Shimano XTR M953 9-spd Cassette Cassette

3.05/5 (20 Reviews)


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Zachariah a Cross Country Rider from Palm Desert, CA USA

Date Reviewed: February 3, 2011

Strengths:    Light(244g for 11-34)
Stiff, thanks to the 5-arm alloy spider assembly
Shifts fluidly in all gears
Great gear range, for XC/trail rider



Weaknesses:    Too many titanium cogs. Shimano actually used SIX ti cogs, on this model cassette. The one-piece, integrated carrier and spider assembly is incredibly stiff, but the middle ti cogs may bend, due to high torque mashing. This is really a spinner's cassette.

Bottom Line:   
A great, solid cassette, with a few design flaws. The Achilles Heel of this cassette is the titanium 23t cog's tendency to momentarily bend, resulting in skip, while applying heavy torque. The one-piece freehub carrier and five-arm spider is actually very stiff...making the pliable titanium cogs the next weak links.

The 34t low cog offers relief on super-steep, 25% grade climbs. Plan all shifts, before applying torque, and this cassette will last you many thousands of trail miles. This cassette is the same weight as the new CS-M970 cogset, except the carrier and spider is now in three sections. The M953 cassette is made for the rider who likes to spin and climb. Shimano don't make cassettes of this quality anymore!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hurkey Creek Park (24 Hours of Adrenalin course)

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $80.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Shimano Dura Ace 7700
Shimano XT-M770
SRAM PG-990


Bike Setup:   22-pound Giant Anthem X2

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by HardyWeinberg a Cross Country Rider from Olympia WA USA

Date Reviewed: December 16, 2008

Strengths:    Weight, shifting

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
This cassette has lasted great for me pulling loads and kids up and down hills. I'm really happy w/ how it works. I have been happy with it from the get-go. Pushing 2k miles on it right now, no signs of wear.

I did just switch to my winter wheels and left the previous cassette on there, which is XT or LX and I have to say it performs about identically, w/ no derailer adjustment. Perhaps shifters are my limiting factor.

Re the bending thing, mine has a 5-arm spider, that might make a difference relative to the 4-arm ones. And I am a lunatic spinner, I do not mash just about ever.

I will try one more xtr cassette on my mtn bike, which has xtr shifters, and see if those pull some extra performance out of it. If not, well, it's been fun to use and I'm glad I tried it but I'm not sold on the sticker price.

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Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   online somewhere

Similar Products Used:   xt and lx cassettes, nashbar cassettes

Bike Setup:   surly LHT commuter bike - bar-end shifters, 2.0" big apple tires. front and rear racks, kids' trailer and trail-a-bike

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jim a Cross Country Rider from Asheville, NC

Date Reviewed: October 11, 2007

Strengths:    I've just had to retire my XTR cassette because the 8th cog wore out. Too bad we can't buy the the "loose" cogs for replacement. I'm not complaining though as I got an amazing 4400 miles of trail riding on this thing since my Blur was new in 2003. I did meticulous chain maintenance and changed them once a year.

Weaknesses:    The replacement price is crazy. Too bad individual cogs not part of the main cassette body are not available otherwise I could still be riding this cassette even after 4400 miles.

Bottom Line:   
I had a great experience with my XTR cassette but I replaced it with Sram PG-990.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bent Creek

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Irvine Bikesource

Similar Products Used:   XT & Sram cassettes.

Bike Setup:   Santa Cruz Blur. Cross Max SL rims w/ceramic bearings, Vertical Pro UST tires, Thomson Elite stem w/Easton carbon riser bar. Scram XO trigger shifters, XO derailleurs, Selle Italia Flow saddle w/FSA carbon seatpost, FSA mega EXO crankset, FSA ceramic bearing bottom bracket, Hope Mono Mini discs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Cruiser a Cross Country Rider from Dallas, TX, US

Date Reviewed: March 18, 2007

Strengths:    Over 1500 miles on mine, not a problem

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
I never post on these things, but I am amazed at the negatives on this product. Either Ive been lucky, or there is alot of misuse going on out there. On the same cassette for years without a worry. They are pricey-but titanium usually is.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   XT, Sram, Dura Ace, Ultegra, Campy

Bike Setup:   Always changin. Specialized Epic now

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Dave Wissenbach a Cross Country Rider from Tempe, AZ

Date Reviewed: April 2, 2006

Strengths:    Lots of teeth.

