The big news for Deore XT this year is its new M8000 11 speed drivetrain. This, of course, isn't the only upgrade for the most trusted drivetrain in cycling. The new derailleur also boasts an easy to adjust chain stabilizer and a new Shadow design with optimized slant for more stable positions in any gear. Shimano claims that shifting requires 20% less effort with the new design, and less is good.If you're still using traditional hanger, the RD M8000 comes with a link installed so it's backward compatible. The direct mount, however, eliminates the need for the link, effectively reducing flex, wear, and weight all good things to mountain bikers. On compatible frames, the system also allows easier wheel changes with thru axles. Another big change is the stabilizer switch trickled down from XTR and Saint derailleurs.When engaged, this switch helps to eliminate chain slap and dropped chains by increasing spring tension. This is a valuable option for suspension systems that require chainstays and pivots located close to the rear derailleur. The RD M8000 retains all the last models improvements, including the direct cable path. Your shift housing can enter the stop on the derailleur without the traditional loop of excess housing that often was the victim of contamination and a source of poor performance.Shimano uses tried and true aluminum components in the XT derailleurs. All of the knuckles, linkage plates, and cage sides are made from it. So while it may lack the wow factor of the carbon fiber laden XTR Shadow, it's more affordable, and if you've been running XT derailleurs as long as we have, you'll know that you'll get plenty of mileage out of it.