Pinkbike Product Picks

Sep 30, 2011 at 9:20
Sep 30, 2011
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Shimano XTR Trail Disc Brake

Shimano's decision to produce a stronger-stopping XTR-level brake for trail riders was long in coming. The Trail version has a comfortable shorty lever with servo-wave action that moves the caliper piston faster and then clamps it harder. Separate engagement and reach adjustments are standard and the mineral-oil-pumping master cylinder is redesigned to be in-line for a better hose routing. The one-piece forged XTR caliper is post-mount only and features top-loading semi-metallic pads with aluminum backing plates and finned aluminum radiator appendages to assist in cooling. A ceramic piston insulates the mineral-oil in the system from the brake-pad barbecue fest outside. The cooling treatment is called ICE technology and it extends to the novel rotors - two thin stainless steel plates with a heat-dissipating aluminum filler sandwiched in between. The rotors are sold in all diameters from 140 to 203 millimeters and feature an aluminum spider that can be had with either a Centerlock or a six-bolt interface. XTR Trail brakes weigh 369 grams per side, depending on hose length, with 160-millimeter Centerlock rotors. Expect to pay $370 USD per side. Shimano


Shimano XTR Trail Brake multi
Clockwise: Shimano's shorty lever stops hard with single finger thanks to the compounding force generated by its Servo-Wave mech . The tool free dial adjusts lever reach, while the tiny screw above is used to set the engagement point. A closer look at the ICE rotor reveals the aluminum core between stainless steel braking surfaces. With a claimed 125-percent increase in stopping power and better cooling, six-inch rotors can now do the work of seven-inch discs.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesGood news for Shimano lovers is that XTR Trail brakes live up to its claim of 125-percent more stopping power compared to its 2010 disc stoppers. Better still, is that all the crazy ICE treatments which are intended to reduce (hopefully eliminate) heat fade on extended downhills, also live up to Shimano's claims. What this means is that the Servo-Wave levers feel comfortable and stop the bike dead in its tracks with one-finger and that one can continue braking hard at will for miles without affecting the feel or stopping performance of the new XTR system. The tool-free lever-reach adjustment can be done with gloved hands on the fly and we never needed to use the engagement function because the Servo-Wave mechanism gets the pads to the rotor so quickly that the brakes seem to feel right anywhere the lever blade is set to rest. Those afraid of powerful brakes should rest easy, as XTR Trail brakes come on smoothly and modulate well without the surprise front wheel push that ham-handed brakers fear. If there is a downside to Shimano's star stoppers, it is that they still drag now and then - just a tiny bit - but considering all the technology stuffed into the latest and best XTR brakes, ya gotta wonder. That said; this is the XTR we've been waiting for - great brakes for real trail riders. - RC



Morningstar Rim 'Rench

Pinkbike riders bend rims - that's a fact, so we are happy to show you the Morningstar Rim 'Rench. Laser-cut from aluminum and profiled to catch the rim bead, Rim 'Rench easily works out bends in the rim flanges. It can't lift crushed flanges, however, because the tool works the rim from the inside out. Rim 'Rench costs $16.00 usd and can be purchased at Morningstar Tools on line.


Rim Rench
Rim 'Rench in action: The tool's curved working edge and bead hook function well.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes Rim 'Rench works out minor bends in the rim flange so easily and quickly that it made me want to grab a hammer and bang up some old wheels just to play with the tool some more. Serious rim straighteners should invest in a soft hammer to work the areas where the rim flange is bent outwards, and then use Rim 'Rench to work damaged flanges from the inside out. Sure, you could yank on your wheels with a crescent wrench, but you won't get the sweet results and minimal scratching that Rim 'Rench users enjoy. - RC




