Review Update: Shimano XT 8100 – Arising Issue

Shimano XT M8100

Updates to the new 12-speed groups have been thoroughly appreciated but I have discovered a Shimano XT8100 issue.  During my inial review last year I gave high praise to the new group – Review: Shimano XT M8100 12 Speed – A Sram-turnative.  Since then I’ve mostly enjoyed being back aboard Shimano.  Unfortunately, I have started to experience a derailleur clutch issue that isn’t necessarily new to Shimano derailleurs.  This problem is one that I’ve discussed with others running 12-speed XTR 9100 and SLX 7100 so its not just the new XT that’s experiencing this.

The Issue

After around 700 miles I mostly stick with my initial glowing review except with this one quirk.  After approximately 350 miles I began noticing a noise coming from the derailleur as I shifted into the largest cogs. The shifting performance was only slightly sluggish at that point.

During the next ride as I shifted into smaller cogs, the chain drooped down towards the ground. The derailleur cage was still in its extending position from being in larger cogs.  Shimano has had these issues on previous generations, but they normally don’t appear till many more miles and or after dirt has entered the clutch mechanism.

After taking off the clutch cover to see what the issue might be I found zero dirt but not much if any grease.  I injected a little grease in the clutch, but that didn’t seem to help so I called Shimano to discuss.  They gave the old standard warranty reply sounding like its the first time they’ve heard of the issue.  The conversation ended by them saying that they would ship out a new one though.

After 2-300 miles on the new derailleur, the same problem came back.  This issue can pop up within a ride and starts as a creaky noise when shifting into large cogs.  Then the cage starts to not return within a very short period after the noise begins.

The Fix

I was able to fix mine with some minor maintenance and all seems well after another 100 miles are so.   What I discovered with both my derailleurs is that there was minimal to zero grease on the clutch. The below video gives some excellent insight into the issue while detailing the fix.

Since my derailleur was new and the clutch was clean I decided to skip some of the above steps.  I simply removed the clutch cover and injected grease between the clutch band and adjustment screw.  So far it’s working like new after several rides.   I remain optimistic that the service might give more trouble-free miles since this issue was likely due to minimal grease from the factory.

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This Post Has 81 Comments

  1. Bob

    My xt 12spd did exactly the same thing. In less than a few months.
    My xt 12spd shifter has now also failed. The tiny little spring the hold the detent in to down shift gears fell apart. I am not impressed at all with this new xt 12spd gear. My 11spd slx fear has been faultless on my two others bikes for nearly 2 years. This new xt 12spd isn’t even lasting 6mths. I have lost faith in it.

    1. Chad Davis

      Dang Bob, that stinks. I have found that after servicing the clutch that my issues with the derailleur have gone away but every few hundred miles it seems that I need to service. I really hate that even though it is really easy since I skip a few steps in my service. I just turn off the clutch, remove the cover and inject some grease in the clutch without removing any parts.

      1. Chad Davis

        I haven’t experienced that yet, but that’s not good. Thanks for sharing.

        1. Paul

          I’ve had two purchased XTR levers fail and two warranty replacements fail. Waiting for the next two to fail. It’s a shame
          because the whole12 speed system is awesome. Fast, crisp shifting even under full load. Shimano USA has been great about warranty coverage but tight lipped about acknowledging the problem and whether or not they fixed it. It all comes down to a small spring breaking deep in the mechanism and completely non-repairable.

          1. Chad Davis

            I hear you with Shimano not saying much with the problems they have with their products. The clutch issues are very prevalent and Shimano tech gave me the standard run around acting like they had never had issues before me.

          2. Michal

            Same happened to me. Actually you can combine sram shifter with shimano derailleur. It’s working for me, you can find demo somewhere on youtube. I even found sram shifters more ergo than shimano, only miss multishifting.

  2. Vlad

    Man, the shifting on this new 12 speed crap is agricultural and full of lag!!! I don’t get it at all… Thanks for nothing shimano!

