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Is there much point in getting an XTR front derailleur if you use the XT shifter?

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Is there much point in getting an XTR front derailleur if you use the XT shifter?

Old 07-15-15, 05:43 AM
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ColonelSanders
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Is there much point in getting an XTR front derailleur if you use the XT shifter?

Is there much point in getting a XTR front derailleur, if you are not going to match it up with a XTR shifter?

One of the front derailleur options I have been weighing up is pairing a XTR front derailleur with a XT shifter, as opposed to simply getting a XT front derailleur, paired up with a XT shifter.

What I have definitely ruled out is a XTR front derailleur with a XTR shifter, due to cost, but would I notice any improved shifting with the XTR front derailleur over an XT front derailleur when they would both be paired with an XT shifter?
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Old 07-15-15, 08:06 AM
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XT is good stuff and I don't think there's a lot of magic in front derailleurs. I doubt you'd notice much difference between XT and XTR. For full disclosure though I should say that I haven't had mountain components on any of my bikes for a few years now so my minimal knowledge is pretty dated.
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Old 07-15-15, 08:29 AM
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I have XTR on my mountain bike, given the stressors I put it under and I was looking for every gram/ounce... But, I am going all XT on my commuter. I do not think that the XTR advantages are worthwhile on a commuter, versus the price.
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Old 07-15-15, 08:31 AM
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The only difference you will notice is in your wallet.
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Old 07-15-15, 08:43 AM
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No point. XT is very good and the only improvement you'll get with XTR is slightly lower weight which is irrelevant for your application.
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Old 07-15-15, 08:54 AM
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I don’t think there is any difference in shift performance across the top half of the Shimano mechanical range. The only difference is weight, sometimes at the expense of durability. My Deore stuff works great and lasts a long time.
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Old 07-15-15, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The only difference you will notice is in your wallet.
+1

What is the OP hoping to achieve? If good shifting when not under load (for normal recreational riding), Acera and above should work flawless.
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Old 07-15-15, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
+1

What is the OP hoping to achieve? If good shifting when not under load (for normal recreational riding), Acera and above should work flawless.
I'm currently doing a major overhaul of my 20yr old mountain bike, to significantly increase its commuting abilities, so this is the only time, if I am ever going to do it for this bike, that I could go with a XTR part.

I've found online a XTR front derailleur that is priced in such a way, that the price premium of XTR over XT, isn't so big, so I am considering whether I would get better shifting between my chainrings by going XTR front derailleur over XT front derailleur.

If I had been able to find a XTR shifter at a good price, I wouldn't have started this thread, I would have just purchased the XTR shifter and XTR front derailleur, but as I am upgrading pretty much my whole drivetrain to XT, I was wanting to get feedback as to what shifting performance is lost, by using a XT shifter, instead of a XTR shifter, with a XTR front derailleur.

I won't lose any sleep by getting a XT front derailleur, but as the XTR front derailleur in this particular instance comes with a modest price premium, I was trying to work out beforehand from other people's experiences, if there was any noticeably better shifting when one uses a XTR front derailleur instead of the XT front derailleur, with a XT shifter.
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Old 07-15-15, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The only difference you will notice is in your wallet.
Again, you ask, and again, you get the same answer.
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Old 07-15-15, 10:54 AM
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All I can say with 100% accuracy, is that my full xt bike shifts better than any of my other bikes I have owned or own now. For commuting it's better than you need. Don't worry about the miniscule differences between the two derailleurs.
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Old 07-15-15, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
All I can say with 100% accuracy, is that my full xt bike shifts better than any of my other bikes I have owned or own now. For commuting it's better than you need. Don't worry about the miniscule differences between the two derailleurs.
That's fair enough, one thing I am also curious about is the role played by the shifter & the role played by the front derailleur, in the overall shifting quality.

Let's say for example that I had already purchased the XTR front derailleur, would I notice any difference in how well it shifted, if I had a XTR shifter vs a XT shifter.
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Old 07-15-15, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
That's fair enough, one thing I am also curious about is the role played by the shifter & the role played by the front derailleur, in the overall shifting quality.

Let's say for example that I had already purchased the XTR front derailleur, would I notice any difference in how well it shifted, if I had a XTR shifter vs a XT shifter.
Different people notice things differently. The difference is so small that I would not notice, and I notice small things easily. If one person does, or does not notice a small change is not always a good measure of what is happening. Also differrent people have differences in what they care or don't care about. I would not care on a commuter bike, even if I noticed. On my full out only the best Dura Ace Titanium bike I want only the best. If you use an entire group of a different level, it is more noticeable than just one part. I have plenty of beater bikes that have all kinds of components. I don't care. They all feel different.

xtr shifter - xtr derailleur

xt shifter - xtr derailleur

xt shifter - xt derailleur

They will all be about the same, there is no clear difference except the weight and the cost. Don't worry about it

Last edited by 2manybikes; 07-15-15 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 07-15-15, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
That's fair enough, one thing I am also curious about is the role played by the shifter & the role played by the front derailleur, in the overall shifting quality.