American Classic All Mountain 29 Tubeless Wheelset

American Classic is best known for its lightweight road and cross-country wheels, so we were surprised that designer Bill Shook could hit a home run in the all-mountain ballpark with his first swing. American Classic's AM 29er wheels are built on a full-width 28-millimeter ID rim that is 23-millimeters deep. That is wide for the 29er set, but American Classic says (and rightly so) that wider is stiffer and rims are lighter than rubber. A 29er rider who needs a larger volume tire can benefit directly by fitting a slightly wider tire on a wider rim to achieve the lightest possible wheel - instead of throwing the biggest tire he or she can find on a skinny XC-width rim.
American Classic has developed its own rim-sealing tape system. The AM 29 Tubeless wheelset comes pre-taped and with valve stems installed for no extra charge.The AM 29 Tubeless wheelset is laced with 32 AC stainless butted spokes, 3-cross on both front and rear. Almost every hub configuration is available: standard QR cross-country, 20-millimeter or QR15 through-axle front, 142/12 through-axle rear, 9 or ten speed, and even 150-millimeter downhill hubs are all available for the same, $850 usd price tag for the wheelset. Two colorways are available: 'Buzzsaw' with white rims and red hubs, or Rawtype, with black rims against white hubs. Our QR15 front and standard-QR rear wheelset weighed so close to American Classic's numbers that we'll just print theirs: Front- 788 grams, Rear- 892 grams, Pair-1680 grams. American Classic


American Classic AM 29 Tubeless Wheelset
Clockwise from top-left: We tested American Classic's all-mountain 29er wheelset on a Santa Cruz Tallboy. The AM rear hub design uses close-spaced flanges to produce even spoke tension on the non-drive-side of the wheel. The front hub also uses large spoke flanges for extra lateral stiffness. American Classic sells the same tubeless kit it uses in its AM wheelset - $14.00 for the tape and 12.50 for the valve stem kit (two wheels). The AM valve stem has a countoured washer to better fit the rim.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes We put our test wheels under Big-Ring Eddie, a 200-pound monster climber who rides the boulders and moto trails around Southern California's high desert. Having broken a few American Classic wheels in the distant past, Eddie was more than happy to take his aggression out on a new set. Bottom line was that he returned after three months of thrashing with a request for another set for is backup 29er. The All Mountain 29 Tubeless wheelset is still running straight and true. The smooth, full-width tape and American Classic's built-into-the-rim bead lock made it possible to mount tires with a hand pump. The reason Eddie likes them though, is for the lateral stability that the wider rim gives a tubeless tire. The man is sold on wide rims, saying that the improvement in both cornering and straight-line handling was 'dramatic' from the first ride. So, there ya have it. - RC



Fox Racing Shox Kashima Coating

Kashima coating is a patented process which is applied to anodized-aluminum stanchion tubes and shock shafts of selected Fox Racing Shox 'Factory' suspension products. The super-slick coating makes a new fork feel like it has been run in and re-lubricated like mechanics often do to prep a race fork. The coating is expensive, however, so the question in the back of everyone's mind is: If I maintain and lube my standard Fox suspension, will it perform as well as the Kashima item? To find out, I rode a Kashima fork for five months without any form of servicing. If it ran smoothly after that, I figured that the Kashima coating might be worth the price - which, working from Fox's MSRP list, is close to 90 dollars retail. The test fork was a 32 Float TALAS 140 RLC that retails for $885 usd. One has to imagine that anyone who can lay down that kind of change for front suspension really isn't going to sweat a hundred bucks, but I still wanted to know. Get the Kashima story from Fox Racing Shox


kashima multi 2
Clockwise from top-left: Our test fork, a TALAS 140 RLC was fitted to a Santa Cruz Blur LTC for five months. The Kashima logo is unmistakable on the Fox fork stanchions. Fork sag remained consistent throughout the test period. We never lubricated the dust seals and yet the fork runs smoothly. Somewhere along the line I backed off the low speed compression three clicks, presumably to compensate for increased friction.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes First of all, there is a noticeable difference in the bump sensitivity of the Kashima fork from the get go, This is evident with sag settings, which required about five psi more to get the fork to settle at an inch and a half, where I like it. On day one, with my pack and a little more breakfast than I need, I used 150 psi in the fork, with three clicks of low-speed compression and eight clicks out from full slow on the rebound. Usually as a fork drys up and gets filled with micro-dust, it begins to ride higher, so most riders unconsciously respond by lowering the spring pressure to return to the proper sag level. Same with rebound settings. I checked my settings and all but the low-speed compression were the same after five months. I must have noticed some harshness, because the low-speed compression ring was backed completely out. Was there any extra stiction in the Kashima fork? Yes, if I let it sit for a week, but it took only two or three cycles to make it feel perfect again. My control was a standard Fox 32 Float 140 RLC which I had used for the same duration in the same conditions as a test mule for products. Although I had serviced the seals and kept it clean, the standard RLC, which I once believed to be a smooth-running fork, felt notchy by comparison. So, is Kashima worth a hundred bucks? Ultimately, you have to decide that, but the value of being able to pull your bike off the wall and have its suspension feel consistent every ride is kind of like having a free race mechanic. - RC

