Hot on the heels of their new XT-level STePS MTB e-bike drive system, Shimano has another XT group expansion to share. This new T8000 series broadens the reach of XT to deliver top-level drivetrains adapted specifically for trekking and proper bike touring. The top-tier of these bikes had been often built up with XT groups already, so T8000 aims to give them some solutions, like gearing tailored just for their needs, with their performance of XT…
Shimano wanted to build a new group for bike tourers that could provide the level of reliability and durability needed to ride all over the world on pretty much any road or trail surface. For that they went with a triple crank, and interestingly a 10 speed cassette. It seems that worldwide availability of 11 speed mountain cassettes (remember road cassettes mean a different freehub body and in most cases different hub are needed) is still pretty limited with only the most recent XT and XTR fitting the bill. So sticking with 10 speed means that any 10 speed Shimano or SRAM cassette, road or mountain, can be swapped in a pinch.
Many of the individual components look to be directly plucked out of the mountain biking lineup (albeit the 10 speed versions), but some interesting new parts developed for touring standout like… an XT centerlock, QR generator front hub. The new T8000-3D hub has a 3W/6V power output for use from 26″ and bigger wheels and can be paired with the standard matching M8010 rear hub. No word on whether the hub can be converted to a thru-axle, but from the looks of it, that isn’t likely.
A new 1-sided SPD pedal isn’t really innovative, as many cheap variants are available, but an XT-level build means it should beat most on performance and longevity. At the same time it offers a nice forged aluminum platform cage with replaceable traction pegs on the other side for riding in street shoes.
The crankset looks like a carry-over of the XT triple, but gets a outer chain guard to keep pants from getting greased up or caught by the big ring. It does now get a 48/36/26 chainset for a good bit more gearing than the 40/30/22 spread of M8000. Cassettes though are direct carry over, using the 10 speed XT cassettes that will stay in eth catalog for a while longer in 11-32, 11-34 & 11-36 options.
Rapidfire shifters and derailleurs are pretty straight forward XT bits, albeit with a previous generation look to match their 10 speed function. The long cage rear derailleurs, in order to match up with the triple, do not get a Plus clutch in any of the T8000 variants, although they do get the lower profile Shadow mounting system.
Brakes use a design that looks a lot like last year’s M800, but with a longer multi-finger lever shape and repositioned adjustment. Otherwise they use the same calipers and get I-spec2 clamps, plus the same IceTech rotors in 6-blot or centerlock from 160mm and up.
The new XT trekking group will be available from September 2016, so like STePS MTB, it should start popping up on production bikes by the end of the summer.