Let's say for example that I had already purchased the XTR front derailleur, would I notice any difference in how well it shifted, if I had a XTR shifter vs a XT shifter.
I think folks are avoiding answering your specific question, but some got close. I will try to get close. Will there be a difference in feel, yes and no. Yes, if you put the bike under significant load (which I believe that I do with my MTB, but almost never with my commuter). No, if you do not with your commuter put it under significant load. I have a 15% hill (luckily just a couple hundred yards) on my normal ride. If I forget to shift all the way down before turning the corner, the current 105 set-up on my commuter is rather unhappy with my shifting. I am going to change to XT for everything on this bike. I believe it is close enough to XTR to make a big difference.
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Old 07-15-15, 11:59 AM
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All an indexed MTB shifter does is pull cable when the lever is pulled and release the cable when the button is pressed. Acera will do as good as an XTXXXTXRRR whatever. Last long, be cheap. Up to Deore you get some more durability, above that it's just vanity. No difference. Unless racign.

When it comes to derailleurs, more expensive ones are better at shifting under load and keeping the chain and shifts working when the chain is bouncing up and down while your riding fast over rocks. For commuting, there is no rational reason to go above Deore.
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Old 07-15-15, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
That's fair enough, one thing I am also curious about is the role played by the shifter & the role played by the front derailleur, in the overall shifting quality.

Let's say for example that I had already purchased the XTR front derailleur, would I notice any difference in how well it shifted, if I had a XTR shifter vs a XT shifter.
Far more important in front shifting is the crank. You will more likely notice a difference in shifting as you increase spending there. FD, not so much. Weight also, as more expensive cranks tend to weigh significantly less. Durability, not much difference.
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Old 07-15-15, 12:24 PM
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The shifter pulls a cable. Yet, inside that shifter is a variety of surfaces that all have friction. The higher end shifters have better components and are smoother, so they do feel different. Then, there is lever design. The higher end shifters have more ergonomic levers, and feel nicer to me. Then, on some, the levers are adjustable, again adding an advantage. If you do not want to spend the money or cannot at this time, fine. But, it is not just weight. Yet, the advantages are on a diminishing scale as the price goes up. The derailluers also have subtle changes as they go up. In both cases, this is not always true. For example, when there is a new XTR feature, the XT usually will not have that feature. Then, it will migrate down the line as years progress.
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Old 07-15-15, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I think folks are avoiding answering your specific question, but some got close. I will try to get close. Will there be a difference in feel, yes and no. Yes, if you put the bike under significant load (which I believe that I do with my MTB, but almost never with my commuter). No, if you do not with your commuter put it under significant load. I have a 15% hill (luckily just a couple hundred yards) on my normal ride. If I forget to shift all the way down before turning the corner, the current 105 set-up on my commuter is rather unhappy with my shifting. I am going to change to XT for everything on this bike. I believe it is close enough to XTR to make a big difference.
Thanks for that info.


Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
All an indexed MTB shifter does is pull cable when the lever is pulled and release the cable when the button is pressed. Acera will do as good as an XTXXXTXRRR whatever. Last long, be cheap. Up to Deore you get some more durability, above that it's just vanity. No difference. Unless racign.

When it comes to derailleurs, more expensive ones are better at shifting under load and keeping the chain and shifts working when the chain is bouncing up and down while your riding fast over rocks. For commuting, there is no rational reason to go above Deore.
I'm gonna be irrational and vain and get essentially a full XT drivetrain.

Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Far more important in front shifting is the crank. You will more likely notice a difference in shifting as you increase spending there. FD, not so much. Weight also, as more expensive cranks tend to weigh significantly less. Durability, not much difference.
For a whole range of reasons, I don't see any value for myself going above a XT crank and for vanity reasons, don't want to drop down below an XT crank.
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Old 07-15-15, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Thanks for that info.


I'm gonna be irrational and vain and get essentially a full XT drivetrain.

Whatever makes you happy. Why not XTR then? Seriously.
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Old 07-15-15, 05:16 PM
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I wouldn't bother with XTR unless it was a race bike. Then again my MTB commuter uses Deore and my good MTB is LX.
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Old 07-15-15, 06:13 PM
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I just put a Suntour XCD front on matched up with Shimano 100GS shifter...it does shift much better than it used to. You wanna talk about a quality gap!
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Old 07-15-15, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Whatever makes you happy. Why not XTR then? Seriously.
A full XTR drivetrain would be beyond my budget, I was only looking at XTR for the front derailleur because I found one not that much more expensive than its XT equivalent.

Other factors which rule out XTR for me in 10 speed, is that I think the XTR crank is very ugly, whilst the XT crank is a thing of beauty.

Also I am someone who very much wants gear indicators on their shifters and the gear indicator on the XT T780 shifter, is the best looking gear indicator I have seen from any maker at any price.

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Old 07-16-15, 07:10 AM
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I've always understood the main difference between XT & XTR to be weight, not shifting smoothness or even durability. And I would imagine that the quality of the tuning of the gears would make more difference than anything. A Deore setup that is tuned well and maintained regularly would shift just as well as XT or XTR.

I used to do a lot of mountain biking in Colorado, beating the heck out of my 1994 Trek 7000. It had STX SE components (not sure if they even make that line anymore). The rapid fire shifters worked just fine. I lusted over XTR just because that's what the big boy racers had, but I couldn't justify paying twice again what my bike was worth for that. And if I really wanted to save weight I could have gained more with a lighter frame, seat/post, handlebars, wheels, etc.
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