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Shimano Goes BIG - New 12-Speed 1X XTR Drivetrains, Brakes and More 8

It's about time! Discover the best of the new Shimano XTR M9100 series, including a 51-tooth cassette and ultra-quiet "Micro Spline" freehub.

Shimano Goes BIG - New 12-Speed 1X XTR Drivetrains, Brakes and More

1X drivetrains have been on the rise since the introduction of SRAM's XX1 drivetrain system in 2012. Today they are enjoyed by a large percentage of mountain bikers for their simplicity, clean appearance, ease of use, and improved chain retention. Looking back, it took Shimano a little while to jump on the band wagon. With the introduction of the new M9100 groupset and its 10-51 tooth cassette, it's clear they're fully onboard – and the chain promises to be as well thanks to improved retention technologies. Yes, there's still a 2X option for those seeking "ideal gear steps."

Presented below in Shimano's words are the individual components that make up the system. Mix and match to meet your needs. Meet the new XTR.


XTR M9100 Options

1x12 drivetrain with Wide Range 10-51T cassette
1x12 drivetrain with Rhythm Step 10-45T cassette
1x11 lightweight drivetrain with 10-45T cassette
2x12 drivetrain with 10-45T cassette
Extensive feedback from Shimano’s global mountain bike athletes delivered insights that one drivetrain does not fit all racers. With that in mind, new XTR M9100 offers a range of gearing choices, single and double front chainring setups, and a unique 11-speed drivetrain option that shaves valuable weight off the system without sacrificing performance and speed.


Building on SHIMANO’S long history of shifting technology, new XTR M9100 delivers groundbreaking advancements in drivetrain performance with the introduction of HYPERGLIDE+. The newly redesigned CS-M9100 cassette guides the chain both up and down the cassette, providing faster, smoother shifting in both directions.

Enhancing rider capabilities and providing more gearing combinations, XTR M9100 features three cassette options to cover the diverse needs of elite level mountain bike riders and racers All feature SHIMANO’s new MICRO SPLINE freehub technology that allows the use of 10-tooth cogs. The new design also allows for an aluminum freehub body construction that isn’t damaged or gouged out by the cogs during use.

The new cassettes also employ a new Beam Spider construction for improved power transfer and is built with a strategic application of aluminum, titanium, and steel materials for an optimal blend of weight savings, rigidity, and durability.  


CS-M9100 – Wide Range Cassette or “Rhythm Step” Cassette 

  • 10-51T – 12-speed Wide Range offers 510% gear range
  • 10-45 T– 12-speed Rhythm Step offers 450% gear range with more ideal gear steps

CS-M9110-11 – Lightweight Cassette

Built on the 10-51-tooth, 12-speed platform, this cassette offers the same Micro-Spline design to work with a small 10-tooth cog but decreases weight by up to 76 grams. 

  • 10-45 –Lightweight XTR offers 450% gear range
  • 57 grams lighter than 12-speed, 10-51 cassette
  • Compatible with both short and long cage XTR M9100 rear derailleurs, short cage reduces weight by 3 grams
  • Allows for use of the wide flange FH-M9125-B, reducing weight 3 grams while improving handling and durability 
  • Reduces chain length by 6 links, reducing weight another 13 grams


New XTR features three rear derailleurs that enhance shifting performance and are optimized for wide range cassettes with use in single or double front chainring systems. The derailleurs feature bigger 13-tooth pulleys and include Shimano’s proven Shadow RD+ low profile technology. Different cage lengths (SGS versus GS) are optimized for different gear ratios, providing optimal systems to work with the new 10-51 wide range cassette, 10-45 rhythm step cassette and one derailleur optimized for 2x12.



  • Long cage derailleur
  • 51T max cog size
  • Works with both 10-51 and 10-45-tooth cassettes 


  • Short cage derailleur
  • 45T max cog size
  • Works with both 11-speed and 12-speed 10-45-tooth cassettes
  • Better ground clearance (28mm shorter cage)


  • Designed for front double chainring setup
  • 45T max cog size
  • Compatible with 2x12 speed

Continuing the company’s dominance in front derailleur technology and performance, XTR M9100 delivers the newly designed FD-M9100-D/E/M side swing front derailleur with three mounting options: Direct mount, E mount, and Mid clamp. All three derailleurs work with 49 and 52mm chain lines

Cranksets and Chainrings

M9100 HOLLOWTECH II crank construction offers a lighter and stiffer crank design and includes options for both front single and double front chainrings. Two Q-factor options (162mm and 168mm) are available for different rider needs and bike requirements. Chainrings are easily exchanged with the new direct-mount system and the cranks can be swapped between single and double front chainring setups. 


