Shimano XT M8000 11-46T casette long-term review

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.

https://youtu.be/HY9GRoXIY1A
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.

http://bike.shimano.com/content/sac-bike/en/home/mtb1/drivetrain/cassettes/cs-m8000.html

Shimano XT M8000 rear dérailleur updated Long-term review

This post is in the process of being updated.

Wet EXT RF Atlas Catalyst - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0404
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With the original link & jockey wheels
Rebuilt XT m8000 on Trek 6300_1595
XT M8000 KMC x11 DLC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29e_0329

This part seems to be made of some sort of plastic composite.

The wire clamp is a weak point, not only because the plate bends, but if the threads fail, due to a hard impact or whatever reason, you need a new rear dérailleur. The wire plate bent to the point of the wire slipping, but I managed to bend it back on a bike path, but I flipped it, and used it for several months without issues, But I ordered Spare anyway.

I replaced the seal, as it lost some of the elasticity & stiffness, the bolts holding the cover in place held up well.

I changed the whole clutch assembly, not only the axle, I noticed the original spring lost the stiffness, the new one was a lot stiffer.

The scratches you see on pull arm is was caused by the chain grinding on it, it was when I had Bontrager Duster 29 on the bike, which was not good for 11 speed as the cassette was further in than the Hope Pro 4 Enduro wheel, Hope Pro 4 hubs are 11 speed compatible freehub, which places the cassette further outwards giving you better chain line & eliminating back pedalling chain drops. Even though there are some scrapes I have not had a hard crash with it yet. Time will tell how it will hold up, But I will not use it as much as it will go on the trek 6300, which I only use as a spare, But so far there has not been any significant damage from the small spills.

Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0405
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0413_DxO
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0314
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0306
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0308
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0358
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0343
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0363
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0601
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0633
Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0627
rebuilt XT M8000 Speed rear deraileur _0443

The clamping plate eventually bent after few months, eventually the wire slipped, and I I had get it straightened enough to be usable, and then I put it back with the wear to the top, eventually the plate was straighter, but I eventually installed new plate just in case, to me it seems like the wire is bending the plate after long little by little, it seems like a flawed design. also the nut bolt trough plate design is no longer in use as on previous XT so the threads are in swing arm not in a nut.

Fully assembled, seal for cover for the clutch replaced, wire clamping plate, the seal hood for the clutch adjustment, which also eventually wore out like the original, hopeless, it wears out fast, and eventually falls off.

here you can see the new plate installed

XT wire bolt - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29e_0321
Hope 11T- 2017 upgraded NR 1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0312

Better jockey wheels installed..

Hope 11T- 2017 upgraded NR 1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0307
Hope  KMC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0210
XT Hope  KMC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0195

Did the 2014 Trek fuel ex 7 damaged the RD? or was it faulty?

The axle failed & the chain got bent, So first I tried warranty, but that did not work, but later, I became quite sure it was my frame that caused it. The Rd still had some life in it, So I ordered spares from SJS Cycles, but Shimano Norway would not warranty it as there was another damage, which actually is just cosmetic damage.

I am quite sure now the reason cage axle failed, was it due to major flex in the 2014 Fuel ex 7 frame under pedalling load? or was it faulty cage axle? I Don’t know.

Flickr album

Cons:

  • no use of bearings or bushings, causing shorter lifetime, which is a compromise.
  • not well optimized for wide range cassettes, So the use of goat link or similar is necessary, but if doing so, it performs very well.
  • plastic jockey wheels which wear a lot faster than metal
  • The clutch lever is plastic and is flimsy, it bends.
  • the bolts are quite fragile, the head damages easily, the tolerances between the tool and the bolt is not great, there is a wiggle room, causing the bolt to wear, even with most accurate tools out there it won’t solve the issue as the bolt head it self is the issue, but having it will definitely help, it’s the case for all of the bolts.
  • Plastic clutch switch is flexy and fragile it seems, I have seen pictures online of it snapped, impacting it might snap it, I haven’t done it, I don’t smash Rds often, if I do any damage it’s just scratching.
XT RD m8000 Clutch lever _20170221_111429205

Pros:

  • good shifting performance, if the clutch is well adjusted, by having a hard clutch you get harder lever action, so optimising it for you is important, I can’t have it super hard, the shifting performance is good with the Xt m8000 cassette, but also with the SunRace cassette, but the Sunrace cassette, has back-pedalling issues So I can’t recommend it.
  • very easy to service the clutch.

2019 update: the spring is not as strong as on Box One first gen, which was so strong it was fatiguing me even more than the XT M8000.

Verdict:

I will use the Xt Rd for a while, to not fatigue my thumb as much with Box One but I think I will switch from mechanical shifter to Archer D1X electronic system to get less fatigued, because even with the lighter spring on XT M8000 it still can be too much for longer rides.

Shimano SLX M675 Shadow+ vs XT m8000 Shadow+

Using your 10 speed deore,slx,xt,xtr, rear dérailleur for 11 speed is possible, but it wont be as smooth.

but of course to compare this you have to have exact same setup, which I had here.

And of course The clutch tension must be properly adjusted & all other adjustments, I set mine up by decreasing tension until it the shifting performance was acceptable.

I recently rode the bike with SLX M675 few days and then the xt m8000 bike after wards and the performance is definitely noticeable.

Even on 11-42T cassettes with stock links/without goat link, the difference was noticeable.

the difference was most noticeable in the lower gears/bigger cogs.

If went up and down much faster, and made less noise.

I used KMC 11X SL Silver on both setups.

on my 2014 Fuel ex 7 29er I had to get a Goatlink to run 11-46T cassette possible. this picture shows the Rear dérailleur adjusted to the max,with a 1|1-46T XT m8000 cassette.

Is it absolutely necessary to upgrade? absolutely not,but on rougher trail  it’s nice to have better shifting.

Short term Review: Shimano Deore XT M8000 with Race Face Narrow wide

On 10speed Formula/Bontrager Freehub:

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.25185797391_0cfdb76e37_o

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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.

With this set up i used uncut CN-HG701-11 chain.

Shimano Deore XT M8000 I-Spec B shifter:

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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

Down shifting:

  • smooth lever-action.
  • 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:

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11-26T M8000 Cassette  & RD m8000 with original link & trek ABP hanger

 

Pros:

  • 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.

 

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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.

If you want video proof that narrow wide works watch this video by Seth’s Bike Hacks

Me unboxing the 36T chainring

Down 50 degrees stairs test:

Steep stairs

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 have faster 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.

If you are not sure which gear ratio you need:http://gears.mtbcrosscountry.com/

Flickr Album: Shimano DeoreXT M8000

Flickr Album: Race Face