Review: Shimano BR-MT420 4-Piston Brakes

Dec 24, 2022 at 11:58
by Dario DiGiulio  
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Many of the reviews here at Pinkbike revolve around the latest and greatest objects in the world of mountain biking, which tend to go hand-in-hand with expensive and exclusive.

Many of us can't afford to build a bike with the nicest kit around, so where do we turn for banger components on a budget? Today I'm highlighting one of the most overlooked parts in the Shimano catalog: the humble and well-named BR-MT420 disc brakes.
Shimano BR-MT420
• 4-piston caliper
• Non-Servo Wave lever
• Compatible with I-SPEC EV mounting
• Organic or Sintered (DO3S/DO2S) pads
• Weight: 310 grams
• MSRP: $134.99 USD
bike.shimano.com
Current lowest price

One could easily make the argument that brakes are one of the most important components on your bike - no matter how fast you're going it's all for naught if you can't slow down. A huge part of that system comes down to setup and maintenance, but the base product has to be functional and reliable to start off with. There's no doubt that the nicest models on the market do an excellent job of modulating speed, but the lower end of the price spectrum is where things really get interesting.

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Not your typical Shimano lever.

Technical Details

At $135 per end, the Shimano MT420s are about half the price of their 4-piston XT equivalents, and about $50 less than the SRAM G2, which is their closest competition from the other big S. They're seen quite frequently as the OEM spec on many budget builds, which means you can usually find a set of the 420s on the BuySell if you keep an eye out.

Like all the other new-model brakes in Shimano's lineup, these use an inboard perch to keep the lever supported against the bar under hard braking. This gives the lever a stiffer feel, and seems to increase the durability of the clamp in the event of a crash. Unlike other Shimano models, these sport a long "touring style" lever, which differs greatly from the small hooked levers found on their higher-price options.

As you might expect with a budget brake, there are relatively few adjustments that can be made at the lever. You have a tooled reach adjust, and that's about it for on-trail changes. Luckily, you shouldn't need too much more, as the available range of positions is quite large, making these viable for all sizes of hands and reach preferences. As with any brake, you can change the feel pretty significantly with a certain bleed, so at-home mechanics can experiment with that to land on an optimal setup.

The BR-MT420 comes stock with resin pads and resin-only rotors, but luckily you're not stuck with them. Though Shimano refers to these as a resin-only brake, the pads are interchangeable with either the DO3S (resin) or DO2S (sintered) pads, as they both share the same shape. The rotors you typically see paired with the MT420 are the rightly maligned resin-only discs from Shimano - a product that simply need not exist in my eyes. Sure you don't have to bed them in quite as thoroughly, but to what end?

The bleed procedure is the same one-way system as all other Shimano brakes, and proves to be just as reliable when done with care. Some aspect of the simplicity of this brakeset seems to warrant less bleeding than other options, but I'll get to that reliability in the ride impressions.

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Strong caliper, weak rotor.

Performance

There's a fair bit of skepticism about the lowest-price item in any brand's lineup, but in this case that's fully unfounded. Bone-stock, these brakes are good. With a bit of work, they're excellent. Part of what makes them so nice is the simplicity of the lever - these are one of the few brakes Shimano makes that do not use the Servo Wave linkage in the lever assembly, making the pull much more linear than an XT or a Saint.

This results in the lever pull feeling more like a SRAM Code, i.e. longer pull and a more gradual bite ramp up. Compared to a Code, the freestroke is much lighter feeling, letting you feather that bite point a bit more easily.

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So long as you run it far enough inboard, any lever is a one-finger lever.
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Bites here every single time.

It's necessary to address the fully-organic elephant in the room: the resin-only rotors and pads. This combo is pretty ubiquitous on a lot of stock builds, mostly because it allows the brakes to have good bite right out of the box without any bedding-in. That said, they do far worse with heat than their semi-metallic or sintered counterparts, and are essentially useless in the wet. Obviously there are myriad compound options out there, but in this case I'm just speaking to the lowest-end Shimano pads and rotors.

In damp and mostly dry conditions, this brake setup does work quite well, offering great bite and a decent run time before things start getting too hot. I do most of my riding in Bellingham, where braking is heavy and sustained, but even on long steep runs I've had the stock resin setup work well enough the whole way down.

Good enough is rarely the goal though, so it's best to modify that stock setup to get the best performance out of the MT420s.

Luckily, this isn't some massive endeavor, and really only consists of replacing the pads and rotors, ideally after you've burned through the ones that come stock. With a solid one-piece steel rotor and some sintered metal pads, these brakes suddenly shine in all conditions, and continue to impress with their reliability.

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Just replace some of these things with some other things, and you're good to go.

That reliability is really why I wanted to highlight these brakes. Unlike many of the Shimano brakes I've used over the years, these work the exact same way every single time you pull the lever. No wandering bite point, no weird pump up, no need to flick the lever before that chute to make sure they're still there. I still love my set of XTR BR-M9120s that I've been using for years, but even their consistency isn't quite on par with the MT420s. With regular service and a few setup tricks, I've found ways to make the XTRs work quite consistently, but that level of upkeep can be frustrating when compared with less fussy components.

There is more power on tap with the XTRs (and the lower tiered models in that line), and I do think that hooked lever shape will be more ergonomic for a wider variety of hands, but the Servo Wave linkage is my best guess as to why Shimano brakes are still sometimes inconsistent. Obviously there are tons of theories as to what causes those issues, but in this case the lever difference in the MT420 seems to have cleared them up.


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Used and abused for years, these are still my all-time favorite Shimano brake.

How Do They Compare?

The max power provided by these brakes is pretty close to that of Shimano's other 4-piston stoppers, but like I mentioned earlier, the feel of it is a bit different. This really does come down to the lever, the length of which provides the mechanical advantage in the system, as opposed to the clever linkage used in Servo Wave brakes. Where SLX/XT/XTR models seem to have a full-power point that you're not going to exceed no matter how hard you pull, the MT420s do seem to eke out a bit more as you reef on the lever. Again, the top-end power does seem to be greater in the fancier models, but only slightly so.

For folks who profess to liking more modulation in a brake, this might be the Shimano for you. I'm of the opinion that there isn't a lack of modulation in typical Shimano brakes, just a lack of practice in the riders that say they're too digital. Touchy brakes are a wonderful thing when you're already gripped on the bars, as they can reduce the effort it takes to hold on and squeeze on a brake lever.

Compared to SRAM's G2, I find the power and consistency of the MT420s to be better in all cases. The G2 has a tendency to overheat on longer descents, and loses power under sustained heavy braking. The lever feel between the two is fairly similar, with a linear pull and consistent bite point, but the power on tap with the long-levered Shimanos edges them ahead in my book.

I recently wrote about the Hayes Dominion T2 brakes, and they compare favorably to the MT420s. Overall power goes to Shimano, mostly thanks to the 4-piston caliper and larger pad contact, but I very much prefer the lever feel of the Hayes. That super light action is one of the nicest aspects of the Dominion series in general, and it makes feathering the brakes all the more doable when you're flying down trail. The T2 brakes (or the less expensive A2 counterpart) feel a bit more oriented towards trail riding, where the MT420 can certainly hold its own on harder, faster terrain.

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Tooled reach adjust does the job.
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Simple and utilitarian.

It's worth noting that at the moment you can get a set of Deore MT6100 brakes for a little bit less cash than these, so they're not the all-out cheapest option in the Shimano lineup. That said, I still think there are performance advantages to the MT420 that make it a component worth considering over other lower-cost options. Plus, it has one of the better model names in the Shimano catalog, so that has to count for something.