Weaknesses:    The gears bend under load.

Bottom Line:   
The XTR Cassette is not suitable for use in the real world. The customer assistant at the bike shop (Performance in Chandler, Arizona) where I bought the replacement recommended that I buy steel XT, even though the shop also stocked the higher-priced titanium XTR in stock. According the to shop guy, about 1 in 10 of the XTR cassettes will bend before they wear out.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Stock on 2003 Trek Liquid 30

Similar Products Used:   Shimano XT - no problems.

Bike Setup:   Trek Liquid. Stock Fox Suspension front and rear. Performance Loco Wheels, wide race-face diabolis handlebars with short stem to make bicycle behave better on rocky downhills.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Ian a Racer from San Diego, CA

Date Reviewed: January 12, 2006

Strengths:    Weight, Bling factor

Weaknesses:    Durability

Bottom Line:   
This is the 2nd XTR cassette I have used and both broke. The 1st broke at the spyder while cruising up a hill. I grabbed another at a LBS while on a road trip. This one shifted great and was not showing much wear but suddenly about 2" of the 32 tooth cog was gone. I was on a climb but nothing too radical. I am a clydsdale rider and that may have contributed but I will not spend $100+ on a light weight cassette again. I cannot recommend these based on value and durability.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Flume

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $135.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   SHRAM, XT

Bike Setup:   Ellsworth ID

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Rene Hoepelman a Cross Country Rider from long beach

Date Reviewed: December 20, 2005

Strengths:    light weight, strong,

Weaknesses:    price is rediculous

Bottom Line:   
With proper maintenence, common sense and finesse any cassette will last long. For all of you having problems with shifting to lower gears going up hills I would strongly suggest switching over to rapid rise. Shifting uphill or under load is not an issue and drive train parts for the most part, last a lot longer. Of course you will have to learn to shift backwards if using shimano triggers. (I am not familiar with sram shifting) I did not find that to be a problem.

The price of the xtr cassettes are way out of hand, for that reason I will be switching back to sram. I hear the ladies love the new red spindals and red lock rings. Sram cassettes are a few grams heavier at half the price of xtr with just about the same performance.

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Favorite Trail:   dirt

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $125.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   sram, xt

Bike Setup:   cross country

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Joe a Cross Country Rider from Hantsport, Nova Scotia, Canada

Date Reviewed: February 10, 2005

Strengths:    light weight, shifts well

Weaknesses:    Expensive. No performance weaknesses

Bottom Line:   
Durability not an issue here. I check in at 200 plus, rides include steep technical climbs that require shifting, never had a problem. Have used for two yrs, 2/3 rides wk, 8 mos of the year, in the widely varying conditions, mud, dust, snow, ice, etc. Has minimal signs of wear. Keep your chain clean and fresh (three chains so far). Make sure your shifters are properly adjusted (another story with shimano). Would I buy another? Probably not, there are alternatives far less expensive, with equal performance. I had to try it once, racers need it light, I don't. I'm in the process of switching complete drivetrain to sram (Race Face cranks), will use current Shimano part on back up bike for buddies.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   joyride

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   online

Similar Products Used:   sram,xt

Bike Setup:   enduro, xtr, tubeless c'max xl's, King hd set, easton c'bon, tompson stem

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Norman from Fredericton, NB

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2004

Strengths:    Light, shifts well

Weaknesses:    Durability -- bent the two largest cogs after less than 100 hours riding.

Bottom Line:   
As someone below pointed out, I could probably have extended the life of the cassette by never shifting on a climb. But my preference is to change to something more durable, add a few grams, and shift whenever I like.

I can't downgrade it too much, since you've got to expect to sacrifice some durability in exchange for light weight, but for me at least, the trade-off isn't worth it in this case.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Bike Setup:   SC Blur with full XTR

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John a Weekend Warrior from Chicago

Date Reviewed: September 10, 2004

Strengths:    Light weight, silky smooth shifting, durability.

Weaknesses:    Pricey.

