Review: Shimano's All-New XT 4-Piston Brakes

Jul 26, 2019
by Mike Levy  


While XTR gets a lot of us excited, it's Shimano's XT that makes a lot more sense when you do the cost to performance calculation. The Japanese giant released their 12-speed XT M8100 drivetrain a few months ago, and they've also reworked their XT brake for 2019, with both two- and four-piston offerings operated by the same lever and master cylinder assembly.

It's the all-mountain and trail-focused four-piston stopper with a $209.99 USD price tag that's reviewed here, and I also put it up against its main rival, SRAM's G2 RSC.

XT M8120 4-Piston Brake Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / trail
• Four-piston caliper
• Adjustable reach, free stroke
• Servowave actuation
• Mineral oil
• Weight: 301-grams (front, w/o rotor)
• MSRP: $209.99 USD (lever/ caliper) $52.99 USD (rotor)
• More info: www.shimano.com


The new four-piston XT caliper is much sleeker than the previous version.

The Details

Shimano has had a four-piston brake in their XT lineup for a while now, and the calipers are using ceramic pistons that are home to the same finned, metallic pads. The updates are cosmetic and external down at this end, with a new finish, smooth edges, and inboard banjo routing that gives it a sleeker appearance. In fact, it almost looks XTR-ish at first glance, which wasn't by accident.

No big news with the calipers, then, but there are some notable changes up top. Shimano has completely redesigned the perch, with a hinged clamp that also grabs the shifter and a flex-busting outboard support that butts up against your handlebar. First used on XTR, the idea is to make the whole assembly stiffer so that the brake levers feel firmer when you're really squeezing 'em.

The lever's shaped has been tweaked a bit as well; it's now a bit taller and a bit flatter.

You'll still find the Servowave linkage (pictured to the right) hidden behind the lever blade, though. Here's the idea, according to Shimano: ''When you pull a Servowave brake lever, initial pad travel is fast, so little lever movement is needed to bring the pads into contact with the rotor. The power multiplication factor then increases rapidly at the pad-to-rim contact so more of the lever stroke is used to apply greater braking power with improved control.''

On top of that, Servowave is probably the most polarizing feature of Shimano's brakes (despite often not being mentioned at all) because of the lever feel it provides - more effort is required initially before it tapers off later in the lever's throw.
Shimano Servowave


The Freeza rotors (left) are Centerlock-only, and I used their six-bolt rotors instead.


XT also gets Shimano's $52.99 USD Freeza Centerlock-only rotors, previously only seen on the pricier XTR brakes. Heat is a brake's worst enemy, and the rotor uses an aluminum core that's sandwiched between two pieces of stainless steel, with the core also extending down below the brake track to help it cool off. The only thing missing that you'll find on the XTR rotor is the fancy heat-dissipating black paint that's probably not noticeable anyway.

I tested these XT brakes on a bike that used six-bolt hubs, so I ended up with conventional rotors instead.


The hinged clamp is I-Spec compatible, and an extension butts up against the handlebar to brace the outboard end of the perch.


When it comes to adjustments, the same relatively large plastic dial can be found on the lever to change the reach, and Shimano is still insisting that the small Phillips screw alters the amount of free stroke. If you've ever turned this screw on their previous brakes, you probably already know that it does diddly squat; maybe it's functioning on the new XT brake, though...?

It's also worth noting that the SLX brake (minus the rotor) is essentially identical to XT, plus 11-grams and minus the non-functioning free stroke screw and some finishing details - it retails for $174.99 USD. Just sayin'.



How'd They Perform?

If you've used Shimano's brakes in the past, and especially if you've been able to compare them to other offerings, you already know the gist of it: Plenty of power that starts with a relatively firm grab, and that power doesn't go anywhere, either.

It's the same story with the new XT stoppers, too. The initial grab will still feel a bit acute to some, especially if traction is iffy, but those who love that leave-no-doubt first grab will also love that about the new XTs. Rider weight and terrain play a part in that sort of feedback, though, and lighter riders like myself might benefit from down-sizing the rear rotor, if not both.


All the power and none of the fade - the XT brakes have enough bite for anyone.


The first few millimeters of free lever travel is slightly stiffer before the pads hit the rotor and the Servowave changes the leverage, at which point the lever is slightly easier to pull. This is all squeezed into the first half of the brake lever's travel, and not something you're thinking about on the trail. The advantage, according to Shimano, is how the ''...power multiplication factor then increases rapidly at the pad-to-rim contact so more of the lever stroke is used to apply greater braking power with improved control.'' It's also a big factor in giving Shimano's brakes their, er, Shimano-y feel.

In fact, I've seen some high-profile Shimano-sponsored racers running the non-Servowave XTR lever (combined with a four-piston caliper) because it feels more traditional.

With four pistons and Shimano's name on them, you know these things are powerful. Those trails that are just the right combination of steep, fast, and rough to have you eventually looking for a reason to take a breather? Yeah, you're not going to be able to blame your new XT brakes as they refused to fade during my time on them.

I'll tell you what did change, though: The free stroke. It wasn't the wildly varying bite point of those troublesome Shimano brakes of a few years ago, but it would slowly move in towards the grip over a few thousand feet of descending. And yes, I'm completely aware of the irony of me moaning about the non-existent ''free stroke adjustment" earlier on only to have the free stroke change on its own during use.

Despite the free stroke increasing by roughly 50-percent during long descents, power was completely unaffected. So yeah, I could still do skids at the end of my runs, but I just had to pull the lever a lot farther.
Can you see the small Phillips screw that adjusts the brake's free stroke? Me neither.

Attention Shimano: An adjustable bite point, adjustable free stroke, or whatever else you want to call it, is needed on your high-end brakes. Sure, you can change the free stroke by advancing the pistons, but I want to be able to easily make my brakes feel exactly how I want them, not how you guys think they should feel. I suspect that you're not listening, though, as everyone else has been saying that for years now.


The new lever blade (left) is a bit taller and flatter, but it felt the same to me. Shimano's brakes all have this silly release button (right) that you need to depress to open the clamp. It's a pain in the ass to deal with.



Cage Match: Shimano XT versus SRAM G2 RSC

SRAM's equally new G2 brake, and particularly the $180 USD four-piston G2 RSC, has to be considered the XT's main competitor. Both brands talk abut improved rigidity (via the caliper with SRAM, and the perch with Shimano), but if you're comparing bullet points, it sure looks like the G2 RSC comes out on top. It offers an effective free stroke adjustment, weighs less, and manages to cost less to boot. Bullet points are for the sales floor, though. How do they compare on the trail?

SRAM G2 brake review
SRAM's $180 G2 RSC (left) and Shimano's $209.99 USD XT are both four-piston brakes intended for all-mountain and trail bike duty.

Despite them being new (or at least heavily revised) models, you'd all still easily be able to tell which is which in a blind test. Both the XT and the G2 had perfect bleeds and a solid feel at the lever, but the XT's perch design gives it a bit more support. That said, it's not like we were complaining about flexy brake perches a few years back. What does matter is the feel at the lever, and while it might not be all the exciting, the XT still feels exactly like a Shimano brake and the G2 feels exactly like, you guessed it, a SRAM brake.

The G2 still has a gentler, far more controllable initial bite compared to the XT, but a heavier rider might feel that as less initial power. I've racked up a bunch of 3,000-foot descents on both models and the G2's bite point has been 100-percent consistent during all of them, although I can't say the same about the power - it trails off a touch when you're really leaning on them for extended periods of time. Conversely, the new XTs never blinked in the power department, but the bite point would slowly work its way in during long descents.

If I had to choose which brake to use as a 160lb rider who prefers mid-travel bikes, the easily controlled power delivery of the G2 wins in my mind.




Pros

+ All the power
+ Firm lever feel

Cons

- Bite point worked its way in
- Free stroke isn't actually adjustable



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesShimano's XT brakes are the workhorse stoppers of their component range, and the newest version offers tons of power and the same firm lever feel that their brakes are known for. Even so, it's hard not to choose the new four-piston SLX brake that forgoes the non-functioning free stroke adjust instead - they're $35 USD less per end, the rotors are $23 less per end, and they only weigh 34-grams more per end. Mike Levy








422 Comments

  • + 125
 Well, the bite point wandering back and forth has been fixed to just forth...
  • + 71
 Amazes me they get past product testing and into the market. The wandering bite point on my XT M8000 was shocking! Was literally like a different pair of brakes on every pull of the lever!
  • + 44
 @jlawie: mine got a bit better after I started bleeding them only by flushing them bottom to top. But people all over the world perform all sorts of shenneningans claiming the solved it. May include rain dance.
  • - 40
flag Kramz (Jul 26, 2019 at 0:44) (Below Threshold)
 @jlawie: I have to 2 finger mine, and it feels like they're going to break from pulling too hard. I guess you just have to know you're buying shit, when you buy shit.
  • + 42
 @WAKIdesigns:

I solved it by selling them on Smile
  • + 50
 Is there then a universally accepted brake that works for everyone and doesn't have insane negatives?

I was under the impression that Shimano stuff just 'works', but doesn't give you any feel. I see tons of moaning over Sram offerings as well. It seems as though there's something wrong with everything on the market.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I’ve not been able to sort mine. All my warranty replacements have been identical and the new stuff is exactly the same. They’ve known about this problem for years and they haven’t done anything about it. The only thing that’s worked for me is doing a lever bleed every four or five rides. They’re by far the worst brakes I’ve used in the last ten years. I’ve been keeping my eye on the new shimano stuff. Hoping they’ve got their act together. Clearly no better than all the other crap they’ve put out over the last five years.
  • + 16
 @jlawie: Ditto. Nothing worked, had every mechanic in the land bled them. Ditched for Hopes.
  • - 10
flag thenotoriousmic (Jul 26, 2019 at 1:26) (Below Threshold)
 @Primoz: noisey minority of shimano fanboys that have only ridden shimano and that’s all they know. They’re all over the internet spreading fake news. There’s loads of top quality brakes that’s work really well and don’t need bleeding every other day just shimano isn’t one of them anymore.
  • + 6
 @Primoz: I dunno, I can't really relate to people having huge issues with Shimanos, but admittedly my experience is limited to a couple of pairs of XTs. The bite point is sometimes a bit inconsistent, but not so much that I'd notice it mid ride. Then again, I do live in Finland and our descents are usually like 30 seconds, so maybe it's a bigger issue in alpine terrain etc.
  • + 16
 Bit of an exaggeration that innit. I've been running XT M8000 levers, XT M785 calipers with Goodridge hose & fittings for ages and they've been awesome. A lot of Shimano brake setups really are still as good as they always were.
  • + 18
 @Primoz: hope e4, not as powerful as the xt/zee combo I șwapped out for them but exactly the same performance at any altitude, in any weather and at any point in your descent.
  • + 45
 I ride "alpine terrain" - standard descents about 1000m. Never experienced any variable bite point in 3 pairs of Zees over the past 5 years. Keep them topped up with oil after a few big rides and they're solid - search "Bubble Bleed" by EpicBleedSolutions, 5 minute job.

I really don't understand people's confusion over the freestroke screws also, industry people like Levy especially. Turn the screw on one brake out, watch the lever as you do it and stop when the lever stops moving, then feel the difference between your two brakes' lever throws. Tightening the screw slightly pre-squeezes the lever. OK it's a subtle thing but it does make a difference. I like to top up my oil with the screw backed out and then tighten it up afterwards. Replaced the blanking screws in my Zees with hex grub screws to make it easier - just be sure to stop tightening when you feel a little resistance or you'll break the internal mechanism.

My problem with Zees at least is sticky pistons after they are a few months old - I clean and lube with the recommended grease every pad change but then at the next pad change you can see one side has advanced more than the other. When it gets really bad I have to realign my caliper after every couple of big rides, or clean/lube/reset pistons before the pads have worn out.