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesIt's been said before, but components like this really prove it: you don't need the most expensive kit to ride as well as you can. The BR-MT420 is one of the cheapest disc brakes Shimano makes, but performs nearly as well as the higher end 4-piston offerings in their catalog, even exceeding those models when it comes to long-term reliability. Aftermarket pads are a bit limited, but with a good sintered pad and a standard rotor you're good to go with a brake that offers solid power and consistent, easy-to-control lever feel. Dario DiGiulio





Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
168 articles

313 Comments
  • 231 0
 expecting high performance with a model number like that
  • 138 2
 Bong Rip - Mega Toke 420
  • 34 7
 Cannot believe they skipped out on naming it the 420.69. Think about how many sales they would have generated.
  • 33 4
 Long kept secret: many low end components work as well as high end ones. Only exceptions might be shocks and forks, if you happen to be outside the body weight low end models are designed for.
  • 12 4
 @nickfranko: i doubt anyone in the japanese HQ was aware of the 420 naming....
  • 23 3
 @Mocope: Considering that they're an international company, if their marketing team is ignorant to numbers and terms that have been a joke for decades, they've hired the wrong people
  • 34 1
 @nickfranko: They make fishing reels. of course they smoke
  • 10 3
 @nickfranko: Considering we're talking about the same marketing dept. that brought us such winning names as Deore, Claris, Alfine, Zee, etc., I think there's a strong possibility they have no idea. Even Saint, Ultegra, and Dura-ace are strong brands now despite their terrible names, not because of them.
  • 8 10
 @nickfranko: Don't overestimate the fame of 420. I am from The Netherlands. I have lived in California. I've been an occasional cannabis user for decades. The only place where I have come across the term '420' as a reference to weed is Pinkbike. So I wouldn't expect a Japanese marketing department to make this link. OTOH, the Shimano marketing dept should read PB as much as I do Smile .
  • 2 23
flag mhoshal (Jan 3, 2023 at 17:52) (Below Threshold)
 @nickfranko: 4:20 isn't a joke it's the time of Bob Marley's death. That's the reason it's celebrated among pot heads!!
  • 9 1
 @mhoshal: nope
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: have you tried any? I use a slx150xg reel and c70mh rod combo. Very nice flex and casting and the reel is buttery smooth with sensitive drag
  • 11 0
 Shimano are really smoking the competition... weeding out the chaff... blazing a trail for value... etc etc
  • 1 4
 @VtVolk: I like the name Ultegra. Dura Ace was shit in 1990, I can't believe it's not been replaced yet. Saint too... Garbage name.
  • 1 13
flag mhoshal (Jan 4, 2023 at 8:13) (Below Threshold)
 @barp: explain what it means then instead of being a goof!! Just saying nope doesn't prove I'm wrong at all you moron!! Explain why you say no or are you too stupid to have an actual conversation. What does 4:20 mean then bud?? Everyone I've ever met knows it was Bob Marleys time of death.
  • 4 0
 @mhoshal: dude, listen to yourself. You're calling out barp for not providing proof, and then simply saying "I'm right and I don't need need to provide any proof." Classy.

www.2020-solutions.com/single-post/2017/04/13/420-myths-busted-and-the-true-story-of-the-stoners-holiday.

Virtually every google result for "bob marley death date" shows May 11, 1981, with hundreds of sites de-bunking the myth that he died on April 20. So are you saying that he died at 4:20 p.m. on May 11? If so, can you provide a source for this (which in itself is not proof, but goes a lot farther than simply saying "everyone I've ever met confirms this".)
  • 11 0
 I celebrate 4/20 on 1/5 because I know how to reduce fractions.
  • 1 0
 @filsdanvers: I learned that 4:20 is a time, not a date. So for you, every night at 0:15 or 1:05, depending on how you interpret it Wink
  • 2 0
 @filsdanvers: Mitch Hedburg is that you?
  • 2 0
 @dododuzzi: I would say most of the time the better suspension components are better, but there have been exceptions- Fox practically admitted their old "budget" Grip damper was better than the factory level FIT4 dampers when they moved the factory level stuff to Grip2 and it came out that Minnaar actually had a modified Grip damper in his 40, not the stock FIT4
  • 1 0
 Maguras any day of the week.
  • 55 3
 Seriously my XT's have that wondering bite point, and occasionally need a squeeze to pump them up prior to needing real braking. I don't get it. I bleed them and mini bleed them constantly and it just won't improve. It has been very frustrating.
  • 11 2
 In my experience the problem gets worse, the more the pads wear down.

If you're constantly bleeding them, that could be introducing its own problems. Or you have air ingestion somewhere, somehow. Frown
  • 10 0
 @Canadmos: Yeah perhaps, they have been like this from brand new. I have went through a few sets of pads and you are correct as the pads wear down it does seem to get worse.
  • 19 4
 Common complaint. You can sell your brakes for a decent price and just buy something else. Magura makes good brakes, as does Hayes
  • 14 1
 Main reason I say that is because I’ve never seen a fix, only that people sell them.
  • 13 0
 This is why I just bought Hayes Dominon's
  • 113 0
 What do you think the bike point is wondering about?
  • 21 0
 I haven't tested this solution personally (and this voids your warranty), but many people suggest swapping shimano mineral oil for Putoline HPX R 2.5W. Lots of people I know swear by this solution for fixing wandering bite point. Personally, I just switched to Hayes Dominions.
  • 2 0
 @j-t-g: Probably the bite bite point.
  • 14 0
 @j-t-g: wondering when it should squeeze the rotor I guess.
  • 7 1
 Gravity bleed with redline like water fluid. No more wandering bite point.
  • 4 6
 There is a fix for this.
  • 1 0
 I’ve heard all sorts of reasons why- small oil hole in the caliper, thicker oil, the servowave cam, contamination around the seals- but really, who knows. I’m no engineer.
  • 4 0
 Never tried that yet, but I quoted once that bleeding them with the Putoline HPX R 2.5 oil instead of the Shimano suppresses this wandering point. Does anyone have a return about that?
  • 6 2
 get Hayes Dominion A4 Wink
  • 32 3
 Have you tried hanging the bike at a 46.99 degree angle for 36 hours and then doing an inverse anti-gravity bleed with mineral oil warmed to 93f? That is the secret to getting rid of the wandering bite point, I have never had it happen again after that.
  • 10 1
 @Canadmos: This is because the pistons are returning slowly, so on the second pull the pads are closer to the disc and the bite point feels like it suddenly changed. Clean the pistons and lube them with some mineral oil.
  • 8 5
 @ratedgg13: I've tried this and it didn't fix the problem. I'm quite positive it's not a viscosity issue. I've done both bleeds (gravity with the cup and using two syringes) with Putoline and the same issue resurfaces. The "best" solution I've found for my wife's XT's brakes is to bleed them, hang the bike for a day or two, then re-bleed them while it's hanging.
You'll have to do this once a month to to keep the brake feeling "better" though Frown
FWIW, of all the Shimano brakes I've owned, it only seems to be the rear brake that has consistent issues.
I went through a liter of Shimano mineral oil in a year trying to get the perfect bleed on our brakes. I prefer the light feel of Shimano's, but I moved on to Code RSC's about 1.5 years ago with no issues.
  • 3 0
 @danstonQ: Yes. It works.
  • 21 1
 I had a pair of XT and Saints that didn’t do that at all but I did have a pair of XTr is that had horrible wandering bite point. I noticed the XTR’s bite point improved dramatically when I sold them for a pair of Magura MT7.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: did this a couple of years ago. It's worked really well. Also use it in my reverb. Cold weather performance is better too.
  • 5 0
 I’m almost certain it’s down to the pistons needing manually walking out the more the pads wear. As the gap between the pad and the disk grows (as the pads wear), you can pump the lever multiple times quickly and watch the pistons move out towards the disk. Then let go and watch them retract back to their original position.
I get great bite out of my shimano brakes if I periodically open the resources at the lever and carefully walk the pistons out, as the pads wear.
  • 1 0
 That’s ‘reservoirs’!
  • 9 3
 Watch the Greg Minnaar YouTube video of him bleeding brakes. It goes into detail on burping the micro bubbles around the pistons.

Typically I do a full bleed twice per season on my Shimano brakes, with 2 "cheater" bleeds per set of brake pads (cup with fluid on lever to top up the system).

The cheater bleed takes about two mins per lever so it's not a big deal.

Voila, no wandering bite point!
  • 3 1
 @danstonQ: Putoline oil fixes most of the issues with wandering bite point. it still wanders a bit and my old xt with the chrome reservoir need a bleed from time to time, but it is far better. even in very cold conditions there is less wandering. there are no problems with heat on long runs in the alps, also. i defenitely recommend!!!
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: for me Putoline HPX R 2.5 works. It doesn't make the brake great, but it works better

www.backyard-racing.ch/putoline-hpx-r2.5-gabeloel,-1liter/p-33162.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxJqHBhC4ARIsAChq4auktu0U7joPdqczx1v9ZXUXfQhP93XGE_i6mkvw5AQ8739OE9emoAwaAoWQEALw_wcB

it says: HPX R 2.5 fork oil prevents corrosion, oxidation, seal leakage and foaming
  • 2 2
 @vhdh666: Puto-line lol
  • 6 0
 The Alhonga brakes supplied on my 2022 Process 134 don’t have this wandering bite point…or any bite point come to think of it

I thought XTs were the best… maybe I should get SRAM Code RSC and be done with it…
  • 4 2
 pair these levers with the xt 4-piston caliper and you have a real winner!
  • 5 1
 Well it can be a mix of a couple of things.

99% I fix it like this / I'll write the whole thing..
Attach the bleed cup (half-full), lube the pistons (if really dirty / clean and relube them a couple of times working them in and out of the caliper), push in pistons, insert bleedblock or whatever you have to keep the pistons in.

Attach a syringe on the caliper and see how the oil flows (aka give it a good pull on the syringe) It could be that some dirt is blocking oil flow. I would take out the screw of the banjo, which in some cases attaches the hose to the caliper. Sometimes dirt is clogged a bit around this area. See if you can use some compressed air to give this a good rinse. You can also give the complete hose a good rinse while you are at it.

