after the initial review back in 2018 , I have updated the review, some improvements, and added videos.
I have used it for few months.
I haven’t had a very hard impact on the bash guard yet, but I had one light scrub, which barely gave a mark, but once I get a big impact I will update you on this.
The bash guard is mounted with two Torx screws to into the plate, which makes assembly and disassembly is very easy & fast, there is no need for two Torx screws like with MRP AMGv2, but the only bad thing about this is if you ruin the threads, you cna’t just swap bolts, but it keeps the weight down.
Doesn’t clog up with mud, 77designs designed a great chain guide, it does the job well, without any unnecessary bulk or material, mud will travel through the big hole.
easy to take the chain off, due to the simple and great design of the guide, you just undo the bolt little bit and swing the front guide, with Loctite 243 and proper torque it will stay on securely.
the chain guide from 77 Designz seems to be good, with keeping the chain in place, I tested how well the chain will stay on by forcing it off the chainring, the plastic pushed it back on, so I think the chain will be very secure on the trail no matter how fast or hard you ride. I think it does a better job than MRP AMG v2, which is not really made for oval chainrings.
Broken Bash plate
First I used 34T oval, which the guide supported but for this chainring size the bash guard could be few millimetres longer, to protect against very uneven stone edges, but I later switched to 32T Oval and that should not be an issue for sure, I have also ordered new bash guide plate, the size was 28-32T which was exactly the same as the original.
Since 6 months review in Jan 31 2018, I have taken a lot of pictures, I have improved this review a lot, but I might update it again.
later may 21 2019 I added videos and improved the text.
The barrel adjuster is nice easy to adjust the wire tension.
A look inside:
A closer look at the mechanism:
The back plate is made of plastic and is secured with tree thicker bolts and a tiny screw.
Here you can see the top of the mechanism, the hexagon keeps the shifter to rotate, the bolt goes through the hole. the white stuff you see is the original Factory grease.
A closer look at the mount:
The carbon down shift lever got scratched, but it was fine:
I have managed to scrape up the Carbon trigger, I don’t know how or when, but probably in one of the few crashes I had, probably on asphalt or rock, but it held up well without any cracks or other damage, even after a year after this scratch happen.
Removal of bottom cover requires moving it over the lever, be careful doing this so you don’t damage the cover
Triggers withstood winter use
The shifter triggers withstand winter use,the downshift lever is made of carbon, The up shift trigger seems to be made of plastic carbon mix. Unlike some other plastic triggers shimano had to offer in the past, these don’t fail after few months of winter use,same goes for the xt version, but xt version has alloy downshift lever, and plastic trigger, but it can withstand winter use.
Where I live winter can be as – 10c midwinter, January, February, also a lot of temperature changes up and down, and very varied temps and conditions on the start and end, but they withstood it all very well, zero cracks.
No position adjustment:
Currently there does not seem to be a trigger shifter on the market that fits me, and have all the adjustments to make it fit me. also the fatigue I get from shifting makes Electronic systems interesting like Archer Components: https://www.archercomponents.com/
I have have tried the latest Sram shifters in my local sporting goods store, they too were not made for my hands, but at least they got a adjustment to the downshift trigger, to adjust the angle, but that’s not enough, but just by looking at it I could tell it would not work for me, also I can tell the other shifters I have seen won’t work well for me. I haven’t had the chance to try the latest 12 speed Shimano shifter yet, but I can see from reviews on YouTube and pictures on in the magazines, it does not seem like they would fit me well.
Shifters has to have adjustments to make it fit big and small hands and all in between, having one size does not work well. this has bothered me for many years, but most things with contact points on bikes has been fixed, some even like they read my mind, but I am sure I am not the only one who wished for many of these things.
The thumb will rub against the lock on clamp when shifting with the XTR M9000 shifter, but this is not the Grips’s fault, I would like some more adjustment for the XTR shifters, but so far this has not been an issue yet, this of course leads to wear where the thumb rubs.
here you can see thumb at the down-shift lever.
Another thing is when using the up-shift trigger with my index finger, I have to move my finger in uncomfortable way, I have to reach for the trigger or move my hand to actuate the trigger, but when using my thumb it will rub, but if I place it where it would be natural to place it, it sits half way on the trigger.
But as this is a shifter it’s not wearing as fast as a rear derailleur would, so it will last for ears, not much play has developed, if any, but I also have serviced it several times, to keep it running smoothly.
The lack of adjustment makes it impossible to set up properly even if this shifter fits you, with some brake s it might not work good.
With the new Shimano brakes(M7000, M8000, M9000), there is more room for clamping position.
