The embargo is lifted. Rumours and leaks have been all over the web, of course, but here's the XTR blurb direct from Shimano.

Shimano XTR: the official info


Shimano XTR: Engineered for the way you ride!

We had to keep it a secret for a long time but finally the day has come now to reveal the new XTR to you! We hope you will like it just as much as we do. This time some detailed information on the shifters, rear derailleurs, wheels, hubs, freehubs, cassette sprockets and pedals. In the coming weeks more pictures and technical details of the other parts will be released. Be patient, it’s worth waiting for.

The new Shimano XTR group will once again set the benchmark in mountain bike racing components. Incredible lightweight, with increased performance and a technical, compact design characterized by the “X” that is integrated in each component of the new group. Last but not least, new XTR offers more choice than ever – Dual Control Levers and Rapidfire Plus shifters, Low Normal and Top Normal rear derailleurs. It will all be there for the racer and consumer to select his personal set up as it has been engineered for the way you ride!

From Shimano side we recommend using Dual Control Levers for Cross Country usage and Rapidfire Plus shifters for freeride and downhill. We expect the majority of riders to use Dual Control with Low-Normal and Rapidfire Plus with Top-Normal rear derailleurs.

Innovative shifting technologies

Now lets take a closer look at the shifters. New XTR offers redesigned Dual Control Levers (DCL) and Rapidfire Plus (RFP) shifters. Both have been developed with innovative functions such as Instant Release and Multi Release shifting. RFP shifters also feature the new Two-Way Release technology. What does this mean?

1. Instant Release shifting: The derailleur shifts directly when operating the release lever, resulting in super fast and direct gear changing.

2. Multi Release shifting: technology that allows multiple shifts with one stroke of the lever. Short stroke results in one sprocket shifting, longer stroke shifts two gears.

3. Another novelty is Two-Way Release technology for RFP shifters: It allows the index finger lever to be operated in two directions resulting in the same shift action. This way it offers two shift options. First of all the traditional Rapidfire shifting system with thumb and index finger (push-pull) and secondly the option to shift exclusively with the thumb (push-push).

DCL will be available in a disc brake (ST-M975) and a V-Brake version (ST-M970). They feature a compact design for lower weight, improved appearance and easy mounting on narrow handlebars, especially for XC usage. The main lever has a reach adjust to accommodate all hand sizes.

As an alternative to DCL we offer “good old” Rapidfire Plus shifters SL-M970 with additional features such as Instant Release, Multi Release and Two-Way Release shifting. A horizontally adjustable clamp bracket allows inboard and outboard positioning for different riding styles. Outboard mounting works great on wide bars, while inboard mounting provides great ergonomics on narrow handlebars.

Both shifter options can be combined with the Low-Normal rear derailleur RD-M970 or the Top-Normal rear derailleur RD-M971. Both are available in two cage lengths.

Overview of new Shimano shifting technologies:

Instant Release Faster, direct shifting

Multi Release Shift two gears with one lever stroke

Two-Way Release Two ways to operate the RFP shifters

Wheels, hubs, freehubs, cassette sprockets

Super lightweight and with an unbelievable rigidity. The new XTR wheelsets raise the quality standard of mountain bike wheelsets to a new level. Two versions will be available: WH-M975 is a disc brake version with Center Lock rotor mount system. This XTR wheelset weighs only 1530 grams due a completely new design and a Scandium alloy rim that is reinforced at the spoke holes. This wheelset is compatible with tubeless and tube tires. They have 24 butted spokes (2.0 – 1.5 – 2.0mm diameter) in front as well as in the rear.

WH-M970 is the model name of the V-Brake version. The set weighs an incredible 1525 grams. It features an offset Scandium alloy rim and is compatible with tubeless and tube tires.

Of course the hubs and freehubs are also available as separate products. HB/FH-M970 are for V-Brakes and HB/FH-M975 with Center Lock System for disc brakes. A major improvement is the construction of the freehub body with 36-notch pawls for a much quicker engagement that results in increased performance especially in technical terrain.

The hubs and freehubs feature oversized alloy axles with angular contact bearings (cup and cone) for increased wheel rigidity and easy maintenance. They also have an improved seal design and an internal grease sleeve for improved durability.

Completely new is the availability of an XTR front hub with a 20mm through axle for a similar fixation as the Saint hubs, allowing a higher rigidity of the front wheel/fork combination. This front hub HB-M976 has a regular XTR size Center Lock rotor mount system.

The XTR cassette features four titanium sprockets to create the lightest Shimano mountain bike cassette ever (224 grams for 11-32T version). Furthermore it has been designed with a new three piece alloy carrier that increases rigidity by 100%. Of course this cassette also has been developed using Shimano’s Hyperglide technology for an unmatched shifting performance.


The first Shimano pedal carrying the XTR logo. It uses the proven technology of our current top model PD-M959 but this new pedal set PD-M970 weighs only 324 grams and it is more rigid for improved power transfer. It uses a hollow steel axle for great durability in combination with a lightweight design.

New XTR takes another giant leap in its development, increasing the standard for hard core racing. Explore your limits: Ride new XTR.

Release date : April 1st, 2006 (XTR Dual Control Levers and Rapidfire Plus shifters, rear derailleurs, wheels and pedals)

: May 1st, 2006 (XTR brakes and brake levers)

: June 1st, 2006 (XTR crankset and front derailleur)

Availability in the market : October 2006

Professional riders will be using prototypes of these new Shimano XTR components at the Sea Otter Classic, from April 6-9 in Monterey, California, USA. These riders are: Bart Brentjens (Giant Ralf Denk), Adam Graig (Giant USA), Walker Ferguson (Scott) and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain). More riders will follow in the coming weeks.

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