Once finished bleeding the caliper, let the oil from the cup fill the system and attach the syringe with a little tube onto the hole of the bleeding cup. You can pull gently again to get the little bubbles out of the system and let it fill up again. Be careful with pushing fluid back in, because you can pop the bladder if you are too generous. Getting all the little bubbles out makes a difference of a couple mm in bite point. We leads me to think, you can best keep the bike still for a day and try to pull the bubbles out again (with the bleedcup + syringe)

It seems that lower temperatures make this behaviour worse. 2.5WT oil seems to makes things a little better, and there is also an 2.5wt oil available with a higher boiling point then regular mineral oil.

Other then that the XT's seem pretty sensitive to pad wear..
  • 3 0
 @Muchogusto: another vote for this, huge improvement!
  • 3 0
 Had the same issue. Got a set of Cura 4s from Bike24 with 200mm rotors for 165€. Problem solved.
  • 18 1
 For 99.9% of the people who talk about the wandering bite point on Shimano's hydraulic brakes, it doesn't happen to their brake piston/lever assemblies that don't have the adjustment for free-stroke adjustments. The free-stroke adjustment screw and how it is implemented on XT and XTR trail brake levers is terrible. This screw basically pinches into the end of the piston to force it to go in after you've completed the bleed. So, coming out of the factory and you use the brakes the the first time, the brakes work wonderfully as expected. Now, after the first bleed, it is recommended you back out that screw. Then, after the bleeding is done, adjust the reach and then re-adjust the free-stroke again. Well, you do this once or twice and you'll begin to notice that floating bite point where you grab the lever on a downhill and the braking seem to disappear until you pump the lever and it comes back. The piston end gets worn each time you adjust that free-stroke screw. Finally, the worse thing does happen and the piston rod gets worn and oil starts to leak. I had this happen to me twice with the XTR 9020 brake lever. So, I decided to go on Shimano's forum to discuss this. Nobody really knew why this floating bite point occurs until someone mentioned this free-stroke screw because a bunch of people said it's non-existent with the XTR 9000 Race brake lever sets. These brake lever units don't have the free-stroke screw. Neither does the SLX versions or lower and you don't hear people complaining issues about the floating bite points with the lesser models. The main culprits were ones with free-stroke adjustment screws. With the newer Shimano brakes, most of the brake lever units look exactly the same. The only difference is that the port for free-stroke adjustment is opened up for XT versions. The XTR trail version is slightly different. For the older 9020 version, the piston rod is attached integrated within a bar that blocks the piston hole itself - which makes any maintenance and overhaul impossible without braking that piston end cap. The XT versions are all serviceable. If I had to do it all over again, I would never get the XTR trail version of the brake levers again. The XT/XTR brake calipers are great, just the free-stroke options on the brake levers suck! So, if anyone is looking for a reliable servo-wave Shimano brake go with the SLX or XTR Race versions without the free-stroke. Most people don't know what it is and have no idea on how to adjust that anyway.
  • 2 0
 @CSharp: I'm really curious now to dissect a lever and see how the free stroke works. You're right the xtr race version don't have it but slx does. Everything is in there, just they fit them with that weird screw with two circles (I call them snake bite screws) instead of a phillips to impede the function.
I used to have a pair of slx m675, filed a cheap screwdriver to make one with the two points et voila, once I coulc drive the screw my m675 had freestroke adjust.

Fun fact, the only places I've ever seen those screws are shimano brakes and holding the stop name signs in London underground stations.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Has been working for my slx/zee combo for years now with excellent results. Especially in the cold, which is a hint, that is indeed a viscosity problem/hole size problem.
  • 5 0
 @iiman: You don't need to dissect the brake lever to see how the free-stroke and piston work. The free-stroke screw is at an angle towards the back of the piston bulb, almost where that ball and rod from the lever pushes against. The piston is just another rod with rubber seals (which is the same throughout all Shimano brake lever models). Anyway, that screw only acts to push the piston in deeper. So, that action forces the oil from the reservoir into the hose and down to the calipers. However, if that screen creates a dent in the piston's back because the piston is made of plastic. This then creates a slip on the piston. So, each time your press against the piston with the lever, the return is never the same coming back and that return might create a bubble in the reservoir. Hence, you now have air in the line and hence the floating bit point. it's really a stupid design TBH. The action of screwing in and out that free-stroke does a lot of wear and tear on the piston body and the back of the piston. If you have that free-stroke adjust functionality, I suggest not touching it ever and just bleed the brakes with the levers adjusted properly as the final step of the bleed process.

The AVID stroke adjustment is way better and then SRAM bought AVID, thus inheriting a good free-stroke adjustment that doesn't damage the piston. But SRAM brakes have their own problems. You shouldn't have any issues with SLX brakes unless you start putting in the free-stroke yourself. The newer SLX brakes do have the option but the port is blocked by a plate or something.
  • 1 0
 In my experience with Shimano brakes,I had that wandering bite point in all my past brakes. I made a bit of an experiment with a Hope Rx4+ caliper/Saint Lever.
The bleed procedure for that Hope caliper requires to work each 4 piston individually to get all the bubbles out when you fill the caliper from empty. You need to ride a few times and then repeat the full bleed,working each piston again and in my case it had air in it. Since the second detailed bleed working each piston it had been flawless.
Tried the same method with a 2 piston SLX brake of a friends bike and it had air in it. He bleed the brake multiple times with a good feel but getting soft really quick. So working each piston works.
Just let the bike upside down,if the brake is all over the place when you touch it,you have air in the system.
  • 2 0
 @CSharp: interesting. I've got 4k flawless miles on 4 pot SLX brakes.
  • 6 0
 @CSharp: Thanks for taking the time to write all this info, much appreciated
  • 4 1
 The Shimano wandering bp has been a nightmare for everyone. They really shit the bed with this problem, not to mention the i-spec blunder. I stuck with Shimano for mineral oil, Dot oil is super toxic how do you responsibly dispose of this stuff without a huge hassle. Currently 8120 levers 9120 calipers with a proper bleed is fairly wander free, and lightweight. I haven't ruled out Dominion for the Dot reason, but I'm probably going to pull the trigger.
  • 2 0
 @homerjm: How does the Shimano lever + Hope RX4+ combo work otherwise?

I've been thinking that combo for some time now, but haven't found any good report on how well the RX4+ would work with shimano MTB levers...
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Putoline 2,5 fixed the slight wandering bitepoint I had on my 4pot Deores (M6120) :-)
  • 1 0
 Have you tried tightening the compression nut? I heard about that in a podcast. And it sounds crazy, but it solved it, and I've never experienced it again after always after tightening that bolt to the right torque.
  • 2 0
 I read that its due to the tiny bubbles in the system and oil. While bleeding tap nonstop the bose and calliper. Also, dissolved air in oil. On the syringe with oil in it, you need to put your finger at the end of it and pull it creating a "vaccum", then you should see air bubbles forming.
I was going to test it before posting but I can't find my syringe
  • 2 0
 @Vertti83: It works very well. Only report I had before was 1 dude talking about it in a tandem bike forum.
Had the front brake of my 2021 Enduro with 223 mm rotor,0 problems since this summer.
I think you can made the same combo with a regular E4 caliper,you need 2 sets of seals for the RX4+ caliper and swap the seals (2 sets cos the RX4+ is 15&16mm pistons while E4 is 16&16 mm,you need 2 sets of 16mm seals of the RX4+ rebuild kit).
Only concern is the pad clearance is not huge,but a 2mm rotor would work no problem.
The feeling is a mix of Hope and Shimano,very sweet,very clear engagement.
I had the front brake in my enduro bike and the rear brake in my dirt jumptest it for a few months with no issues. I would build the same for the rear wheel.
  • 2 0
 @CSharp: Can confirm no wondering bite point with SLX levers. Do make sure though all air is out when bleeding. This may take a while going back and fort with the fluid but it pays off.
  • 1 0
 @dennis72: Had a friend with old Xt brakes 2 pot,those with the chrome cover. Those works like a dream,never had a problem with the brakes. But I had my self those same brakes with horrible wandering bite point and my last set of Shimano Slx had the same problem too,not so serious but noticeable if you put the bike in a rack for an uplift service or bike park gondola.
I think most people do not bleed fully the caliper,you need work 1 piston at the time,extending and retracting only 1 piston to get all the air behind the pistons. It could be tricky but it works.
  • 1 0
 Dismantle the levers, remove the pistons and clean them, the seals and the master cylinder and then reassemble with silicone grease. I have some old 785s I revived in this way.
  • 2 0
 @Vertti83: Not quite the same, but I have RX4+ on a drop bar bike and have always liked them. Different feel than shimano, but great modulation, a little less "positive" feeling in the stand, but good in real world.
  • 3 0
 @CSharp: I've had two sets of XTR non-trail levers over the last 10 years and never had the wandering bite point.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: You got a picture of a piston with this wear spot on it?

