Sea Otter: Shimano Introduces Completely Overhauled XT Group!

You had to know it was coming. Just a year after upgrading the current XT M770 drivetrain to Dynasys 10 speed, Shimano has taken the wraps off of the entirely new M780 XT group that borrows heavily from XTR’s bag of tricks. Completely redesigned brakes, more than one color choice, wheels, pedals, oh my!

The new XT group just might be what any 10 speed hold outs are looking for, as if it is anything like the performance of the current XTR group, it will be a winner based on price alone.

Jump right in, and take a look at XT M780! (click on any picture to enlarge)

Perhaps the biggest news in addition to the redesign, is the addition of options into the line up. Finally, XT Dynasys will be offered in both triple and double cranksets! Not only that, but all XT M780 parts will be available in both black and silver colorways. While it’s not quite the multi colored groups that Sram offers, it does mark a huge step for Shimano in offering at least one finish option to consumers at the same time.

Out of any of the new parts, I would have to say I am most excited about the brakes. The current generation M775 XT brake which I have had on my bikes for some time, ranks as one of my all time favorites. That is, until I felt the new XTR M985s. Here’s hoping the XTR’s unsurpassed lever feel and supreme modulation aren’t lost in translation. What is known, is that the XT M780s will feature both the Icetech Rotors, and the vented cooling fins. Not only that, but Shimano will actually offer Ice Iech rotors in 6 bolt in addition to Center Lock!

You better believe that we will bring you full, hands on coverage of the new group ASAP!

Deore XT

The debut of Dyna-Sys in 2010 on Deore XT was the first step towards the full group make-over for the 2012 model. Having firmly established a host of new features for XTR, those features now work their way into Deore XT, once again boosting the value and relevance of the group. While the core of XT is still biased toward trail use, several options allow for even more customized application to specific terrain, bike types, and cosmetics. Two of the major options will be the addition of a double crank along with the popular triple and the choice of black or silver for the components

SL-M780 Rapidfire Shifter

Advanced Light Action shifting with VIVID index requires the same amount of force to shift between the two largest cogs as it takes to shift between the two smallest. The VIVID index establishes intuitive shifting feedback without adding unnecessary shifting force to the system. Instant, multi-, and 2-way release are all integrated into the newest generation shifter as well as a mode converter that allows the left hand unit to be tuned specifically to the crank set being used.

• Ispec (integrated brake lever mount) version available (Right image)

• MSRP: $159.99

• Weight: 255g

• Available: June 2011


BL-M785 / BR-M785 Hydraulic Disc Brake System

The Servo-Wave Deore XT hydraulic disc brakes continue to borrow from the features developed for XTR that provide huge leaps in braking and control. The new compact caliper with oversized 22mm ceramic pistons is combined with a lightweight lever for a brake that lighter yet packs 25% greater braking power when the ICE Technologies brake pads and rotor. The rotors have been proven to reduce temperatures of the rotor as much as 100% over a standard all steel rotor, and will be available in a 6-bolt pattern as well as the Shimano innovated Center Lock. Mechanics will appreciate the integration of the same one-way bleed that debuted on XTR last year.

• BL-M785 is compatible with Ispec shifter mount

• Servo-Wave provides better modulation along with greater maximum power

• Ice Tech Centerlock rotors consisting of a stainless steel clad aluminum core are durable and create a more efficient heat sink reducing fade

• Ice Tech brake pads use finned extensions that pull heat away from the caliper, oil, and rotor to reduce fade and maintain power and modulation

• MSRP: $159.99 (complete front or rear pre-bled system w/lever, caliper, hose, and pads)

• Weight: BL-M785 > 266g/pr, BR-M785 > 242g/wheel

• Available: June 2011

FC-M780 / FC-M785 Crankset

The central component to the Dyna-Sys drive-train comes in two varieties: a double or triple. The rider can choose the option that best suits their style, fitness, or terrain. The ever popular and more versatile triple comes with a 42-32-24T ring set with the proven composite enhanced middle ring for maximum shift smoothness. Most notably, the 24T inner ring offers a significant improvement in efficiency compared with a 22T and still provides a very low gear for climbing when paired with a 36T rear cog. A trail oriented 2X10 crank debuts with a 38-26T ring set as well

as a more XC oriented 40-28T combo. Both double cranks feature a unique crank with a 48.8mm chainline for better frame clearance and best compatibility on a wide range of bikes.