If you have used any of the products featured in Pinkbike's Product Picks, please share your impressions below.
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102 Comments

  • + 80
 need one of those rim 'renches!
  • + 9
 It is so cool. What a great idea.
  • + 3
 I don't get those though, I use a crescent wrench with electric tape on it, works amazing.
  • + 2
 Made one by myself. Yes, it's not laser cut and all that, but it does the job. Smile
  • + 2
 No idea about the wheels.. But all others I agree!
  • + 16
 The second you buy one of those wrenches you'll never dent another rim. I bent one ages ago and just used a vice, but that thing looks like it will do a much tidier job.
  • + 15
 if thats true it will be the best 16 bucks I ever spend. Wink
  • + 6
 Karma evens it's self out.
  • + 5
 nothing that a large adjustable can't handle
  • + 1
 I have a few minor dents on my mavic 817s, and couldn't get them out with an adjustable. It didn't grip well enough and just scratched the paint. I'm definitely going to grab one of those rim renches, looks like it'll solve the problems perfectly.
  • + 12
 My wife looked over, and asked if it was a bottle opener........ I think that would be great, it should be double ended, rim wrench and bottle opener!
  • + 3
 It would make it so easy with all of that leverage. Opening the bottle would be as enjoyable as the contents.
  • + 7
 Funny how Fox went to low friction SKF seals at the same time they went with the Kashima coating but all the bike journo's are too busy jizzing themselves over the bling to notice. If they think it's so good why don't they compare a Kashima RC4 against a CCDB or a Vivid to see which one is the most sensitive. Then they'll see how amazing it is.
  • + 6
 I went from a Vivid to a Kashima RC4 and it made a world of difference. Now if i tap the seat, the shock reacts and it feels incredibly smooth. From what I have noticed there is a minimal difference with Kashima on forks but a major difference on rear shocks. I think this can be attributed to rear shocks having so much leverage over them, so like on my bike, a 2.75 stroke is controlling 8 inches so suddle moves on the shock more greatly effect the suspension performance. Fox forks and shocks outperform everything else I have ridden though, and I have owned pretty much everything.
  • + 1
 Honestly I can't tell the difference in Kashima on front suspension. No difference in PSI setup or subjective impressions. This is a 2010 Fox 36 Talas RC vs 2011 Fox 36 Talas FIT & Fox RP23. Interesting though what you say about the rear sensitivity and will keep an eye on that
  • + 1
 I`d have to differ from your comment leelau. I went from a standard brand new 2011 Fox 40 to a brand new 2012 Kashima 40 and the small bumps it can absorb is way better. Also I don`t suffer from hand fatigue as fast as I did with the standard stanchions.
  • + 4
 One thing most people don't notice is that the 2012 is a new fork. It's not only the kashima but also SKF seals and probably some damper changes. If you really want an objective test whether kashima feels better test 2 forks from the same year with the same seals.
  • + 1
 I'll have to defer to trekfueler, p-romano and to RC's impressions because after all, they are subjective. Also I've heard others mention that the FIT cartridged Fox front forks didn't feel good as the RC2 cartridged forks. In the end, it's good to get other people's impressions.
  • + 2
 Yeah everyone does have an opinion. Which is totally cool. You really just need to try for ones self. I have aswell ran a RC2 fox 40 before having the fit cartridge system which was more advanced in feel and adjustablility. Plus not having the rebound hanging as low as it did. But thats why they make different brands and models for everyone. But I have ran all the different Fox 40 combos and the 2012 is my personal favorite out of the 40`s in the past. Which I am excited to see their future models ( inverted? ) if they every get out of testing.
  • + 1
 for anyone thats interested: www.kashima-coat.com/pdf/English_pamphlet.pdf
basically, its molybdenum disulfide deposited in the aluminum's oxide layer

ed: I meant to reply to Ynotgorilla's post
  • + 17
 ^ Translation:

It's slidey
  • + 1
 The most important thing about Kashima is that it looks awesome!
  • + 1
 Thats interesting...