XTR Shifter & TRP Spyke lever is not a good combo, with the Spyke lever I have less room to play with shifter placement.
This shifter does not fit me:
I would like to change the position of the shifter, for a better fit but the XTR M9000 shifter does not allow me to do this by default, I haven’t looked at alternative mounting solutions much, but the times I looked I did not find anything.
With my thumb joint issue causing the thumb to misaligned sure does not help when shifting, the big movements and pressure from the spring tension is fatiguing on it’s own, but the issues I have can cause even more problems, also make it more painful to shift when it happens, and having a Shifter that does not fit me, creates even more fatigue.
The shifter also has a firm click, it’s significantly different, from other Shimano shifters from the past, so you can feel the actuation better, but this adds to the fatigue I guess. But not as much as a rear derailleur with a clutch too tight, for example the first gen Box One ,which is actually abusing my thumb, to the point in the tip of my thumb like a needle, if I do too much shifting, it can take days before my thumb is back to normal.
Both triggers have play, the play has been present in all Shimano shifters I have used or tried.
The clamp is well engineered, for lightweight, but the connection between the mount & the shifter is flawed, there is slight rotational play between the mount and the shifter.
I have used it the XTR m9000 shifter with the Box One first generation rear derailleur, but the spring is a lot firmer than the spring on Shimano XT M8000 rear derailleur, so this makes it harder to downshift, more fatiguing, but even with the Shimano XT M8000 rear derailleur shifting is quite fatiguing, but that’s the negative part of a mechanical shifting rear derailleur.
Issues with bolts getting damaged too easily:
I have experienced too soft bolts on several drivetrain components, shifters, rear derailleurs, So this was not a surprise.
The bolt holding the shifter to the clamp was not tight enough when I checked it, so I unscrewed it applied Loctite 243 and screwed it back in, the bolt got damaged some, the stronger bolt should have been used, this is disappointing, but the bolt is supposed to be titanium, but there is too much wiggle room, which results in damage, even with a hex hey or bit that has great tolerances, it still will be bad, I have experienced this problem with several bolts from shimano, they all suffered from this, but not all have gotten as damaged yet, but they probably will eventually, you should insert tool and turn and not have wiggle room, but I can move the hex bit or key in evry direction, this is not something most people aspect from a high-end component, But I do, sadly there I see too many shortcuts in the bike industry.
I have tested several positions, and none of them worked well for me. but I settled on this one, but it will not be perfect.
For better grip I installed Tesa Anti Slip tape, on all controls, including the shifter, this has gave a much more secure shifting experience. of course there are other options, I just got this tape from one of my local hardware stores.
The difference in feel between XT & XTR:
Shimano XTR Shifting XT M8000 RD
First things I noticed compared to the Xt m8000 was the different feel, which is difficult to explain, but it’s different.
Shimano please make mounts and other components compatible with cheaper shifters, for example, the clamps, covers, and so on.
as you can see that xt clamp is overbuilt, unless they use different type of material, that requires it, though the rest of the shifter is not.
but it would be nice if there was just on shifter with several versions instead of the making it different just to be different and not compatible.
I could not compare & test the durability & longevity of the cassettes in a accurate & scientific way, but here is my experience with it so far. I have been swapping between 3 wheel sets, and various time of use, only way to accurately test it is a machine with exact same abuse.
The cogs eventually bent/twisted, but it took much longer than on the XT casette,
the Sun Race Cassette is more flexible, but also more resistant to ”permanent” bends.
I have 3 wheel sets I rotate, when one needs a service or something is wrong I can just swap, so I haven’t used the cassettes 100% equally amount of time.
I am not sure if the flex in the FuelEx’s that did this or if its the cassette’s fault.
it was more resistant to blends but is more flexible than XT cassette.
I have of course regurally chainged the chain when it got to 0.40mm stretch. and lube the chain well, an done every htign correctly.
The Last ride on the last cassette:
I worn out 2 of the tree cassettes, and June 2018 I worn out the last one.
The cassette was so messed up, that the chain dropped to the smallest cog.
I knew the cassette was going to wear out soon, and it did,the chain dropped to the smallest cog. The hanger was bent too.
the smaller cogs are have bent teeth & twisted teeth, some of the cogs are bent too.
there is no way I can twist the teeth back to be straight with any tool I got. if it was just the cogs a screw driver would probably do the trick, it did before on several XT cassettes.
I had to put on Xt cassette I had.
The Sun Race cassette was more resistant to the abuse The Fuel EX frame set put s the drive train trough, but eventually it got abused too much.
Back on the Sun Race cassette
The backpedalling issue was gone when I went from 34t to 32t oval chainring.
