a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder CO USA
Date Reviewed: April 30, 2003
Strengths: Looks nice
Weaknesses: Squeals when applied wet or dry on front and rear. Shop and I can't make squealing stop no matter what. Excel won't give refund (last time I buy from them - they DO NOT have a universal customer satisfaction policy). This product has no value in my opinion other than pretty to look at. Switched to Avid Ultimates. No more problems! Avid follows the "KISS" - keep-it-simple, stupid - rule with outstanding and flawless results!
Shimano has produced a piece of junk and put a pretty finish and a significantly higher price on it to boot. I would give this product a zero rating for performance and value if possible.
Excel Sports Boulder is NOT the place to buy ANY product that may have to be returned due to customer dissatisfaction or unacceptable performance.
On a different occasion, I purchased an Excel-built rear wheel (Mavic 517, DT straight gauge spokes, XT hubs) that lasted exactly eight days before blowing the internal web of the rim through five spoke nipple holes (with road use only). When I returned the complete assembly, they tried to give me credit for just the rim - said the spokes and hub were still good!! I had to contact the owner to get a full refund!!
Similar Products Used: Shimano LX worked fine. Old style XTR worked fine.
Bike Setup: 1997 Trek 970 steel frame with Trek custom solid fork with low rider rack lugs and set up for road touring. Shimano XT 8sp. drive train, shifters and levers. Shimano 747 pedals. Avid Ultimate V brakes. Sunn Rhino Lite XL rims, Wheelsmith double butted spokes and Chris King hubs. Brooks Pro saddle. Jandd packs and rear rack, Washburn low rider front rack. A total KICK ASS touring system!
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2003
Strengths: If you take care of it, it will perform as good as a bike parts can
Weaknesses: I have not found any beside that now I can't use my bike to commute because some parts may and will get stolen...
I upgraded my XT stuff for this XTR, slowly, part by part, looking for deal on ebay and cambria and I was able to get it all beside the crank and BB (I use Race face Next LP with mathing BB). To be quite honnest I have never found a huge differece between XT and XTR, Sure it is sexier to have XTR but how much more efficent from XT, I don't know. I guess the feeling that you have the best might be enough for some people to pay the premium asked by Shimano... In any case, I have been very pleased with the product and recommend it to anyone who can afford it. I will give it 5 chilis because I don't think at the time I bought my gear, there was no better stuff out there and it still perfom as well as when it was new. I have a feeling that there is more differences between the XTR 02 and the XTR 03 then between XT 02 and XTR 02 (does I make sens here?).
a Weekend Warrior
from Fort Wayne, IN
Date Reviewed: March 10, 2002
Strengths: Light weight, very well made, very smooth and accurate.
Weaknesses: Extremely pricy (purchase and replacement parts)
This is a long term test follow up. I have been running this setup since winter 1999. After 2 1/2 seasons of use, I continue to be impressed by this group. after about 1 year, I changed out the chain. Yesterday, I did an overhaul. The only wear I could find was a little bit of hooking and tooth deflection on the middle chainring (which I cleaned up with a dremel stone and metal brush).
There is a reason all the pros, experts, etc. run XTR. The stuff just works.
Yes, it is pricy, VERY PRICY, but, it also lasts a long time. If you pay full clip, I'd pick XT (as there is not that much of a quality/performance gap) but if you are smart, you can often get the group on closeout. At $900 or less, this is the group to have.
One caveat, I note a lot of complaining about broken parts (rims, forks, etc) from a lot of reviewers. Folks, these bikes are precision instruments. Bash 'em hard, and they will break. Keep 'em clean, ride smooth, and you will get years and years of use out of the quality parts. XTR certainly fits that list. (plus it is cool as hell...)
Strengths: all parts works as good as new even after 2 years riding. trouble free parts.
Weaknesses: the are japanese!
excuse me americans but none american part can beat these japaneses!! they are not the lighest parts ou there, but they work far better than the competition. every racer should buy them because as Mr.Tom Ritchey say´s : why have a lighter bike if it broke on the trail.
Similar Products Used: all shimano groups and some chris king hubs.
Bike Setup: specialized stump jumper m2, full xtr group, mavics 517 and rigid fork.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2001
Strengths: It has XTR wordings on it
Weaknesses: Works commonly for its price
The only good thing is the adjustability, but who needs it? Save that money for something else, like a good fork or lighter frame. Other groupset will work like XTR, maybe even better, if you can get yourself a good mechanic to adjust your groupset to PRECISION. The weight saved on XTR was not cost effective. SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR THE BETTER SOMETHING ELSE.
THIS IS MY FIRST MOUNTAIN BIKE... so you may think oh yeah i don't need xtr but hey, when you buy a car you don't ask yourself "do you need it?" .. "oh sorry i wont buy the porche because i cant take it to the limits" THE BIKE IS A GT AVALANCHE because its the first nice one i saw, I used to ride bmx for many years when i was younger so i knew the feel i wanted. the xtr grouppo I HEARD IS KING!!!!
Bike Setup: isn't this supposed to be the xtr grouppo? oh! also azonic bars and stem with oury grips,
a Weekend Warrior
from Green Bay, WI
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2000
Strengths: Weight. Design. Looks. Love that gun-metal blue.
Weaknesses: Retail price-ouch
I have the complete group minus the hubs & pedals, but I did add the remote bar-end shifter & the Flight Deck.
I built up my Tsali myself except for having my LBS install the BB & Crank Arms. The installation went smoothly until it came time to dial in the derailluers. The front was a b1tch until I discovered the LBS set up the BB improperly so then when that was rectified, the front worked great. The rear didn't work until I took an extra inch from the cable housing from between the last stop until the Rollamajig. I used Avid Flak Jackets for the cablesets. After that was done, I have been smooth shifting since. I have followed the advice of people here & have lubed the chain regularly.