Still I have to give credit to Fox, they have amazing suspension products and R&D, and all that is made in the USA. Thery are pretty much the only ones to do that now... everything else is China or Taiwan these days, including Rock Shox the main competitor.
  • + 1
 I wonder if made i the US means the whole thing or the internals only (like BOS).
  • + 1
 Interesting that the Kashima coat on the PDF has been applied to the outer stantions, not the inner sliders.

Kashima and other slippery coatings only make a difference to forks without an oil bath. If you have a fork with a lot of oil in it, which is able to immerse the bushings and lube the seals, then after as soon as the fork starts moving, you get hydrodynamic lubrication (bushings and seal lips riding on a thin film of oil, which is every bit as good as a slippery coating.

Fox do not use much in the way of oil lubrication atall (since it is fundamentally heavier after all to fill the fork lowers with oil) and thus both require a slippery coating where others do not, and have problems with the anodising wearing off.
  • + 1
 It is a bit ironic that with an avy chart(open bath) most forks are still lighter than fox so the lightweight reason is a bit silly.
  • + 6
 forgot to mention ........superglueing a cpu heatsink to your calipers is an excellent ghetto alternative to those fancy heat reducing thingies on the xtr brakes....hell you could even leave the fan on the heatsink and connect it to a 9v battery....hey presto.....im betting your levers would even feel nice and cold for summer riding
  • + 9
 that rim 'rench would be very useful the way i ride...
  • + 0
 just use some pliers!!!! erhhhh
  • - 6
flag maxeponken (Sep 30, 2011 at 9:46) (Below Threshold)
 They are worthless! If you bend your rim back they will just crack the next time you hit some rock or something. And then you'll have no rim at all.. Let your rims bend and when they look bad just replace them.
  • + 1
 if it is worthless, don't buy it...
  • + 19
 That is such a false statement. Yes, some rim damage is irreparable. But a lot of smaller bends that can occur when riding lower pressures through rocky trails, especially riding DH, can be carefully repaired this way. In a prefect world where rims dont cost anything, and time isn't worth much either- lacing up a new rim every time you put a little puck in it would be ideal. For the rest of us mortals, extending the useful life of a rim is both economical and eco-friendly.
  • + 4
 Darkstar, I totally agree!

Now let's see how it works with those carbon rims of mine ;p.
  • + 3
 Yeah, Id imagine not too well Wink
  • + 5
 Robby, your Nomad is absolutely sick!!!! I nearly fell from my chair.
  • + 2
 2 years of no questions asked warranty... I could try haha Big Grin

Thanks!
  • + 1
 could it take out some bigger dents
  • + 1
 Joshua, I'll upload a movie of me getting totally out of rythm on a staircase and post the link below. You can clearly hear the abuse the wheels have to endure from my hey-i'm-not-awake-yet-but-have-to-ride-this-stairset-down attitude.
  • + 1
 www.pinkbike.com/video/229412 as you can see, I ride out without needing to undent (ofcourse, carbon rims don't need that :p) This was a silly joke of mine... You'd really have to be harsh on a wheel to dent it properly.. Undenting makes a rim weaker though, so it would be just for a one time use on each dented spot. I never dented my Da Bomb wheels nor my Mavic ones, but I've seen DT FR2350's dent easily.
  • + 1
 i literally ruined my back wheel at fort william, the dent was so bad the tyre wouldn't stay on the rim, that was at 35psi too. had to use a screwdriver and pliers to get it back out! seems to be holding up ok a couple of months later
  • + 4
 I went Kashima on my 40s after damaging my old ones and WOW! I went for the look to be honest as I didn't think it would make a shit of difference, but it did. I'll be upgrading my RC4 asap.
  • + 1
 i totally agree with that my 40's run night and day difference compared with the older version the only thing for me next is SKF fork seals and getting my RC4 done too!!! Smile
  • + 2
 having problems with your rim can be extremely irritating and now it seems that there is a great solution for all your rim problems......whether it be a comfier saddle, some relieving gel or perhaps a spanner thingy type thing that will fix your wheels
  • + 2
 I got the 2011 Kashima Float 140 RLC Fit right before they announced the new seals for 2012 but oh well, that's what that replacement seal kit is for! I upgraded from a 2008 Talas 140 R The new fork is much more active with useable travel compared to old. I have still experienced some stiction though after some really wet and muddy rides so it makes me wonder how much of the improvement you're seeing is in the Kashima or those new seals? Also, the Kashima isn't anymore durable than the standard coatings I'd say. Both will scratch, especially if you're tearing it up with mud and rocks getting kicked up... this is mountain biking after all but it sure did look nice those first few rides. I'm happy with the fork it just leaves me wanting those new seals.
  • + 2
 Technology-wise, Kashima has to be some type of teflon, or polytetrafluorinated-polymer if you like, which is the slickest synthetic compund known to man, bonded on top of the P.I.M.P. gold anodizing . It should wear off after some time, and you should really be able to achieve the same by lubricating your stanchions with teflon-lubricant every now and then. I prefer Zocchi nickel-plating, even more P.I.M.P., just takes a little bit longer to break in the fork.
  • + 1
 i really doubt that its a teflon coating, more likely CVD TiC.. and btw MoS2 is more slippery than PTFE... but i agree, i too prefer nickel coatings, i think that a nickel-phosfer-MoS2 (electro-less) composite coating would be optimal. tough i not sure if it would be economical for a massproduced item (requires alot of proces control)
  • + 4
 It's easy first clean with soapy warm water - then leave to dry (go have a coffee) then lube with a small amount of suspension oil with a CLEAN strong non lintel tissue paper - make sure the seals get special attention. Now notice how they feel - like new every time. Now go and rail those trails.....add some ZTR rims on Maxxis minions so you can really work the forks - ENJOY
  • + 2
 Couldnt agree more dude.