Even if the adjustment screw does wear that spot on the piston, how would that that cause the free-stroke to change continuously (the wandering)? Adjusting it a lot should just shift the overall adjustment range towards more free-stroke as the screw wears a divot into the piston and thus can't push the piston as far.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: That still doesn't explain wandering bite point. Rather, it might explain a varying free-stroke. Wandering bite point would require changing the ratio of lever to pad movement, not just the starting point of the lever that the free-stroke adjustment changes.
  • 1 0
 @powderhoundbrr something to check that often gets overlooked is the nut at the hose insertion on the lever. I think it's a 9mm. Snug that up if you haven't already.
  • 2 0
 @CSharp: i run shiguras. no problem with wandering bite points (and awesome power). so its definetly not a shimano xt lever, it is a shimano caliper problem. also heard that switching to magura oil already helps with that.
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: It is just air behind the pistons. If you do not work the pistons really good while bleeding the brakes that air would come out when the brake fluid is hot.
Just add to the bleed process moving each piston (full extension&retract multiple times) one by one while the others are lock fully retract. I did that to a fluffy front SLX 2 pot brake bleed multiple times only with the standard bleed block and a ton of air came out trapped behind each piston. Since then the brake is totally fine. The rear brake of that bike is fine,no bleed needed since day1,only the front brake was bad.
  • 3 0
 @homerjm: that theory would make more sense to me than the problem being in the levers. It would explain why shiguras don't have the problem and also why very light oil like said Putoline solve it since bubbles would come easier with lighter fluid.
  • 2 1
 @homerjm:
So you mixed a DOT fluid caliper with a mineral oil lever. Aren't you scared your brake's seals will give up on a steep descent?
  • 3 0
 @atiboa: those calipers are sold in dot and mineral versions.
  • 2 0
 @CSharp:

Nice theory, but the free stroke screw doesn't contact the piston directly...

There is a plastic piece between piston and the adjustment screw. There might be some variation between different generations on how it is done, but at least all servo wave levers I've dismantled have had this plastic piece for the free stroke screw. Also if you have seals in OK condition, the piston should wear several(like when bitepoint adjust is screwed fully out) millimeters before it could allow air to enter the system. So I find that very unlikely to free stroke screw to have any effect on the wandering bitepoint issue.

You can see the plastic piece holding the piston in and facing the free stroke adjust screw for example from this video: youtu.be/Z43tGeGkYec?t=240

Wandering brake point is most likely related to fluid viscosity, too thin brake lines and/or lazy caliper seals. Thick oil, cold temperatures and long/bent hoses make the problem worse...

Also, SLX and deore levers have same internals as XT and XTR trail, while XTR race is different(no servo wave).
  • 1 0
 @chubby5000: You just need to do a lever bleed / calliper realignment for me it’s every five rides no questions but might be different for you.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: Nope it’s all Shimano brakes if anything my SLX are worse than my XT’s for the wondering bite point issue.
  • 1 0
 @iiman: It is not a theory. When installing Hope Rx4+ caliper,it is a vital step in the bleeding process described in de manual,you need to do that if the caliper is new/empty. There are some 3d printed tools used to move sticky pistons 1 by 1. In Hope calipers it is quite normal,so you work each piston free. You could use that tool to bleed each piston individually with good lever pulls,then retract fully the piston by hand with a soft tool.
I don´t know how the brakes are bleed in the Shimano factory line,but I do not think they do something like Hope describes is needed for a new caliper cos it is time consuming.
  • 2 0
 @homerjm: my guess is all brakes regardless the brand are filled with a vacuum pump in the assembly line
  • 2 0
 @iiman: Yes but,you cannot apply a ton of vacuum or you would run air over the lever seals. Plz check the Hope manual:

www.hopetech.com/_repository/1/documents/RX4Instructions_Min_EN_FR_DE.pdf

After doing my ShiHope experiment I realize that could be the Shimano wandering bite point problem,just air trapped behind the pistons,it would not come out with a regular bleed. My to sets of experimental brakes do the wandering bite point after a few rides from new in the bike cos from new/empty is hard to get all the air out even doing what Hope manual said. But once I bleed them the second time working each piston both brakes had being flawless in any weather,altitude or even if you put the bike vertical for transportation/uplifts and multiple brake pads changes.
  • 2 0
 @iiman: oh, interesting. never too late to learn something new Smile
  • 1 0
 @dividebyzero: this is the most pinkbikest reply
  • 2 0
 @iiman: I made a little video bleeding my front brake with some instructions. The video is only to "test my theory" for another time,you can see bubbles coming out when I push the pistons only from 1 side.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=68aOAQag3x0
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: I have the slx M7120 4 pot brakes but the free-stroke port for the screw is covered so shall I uncover it and use a screw so I can reduce the free-stroke like this video?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z4r7226bk8&list=PLW8YzbPacfHnCVH-rNloTuhufo_T8cx7-&index=11&t=31s

Some people caution this since this might affect maintenance?
  • 1 0
 @iiman: I have the slx 4 pots with that cover for the free-stroke but I heard bleeding/maintenance will be more difficult with the screw hack like in this video? www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z4r7226bk8&list=PLW8YzbPacfHnCVH-rNloTuhufo_T8cx7-&index=11&t=31s
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: I guess you answered my slx free-stroke hack lol. Reliability comes before less free-stroke for me lol.
  • 27 1
 420blazeit
  • 33 10
 Pick a brake brand and be a dick about it.
  • 18 0
 Haven’t seen a comment about this yet but thanks PB for reviewing the more budget friendly components. I know a lot of folks who just don’t have the money to drop $500 on new brakes but want some decent power.
  • 16 0
 I still don’t understand, order a set of Formula Cura 4s for $150 for Italy… unreal power, modulation, and mineral oil with no wandering bite point. Easy to service, parts available, etc easily on par with Hayes and new Hopes for best production stoppers. Somehow in the USA is hung up on paying more for worse options from mainstream brands.
  • 8 1
 UNtil you need a replacement part and Formula charge you 60 bucks for a single tiny component.
  • 16 0
 please link where I can get a pair for 150, one at that price seems the going rate
  • 1 0
 This!
  • 4 0
 MT7 for under $130 from Germany. Lots of options out there that don’t destroy the wallet.
  • 4 0
 @bombdabass: At least you can get replacement parts. Shimano just makes you buy a new caliper or MC.
  • 2 1
 Formula brakes don't allow the lever close enough the the handlebar for me (and others) they are a non-starter because of this.
  • 1 0
 Because many here are content to pay through the nose, and comforted from high prices by comparisons to high-end motorcycles.
  • 1 0
 link and I will buy a pair right NOW.
I've been eyeing both the 2 and 4 pot version everywhere for months and the cheapest you can get is €180 for the 2 pots.
Some other guy here mentions he paid $164 for a set of 4 pot with rotors, I simply can't believe it
  • 2 0
 @iiman: rcz newletter 170€+disc for the set
  • 1 0
 be quiet about these formulas, want to make sure their still available for my next build
  • 1 0
 @Grovy: I didn't know that shop, but I just checked and price shown to me is €339, which is in line with other places. Joined the newsletter and nothing changed :/
  • 1 1
 I am currently running my XT for 4 years now, so far so good , not any problem, and no bite point issue when bleeding is done regularly. I honnestly don’t understand people complaining with reliability , especially compared to Formula or Magura
  • 2 0
 @jpnbrider: Shimano is the Apple of the MTB world. Some people love them, because they're easy to setup and run, but when you run into issues, you realize the company is purposefully stymying consumers' ability to fix stuff. No reason to buy Shimano when so many other companies offer products as good/better, without annoying corporate policies that prevent you from working on them. All brakes are going to have issues, but with Shimano you're stuck with shitty solutions.

Wandering bite point is just indicative of their "f*ck you, consumer" attitude. They refuse to acknowledge or address it. No idea why people stan so hard for a mediocre brake company.
  • 20 3
 Elephant: how does it compare to a Magura MT5?
  • 24 1
 MT5 all day. Especially when you can get the MT5 for right about the same price as these.
  • 70 0
 elephants can't type on keyboards i wouldn't expect a response their feet are too big and imprecise
  • 13 0
 @rickybobby18: The elephant feet you have used to type are too fat. To obtain a special typing wand, please mash the keyboard with your foot now.
  • 4 0
 I went MT5 last year... if you upgrade the pads + rotor sizes (I even sprung for the MDR-P rotors (also, make sure you get the one finger HC levers). Then, they are essentially MT7's with slightly different materials and adjustability. The power is awesome. Better than my previous SRAM Code RSC's.
  • 2 0
 @rickybobby18: Sorry, was a shortcut for: elephant in the room. They're big both OEM and aftermarket, surprised to not see them included in the comparison.