I took my time, doing everything slowly & properly which has paid off with a dialed in bike & a good understanding for myself of how the grouppo works.
If you can afford it or get a good deal, then by all means do so cuz I am terribly happy with XTR.
Similar Products Used: Suntour Junk on my old Murray
Bike Setup: '00 Litespeed Tsali IRD TL5 Air Fork, Full XTR, Rolf Propels, Woodman Saturn HS, Flight Deck, Profile Aero XC Barend...
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2000
Strengths: CRISP shifting, braking, XTR just feels "high quality"
Weaknesses: price, but you get what you pay for
If you can't afford this stuff don't buy it, But it made my old bike behave better than when it was new. Before I bought it, I thought it was overkill also, but geez, it is high quality product (esp. rear shifting) I like the rapid rise too! and just to p*ss all you bitter underpaid riders: I'm 15 pounds overweight and ride real slow!
Similar Products Used: various high end individual components
Bike Setup: XTR on cro-mo rocky mountain, MAG21 shocks (remember those)
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: April 16, 2000
Strengths: 34 tooth cassette
Weaknesses: less precise than 8 speed, requires more frequent cleaning and fine tuning
Although the best of the 9 speed groups, no 9 speed can compare with 8 speed. I have gone back to 8 speed and have gotten faster. Also spending less time tweaking derailleurs halfway through a ride/race. Much less chain slip/suck with 8 speed.
Similar Products Used: 9 speed XT, 8 speed LX,XT, XTR
Bike Setup: S-Works FSR/XTR/FS-TI/Raceface
from North Vancouver, BC
Date Reviewed: February 9, 2000
Strengths: I use it, it is seen under me. The fact that this group can be associated with a top racer like myself who is in a completely different league than you gives it credibility, give it meaning, gives it reason to be.
Weaknesses: The fact that it's not names after me. The fact that the advertising campaign does not have my picture along side it. The fact that a top racer like me does not have my picture embroided its hardware because I am the bomb baby and no I won't behaaaaave, Yah baby Yaaaaaaaa.
Well, I make this goup, it is because I am what I am and well, enough said! I use it, at least I read about it once to be honest and well, I'd like to have it, see ya later, hope one day you can rock like me cause this is Lee Lau,, super racer guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Favorite Trail: Anyone thing that helps my small pen*s ego problem
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Similar Products Used: My mothers stationary bike in the garage, a big wheel when I was 12 and a huffy I borrowed from my sister, unsure of that grouping though.
Bike Setup: Huffy with cranks that are silver, three gears up from and a black chain. Peddles are black also. The bike is red.
a Cross-Country Rider
from Charlotte, NC
Date Reviewed: December 29, 1999
Strengths: Weight, shift quality, brakes
I'm glad I got the setup as a closeout bike package. My cost for the XTR was about $700. For that, it is definitely the best group. Action is smooth as silk and it looks great, ride after ride. (XT down just doesn't wear as well performance and finish wise). I would not pay $1000+ for the group, though.One note; keep it clean. XTR will not tolerate being dirty (at least not 9 speed). You can actually feel the quality of shifting deteriorate. Keep it clean and well lubed, though, and you will never miss a shift.
Similar Products Used: Shimano STX-RC Shimano Alivio (all 99 components)
Bike Setup: Marin Nail Trail99 Magura HS55 Louise RST 2.5
from Indianapolis, IN
Date Reviewed: November 13, 1999
Strengths: Preformance of entire drivetrain system
Weaknesses: Cost, but if you can afford xtr, XT still beats every thing else
I ran 9 speed XTR for all of 1999, and even when racing in muddy conditions, I had no problems with chain suck, misshifts, or broken components. Remember that shimano componets are designed to work as a component group. running non shimano ramped a chainrings (raceface) defeats the whole system. If you want to run other chain rings, use grip shifters, but if you want the best shifting possible, use a complete xt/xtr system. Also, I have heard complaints about breaking the XTR 9 speed cassettes. This has nothing to do with 9 speed, but instead that the large cogs are titanium. I broke an 8 speed xtr ti cassette, and now stike to xt steel cogs. If you have the leg strength to break ti cogs, the few extra grams are no going to slow you down, and you certainly don't need the 34 tooth cog.P.S. Rapid Rise rear derailluers are incredible, so even if you have to relearn how to shift, make the change
from North Vancouver BC
Date Reviewed: November 4, 1999
Strengths: - Mega Range allows you to not shift off the middle ring for inordinate amount of time - light weight - good resale value
Weaknesses: - Subsceptibility of chain to breakage when torquing under load - Mis-shifts in muddy conditions - Quick chain wear - Tendency for chain to slip from middle to granny when bike is jarred or portaged.
Review is for 1999 XTR Mega Range drivetrain. Chain rings are Race Face 9 speed.Experiences are for racing Snr Expert in BC Cup and local BC races in Pacific NW. Shared experiences with some training partners racing Mens and Womens Expert and Pro.Part of my frustration is the countless - oh but 9 speed is great without stating under what conditions 9 speed is used. I'm reluctant to say Expert rider, ride harder, faster and longer than the rest of you and in mud blah, blah but, generally, for myself and many of my racing mates - that is the truth relative to the majority of posters.Most tests are conducted in relatively friendly climatic conditions and I suspect that these conditions lend themselves to good gear performance. Moreover, most tests are designed for the mean/average rider. Performance is acceptable and would merit 3 stars. However, given the price of the group, downgrade to 2 stars