• Triple or double gearing: 42-32-24T, 40-28T, or 38-26T

• Carbon composite reinforced middle ring on triple reduces weight and provides smooth, quiet shifting

• MSRP: $319.99, any spec

• Weight: 860g, triple w/BB (double 820g w/BB)

• Available: June 2011


RD-M780 Shadow Rear Derailleur

The Shadow rear derailleur design continues to be improved and combined with the newest shifter design optimizes the overall system stability. The new longer arm geometry of the cable fixing anchor takes stability a step further as well as provides a more tolerant system adjustment.


• Enhanced system stability with Shadow technology

• MSRP: $109.99

• Weight: 234g (Super Long Cage)

• Available: June 2011


FD-M780/M781/M785/M786 Front Derailleur

Angled adjustment screws and clamp bolt make the new front derailleur more mechanic friendly and the option for direct mount create greater options for frame designers.


• Four mounting style available to accommodate most frames: Low clamp, high clamp, E-type, and direct mount

• Double or triple specific versions provides precision shifting for either format

• Cage design optimized for tire and frame clearance

• MSRP: $54.99 (all specs)

• Weight: 153g (low clamp, top swing)

• Available: June 2011



CN-HG94 / CS-M771

The chain and cassettes are the only parts that remain unchanged for the new group.

The drive-train is completed with the Dyna-Sys 10-speed CN-HG94 and CS-M771 cogset introduced in 2010. The HG-X asymmetric design chain has inner and outer plates that take specific advantage of the contours of the Hyperglide cogset. Cogset options are 11-36T, 11-34T and 11-32T.


• MSRP: CN-HG94 > $49.99, CS-M771 > $99.99

• Weight: CN-HG94 > 343g, CS-M771 > 273g


• Available: currently available


WH-M785 / WH-M788

Two new wheel options will feature different rim widths and axle options. The WH-M785 will have a 19×559 profile rim with 15mm front hub and QR rear wheel. The WH-M788 will feature a wider 21×559 rim offering a different platform for wider tires and will come with a 15mm front axle and the option for a 12X142mm rear or QR rear.

• MSRP: $749.99 (any spec)

• Weight: o WH-M785-F15 > 710, WH-M785-R > 915g

o WH-M788-F15 > 775g, WH-M788-R12 > 1020g, WH-M788-R > 980g


• Available: June 2011


PD-M780 / PD-M785

The PD-M780 pedals increase pedal surface contact area by 5 times vs. the PD-M770 for incredible pedaling stability. An offset binding allows mud to flow through the pedal better than prior designs for the best possible performance in muddy conditions.

A completely new pedal for 2012, the PD-M785 is an XT quality pedal aimed at trail use. An integrated pedal cage offers greater stability even when not clipped in with an increase in surface area of 8.5 times over the PD-M770.


• MSRP: $149.99 (either version)

• Weight: TBA

• Available: June 2011


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Guitar Ted
11 years ago

Also- the Ice-Tech rotors will be offered in a six bolt pattern.

11 years ago

Would it kill Shimano to offer a crankset with a 44 tooth big ring for those of us that actually need to get some where?

11 years ago

alloycowboy – get a road bike then!

11 years ago

It’s too bad Shimano is putting out some of the ugliest components in the biz today. Even if they work well, I can’t justify putting such ugly hunks of metal on any of my rigs. At least the chains and cassettes work well and can’t be uglified.

11 years ago

wait does that brake have the hardware to remove it without taking the grip off..then connect it to the shifter and its over

11 years ago

Oh this is waiting beyond

11 years ago

Why from year to year the component price is going up and up,
You will loose the customers, it’s looks like someone in Shimano forgot the customers

11 years ago

I agree with alloycowboy. On our local racecourses, I routinely pedal out my 44×11 on descents (>35mph), and getting to/from the trailhead involves some fast road riding. I don’t know what Shimano’s smoking. Maybe all their engineers are weaklings and seriously think a 40-tooth ring is enough.

11 years ago

@alloycowboy, @mechBgon, the difference at 35mph between a 44t and 42t is about 5 rpm, between a 44t and 40t about 10 rpm. No SRAM pro has been running over a 42t for two years now, and two seasons ago the XC national championships was won a 1×10 with a 36t ring. Unless you’re doing sprints on a bike with skinny tires, a 40t is enough (how many people beat you on single speeds at your last race?). If you don’t like it, keep your old stuff.

11 years ago

@kgc, I race against the national SS cyclocross champion every week, and he isn’t using a SS in our XC races, nor has anyone beaten me with one. You can do all the math you want, but at the end of the day, my 44 x 11 sees a lot of use in real life, both on the trail, and getting *to* the trail. Overall setup is a 32-44 with an 11-32, on a 26″ bike, powered by a former state RR champion. I guess I’ll have to save up for the pricey XTR Race 30-44 combo when it’s time to switch up to 10-speed, or find decent aftermarket rings.