Yeah, XTR isn't worth it with the hassle of having to use way expensive proprietary rings. Also, bash usage is extremely limited. I have XTR and XT and would have to say XT is just as good and you can use any bash guard you want. The rings are still a little pricey but not as damaging to your wallet as XTR.
i should say aslo that my '05 xtr's work wonderfully! theyre light and stiff as ive ever used. my biggest issue is the wimpy rings with their short life span. i have no plans to use them on anything other than a xcish bike so the bash ring thing doesnt bother me in the least. thats why i have the old octolink xtr's and a diff spyder as weve talked about many times in the past on this forum.
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