Plus: the elephant snout is super precise and sensitive. It can sense things you can't sense with your fingertips.
  • 2 0
 +1 for MT5’s. Awesome brakes and probably all you’ll ever need but in my opinion and experience, I think MT7’s are superior and worth it if you don’t mind spending a bit more.
  • 1 0
 @PHX77: the MT7s are absolutely brilliant, but made of plastic and I didn't find thr leavers lasted as long as other brands. Saying that, I wouls buy them again. Second only to Trickstuff in terms of power.
  • 1 0
 @drjonnywonderboy: Do you mean their lever blade or the entire master body? In case of the lever blade, which one did you break/wear? They have quite a few different ones for the MT7 body.

I have no experience with these brakes (nor the MT5). Just mentioned them because they're so common, serve the same purpose as the MT420 and also fit the price bracket.
  • 4 0
 The MT5 is definitely more powerful, lever feel is a bit spongier if that bothers you. I personally dig the MT5, surprised we don't see them on more stock bikes.
  • 1 0
 I've ridden these and the MT5 HCs, and they're pretty similar in actual performance but I like the HC lever shape better. The Shimanos are more durable, especially when it comes to installation. Replacement pads are easier to find at shops for the Shimanos. Some people find MT420s to be easier to bleed, but I haven't run into problems with either the MT5s or MT420s. It's worth noting that you can get these for about half the price of the Maguras.
  • 1 1
 @rickybobby18:

"The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now."
  • 1 0
 @Genewich: You can get a pair of MT5 (minus the discs) for 115 euros (about Us $120) in Germany (www.hibike.com/magura-mt5-disc-brake-p5cba9943567357f7f420fc54b82811b1#var_62115290). Even when factoring in shipping + taxes, you can get a pair for less than $200.
  • 1 0
 @Bman7649: for anyone reading, mt420s are going on the wild west of AliExpress for $155cad for an entire set, strangely with a 1600mm rear hose though...
  • 1 0
 Magura definitely win out on power and lever feel. Their plastic master cylinder housing on the other hand is a complete deal breaker, especially after you slightly over torque the fastener bolt and strip the threads out. Amazing brakes otherwise.
  • 1 1
 @vtracer: Is it a faster bolt to clamp the master to the bars? Again, no experience with the current MT brakes (still running Louise brakes) but I've worked a bit on the first generation MT8 brakes and you actually tightened a nut to clamp the master to the bars. This nut threaded onto a thread that was fixed in the plastic master, but neither would strip as it was both metal. My first hydraulic disc brake was a 2002 Magura Julie with a composite master (not just "plastic", it was 50% glass filled) and you indeed had a bolt. But it threaded into a steel nut it contained, not into the plastic either. The only place I can imagine someone could possibly strip the plastic thread would be the bleed nipple or reservoir cap bolts (both are daft to strip as they don't need to be tight anyway) or the hose connector. The latter which I can imagine as not everyone with a torque wrench has a way to use it with an open ended 8mm wrench. Not sure about their current workshop manuals, but in the older manuals Magura already recommended to not overtighten the handlebar bolt. Not just to not strip the threads, but also to allow the masters to swivel away in case of impact. I usually can stay well below the max tightening torque and still have the clamps tight enough to stay put when riding and braking. But I can imagine this also depends on the bars people run. Maybe some of these modern carbon bars are more slick.
  • 2 0
 @cool3: good to know, that didn't come up in my quick price check, they were mostly higher. I found the MT420s for $150 US, so pretty close.
  • 4 0
 @vinay: The latest generation MT-series brakes all use lever bolts that go directly into threads in the lever body, rather than the nut setup on some of their older brakes. The shroud nuts are also a larger M9 diameter now with a fairly coarse thread - you'd have to really, really get it wrong to damage the main hose port. The EBT plugs (what they now call the bleed nipple/plug) use a finer thread, but the heads of those strip out before you could damage the lever body. These brakes also don't have a reservoir cap that you can remove.

The shop I used to work at sold a lot of Magura brakes, and the most common issues with the bar clamps were all user error related. The Magura clamps now use a weird system where you totally bottom out one of the clamp bolts (there's an arrow cast into the clamp pointing at one of the bolts so you know which side to do it to), then use the other bolt to adjust the tension. If you try and tighten the bolts up like you would most other two bolt clamps so you have even tension between them, you'll typically break the bar clamp (which is at least replaceable).

To other people who have replied to this thread or have been reading it - I've been using Magura MT5 and MT7 brakes pretty much since they were first released. You really don't need the MT7s. The BAT adjuster screw on them is the only real difference from MT5s to MT7s, and the BAT adjuster cam is useless. It's just a crappy plastic cam, it barely affects the feel of the lever and if you crash/dislocate the lever it damages the profile of the cam and you never get it to work properly again. You do however then get the fun thing where your lever will randomly dislocate if you hit a bump and don't have the lever blade covered with your finger. You're best off using the HC1 or HC3 blades whether you get the MT5 or the MT7, and if you're using them you need to switch the BAT adjuster out for a blanking plug anyway, rendering the one difference from MT5 to MT7 redundant.

They quite often have bad bleeds from the factory - we cut a lever in half and it looks like there a lot of awkward corners/edges in the lever body that can trap air bubbles - but you can do a quick top-up bleed just using an open syringe, some mineral oil and the EBT port on the lever. Just angle your lever so it's parallel to the ground, remove the EBT plug, insert the open syringe and add a little fluid. If you pump/flick the brake lever, you'll find air starts going up into the syringe. Once you think you've got the air out, I generally use my thumb to block the top of the syringe, then pop it out of the EBT port and drain the fluid in the syringe into a bottle. Reinstall the EBT plug (it seals with the two O-rings on there, so you really don't need to go tight on it at all!) and you should be good to go. This also works for freshening the feel of the brakes up every few months/whenever they feel like they happen to lose that firm bite.

Spending some time centralising the pistons makes a huge difference too. Holding back individual brake pads (I generally do it with an alley key/screw driver against the pad backing just above the top of the brake pad material) to make sure that all 4 pistons contact the rotor evenly and at the same time makes a huge difference to how firm the lever feel is, and how consistent it remains. It takes a few minutes to do properly per brake, but is well worth it.

I've used a few different brake pads with them, but the Magura Race compound pads are the ones to go for if you want all-out power. The Performance pads are fairly lacklustre in my experience. I've used pads from other brands like Uber Bike and they wore out insanely fast. I've also found that fitting the individual style MT7 pads makes a big difference in terms of pad durability and cooling. I fitted them to all my MT5 brakes and they made a positive change to them. You get the pad retention pins with new pads from Magura, so even though the MT5s don't come with them you don't need to worry about it (if you're getting official replacement pads).
  • 1 0
 @CleanZine: Thanks for your complete explanation about these more recent brakes. Indeed I can imagine people might do the two-bolt handlebar clamp wrong even though it is clearly described in their workshop manual. I installed some HS11 rim brakes for a neighbour and it was like that too. It was obvious to me (because they already explained it with these older MT8 brakes) but things might go wrong if a customer doesn't check the manual.

I do have some earlier brakes with the EBT plug (Louise 08 and Marta 09) but I still prefer to remove the entire reservoir cap. It is easier to see what's going on though obviously you can still get the brake firm even if there is some air in the reservoir. As for the weird corners in the body, do you mean inside the reservoir? The bore itself (where you don't want to trap air) is going to be cylindrical anyway, isn't it? I think the risk of air getting trapped in the reservoir is always going to be present on brakes that are designed to be mounted left and right (so no real single side up). It is a big selling point for OEM and bikeshops (having to carry fewer spares) but I think dedicated left and right masters (so with the reservoir on top, like Trickstuff and Hope still have) are still the best. I do agree with your approach of quickly topping off the brakes, with the small addition that I push the pads all the way back just before I'd close the reservoir or remove the syringe. This will both chase the last few bubbles of air out of the system (more psychological, as ideally they should already be gone) and make sure that you don't overfill the system (especially relevant if your current rotor and/or pads aren't full thickness anymore).

As for the brake lever itself, I thought the HC3 lever would only fit the MT7 master, not the MT5, isn't that correct? I do know you can fit one-piece MT7 pads in MT5 calipers and it makes sense unless you'd want to mix and match pad compounds. As for third party pads, have you tried Trickstuff and Galfer pads too? I'd expect these to be even stronger.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: You straight up can't remove the reservoir cap from the latest brakes. They're designed to just clip on, and it's basically a one-time only deal. We had a customer who decided to remove his, couldn't get it to fit properly again and have it all seal up, then heard from Magura that opening the reservoir voids your warranty because it's not supposed to be done with the current gen brakes. You also just don't really need to - it's located in such a place on the newer style brakes where it'd just be faff to actually do anything with it. Levelling off the lever and using the EBT works fine and is a lot easier to do in a practical sense on these.

The weird architecture of the lever is primarily in the reservoir area. It's just designed in a weird way - it's hard to describe without showing an image of it, but basically it has a lot of sharp corners and recesses that don't really help things...