Bottom Line:   
Smooth shifting even on uphills. With proper maintenance, this cassette has lasted through 2 years of Pisgah, Tsali, Manastee, Yankee, and Custar, as well as winter riding through grimy snow. It works and the shifts remain smooth as silk.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anyting outdoors

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   online

Similar Products Used:   XT, SRAM, LX

Bike Setup:   Full xtr on XC bike

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by dave a Racer from tennessee

Date Reviewed: July 5, 2004

Strengths:    light, hasn't broken or bent, shifts well

Weaknesses:    more likely to bend than xt? damn expensive new

Bottom Line:   
This cassette came on an almost year old bike, I purchased almost two years ago. It has survived about twenty races and countless training rides and crashes. I know that any product line contains variance in quality (I think i got lucky in that respect), but in a nutshell i believe 95% of cassette problems are caused by poor shifting technique. The other 5% might be poor mechanic skills (chain is stretched beyond spec or derailluer needs adjusting) and poor quality from the factory.

DON'T SHIFT WHILE GRINDING UPHILL... Do shift while pedaling easy just before and until after the shift is complete.

This is a lightweight component best for experienced racers.
Beginner and intermediate riders should not waste their money.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   oak mountain birmingham al

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   came on bike (ebay)

Similar Products Used:   xt, 8sp Lx, various

Bike Setup:   caad 4 (c-dale), ust crossmax, thomson post, easton ec90, roox cranks, phil wood bb, ti flite, pythons, egg beaters, sram x/o

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by mick a Cross Country Rider from Los Angeles,Ca

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2003

Strengths:    Lightweight, and that's the only positive I can think of. Can we say stupid light.........

Weaknesses:    Bent large cogs. shifting performance is sub par and that's an understatment. Pricey.

Bottom Line:   
Shimano needs to recall this product. It's spoiling there XTR rep for quality products. I have used Shimano components for 17 years and the XTR line has been for the most part top notch. I went ahead and returned the item to my Cannondale dealer and had it replace with an XT 11/32 cassette with some $100 of credit left over. The XT cassette shift great.......

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Chumash

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $130.00

Purchased At:   Came with Cannondale Jekyll

Similar Products Used:   Shimano XT, older 8 spd XTR , Dura Ace and Ultegra.

Bike Setup:   2003 Cannodale Jekyll 3000. New XTR Group, Mavic Crossmax
Lefty fork with Fox Shox.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Bob Birmingham a Cross Country Rider from Belle Mead, NJ USA

Date Reviewed: October 13, 2003

Strengths:    Looks totally trick, but looks can deceive...

Weaknesses:    Weak...period... Busted the big cog on a moderate climb, not even cranking full torque...

Bottom Line:   
BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!!! I am with the others on this... This cassette is WEAK!!! I have only been riding my Jekyll for a few weeks, and to not bend, but BREAK a cog the way this one broke is unbelievable... Never have I seen a freewheel/cassette get trashed so easily. I am having it replaced (by Cannondale under warranty), but I fear I will trash the next one. I am a 220 lb XC rider with above average torque-ability, but nothing that should cause this kind of total metal failure... Hey, welcome to the world of XTR... I am starting to hear all the pro-XT stories and believing them... I suspect before the end of the year I will have "downspec'ed" to XTs.....
Shimano???? How 'bout "Shame-an-you".....

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Wawayanda (Northern NJ)

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Bike Setup:   2003 Cannondale Jekyll 2000 with full XTR gear setup.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Gary White a Cross Country Rider from London, UK

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2003

Strengths:    Light weight, that's it

Weaknesses:    Shifting no better than XT, wears out in 300 miles of XC use, big cogs bend, burred teeth after 2 15 mile XC rides in dry conditions

Bottom Line:   
Go for XT at almost a third of the price. No reason to use the XTR at all. It sucks (no pun intended. The XT shifts fine and can last over 1000 miles (though I'd always say change at 500 miles for serious XC users)for about $50 or less. Use with Race Face as a top line set-up

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Old Springs Trail, Marin, Ca

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $130.00

Purchased At:   London, UK

Similar Products Used:   XT, LX cassettes

Bike Setup:   Santa Cruz Superlight A, Mavic XL Crossmax UST wheels, Fox Float RLC 100mm forks, Race Face cranks and rings, XTR mechs and shifters, Hope Mini brake set

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by mike a Racer from wisconsin

Date Reviewed: July 12, 2003

Strengths:    light and looks

Weaknesses:    works itself loose on my rolf wheels and it has been bent on the outer rings

Bottom Line:   
this clog sux for a shimano

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   xt, lx, titanium clogs custom made at a metal casting and machining plant (i know the owner he does it for free kik ass)


Bike Setup:   specialized sworks m4, all xtr, rolf domlite wheels, michellin tires, milled ti clog, titanium handlebars and seatpost, sid fork, srp bolt kits

Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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