Shimano XT 1 x 11 Shizzle Dizzle
In Valleybikes, we have a belief that we must use bike parts to its full potential. Meaning, each component should give its maximum in terms of performance until it can. The quality and make of these parts reach its peak thus maximizing the cost of what you paid for.
The logic is simple: you pay a small amount and you get crap. Pay for premium and you receive your money’s worth. For bike parts, there is a correlation to price and weight. The more expensive the item, the lighter it is (and better quality hopefully).
In my years of cycling, I always stick with basics. After battling it for years, I have overcome the “upgradititis sickness” and have become a firm believer of: if it aint broke, don’t fix it. I have imagined the bike and built it to its full glory so whenever something new is released in the market, I don’t find the need to buy it and upgrade my bike.
My Freeride full suspension mountain bike was assembled around 2010. It got Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes and the technology back then was 9 speed. My 175mm crank set was hollow tech already. I ran a Shimano XT 2 x 9 drivetrain with bash guard so that whenever I hit roots or rocks, my chainring was protected. I changed my chain whenever I had to, and upgraded my middle plate from 32 to 34. Aside from these minor adjustments of the gearing, I was quite satisfied with my 2 x 9 “gearing”.
Years passed and then ten speed came along, until 11 speed arrived. Presently, 12 speed is the dominant drivetrain the bigwigs are pushing to the market. The cycling industry is flourishing and if they don’t find innovative means on how to shake things in the market, things will get stagnant. I like how they release products by the trickle so that people would be drooling and upgrading their toys for the latest parts. I have matured and I am contented with my 2 x 9. I can climb and descend like a mountain goat, so I think I do not need those new products.
Recently, performance of the shifting of Dirty Harry (my freeride MTB) became an issue. Whenever I climbed the famed “wall of Timberland”, the chain dropped to the hub when I mis-shift during granny. My chain gets stuck and I have to unmount and remove the chain from the hub and put it on the cassette again. This happened a number of times so I had my mechanic fix the bike. I saw the problem: my dropout (the metal holding the rear derailleur) was bent. My trusty mechanic from Glorious Ride Bike shop fixed the issue and the bike worked perfectly once again.
Shift from 9 speed to 11 speed
Valleybikes had a chance to test if the new Shimano XT 1 x 11 is better than the 2 x 9. Our local bike shop, Glorious Ride hooked us up with the Shimano XT group set. Before slapping on the new gruppo, we had a little experiment and climbed the Timberland heights on the 2 x 9 XT drive train. (For those not familiar with Timberland Heights, this is the village before you enter Mt. Maarat, a mountain bike paradise. Pedaling up this route is not a joke. This is where the Wall is and there are inclines which would make you cry.) We started to record our time from Aling Tina’s and stopped at the road lines before the gate of Timberland. Our time: 25:11.
We even weighed how heavy Dirty Harry is- the scale tipped at 16.14 kilos. So that was the control set-up for Dirty Harry and rider.
Now what will happen if we slapped on the Shimano XT 1 x 11 (with 11-42T) into this heavy bike with a slow rider?
Back in high school, we were taught about the scientific process and how to do things following the scientific method. We had a control set-up (original drivetrain) and we timed our self going up the wall. Now when we slapped in the experimental set-up (Shimano XT 1 x 11), our questions should be answered scientifically. (I hope our science teacher can guide us with this!)
I. Problem- Will the new Shimano XT 1 x 11 group set make me a faster mountain biker going up ascents?
II. Research- According to testimonials and other blogs, the new Shimano XT 1 x 11 shaved a few pounds thus resulting to a lighter bike. A lighter bike may mean that the same effort exerted can propel you to go faster compared to the original bike. Also, a 1 x 11 set-up means no more front derailleur and shifter cutting off extra pounds.
III. Hypothesis- If the 1 x 11 group set is lighter, then it will make me a faster mountain biker when climbing.
1. We measured first the control set-up. We recorded what is the weight of the bike before changing the components to the experimental set-up. Our reading showed that the bike weighed 16.14 kilos. Going up the wall, the time from Tina’s to the gate was 25:11. We recorded everything we need to record and documented the process of changing the parts.
2. With the new XT 1 x 11 slapped on Dirty Harry, we measured the experimental set-up. The reading showed the bike weighed 15.50 kilos. Using the same bike with a different drivetrain, we climbed the wall and recorded how long it would take from Aling Tina’s to the road lines before the gate of Timberland Heights. Our time was 23:46.
|2×9 CONTROL Set-up||1×11 EXPERIMANTAL Set-up|
V. Analysis of Data
2×9 Weight of Dirty Harry: 16.14 kilos
2×9 Time going up the wall: 25 mins 11 seconds
1×11 Weight of Dirty Harry: 15.50 kilos
1×11 Time going up the wall: 23 mins 46 seconds
The whole bike got lighter.
11 speed casette is lighter by 2 grams.
Crankset also decreased in weight because of the single chain ring plus the Raceface bash guard was removed.
Front derailleur and FD shifter was not used anymore.
11 speed chain is lighter by 2 grams.
Bottom bracket is lighter by 3 grams.
new XT Brake levers and calipers are lighter by 35 grams.
Climbing up the Wall, the 32 x 42 gearing had more tension than the 24 x 32 gear I used to run. Given the situation, the effort on the 1 x 11 was greater than the granny of the 2 x 9. The new gear ratio gave more turns on the wheel when converted. Thus the better time translated.
The numbers show it. The time proved it. Newer Bike parts are lighter than their predecessor by a few grams. Shave off one or two grams, but at the end of the day, it is still lighter.
Faster time because of the gear ratio of the 1 x 11. 32 single chain ring paired with a 42 teeth rear cog would make you go faster but with more effort. But then, if life gives you oranges, make orange juice, right? So I am not complaining. This whole new set-up shaved a good kilo from the very heavy Dirty Harry.
Therefore, the new Shimano XT 1 x 11 groupset made me a better mountain bike climber in the ascents due to the lighter parts (shaved the front derailleur) plus the fact that the recorded time is shorter.
The Thumb shifter has groves which can easily be dirty with mud. The trigger has a ribbed sensation which works both ways, push or pull, it still shifts the rear derailleur. The whole system gives a crisp Shimano XT shift when tuned properly. This is the epitomy of years of research and development for mountain bike parts. Engineers and riders have all contributed to why this works so well. Investment in quality is truly valued in the Shimano XT.
Worth the Investment
Spending hard earned cash on bike parts is understandable. If you regularly use your bike and draw happiness from it, then by all means burn your dough! You can feel the investment once you ride your bike and feel the difference on those new bike parts. But if you will just buy products to show off, just buy the latest Yeezy shoe and love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye. (Joke!)
Where to get your Shimano XT?
I got my Shimano XT 1 x 11 from my local bike shop: Glorious Ride Bikeshop. The bike warehouse is located at 131-D Kamias road, Quezon City. It is near Jollibee corner Kamias road and Anonas road. Here is the map going to Glorious:
If you have any inquiries for Glorious Ride Bike Shop (looking for a bike or any parts) you may call them at:
+63915-8560180// Look for Sir Carlo Clemente or Joseph Escape