Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Open Letter to Shimano - Make Us Some 11 Speed!

So, a few facts:
-I've sold ONE Shimano drivetrain in the last year.
-I've sold probably 25-30 XX1 drivetrains in that time.
-I've heard stories from bike shop friends about people *refusing to buy* high end bikes that did not have XX1.
-Almost everyone I know things the XX1 is awesome, but also thinks it's too expensive.

Shimano, you gotta step up. Nobody is going to buy XTR anymore. Heck, nobody is going to buy XT when for an extra few hundred bucks they could get XX1.

Here's the thing - XX1 is a racer/top end product. It's the nicest stuff you can buy. Every effort has been made to get rid of every last gram (witness, the $450 cassette) and for a lot of people, that's not necessary. I'd guess that $300 of the cassette price is JUST getting rid of the last 50g or so of weight.

So, here's what you do, Shimano: Make us a $500-800 retail price XT-level 1x11 group. Swallow your pride and use the SRAM driver standard for the cassette so that we don't have to all go buy ANOTHER driver. Make a couple of different gearings (10-42, 10-39, 10-36?) and don't spend a fortune to make the cassette weigh nothing - 350-400g is fine. If your grouppo is a pound heavier than XX1, that's ok. Just make it reliable and durable and inexpensive.

I'd buy a set. Heck, I'd buy several. I'd sell a ton of it. Yes, the serious weightweenies and racers will still want to throw that extra five hundred clams at a few grams of weight savings. That's fine, you can work on an XTR-level group next year. And yes, SRAM will make an X-9 level 11 speed soon, I'm sure. But you gotta have a product to compete.

I want to see you stay in the mountain bike market, Shimano - and I think you're risking losing the entire high end as well as the middle of the road bikes if you don't do something here. The opportunity is there, make it happen.



Anonymous said...

We hopen' to see something like this at the show the new
Thing from Shimano this year was full hydro disc brakes
For rode bikes


dicky said...

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

NickS said...

Its on its way, don't worry..

Probably in testing right now.

Except that it will use the Shimano 11sp road free hub standard, which with a spacer will be backwards compatible for 10/9sp cassettes.

It won't be released until its working very well, and at the xtr level will be electronic.

gregclimbs said...

We've had good luck running the race face narrow/wide 30t chainring and a 11-36 cassette...very close to the same bottom end...

Mitch said...

Love my modified 7-speed (13-32 9sp cassette, reduced by two) with my single 30t ring up front, thumbies shifters. Dish-less, minimal, durability, crisp shifting, and cheaper. To each his own to be sure, but some old-school tech wasn't broke to begin with.

Scott said...

I have no personal experience with this product, nor am I affiliated with the company, but it points to another variation Shimano/others might try:

Canfield makes a micro drive hub that can take a 9t cassette cog. By replacing four of the cogs on a SRAM cassette, you have a 9-36 tooth cassette; a 4:1 range vs. the XX1 4.2:1 range. For roughly the same gearing, a 28 tooth chainring would be equivalent to XX1 with a 32 tooth chainring.

Downsides are being locked into one and only one hub/company, a big gearing jump at the high speed end of the gearing vs. the low speed side, limited cassette choices and limited chainring options, due to the lower number of teeth required.

If Shimano is behind the eight ball, on move to 1x gearing, they might try Canfield's approach vs. duplicating the XX1 direction. Then again, perhaps not. In either case, this is another variation on the 1x theme.


Reid said...

There's also Rohloff. I'd never go back to derailleurs.

After several hundred miles of break-in and practice, shifting is almost as smooth as derailleurs were.