Might try Cura 4s next if they are an OK price when my current Zees are done but Zees are cheap and it's the feel that I know and like.
  • + 27
 @dakuan: If Hope made a mineral oil brake I would be all over it.
  • + 4
 @Primoz: My M8000 that I'm using since 2017 had a bit of bite point drift in the beginning but it disappeared after 2 bleeds. Now they are simply fine and trouble free.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I bleed my m820s that way, and after 4 years and many bleeds they are consistently perfect. Must be the cure.
  • + 6
 @Primoz: zee levers with magura mt5 calipers...
  • + 2
 @dakuan:

Sane here. On E4s now
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Mine work fine. I just rain dance a bit before every ride.
  • + 6
 Just to be clear, i've been on Sram since 2015 (Oro K18 before that for over 5 years, no bleeds actually and no problems) and have been loving it. Have had to service the Guide RS's a few times (changing pistons and the like, but otherwise it's been smooth sailing for me performance wise. I'm on Code RSCs now and i love them as well.
  • + 4
 @Lornholio: The brakes being reviewed are essentially the same caliper as the Zees, but with a brand-new lever design. I have the new XTR's and these are the best brakes I've ever tried.
  • + 9
 @Primoz: Trickstuff, unless you count their eye-watering pricetag as an "insane negative".
  • + 7
 @fartymarty: hopes are very underpowered. I had their v4 and it just lacked power. How people use the e4 is beyond me. Shame as it was very reliable and looked nice. Been on sram code rsc for 6 months. Absolutely faultless with adjustments that work and tons of power.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: I'm on Zees at the moment which are good but need regular burping to keep them firm.
  • + 2
 @Lornholio: even if it does work. It’s still a shit system. I can adjust my guides in seconds whenever wherever ever. Am I supposed to take a screwdriver with me on a ride and go through that bullshit process?
  • + 3
 @Lornholio: sounds fun man ive done 1 bleed and 2 pad changes on my codes since 2011 and they still work flawlessly!!
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: I actually prefer shimano but the constant bite point problem on ALL of their range has put off until they change the lever design. Loving the codes though. Just a well made solid feeling brake. I’ve ridden guides but again lack power for me. Formula cura look excellent with great reviews on reliability. As for hopes I just don’t know why they lack the power of the big brakes from sram and shimano.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: well you cna do anything with enough money... But yes, i would say that paying for one brake twice the amount of a good pair of brakes is an insane negative.
  • + 14
 @Primoz: the simple answer is no, there's disdain for every brand in some way. I think everyone should have to swap their brand of choice for a set of early Hayes discs so they can appreciate modern braking. They all work and work well, the rest comes down to personal preference.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: Yeah, you're right. I just decide to stay of my coward levers!
  • + 0
 @Lornholio: that is exactly the "issue". You can create any lever-feel you want buy adjusting the oil-level / bubble-bleed. if you know the few tricks you need to know, the shimano-brakes are super reliable, cheap pads, and very long living. whatever model you have... this applies from the 300-series up to saint/xtr.
The current MT501 might offer the greatest stopping power per $ on the market at the moment. I had no chance to ride one of the tektro orion 4p so far.... but they are mostly OEM only, so hard to get. the may be even cheaper with a similar stopping performance.
  • + 7
 @Primoz: idk. I greatly prefer the Sram brakes because I can't stand the wandering bite point and more frequent bleeding of Shimano, but many of my friends who ride the same trails feel the opposite and prefer Shimano, so maybe it's down to personal preferences or manufacturing inconsistencies.
  • + 4
 @Primoz: HOPE has been by far the brakes that feel good from new, easy to bleed, and setup. Yes it cost a bit more, but over time, if you're not into the TREND of new breaks every couple years, cost will be more than justifiable - just saying.
  • + 6
 @Primoz: Newer TRP Trail hydros are the answer. The only downside I can think of is TRP's the lack of true "integrated" clamp mechanisms. Unless you a bazillion levers on the bar, its not as much as problem as it sounds like on paper. Even with my small Trump hands, I have no issues with Sram shifters and TRP brakes side-by-side on the bar.

I run TRP on all bikes (including cable Spyres on my road/gravel bike). They use standard Shimano pads, the newer ones are easy to bleed and they have modulation for days.
  • + 5
 @Primoz: I have the newer Magura Trail Sport set up with a 203mm up front and a 160mm at the rear and they have been faultless in every condition with zero fade and perfect modulation. Just finished riding them all day at Antur Stiniog and they were perfect. Lots of complaints about their older models but I haven't seen anyone complaining about these and I got the full set for £130 from Lordgun...
  • + 4
 @Primoz: Tbh my codes have been the solution for me. Have tried Formula brakes (pretty good/consistent feel but awkward lever) Guides (faaade on long descents, feel kinda cheap) XTs (wandering bite point) and was getting frustrated. My DH bike came specced with codes and I was ready to swap them out for the hopes everyone talks about, but was pleasantly surprised by their consistency, feel, and on-hand power with the modulation that sram brakes are known for. Some people hate the modulation, but I like it. So, for me, it's codes all the way. Have them on my DH and trail bike now and they do the job!
  • + 0
 @TDMAN: I've seen the way Hopes are bled just recently. I'll keep my Srams.
  • + 7
 @landscapeben: running a DIY Magura trail set (mt7 180 front, mt6 180 rear) and I agree, they're phenomenal. The Magura brakes are a total b!tch to bleed correctly though. Definitely need to know a few tricks. Once you've got that down, the power, weight and modulation are hard to beat.
  • + 1
 @landscapeben: do yours also have plastic master cylinders? I'm not that well versed in Magura's offerings, but a plastic master cylinder is a no-no.
  • + 3
 @snowwcold55: I'm running Code RSCs now. I had Guide RSs before. I mentioned that i'm a Sram lover before Wink
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I’ve had two sets of XT785, XTR985, and XT8000 and I’ve never had to bleed my brakes. I just do it once annually and zero issues during the year. Some people might just do a bad job bleeding their brakes (not saying YOU, but some of the complaints online have to be that).
  • + 1
 Feature, not a bug.
  • + 6
 @Alias530: There appears to be a slight anomaly between never and once a year... just saying.
  • + 5
 @Primoz: I've got MT Trail Sports and it is a "plastic" master cylinder. It is an engineered plastic reinforced in a similar way to the plastic on power tools. Just instead of glass fibers it is carbon fibers. I've crashed with them where the lever blade dug a .75" deep, 12" long gash into hardpack and it was no worse for wear other than some scuffs on the lever.
  • + 5
 Yes there is a brake that works like it should. They are called Hope tech V4’s @Primoz:
  • + 1
 @Alias530: it’s almost impossible to do a bad bleed on shimano brakes and even if you did a lever bleed will sort that out after a few rides when the air you didn’t manage to get out works it’s way to the lever. There’s a fault somewhere and honestly it’s damn right dangerous. I’ve had quite a few close calls with mine. Going into corners and the lever just disappears and you fly over the top of a berm of the track or they lock up right away and you wash out. It’s not the bleed there’s something wrong with them. Personally I think they’re letting air in around the pistons. Don’t ride shimano brakes for a bit and you’l need to clean your pads and rotors because they’ve slowly been leaking oil... air must go the other way.
  • + 20
 @mhoshal: 2 pad changes in 8 years? Your trails sound fun.
  • + 4
 @Primoz: Hopes E4s? not cheap (although not a ton more expensive than these) but damn near indestructible. definitely a different feel than Shimanos but Ive been riding them for 6 years and the only times I had to bleed them were when I had to trim/replace lines. Im sure there are some people who dont like them, but I love mine. even my bike shop owning friend who used to give me shit for running non-SRAM/Shimano ("Hope you can find brake pads. har har!") tried a pair of E4s and says hes never putting another brake on any of his bikes
  • + 1
 this is the most scathing review I've ever read on PB I think... I enjoyed it.

@sooner518 I'm with you - I have non-SRAM/Shimano brakes and my buddy's at the shop clearly have never heard of the internet (which happens to have lots of pads available for two day shipping...)
  • + 1
 Wandering bite point is fixed on m8000 with a lever bleed every once in a while. It takes 3 minutes and makes them feel amazing. As a 200 lb rider, I prefer the solid initial bite point and power XT brakes provide vs Sram's mushy feeling bite point. It takes a bit to get used to, but coming from Sram Code brakes, I feel like I dont have to pull as hard or far to get power.
  • + 1
 @NMK187: a matter of taste really. I love Codes for just that. Modulation when more powered is applied. I dig Shimanos too, when they actually work. Maguras are a bit of dumb anchors but they work too. Each to their own.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: zee levers fixes that plastic flimsy issue. Themagura levers are. Good until you crash and hit them
  • + 1
 @jlawie: Agree completely. I used to always run shimano but those brakes were so awful I switched and wouldn't consider buy more until several reviews confirmed it has been properly fixed
  • - 5
flag TimRidesBikes (Jul 26, 2019 at 8:21) (Below Threshold)
 @jlawie: Same here. I got the M8000's for free and still sold and went back to SRAM. Yes, back to SRAM. #shimanoequalshardcoresuck
  • + 7
 @Primoz: magura mt5's for me. Just done a week of 1000m descents and no fade at all
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: a few Hollywooders off the coffee table just before I take the Yeti out has solved mine.
  • + 1
 @Lornholio: thanks for explaining this! very helpful.
  • + 2
 @Primoz: There are a couple options. I think Hayes Dominions may be the best but dont own them. The easy answer is Codes tho. Insanely perfect. I sold my guides (no issues but def not enough power ramp) and moved on from XTs too. Codes are ridiculously nice and there are no super wide spread issues. Easy choice. All that early control and then more power than XT (not quite Saint power) with lots of control.
  • + 3
 @Primoz: I got on tektro/trp this season, seems to avoid a lot of the issues of both sram and Shimano
  • + 1
 @danielshiels: i got to respect anyone who can ride e4 brakes without crashing! got to be the weakest brake I've used and the v4 was not much better. looked good though. Also very reliable.
  • + 14
 @Primoz: I'd argue that MTB brakes are trying to be light, powerful, and consistent all the time, and they use a bunch of tiny parts and tiny tolerances. I've had a load of SRAM brakes work perfectly for a very long time, then I get a set that doesn't, and that seems to be the case with most brakes out there.

Too many tiny parts, complication, and tolerances. Just my 2c on it Smile
  • + 1
 @Verbl-Kint: The new xtr are pretty damn sweet.
  • + 6
 @Primoz: Don't believe all the crap about Maguras MT. I often hear people badmouthing the so-called "plastic" of the lever/master cylinder unit but these are as durable as any other brakes. I've taken a few spills with my MT5 and they don't even have a scratch. And they're powerful, reliable, consistent and light to boot.
  • + 1
 @Keepiru: very few people get this!
  • + 1
 @Alias530: Agreed! I've witnessed some of these bad bleeds by home wrenches.
  • + 2
 @Primoz: Formula Cura - had mine on for 2 years, ride nearly every day, done plenty of races and not bled or fiddled with them once!
I changed to turn after becoming fed up with my saints.
  • + 2
 @Primoz: People love to complain? Maybe go back and try some caliper or v-brakes on a rainy day.
  • + 2
 @Primoz: probably not universal, but I love my Magura MT7 and MT5. They are consistent and powerful and have plenty of modulation. Way better than a couple years ago.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: Trickstuff. I just bought some Piccolas bike24 had the front in stock waiting on the rear.
So I have a weird setup I managed to strip the threads on my xt brake lever. But with a Piccola on the way I didn't want to invest money so I bought the cheapest lever the Shimano mt200 for $13.
So on one side I have the most expensive lever and the other the cheapest.
The piccolo has has all the power I need more then my xt m8000 but is the lightest in the world. No downside really.
On the other side I have to say the mt200 lever blows away the xt lever. It just feels proper with no wandering bite point.
Shimano need to move on from servowave it's garbage.
  • + 2
 XTR trail, Saints and Saints. THought about Hope but would get one brake for the price of a complete Saint. Marsh Bleed FTW. Park Tools has a good YouTube video of cleaning Shimano calipers FYI.
  • + 2
 @gonecoastal: yes and then you throw them away when the master cylinder wears because Shimano doesn't believe in parts or rebuild kits.
  • + 1
 @landscapeben: I meant to include “as annual maintenance” in my post. I’ve never been riding and experienced anything but perfect function or felt the need to bleed. I just do it once a year as preventative maintenance.
  • + 1
 @Lornholio: scathing.
  • + 1
 @reverend27: Yes!
Up until Shimano banned German shops from selling to Canadians Shimano was had so cheap it was disposable.

Looking at Cura brakes next.
  • + 2
 @Primoz: Started out on avid code rsc(dh bike) and elixir 9s(trail) and despite the terrible reviews I thought they were great.

Sold those bikes and my next bike had xt m785 with the really annoying bite point issue (except when these were new no-one was really talking about it so everyone thought I was bad at bleeding).

Next bike had Guide RS which would lock up when the weather outside was above 80F.

Replaced those with hope v4s, which were fine but a little underpowered. Biggest issue there was they really don't like being positioned upside down (trail side repair... Fixed a chain issue and suddenly have no brakes right before the dh)

Next brakes were Magura 4 pots. These have been great and I love the new one finger levers.

I also recently put the new deore 4 pots on my other bike, and unlike my old xt's(and apparently new as well) these have not had bite point issues.
  • + 2
 @JasonALap:
I never had issue with Hayes brake performance from '01 - '11, only problem was the lack of threads on the bleed attachment system. Those hoses always popped out during bleeds!
  • + 2
 @cool3: that's my experience as well with my MT5s. They feel great and provide gobs of usable power without the on/off feeling I had with my older shimano slx 675s that I replaced with the Maguras. No comparison between the 2 but the Maguras just feel the way I need them to for my style.

If you haven't already then do yourself a favor and buy 4 of the MT7 style pad pins and run MT7 pads. They're so much easier to change then the stupidly designed MT5 type and I think the brakes feel better too. That might be my imagination or I could chalk it up to the TruckerCo pads I got. Either way convenience wins.
  • + 3
 @Primoz: Pick any model of Hope brake from 2005 to now. The downside is uually the price, but you'll be using them for ten years, so it's not that bad.
  • + 1
 @jlawie: What was amazing is that it was absolutely terrible on the M785's, I had 2 broken ribs to attest to that, then they're like, Hold My Beer, M8000's are coming and you aint seen nothing yet...
  • + 1
 @JasonALap: Does this video cover it well or do you have other tips? www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMRk916qJTg
  • + 2
 @Primoz: It's like bleeding moto brakes. no need for syringes...nor special thread-niddle (i do bleed on shimano/hayes/sram on my other brakes)
  • + 3
 @Primoz: hope brakes
  • + 1
 To everybody replying to me, it was a rhetorical question Razz

I'm running Codes. I ran Guides. I love the modulation and i love the bleeding process. I'm not buying anything else.
  • + 3
 @JasonALap: I just purchased a set of MT7's for the DH bike. Buddy was able to cut his lines and put them back together without bleeding. We cut mine, same way, first run at Whizlah and both brakes to the bar. I had researched bleeding procedures and thought it would be a nightmare.

