The introduction of Shimano's new M970 XTR has, so far, consisted primarily of official press releases, rumor, and the occasional sighting and/or brief test ride of a so-equipped pro bike. Those days have past as Shimano invites James Huang to their Japanese headquarters to ride the new gear in their home arena:
"Shimano M970 XTR". Picture those letters in large-scale blinking neon on Times Square marquis and that about sums up the hype surrounding Shimano's most significant off-road offering in years. Up until now, though, hype is all it's been as the theatre doors have been shut while the cast prepared inside. Shimano has a lot riding on this fourth installment of the XTR series, particularly as the dark gray mid-90s version was an undisputed blockbuster, but its sequel was somewhat of a letdown.
After a fairly lengthy wait, the stage has finally been set and the curtains have been pulled, and this particular viewing is a rather special one. While it's fairly typical for media to get first crack at new gear, the usual routine consists of opening up a package (Christmas arrives often around these parts), bolting on some gear, and heading out to some local test grounds. In this case, Shimano invited five North American journalists directly to its headquarters in Osaka during Japan's rainy season in late June for the first showing. Not only were we to ride the new group on Shimano's home turf, but a slew of engineers were on-hand to assist us in installing the components on our own frames.
Read the entire Shimano 2007 XTR tech article here.