Takes all of about 5 mins after youve cleaned your bike to put some fork oil on the stanchions and rear shock shaft, cycle them to get the last of the crap out and then apply more to get them buttery smooth.

Also just drop your lowers off once every few months and put some fresh oil in and some judy butter/prep m on the seals and bushes. been doing that to my lyriks for nearly 5 yrs now and theyre smooth as day 1, when my new pair turned up for my other bike even i was surprised at how good my old ones felt in comparison.

All this latest coating tech is just for people that think theyre gonna be able to save money in the long run as they wont have to service the fork.
  • + 1
 you don't to put fork oil on your fork stanchions or rear shock shaft, it attracts a build-up of dirt on the seal face causing accelerated wear

the best tip for seal cleaning and seal relubrication is to use a dry lube like Finish Line's Teflon Dry Lube (the spray can is ideal, use carefully so you don't drift mist onto your front disc brake rotor!)

once the solvent (carrier) evaporates, it leaves a thick layer of PTFE (teflon) which won't in itself cause a dirt build-up, and minimises seal friction against the fork stanchion and shock shaft

another product that is ideal is pure silicon spray (this is commonly available from hardware stores, also sold under the "fork juice" brand)
  • + 1
 Good call, I'll try that. In fact I always clean the forks at the end of a thrashing before the dirt goes HARD. Then lube & polish off to avoid what you are describing. HOWEVER I am now going to move on to use TEFLON spray instead - cheers for the advise.
  • + 1
 I have to say the use of FINISH LINE TEFLON DRY LUBE is FANTASTIC. Someone else commented that perhaps GT85 would do the same job being that it is a PTFE product? However I have always been advised that GT85 / WD40 are both too fine a lube and DAMAGE seals? I'll stick with finish line.
  • + 1
 GT85 is a very different product to Finish Line Dry Lube and I will not have it used in my workshop as it has no useful function Wink


