In September, Jim Richardson, the general manager in our Stafford, Virginia location, had the privilege of traveling to Asheville, North Carolina to spend three days testing out all of the latest and greatest toys from Shimano. Jim is an avid mountain biker, and these are his thoughts and feelings on this year’s Shimano mountain component line-up.
Day 1: Introductions and Education
I got to the hotel at about 3:00 and waited for all of the guys to get here. I grabbed my room, which was exceedingly cool. As people showed up, we did introductions all around and it didn’t take long for the education to get started.
We talked about the new Shimano XTR and XT groups- I didn’t know that there was as much to them as there is. The best part of the new XTR is the brake levers. You hook your finger in (yes, finger- it is one-finger braking), and it has such a great feel to it. You can set them up however you want them so that you can have them as soft or as responsive as you would like. With the XT, the brake levers are still the best feature. They have a familiar feel to anyone who has used XT in the past, but the power on the new XT brakes is fantastic.
*Shimano XTR M975 Hydraulic Brake Lever Set
Set includes right and left levers and Shimano BH-59 hydraulic hoses
Day 2: The Riding Begins
We rode at Bent Creek after a very good breakfast at the Bent Creek Lodge. Light rain started as we got to the trailhead. We rode 17 miles at a pretty good clip with some pretty long climbs and some very good descents. The downhill runs were very exciting for this flatlander, and I came out unscathed. The rain made the trails and roots slick. Because of the rain, the trails were like clay and I could hear the soil in the chain as I rode, but even with the crunching and gunking, the Dyna-Sys shifting still worked perfectly. Because of the rain, the trails were like clay and I could hear the soil in the chain as I rode, but even with the crunching and gunking, the Dyna-Sys shifting still worked perfectly. I was riding the XTR wheelset, which was incredibly stiff and light, and when I went airborne, it handled the beating that my 200lb. frame put on it very well.
We had a great late lunch at a Mexican pizza place. The authentic Mexican food hit the spot after that ride. Later that evening, we had steak, chicken and veggies cooked on the grill- delicious! We talked a lot more about what we felt on the ride and our moment of “wow.” We talked for about two hours about product. I was already looking forward to tomorrow.
*Shimano XTR M988 Trail 21C Rim Tubeless Wheelset
Set includes front and rear tubeless-ready wheels and is compatible with thru axles in both wheels
Day 3: More Riding!
We went to Mills River to start the day’s riding. We started out with a quick descent followed by a fire road climb followed by a single-track climb followed by a super, super gnarly descent with drops, rocks, roots, logs and everything else except the kitchen sink. AWESOME!! We rode about ten miles but it felt more like 20. When I was downshifting on the front derailleur from the middle ring to the little ring, it felt as smooth as if I was shifting along on the cassette. The Dyna-Sys system felt so natural, and there was none of the spinning out that you usual experience when you drop from a big ring to a little ring in the front. That was my BIG moment of “wow”!
After another great day of riding, we hung out around the house for a while before going out for food. The riding was absolutely fantastic. The hanging out was fantastic. The education was fantastic. I’m ready to get home to start telling everyone about Dyna-Sys. And I can’t wait to ride again in Asheville, North Carolina!