I could pedal backwards without the chain dropping or skipping or any high noises.
The range seems to be what I was looking for.
With 11-46T x 34T oval I found I needed a smaller chainring, so I got 33t. I could have gone for bigger cassette, but I did not need the high gear the 34t offered. And I will stick with sun race 11-46, as Shimano xt m8000 does not offer the a good transition to the largest cog.
I have been through several cassettes and put it through its paces.
Due to the design of the cogs, the transition from each cog is excellent. The chain stays well in place with unrealistic fast backpedalling, where the sun race cassettes would drop the chain, my bike has hope pro 4hub, Absolute Black 34t.oval chainring, this but the chain at an optimal angle for the biggest cog, so this clearly shows the sun race cassette performs worse with backpedalling. As mentioned in many other reviews, the jump to the 46t cog is too big, it messes up your cadence, but I got used to it.
The XT cassette has quite stiff cogs when the chainstay wore out on my 2014 fuel ex the extra side to side movement combined with bearing misalignment caused the cogs to bend, but this will not be an issue on a bike that does not have an extreme side to side movement or bearing misalignment issues. So, in conclusion, the cassette performed well.
For me, the fastest & easiest solution when the awful Shimano M552 cranks failed, was to get turbine cranks. The cranks on my trek 6300 bike failed, so I de sided to switch to my trusted Turbine crank, plus crisp King bb, so I decided to try Atlas cranks, I thought I would notice the difference, and I did.
I am about probably between 72-80kg, I ahven’t been on a scale in a long time (but this number varies on how much stuff I got in my backpack, I have not weighed in a long time, so I am probably heavier now.) with all the gear on
The crankset is quite similar looking, but there are several differences, the turbine cranks look pretty similar to the Atlas cranks, but the Turbine have a lot more material shaved off in arm where the bolt is & on the tip, the is also a difference in how much material is shaved off behind the crank, the Atlas has more material near the pedal.
Both of the cranks have a nylon preloading, which has a small Allen screw, which was easel rounded off even though I was very gentle.
So as soon as Cane Creek Preloader came on the market I ordered it for all the cranks.
Here is a pictures of it installed.
And on Turbine:
for commuting, or xc/light trail, these cranks were stiff enough, but on rougher trails, I could feel the difference in stiffness or another technical riding. I think turbine cranks have a good stiffness compromise & of lightweight.
First ride with Atlas cranks:
Even before riding the cranks on the trail I could feel the difference in stiffness, just by a quick test in being on the bike in the kitchen, I tested a lot of positions, but then I took it for a spin on the trails some days later.
The first ride on the trails, I felt the difference, even though my frame is quite flexible in the BB area.
I could feel that the Atlas cranks were stiffer while riding technical trials.
The bolt has bad tolerances, causing wear, this is the case for both Turbine & Atlas the cranks of course
I think turbine cranks have a good stiffness compromise & of lightweight, so perfect for a commuter bike or for lighter riders.
I am all for everything that gives me better control, and stability, which both Turbine and Atlas cranks gave me over the cheaper much more flexible Shimano cranks I have ridden in the past.
Even trough the guide itself is made of plastic, it held up well.
I have been riding pretty fast in rough terrain, up and down steep trails, jumped, did some stunts, and drops, riding down steep stairs(40-50 degrees)in low gears, the chain never came off, there were not many signs of wear, but eventually you will have to change the guide,(the plastic part with Mrp logo), but I have been using it over a year and held up well, not much wear.
one of my first thought about the guard was it might get much mud stuck in it, but even though I have been riding in bad weather, there were not much dirt or mud stuck in there. But as long as you don’t ride in extreme condition, with a lot of mud, in something like Danny Hart’s 2011 world cup run, or even thicker mud, I am sure It won’t be an issue.
I there was some missing spacers, and I lost some of the thin spacers,but later I found them, so I switched to 2x thin spacers, which should, be better, but I still think bigger gravel can get stuck in between the chain ring and chain guide, but this is impossible to avoid.
But Now as I have a Sortimo boxes I don’t have a mess so it won’t loose any more small parts.
Make sure you Use the right spacers.
After riding a lot in the spring I noticed scrape on the 36T cinch narrow wide race face chainring, which I think is caused by a stone getting stuck between the chainring and the chain guide, causing a perfect circle scrape.
I had the bike in the repair stand, after riding on gravel paths, I noticed that there was a stone stuck in the chain guide and was scraping the chainring, and fell down again, I think that’s what happen the last time.
Very easy to install, & setup, No need to remove crankset or chainring to install the chain guide,
Minimalistic design, no bulky or unnecessary big parts.
after few hits, no damage done
all of the guides I got had missing thick spacers, and missing short screws.