We bled them under an awning in the parking lot in a torrential downpour. Nailed the bleed the first go. They are the best feeling, engaging, bite point, stopping brakes I have been on to date. I thought the bleed was actually much easier than Sram's (2012-2017 Codes prior).

Wish the pad contact adjust actually did something though like the Codes (so far it feels like it's just a knob to turn)
  • + 1
 @energetik: That's what I did. I've also heard that SwissStop pads give more power than the stock Magura brake pads. Any experience with those?
  • + 3
 @Primoz: Magura. I have both the MT7 and Trail Sport. They are dead reliable and offer excellent power and modulation. I’ve run guide rsc and xt8000 each for a year, and my Magura brakes have out performed both. Just got back from a Colorado trip with several 3k ft descents. Top to bottom I had nothing but consistent power and bite point.
  • + 5
 " SRAM's $180 G2 RSC (left) and Shimano's $209.99 USD XT are both four-piston brakes intended for all-mountain and trail bike duty."
So excruciatingly close SRAM. Charge $1 more and there'd be a $28.99 difference.
  • + 1
 @ButtersNZ: Never had any problems with my saints. Or anything else I've ever owned. Except maybe my avid juicy 7's. Those were terrible.
  • + 1
 @Svinyard: @Primoz I have a hypothesis that you can actually increase the power of RSC brakes by turning the bite point in(bites closer to the bar), since the swinglink gets peak power at around 50mm stroke. From the math I've done a while ago, this would give the codes more power than saints. I can't really test it as I only have guide R's and don't think it's worth it to get codes as I'm saving for a dh bike.
  • + 1
 @silkyrhino: that's their official procedure, which should work ok, but what I've found is that air bubbles often still get trapped in the master. What I found to work fantastic required threading the second syringe into the bookkeeper bleedport with an o going to seal it, then pulling just a bit of vacuum on the top syringe before pushing from the lower syringe. Just a tiny bit as the system isn't intended for vacuum. You're just trying to encourage the air bubbles in the master to move.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: try formula cura‘s
I love them
  • + 1
 @Pavel-Repak: doing some measuring and modelling could confirm this. As for the hypothesis, the closer to the bar you go, the more power it should have since the mechanical advantage should rise. Unless you came to the top point, where the mechanism would jump over, but that would mean you'd lose all braking power, which is not safe. So the mechanism needs to be conservative.

Though on the other hand it's not only the lever to bar metric that is key here, lever position plays a role as well since reach adjustment moves the whole lever away from the initial cam. So the system works as it works, regardless of the blade position, but your theory works for long reach values (lever far away from bar), where the lever would still actually go almost to the bar.

To achieve that you would need either a moved timing port from the reservoir (to engage the master cylinder later in the travel) or some sort of a compensator to fill with oil in order to move the master cylinder further away without moving the pistons in the caliper...

EDIT: i was thinking about it while i was writing the post, that's why it's a bit all over the place.
  • + 2
 @cool3: plus one for Maguras from me. 1200m bike park runs in Andorra.. in 30 degrees... Best brakes I've ever used. Personal choice brakes...
  • + 1
 @Primoz: The leverage peaks at around 50mm of lever movement, which is not that much but it wouldn't work if you have the lever close to the bar. I like my levers quite far away, so if I had the codes I could set them up to stop moving at around 50mm for peak power. I don't think there should be a problem with the lever not pushing enough fluid. Too bad I can't try it with my guide R's.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: BTW here's the graph showing the leverage images.app.goo.gl/PpxjRwuKW6Ck44uh9 with a 6:1 leverage, the master piston should only move around 15mm in total. By setting the freestroke to get the lever to lock at ~50mm you would have peak power and potentially better modulation, as the pistons move slower allowing for better control. It'd be awesome if you tried a short lever throw and a long one to compare the power.
  • + 2
 @thenotoriousmic: you are sounding SO notorious right now.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: I know the Cura for powerful but poor modulation and inconsistent brakes but I won’t share my secret Formula with anybody. MooHaHaHaHa!
  • - 1
 I agree with “just works”.
Like an Ak47 over a m16.
I’m not pro enough to have my contact point tolerance within 1mm.
Lots of other bike issues to deal with.
@Primoz:
  • + 1
 @cool3: I’ve broken two lever bodies, stripped the bleed port and had the clamp screw strip as well. I carefully torque all my stuff. They are delicate to say the least and hard to bleed compared to Shimano.
  • + 2
 @Pavel-Repak: I def dont need anymore power out of my Codes but I'll test this out
  • + 1
 @Lornholio: sounds exhausting.
  • + 1
 Im not sure i will ever buy shimano brakes again. Was shimano guy from their XT V-brakes, first 4pot in 2002, then different slx, deore brakes till now, with M8000. Dont understand what they changed going from no maintenance brakes to useless brakes... Going to Magura MT line, insane brakes...
  • + 0
 @jlawie: watches peasants argue over third world problems while sitting on bike sweeping Trickstuff.
  • + 0
 @jlawie: *squeezing
  • + 1
 @WoodstockMTB: This was the only thing that I was put off of when I purchased the MT7's. The use of self tapping screws for the handlebar clamps and the plastic bleed screws was frustrating on such an elite brake.

That being said, I took a pretty hard tree to the lever body impact and it held fine.

The bleed port screw though, I don't understand. Magura could have thrown an insert into the lever body and used an alloy screw at the least.

Either way, there is an o ring on the bleed screw. That is what does the sealing, not how tight the screw is. Once I feel that plastic screw start to resist easy turning, I stop there. So far so good. Didn't even look at the torque specs because most torque wrenches are only accurate to +/-15-20% anyway, which could put you over the top for stripping
  • + 2
 @krashDH85: Magura lever is one of Bike worlds most bizarre items. You pay so much and you get something that looks like it was taken straight from window cleaner bottle...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Ha I'd agree with that. Took me a minute to get used to the deep pocket of the lever blade and shake the fact that I use the same screws they use in my woodworking projects, but after that it's been the most consistent feeling brake I've had. As well, it's got almost instant engagement (very minimal dead spot) which I prefer. I'm temped to try their claim out on not having to bleed the system for a long time (their Royal Blood) is supposed to be some snake oil) or ever after a couple of seasons of DH just to see what the fluid looks like after some abuse.
  • + 1
 @krashDH85: FYI, the dark fluid is, i think, in a large part caused by wear particles from the seals and other parts of the brake making contact and moving in regards to each other. It makes no sense to pull discolored fluid from the brake lever where there is no heat. It's usually more discolored there on Sram brakes than at the caliper which could be caused by the seals and plastic pistons wearing off sliding through the bore. On the caliper you have the seals and dirt getting in past the pistons for example.

After all, in cars, where DOT fluid is used as well, you have to change the fluid when there is enough water content in it to decrease the boiling point to an unsafe level. Nobody says anything about a 'worn out fluid'. Though mineral oil does have a lower resistance to temperature Smile
  • + 1
 i solved my m8000 bite point movement by replacing them with maguras. ill never go back
  • + 2
 @TylerG96: i replaced my XT with Codes. Maguras are great but they have too little modulation for my likes. Not as bad as old Formulas but they are too grabby for anything else than all out DH runs
  • + 1
 @brassinne: Ditto - 785's were bullet proof, currently using Deore 4-pots with metal pads and they're equally reliable.
These people would moan if their arses were on fire and moan if you put it out.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: agreed, and their long production backlog
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: After multiple failed SRAM brakes, I'll take a reliable Shimano brake any day
  • + 1
 @Otago: hahaha true Dat!
  • + 1
 @nurseben: ya me as well.. Also for such lack of modulation as so many complain about, I ponder how the likes of Cody Kelly, Kendall - Weed and Kerr can even fathom modulation manipulation during Manuals and Stoppies for what seems endless amounts of distance.. Oh, that's right.. They're pros.. Haha
  • + 1
 @Primoz: work in a shop they break so easy
  • + 59
 Bleed with the free stroke wound out on any Shimano brake with one, refit the reservoir bolt with it still out, and it unmistakably works when you adjust it. Doubt any review that can’t set the brake up in the first place.
  • + 8
 Its amazing that professional bike reviewers still cant figure out how to set them up properly
  • + 11
 There are so many people that say free stroke doesn't work. It works great if you know how to use it!
  • + 38
 Not trying to shoot you down or anything, but that just hasn't been my experience with any Shimano brake over the last 12 years at PB and 10 years as a mechanic before that. BUT, let's just say that it does work when you use the process you describe (which I'll try, yet again, in a few days) - do you honestly think that it's okay that you have to do it that way?

No. HELL NO. Shimano has to have an effective bite point adjustment that only requires you to turn a dial on the trail. Until then, their brakes simply aren't as good as some others on the market, especially considering the wandering bite point. Mountain bike brakes can be such a joke in how inconsistent they are.
  • + 19
 @mikelevy: just keep pulling the lever until your preferred bite point and then never pull the brake again. Job done.
  • + 15
 @thenotoriousmic: Shit, why the hell didn't I think of that?! haha
  • - 7
flag Powderface (Jul 26, 2019 at 10:38) (Below Threshold)
 @mikelevy: Do we honestly think that a brake has to be set up properly to work properly? Hell yes. You've been on your little anti shimano brake rant for a while now and your bias is showing if you're faulting the part for not working when you don't even know how to work on it.
  • + 10
 @Powderface: I’ve been on numerous brakes, spoke to many long time mechanics and have read thousands of comments and forum posts. Shimano variable bite point is a fact. It just is. And it hasn’t been the case before XTR trail/Saint and XT8000. It just hasn’t been. Period. Buy most Shimano fanbois in denial will not read it as “These Shimano brakes suck” they will read it as “Haters have an agenda to put Shimano brakes down, because they hate Shimano brakes and see them as the seed of Satan”.

No, most of these people, save some lunatics are not saying everything is better than Shimano and they never had a problem with other brakes, they are saying XT fricking 8000 have variable bite point whatever you do with them and most brakes out there do not need such frequent bleeds and shenneningans to put them straight.

Are you capable of taking that on board?

Brakes like SRAM guide and Level used to be a disaster, and SRAM even remade the master cylinder kit and admitted some things were sht. However just like in case of Shimano, there were some people in denial using EXACTLY same arguments as Shimano defenders here. In most cases “you need to bleed them properly”.

You can also read opinions of folks saying brakes like Maguras or Formulas never failed them meaning, these brakes are stellar. Which is a BS

So Mike Levys comment: any brakes can go to sht and some go to sht more often than others, is at least to me, more than true. The only people who seem to never have problems with their brakes, or very little, and it is a very common thread throughout the internet and reality reports by bike mechanics are owners of Hopes.
  • - 5
flag mgrantorser (Jul 26, 2019 at 11:37) (Below Threshold)
 @mikelevy: I gotta say, the anti-shimano thing (or pro sram thing) is pretty blatant. Would be nice to have @mikekazimer review all things shimano and you sram. It's to the point that I don't rely at all on Pb reviews any more. Sram good, shimano bad, santacruz, ibis or yeti are better than this bike in this segment. It's getting pretty one dimensional. Don't get me wrong, having comparisons is nice, but I just can't beleive that 3 companies make all the best bikes out there, and only one makes good components, especially when they receive so much add-banner space on the site.
  • + 7
 @mgrantorser: why you acting surprised? We’ve had issues with shimano for years now with the bite point being the main one. What kind of review do you expect when you find the exact same issues on the new stuff that we’ve been complaining about for years?
  • + 0
 @thenotoriousmic: they could have fixed the surface of the master cylinder or fixed a new mineral oil. Maybe. Or maybe not. Whether they have fixed anything, we will know no earlier than in 2 years. I think the issue with trail levers/master cylinders came to light mainly due to the fact that Shimano used them on XT, which is a very common brake on complete builds. A much bigger portion of bike population has been introduced to this faulty design. The previous XT lever, the incredibly ugly one, black with shitty plastic chrome on top, wasn’t as problematic. And you can see it through current Deore, SLX and Zee levers, very little problems with inconsistencies
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: they could have fixed the surface of the master cylinder or fixed a new mineral oil. Maybe. Or maybe not. Whether they have fixed anything, we will know no earlier than in 2 years. I think the issue with trail levers/master cylinders came to light mainly due to the fact that Shimano used them on XT, which is a very common brake on complete builds. A much bigger portion of bike population has been introduced to this faulty design. The previous XT lever, the incredibly ugly one, black with shitty plastic chrome on top, wasn’t as problematic. And you can see it through current Deore, SLX and Zee levers, that use exactly this design, very little problems with inconsistencies.
  • + 4
 @mikelevy: The free stroke is not a bite point adjustment, it is a resting point adjustment. The knob adjusts the bite point and the free stroke screw adjust the resting point of the lever. It is quite literally the exact opposite of the way sram brakes work. Step 1 adjust the bite point with the knobs. Step 2 equalize the resting point of the levers with the free stroke screw. Most times this means backing out the front free stroke to match the rear. Hope this makes sense...it is not the most intuitive thing. Courtesy of The Path Podcast.
  • + 2
 pretty damn simple, IMO.
youtu.be/D0uSTtDWbI8
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: IMO there are only 1 big thing about shimano brakes,you like or not(more or less like a cat or dog person question?). Other thing to me is never ever use the pads more than half if you want a bubble-free brakes. I have a set of SLX 2 year old only 1 bleed working flawless. More you wear the pads till the end,more prone to crazy lever feel. If you can reduce the amount of travel of the pistons,less prone to grab all the dirt,mood and water into the seals and inside the circuit.
  • + 3
 @mgrantorser: FYI, @mikekazimer has spent a bunch of time using the exact brakes that I reviewed here. Guess what? His take is exactly the same as mine. And if you read this review, you already know that I talk about how the G2's power faded and the XT's power did not. Some things work well sometimes and some things don't - this is especially true of ridiculously finicky MTB brakes that are all too complicated while also trying to be too light.

