There are some remarkable similarities in Shimano's front mountain derailleurs. Though each of them has a unique name and they all come at different prices, they seem to share a number of parts in common. A part of this must be the expense of producing a new mold, to cast each particular piece, so the way to add distinction is to finish the parts slightly differently. The M900 XTR and M560 LX both seem to use at least one linkage piece that is the same, polished on the XTR, painted Black on the LX. They both also use a very similar but not identical derailleur cage. The M737 XT and the M563 LX are the same except for the cable fastening linkage and the finish of the clamp. The XTR and XT models have adjustable tension on the return spring. From the rear of the derailleur a chrome plated cap covers the return spring with an exposed 4mm hex fitting. The fitting is the front face of a Black steel cam bolt that shortens or lengthens the distance to contact of the coiled return spring. A shorter distance gives the spring more force. All LX models lacks this feature.
This is the high-end, industry standard as front mountain bike changers go. The XTR front is positioned to create for mountain bikes what the Dura Ace parts are to Road bikes, a functionally fine, cosmetically exquisite front derailleur. The XTR has forged aluminum alloy clamp and link pieces, which are riveted to the chrome plated steel cage. The cable fastening link arm on the XTR is anodized to a Blue-Grey. The New Contoured chain guide, (cage), is made of steel for long wear and has a few well placed horizontal folds to act like corrugation and add rigidity to it. The cage is held together at the rear by a removable screw. Removing this screw permits the XTR to taken off the bike for repair or replacement without breaking the chain. This changer will work with any multi-speed chain and dutifully shift across a 6, 7, or 8 speed rear gear range. It has the adjustable return spring, made of a rotating steel cam that applies more or less pressure to the return spring, so the force it uses moving the chain to the small chainrings can be adjusted. The cam adjusting screws to adjust the throw of the cage are accessed from the top-downward near the clamp. The cable fastening bolt is the same as the one used in the Dura-Ace front and replaceable by the SRP Titanium at a 1.5 gram weight reduction. The clamp bolt is the same for all models of the XTR, having a 5mm by .8mm pitch and a 14mm length. The 3 gram steel original can be exactly replaced by the SRP Ti clamp bolt at a 1 gram savings. It comes in three sizes of clamp diameter; 28.6mm (1 1/8"), 31.8mm (1 1/4"), and 34.9mm, (1 3/8" band style). This front derailleur is also made in a top-pull model, in all sizes. The XTR front has a 26 tooth capacity. The cage turns on sealed pivot pins. Intended for triple chainring cranks, a 5mm hex wrench is the only tool needed for installation and cable fastening. With it's beautiful aluminum finish work, the 1 1/8" XTR bottom pull weighs 120 grams, the 1 1/4" weighs 120.5 grams, while the 1 3/8" bottom pull weighs 129.5 grams.
Well crafted, the XT has a Black cable fastening link riveted to a chrome cage. This front changer is the standard model not intended for HyperDrive-C use. The clamp itself is made of forged aluminum pieces that are left there natural Silver. The cage is made of steel for long wear and has a few well placed horizontal folds to act like corrugation and add rigidity to it. Shimano calls this a "rigid chain guide". The cage is held together at the rear by a removable screw. Removing this screw permits the XT to taken off the bike for repair or replacement without breaking the chain. This changer, like the XTR, will work with any multi-speed chain, using any shift system, while shifting across a 6, 7, or 8 speed rear gear range. All the component parts of the XT are riveted together, so failure or extreme wear necessitates replacement. The cam adjusting screws are accessed from the top downward, near the clamp. The XT has the adjustable return spring tension feature mentioned above, permitting a 4mm hex wrench to adjust the force applied to the chain as it is pushed back onto the smaller chainrings. The 2.5 gram steel cable fastening bolt, can be exactly replaced by the SRP Titanium model for weight savings, and the 3.5 gram steel clamp bolt can also be exactly replaced by the SRP Ti clamp bolt. The M735 comes in three clamp diameters; 28.6mm (1 1/8"), 31.8mm (1 1/4"), and 34.9mm (1 3/8" band style). The XT front has a 26 tooth capacity. The pins that the cage pivots on are sealed. Installation is simple, instructions are included, all you need is a 5mm hex wrench to install and fasten the cable. Intended for triple chainring cranks, the XT is available in a top-pull model in all clamp sizes. The 1 1/8" XT weighs 123.5 grams, the 1 1/4" size weighs 127.5 grams (129 grams in the top-pull model), and the 1 3/8" size weighs a little less at 127 grams.