WD40 is actually a water displacer and is not a lubricant (hence: WD = water displacer, "40" refers to the 40th formula the manufacturer tried before they got it right) and again we don't use it anywhere near a bike
  • + 1
 I'll stick to the finish line dry lube! Interestingly I have used Finish line fork oil before only on clean tubes and only applying from a new non lintle paper towel. I picked this tip up from TF tuned (who are actually divided as to its relevance) and also notice elsewhere on pinbike that the guys at fox also recommend NOT using anything other than fork oil because it is the same oil as used internally therefore cannot contaminate the internal oil. BUT clearly dry Teflon lube will NOT be a liquid therefore will not be a contaminante - RIGHT? Either method works and to me definatly makes the forks "feel" better with zero stiction. I am always amazed at how many other riders with new or used gear have oil smears all over them. I think there is a massive difference to how lube is applied, The end result must be that the fork is left DRY not sticky with all surplus wiped clear. I actually only ever occasionally use GT85 to clean the frame & on shifter cables. That said I am not fussy over shifter cables I just buy them from LBS they are dead cheap so just change the inners & outers as soon as they feel iffy, but then again we don't get that much rain here in fact my main problem is removing dust!
  • + 1
 The ultimate solution IS - ROCK OIL. Use this in the lowers, use it on the wiper seal, and take the HAMPSTEADBANDIT's advise to use Teflon lube on the stancions. I polished Finish Line dry lube onto the stancions with the lowers off before re-assembly. The forks were great before now they are AWESOME! Interestingly when removing the lowers there was only a trickle of oil left. Now re-assembled with 15ml in coil side & 10ml in damper side. The fork travel is perfect, smooth from the off. I strongly recommend ROCK OIL it is a motorcycle product I got it from CRC, by the way used PrepM on the coil. Total time to do this job INCLUDING removing forks from the frame & regreesing the headset & re-assembling the whole thing about 1 hour. So GET some rock oil service regularily and make you're front end magic.
  • + 1
 Rock Oil is an oil manufacturer based in the UK, who produce a wide range of "badged" (labelled) fork oils and DOT fluids for many famous "brand names" (think of the big moto/automotive names)

I always buy Rock Oil for my home workshop because its just £4 for a 1 litre bottle Wink
  • + 1
 Well ive never noticed any more build up of dirt on mine than any other product ive used previously including PTFE sprays and silicon sprays that all numbers of bike shops have recommended over the years. i can understand if you leave the bloody stuff on there but i always clean the fork out of the general rubbish that builds up apply fork oil, cycle til it feels buttery smooth and then wipe the excess. worked for 5 years on all my forks and none are showing any real signs of wear. Think not regularly cleaning will be the most likely culprit for that
  • + 1
 Interesting that the Kashima coat on the PDF has been applied to the outer stantions, not the inner sliders.

Kashima and other slippery coatings only make a difference to forks without an oil bath. If you have a fork with a lot of oil in it, which is able to immerse the bushings and lube the seals, then after as soon as the fork starts moving, you get hydrodynamic lubrication (bushings and seal lips riding on a thin film of oil, which is every bit as good as a slippery coating.

Fox do not use much in the way of oil lubrication atall (since it is fundamentally heavier after all to fill the fork lowers with oil) and thus both require a slippery coating where others do not, and have problems with the anodising wearing off.
  • + 3
 The kashima is cool, but i cant wait till someone brings out a DLC coated fork to compete with it. We already know RS have the capability to make it.
  • + 1
 well i run 50psi just because i usually have to ride quite a few miles to get to single track and i really dont want to ride those miles with a let down tire. but even then i find that minions / high rollers struggle for grip
  • + 2
 sorry disregard, was meant to be a reply to a existing comment thread not new one. still new to posting on this site
  • + 1
 to be honest, I hate the new brakes. I work at a Trek store and we had a guy crash on a 2012 Superfly AL elite, equipped with SLX brakes, which have nearly the same lever design and that exact same shiny plastic piece on the master cylinder. That piece on top of the master cylinder broke in the crash and he can't just get a new piece of plastic, he has to buy new brakes. What a joke! and it wasn't even a bad crash, if Shimano used the aluminum lever like Avid does this guy wouldn't have to buy new brakes. I've always LOVED Shimano until this experience and now I'll never recommend SLX or XTR brakes to anyone.
  • + 2
 Run a strip of teflon tape under the clamp and the lever will rotate around the bars in a crash. This may have prevented that problem, and prevents levers from getting bent in a crash.
  • + 2
 have you used the brakes though? they are the best performing brake I've felt for their intended use... thumbs up from me until something better comes around...
  • + 0
 Something better has come around, it's called the RO.
  • + 3
 ihartmybike:

A guy crash, breaks his brake, and because of that you hate them? ANYTHING can break in a crash, it's not the product's fault.

And anyway, SLX levers are available individually for RRP of £30.00 GBP (approx. $47) so he actually didn't need a whole new brake at all, just a lever. Compare to an Avid Elixir 5 lever, RRP is £59 GDP (approx. $95), and suddenly the Shimano looks like a pretty option, no?
  • + 5
 Sorry to burst your bubble fella, but im also a mechanic in a shimano service center, and might I point out that while yes the SLX and the XT brakes have a plastic removable resevoir cap, the XTRs do not. They feature a fully aluminium lever with the double bubble design, whereby you cannot remove the resevoir cap (as the isnt one) and you must use the new drip free bleeding procedure from shimano (the equipment for which you are supplied with when you buy the brakes aftermarket).