Do you know what is pretty blatant? The fact that people will believe what they want to believe, no matter what the facts are.
  • + 1
 @duro1: When I first read what you wrote, I was like "this guy crazy"! I was going to send you a link to the Shimano manual that describes how to operate the reach and free stroke adjustments, but after digging through both their user and dealer manuals, they don't seem to address the topic, which also explains some of the frustration and confusion on the part of the end user.

Their marketing descriptions certainly contradict what you are saying about the purpose of the screw and dial. You state that Shimanos work opposite to Sram, when their own descriptions indicate they are intended to work in the same manner as Sram, as you can see here:
bike.shimano.com/en-NZ/technologies/component/details/free-stroke.html
bike.shimano.com/en-NZ/technologies/component/details/reach-adjust.html

Having said all that, and on further consideration, I can kind of see a method to this madness of which you speak. The main problem I see is, how much actual range of resting point "psudo reach" adjustment can you achieve by turning the free-stroke screw? I don't have my brakes here to test, but I seem to remember it is a tiny fraction of the range available with the reach-adjust dial.

I also think it is important to note that if your (via The Path) suggestion works, it is not because of some fundamental misunderstanding of the intended function of the brakes on the part of shops and end users. It is actually that Shimano inadvertently designed a brake with 2 adjustments that have some degree of cross-talk between them, and the adjustments become more functional if you use them in the opposite manner than Shimano originally intended. That would be a happy accident for all of the frustrated users who want functional free-stroke adjustment, but also a colossal f-up by Shimano. Perhaps I am misreading what you wrote, but it sounds like you are under the impression that your method is the Shimano suggested and approved one.
  • + 4
 @mikelevy: FWIW, I thought the review was spot on. I'm a total Shimano brake fanboi because I like the feel and the power and I'll put up with the variable lever throw. But that is not to defend Shimano brake deficiencies, the lever throw is all over the place. Keep the accurate reviews coming
  • + 1
 @jacks0n0: mate just buy something else even when they’re not all over the place they don’t work particularly well. You’l get used to something else and you’l never go back.
  • + 1
 @thekaiser: By opposite I mean the order in which you set the degrees of freedom. On SRAM, set the rest position then the bite point. On Shimano set the bite point then the rest position. And they absolutely influence each other. But when done in that order, the second adjustment doesn't negate the first.

The free stroke doesnt have a lot of range, but it does have some.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: "being okay to have to do it that way" as in winding the free stroke screw out before bleeding? If yes, Sram is the same, on all RSC brakes you have to wind out the contact point adjustor and set the brake lever to ~8 cm from the bar before doing the bleed.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: Reading the directions is hard though
  • + 1
 @the-joe: with Sram at least you don't have to read, they tell you everything in a video Big Grin
  • + 28
 Reading the comments section on this article makes me think that maybe 1 in 5 PinkBike readers are actually good at bleeding brakes. Everyone else just decides the brake sucks when THEY can'tn make it work.
  • + 20
 If you are talking about the shimano bite point issue, it has nothing to do with the bleed. The brake feels great, not soft like when air is trapped. The issue would appear to be the master cylinder can't retract the oil fast enough or blocks the expanding oil completely until the lever is released. Then the bite point returns to its position until the next time! Sometimes the brake is fine for weeks or months but once it starts that's it. No bleed will fix the issue.New lever does for a few months if you're lucky.
  • + 0
 That's what I think.
  • - 7
flag mobil1syn (Jul 26, 2019 at 7:23) (Below Threshold)
 i have never bled the brakes on any bike ive owned. bought them as a sealed system, put them on and rode. if the work why do they need to bled?
  • + 4
 @mobil1syn: because they get air and contamination in them, and if you overheat them they will have air in them.
  • + 3
 @mobil1syn: Are you serious? The fluid in those lines degrade over time even if they are sealed. If you've never bled your brakes ever, then it's safe to assume you don't ride too much to degrade the brake fluid. Now it all makes sense.
  • + 2
 @mikelee: Agreed - had M8000 brakes and were fine for months. Started to get bad so I bled them. Ok for a couple of rides then bad again. Bled many times and no improvement so sent for warranty replacement. Go fed up and bough Hope V4s - no issues for 2 years.
  • + 1
 Brake manufacturers should be making brake bleeds idiot proof. If 4 out of 5 people can’t bleed Shimano brakes correctly then that’s a Shimano design flaw. You shouldn’t have to be “good” at bleeding brakes to do it right. But as said, the wandering bite point problem is a design flaw that occurs with correctly bled Shimano brakes of late.
  • + 1
 @Almazing: yep, the brakes on my current bike came off my dh bike that i rode at mammoth a dozen or so times, plus trail riding and theyve been on my current bike for a few years. its probably a combination of not riding a lot and not being good.
  • + 9
 @RunsWithScissors - Gotta disagree on that one. Mountain bike brakes are often horribly inconsistent, regardless of anything else. That's been especially true of Shimano's brakes over the past few years, which is a shame because they were the most reliable for a long, long time prior to that.

Also, the wandering bite point isn't a bleed issue FYI.
  • + 2
 @jasdo: Shimano brakes are stupid easy to bleed right. Put the bucket on, pull the lever till all the bubbles come out, then hook a hose up to the caliper and gravity bleed them till the fluid comes out pink. Easy as pie. The only problems I have had with the 8000/11 speed brakes is the lever sucking in air past the olive/barb fitting.
  • - 2
 @mikelevy: Making a blanket statement like "Mountain bike brakes are often horribly inconsistent" is the kind of talk that makes me think that most people suck at bleeding and maintaining brakes. Most of my customers seem to be doing just fine on the stuff they're running day in and day out. If you're consistently having a problem with products that are well established within the market, maybe the problem isn't with the product. Maybe it's YOU.
  • + 2
 @clink83: Yep, I agree! That’s why the OP’s argument that 4/5 people can’t bleed them right makes no sense. The reality is that they are so simple to bleed and almost everyone bleeds them in accordance with Shimano’s instructions, and if 4/5 people are having problems with the brakes there’s a brake design problem not a user bleed problem. On the other hand if the OP maintains that 4/5 people can’t bleed them correctly them Shimano hasn’t made the bleed process easy enough. But Shimano did. It’s very easy to follow their instructions.
  • + 2
 @jasdo: Most of the people I know who ride mountain bikes have poorly set up bikes...air in brakes, suspension set up wrong, ignoring maintenance intervals...even as easy as it is to set up modern bikes, people still dont do it...
  • + 1
 @clink83: Ergh... these people disgust me. Why would you associate with these types?
  • + 2
 There are def a lot of people with bad bleeds out there. Having said that, even with proper bleeds, there seem to be issues with inconsistency, and air appearing in the system that was air free just a few rides prior. I have heard a number of explanations, and it could be one or more are responsible for the majority of these problems. The explanations I have seen are:

1. Shimano doesn't anodize their master cylinder body after boring them out, so the ID of the MC wears, leading to a sloppy fit with the piston, and allowing air in. Many other brands apparently do anodize the interior, so the surface is more wear and corrosion resistant.
2. There have been a number of reports of cracked ceramic pistons, again leading to a gap with the seal, this time in the caliper, and again letting air in.
3. I have seen the claim that mineral oil intrinsically has more dissolved air and/or micro bubbles than DOT fluid, which will gradually work its way up to the lever, again leading to bubbles in what seemed like a perfectly bled system. Removing that air would require de-gassing under a proper vacuum before bleeding (not the half-measure de-gas in a syringe that Sram suggested, as the syringes can't generate much of a vac and often let more air in the seals).
  • + 1
 @thekaiser: I noticed black debris coming out of the valve inside the master cylinder when bleeding old saints and also M8000s. A friend and I belive this is rubber from the seals in the valve and the moving metal part ends up abrading/cutting the seal until it lets air in.
  • + 2
 @gmt: That is a great observation. If the black debris is in the caliper, I've heard various explanations like heat degrading the oil or caliper seals, but if you were able to isolate it to the master cylinder that is good evidence of an issue at the top end. Your point about metal parts abrading/cutting the seal is a good one. Most brakes have the little port between the master cylinder and reservoir to equalize fluid pressure when the lever is released. One hopes that the port is made in such a way that it has rounded edges with minimal effect on the seal as the seal passes over it on each squeeze. Wear on the MC piston seal is actually what Sram said they were trying to eliminate when they came out with the Elixir brake, as it had a "Taper bore" which released the whole seal, rather than an equalization port. People still had problems with that brake though, but my point is that Sram seemed to agree with you, that wear from seal on metal contact was a real concern with ported designs.
  • + 1
 @thekaiser: Didn't know that about SRAM - I think it's all dropping into place then. One thing I can say is that the old design 2010 Saints took a lot longer to show this compared to the newer M8000s which did it after a few bleeds. That implies the newer design has more of a problem.

Thanks for the info
  • + 19
 Having had run everything from xt 2 pots, Saint 2 pots, same in both later models in 4 pots then a bunch of others, Never thought I'd say it but I'm a SRAM convert. I know how to bleed and advance brakes, it's my fkn job. My previous codes were flawless. The Saints always had lever flatspots and needed cycling to get consistent feel during runs. All the xts did too. I developed tendinitis in my left hand after non stop daily dh runs from the rigid feel of Shimano brakes. Now, I'm not complaining about performance, they worked, I never hit a tree from failure or blew them up, they just cooked my hands from the wooden feel. They work! Just in an ugly way. Having run Barry basic guides, yes the R model, they didn't give anywhere near the hand issues, imagine that. They however had SFA power at the pinch when you need it. Next phase recently, G2 Ultimates, holy fuck. Set these things up right and you never look back. Feel is incredible, just sheer control. They stop, modulate and for a complete ADD brake nerd they are the best thing ever for precision. Just my 2c. Everyone has their own and I'll not argue. Just don't rest on your laurels, you may find something out there that works for you.
  • + 12
 @njb1212 I’m seeing a lot of Sram “converts” these days, with the new G2 and the Codes.
  • + 6
 @jon123rjk: i think it's actually running anything other than an R brake, which means people get the swing link. Which means more power.

I think Guide Rs gave Sram the bad name.
  • + 7
 @Primoz: If that’s the case then it’s a shame. My Guide Ultimates have - by far - been the best brakes I’ve ever owned. And I’ve owned a few! From what I hear the new G2 (and Codes) are even better. Seems people are starting to get past the SRAM hate.
  • + 4
 @Primoz: They really do. I keep buying Shimano, because it's what I know, with a bin of take off sets of Guide Rs in my basement. I think Shimano's 'all the power really fast' feel works really well with cheaper Deore M6000/R price point brakes, that don't have a lot of power to begin with, and gets people used to that feel. Then when they get on a set of Guide Rs on a new bike and give them a try, they just feel powerless, partially because that brake is a bit gutless, and partially because they actually do just take more input than a Deore series brake to really grab. Then people decide that they don't like SRAM brakes and the cycle continues.
  • + 1
 @bcgbr5: Had a deore 596 up front of my old bike (486 or something like that rear) and I liked the feel, but the power wasn't there. One day I decided to try to cook them on a descent and the power was finally there, but the modulation wasn't. On the other hand I actually quite like the guide R's on my slash 8, but I would like to try the RS, as those felt really good on the shop floor.
  • + 2
 @bcgbr5: they only feel like that when they’re not set up correctly. You can’t just pull the lever and tighten the calliper like you can with xt’s. You need to manually centre the calliper over the rotor and then use a tyre lever or a flat head to make sure the pistons or pushing evenly. If you just pull the lever and tighten the bolts on a guide calliper it won’t work. One of the pistons will hit first causing the rotor to flex which gives you that squishy no power feeling. Will also make a lot of noise.
  • + 5
 How are the G2 compared to Code RSC? I have XTs, Guide RSC and Code RSC now on my 29er. I'm not a particularly amazing, fast rider. The Guide RSC had way to much modulation and I had to really pull on them to slow down with 180mm rotors. Def got hand fatigue/arm pump on longer shuttle days. I was told they are fine when you move up to a DH 200mm rotor up front. XT kind of suck with early grabbyness and then not a ton of power after that, gave them to my kid. Nevertheless, moving to Codes is a revelation. It took a bit to adjust to the power after coming from Guides but now its effortless braking and my hands and arms are saved. Early modulation is awesome and then the power really ramps up but is def still controllable.
  • + 16
 You forgot the main Shimano Pro : funnel bleed vs dual syringes with Sram proprietary fitting
  • + 9
 Hope do the same. Hardly a reason to purchase one pair of brakes over another.
  • + 5
 What is wrong with 2 syringes instead of 1?
  • + 26
 As a part time bike mechanic it is really the opposite for me:
I lost count of how many shirts, pants and shoes I've stained over the last few years with mineral oil because of hoses slipping off shimano's crappy bleed nipples, whereas the use of a sram professional kit ( especially with a bleeding edge brake) is almost completely spill free. For sure the procedure is more complicated and the tools are more expensive, but if done the right way its just as easy and done in almost no time. Same with bleeding a fox fit vs. A rs charger cartridge...
  • + 17
 @ElWego: Bleeding edge is the best thing to happen to brake bleeds in years.
  • + 6
 @ElWego:

"how many pants I've stained over the last few years"

That reads slightly different than intended to us UK readers! Haha
  • + 7
 Why is that considered a pro? It's not like a SRAM brake is hard to bleed, even for those not so blessed on the intelligence front.
  • + 4
 I've just recently seen how Hope's brakes are bled and have found out what the funnel actually means.

