Shimano XT SL-M780 10-Speed Shifters

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It's a Shifter and it shifts!

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The Good:

Ispec compatible 10 speed Multiple gear shifter - go through multiple gears with one push 2-way release on upper shifter trigger

The Bad:

Ispec Doesn't come with ispec mount and handle bar mount

Overall Review:

The XT shifter is a great choice if you are switching to a 10 speed setup or upgrading a lower tier 10 speed drivetrain. I picked up this shifter as part of a 9 speed to 10 speed conversion and have been very happy with my purchase.

This XT shifter comes in a few different configurations; bar mount with gear indicator, just bar mount, and ispec mount. Unfortunately Shimano doesn't give you all these configurations when you purchase the shift, you have to pick one and if you want to change it later your gonna have to pay. It would be great if Shimano sold the shifter with all three configurations, even if the cost is a bit more. That being said I went with the ispec mount.

Ispec is nice and definitely helps to unclutter your bar. If you haven't heard of Ispec it's Shimano's version of

Overall Review:

​The XT shifter is a great choice if you are switching to a 10 speed setup or upgrading a lower tier 10 speed drivetrain. I picked up this shifter as part of a 9 speed to 10 speed conversion and have been very happy with my purchase.

This XT shifter comes in a few different configurations; bar mount with gear indicator, just bar mount, and ispec mount. Unfortunately Shimano doesn't give you all these configurations when you purchase the shift, you have to pick one and if you want to change it later your gonna have to pay. It would be great if Shimano sold the shifter with all three configurations, even if the cost is a bit more. That being said I went with the ispec mount.

Ispec is nice and definitely helps to unclutter your bar. If you haven't heard of Ispec it's Shimano's version of Sram's Match Maker. Ispec lets you mount your shifter to your brake, but only if you have a Shimano brake and only if you're working with the right versions of Ispec. Ispec has two versions, Ispec A and Ispec B. While it took a little digging I was able to find the following compatibilities with Ispec:

  • Ispec A is the original and Ispec A shifters are compatible with Ispec A brakes only
  • Ispec B is the 2nd gen, and shifters are compatible with both Ipec A and Ispec B brakes
  • Both versions of Ispec use special hardware to connect to the brake
  • Ispec shifters are not compatible with any other brake maker
While this all seems simple enough I ran into some issues with this whole set up as I was fitting an Ispec B shifter to an Ispec A brake lever.

The XT shifter is supposed to come with hardware to connect the shifter to either a Ispec A or B brake lever, but I only got the hardware for the Ispec B setup. A call to the online retailer and my LBS ended with both saying Ispec A is only compatible with Ispec A and Ispec B is only compatible with Ispec B, but Shimano service documents say otherwise and show the hardware needed to connect an Ispec B shifter to an Ispec A brake. Unfortunately this hardware can only be found in the UK and costs as much as the shifter once you figure in price conversions and shifting. I went a different route and made my one bolt and nut connection for a couple of bucks and some eblow grease.

With the shifter fitter I have been very impressed with it. Shifting up and down is smooth and precise. The shifter does have 2 way release on the upper trigger, but I'll be honest I only shift down pulling back with my finger. The XT shifter also has multiple up-shifting. Again this is a feature that works and a little longer push of the trigger will up-shift through a few gears, it's a feature I haven't used while riding normally. I have tested the multishift just to see if it works, but haven't used it since.

Shimano has done a very good with the XT shifter and it's nice to see some of the XTR tech trickle down to the XT price point, but Shimano definitely needs to sort out Ispec. Ispec is good on paper, but a bit rough in the real world. I would recommend going with the bar mountable shifter unless you're 100% sure you have the same type of Ispec shifter and brake.

Specifications

Product Shimano XT SL-M780 10-Speed Shifters
Shifter for Front, Rear, Front and Rear
Shifter Type Trigger
Speeds 2x, 3x, 10-Speed
Weight
Miscellaneous The Shimano XT SL-M780 10-speed shifters feature dual-control levers for fast shifting. The upper levers swing either way so you can use your thumb or forefinger. Instant release allows quick shifts.
2-position bracket lets you personalize the lever's position for a customized feel.
Long levers improve access and feature ergonomic touch points.
Optical gear displays float above the handlebar for easy clamp setting, and they are completely removable.
Outer casing system and coated stainless-steel cable ensure supersmooth shifting; cable is included.
Price $119.95
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