    1. Paul

      I know this post is from May, but for what it’s worth, I’ll respond.

      I’ve been using a combo of XT and XTR 12 speed for about 11 months now. During that time, I’ve had 4 shift lever failures as described above. But overall, even in spite of that enormous hassle, I’ve come to really appreciate the drivetrain. It’s incredibly fast, crisp and accurate. It gets even better under full load, which is amazing. There’s a snap to the shifts that takes a little getting used to, but you’ll never have to guess whether a shift occurred when you initiated it. I found that setting the cable tension to create very slight slowing of the shift to a larger cog and a snappy shift without hesitation on shifting to a smaller cog under hard load is the perfect happy medium. If everything is set up properly, shifts should be just about the same throughout the entire gear range–totally smooth and very fast. If not, you’ll needs to check the following:

      1) Hanger straightness if there’s a risk you’ve bent it in a crash.
      2) Full contact of rear derailleur flat on hanger flat (where the b-screw contacts)–very critical. It’s easy to attach the derailleur to the hanger with a slight gap here. This will adversely affect all shifting, even when the b-screw is set properly. It’s very easy to check for this. Leaving the chain under tension with the bike stopped, loosen the derailleur attachment bolt and listen for a snap or shift of the derailleur to a closed position on the hanger, then retighten the bolt. I rode for several months with a slight gap and shifting became even better when I fixed this. I’m certain that some of the folks complaining of lack of smooth shifting have this problem. Even being careful, it’s easy to miss this when first attaching the rear D.
      3) Chain length should be set exactly as the Shimano dealer instructions, available online, indicate. Don’t add or subtract links thinking that it will make shifting better. It won’t.
      4) Set b-gap so the very tip of the longest teeth on the biggest cog crosses the white line on the upper part of the pulley cage. If you need to outside this setting, something is wrong.
      5) If you want the very best performance and you haven’t already purchased the drivetrain, get the medium cage derailleur and the “Rhythm Step” cogset: 10-45 tooth. Combined with a smaller chainring (I’m using the 28 tooth), you’ll have all the gears you need for trail riding but even better shifting and much lower risk of rock damage to the derailleur because the shorter cage is out of harms way.

      Hope this works for you.

  3. Rico

    I’ve got a new Ripley with XT and just started having this same derailleur problem this week, after just 200 miles :(

    1. Chad Davis

      I have found that after a little greasing of the clutch that it has been great ever since. I just removed the cover, turned off the clutch and squirted some grease in the clutch. It does take some time for the grease to work its way around. Unlike SRAM, the Shimano clutch does require a little service but after 3 SRAM Eagle bent cages I think I’m OK with it.

  4. Romolo

    Hello i’ve had the same problem and i serviced everything as the cage was not moving freely anymore while shifting to the Largest cog. I found that this problem may bent my hanger too so now the chain is very noise and when i engage the clutch it seems very harder to shift even on the selector (like the tension cable is too much). When i off the clutch seems shifting fine… tomorrow i’ll go again to my lbs and i’ll find out! That’s extremely annoying…

    1. Chad Davis

      It does seem as though maybe the derailleur’s clutch needs some grease. You’re supposed to use a specific grease, but I’ve had luck just using the average Park poloylube. You can do it the “proper” way like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGdkAE_y_aE or cut some corners like me. I just squirt a little lube in the gap where the clutch band tension plate is and work it back and forth to distribute the lube.

  5. Mike

    My 12spd XTR derailleur’s clutch seized up after only 15 hours due to water intrusion, most likely during washing. With a new clutch installed, I’m going to check after the next wash. Same rinse technique that I’ve used with my past Eagle drivetrains with no problems. Yes, it shifts better but I’m not going to put up with the maintenance. It could be destined for my hardtail which doesn’t see a lot of action. Trying an XO derailleur and chain with the XTR cassette should be an interesting experiment.