Who in their right frame of mind would want to bleed brakes this way??? With two syringes you can actually create a vacuum in the brake system, de-air the oil in it and pull the bubbles out. My factory Code RSC bleed was apparently very aireated and the brake felt very Sram like. When doing the first proper bleed after experiencing some slight fade i pulled tons of air out of it (i think there were no bubbles in the system) and the brake actually felt too stiff, kinda like old Shimanos, too on/off.

Dual syringes > funnel.
  • + 1
 I always bleed my shimano breaks with two. Much better results and you avoid trapped air which has happened in the past. Especially with internal cabling.
  • + 9
 @ElWego: Amen brother. 2 syringes that screw into the lever/caliper is seemingly faultless compared to Shimanos several handed method. Here, squeeze this syringe, and hold the hose on the nipple but also undo the nipple, which almost always isn't enough with one swing of the spanner, all the while trying to crane your neck to make sure you're not about to overfill the tiny bucket on the lever which sod's f*cking law you forgot to take the little plug thing out of.
  • + 2
 Yeah I would have to agree that the bleeding edge setup is miles better than the cone/nipple deal. Way less chance of spills and if you have to walk back to the work bench for a tool or something everything stays hooked up. You can get the bleeding edge tool off Amazon from another brand and its like 8 bucks. Screws right into all those syringes I have left from when I thought a reverb was worth buying a bleed kit to try to fix... Plus my codes are great awesome power, dont need bled alot and the pads seem to last pretty long.
  • + 2
 @freekandy: Couldn’t agree more. Clean, precise, works every time.
  • + 1
 @jon123rjk: I've been tempted to bleed my brakes with a few business cards in between the new pads and my rotor, wheel still on the bike and everything it works so well. I think all I'm missing to go ahead with this horrible plan is a camera and someone to hold my beer.
  • + 1
 @ImAManCheetah88: When Shimano first released the current Saint/Zee brakes they went to some trade shows with a transparent set of Saints. As in transparent lever body and caliper body. Not for long though, as you could see air bubbles trapped behind every piston. I think you are on the right track using two syringes on Shimano.

I don't think this accounts for wandering bite point though. The way Sram's contact adjust works it seems apparent to me that Shimano's wandering bite point and negligible free stroke adjust point at an issue with the lever and their "timing port", or how the system seals itself from air once you activate the lever.

All that being said I have had several Shimano brakes, SLX, Zee, XTR, and even the no name numbered only's that come as OEM that worked very well and that I still miss to this day.
  • + 1
 @ElWego: something that usually worked for me to get those stains out (worked in a shop so had to figure something out):
Get a strong dish detergent, something that says it's good at de-greasing, and rub it into the stain on the shirt. Make sure it's wet first so the soap suds up and then rubs into a white paste. Then throw it into the was on warm (careful to not let it shrink) and this has worked 9/10 times for me. Even worked for engine grease working on the car
  • + 2
 @haroman666: I hate doing this. The hose fitting thing is so poorly engineered when such better solutions are available. The bleeding edge thing is mint if you have to do a full bleed. Even doing a syringe level only bleed is as easy as lever and you get to create a vacuum. I do like working with Mineral oil better tho, it's a nice peace of mind. Codes are the nicest too.
  • - 2
 @Aem221: Problem also with Sram brakes too though is they seem to require constant attention and tweaking. I had two pairs of codes on new bikes last year and it was such a faff. Like having a nagging child. My saints, I barely touched over two years. The codes I touched more in two months.
  • + 1
 Just gravity bleed Shimano. Good enough for marshy and Greg
  • + 11
 It's strange - I have 2 sets of SLX brakes, a Zee front and an XT front and they are totally reliable and issue free (as well as reasonably priced). Never had SRAM, but know plenty of people who have reliability horrors with Guides, and I have had Hope brakes and plenty of trouble with them; they look great but I'm not convinced they're worth the extra.

Luck of the draw I guess.
  • + 5
 Just a question, which Guides did these people have? Was it mostly the R or was it also the RS and RSC?

I have a sneaking suspicion that most people with problematic Guides run Rs, because i have heard most negative comments (in person) for them, while i have heard almost nothing but praise for the RS and RSC.

I think the swing link is the key here.
  • + 3
 @Primoz: yeah it’s all guide r’s that come stock on completes. Punters who don’t know how to bleed / align their brakes properly.
  • - 3
 sram pays more. shimano has always been the gold standard to me.
  • + 3
 I have a set of 2 piston XTs as well. They have been dead reliable. But needs to be 'topped off' here and there, which in an easy process. Compared to SRAM, I have to bleed Shimano brakes at minimum, once a year. My Code RSCs have had the same brake fluid for 2 years until I bled them last week. Fluid was still in good condition. DOT fluid is made to last a very long time under a very wide range of temps without completely degrading, assuming that the brake system has not been tampered with. Because you know, it goes in a vehicle. A lot of people do not change their brake fluid in their cars, so DOT fluid still needs to be able to make a vehicle stop. Mineral oil, I noticed degrades a bit faster. Boiling point isn't published, but it's safe to assume it's nowhere near DOT 5.1 or even DOT 4. When my Shimano XT brakes need a top up, or a complete bleed, I will know immediately in a ride, even if it felt just fine on yesterday's ride. With SRAM, it's over a long period of time until I feel it needs a bleed. Pros and cons to both. And I like both.
  • + 3
 Yup, it certainly is luck of the draw with mountain bike brakes. I think many are made too complicated, trying to be too light, and made too cheaply. And then we wonder why 5 sets of so and so's brakes work perfect but the next 2 are horrible and then the next set is the best ever. Ridiculous.
  • + 4
 Too many people think that SRAM only makes Guide R's and were rightly upset with the piston issues etc.

That being said, the Codes are unbelievably nice and reliable. They really should never have made Guides (g2 is them trying to make Guides like Codes without the larger reservoir) . The weight is negligible and the power control on Codes is awesome. You get more power than an XT but WAY more control, especially early in the lever throw. It's the ideal brake
  • + 3
 I think manufacturers engineer their top-end, high-tier brakes as it should be; reliable, consistent, tighter tolerances, better materials. And as you go down the ladder, they have looser tolerances and lesser materials. It should be the other way around. Engineer the low end brakes to be reliable and consistent, even with lesser materials, and make them better as you go up the ladder.

I have Guide Ultimates, Level TLMs, and Code RSCs, and they've been perfect. I have friends with those brakes and they've said they have been perfect. As they should be, because they're at the top of their respective food chains. I've had a Guide RS brakeset that would malfunction when they weather got too warm. It'd either get squishy, or seem to seize up. I've been lucky with my XTs as they don't have a wandering bite point...yet.

If manufacturers engineered from the bottom up instead of from the top down, we'd all have better brakes.
  • + 9
 look maw, Zee's with a different paint job. also @mikelevy In order for the free stroke to work you adjust the screw then adjust the lever back to the original position. If you screw in the adjuster the brake lever moves in so you have to move it back.
  • + 4
 @hirvi: mind blown. cant wait to go home and adjust mine.
  • + 1
 @hirvi: ... this changes everything
  • + 3
 Ha, good call on the Zees. I've done exactly the process you describe on many Shimano brakes over the years, along with a few other methods, and none are effective.

Honestly, we shouldn't need to do that at all. There has to be one dial that you turn with your fingers that JUST WORKS. I just want them to be consistent and easy to adjust, that's all Smile
  • - 3
 @mikelevy: Another thing Zee's do: fade to the bar on downhill runs. I upgraded my YT Tues with Guides to Zees. Stoked right! Then I went for a ride. No rear brake after a few loose blown out turns. Back to the guides. Worn out, full of black brake fluid, resin pads all blown out and used up, used on a demo bike by YT when the Zinks ran the circus...

The guides never faded.

To be fair this was a chute more than a trail, but the second I started carving, pushing that rear wheel with my outside foot...nada from the Zees.
  • + 11
 So basicly if you like on/off brakes but dont mind the on/off switch moving around, they are the coward leavers for you.
  • + 0
 I guess that's me. I at least prefer them to sram brakes that just stop working in the middle of a downhill run. Probably I will try Cura's the next time I need brakes.
  • + 2
 @cvoc:
Same here actually.
My opinion of sram brakes has improved, but I still prefer shimano...
  • + 5
 @Richt2000 - Perfect description Smile
  • + 8
 Funny. I expected to come on here and read all the comments about how wonderful Shimano brakes are and how SRAM are not. Pleased to see it’s largely the opposite. My Guide Ultimates have been flawless: consistent feel (even in cold), reliable, great bite pt. adjust, easy clean bleed system. My XTRs (last 2 versions): bite point was all over the place, utterly useless bite pt. adjust, hardened up in the cold, bleeding system not nearly as precise as Sram’s bleeding edge.
  • - 2
 eh, I almoust died twice because of Guides. Once piston locked up in lever, rear brake, and stopped working, had to do OTB on purpose to escape falling down 50m into the void. Second time we were having fun racing straight downhill, when I had to brake I lost both of my brakes because they overheated and one lost oil in pistons (leak) and just stopped working, and rear brake wasn't enough to stop in time and I crashed head on into tree and broke a helmet, handlebar and fork. So I don't even want to touch bike with Sram brakes. I have Shimano 785 on mine, and they work, but have wandering bite point from time to time so I will move to Magura or something else.
  • + 10
 funny that we get a set of the new XTs for 269 € and a set of Sram G2 RSCs for 379 € in germany
  • + 8
 and set of Formula Curas for 180 eur...
  • + 8
 and a set of MT5 for 200.
  • + 4
 @Keepiru: nah, b-d.de has set of mt5s for 150 Wink
  • + 1
 Have you tried www.bike-discount.de ? Easily 25% off everything and I have never had any issues with those guys. Ordered several times from them and was always happy.
  • + 8
 So nice to see an actual review of brakes based on feel and function than a bunch of stupid dyno graphs and references to which has the most ultimate power, thanks pinkbike
  • + 7
 I switched to Hope a few months back after being a Shimano person for years and I’m never going back. Hope is awesome.
  • + 5
 No way a bike should have phillips head screws anywhere on them (brakes, derailleur limits whatever). They're terrible and strip easily. Keep it in the hex/torx family please, Shimano.
  • + 1
 Most multi tools don't even have a phillips! I absolutely hate seeing them anywhere. I usually find a torx screw that matches the phillips and just replace it.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy you are missing some vital information in your review. Was the change in free stroke permanent after your 3000' descent? If not, then a free stroke adjustment wouldn't solve the issue. It's not reasonable to adjust free stroke based on temporary changes. But if it was a permanent change in free stroke could you perhaps look into what part of shimano's design causes the bite point to come farther in? (e.g. does it come down to fluid Dynamics and the type of hydraulic fluid they use? The design of the pistons, seals, or servo wave lever?)
  • + 3
 Nice, the review i was waiting for Smile
So, the bite point is wandering ... would be interesting how much ... did you possibly measure the difference in travel?

And, the most important question for me (because almost all my old shimano brakes did this): did the bite point ever wander to the outside when you repeatedly pulled the lever on harder descents?

Thanks in advance for your replies :-)
  • + 4
 I recently installed saints and the bite point wandering outwards drove me crazy because it didn’t happen on my old SLXs. But then again I didn’t have such long descents with them.

It happened consistently while braking though, and letting go of the levers (at a convenient time, preferably when the brakes were not needed) usually reset them to the original bite point.
  • + 1
 @Upduro: funny, my first xt brakes didn‘t have the problem either (think they were from 2013 something) and i even did long descents on them ... after those i bought 3 pairs (zee, xt, deore) and all of them had the problem with wandering bite point
  • + 5
 You need to use different brake fluid. Shimano mineral oil is too viscous. A friend recommended some Putoline fork oil, I keep forgetting the whole name. Completely solves the problem. I changed two XT M8000 brakesets to this oil and they are faultless.
  • + 1
 @pyromaniac: but how does this oil work under higher temperatures? (And f*ck me for buying the whole 1l shimano mineral oil „because it‘ll pay for itself in the longterm“ ;-) )
  • + 1
 @Stokedonthis: Inconspicously? Bite point feels slightly harder and lever feel is very consistent. I cannot fault that setup other than the fact that two piston Shimano brakes generally lack power.
I've got one brake on my XC bike and the other is on my girlfriends trail hardtail.
  • + 1
 @pyromaniac: okay, nice Smile then thanks for the tip!
  • + 1
 @pyromaniac: Pyro - was this the stuff....

www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=140344&pagenum=1

Has anyone used Magura Royal Blood in Shimanos? If so is it better that the Shimano oil?
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: Nope. I'll check the label later.

