With the BMX (and hence the younger DJ/FR/DH crowd) "hooking up" their rigs w/ color I'm not surprised to see more of it in coming over to MTB.
Colored cables, chains, chainring bolts, seats, grips, made out of ti or alloy (where applicable) to save a small amount of weight even better. I think SRAM and some others with be out as well - maybe not White Gold - but their own colorway. You're talking about small pieces that may or may not need replacing anyway.
It's like the purple ano years ago. I remember buying small SRP colored and ti bolts myself along w/ some slick pulley wheels. Thankfully it was never purple and I still have some of the stuff on one of my bikes. It was a reletively cheap "upgrade". Heck, I just got some pimp gold grip ends last year for my SS.
I haven't seen the price list for this stuff tho - that will tell something.
Remember that Shimano has been around for YEARS. They lived through the Suntour era, which is where most thought Shimano would can it.
Shimano has never felt the heat from Campy, in my opinion.
Also realize that Shimano is on almost every bike - SRAM still can't make a descent FD or a lightweight cassette. And Campy gave up on mountain bike parts a long while back.
Shimano will be around for a while. Until SRAM starts making a wider range of parts, like road bike shifters you'd find on a $500 road bike, wheels (Zipp doesn't count if we're talking mountain bikes)... then Shimano might start feeling the heat.
However, my X9 is incredible, my Force is flawless and my Ultegra is reliable.
This Yumeya stuff is just a small way to lay claim to the ultra high end of the market. They probably got tired of the uber geeks buying aftermarket add-ons for their kits from Tune and the like.
I'm sure it came out of research they've done into lightening the XTR group. Yumeya is a way to generate some revenue from that research without deploying those high-end weight-saving elements in the mainstream XTR line and driving the cost through the roof.
Ultimately, I think it's a minor thing and will have very little impact on the company one way or another. Although it could pay off as some of those superlight technologies filter down to their mainstream product lines...
I'm thinking this is a good move by shimano. There's a ton of boutique shops that sell carbon and ti upgrade parts for components online, but they are expensive as crap, usually in europe, and not factory recommended. Now you can go to any shop and get this stuff. However, I'm not sure at what point of obsessiveness you would have to hit to justify dropping most likely $100+ to upgrade your $250 RD or cassette, in order to save 10-20g.
I agree. Although if anything, it would have made more sense for this to be done for Dura Ace than XTR. For a number of years now, it's seemed that Dura-Ace is really comparable more to Chorus than Record... And in the ultra-high end road bike market, bling seems to be everything.
And remember... Shimano is the company that actually put the Airlines system into [albeit limited] production. Sometimes they'll do things off-the-wall just because they can.