    1. Chad Davis

      Dang, that’s not good Mike. If you found water behind the clutch cover, it sounds like the seal or cover is compromised. I do have one on a test bike right now that had some contamination behind the cover, but I just cleaned and greased the clutch, and its been fine. Look closely at the clutch cover seal to make sure its not twisted or out of its track.

      The bike I have the most miles on with XT8100 now has been ridden since last Sept. in wet western NC conditions and was still uncontaminated the last time I removed the clutch cover a couple of months ago.

    2. quoctp

      Got the same problem with leaky seal. When I opened up the cover, I saw dust everywhere on the clutch mechanism and inside the housing. The seal is not substantial enough to block anything. If Shimano doesn’t do anything to fix the problem we can start a class action for defective product.

  6. Dan

    Same problem. Unfortunately my clutch was toast by the time I realized what was going on. I pulled the clutch out and put a new one in from an older derailleur. Going to have the shop order me a spare today.

    1. Chad Davis

      Not good Dan – I believe that the clutches are just coming from the factory with the tension too high and its prematurely wearing away grease. I have an XT derailleur on one of our bikes I’m reviewing right now that I backed the tension way off and greased 4-500 miles ago and it remains flawless. I don’t notice any more chain slap with less tension and definitely have lighter action shifting.

  7. Jordan Norris

    I’m having the same problem with 12 Speed XT and the clutch. It seems to be worst after/during muddy Oregon rides. I’ll try the grease method.

    1. Chad Davis

      Hi Jordan, I just posted an update on the clutch service with a video if you haven’t fixed your shifting yet. I’m definitely in wet conditions also here in the western NC mountains. As far as I have seen with the XT 8100 derailleurs I’ve serviced, none have had ANY dirt or mud in the clutch. It’s just a matter of the clutch wearing away the grease likely because Shimano is shipping the derailleurs with the clutch so tight. Here’s the update: https://crankjoy.com/how-to-shimano-clutch-service/

  8. Tony Wright

    My XTR 12 speed 9100 derailleur was warranted by the bike shop I bought the bike from after 4 months and 400 miles use. It froze up and they replaced with a brand new one. Now 4 months later the same thing has happened. I only have 500 miles on the brand new replacement one. That means it is failing every 400 miles or so. This can’t last.

  9. Brian

    Same here and wanted to confirm that while my xt 12 spd on a new Yeti went south quickly with the same symptoms, I would encourage anyone w basic mechanical skills to give the servicing described in the video a try, and also definitely loosen the tension. It seems to have shipped with no grease and the tension turned up wayyy to high. Disappointed after riding SRAM w almost no issues for years, but at least it’s a cheap and easy fix!

    1. Chad Davis

      Yep, tension being too high seems to be a major issue and I believe it’s accelerating the wear of the clutch – I noticed the finish is worn off the inside of my clutch band and regreasing isn’t really helping much. Maybe time to get a warranty?

  10. Adam ODonnell

    I just bought my Ripmo a few months ago at the end of April, and have like 650-700 miles and just had the issue. Followed your video and had it fixed in no time. Thank you sir. Back to riding!

    1. Chad Davis

      Glad I could help out. I hope the fix lasts, It seems like the coating inside the clutch band eventually wears off and the fix isn’t as effective when that coating wears off. It looks like I’ll be warranting a couple soon that have around 900 miles.

  11. Michal

    Hello,
    Today my derailleur’s cage simply bent… (slx m7100, mileage 600 miles). I didn’t crashed or so. I doubt it could be caused by rock hitting it. My friend rides m8100 with similar mileage and today he experienced an issue his derraileur froze at largest cog. To shift down he had to turn off clutch. Have anyone experienced bent cage issue with slx? So I end up with bent derailleur, I am a bit pointless what to do… Such ashame. Never had any issue with m8000 (only had to replace clutch).