Magura say the HC3 blades don't fit the MT5 brakes, but they do/did. There is a tiny bit of free play at the start of the stroke, but if you ride covering your brakes it's not noticeable. I think on the very latest MT5 brakes you may need to mod the very top edge of the lever where the blade spring would usually go, but it's not super hard to do (especially with how soft the Carbotecture material is).

That said, unless you really need the extra flexibility of the independent reach adjustment on the HC3s, the HC1s are in some ways better. The lever feels a little stiffer to me, but also you get quite a lot more power due to how long the blade is in comparison to how stubby the HC3 is. As it is the reduction in leverage from the standard alloy blade to the HC1 is noticeable, so going even shorter isn't necessarily ideal. This website is pretty interesting for checking that kind of thing out: brakes.ddzyne.nl The other thing is simply the cost of the HC3 blades. On my trials bike I like them due to the reach adjustment on them, but I was lucky in that I didn't have to pay anywhere close to RRP for them. They're good, but not THAT good. I've been running the HC1 on my MTB for the past 2-3 years and they've been spot on.
  • 1 0
 @CleanZine: Yeah, I've seen the membrane of the first generation MT8 reservoir and it was a bit star shaped. I can imagine the same goes for the later ones. It needs those waves as it needs to be able to deform to compensate for the amount of oil the reservoir contains. On say a 2006 Louise master where the reservoir is on top, the membrane is also only on top so the waves aren't in the way. If you have a master that can be flipped (MT series brakes) then you need this on both sides so that's where it might get weird. But yeah they give instructions as to under which angle the master should be oriented during the bleed so I trust that if you follow that, you should be good. I think for most modern full suspension bikes, my main worry would actually be the hose routing. To have a continuous upwards routing between caliper and master during the bleed. During a full bleed it might be possible to chase the bubbles up from below, but I can imagine it might be harder to just pump the brake until it is stiff if you don't attach a syringe to the caliper. Unless maybe when you hold the bike vertically.

I'm no fan of bite point adjustment either. I can imagine you'd want to adjust the reach (which you can on all brakes) but from there on I don't see why one would want to delay the bite. I've had BAT on Louise 07 and Louise 08, but just dialed them all the way out.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: You usually need to tap the lever body to free those little air bubbles from those corners/crevices, otherwise they can 'stick' there. Even then they can still be pretty stubborn. We found at our shop that the best way to help remove them is to adjust the angle of the bike/lever while you've got it opened up with the syringe in the EBT port. Just having it orientated the way Magura suggest doesn't always get the air out from them, which is probably why so many come with poor bleeds from the factory. Agree with you on the hose routing though, some layouts really don't lend themselves to having the air travel all the way up and out of the brake!

I don't think the reservoir thing is particularly related to them being a flip-flop style lever design. There have been other flip-flop style levers that use accessible reservoirs. I think with Magura, it's simply just to make assembly as quick and easy as possible. Having spoken to people within the company, they're extremely focussed on fine tuning all their production processes (e.g. having a basic pressed in pivot on all the MT-series brakes now), and having it so you can just clip on a reservoir lid and not have to do anything else to it just makes life easier for them. I guess it also lowers the weight which helps for those all important spec sheets too...

I used to use the adjustable bite point feature on my Tech 3s to dial in the feel, but I've come to just accept how it works with the Maguras, and where the bite point is on them. I guess I came to them from over a decade of using different types of rim brake where you can get things feeling exactly how you want, so that might explain why I was pretty fussy at first!
  • 1 0
 @CleanZine: I also have both MT5 and MT7 on two different bikes and don't agree with you when you say that "you don't need the MT7". Actually, just for the reach adjust barrel, the MT7 are much more user-friendly. I use it during my rides and it also change the brake feel, so I won't say there's no difference (apart from the looks, obviously). That being said, the MT5 are an amazing bargain in terms of price, power and weight.
  • 1 0
 @CleanZine: Yeah, I was closer with them between 2007 and 2012 (when family life really got in the way). I visited their factory back in 2008 (when they still did production there and their old and characteristic factory wasn't lean at all), hung with them in the Willingen bike park in 2011 (where I received the first generation MT8 brakes and was explained how they work) and visited them again in Bad Urach again in 2018 with my family (which was just nice seeing them again). I like them for being able to make consumer grade (not necessarily boutique) stuff here in Europe (and their injection moulding tech and knowhow will never leave Germany) at serious volumes. Going all out boutique is one thing, but most people in Europe are well served by decent quality consumer grade stuff. Having it produced relatively nearby is cool and a selling point in my book. Same reason appreciate companies like Polisport, Tacx and Superstarcomponents. I think I'd prefer Formula suspension over Fox too though obviously both might be considered a bit higher grade than the other companies.

Main issue I'm having with my beloved green (last batch of 400) Louise master is that the master piston (or bore) is sucking air so that's the main reason I need to bleed it more often. But the bleed itself (or pump - and top-off process) is fairly painless. One recommendation I can give you when chasing stubborn air bubbles is to squeeze the lever slowly and release it quickly. If you push the lever, you increase the pressure hence compress the bubbles (making them smaller and easier to hide). So don't apply pressure too quickly. Then when you release the lever quickly, you both reduce the pressure (causing the bubbles to expand) as well as cause an upwards flow. Be patient and allow the bubbles to migrate upwards before you squeeze the lever again. And indeed, tap the brake hoses at this stage. Obviously this only goes for the bubbles that hide in the hose and the piston bore. Once they have arrived at the reservoir, it is already job done in my case as there is nowhere to hide in an open reservoir. In case of the MT brakes indeed, tap the master body too. But from what I've seen, the mistake people make too often is to squeeze too fast and too quickly after having released the lever. The bubbles migrate upwards during the time between release and squeeze. It doesn't make sense to skip that part Wink .

Edit: Willingen was 2011, not 2012 as written before the edit.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Thanks for the tip about lever pull (slow in/fast out), but I do that already. As before, I've been working on these brakes both personally and professionally for a long time so I've had a lot of chances to experiment! I've had to replace plenty of lever bodies on my trials bike which gave me a even more opportunities. Fortunately they've been a lot more durable on my MTB.

Like I say, there's something about the interior of the body that doesn't help with the bleed process. It's quite a lot different to the internals of every other lever I've seen.
  • 1 0
 @CleanZine: Yeah, I trusted you'd pump the lever properly, just good advice as I've seen so many people do it wrong. I'd probably have the same challenges with the MT brakes as you have. I'm tempted to try the MT5 brakes eventually but right now, I still have a good stock of pre-MT brakes. No real reason to update anytime soon. I might try a Louise 08 master with an MT5 caliper before I'd bother with a complete new brake. But as it is now, I'm happy with what I have.
  • 3 0
 @vinay @CleanZine jeez guys get a room
  • 2 0
 @rickybobby18: This is the room, but you're welcome.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: im my experience the brake leaver became floppy, so it would fall forward away from the bar. Fortunately I was in Les Gets and the world cup was going on, so the Magura tech fixed it for me. Very lucky. I would buy them again for a new build, unless the lead times on Trickstuff come down to a reasonable level.
  • 1 0
 @drjonnywonderboy: Cool to hear. I wonder what the cause was and what was the fix. Of course if you want Trickstuff, it makes sense to just get in line. You'll transfer them from one bike to the other anyway so whichever bike you're riding two years from now, these Trickstuff brakes will probably fit.
  • 1 0
 @drjonnywonderboy: Out of interest, was that with the standard blade (rather than HC1 or 3)?
  • 11 0
 Less a comment on these, and more so a comment on what to expect in the new year - Sram Code RSCs and G2s are seemingly on sale for ~$150 across the interwebs. I wonder if we'll see a major update to Sram's brake lineup in 2023.
  • 7 0
 Hayes Dominion A4 on sale from Chain Reaction for $145 right now.

But apparently the rears are all sold out - they were there yesterday.
  • 2 0
 SRAM has had some ridiculous sale in general since BF. It’s pretty funny to see all the AXS sellers asking $100 more than the price on Amazon.

