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I can certainly tell. I'd rather have SLX or GX over NX. Maybe an NX RD if I had a GX or X0 shifter and at least a GX cassette.
Yeah the nx cassette weight is insane. What's the magic in the shifter that makes it worth it? I'm in the market and these groups come on a lot of the bikes I'm looking at

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I certainly hope so. I can't say I'm too fired up about paying $2500 for 2nd step up models with NX Eagle.
2500-3000 is going the be SX price point bikes pretty soon.

No experience with 12sp Shimano...but I do have a GX Eagle bike and it shifts quite well. It shifts smoother than both my 11sp SRAM (X01) and Shimano (XT/XTR) bikes. I don't think I'd be too upset with a NX bike if the deal was good enough. I'd probably try and ditch the cassette and shifter ASAP.
 

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Yeah the nx cassette weight is insane. What's the magic in the shifter that makes it worth it? I'm in the market and these groups come on a lot of the bikes I'm looking at
I installed GX shifter and rear der earlier this season, to replace my NX.
I swapped both those components at same time. Differences I immediately felt:
1. Shift lever more firm, less flexy
2. Crisper click when shifting

I didn't think I'd notice or enjoy the NX-->GX as much as I do. I really appreciate the upgrade, even after over a dozen rides.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Yeah the nx cassette weight is insane. What's the magic in the shifter that makes it worth it? I'm in the market and these groups come on a lot of the bikes I'm looking at

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
Almost invariably, for all manufacturers, a higher end shifter does more for things like feel at the lever (things like pivot slop for the shift paddles themselves, whether the shifter has smooth bearings at the lever pivots or not, etc) than the rear derailleur does. Of course, quality cable, housing, and particular attention to routing makes a big difference there, too. I ran a SRAM XX shifter with an X9 derailleur when I was on 10spd. That 10spd XX shifter is BUTTER. To the point that it's actually hard to feel the clicks for the indexing on the downshift. An NX shifter to GX shifter will probably be harder to tell the difference between than NX to X0 or NX to XX1. Since shifters are unlikely to just break, and wearing them out takes a good bit of effort, I'm willing to drop some coin here to get a good one.

That said, the rear derailleur does tend to matter some when you're talking about chain security. Better derailleurs have stiffer materials and less slop in the pivots due to tighter mfg tolerances, for example, but that's somewhat offset by the fact that rear derailleurs (esp ones with longer cages like on Eagle and Shimano SGS derailleurs) have a greater tendency to snag on trailside debris and get mangled. I'm willing to accept a little bit of loss in functionality there for a little bit better replacement cost.
 

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Only with an $80 XT shifter upgrade for multi release, two way release, and instant release.
True, which makes a great case for picking as you please (i.e. DIY groupset) between SLX/XT/XTR. For instance, SLX RD but use an XT/XTR shifter, which gives the same performance and smooth shifting as an XT RD and XT shifter combo.
 
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