Mrp claims it should fit 38 T chainring, But in my opinion, 36T is the max, with 38T the plastic will be too close to the edge of the chain. so if the guard was few millimetres bigger, it would fix 38T better, but I don’t need a 38T ring anyway.
Not properly Oval compatible:
Although MRP list this guide as Oval compatible it does not work as well with oval, due to the ovality of the chainring, the narrowest point of the oval causes more room and the chain could squeeze trough between the ring and guide.
If I use the 42T cog on the cassette the chain will fall off when back-pedalling, but when I shift up to 37T cog the chain stays in place no matter how hard I pack pedal.
On Hope Pro 4 freehub:
the Pro 4 free hub, is 11 speed compatible, which means it’s wider, and comes with a spacer,and with 11speed cassette, the cassette is closer to the frame/more outwards to the right, which gives a better chain line, so the backpedalling issues is gone,Unless you backpedal at unrealistic speed,then it will fall off,but I have done 180 U turns in 1stgear(42T) and the chain never fell off.
So if your rear hub is compatible with a wider freehub,you should get one.
Huge noise reduction when riding:
The first thing I noticed after I upgraded to 1×11 is that all the slapping ,banging and scraping noises are gone from my bike.
The narrow wide chain-ring will make more sound than the triple chain-ring, but when ring in rough terrain or jumping, the noise is a lot less than a conventional triple ring set-up would make.
There is big difference in the force needed to press to press the small trigger(up shift),but I got used to it after days ,and it did not feel as hard to press, and I like the shifter feel,I get less accidental shifts this way.
The change in gear is instant like promised.
The possibility to shift by bending you finger and do a finger kick motion,which you can’t do with Sram shifters.
(like this(https://youtu.be/7HvJma35fZA) to push the lever/trigger is gone, as the Shimano Deore 10 Spd had.But for me this is a acceptable compromise.
But there will be no accidental shifts
There is huge difference in the force required to push the triggers between SL-M610 & M8000 , so if you plan to upgrade a kids bike you might want to let the kid try it out first,but for the youngest I recommend getting SL-M610 or something similar.
you can shift down 4 gears
The I-Spec B shifter will have rotational play,because of the pin system, it’s not avoidable.
The screw came with a lot of Blue thread-locker,so needed to try few times until I finally got it tight without loose shifter.
But the adjustment screws did not,so you have to buy thread locker for them, I used Loctite 243.
The rear Derailleur:
A lot stiffer Clutch system, which is good.
Very smooth,fast shifting movement.
Esy to service, as long as you got magnetic bowl, and are careful with the round seal fo the spring assambly.
Race Face Narrow wide:
The chain will not fall off no matter how hard I ride, if it falls off you must be crashing really hard.
There is some drag when pedalling but this is not noticeable when riding, the chain still wants to be on the ring for about a half of a second, but this is impossible to avoid with Narrow Wide.
set up used in test: 2010 trek 6300 1 x10 36-11T cassette Shimano SLX Shadow Plus, with 36T Race Face Narrow Wide chain ring.The chain dropped when it was in 24 Tooth cog, but when I tried in 21 cog it stayed on. Even on stairs that were not that steep probably 40 degrees,the chain fell off.
Pros of 1×11:
You get all the gears you need if you just select the right chairing for you.
a lot quieter drive train
dropping the chain is rare unless you ride in low gears down steep stairs.
No front chain rigns to deal with
easier to clean the drive train,less dirt & mud on the drive train
if you want to sue a chain guide, you can use a single ring chain guide which will be more secure,and look better
if you use a wide range cassette with a 9T cog you can get the a pretty high gear as you could with triple rings,but with 11-42 with 36T cassette I get a pretty good range,but once I get on the 1km flat straights I will run out of gears
Cons of 1×11: There are no real cons riding 1×11 it will havefaster wearing cassette and chain of course,but that’s not a reason to not upgrade. the 37 and 42 cogs are the fastest wearing cogs, because of the bigger chain angle.
the cassette & chainring wore out at the end of the season like it did with 10×3, maybe few weeks sooner wear. I don’t have to shift as often and skip so many gear so often,so I get less side to side wear on the chain,by using 1×11,so the chain growth will be less.
If i changed the chain,a lot earlier, the cassette and ring would have lasted longer,but I had no spare chains,but I have a stock of chains now.
The Rear derailleur cage will have visible wear, with 1x setup,because of the chain line the chain will hit the plates,but its not a big deal.
I absolutely recommend Both the Xt m8000 drivetrain and the Race Face Narrow Wide single chaining.