I was not expecting them to continue, yet they have. I am very curious to see what seems to be on the horizon.
  • 3 0
 @nickfranko: whats BF
  • 1 0
 @Canadmos: they've been sold out for a while (rear that is), I looked these up before xmas as well and it was the same, on sale but front only...
  • 3 0
 @Kimura: Black Friday
  • 8 0
 Bike shops cancelling booking orders from frame brands, frame brands cancelling orders from SRAM. SRAM having tonnes of stuff waiting to get shipped from Asia to markets... all at the same time.
  • 2 0
 Is this a typo or did I misread? I’m seeing G2 R brakes for $50 less than these, not $50 more. Also seeing Code R brakes for $35 less across numerous sites.
  • 3 0
 There are new updates coming with the lever body closer to the bar. You can find some photos on the green website
  • 2 0
 @Canadmos: they’re the same front and rear you just need to find a hose kit. (Sometimes a challenge in itself)
  • 1 0
 @gotohe11carolina: I already have them sitting here, just passing along the deal. Smile
  • 1 0
 Check the green website
  • 12 0
 MT501/520 That's the brake they should have reviewed, it's the best value, most powerful setup you can buy, can't believe its not got a mention
  • 3 1
 Agreed, and these use the single finger lever, but they are a little more expensive.
  • 2 0
 +1 the 501/520 is cheaper as well. My only gripe is I want the bite adjustment but not worth an extra $50.
  • 2 0
 That 520 brake caliper is a shared part with br-m6120
  • 2 0
 These are somewhat hard to find at the moment, and when you can find them, they are usually more expensive than the Deore MT6100/6120 brakes. I went with Deore M6120 over a year ago, upgrading from MT201, and couldn't be happier.
  • 3 0
 Yep, they are the sweet spot Shimano brake. Proper 1-finger braking without having to inboard them like the 420, no wandering bite point, and as consistent as a Pinkbike comment section on any article relating to headset cabling.
  • 2 0
 @skyroach: yup..my upgrade path..mt200>m6000>m6120s...couldn't been happier and didnt loose much in the process.
  • 1 0
 @skyroach: i think last time i was hunting for those m520 that were on lots of ebikes in oem 4 pistons, i found them on Aliexpress, with czliprrs and levers sold seperately. Shimano does not make promo about them.
  • 2 0
 @zoobab2: Bingo. They were intended to supply OEMs with a powerful e-bike brake without the markup of XT/Saint. The calipers seem to be internally similar if not the same (ceramic pistons and all).
  • 1 0
 I have them and they work really good, but the rear one has the wandering bite point problem. I bled them from lever to caliper and the problem dissapeared for some time, but It came back again.
  • 13 1
 A "certain bleed"? What the heck does that mean? Isn't a correct bleed a rather binary affair?
  • 6 0
 Pumping more oil into the system than is recommended, by not using the bleedblock. You will have to do this quite often though.
  • 2 1
 @cxfahrer: Exactly, you can shorten the stroke of the lever by overfilling with fluid, like not using a bleed block, which then brings the pistons closer to the disk. Can be a nightmare to prevent rubbing though
  • 9 2
 "here SLX/XT/XTR models seem to have a full-power point that you're not going to exceed no matter how hard you pull,"

This is exactly why i hate my XT's. the wandering bite point is OK while pads are newish but gets noticeable when they wear.
- i get people have issues with SRAM, but thats more or less down to who bleeds them and how long they wait between bleeds - i never had an issue with my RSC's.
  • 3 1
 Agreed. As is always the case, when you are shipping hundreds of thousands of units there are bound to be some lemons out there. By and large, Sram brakes work very well. My Code RSCs have been perfect across 3 seasons - I recently upgraded because I did want something with a bit more power, but as far as their actual function: flawless.
  • 3 0
 @KJP1230: that wandering bit point got down right scary on mine.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: Totally - I want to be clear, I was in agreement about Sram brakes being quality and capable, not coming to the defense of shimano's wandering bite point Smile
  • 2 10
flag justinfoil (Jan 3, 2023 at 9:44) (Below Threshold)
 More evidence that WPB is not an actual moving bite point, but changing pad characteristics being made more noticeable. Old pads are going to heat differently than new pads, altering their grabbiness, changing the _feel_, but not the actual bite point.
  • 1 1
 @justinfoil: you base this comment on hours of research and with all the evidence to back this up yeah?
  • 1 0
 I have considered myself fortunate as the XTR on my XC bike has been great. But being an XC bike, it is very light and even when going fast I'm not braking in the same manner as I am when I am park riding. Codes with TruckerCo sintered pads have never let me down. I keep thinking about buying something nicer, but because I don't know what nicer is I'm still pretty happy.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: I put some MTX Gold Pads in my TRPs and they are very consistent and definitely add power to those brakes. I have some old XT brakes (single pot) that were far more consistent, but did need to be bled more.
  • 2 0
 See my post about this wondering bite point issue. It's a free-stroke adjustment screw that pinches onto the back of the piston that's an issue. If you have an XT or XTR trail brake, leave this adjustment alone. If you replace your XT brake, get the SLX version instead. The M7000/7100 is exactly the same as the M8000/8100. The only difference is the free-stroke adjustment and the lever blade with tool-less adjustment. The SLX version is also cheaper but everything else on the piston lever body is exactly the same.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: Incorrect, My lever will bite at different points of the stroke regardless of pad wear or heat

its just MORE noticeable at low pad depth.
  • 1 3
 @darkstar66: literally no one has done that _for_ the wandering...
  • 1 4
 @HeatedRotor: You built something to consistently measure lever-pull to pad-movement ratios at various states of pad wear or heat? That's awesome; can we see it, and the data?

Why would it be more noticeable when the pads are worn?
  • 1 2
 @CSharp: Are you saying the free-stroke adjustment moves on its own? In both directions? And that causes the wander?

In which position should it be when you leave it alone?
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: I and many others can feel it.... You generally know where the "bite point" is on your brakes.

come on man, you dont need to be a rocket scientist to work this one out. - why are you defending these brakes so much?
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: It's also the introduction of air into the piston chambers as the top of the piston and it's seals are worn. Therefore, with more pads worn, you'll likely get more wondering bite point. I had it to a point where the fine dust particles inside my brake levers along with the free-stroke screw pushing on the piston sideways that I lose braking at times without any bite. Then, all started dripping out. The free-stroke screw doesn't move after it's been screwed in. However, the way the top of the piston sits as it is being pushed against that free-stroke screw is not always guaranteed to be in the same position 100% of the time on return. The piston is just a rod with seals, and a spring on the other end filled with fluid. Once air and contaminants are introduced and your brake pads start to wear down, you're not gonna get consistent braking.

I'd just leave the free-stroke adjustment screw alone as how you first got it from factory. Most people play around with the reach adjustment on the levers only anyway and that's good enough. You can play around with the bleed process to fine tune the bite point. If you want your brake lever assemblies to last more than 3-4 years, don't bother with that free-stroke adjustment screw. The XTR race brake levers don't have that adjustment and it works just fine. SLX M7x00 don't have it and it's fine. My XT M8000 levers after a year still works fine without any bleeds so far. I don't plan on adjusting that screw any time before and after each flush and bleed.

Also, another factor that plays into this wondering bite point can be down on the other end at the calipers. The plastic or ceramic calipers and seals get dirty in no time. You need to push the calipers out as far as you can without popping them out. Then, clean the dirt off the seals and the sides of the calipers.
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: Some of us continue to defend Shimano brakes because they come out of the box feeling so good and so much better than those SRAM brakes. I do have a set of the stock Avid brakes as backup. But I'd get a set of the Shimano SLX BR-M7x00 brakesets as backups in a heartbeat. Shimano brakes do work extremely well, just like with most of their other components. So, I have no qualms about their stuff. Only the free-stroke adjustment is a bit flaky.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: Oh i have no issue with the fact they just work and are easy to work with.

but being a heavier rider i struggle to get stopping distance to be short
and it seems to come from this: "here SLX/XT/XTR models seem to have a full-power point that you're not going to exceed no matter how hard you pull" as quoted above.
I get to that point in the power stroke that it either isnt enough to slow me (pulling hard as possible)
or they suddenly lock, I can feel the Locking point an can usally stay just back from it but then i run into not enough power. - BUT then comes that moving bite point, Can release the lever but then the bite point isnt in the same place, sometimes will be nearly at the bars but then suddenly back out a bunch.

