These SL-M980 XTR Rapidfire Shifters finally look the part. What we mean is that they're sleek, minimalist, and racy -- just what you'd expect from Shimano's top-shelf offering. And in contrast to its racing heritage, XTR is now designed for racing and trail riding. These shifters are made to function with both their 2x10 Race and 3x10 Trail XTR groups. The left side shifter has a tiny switch that functions as a mode converter allowing it to work with either group. Just select your chainring configuration and go ride. Like previous generations of XTR shifters, the right side shifter has multi-release function, which means that you can make upshifts to smaller cogs more than one gear at a time. Less expensive groups like XT and SLX do not have this function. Both shifters also have instant release, so cable tension is released as soon as you click the forward trigger paddle. It can be operated with either your thumb or finger. This 2-way release design allows easy upshifts in the back even when standing out of the saddle. One technology that is new for these 980 XTR Shifters is Shimano's Vivid Index. It creates a more positive feel for the large, thumb shifter paddle. As you push it, you can't help but notice the click of the indexed ratchet mechanism so you'll always know you've made the shift. Another benefit is that the "weight" of the shifts is more consistent across the gear range for the rear shifter so a shift from the 34 to 36t feels like a shift from the 12 to 13t cogs. The XTR Rapidfire Plus Shifters SL-M980 come as a set with left and right shifters. They can be used with XTR Race and Trail, double and triple cranksets.
a Cross Country Rider
from miyako-gun, okinawa-ken, japan
Date Reviewed: April 9, 2011
Strengths: lighter than previous version sl-m970, can be used for 20 or 30 speed combination which not available in previous version.
Weaknesses: where's anodized lever engraving 'xtr' !? even lighter than previous one this 2011 version lack of finished, all new xtr groupset component such brake and crank are more cool except the shifter.
MORE FEATURES but less finishing because removal of anodized lever to reduce weight. Cockpit doesnt look cool with this shifter...