Shimano XT Rapidfire Plus SL-M770 Shifters Review

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When Shimano introduced their Dual Control lever/brake combo, I was one of the first to denounce the move. Come on… we’ve already been down that road with the integrated brake/shifter combo before, but on top of that, the Dual Control was funky and extremely bad in practice on the trail.

Oh yeah, while I’m throwing out some of Shimano’s bad moves over the past few years, there’s no way I can overlook Rapid Rise derailleurs… One again, it may be a supposed advancement, but in practice, reversing the shifting pattern does nothing but confuse riders who have rock-solid muscle memory of how shifting should work.

Shimano Deore XT Rapidfire Plus SL M770 Shifters Review

About Shimano’s Deore XT SL-M770 Shifters

The workhorse shifters in Shimano’s MTB lineup, the new XT Rapidfire Plus SL shifters are both light and durable. Not built with the extra lightweight bits found on the XTR versions, the 255 gram weight puts it just 15 grams heavier than the comparable SRAM X.9 shifters.

Solid build quality and durability are hallmarks of the XT component group. Built for years of service, these shifters are the industry standard.

Here are a few more features of the new Deore XT Rapidfire Plus shifters:

  • Easy-to-read optical gear display
  • Flexible trigger shifting allows for “thumb-only” up and downshifts
  • Removable gear indicator to shave weight and save bar space
  • Model: SL-M770
  • Weight: 255 grams
  • Price: $136.95

Shimano Deore XT Rapidfire Plus SL Shifters Review

Shimano Deore XT Rapidfire Plus SL-M770 Shifters Review

Having been completely turned off by the Shimano Dual Control system, I spent several years preaching SRAM X.9 triggers everywhere I went. I just couldn’t get used to grabbing a fist full of brake only to have the lever squirm up and down in my hands. It was definitely not confidence-inspiring. That said, I was one of the first to notice the improvements made to the XT lineup.

Not only are Shimano brakes and shifters now available as separate components (so you can select your preferred brakes), but they are also no longer Rapid Rise. On top of that, Dual Control is now an option for the kooks who drink that sort of Kool-Aid. Alright… this horse has been beat, lets get onto the review.

Riding impressions of the new XT Rapidfire Plus shifters are super-positive. While there’s not a whole lot of details to bring out when shifters simply work, it’s easy to gripe when they don’t. These new shifters are solid performers with consistent up and downshift clicks. My favorite new feature is the improved upshift lever. In the past, you had to use your index finger to upshift–taking away your most important digit from its most important task while riding (braking). Now, you can both up and downshift using your thumb–freeing your fingers from shifting duty and designating them for brake-only tasks. Nice!

I’ve been a huge fan of the SRAM triggers since their introduction and now, I’m also a fan of the new XT Rapidfire Plus shifters. The playing field has been leveled and both are now acceptable options with “thumb-only” shifting capabilities.

The Bottom Line on the XT Rapidfire Plus Shifters

Shimano has been quick to do a course correction in the shifting department. Their ill-received Dual Control and Rapid Rise technologies have been supplanted by an intuitive new shifting design. You can both up and downshift with your thumbs (my favorite new feature) and with XT components, you know you’ll have quality shifting for years to come. SRAM X.9 still beats XT on price, but the new XT shifters will no longer be publicly humiliated by me. They are now a great shifting platform.

Buy Now: Find the Latest Shimano XT Components at CompetitiveCyclist

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

2 Comments

  1. I have a rapid rise derailer AND I LOVE THE ACTION.
    The shifter has nothing to do with Rapid Rise.
    (Call me an idiot if you like like but I’m for them)

    Open your mind to change. Yes, I did need to shift gears with my gear shifting (pun intended).

    I’d love to try the dual control (if they didn’t cost $$$$$$$$). It strikes me as a good idea (and I’m open to change).

    By the way, do you ride road too (got that attitude, know what I mean???)

  2. So true… the shifters aren’t what dictates the Rapid Rise derailleur, just the derailleur does that. The whole Rapid Rise/Dual Control movement happened at the same time, so I group them together by association. This was was enough to sour me on Shimano’s designs for a time.

    Some people like Rapid Rise and some still like Dual Control, which is why it’s still offered, just not pushed as the default. You want it, you can have it.

    Yup… do ride roadie and I have no problem with STI for that application. In fact, it’s freaking awesome. The problem on mountain bikes, however, is that your hands do tend to move up and down on the trail, thus creating a not-so-confidence-inspiring squirmy lever on descents. I abhor… no, let me re-state that, I loathe Dual Control on descents. It just plain sucks. Try it on a rocky descent and you’ll hate it too. 🙂

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