When Shimano released the HyperDrive-C version of XT they also introduced a shorter cage with a taller profile model of the XT front changer. The M737 is intended for use with compact cranksets, that include Deore XT, and Deore LX but will also work with Suntour XC Pro MD and Campy Record OR. The cage is 43.2mm tall and just 105mm long. The steel cage is die cut as a single piece with stamped horizontal folds to increase rigidity, then chrome plated. The lower section also has two holes die cut through it, the forward horizontal hole has the metal plate rolled backward to re-enforce the broad area below the clamp. The rear of the cage is fastened by a removable screw. The M737 can be replaced without breaking the chain by removing this screw and sliding the changer around the chain. The M737 will work with any narrow multi-speed chain, using any shift system and has enough throw to accommodate a 6, 7, or 8 rear gear range. All of the component parts of this changer are riveted together, so will need to replace the entire unit if there is extreme wear or failure. The cam adjusting screws are accessed from the top downward, near the clamp. The M737 has the adjustable return spring tension described in the Shimano overview above, using a 4mm hex wrench allows you to adjust the return force. The 2.5 gram steel cable fastening bolt, can be exactly replaced by the SRP Titanium model for weight savings, and the 3.5 gram steel clamp bolt can also be exactly replaced by the SRP Ti clamp bolt. The M737 comes in three clamp diameters; 28.6mm (1 1/8"), 31.8mm (1 1/4"), and 34.9mm (1 3/8" band style). The XT front has a 22 tooth capacity and sealed cage pivot pins. Installation is simple, instructions are included, all you need is a 5mm hex wrench to install and fasten the cable. Intended for triple chainring cranks, the M737 XT is available in a top-pull model in all clamp sizes. The 1 1/8" bottom pull weighs 135 grams, the 1 1/4" bottom pull weighs 134.5 grams, the 1 3/8" weighs 135 grams. The 1 1/4" top pull weighs 135.5 grams.
The M563 was introduced in the 1994 model year, after the now discontinued M560 had been released in 1993. The LX group of parts is intended to replace the DX model line. The new M563 LX is made for HyperDrive-C compact cranksets with its link and clamp assembly entirely painted in a glossy Black. The LX front changer uses a "trapeze" version of the pantagraph mechanism to smoothly lift and shift your chain to and from the large chainring. Two of the link pivot pins are said to have some type of seal. The link and clamp pieces are forged from aluminum alloy, with the cage made of chromed steel identical to the M737 XT front cage. The linkage, clamp and cage are all riveted together, failure or wear will necessitate replacement. The set screws to adjust the throw of the cage are placed on the top of the clamp piece, near the seat tube, accessed in a top-down fashion. The M563 will shift all narrow chains, regardless of shift system, across a 6, 7, or 8 speed rear gear range. The M563 uses the same clamp and cable fastening bolts as the XT model so the SRP Ti replacement bolts can be used for this LX model. There is room for improvement on the LX, its cable fastening bolt threads into a separate steel hex nut weighing 1 gram, while the XT and XTR cable bolts thread into the tapped aluminum cable link arm. The M563 LX front is STI compatible, works with Shimano SG-X chainrings and comes in a 1 1/8", 1 3/8" or 1 1/4" clamp size. Each of the clamp sizes are also available in a top-pull model. The LX front derailleur has the same 22 tooth capacity as the Hyper-C XT model. A 5mm hex wrench is the only tool needed for installation and shift cable fastening. The clamp is forged aluminum and the cage (guide) is chromed steel. The 1 1/8" LX weighs 133.5 grams, the 1 1/4" size somehow weighs less at 132 grams, and the 1 3/8" top pull weighs 134 grams.