    1. Chad Davis

      I haven’t experienced a bent cage on any of the three 12 speed Shimano derailleurs I’ve been on yet. Most of my miles have been on XT8100 with 800 miles or so on 2 different ones. I have been through a rash of 3 GX Eagle derailleurs that have either bent when shifted poorly or had a very small twig/grass make the derailleur misshift enough to tweak enough to permanently damage. The clutch on your SLX is the same as on the XT, so you’ll likely need to service it at some point.

    2. Antony Poulton

      Hey, i thought i had the same issue but with a replacement clutch (shimano wouldn’t help so had to source via ebay and it came from Japan to UK).
      What i found on the mech cage was that it is designed to be slightly ‘bent’ to accommodate the dinner plate style big cog at the back.
      Have slacked off the tension and 200 miles in, no issues!
      Main complaint I have is when the chain gets gritty it runs like a hog – seems just too much faff when my NX Groupset hasnt been touched for 2 years on my hardtail!

      1. Chad Davis

        Yes, I have backed tension off the clutch too with very good results.

  12. TS

    Thanks for the excellent demo! My xtr rear clutch seized with less than 50 miles on it. I pulled it apart per your video, and was amazed to find I could barely get the clutch bearing off the spindle. It took gentle prying with a flathead screwdriver to remove. The bearing surface was bone dry, not a shred of grease anywhere in the clutch mechanism. No wonder it seized. When trying to reassemble, the clutch bearing would not go back on the spindle no matter how much grease I used or pressure applied. I ended up hammering it back on with a rubber mallet and then performed some acrobatics getting the spring and tensioner back on after the fact. Regardless, seems to work fine now, but I’m sure I’ll never get that clutch bearing off again. I’ve always ran shimano rear derailleurs and never seen anything like it. Definitely frustrating but thanks for the fix!

    1. Chad Davis

      I haven’t had that experience yet getting the clutch off – I’ve started pulling mine off to see if I can get more grease between the band (vs just squirting grease in the band gap)and clutch and have been able to pull it off with my fingers or with a slight wiggle from a flathead screwdriver.

      1. DV

        Hi Chad, I encountered the same problem with a 3 month old 8100 rear derailleur and I think that I found the solution. When I took apart the clutch, I found that the one way bearing was completely seized, and this lead to the same problem TS had. Usually, the one way bearing will slide on easily if you rotate counter clockwise as you press in – but with the seized bearing, I could not get it back on the spindle. The seized bearing explains the drooping chain because now the derailleur is fighting against the friction band in both directions. I first tried using the bearing from an old 8000 rear derailleur and that solved the problem. Then I found out that you can take apart the bearing – there is a retaining clip on the side that faces the rear derailleur, you can remove this with a pick and the inner and outer halves of bearing will slide apart. I used Shimano roller brake grease (not sure if this is the best for a one way bearing), and then reassembled the bearing. You can then mount the bearing on the spindle (without the rest of the clutch) and check that the bearing rotates freely counter clockwise only. Now the derailleur works better than new, the drooping chain was causing some rough downshifting that has now resolved. Hope this helps.

        1. Chad Davis

          DV, Super interesting. I don’t believe I’ve run into that issue yet but its good to know about that. I have not run Shimano much in several years before going back to XT8100 but is it me or do you think 12 speed might be accelerating clutch wear? I don’t remember having many issues with 10 and 11-speed clutches.

    2. Chad Davis

      TS, See resent comment from DV. It sounds like he may have solved your issue if you haven’t figured it out already.

  13. Matt

    Same problem on SLX 12speed. With clutch on it was unable to shift to harder gears. It started after someone else washed my bike on holiday. :/ next day, stuck gears. Took the clutch apart and found water, and the roller bearings are rusty. No end of cleaning and greasing has helped. Unfortunately it seems hard to get new clutch mechanisms in Europe right now (maybe because there have been so many issues!?) but finally tracked one down to replace it. Hopefully it works!

    1. Chad Davis

      Bummer Matt. Yeah I find it interesting that we aren’t hearing more about clutch issues since it seems as though most are effected only after a few hundred miles. Your derailleur should be under warranty – here in the US, they are quick about it. I warrantied the first one I had issues with and had it in a couple days.

