Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
Here in this review, one of our customers Alex Hoddy makes the switch from the SRAM GX drivetrain back to a Shimano XT 11 speed setup. Alex takes us through installing and riding the Shimano XT M8000 rear derailleur on his dialed in Santa Cruz Hightower.
My name is Alex Hoddy, I was born and raised in Phoenix Arizona. Having started mountain biking only about three years ago I am still relatively new to the industry as far as technology and maintenance of bikes. I started out riding a Trek Stache that came equipped with a Shimano SLX 2x drivetrain and was very happy with Shimano even on the lower end I never had a single problem with it to this day. My next 2016 Trek Remedy came equipped with a SRAM GX drivetrain so I just stuck with it. I decided a couple of months ago to build up a Santa Cruz Hightower frame I found for a steal of a deal!
I decided right away I'd be going full Shimano XT build. The drivetrain was a no brainer. I wanted XT shifters, 32 tooth chainring, 11-46 cassette, and the long cage XT 11-speed derailleur. I ride a lot of steep technical trails on south mountain in Phoenix and some technical stuff in Sedona every once in a while so the big cassette and long cage derailleur seemed like the best option without spending $1000 on a SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain. So far I am super happy with this derailleur! About 75 miles of steep technical climbs and gnarly rock gardens, I haven't felt the need for any tuning or adjusting. I have had zero lag or ghost shifting and it's been crisp since the initial set up.
The only thing I was concerned about was the clearance of the derailleur when in the largest cog going through tight narrow sections on the trail. But once I was out riding I had no issues with clearance while climbing. After riding SRAM GX drivetrain for so long it's nice to come back to Shimano at a reasonable price point and awesome quality and durability. Having the clutch on the derailleur is really nice to reduce chain slap coming down the chunky trails I'm so fond of.
The installation was a breeze and really only required some grease, some patience and a set of allen wrenches. I would definitely recommend this derailleur to anyone looking for a good quality and budget happy medium.
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