15 minutes on the new Shimano XTR group

I only had 15 minutes to ride today, but the new XTR group just went onto my Specialized Camber Expert Carbon, so you know I had to try it.

Those wheels!

Specialized Camber Expert Carbon Mk III

Version 1 was stock, and it was good.

Version 2 replaced the stock SRAM and Formula parts with Shimano XT and PRO, and that was great.

Version 2.1 replaced the stock FOX 32 with the 2016 FOX 34, and that was even greater.

Version 3, as it sits today, has the new FOX 34 and the new Shimano XTR group: 2×11 drivetrain, Trail brakes. Trail pedals and the new aluminum/carbon Trail wheels. This bike just gets better and better.

The ride

By the time I finished 40 minutes of physical therapy and strength training, I managed five laps on the Valmont Bike Park dual slalom track. I’ve ridden this track hundreds of times on all kinds of bikes. It’s my current baseline for any setup.



Shifting happens NOW!

Loving the 36t ring with the 11-40t cassette. Climbing the hill in the big ring was easier than the ol’ 36×36 — perfect for achy warmups. I’ll be loving the 24×40 on the big climbs.


I brake slightly before the turn at the end of the main straight, and I brake hard at the end of the run. Seamless as expected.


DUDE. I’ve been riding the Roval carbon wheels — which do not suck! But this is next level. On this bike I’m accustomed to a certain amount of flex in the turns and on the jump faces. It’s not bad, but it’s there, and I subconsciously back off in those moments, sort of feeling my way through the flex into the support I need.

But today, when I eased into the first turn I waited for the vagueness … and it wasn’t there. So faster I went, and the wheels held, and the bike wallowed. Flip the switches for more low speed compression damping, and it feels great! Pinning the laps faster and faster, loving the connection in the turns, rocking some kinda magical pop on the rollers and jumps. At this point the weak links are air pressure and the exposed side knobs on the Slaughter rear tire.

These wheels are awesome.

More on the new Shimano XTR and FOX 34 as I ride them more.

Have fun and kick ass,



Know more. Have more fun!

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