    2. Alex Salas

      I have the same problem in many bikes. In Brazil nobody write about this issue, unfortunately here we don’t claim …

      1. Chad Davis

        Yes, its really interesting to me that no other bike media is saying much about the clutch issues. I talk to friends at bike shops that say its a common issue with all the new Shimano derailleurs. I’ve gotten used to mine making rocking chair creaking noises when shifting into a larger cog, but I’m getting frustrated with the shifting quality.

  14. BJ

    I’ve had two stabilizer units (clutch) corrode and fail due to water intrusion. On two different xt 8100 derailleurs. Luckily the replacement stabilizer units are <$20 but its disappointing to see what seems to be a design flaw from my beloved Shimano. Same as Mike mentioned above, I only lightly spray it during routine bike cleaning no different than any derailleur I've ever had. The gasket for the cover seems OK, my guess is that the water makes its way in from the switch lever but I'm not sure how to confirm that.

    1. Mike Robertson

      I’ve been having the hanging derailleur cage. It appears that the spindle that holds the clutch bearing gets overtightened. As mentioned the bearing is super tight. The spindle can be backed out a small bit and the cage will spring back and tension the chain. If it does not spring back then the spring in the clutch has lost its tension. The spindle can be backed out and the spring, washer and rubber seal come out. This can be put back together by winding the spring up as the whole thing is put back together. This is probably not advisable if under warranty.

  15. james

    same thing happened to me on my new Slayer. while i watched this video and did a proper re-grease, the shop said that opening the adjustment hole and spraying in tri-flow (aresol can) works very well and has resolved the issue for most bikes. they also then take a bit of tension off the clutch which they said comes overly tight from the factory. PITA for sure, but still love this drivetrain, very happy with it. sames goes for my XT 4 piston brakes.

    1. Chad Davis

      Yes, the additional maintenance with the clutch is a pain in the ass but I’ll still take it any day over the similarly priced SRAM GX.

      I’ve done the proper re-grease method where I take the clutch off too and haven’t noticed that it worked any better. But I”ll probably keep doing it the proper way since the clutch is so easy to remove.

  16. reynir

    I’ve had my bike for 2 months, shimano XT m8100 SGS setup. Same problem, except the derailure was totally stuck, and did not move back at all until I opened the clutch cover and released the bearing. The bearing was totally stuck, water inside, I don’t have a high pressure water gun for cleaning so it’s only from rain and water while washing the bike. when digging into it, I also noticed some broken piece of plastic, so the whole derailure is just good for spare parts now. replacing it with new one. That I hopefully get out of the warranty program.

    I feel this is a great shifter, but not sure about the quality here.

    1. Chad Davis

      Several others have commented with the same seized clutch. Personally I haven’t had the issue of the clutch being totally seized but similar to how you described with the cage sticking when shifting from the biggest cogs. Taking apart the clutch and regreasing has eliminated that issue for me. It’s really not hard at all.

      Like I’ve said, I do believe Shimano is shipping these clutches with too much tension on them so I recommend backing a full turn or so off.

  17. ABP

    Same issue here. Ripmo AF purchased in may w/ slx 12 speed. My lbs told me not to open the clutch up and regrease it myself because it would void the warranty. Any idea if this is true? How would they even tell?

    1. Chad Davis

      Bummer. There is no way servicing your clutch would void your warranty. The cover is removable so you can service it. You might back some tension of the clutch when you have the cover off too. Maybe just half a turn off the allen.

    2. Justi

      Came across this issue searching for shifting issues into the 51t cog and not great shifting in general after re-aligning hanger multiple times and adjustments on everything including the clutch.Seems it was a B-screw issue, even though it was set at the line like recommend…. although even looking directly from the back, it can vary if you’re slightly above or below the POV changes. I ended up backing out and tightening the B-screw in 1/8 or less adjustments finally getting (I think) it to shift how it’s supposed to. Anyway to the point…..

