, with bearings outside and empty arms inside. In terms of weight, as compared to its main competitor – Sram X9, 2×10 – the difference is of 60 grams, weighing 820 grams in the double chainring version and 860 grams in the triple chainring version. It fails to exceed the previous generation of Shimano XT M770 triple chainset in terms of weight, weighing 853 grams, but surely there must be something wrong with you if these 7 extra grams really count in your decision to purchase.
The new Shimano XT M780 crankset shows once again that there is quality for a decent price. It also suggests that that the XTR range still applies to a very limited segment of people, especially those for whom every gram counts. This is because, in terms of functionality there’s some distance between one another. I recommend it for Cross Country, Trail, All Mountain, Enduro or any other (non-extreme) bike discipline that pops into your mind.
Weight: 880 grams