XT Shadow Rear Mech ReviewMy Rear Mech was dead and I needed another. So I toyed with the XT Shadow at £35, as I certainly wasn’t going to pay the exorbitant price of £80 for the equivalent XTR, with little improvement in performance or notable loss in weight. Much has been written about it, especially the problems with the snap off bolt to protect the rear mech hanger. Many have said that this breaks far too easily and will leave you stranded as the replacement bolts are virtually impossible to get from Shimano.
The design is certainly different with a slimmed down inboard profile and rear facing cable clamp reducing the bend in the housing and so less drag on the cable. There is also no cable adjustment at the rear mech end. All has to be done at the shifter end. No problem here at all.
I plumped for it and fitted it to my beloved Ellsworth Isis. The rear cassette and chain are also XT and the crankset and shifters are XTR. I have to say that the shifting is flawless, crisp and a pleasure to ride. I really like the inboard design of the rear mech. This means that it is less prone to hits from rocks on technical descents and so will last longer. I found that the end of the QR took most of the hits as the rocks flew by because that is the most prominent part rather than the rear mech. On the occasions where the mech took a direct hit and it was robust. No breakage of the dropout bolt. Solid as the rock it hit and kept on that Shimano slick shifting!
So is it worth the money? Would I buy it again? Most definitely yes to both! A great piece of kit which does the job it is supposed to do very well and it is more protected from trail hazards. Six months down the line it is still shifting flawlessly and it has had some hammer!