So I stopped by my local bike shop and test rode the Trek 8.5 DS and I really like it. They didn't have my size so I pre-ordered it and will have it in within a week. I already have the upgrade bug, so I wanted some suggestions on what I should upgrade. I know it comes with a mix of Shimano Deore and SLX components, but I like my components to be consistent and all the same. What component groupset would you recommend I switch to? I know the road bike groupsets inside/out but I have no clue to the MTB groupsets except that Shimano XTR is better than XT.
I don't want to spend $1,600+ for XTR and since this is going to be my secondary bike for weekday commuting and weekend trail riding, the most I wanted to spend would be for an XT but the SLX seems attractive also. Should I get full Shimano SLX or XT or Saint? Not familiar with the levels of which is better. Are there any SRAM options that are comparable or better performing than the Shimano? Ideally, I'd like to keep it around $600 or less, but if one groupset is light years better and worth it to spend up to $1k, I would highly consider moving up to the next tier.
These are the stock components on the bike:
Shifters: Shimano M590 Deore, 9-speed trigger
Front derailleur: Shimano Deore
Rear derailleur: Shimano SLX Shadow
Crank: Shimano M443 Octalink, 48/36/26
Cassette: SRAM PG-950 11-32, 9 speed
Brakeset: Shimano M446 hydraulic disc brakes w/Shimano hydraulic levers