Small-time framebuilders and large manufacturers alike have responded favorably about the Shimano designed Direct Mount for front derailleurs. This XTR Dyna-Sys Direct Mount Triple Front Derailleur FD-M981 is for use with frames that have that type of mounting option. What's the benefit you might be asking? The Direct Mount is easy to build, though you might only be concerned with the fact that it makes front derailleur setup a breeze. Another benefit is that it has a built-in stop for a top-routed cable. This minimizes exposed wire and therefore minimizes contamination, and the direct mount minimizes flex. In both instances, your shifting performance is improved over other designs.
This XTR Direct Mount Front Derailleur is labeled as FD-M981 because it's a traditional styled (bottom swing) front derailleur. It's nearly identical to the clamp-on M981 part, save for the lack of a clamp. Instead this one has a flat, inboard surface with an upright rib that corresponds to the groove in the flat Direct Mount you'll find on your seat tube. One bolt holds it all together and your only adjustment will be up and down in relation to the chainrings. Since there's no way to twist the derailleur around the seat tube, it goes on lined up perfectly with the chainrings and your shifting should be spot on once the cable tension and limit screws are set. The limit screws are angled outward to facilitate adjustment for convoluted rear suspension designs as well.
The Shimano XTR Direct Mount Triple Front Derailleur FD-M981 is specifically designed for use with Shimano's XTR Trail Triple Crankset and 10-speed XTR chain, and the maximum chainring size is 42 teeth. It can be used with top- or bottom-pull cable routing.
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Hi - I am replacing a XT 781 front derailleur...
Hi - I am replacing a XT 781 front derailleur -- this one will work, yes?