Because they dont have the removable resevoir cap, they cant break the resevoir cap. I ride a set of the XTR brakes and they are the best brake ive ever riden bar none, and ive ridden every shimano, certain tektros, most avids, and most formulas, and I can honestly say they beat them all.

Final thought - make sure you have all your facts about your products before you start bad mouthing them without (obviously) not having seen them in the flesh (or indeed even looked closely enough at the pictures above where it is obvious there is no resevoir cap)
  • + 4
 One final thing. An SLX lever body is £19.99 (approx $30, maybe even less what with the crazy low tax rate in the US). And seen as the lever body comes without a lever or any other parts, but does come with the plastic resevoir cap, you wouldnt even have to build onto the new body, you could just swap the resevoir cap over and bleed the brake. That way, the customer pays less than a fifth of what a new brake costs, and gets a spare body just incase he strips the threads for the clamp bolt or something.

PS - item code from shimano for new lever body (right hand side) is Y8VJ98020. Check techdocs.shimano.com/techdocs/index.jsp for any other part numbers you need, all the exploded diagrams for the components are available there.
  • + 1
 I like my XTR trail brakes overall. I will say I dont like the short life of the resin pads, and Ive had some maint. issues with the front cable "leaking" at the cable crimp on the caliper end. Shimano did warranty the cable and so far so good. I guess Im going to the metal pads next.

I own the F29 100 Terralogic with Kashima and am really happy with it so far.
  • + 2
 I know for a fact that my next trail bike with have xtr and the fox kashima coated forks. Sure i'll have to pay out my @$$ but at least i'll only have to do it once!!!
  • + 1
 for breaks,i find hays nine are good,so much more simeple and less expensive.i dosnt matter what break you have,its as long as it stops the bike
  • + 1
 For $16 the rim wrench would be a nice thing to have, even though a normal wrench can work, normal wrenches don't have the lip that that thing has
  • + 1
 I need to know Big-Ring Eddie rides. I have not found any decent trails around these parts. Meaning the High Desert.
  • + 2
 My next bike WILL have xtr brakes!
  • + 1
 Xtr brakes are super powerfull and trully 1 finger - thumbs up
  • + 1
 Agreed. I have the 2012 XT's and they are nearly overkill with 8" rotor up front. Dropping down to 7" front cause they're just too touchy. The lever feel is nothing short of perfect though, and it always feels the same.
  • + 1
 Did the same thing as Brad - 7" in front and 6" in rear. Takes some getting used to if you survive the initial endo'ing and dental work
  • + 1
 completely agree. 1 finger braking no matter where you are, no matter how steep, no matter what rotor size. Brilliant brakes - cant wait to laugh at people on the mega next year with brakes boiling and fading as i sail by Razz
  • + 1
 Great to hear this about them from you guys. I own 2010 Saints and I love them for the great controll of excellent power with next to no fade. But they are heavy and I have them on my trail bike, so I think of changing them next year for either XTR Trails or Elixir CRs. I hesitate as Elixirs are cheaper, weigh the same as XTRs and are really powerful, but I don't like Avids spongy/scratchie feel.

