Shimano's XTR Shadow Plus 10 speed rear derailleur sees an enitrely new platform from previous versions of XTR rear changers. This architecture provides a smooth, linear feel at the shifter, meaning each shift feel sht esame as opposed to requireing more force as you shift up into lower gears on the cassette.
The Shadow Plus design features a clutch dampener which keeps the derailleur stable despite suspension movement, trail chatter or inevitable cable contamination. This internal clutch system maintains chain tention througt the roughest of terain. This clutch features on and off positions by simply flipping the gold anodized lever. On creates an damp rear derailleur for rough terrian and off returns the XTR changer to light action, perfect for derailleur adjustments and easy and smooth terrain.
The M981 features Shimano's Shadow design where the derailleur is tucked in under and behind the cassette where it is less likely to be damaged from the perils of off-road riding. The shifting performance is also improved due to the closer position to the cassette. The Shadow design places priority on a low profile with less body movement for increased performance and durability. When in high gear, the derailleur has a profile that is a full 15mm less than a traditional rear derailleur. That means it barely protrudes more than the quick release skewer nut.