Head of state.
Shimano's electronic XTR Di2 FD-M9070 Front Derailleur 2x11 enjoys myriad benefits in shifting compared to its mechanical counterpart, not least of which being a 25% increase in power that's never affected by cable stretch or contamination. Its electronic nature also allows for reliable shifting, even under load, and an auto-trim feature that tracks your chain's angle.
It's also got the Synchronized Shift feature, which may be our favorite part of XTR's Di2 version because it means that these shifts will occasionally occur when you don't initiate them. This keeps the state of drivetrain affairs in properly working order even when your own head is focused on other details like rocks, trees, and the like.
Note that we wrote "when you don't initiate them," not "when you don't want them." While it may initially seem counterintuitive to relinquish control of your chainring management, the system takes all of one, long ride to prove its merits. The system puts the front and rear derailleurs in communication with each other, synchronizing their shifts with automatic adjustments that avoid the inefficiencies of cross-chaining.
The system is smart. So smart, in fact, that it's designed to omit a left shift lever, just handling the jumps between chainrings on its own based on your programmed settings and the direction your shifting in. This brings the total claimed weight for the Di2 group down to about the same level as the mechanical group. It also reduces the on-bike systems requiring your attention by one, so you can spend more time fiddling with your shock, fork, and dropper settings or — as revolutionary as it sounds in this age of minutely adjustable techno-bobbles — just riding your damn bike.
As with other Shimano Di2 bits, the XTR front derailleur is compatible with Shimano's rust-, stretch-, freeze-, and generally worry-free E-Tube wiring system. Its modularity makes it easy to set up on virtually any frame, though it does cohabitate with less friction when the frame is built with Di2 in mind. That modularity also extends to its mounting hardware. With an adapter, one derailleur model fits any mounting system, and it also forgoes the need to dig through spec sheets to match cable pull.
Shimano's recommended top chainring size is between 34 and 38 teeth, depending on how the derailleur is mounted.
- Easier setup
- No dropped chains
- No chain rub
- Silent operation