Shimano have just released images of their latest touring bike groupset – T8000, and it looks great! As with most things touring, there’s not too much new technology to report, which is sensical given Shimano is attempting to achieve the best reliability and durability amongst touring groupsets.
One thing is for sure though – the finish and classic styling of this latest iteration is exceptional.
Shimano has decided to stick with 10 speed chains and cassettes, unlike their XT mountain bike groupset which was recently updated to 11 speed. This is presumably because many bike shops globally will not have stepped across to 11-speed MTB options yet.
The cassettes for this groupset are a direct carry over, using existing 10 speed models in 11-32t, 11-34t & 11-36t options. The 11-36t compatibility is actually new for 2017, as the derailleur’s capacity has been modified slightly to accommodate the two extra teeth. That will give you one extra gear inch for when your climbs really ramp up.
Unfortunately there is no STI gear shifter option with this groupset, despite the fact that so many tour with road handlebars. Luckily J-Tek and Wolf Tooth have come to the party with a ratio-changing pulley to mate 10 speed STI shifters with the XT T8000 touring derailleur. Another option to look at is using are Gevenalle thumb shifter levers which have been designed to work with MTB parts, or alternatively substituting in an old 9-speed MTB derailleur which is compatible with 10-speed STI shifters.
The XT Hollowtech II crankset features an outer gear guard, which will protect your pants from collecting the grease from your chain. It’s available in the same chainring sizes as before; 48t/36t/26t.
The dynamo hub looks to only offer a new finish over the outgoing T-785. It can be assumed that internally, the hub is likely the same. The XT hub is a bit of a winner at the price point it is.
One of the highlights of the new groupset is the pedal update. The T8000 pedals are now running replaceable pins to replicate the feel of a high-end flat pedal. I’ve completed over 30,000km on my current T780 pedals and will be looking to replace them with a set of these when the time comes! It’s my experience that you can’t beat Shimano pedals on durability.
The shifters and derailleurs have received minor updates only. The derailleur has changed to a lower profile ‘Shadow’ mounting system, and has received minor adjustments to its capacity to accommodate that bigger 11-36t cassette.
The T8000 hydraulic brake levers employ a long blade so you can enjoy the additional power of two or three finger braking. It’s my experience that Shimano XT brake calipers are the business too, if you indeed wanted hydraulic disc brakes on your touring bike.