Have any of you guys tried Elixirs CR as well to compare?
  • + 1
 I have Elixirs Waki. Properly bled they're pretty good brakes. I'd hazard a guess that many Elixirs feel mushy because they're improperly bled. Not a knock on you on your mechanic's skills. Even with the correct manuals, the youtube videos etc they are fairly finicky and, shame on SRAM, often come OE on bikes poorly bled. Overall I'd say the XT's are an improvement even over properly bled Elixirs if only because of the solid lever feel. On a note about that solid feel, I'm still attempting to find the modulation characteristics of the XTs and it seems to me that they are very light at the lever so you have to get used to using less braking force than before.
  • + 1
 Ok thx. Pretty surprising what you say about new XTs as my older ones and saints have great modulation. Cheers!
  • + 1
 Agree with Lee. I want to love the new XT's. Perhaps it's the consistent, snappy feel, or the 'just right' lever blade. Regardless, they are not perfect because it seems as though Shimano went overkill to make up for the lack of power in the previous generation brakes (i.e.- I had 2011 SLX brakes that had NO power). I've had plenty of Elixirs and as Lee says, they are good when bled properly, but routine maintenance gives them the boot for me. The 2012 XT/XTR's and probably the new SLX brakes have poor modulation and definitely take some getting used to. A mechanic at a local shop recommended cutting V-notches into the pads with a razor blade. Hmmm...
  • + 1
 The first slx series had the same issue as previous xts and xtrs. They were like a teenage girl, everyday in a different mood and always noisy. Saints on the other hand, even though they share the same lever, somehow deliver the power and modulation any time. How do you guys find them on slippery slabs and roots? I think I ride similar terrain in similar weather, to what you have. there are places and conditions where i just don't even dare to pull the front brake lever, while on my ht with vbrakes I can run away with some slight panic braking. I would like the power, but at least a bit more margin than saints
  • + 1
 Well I'm comparing apples to oranges here because I've got saints on a session 88 and they have unbelievable power & decent modulation (not great - just decent). The XTs are on a 6x 6 test bike so a lot smaller bike and ridden more mellow. They seem to have the same unreal raw power but its more on-off. But like I said that's not a lot of time on the bike so far and I hope to get used to them a bit more. When I first got Gustavs and Saints it also took time to get used to it. So basically its premature to have more than a halfassed opinion so take it for what its worth waki
  • + 1
 How are the Avid Elixir 5 Brakes?
  • + 1
 I mostly agree with Lee here. I find the Saint brake to be perfection in braking feel, for both power and modulation. I'm at 200 lbs though, so they modulate much better for me than they would for a lighter rider. Still, the Saint did take some adjustment period for me because I was coming from a far inferior product. The new XT's/XTR's do not feel at all like a Saint. They have that crisp Shimano feel, but the power range is far different. While the XT's do have really great power for a dual-piston brake, it isn't the brute-force power of the quad-piston Saint.

What the new brake does have is a snappy feel, which I would assume will be love/hate for most users. Initially, and only for an instant, the brake wants to lock even at minimal one-finger squeeze when the pads hit the rotor. After the initial braking application, the power is pretty smooth and predictable. Most people will find them "touchy" or "grabby". Panic braking will almost certainly result in a over-the-bars situation. I have found that in the wet, the front brake tends to make the tire slide a bit unpredictably due to the sensitivity of the initial power. It is somewhat difficult to death-grip the handlebar with all fingers but one, but then gingerly apply minimal pressure to that one finger. I'm definitely dropping down to a 7" front and 6" rear rotor for the XT's. I like the brake, or as I said earlier, I want to like it. The power curve is much different than anything else I've used and does require extra control with that braking finger.
  • + 1
 btw _ i'm 160lbs so pretty light. Brad's a bigger guy. Makes a huge difference. Caliber- I have no experience with Elixir 5. I've used Elixir 3s and they're good brakes especially for the money - but again tough to bleed properly
  • + 1
 It should be interesting going from Mech to Hydros for the first time .
  • + 1
 oh jeez, yeah bro, no matter what you get these days will be an upgrade fo sho!
  • + 1
 I bet that's one good wrench...
  • + 1
 Got the XTR trail stoppers. It's all true, they are the $#!t
  • + 1
 what bike is that with the tubeless 29" wheels?
  • + 1
 Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon. I'm quite sure that's what it is.
  • + 1
 really nice products....
  • + 2
 But $16? l0l
  • + 1
 i just rock 95psi, never had a dent or a pinch flat running that pressure
  • + 4
 or any grip
  • + 1
 95psi - wow, the mind boggles!

I run 100psi in my 700 x 23c wheeled commuting bike Wink
  • + 1
 grip is fine
  • + 1
 well i run 50psi just because i usually have to ride quite a few miles to get to single track and i really dont want to ride those miles with a let down tire. but even then i find that minions / high rollers struggle for grip
  • + 1
 Tubeless is the way forward! Big Grin . I was rocking 5psi the other day, just cos i could. Haha. Handled like s**t but i could so I did. 20psi all the way. Never have a flat again! Just make sure you run tubeless rim and tubeless tyre or it can be rolled off the rim without too much effort :/
  • + 1
 yeah but would you want to ride your 20psi 6 miles back home then when your knackered after your trails session?

other than that, i do agree very low pressure tubless is way forward

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