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Item # SHI0353

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Item # SHI0353


These SL-M980 XTR Rapidfire Shifters finally look the part. What we mean is that they're sleek, minimalist, and racy -- just what you'd expect from Shimano's top-shelf offering. And in contrast to its racing heritage, XTR is now designed for racing and trail riding. These shifters are made to function with both their 2x10 Race and 3x10 Trail XTR groups. The left side shifter has a tiny switch that functions as a mode converter allowing it to work with either group. Just select your chainring configuration and go ride.

Like previous generations of XTR shifters, the right side shifter has multi-release function, which means that you can make upshifts to smaller cogs more than one gear at a time. Less expensive groups like XT and SLX do not have this function. Both shifters also have instant release, so cable tension is released as soon as you click the forward trigger paddle. It can be operated with either your thumb or finger. This 2-way release design allows easy upshifts in the back even when standing out of the saddle. One technology that is new for these 980 XTR Shifters is Shimano's Vivid Index. It creates a more positive feel for the large, thumb shifter paddle. As you push it, you can't help but notice the click of the indexed ratchet mechanism so you'll always know you've made the shift. Another benefit is that the "weight" of the shifts is more consistent across the gear range for the rear shifter so a shift from the 34 to 36t feels like a shift from the 12 to 13t cogs.

The XTR Rapidfire Plus Shifters SL-M980 come as a set with left and right shifters. They can be used with XTR Race and Trail, double and triple cranksets.

  • Multi-release shifting lets you jump over multiple gears at a time
  • A mode converter allows for 2x and 3x front chain rings
  • I-spec clamp available separately for a clean one-clamp brake and shifter mounting

Tech Specs

aluminum, plastic
Crankset Compatibility:
triple ring, double ring
Compatible Components:
Claimed Weight:
242 g
Recommended Use:
Manufacturer Warranty:
3 years

Reviews & Community


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Crispy Shifting

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This XTR replaced Deore shifters that came with my mtn bike, let along with XT front and rear derailleurs that were also replaced. Can't say much but wow! They never fail me and best feature is that the rear shifter can be push with either your thumb or forefinger. Worth the investment.

On some reviews said that they felt the shifter is filmsy or too much freeplay. This didn't occur to me whatsoever.


  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I set up a right sided XTR shifter for 1 by 10 hardtail. I have to agree with the other reviewer regarding the flimsy feel of the paddles. I do like the light, quick action of the thumb downshift, but the upshift paddle does feel very flimsy and is stiff to operate. I think I expect more from the XTR level, but overall, the shifter works fine.

Avg. ride time: 4h 3m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Almost perfect

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love the 2-way release trigger (thumb push or pull with index finger), the multi-release rear shifter (can shift to two higher gears on the same push/pull, and also to four lower gears on the same push), and the swiss watch-like sound and feel of the clicks, and the high end SP41 cable set it comes with, but the paddles still feel a little flimsy for my tastes.

I'm a thumb-push kind of guy and I feel at home on SRAM shifters. The SRAM paddles feel much more solid and don't have as much free movement before it feels resistance. I also like the match maker 2 system, though I haven't tried the I-spec system to compare. If the SRAM shifter also had multi-release and had a 2/3x adjustment for the front shifter, I feel it would beat XT. Not a XTR contender really, as it lacks that refined mechanical feel (the swiss watch feel), but the XX is super light at about 90g per shifter w/o cable.

Shimano just needs to work on those paddles and the "free play" before it engages to get this to feel perfect. I feel that its Swiss watch like feel actually is what makes it feel like it's worth the price over XT and SRAM offerings, not to mention the premium cable and housing included and longer warranty period.

Would like to know where I can get an...

Would like to know where I can get an i-spec clamp for the clean mounting of shifter to brake. Looks like Competitivecyclist doesn't sell this clamp. Sure would appreciate a referral.

The clamps being referred to are part of the brakes. Both the XT and XTR brake levers have mounts for these. Super clean, and works really well.

not sure what derailleurs I have on my...

not sure what derailleurs I have on my cannondale 2005 (3 x 9 ring ) I know I have Sram x 7 shifters. Will these shifters work or do you need to know derailleurs?

Unfortunately, these will not work with your setup, These are 10speed, so they'll have one more click than you need, and Shimano and SRAM shifters and derailleurs are not compatible with one another. We don't have any 9-speed SRAM Shifters on Competitive Cyclist, but you may be able to find some on eBay or Amazon.

Does it come with cables?

Does it come with cables?

Yes, the XTR shifters comes with a Shimano derailleur cable kit. If you have any questions, I would be happy to help.

I have a 10 speed road bike w shimano...

I have a 10 speed road bike w shimano components, i want to put a straight bar will these shifters work w my components?

Sorry, but Shimano road and mountain bike shifters have different pull ratios and cannot be mixed. You would need to go with a Shimano flat bar road shifter, such as the Shimano Tiagra SL-4600. These shifters would work with your road group. Unfortunately, we do not stock this item. If you have trouble finding this locally, I can look at special ordering a set for you.