By James Huang
Try as Shimano might to keep the lid on details of the upcoming 2007 XTR group, there's only so much pressure that can build up before the top starts to blow. The new group will bear the M970 designation, signifying a total overhaul, and reliable industry sources have confirmed that Shimano has pulled out the stops for the new kit which promises to contain some very interesting new features. We don't have any pictures yet, but these tidbits of information should sufficiently whet your appetite.
Shifters - This is perhaps the most exciting part of the new kit. Although Shimano will continue to offer Dual Control gear changing, the company has clearly devoted a lot of resources toward developing a new trigger shifter in response to widespread demand (and the somewhat lukewarm response to Dual Control). Shimano has already released photos of the 'Dual Release' badging on the new XT shifters, but details as to its meaning were a bit on the fuzzy side.
As some had speculated, the new release trigger will, indeed, be able to shift two gears in one pull for the first time in Shimano's trigger shifter history. However, Dual Release also signifies that the release trigger can be actuated by either pulling it back in traditional fashion or pushing it forward. Two gears can be shifted when moving the trigger in either direction, meaning that you will be able to quickly shift up to four gears in one combined movement. Since Shimano will offer both low-normal (Rapid Rise) and traditional rear derailleurs new XTR group, this means that riders will easily be able to shift multiple gears in either direction, regardless of which rear derailleur configuration they choose.
Read James Huang's entire Shimano XTR feature article here.