I went for a ride with my brother this weekend on the newly rebuilt Transition Preston FR. We hit a cross country trail on our free-ride bikes because neither one of us is really inclined to ride a true cross country bike. They are too fragile. We rode the Foresthill Divide Loop Trail. It was pretty fun. There are some good downhill stretches, but it is a true XC trail. I am going to need to get back into shape! My bro royally kicked my ass all around this trail.
The bike with a full 08 XT kit (minus front wheel) is sitting around 34 or 35 pounds. That's down from 38 lbs, so that is a great weight loss! It rides awesome, though I do miss the reverse shift rear derailleur. The shifting is super snappy and a big change from older XT. I am probably a bit crusty, but I am not sure that it is an inherently better release system. It is just different and requires modification of your riding style.
As you can see from the crappy cell phone pic, the new design front derailleur sits really low. It is damn near hitting the pivot and I doubt that a chainguide could be used with it where it is. If you look at that pic closely you can see the rear derailleur. Yup, it's there (barely), but the Shadow is designed to sit in so tight in that it is practically hidden. It also almost hits the spokes, but that is another issue altogether.
My only bitch on the new XT is the M-F'ing Enduro front wheel. The new Shimano XT Enduro front hub doesn't use the industry standard 6-bolt pattern, or the standard Shimano centerlock (the lock ring is too small for a 20 mm axle), or the Shimano Saint centerlock (which was designed for use with 20 mm axles), but instead they designed it to use a new and unique lockring specific to this hub. This is just absolutely stupid to me. Why did they need to create yet another new and unique system specifically for this hub when both a market standard, and a Shimano proprietary system exists?
It's just dumb if you ask me...
Anyways, I am looking forward to getting this bike out onto some trails more suited to it's strong points (ie not sharp steep climbs).