I tried Magura Royal Blood in a set of Zee brakes. Same as the Putoline stuff above 10°C. Below that temperature the lever began wandering again. Below 0°C the wandering became much worse. At around -5°C and on a steep decent with constant braking I lost all free stroke at one point.
Which likely means Magura Royal Blood changes its viscosity more at different temperatures than Shimano mineral oil.
  • + 2
 @pyromaniac: mineral oil naturally expands in cold temperatures. This is why shimano brakes pump up on cold rides. If you’ve over filled the system then ride in the cold it’s been known to cause leaks at both the master cylinder and the caliper. However this is not the issue regarding the wandering bite point. Which happens any time hot or cold.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: Right, I did not know that.
General consensus on the bite point wandering with Shimano brakes is that the diameter of one port in the brake lever is too small and the fluid cannot go back into the reservoir quickly enough. So it makes sense that less viscous fluids work better.
The Putoline stuff is a motorcycle fork oil, rated 2.5W, I think. 'Good' fork oils are made so they (almost) do not change their viscosity in different temperatures. Which is a good trait for brake fluids that need to go through tiny ports.
  • + 3
 @pyromaniac: it sounds like a logical reason for it happening, why shimano have not corrected this issue in 10 years is taking the piss out of us tbh. its defo a lever issue as the old style brakes used the same callipers and there was no issue back then.
  • + 2
 @pyromaniac:
Putoline hpx 2,5 and it actually works really well, esp. in the winter.
But it only works if you have a certain failure mode: pull lever quickly a couple of times and bite point moves outwards (away from bar). Everything else is poor bleed or other failure..
  • + 1
 @ArturoBandini: Exactly, thanks!
  • + 1
 @mikelee:
i highly doubt that, density goes down and viscosity goes down with rising tempeatures and vice versa in 99.9% of all liquids, the only exeption i can think of right now is water. (with the highest density around 4°C)
And the usual behaviour is actually quite logical, because heat is nothing more then molecules moving / oszillating faster, wich leads to weaker/shorter attractive forces between the molecules and thereby reducing density and viscosity.
Water does weird things because it's an angled dipole and very polar, mineral oil has no such properties
  • + 1
 @whoopsy: but it would get thicker in cold temps maybe like olive oil does in the fridge. maybe this is why shimano and magura brakes feel so crap in freezing temps. something happens and the only variable is the fluid in those brakes compared to hope or sram which are fine in freezing conditions.
  • - 1
 No one has ever measured this "wandering bite point", it's all based on feel. No one has ever considered that maybe it's ServoWave combining with varying states of arm/hand pump making it _feel_ different. That is probably a big reason so many pros use XTR Race, without ServoWave: because it's better when you're gassed and need to pull hard and don't want to deal with ServoWave messing with the feel.

If the pad contact point truly changed during a ride, no pro riders would use it, because no matter how much money you're getting, you're not going to be fast on brakes that don't inspire confidence.
  • + 2
 @pyromaniac: I think that royal blood has an absurdly low BP too.
  • + 2
 @clink83: It's slightly more than water (like 120°C)
  • + 2
 @just6979: loads have pros have complained about the issue. Most have their brakes bled every run,levers are being changed constantly too. Remember Aaron gwin had massive brake failure using saints and ditched shimano brakes for trp. Until you experience it you won’t understand but once you do you’ll get rid like everyone else does.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: The bottle I've got says Putoline HPX R 2.5
  • + 4
 I'm a huge Shimano brake fan, but will not be buying anything from them until their patented Wondering Bite Point is 100% fixed...... not kind of, not sort of, not almost - but FIXED.
  • + 4
 So, recommendation is to get Magura MT7 if you want power and modulation or Formula Cura if you don't need massive power, but want really good brake that won't rub because all 4 pot brakes rub sooner or later.
  • + 4
 Magura's plastic brake levers snap way too easily.
  • + 1
 if you need gobs of power, you can go with Formula Cura 4
  • + 2
 @Primoz: I tried some MT5s and the lever felt like it could snap.
  • + 4
 @ImAManCheetah88: a friend of mine commented on the snapping to another friend and the guy said "nah, not gonna be a problem.". It took him less than a month to snap one Big Grin
  • + 1
 @Primoz: whats wrong with magura HC3 lever?
  • + 1
 @Danielyk: The bit that it attaches to (master cylinder) is plastic. And snaps off easily at the mounting point.

With the plastic brake lever i meant the whole master cylinder assembly, didn't mean the lever itself.
  • + 1
 @Danielyk: not all of us can afford such add ons or their top end models
  • + 1
 Haven't had rubbing issues with any four-piston brakes like you describe, but those MT7s are nice. TRP's brakes have also been very impressive lately.
  • + 2
 @Primoz: Did you really snapped some or is it just hearsay?
  • + 3
 @ImAManCheetah88: Really? My MT5s have been going strong for 3+ years despite several spills...
  • + 1
 I'm pretty happy running MT7's with XT8000 levers. Better feel than the Magura levers IMO (which is why I tried the swap) and the Shimano levers are much sleeker and bleed better. Power is RIGHT NOW though so if you don't like that it might be a bit much. The Magura's seemed to modulate through hand force a little more ie not bite quite as hard, but they also felt "dead" and "wooden" to me as well as being thick and not as ergonomic. Plus avoids any questions about the thermoplastic levers breaking or whatever.
  • + 1
 @cool3: I mentioned above, a friend of mine was fearmongering another acquaitance (meeting half the country away riding, we didn't know he rides as well') by saying 'those are shit, you're going to snap them'. He laughed us off and said it's not going to be a problem. Took him about a month to snap a lever off the bar. And that wasn't the only case.

On the other hand i've seen a guy finisht he Mega qually with a bent lever mount of the Guides this year. We were wondering what the hell is wrong with his lever to start biting so soon. Then i saw that the reservoir is parallel to the bar instead of pointing away.

He did the main race with a bend (and wedged to make it fit) lever body.
  • + 1
 Or hope if you like spending loads of money on weak ineffective brakes.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: But maybe the next TRPs you try won't be so impressive...
  • + 4
 Just bougth some Shimano BR501 / BR520 “Deore” 4 piston Brakes. They look similar to these XT and are cheaper (125€ pair). Lets see how it goes.
  • + 1
 Literally just done the same.. although i was upgrading from tektro hd290s which i hated the feel off (i know, basic brake) so far loving the cheap 4 pot (80 quid for an ebay set)
  • + 1
 I have had them for almost a year...great brake, tons of power..they don't have the same lever feel as my XTs though, they have more modulation.
  • + 1
 Just about to pull the trigger on these too. After 3 years I have finally had it with my OEM Guide R's... They are amazing when they work, but they have needed far to much bleeding/servicing to keep going with them. My fave brakes ever were the SLX 665's. They were absolutely faultless over the 3 years I had them. Hopefully the 501/520's will be equally fit and forget.
  • + 1
 @hamplanet: just mounted them on my DH bike this weekend with 203mm rotors and metallic pads. So far so good, plenty of power and good, even in steeper tracks. The trick with shimano is to make the 5min bubble bleed procedure regularly or whenever the lever starts to became inconsistent.
  • + 1
 Love those brakes with Saint pads. Wouldn't buy anything else now
  • + 2
 I am curious... what’s the difference between these and the Xtr in terms of function? The syndicate uses xtr brakes for WC downhill so they can’t be that bad right? The XT’s theoretically should just be xtr’s made of cheaper materials
  • + 2
 xtr has levers that are carbon. The old xtr races had no servowave. Still never experinced this wandering bite point with shimano brakes.
  • + 5
 Spot on review , those G2's are pretty much on the money in my mind too, got a bit more phwoar factor too IMO
  • + 2
 Tried one of these in my local shop a few days ago... quality is depressing. Ugly lines on the lever blade (you can see how it was manufactured with zero processing), lever is not a stiff despite the new design, bite point is still not good. I was about to get one as I really like shimano brakes but the craftsmanship is not good.
  • + 2
 As a new rider, with no real brand loyalty, I did a TON of research before I bought new brakes before upgrading from the Level T's I had on my low spec budget bike.

I'm extremely happy with my TRP Quadiems. The main thing, is they never, ever seem to change the lever feel. I've done days with ~7k ft descending (bike park), and they felt the same every single run. No noise, no wandering bite point, no fading, nothing seemed to phase them.

The fact that they don't seem to change, means I don't have to think about them. They just seem to work, and yet always have more than enough power on tap. Thats high praise IMO. It lets me focus on riding Smile .
  • + 2
 I have had shimano 500 series levers on slx calipers for 4+ years replaced pads and bled at the same time. Never had an issue with the bite point on the non servowave levers. Been nothing but reliable. And they are So easy to bleed. I bleed from bottom to the top. Nevver had to adjust anything and no piston issues. I weigh 260+ pounds and ride in steep alpine terrain. I just think the lever is garbage caliper is fine go with the cheapo lever and good caliper combo. Never failed me
  • + 4
 I don't understand the beef with the release button: you push it, it opens. What sort of skill set are people missing they can't operate that?
  • + 4
 Really small and some multi tools don't have a hex small enough. I personally don't like it.
  • + 2
 ok fair point, I guess I've only ever messed with it while on the work stand with my full set of tools, never had to out in the field (yet...now that I've said that....)
  • + 3
 @squidvicious: Super annoying to work on, the clamp shuts down by it self if you don't pay attention at all times and then you need a tool again just to put back on the bar, then another tool to tighten it... I personally can't see a need for such feature.
  • + 2
 It's just not needed and can be a PIA. Why the hell is it even there?! So dumb.
  • + 1
 I bought the non-series version of this (BR-MT520) for the front end of my 134 and I like it. It's an ebike brake and has PLENTY of power. So much that it visibly bends my Pike backwards (more noticeable on packed dirt or pavement) with every pull. Had some issues getting the pads to bed into the 203 rotors (needed sustained downhills braking 15-5km/h and lots of heat), but it now has that aforementioned power with no wailing rotors.

I did notice it has too much free-play on the initial lever pull, so I dialed the lever until the bite point is further out from the bars. On some downhill techy sections I single finger the lever just before the bite point, so I can dab it. Not ideal but whatever. It's a good enough 4-piston brake with enough power to hold me over until I get a 29er.
  • + 1
 In the “mineral oil world brake” Shimano is surely on the podium, probably second place (for me).
I’ve a pair of Saint M820 on my Enduro bike who replaced a pair of old XT with 2 pistons.
The free stroke screw hasn’t any kind of control/function.
With Motorex mineral oil and a correct bleeding i’ve found my ideal brake system..
No DOT for me
  • + 1
 I haven´t tried the 4 piston version yet, but honestly last years I prefered XTs over Zee and Saints mostly because of pistons get stucked sometimes and I would say it is not an issue on 2 piston version. Having Saints now, when I smash them I will replace with 2 piston XTs again. Never had a serious problem with them.
  • + 1
 I'm a Shimano fan-boy. I have never gotten used to SRAM brakes and have had more trouble with friends brakes complete failing (faulty lever pistons mainly) to ever want to deal with SRAM brakes again.

The Shimano Free Stroke adjustment works. I've measured it using a caliper, and the bite point does change. As stated already, you need to bleed the system with the screw all the way out.

However...and this is a big however...the Shimano free stroke adjustment ALSO changes the reach at the same time. This is a huge flaw in the design. And I believe this is why most reviewers believe that the screw makes no changes, because the change in reach (minor, but measurable) mitigates some of the "squeeze the lever" feel test.

Other brands' bite-point/free-stroke adjustments to NOT change the lever reach. This is the way this adjustment should be designed.

