First things I noticed compared to the Xt m8000 was the different feel, which is difficult to explain, but it’s different.
A look inside:
A closer look at the mount:
you can see the clamp is narrow & have a smart design which does not compromise on stiffness or reliability, and keeps it light.
It got some abuse:
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.
No position adjustment:
I need to change the position of the shifter, for a perfect fit, but The XTR M9000 shifter does not allow me to do this by default, I haven’t looked at alternative mounting solutions much.
I have recently changed from Exi Extra Chunky silicone grips to Rev grips in 34mm, and I am rubbing my thumb on the Lockon clamp when shifting up.
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.
Issues with too soft bolts:
I have experienced too soft bolts on several drivetrain components,shifters,rear deraileurs, So this was nto 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 rounded off slightly, the stronger bolt should have been used, this is disappointing, 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.
Shimano please make mounts and other components compatible with cheaper shifters, for example, the clamps, covers, and so on.
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 75kg, (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.
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.
Both of the crankshaft a nylon preloading, which has a small Allen screw, which was easel rounded off even though I was very gentle.
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.