FC-M9100-1 and FC-M9120-1 

  • Single front chainring
  • Chainring options: 30, 32, 34, 36, 38T 
  • Two Q-Factor options: 162mm (FC-M9100-1) or 168mm (FC-M9120-1)
  • Chainline: 52mm for both 142mm and 148mm O.L.D due to inner chain link plate design

FC-M9100-2 and FC-M9120-B2 

  • Double front chainring setup
  • Swappable between single and double chainrings
  • Chainring combination: 38-28T
  • 2 Q-Factor options: 162mm (FC-M9100-2) or 168mm (FC-M9120-B2)
  • Chainline: 49mm (FC-M9100-2) or 52mm (FC-M9120-B2)


For racers looking for single front chainring insurance, Shimano presents the lightweight and adjustable SM-CD800 chain guide. This unique guide allows for easy height adjustment as well as chain line adjustments by loosening a single bolt and turning a thumb screw. Then, tightening the bolt locks both adjustments at the same time. The chain guide is available in three mounting types: Direct, E, and ISCGO5. 



Adding to XTR M9100’s smooth drivetrain transmission, the new CN-M9100 HG chain features an extended inner link plate that connects seamlessly with new chainring tooth shapes for Shimano’s most efficient drivetrain. The new design reduces natural vibrations normally caused by the inner and outer chain plates rolling onto the chainring and provides better chain engagement, stronger retention, and smoother pedaling. 




  • New HG technology
  • Extended inner link plate 
  • Quick link only for easy connect and tool-free assembly

Micro Spline Freehub and Hubs

Designed specifically for SHIMANO’s 12-speed XTR drivetrain, the MICRO SPLINE FREEHUB delivers a lightweight construction that works seamlessly with the system’s new small 10-tooth cog. As the name suggests, MICRO SPLINE features smaller freehub splines that help eliminate damage on the lightweight aluminum freehub. 

The freehub body is constructed of two driver plates that completely disengage when you stop pedaling, eliminating any freehub ratchet sounds while coasting. 


The new hubs also feature SHIMANO’s quieter SCYLENCE technology that provides rapid acceleration and higher rigidity for quick, 7.6-degree engagement. The freehub body is constructed of two driver plates that completely disengage when you stop pedaling, eliminating any freehub ratchet sounds while coasting. 


SHIIMANO offers a variety of hub options with the MICRO SPLINE, SCYLENCE, and CENTER LOCK technology including XTR-level M9110 and M9110-B hubs with a straight pull option (M9110-BS) as well as a more affordable non-series hub option (MT900-B) that will include a straight pull option as well (MT900-BS).


HB-M9110/-B and FH-M9110/-B – XTR hubs

  • Boost and Non-Boost options
  • 28 or 32 hole options
  • Compatible with 12-speed and 11-speed M9100 cassettes
  • O.L.D. - 100 mm (HB-M9110), 110 mm (HB-M9110-B)
  • O.L.D. - 142 mm (FH-M9110), 148 mm (FH-M9110-B)

HB-M9110-BS and FH-M9110-BS – Straight pull XTR level hubs

  • Boost only
  • 3-cross spoke pattern only
  • Compatible with 12-speed and 11-speed M9100 cassettes
  • O.L.D. - 110 mm (HB-M9110-BS)
  • O.L.D. - 148 mm (FH-M9110-BS)

HB-MT900-B and FH-MT900-B – Non-XTR series hubs 

  • Boost only
  • 28 or 32 hole options
  • Compatible with 12-speed and 11-speed M9100 cassettes
  • O.L.D. - 110 mm (HB-MT9110-BS)
  • O.L.D. - 148 mm (FH-M9110-BS)

HB-MT900-BS and FH-MT900-BS – Non-XTR series hubs for straight pull  

  • Boost only
  • 3-cross spoke pattern only
  • 28 only
  • Compatible with 12-speed and 11-speed M9100 cassettes
  • O.L.D. - 110 mm (HB-MT9110-BS)
  • O.L.D. - 148 mm (FH-M9110-BS)


SHIMANO offers a Wide Flange rear hub option that provides improved durability through more balanced spoke tension and more rigidity with wider spoke bracing. The Wide Flange design also reduces weight of the drivetrain as it was designed specifically for use with the lightweight 11-speed cassette. 