Also, I find the range of adjustment of the free stroke to be very limited. The SRAM's range of bite-point adjust is much greater, and therfore much easier to perceive as "working" over the Shimano's. Shimano is really for very fine-tuning to make left and right match, if the bleed is just a little off. It isn't there to actually allow a rider to adjust the bite point to their personal preference.
  • + 1
 I've sampled almost all brakes except for TRP's and Trickstuff, I have settled on Saints on all my bikes. Just bought a Firebird 29 that came with the 4 piston XT's, I was planning on swapping in some Saints but I like to ride bikes in their stock configuration for a bit to get a baseline. I was pretty happy with the XT 4-pistons at first, and very happy after I did a park weekend on them. I have literally never, ever had any of the issues people complain about with Shimanos and now have 4 sets going on different bikes. I do have years and years of bleeding experience from having been an auto and motorcycle mechanic which might help, but the process is pretty unique on these brakes so I don't know. I have no plans on removing the XT's on my FB and don't even feel like I need the Saints. I'm only about 155lbs so that has to help too.
  • + 5
 Pick your brakes and be a dick about it!
  • + 2
 I gotchu
  • + 5
 But the color of the SLX doesn't match my bike.
  • + 1
 Do SRAM still have issues with sticky pistons in the levers or has that been fixed? I had a set of the old shape XT 2-piston brakes that transferred across three different builds and they never faltered. I've had a few bikes kitted with varying SRAM brakes: code 5's, Elixir R, DB5 and now Guide R. The code 5's lacked power despite the huge calipers, the elixir R did the job just fine at Fort William for a weeks riding and some local bikepark stuff. The DB5 suffered the sticking lever piston that i stripped and solved myself. Time will tell how the Guide R's fair up ...
  • + 2
 i just tossed a set of brand-new Guide Rs because the pistons were all over the place, resulting in massive disc rub (noticeably slowing me down) and got a set of these XTs.
like you i came from the 2pot XTs and they needed literally zero attention in my 2 years with them, not even a bleed. they did have that wandering bite point on very long descents. the 4pot ones so far have not shown this and i'm very happy with them.
i also had the old Codes (very good), Elixir 5s (very bad), the predecessor of the 8000 XTs (meh) and Saints (very good) so I'm impartial to the brands as such, but i have had better experiences with the Shimano brakes lately.
  • + 9
 Sram brakes are massively improved. The sticky master cylinder was recalled and is now a none issue. The new codes are outstanding and constantly win best brake in multiple brakes comparisons. At least they fixed their issue where as shimano pretend we’re all making up the highly dangerous wandering bite point.
  • - 1
 @mikelee: "...sticky master cylinder was recalled and is now a none issue..." I for one cannot confirm this, as mentioned above.
  • + 6
 @wowbagger: if your lever is the older one with the issue return it for exchange. sram have 2 year warranty and are very good with replacing faulty parts.
  • + 4
 Lever piston issue was resolved in the tail-end of 2017. Still far too long running, without SRAM recognizing it as a real problem.
With that said, I'm now on Code RSC's after Guide R and RS's. I actually like the feel of the newer style SRAM brakes, and had nothing but issues with Shimano (leaking pistons, and blown gaskets in the lever on 2 different sets).
  • + 2
 @wowbagger: Thanks for your feedback. I haven't had any of the later Shimano brakes to have a fair comparison but mixed opinions on SRAM which is slowly improving but i don't have total faith in them.
@mikelee i hadn't seen a recall, i thought SRAM were trying to deny the issue last i checked albeit it over a year ago. If my Guide R's don't work out i'll likely try a different brand all together. The trouble is you can't try before you buy in most cases and bike parts aren't cheap!
  • + 1
 I’m generally brand agnostic, my XC bike has Shimano drivetrain and brakes and my Enduro bike has full SRAM. When I went o build my Enduro bike, Saints were out of stock everywhere so I ended up with Code RSCs. I’ve been loving them for over a year and a half with 2k-4K descents back to door and never running into a problem. I was hesitant to run SRAM brakes again after the Elixers, but I’ve been super happy with them. Unless I was building an XC bike, I wouldn’t put anything but Codes on a bike now. But then again, I’m 200lbs and can fry some brakes on the long DHs here’s in CO, so any typical “trail” brake usually leaves me disappointed while the Codes keep me happy.
  • + 3
 So is the bite point just loving back as it gets hot or is it moving about . Moving back as it gets hot is consistent at least
  • + 1
 *Moving not loving*
  • + 1
 @markg1150: it just moves about tbh it’s not temperature caused. Mine moved with 30 seconds of a ride sometimes. Go to brake and the lever bites in one place,brake again and it’s moved! I had this on saints,xtm8000,brand new style xtr 4 pot too. You can live with it but I like my brakes to be even and not have to think about them working or not.
  • + 2
 Shimano thank you so much for giving me 25 years of flawless enjoyment out in nature using your products. Whether I'm shredding a trail or hauling in a giant deep sea monster your gear always gets it done.
  • + 3
 "The power multiplication factor then increases rapidly at the pad-to-rim contact "
Is this a press release from 1989 or 2019?
  • + 1
 I've used Magura MT5 for years and swear by them. I bought a pair to go on my new Capra 15 months ago when the stock Code R would give up (I expected this to be very quickly based on experience).

The Codes are still going strong and I've had no real wish to install the MT5s so far... I'm sure the time will come, but the Codes have been a really good surprise!

I ditched Shimano after the last XT debacle, and stuffing with a set of ZEEs that were just never right out of the box and no bleeds or pads could improve.
  • + 1
 I also got a Capra 16 months ago, and replaced the Code Ultimates after a couple of months, for the MT5 I had from the previous bike. After a month I already had to bleed the Codes because the lever was just sinking too much into the travel, and even then I couldn't get the bite point that I would prefer. The reach adjuster is also completely useless. The MT5 on the other hand never gave me any problems nor made me feel the need to bleed them. I also experienced some differences of behaviour with the Codes due to heating, which never ocurred on the MT5. But if you're having a good experience, great! The MT5 have a somewhat more wooden feeling next to the finer modulation offered by the Codes. Still, they're always there, you don't think about them really, which is a good thing.
  • + 1
 @DavidGuerra: Sounds like you just had really bad luck. Most people rave about the codes.
  • + 1
 @Pavel-Repak: the Codes on my Capra also needed a full service at the end of the season and were pulling to the bars by the end of the last bike park day last season due to air getting in somehow.

I heard that YT don't re-bleed the rear after cutting the hose for installation, so it always needs to be done sooner or later.
  • + 5
 Has anyone already built a shigura with these? Any problems?
  • + 1
 Magura levers and shimano calipers?
  • + 3
 @Isey: the other way around
  • + 3
 @Isey: the opposite. It's quite popular in Germany
  • + 0
 I rode Shiguras back to back with Maguras. I don’t know why would anyone do it the drunk bite point to themselves for an ounce of modulation. Which goes to crap anyways. Maybe curiosity.
  • + 2
 @Isey: the other way round

edit: oops I wasn't first with the reply
  • + 3
 Why Shigura, though? Exchanging one potentially problematic lever for another potentially problematic lever....

The only frankenbrake i can see the point of is Trickstuff lever with Magura caliper to save money on the ridiculously expensive Trickstuff parts.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: tried it, cant recommend it. Way too much lever travel.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: oh and why Shigura? If you get a working shimano lever, you`ll supposedly get a stronger brake, with less lever travel and a hard bite point. Never tried it myself though.
  • + 3
 @ondrejaugustin: whats wrong with the magura levers?
  • + 1
 @Blablablup123: I've got several sets of Shigura brakes. Compared to regular Shimano brakes you get more power and better modulation. Problems: Pads wear faster and it's very hard to not have the rotors rub. The gap between pads and rotor is smaller.
  • + 1
 @Isey: can't speak for myself as I've never ridden maguras, but ppl supposedly don't like them because they are plastic and I think I've read somewhere they tend to break easily. Also there's Shimano servo wave, which magura doesn't have.
  • + 2
 @ondrejaugustin: That's plain un-right. For 1 people complaining, you've got 9 happy owners... I've been using Shimano, SRAM, Formula, Hayes and Magura brakes and the MT5 and MT7 are at the top of my list (along with the old 4-pistons XT with steel hoses).
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: for exactly the same reason, all of the magura levers are garbage. The shimano levers give a higher hydraulic gain ratio and therefore higher power for a given lever pressure.
The hc3 levers have a lower mechanical advantage over the standard.
But like you say shigura still has wondering bite point so the issue is definitely in the lever.
I was reading this review purely to see if it has been resolved. I think the jury is still out on that.
  • + 1
 @cool3: I'm not saying they're bad or anything, I'm just saying those are the reasons I've seen from people who don't wanna run magura levers.
  • + 1
 @ondrejaugustin: I've broken a couple of slx levers in 3,5 years of use. I'm on MT5's for 2 years now and had no problems at all, and I only bled them once during that period, due to switching hoses. But maybe I'm just crashing less. The only thing one has to be careful about is not to overtighten the bleed screw, because it's plastic on plastic. Just take it really easy. Good thing the brakes are reversible and there is one on each side, so you can still use the other if you strip the the hex socket of first one.
  • + 1
 I didn’t see it in the article but is the contact point adjustable like the rsc to account for pad wear? If not then the brakes bells and whistles only work as advertised for the first few weeks of new pads or you would have to periodically adjust the contact points manually right?
  • + 1
 Not sure about the contact/bite point adjustment, but on any of these brakes the caliper pistons should advance automatically, as the pads wear, and the fluid in the extra reservoir should refill the system to account for the extra volume behind the advanced pistons. That's not to say that they always do, but that' how they should work, up until the pads reach their wear limits.

From you question, I unsure if that is really new info for you, or if you already know what I just explained, and just have found the automatic compensation falls short and you need to fall back on manual adjustment in the real world.
  • + 1
 Be interested to know if all the people with Shimano problems are storing the bikes or transporting them at abnormal angles. My mates that had problems did. Ie shoved in a room stood vertical for storage then slung in back of car on side. My bike are always kept upright and iv never had problems with any shimano wandering
  • + 2
 Storage shouldn’t make any difference as it’s a closed system and should have zero air in any part.
  • + 0
 @mikelee:
Always some air in the resvoir and the port is open when the lever isn't pressed in.
  • + 1
 @markg1150: no there should be no air in the reservoir on the oil side of the diaphragm. As the oil expands it pushes against the diaphragm which in turn compresses the air on the other side. Shimano brakes even have an air vent hole at the end of the reservoir to allow the diaphragm to move easier.
  • + 0
 Now, I don't want to inflate anyone's ego too much, but...

Please stop pretending to be stupid in order to perpetuate bullshit conspiracy theories.

The Bite Point Adjust certainly does work, it's just a bit counter-intuitive how to set it up compared to other brake designs. So either you're too stupid to read the directions and set it up correctly, or you're pretending to be stupid so you have something to add to the "cons" column.
  • + 0
 I have no idea where this "bite point wandering" from Shimano is coming from. I ran SLX's from 2014-2019 with zero problems. Had a pair of Guide RS's this year that were absolute squishy junk with power changing constantly (sometimes they felt good at the end stroke, sometimes they felt terrible). Threw on a pair of Zee's and they're amazing just like the SLX's I used to run. Was I the exception? Was it just on XT and XTR brakes?
  • + 4
 No slx are just as bad.
  • + 0
 I ride hope brakes currently, but used saints for many years. Honestly cant get my head round all the moaning about shimano levers. People genuinely complain about the lever feel being "2 stage" or whatever. I can just about barely feel what you mean when im off the bike in my workshop, pulling the lever extremely slowly and concentrating hard. When actually riding my bike they were just lovely brakes. Nothing more nothing less. Bled them twice in about 5 years and only cos i thought it was about time, not because performance was degrading. Free stroke adjust has a small but noticable effect. (For the record advancing your pads is a bloody stupid idea. If you do it free stroke WILL increase as the brakes settle back to their designed bite point). Given the fact that srams levers jam up on hot days and are liable to randomly explode on trail i honestly dont get how people can find any excuse to moan about shimanos. Go ride them instead of just reading internet lore...
  • + 2
 Not actually true though. Some early oem guides where jamming for people who lived in hot climates bit they sorted it almost straight away and I think saints use the old style lever which didn’t suffer the same issues as the new ones.
  • + 2
 No ones saying they feel 2 staged! the issue is the levers bite point migrates back and forth. Its a known issue for years, if you buy shimano then you can't moan about it as every review of any shimano brake pretty much mentions it. Shimano have no interest in fixing the issue or can't, so its just how their brakes work now. Current sram brakes are much better imo. Hopes are better but lack the power, formula 4 and 2 pots look quality too. Plenty of options out there thankfully.
  • + 1
 I don't get this wandering bite point thing over the years, I've never noticed anything but they made me stop. I don't like SRAM brakes because they don't make me stop which is worse.
  • + 1
 Never heard of bite point until today. I ride with guys on guides and codes and they wear through pads faster than my saints. I've ridden guides and I think the squishy lever action leads to more brake drag. Shimano all day.
  • + 1
 A question about how all the guides lever pistons were being replaced under warranty and it being a solved issue. In NZ, with brakes on a second hand bike, is it actually possible to get replacement pistons on warranty?
  • + 0
 I love that this review was obviously by someone that hates shimano brakes. What a waste of marketing resource for shimano, I don't think I've ever seen a review for any product that ends with a mini review for something else and a 'you know personally I prefer this'. Pretty unprofessional really.
You say the brakes feel shimano-y but do little to describe that feel. What if I've never ridden a shimano brake? From this review I'd think the lever was first really stiff, then suddenly you get loads of brake power, and then it's load more really easily with out control. Not at all how I'd describe any shimano brake in character. They have a light action with q clear engagement point that can be felt at the lever and with a reassuring initial bite.
  • + 4
 Shimano XT: the bite point adjuster. One of MTBiking’s biggest frauds!
  • + 2
 Magura baby. After owning mt7s I won't be buying anything else from now on.
  • + 1
 The free stroke adjustment seems to work for this non-industry veteran...

youtu.be/D0uSTtDWbI8

Maybe he has the only set that works?!?
  • + 1
 M785 was the last generation of shimano brakes to not have wandering bite or any issues, that lever with a 4 pot caliper would be great.
  • + 0
 great review, really appreciate the honesty. 10 years of wandering bite point is staggering. im currently on hopes and haven't looked back, came off code rsc's which are very very impressive too.
  • + 3
 I'd like to see a Pinkbike review of Hope Tech 3 E4 brakes.
  • + 1
 I wonder if the SRAM brakes still comes with the free expanding piston installed? Currently waiting on second warranty replacement.
  • + 1
 There are better options in that category) i would say guide or xt are average brakes with sub ok performance;

And all new ispec is kinda useless
  • + 1
 I'm riding TRP on my big bike, no complaints, always work, durable in a crash, big lever for big hands, easy to adjust throw on the fly.
  • + 3
 Magura with hc1 levers. Done
  • + 1
 I've got the first version of these and I love them. So much better than the weak-assed SRAM brakes that came with the bike!
  • + 1
 Everyone knows Mike doesn’t like Shimano brakes maybe someone else should review them for a fresh perspective
  • + 6
 Yup, we do try to move things around exactly as you suggested. There's no getting around how the Servowave performs, though, and most of the editors at PB are on the same page when it comes to Shimano's brakes.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: Did you get a chance to try the Hayes Dominion A4?
If so, i'd like to know your impressions.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: I'd like to know how they compare to Dominion A4's as well. I have spent most of this summer on them and have been blown away by how consistent and powerful they are. It's a shame more people don't run them imo
  • + 1
 @mullen119: what pads are you using? I haven't tried the semimetall from Hayes, because im stupid and soiled one of the pads with DOT fluid. The sinter were quite solid for me, but the calipers did get crazy hot, not sure i want to risk boiling fluid...
Right now i'm trying sixpack pads (bc they're cheap and available), but those pads (organic and semimetall) have horrible fading in the first run. At least i hope it's only in the first run...
I had some trouble with the adapters, the calipers are huge - a file solved that problem Smile
Before i was running guides with a code caliper in the front, using srams matchmaker x system. With the Dominion i wasn't able to place the shifters where i wanted them. And since the hayes peacemaker are unobtainium i tried srams old matchmaker and with the help of a file those work quite well at a quarter of the price.

positive: nice feeling, solid brake with lots of modulation and power, awesome reach adjust (i run my levers very close to the bar, no need to worry), looks extremly butch - almost like a moto brake
cons: very rare and exotic in europe, especially mounting hardware and adapters, lots of McGyver style solutions needed (at least for me) to my knowledge no great aftermarket pads available
And the bronze colour is somewhat fugly, but after a while you stop noticing xD
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: so you drew the shortest straw and had to be the one to face the wrath of Shimano fanboys?
  • + 1
 @whoopsy: I'm running the semi-metalic in the front and sintered in the rear. I haven't had any heat issues. My front with the semi-metalic pads makes a little bit of noise here and there, that's my only complaint so far. They were silent before I switched.