      Have you checked the torque of your clutch after backing it off. Recommended is 4.4-5.4nm, I’ve set mine to about 3.8nm for now. It seems other RDs have a spec of 3.5-5.4nm. checked the torque from the inside because I don’t have a T27 torx with my wrench. I’ve got the grease on order to keep on top of the clutch, there didn’t seem to be much inside, less than 100 miles on it.

      1. Chad Davis

        Yes, like Sram’s Eagle drivetrain the Shimano’s 12-speed derailleur is very sensitive to proper B-screw tension.

        I haven’t checked the torque on the clutch – just going by shifting performance and chain slap ?. I have had a little better performance by adding 1 link to my chain though. It seems as though Shimano 12-speed wants a bit longer chain than the previous 11-speed and Sram’s Eagle.

  18. Wendell Davis

    Had the same problem with my clutch after a few months. I had it replaced under warranty. The Shimano Rep said the problem is actually with the seal, it lets in to much moisture. Go figure, I guess we will see in a month or 2 if the same issue arises.

    1. Chad Davis

      Interesting, I’ve had four that I’ve serviced and haven’t noticed any grit or moisture behind any of the clutch covers. I had one warrantied as well and it didn’t last any longer than the others before it needed service.

      1. Wendell

        The Rep said the ones they have sent out in the last month or so all have the new seal. I got mine back 2 weeks ago so we will see in another month or so if the same issue arises.

        1. Chad Davis

          Good to know, hopefully that helps remedy issues. Let us know how it goes!

          1. Wendell

            Well 6 months (1000+ miles) after the warranty replacement due to clutch not working due to seal, I have had no issues. I did not change the torque, it is on the high side from factory.

  19. Justin

    Came across this issue searching for shifting issues into the 51t cog and not great shifting in general after re-aligning hanger multiple times and adjustments on everything including the clutch.Seems it was a B-screw issue, even though it was set at the line like recommend…. although even looking directly from the back, it can vary if you’re slightly above or below the POV changes. I ended up backing out and tightening the B-screw in 1/8 or less adjustments finally getting (I think) it to shift how it’s supposed to. Anyway to the point…..

    Have you checked the torque of your clutch after backing it off. Recommended is 4.4-5.4nm, I’ve set mine to about 3.8nm for now. It seems other RDs have a spec of 3.5-5.4nm. checked the torque from the inside because I don’t have a T27 torx with my wrench. I’ve got the grease on order to keep on top of the clutch, there didn’t seem to be much inside, less than 100 miles on it.

  20. Frank

    Hi Chad, thanks for this post. I had the same issue and was able to fix it with the instructions you provided. I noticed however that the tension by the spring (before the clutch is engaged) is already sufficient to keep my chain in place (I don’t ride big drops). Would it be possible to leave the clutch (one way bearing and the tensioner) completely out (so not installed)? Or would that lead to other problems? Regards, Frank

    1. Chad Davis

      Hi Frank, glad I provided some useful info for you! I don’t think you need the one way bearing installed – you’d probably want to take out the band around it too though as it would have nothing to hold it place with out the bearing. I’m not sure that would help shifting though?

      1. Frank

        Hi Chad, thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I meant indeed taking out all components of the clutch. I have no shifting issues, also not when the clutch is in off position. Do you think taking it out completely will impact shifting?

        1. Chad Davis

          Frank, you probably won’t notice much if any improvement in shifting if you take out the clutch compared to when you have the clutch off. I wouldn’t advise taking it out, especially since it seems that your derailleur is performing better than others.

  21. James G

    I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Serviced, mine will not take up chain slack with any clutch tension at all. The adjuster screw must be backed out until the cam doesn’t touch the tension band, so it’s now a non-clutch derailleur. It will cost me more than half the price of a new derailleur to ship it back. Was going to do that and sell the warranty replacement mech on eBay and buy something non-Shimano. I think I’m just going to throw the old one in the garbage. Old, meaning two months old. Big time fail ‘mano.

