If you’re one of the lucky few, you might already have your hands on the new XTR M9100 group. If not, you’re probably impatiently waiting for new parts and dry trails like us. However, parts are arriving at warehouses around the country and shipping to dealers, as evidenced by the photos of the new crankset below. Thanks to a friend who goes by WH Bradford, we obtained some pictures of the interim crankset, the non-series FC-MT900-1.
Clad in all black, the FC-MT900-1 was created as an interim option for the original FC-M9100-1 (and all XTR M9100 crank models) after productions issued caused a significant delay in their forecasted arrival. According to Shimano’s Mountain Bike Product Manager, Nick Murdick, the issue wasn’t that they couldn’t produce them, it was just that the current production method meant they couldn’t be produced fast enough. There are a handful of M9100 cranks that made it into the wild, and these are perfectly functional. But Shimano decided that they needed to offer another crank that they could quickly produce while waiting for the new production run of 9100 cranks to ramp up.
That gave birth to the FC-MT900-1 which is an all black beauty with a hollow forged crank arm.
While the MT900 forgoes the new preload assembly of the M9100, it does gain the direct mount chainring capability and the exact same XTR chainring that will come on the M9100. Shimano also points out that this is still one of the lighter HollowTech II cranks they have made coming in at 587g for a 175mm crank with a 32t chainring and no BB.
Apparently thousands of the MT900 cranks were made, but this will not be a permanent addition to the line up. After the M9100 cranks hit warehouses in June, the MT900 will be phased out which may be a bummer for some.
Why? Because the crankset is light, 12 speed compatible, comes in all black, and is substantially less expensive than the M9100 crankset. The MT900 crank and chainring combined sell for $229. Just the XTR M9100 chainring alone sells for $132.99, and the M9100 crankset without ring sells for $419.99. That means you’re basically getting the MT900 crank for less than $100 more than the chainring alone. However, the M9100 crankset will be lighter and has a narrower Q-factor than the MT900 (162 vs. 172mm), so that might be enough reason to hold out for the pricier M9100.
No more Scylence
In other XTR related news, Murdick confirmed that the Scylence hub has been effectively cut from the line up due to the potential for long term durability issues. While Shimano’s test mules haven’t had any issues, apparently there is enough of a chance for the potential of issues down the road that Shimano has decided to modify the hubs for production. Now, instead of the two driver plates completely pulling away from each when you’re coasting, the plates will just skim across each other (which to us sounds more similar to the ratchet design of a DT Swiss hub or similar). This is supposedly not silent, but not exactly loud either.
The hub still offers very low amounts of drag and in terms of weight and price, it’s very competitive at 238g for the rear and a price tag of $294.99.
11 Speed Gets Dropped
Shimano has also decided to axe the 11 speed option for the group, which they state was more an attempt to reduce the amount of SKUs than anything else. With the production difficulties to this point, they decided that they would focus their resources on the most in demand products – wide range 12 speed.
Murdick points out that the 11 speed group was still most requested by their pro athletes due to the ability to run a shorter cage derailleur and stronger wheels. However, you’ll still be able to run a shorter cage derailleur, just with a 12 speed 10-45t cassette. That also means the wider flange 11 speed specific rear hub is no longer on the table. To reiterate, you’ll have two options when it comes to gearing for XTR M9100 – 1×12 with a 10-45t cassette, or 1×12 with a 10-51t cassette.
Product Shipping Now
The best news is that in spite of their production difficulties, Shimano tells us that the groups are in the warehouses now and shipping to dealers. They have a few hundred of the MT900 cranks on hand now, and are expecting a large shipment at the end of the month. Once that shipment arrives, it will allow Shimano to completely open all of the ordering options (not just complete groups), and it will make finding single replacement parts much easier. As mentioned, the MT900 cranks will remain as the only option for the XTR group until the M9100 cranks arrive in June.