  • Drive-side flange moved 4.7mm outboard 
  • MICRO SPLINE technology
  • SCYLENCE technology
  • CENTER LOCK technology
  • Boost only
  • 28 or 32 hole options
  • Compatible only with CS-M9100 -11 cassette

Shifters and Levers

Enhancing lever access and shifting speed, the new RAPIDFIRE PLUS shift levers offer light operation force and more versatility. Shimano’s new I-Spec EV lever design features greater flexibility in mounting for a clean and ergonomic cockpit. For double chainring systems, the lever simplifies front shifting with a lightweight and compact design that shifts up and down with a single lever. 



SL-M9100-I and SL-M9100

  • 20% quicker lever access time
  • 35% less shifting operation force compared to M9000
  • 14mm slide range and 60-degree rotation for I-SPEC EV (SL-M9100-I)

SL-M9100-IL and SL-M9100-L 

  • Front double shifting with single lever design
  • 2-WAY RELEASE with instantaneous push and pull movements 
  • Natural finger position and intuitive shifting operation
For double chainring systems, the lever simplifies front shifting with a lightweight and compact design that shifts up and down with a single lever. 


SHIMANO introduces its first seatpost dropper remote and it features ideal ergonomics where other dropper levers fall short. It enables quick adjustment with a lighter and more natural feel and is compatible with most dropper posts on the market since the cable clamps at the lever end. The dropper remote can be installed in the same position as a left shift lever using Shimano’s I-SPEC EV system design and offers 7mm of cable stroke. 


Drivetrain Pricing and Weights





Further improving Shimano’s legendary mountain bike braking system, new XTR increases brake rigidity for greater bike control and optimizes braking performance for different riding styles. The 2-piston XC brake system offers a lightweight package with high rigidity while the Enduro-style 4-piston design prioritizes power and smooth braking feel. 

To improve rigidity at the lever, Shimano moved the brake clamp position inboard, creating an extra point of contact between the bar and the lever. This added bracing drastically increases efficiency and control over the bike while offering quick brake engagement. The new design minimizes impact on cockpit real estate, creating space between the clamp and support point for mounting other handlebar accessories. 


BL-M9100 and BR-M9100 

  • Lightweight XC brake design
  • 26 grams lighter than M9000 including RT-MT900 rotors
  • 10% more rigid 
  • 2-piston hydraulic brake caliper

BL-M9120 and BR-M9120

The new Enduro-specific, 4-piston design features the same brake power rating as Shimano Saint (BR-M820) brakes with greater modulation tuned for Enduro riding.

  • Powerful Enduro brake design
  • 4-piston hydraulic brake caliper 
  • Uses new XTR finned pads or Saint brake pads


The new Ice-Technologies Freeza rotor construction boosts heat dissipation by 20 degrees Celsius thanks to a heat-dissipating paint on exposed aluminum layer segments.  

  • 140mm and 160mm rotor optimized for XC and focused on weight reduction
  • 180mm and 203mm rotor optimized for enduro and focused on cooling

Brake Pricing and Weights





The new M9100 XC pedals improve rider stability with wider edge-to-edge contact areas while improving mud shedding through rounded contact points and off-set bindings. Shimano’s Rider-Tuned design offers two axle length options including a new 3mm shorter axle to minimize the Q-factor for XC riders who are running Boost drivetrains. This new shorter axle also matches the Q-factor of Shimano’s SPD-SL road pedals, providing a smooth transition for road riders diving into gravel. 

  • Two axle length options: 52mm and 55mm
  • Wider edge-to-edge platform
  • Step in and out consistency
  • Offset binding for improved mud shedding
  • 1mm cleat spacer included
  • Weight: 310g (52mm), 314g (55mm)



A wider contact area on the new M9120 trail and enduro pedals improves stability while the expanded rearward shoe-pedal contact area better accommodates the sneaker-style flat outsoles used in enduro and gravity riding. The Rider Tuned 1mm cleat spacer creates a better interface with shoes of varying outsole design and lug height. 

  • Wider contact area than PD-M9020
  • Expanded rearward shoe-pedal contact area
  • 1mm cleat spacer included
  • Weight: 398g

Pedal Pricing and Weights



XTR M9100 series components will be available in Fall 2018. Visit for more details, and keep an eye out for upcoming Vital MTB reviews.

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