  22. James G

    Well, if my claim looks valid on inspection, I get my shipping money refunded, so I’m giving them a chance. Warranty replacement will appear on eBay with the other (lightly used) drivetrain components. My over-the-top solution is a Box One/Two Prime 9 groupset. They had some in stock last night, and now they’ve got one less.

  23. Frank

    Update: Shimano replaced my derailleur under warranty. According to the LBS it’s an improved version. Let’s hope so!

    1. Chad Davis

      Interesting, hope that solves your problems Frank! I had one replaced as well at the end of last year. The more I think about the issues I’ve the more I think that Mine had the clutches adjusted too tightly from the factory which led to prematurely wearing off the factory grease. I have a couple that I now haven’t touched for 6 months after service and backing tension off. Previous to that it seemed like I was servicing every couple months.

      1. Frank

        One year update: despite numerous mud rides, the replacement I got from Shimano works flawless. I even opened the clutch twice to check the status inside and it looked fine so could close it again without doing anything. Only thing I did when I just received the replacement was to put some waterproof grease on the gasket of the clutch housing. Don’t know if that helped. Since I do not see a lot of 2021 comments on this issue, may be the issues were for the first release only?

        1. Frank

          Edit: disregard my remark re 2021 comments, I didn’t see them yet when I was this far down the page :)

  24. Stefan

    For those wo struggle with their clutch sizing even with fresh greas and dirt and water comming inside the clutch try this.
    Instead of the recommended Shimano grease use RockShox PM600 military grease.
    It works much better. PM600 is highly low and high temperature resistent and water resistent.

    I use it directly on the clutch and on the sealing around the cover on my M6100. It works flawless.
    The clutch never gets stuck, works smooth and even with all the bombardment of mud, snow and salt water on it and after pressure washing it a few times there is no dirt, or water inside.

    I will keep using the PM600. It just works better imo.
    Feel free to disagree though.

    1. Chad Davis

      Thanks for the tip Stafan! I have also found that other grease works as well as Shimano’s. I’ve used DT Swiss freehub grease as well as BelRay waterproof grease with success.

  25. John

    Same problem with the clutch seizing up on my XT 8100 on an e MTB. A dealer workshop “service” and then binding again within 12 hours riding convinced me to disassemble and service the unit myself this evening. The dealer workshop didnt use the Shimano hub grease. Seems they think they know more than Shimano engineers. Typical dumb bravado.There was corrosion starting to show on the tension band. Stripped it, cleaned all parts using shellite (forget the enviro products for this application. Shellite is a brilliant zero residue solvent that works) an old toothbrush, paper towel and a wooden skewer, dried them off and reassembled using copious applications of Shimano inner hub grease. The shifting is now better than new. The clutch works like a dream. Clean and Grease everything including the roller bearings the tension band and the grooved clutch band. I suggest not using abrasives. The shimano grease in a 100 gm tube ccost $34 delivered. Its enough to do heaps of services so just get it and save yourself the grief of finding out that cheap alternatives do not work properly. I’m wondering whether the Muc off wash downs are getting water and degreaser into the workings leading to grease breakdown. Next service should shed some light on this. Also the clutch does a lot of work so expect to do this job reasonably often to keep the gear changes reliable and crisp and the chain where it should be. If you prefer a workshop service and they dont have the Shimano inner hub grease dont let them touch it.

    1. Chad Davis

      Great advice, thank you John. The Shimano grease may very well be the best, but many are reporting that a light grease from other companies (Slickoleum, DT Swiss and Dumonde Tech) works really well too if you don’t want to spend that much on Shimano’s grease. Personally, I’ve used Slickoleum ($13.99/114g tube) and DT Swiss grease with great outcomes.