I'm running a Shimano drivetrain so I don't need the peacemaker. My bike doesn't require adapters for the 180mm rotors I use either, so non of those are issues for me. I have heard that Hayes group products in Europe are in need of a good distributor. That's not an issue in the USA, they sell direct for most parts and have a few websites that keep pretty much everything in stock.

I'm in the minority on thinking the bronze color looks good. But my bike is pretty fugly already with a mix of random bright colored parts, so I'm probably not the best person to judge looks ????
  • + 2
 @mullen119: I'm hoping the bronze will fade over time/light exposure ^^
But for the most time i don't care, because i'm not looking at my calipers while riding.

Anyway, in my opinion these brakes need more recognition. If you want something that works great and maybe stands out a bit, you should consider these. I guess i am a bit into unusual things, riding a Formula Selva fork aswell
  • + 1
 real question. which is better saints or XT-4. Price seems same and both 4 piston.
  • + 1
 Nice a XT with a 4-banger. When are companies gonna release a V8 piston brake?
  • + 1
 @Mike Levy - as a lightweight rider would you prefer to be on SRAM Codes or the G2’s?
  • + 3
 Go codes as you can never have too much brake imo. I have the codes rsc and they’re outstanding. I tried all brakes pretty much. These are the best I’ve ridden in 20 years of riding.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: how much do you weigh? I’m only 60kg (135 Lbs) and haven’t found the Guide RS to be underpowered other than on 20 min descents where it starts to fade. Can’t decide whether I’d find that the G2’s are actually sufficient brake for me (and the Codes possibly too much brake?), in which case I may as well save the weight!
  • + 1
 @rmt: 85kg so there's a big difference. obviously it also matters how fast you are and how you brake. I brake very late and hard so i like a lot of power. I also know I'm pretty quick so again this matters.My mates about 65kg and finds the guides ok so maybe you'll be happy. There is no such thing as too much power, you just squeeze less.The codes are very well modulated so the power ramps up the firmer you squeeze.Both the g2 and code are more powerful than standard guides though.
  • + 1
 I'd say the G2s are more than enough brake for me in most places. If I spent my days doing Garbonzo runs in the Whistler Bike Park, I'd grab the Codes instead.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: would you have said that about the Guides RS vs the Code, or is the G2 a noticeable step up vs the Guide? I know the G2 claims 7% power increase, but that’s when using the Power Organic pad, which isn’t as powerful as the Sintered Pad it appears? Would a G2 with sintered pads be more powerful than a Guide with the same sintered pads (I run sintered for the fade resistance). Cheers
  • + 1
 @rmt: The 7% is supposed to be from the added caliper stiffness, so it should be more powerful anyway.
  • + 2
 Anyone know if you can use XT8000 levers and just change the calipers?
  • + 1
 Yes you can
  • + 2
 Yup, for sure. I think I'd choose XTR top end w/o Servowave with a four-piston bottom end.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: I already have the XT8000’s, was just thinking about ways to add more power if it need it. It’s a new bike and I haven’t taken it anywhere super steep yet.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: I'm one who wanted more feathering ability (aka lever feel) and went with this non-servo levers. Best of both worlds, IMHO.
  • + 1
 And no any safety shim with oring or smth in the master-cylinder again? Leaking after season-two?..
  • + 1
 No problems or issues so far from a 180lb rider....power is good and long descents feel stable.
  • + 1
 I want to see some more pictures of this red Trek the brakes are attached too...
  • + 1
 My SLX Brakes work incredibly well never a problem & i’ll be adding a BR-MT420 Caliper next to perfect my system.
  • + 1
 Used to be you could pick up XT brakes for $120 a set. Now you can pick up guides for $120 a set.
  • + 1
 Why I would even consider these or DOT crap Guides, when there's Formula Cura?
  • + 1
 My thoughts exactly
  • + 2
 Would love to see a brake shootout
  • + 2
 WHERE DO I INSERT MY BOTTLE OF WATER?
  • + 6
 I think you know where....
  • + 4
 @ColquhounerHooner: he does... he just wants someone to say it. Pervert.
  • + 1
 I think worth a compare with magura mt5
  • + 1
 Love old school hydrolic magura rim brakes on my trials bikes and disc brakes on fat winter bike. Thoughts on Enduro, maybe MT7s?
  • + 0
 No mud guard mentioned though... All shimano brakes work good until they start leaking from master cylinder.
  • + 3
 Mudguard for your brakes? Leaking master cylinder? No issues for me on that front.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy Would you actually review a hybrid brake setup?
  • + 1
 I don't need no stinking brakes....
  • + 1
 I'm sick of seeing center lock brakes.
  • + 1
 TRP Quadiems for the win.....The end.
  • + 1
 Props to Shimano for putting the caliper bleed port on the correct side!
  • + 0
 Buy brakes(shitmano,SRAM -on Croatian SHAME),you need hope.
Buy HOPE,you have brakes.
  • + 1
 Hope are exspensive flashy garbage. They over heat, they squeal and they are nowhere near other brakes in terms of power.
  • + 2
 @ImAManCheetah88: bollocks, you must be crap at maintenance.
  • + 1
 @ImAManCheetah88: They are low on power no doubt about that. The modulation and lever feel is really top notch and that is good for me as a slow rider.
  • - 3
 @ImAManCheetah88: they lack power and the levers suck and desperately need an update but they’re awesome at pretty much everything else. Super reliable, top quality and amazing customer service. If you like how they perform and don’t mind the disgusting lever feel. They’re a good brake.
  • + 1
 @aps62: maintain my zees saints and slx brakes just fine
  • + 0
 @thenotoriousmic: yeah, forgot to mention the harsh lever feel. Yay for modulation. Nay for everything else. I honestly think they look tack and cumbersome too. I don't know why people pay through their nose to think they look good?
  • + 0
 @ImAManCheetah88: they’re just really stiff to pull, your arms pump up faster they creek and rattle and really not nice to the touch if you prefer to ride without gloves like I do. The current range of hope brakes aren’t any better than the moto v2’s I’ve got in my spares box from 2010.
  • + 1
 @ImAManCheetah88: they do look good though. Got to give them that especially the rotors and callipers.
  • + 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I disagree. They remind me of squatting slavs in tracksuits. All logo and white lines. Would look better if the slimmed down on the gear and used black logos instead of white. I like dark sleek bikes. Not in your face tacky and logos plastered everywhere.
  • + 1
 @ImAManCheetah88: hopes were perfect for me except the power is very poor. i had the v4 too and it was lacking outright power. shame as i loved the look, feel and reliability. but if you look at hopes piston sizes they are smaller than saints and codes so this is to be expected. the e4 is next to useless if you're a fast rider imo. great xc brake though and id rate the v4 as a trail brake.I have owned them both and that's my thoughts on them.
  • + 3
 @mikelee: I have the V4 set. The power is actually great IF they are set perfectly. And in normal circumstances they are not. I think the biggest problem is that the pistons don't move at the same time and they like to stick that way. So even if you center the rotor perfectly, the pistons will hit it at different times, bending it, increasing lever throw and reducing braking power. So you realign the caliper on the rotor, relube the pistons etc, and might seem ok, but during the first proper ride it will come out of its sweet zone and the braking power will become very average. I've rebuild the calipers twice now, changed the seals, used the proper oil and everything, spent so much time on them that I'm a bit disappointed.

The second complaint is that if you like to have your levers relatively closer to the bar, the lever throw will increase. So the best braking you'll get is if your levers are far away from the bars (which I hate), and if you like them closer you have to have rotor/pistons aligned perfectly otherwise the lever will just come to the bars if you brake hard.

Also the funnel bleed in my opinion as some other poster said is actually much more messier and less efficient (doesn't create a vacuum to pull out bubbles behind pistons which is a huge issue on big brakes) than those sram pro bleed kit which I've used on my guide RSes.
  • + 1
 @Archimonde: I love that people with hopes think they’re hard to set up. They really are not. I have them set up perfectly,pads moving equally and zero rub with a solid lever feel. They are great brakes but just lack the power I want. The code rsc I’m using is more powerful and just what I was after. Hope v4 has a 2 14mm pistons and 2 16mm piston per calliper. The code has 15mm and 16mm pistons and the Saint has 16mm and 17mm. This is the reason the v4 has less power than codes and saints. The new cura 4 has 2 18mm pistons and by all accounts is very powerful. The hopes also have a larger master cylinder piston than all the other brakes which again will decrease their power. Hope actually held a brakes test in their facility for enduro magazine using their brake testing equipment and the e4 was pretty much last in terms of torque and power and the v4 was the mid table with formula cura 2 pots for torque and power. Top was trick stuff with saint and codes second and third. So are you saying that now hope themselves can’t set up their own brake! It’s simple mechanics. Smaller pistons= smaller power. It’s all on line so feel free to check it or any other test on hope brakes out. Great brakes no power.
  • + 2
 @mikelee: I think that saints have 16mm and 18mm slave pistons with a 10mm master, while sram has 9mm master with 15mm and 16mm for the codes, and 14mm and 16mm for the guides. In terms of hydraulic leverage, the codes actually have more power than saints. The swinglink also seems to have more leverage than servowave, meaning sram actually has more outright power. I'm guessing people think saints are more powerful because of the hard bite or maybe sram has really weak pads, which can be easily remedied. Enduro got quite a lot more power from the codes by putting on trickstuff pads. Another reason why may be that people have the bite point quite far out(away from the bar/bites soon), which doesn't let the swinglink ramp up to peak power. It's probably a combo of those. Here's a graph showing the leverage at the lever images.app.goo.gl/PpxjRwuKW6Ck44uh9
  • + 1
 @mikelee: I think you missed the points I was making. I'm not arguing about the power. I will repeat thought that for me (and I'm a light rider) they are very powerful if set perfectly. I've also had saint, tested MT7, Cura V4 and Direttissimas. All were were very powerful indeed. I know about the test you've mentioned, and I don't contradict it.

What I wanted to point out is that V4s are powerful only if they're set perfect. And that "perfect" setup is in my experience very hard to get and doesn't last long. So you have to compensate somewhat with higher reach numbers and you'll get long lever travel (some people think that this is "modulation", which it isn't). As said, I've never managed to have all four pistons to move at the same time, and I'm no stranger to properly servicing equipment and I've followed official guides on how to do that.

That said, if I were in a market for new brakes I would certainly go for Code RSC or Dominions. I definitely like the small but useful features on the latter (bleed screws on ends of calipers, very fine caliper centering etc). I don't have a professional mechanic setting my stuff so I really value if something is easily user serviceable.
  • + 2
 @Pavel-Repak: all Shimano 4 pots have 15mm and 17mm pistons
  • + 1
 @ondrejaugustin: I looked up the pistons for the saint and you're right, 15mm and 17mm. This actually means that saints are fairly weak in terms of hydraulics and the lever doesn't have much leverage. I guess they have really grabby pads to compensate for the low force and the pistons moving quickly cause the bad modulation. Tbe more you know.
  • + 0
 Hayes Nines were the only ones that seemed semi consistent but i aint going back to them.
  • + 2
 Hope is the answer
  • + 1
 That release button...evil!
  • + 6
 It's so, so dumb.
  • + 4
 @mikelevy: @mikelevy: I definitely let out a good "are you f***ing kidding me!" when I went to remove my xtr levers for the first time.
  • + 4
 It gets me almost every time.

I must say this.

It’s a fail safe on a component you want a f*cking fail safe on.

Very Japanese of them.
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal: IDK, I'd prefer a fail-safe on my frame and fork crown and pedals before a brake lever.
  • + 1
 @radrider: it’s no different than the cir clip on the brake pads.

Stick some g-force stickers a la Myth busters style on your frame and fork then
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal: its a lot different than a circlip.
  • + 1
 Sram brakes have no bite point. ????
  • + 0
 I've found the bite point wandering with my last set of Guide brakes, so I cant count that against shimano too badly.
  • + 2
 I have found that the bite point wanders way more on Guides than Shimano. XT for me has always been set it and forget it!
  • + 0
 Brakes are for pussies....
  • + 1
 Buy Hopes
  • + 0
 Im looking forward to trying them
  • + 1
 Free stroke. Lol
  • + 0
 Sram brakes are the devil
  • + 0
 Sram brakes have failed me multiple times. Shimano, never......
  • + 0
 per end.

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