  26. eastender43

    Had the same issues with the clutch and the lower pivot jammed…went the easy route,sprayed PB Blaster in the clutch,and onto the big pivot and like magic,it’s shifting again perfectly,and the clutch lever works effortlessly,yet tensions the chainperfectly with no sticking or jamming..no disassembly required..just spray in through the adjustment port..
    PB blaster.get a can …also will release stuck seatposts in carbon frames,btw..

    1. Marc

      PB Blaster!!!!? that’s a bold move!! lol.. PB blaster is intense and even melt some types of plastic/foam, excellent stuff to break loose corrosion and have used in automotive for this purpose for years. That might have free’d it because it had corrosion but at best you basically have light oil with solvents in there now..

  27. Craig

    Yep my XT clutch completely seized. Didn’t have many kms on it, but it had been in storage for 5 months and was just over 12 months old when I discovered the fault. Seems like it was a no grease from factory issue as it’s not been out in very wet conditions or pressure washed. Problem is the the clutch seized on to the pin, can’t even undo the torx bolt at the back it’s so tight (just rounding out the torx bolt even with anti-seize etc) so it’s going to cost me a new derailleur. Not impressed!

    1. Chad Davis

      Bummer Craig, I have been increasingly less satisfied with the new 12 speed derailleur’s. I finally just bought new clutches for a couple of mine. They now work about as good as new after two thousand plus miles on the rest of the derailleur, but I might go back to SRAM on the next bike.

  28. Kevin

    Thanks for the writeup, this has been super helpful. Do you know if the m8000 clutch is compatible with m8100? There seems to be a multi-month backorder on the m8100 replacement clutches. The part numbers are different if you reference the official Shimano exploded diagrams.

    1. Chad Davis

      The M8000 clutch is the same as the M8100. I have replaced 2 this year with good results. Good luck!

    2. Rod

      I swaped my gf gx derailleur with my xt one, and she has had nothing but problems, chain goes up to lower gears but gets stuck to go back to higher gears, clutch on or off. Is my derailleur bent? My clutch looks very degraded but no water or dust has gotten inside, should I disassemble the clutch unit and grease the bearings?

  29. Bjornar

    I too discovered this on my XTR derailleur after 700 km. So after using quite a bit of potentional riding time reading about this issue and watching youtube videos on how to fix it, I now have to wait for a week to get the correct grease.

    I’ve been running Eagle for years. I do wonder why Shimano can’t provide a clutch that is maintenance free (like Sram Eagle).

  30. Daniel

    I thought I had this clutch problem with my XT derailleur, and my friend had the same with this SLX. We did the clutch grease fix and it didn’t really help. So I took the derailleur apart and greased the axle for the cage, and it still didn’t help. So, as a last ditch, I lubed every pivot on the parallelogram with some thick wet chain oil (FinishLine Wet). And…it worked! Back to flawless HG+ shifts between all gears in both directions. So, if you’re struggling with a “clutch” problem you can’t fix, try lubing the rest of the RD and it might just save your derailleur!

    1. Chad Davis

      Yes, I found the same thing. Lubing derailleur pivots does seem to help quite a bit with these. Thanks for the update Daniel!

      1. Skipr

        bought a new Giant Trance X with SLX Group. The bike hadnt done 100 kms when the rear derailler twisted.
        I was going slow and shifted down and my derailer twisted and jammed.
        T problem appears to be that the chain gets caught between the guide pulley and the inner cage plate and it either wears through the inner plate, or catches and turns the derailleur inside out.
        Has anyone else had the same problem?

        

  31. Joni nines

    I used a thin bead of black GE silicon 2 around the cover . Should stop water and dirt from getting in.
    I replaced the terrible gx eagle with a XT and all my chain slap is gone. I did feel like the clutch was tight from the factory and there was no grease to be seen.

  32. Paul Geller

    I just took apart a brand new 8100XT derailleur and found the clutch almost dry. Maybe there as a light sheen of assembly oil, but certainly no grease. The sprag clutch was dry as well. A good coating inside and out with bike grease and its now smooth operating.

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