I usally see shimano riders Locking Their brakes in an attempt to slow down - Any Racer of any motorsport will say this is the slowest way of slowing down lol.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: it’s not the freestroke. My SLX’s are equally as bad as my XT’s and don’t work particularly well even when the pistons aren’t leaking over my rotors. Stop defending them and start calling them out. This isn’t something new, we’ve been complaining about this and leaking piston three models ago and they’ve done nothing to fix it. If you keep defending them they’re going to continue to sell us the same junk.
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: I see people locking up their rear brakes and sliding down with the rear wheel all locked up. Either that or the front is locked up and they go over the bars. I think it's regardless of what brand of brakes you're dealing with. With brand new and properly bled Shimano brakes, all one needs to do is modulate and feather those brakes properly. I'm sure you already know that for heavier guys, you need bigger rotors up front. It's the front braking that provides the shortest distance of travel on braking.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I'll only call out Shimano's bad implementation for the free-stroke. Other than that, I've had no other issues with any of their components since the late 80's. I've had other brakeset: Hayes, Avid, SRAM (Level/Guides) - none feel as good as any XT or XTR brakesets. SRAM Codes I tried from a friend's bike and it's ok but I can definitely say those don't modulate any better than the XTR's I had going down some really steep sections.
  • 1 2
 @CSharp: you’ve had no issues since the 80’s come off it. Actually can’t think of a single current Shimano component that doesn’t have a well documented fault Shimano refuses to fix. Can’t be your first time hearing about the random bite point issue or leaky pistons? We’ve been complaining about this for the last ten years and they haven’t done anything about it. Exactly same issues and faults along three generation of Shimano brakes.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: "more evidence" feel free to collate the info you've found dude that supports your comment.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: well speaking from my experience of working in a workshop that dealt with hire and customer bikes shimano components, lower end, lasted far longer that either sram or magura components. Magura brakes are very good till the lever reservoir pops, sram drive train components, lower end sx/nx, fail within days. I'd take mid lever shimano spec anything over any other component manufacturer of the same spec. I'm currently running xt brakes they did wander, I've bled them on bike to the discs and had no more issues.
  • 1 2
 @darkstar66: that’s not true at all. I’ve got two broken deore groupsets and half a broken slx groupset in my garage 12 speed / 4 piston, all less than a year old that just fell to bits. Shimano’s lower end groupsets are utter junk. Made to a poor standard from shitty materials that just bend or fall to bits within months. Deore and SLX are equally as bad as SX and NX.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: just talking about my personal experience dude, yours is different. Out of at least 100 hire bikes with SRAM NX 90 percent of the mechs had warranty claims. The 15 bikes running Mt5 brake sets maybe 8 had burst reservoir caps. The next year fleet all 9 speed shimano, practically bottom of the range zero issues....well not counting customer breakages. Not brake issues whatsoever. Just saying from real world experience in this case shimano really pulled through.
  • 1 2
 @darkstar66: 85% of bikes in circulation are all on NX groupsets with guide R brakes. It by far the most popular groupset mainly due to it coming stock on most completes then you’re going to be seeing more issues with them. Just imagine the absolute chaos is Shimano managed to sell just a tenth of what NX sells with its garbage deore shit. And next time you’ve got a broken deore part in your shop, instead of throwing it out take it apart, cut it up with an angle grinder. Look how poorly manufactured it is and how cheap and soft the materials used are. I need help identifying the material used for the lower cage deore mech because despite its appearance that stuff isn’t metal.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Where did you get that percentage data from? Just interested. The two hire fleets were side by side, one year of SRAM versus one year of shimano, direct comparison shimano much better. SRAM components lower to mid in my experience just don't cut it compared to Shimano, yes shimano brakes aren't serviceable, in regards to replacing lever seals but EVERY SRAM brake I've ever owned needed servicing, seals etc, well within a year because of the poor components fairly good design but let down by materials. To say every shimano component has issues is a BIG statement to make and I've not had that experience
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: air and contaminants alone are going to be enough to mess things up, you don't need to combine it with pad wear. Worn pads however are likely to be a bit dirtier, and thus more sensitive to heat affecting initial bite, combined with servowave changing ratios on the fly, that could certainly manifest as feeling like you need varying lever force to get the same bite, but it's not wandering.

If you brakes are getting dust inside and leaking fluid, that's only going to lead to the bite point moving in, it's not going to wander back out because that would need more fluid magically getting back in.
  • 1 2
 @darkstar66: I’m still running the same sram brakes from 2016 on my main bike. I last bled them in April 2019. I’m in the lakes doing 3000ft descents on them. In that time I’ve had to replace at least five shimano callipers and two levers. They need constant lever bleeds to avoid the random bite point issue and when they’re not playing up my XT’s work no where near as well as my guides or codes not even in the same league. Everything Shimano makes these days is utter junk. Handlebars, pedals (apparently shimano clipless are good), wheels, hubs, dropper post, brakes, cranks. If it’s got a shimano brand on it in 2023 it probably sucks. It would be easier to name a product shimano makes that doesn’t suck or isn’t worse than its competitors.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I live in the lakes, ride MTB and gravel, hit Blencathra and skiddaw on my GRX equipped digger multiple times last year, zero issues zero fade and the BB is still as smooth as new. All my MTB's have been up and down GP and surrounding areas in all weather all times of the year one cassette, SLX went through 5 chains (kmc gold) without any skip or slipping. No issues apart from the XT brakes wandering once. I never bought a bike with or equipped a bike with SRAM gear as working in the industry put me off it. Maybe thats why my story's different from yours dude and I really take care of my gear. You say all shimano 2023 gear is rubbish, well I've had a lot of exposure to it as I've worked in the industry including the road and gravel gear. The road cranks delamination on certain models bu thays all I've experienced. Also SRAM rivet their mech cages on SX and NX shimano pin them which ks why their 12spd range is way below standard. Unless you've tried it all out bro your just starting to sound like a hater.........or unlucky
  • 1 0
 @darkstar66: I can’t speak for road and gravel as I have no experience. I’m talking about mtb products only. You’re more than welcome to correct me but I can’t think of a single product Shimano does well and definitely can’t think of product they make that’s best in class. Most things they make are generally accepted to be trash (Hubs, Dropper etc).

You should definitely try srams high end stuff (GX, X01, RSC). It just works so much better, can take a beating, never needs maintenance and just keeps on going forever. My five year old x01 cassette has only just worn through the coating, my 18 month old XT cassette is all chewed up and ready for the bin. I used to be Shimano only myself until recently. I still have a full XT groupset with brakes on my hardtail and a full SLX groupset with GX mech on my son’s hardtail. What bike shop do you work in?
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: to be fair SRAMS high end gear, mtb groupset xx1 etc I'd have but it's just crazy expensive, as for dropper posts reverbs are shit. There's no getting away from it, I actually own one but I can service it fully so it's not an issue for me. Shimano wheels are shit for sure I'll give you that one. All shimano bottom brackets, threaded have been legendary on their reliability, Anyone whose had issues it's generally a frame issue, facing, SRAM bbs are notoriously shit, larger diameter but thinner races.....bad idea. Shimano mtbs cranks again no issues. I think the thing with shimano is they don't move at the pace of other brands and stick with what they know, still use cup and cone bearings! So when they f*ck up everyone bitches about it. I worked up at whinlatter, you'll know the shop!
  • 1 0
 @darkstar66: I don’t think there’s much difference in bottom brackets between sram and shimano. They all last a random amount of time and the cranks are utter shit. I’ve broken every shimano crank I’ve ever owed and I’m yet to break a crank from any other manufacturer ever. Check the insta page thanksshimano.

The problem with Shimano other than the WW2 manufacturing techniques is that just don’t care about mountain biking anymore. They’re worth 6X what sram is worth. If they wanted to compete they would do. They seem happy to let sram have mtbs while they take road, Walmart / Halfords bikes, e-bikes and fishing. They’re always late to the party with a substandard alternative, they’ve stopped innovating, they won’t do anything about all the issues we’ve been complaining about for the last ten years. Mtb is such a niche industry that they just don’t care.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Well I've never broken any shimano cranks ever. I've split a set of RF carbon cranks, and some SRAM cranks where I've torn an insert out racing. The only other cranks I'd consider probably RF in 24mm. Like I said just talking from personal experience and working in the industry at my wallet level I'd pick shimano and I've had no real bother. Money no object I'd have full AXS top tier everything, I've heard SRAM top end cassette and chains are really hard wearing but the price is crazy, I budget for 4-5 chains a year and 1-2 cassettes and probably 2 mechs, the lakes is hard on bikes! In SRAM terms that's probably £1200, Shimano £400 max.
  • 1 1
 @darkstar66: That’s why I still run XT on my hardtail and I’ve always been a fan of XT ever since I was a kid but it’s not as good as Srams stuff and costs more in the long run. My high end sram stuff just runs forever. I’ve gone through three shimano cassettes before I even took the coating of my X01 cassette.

But yeah a good bike shop ironically I was in there a few months ago after the deore shifter fell apart on my friends bike. They managed to find the missing bolt and lock tight it back in. I think that was the last deore part to fail on his occam.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Guaranteed it won't be THE last part to fail on an occam! I'm glad I don't work on them anymore for sure. Well seek the balance you do you I'm still happy with shimano for now!
  • 1 0
 @darkstar66: haha yeah a noticed they all had the exact same bike as their hire bikes. What should I be looking out for because I’m the one who has to fix it. Haha
  • 6 0
 I’ve had a set of the older version for years, the rear caliper eventually leaked but since i changed that they’ve been great. As are my zee’s which i’ve had even longer with zero issues.
All the other shimanos I’ve owned have all been a bit crap though.

P.s. I’ve also discovered THE brexit benefit! New hope tech 4 e4 for £156 including post.. with 3 sets of pads included it puts the price of boring black far eastern 4 pots to shame.
Always wanted hopes for the servicability and colourful sexiness. Rude not to at that price!
  • 5 0
 I'd love to see a PinkBike test where they choose their favorite "budget" parts and build an "affordable" frame like a Ripmo AF, then bracket test it against the same bike, but fully blinged out. I suspect the lower price build (Deore and SLX drivetrain with an XT shifter, OneUp Dropper, DT alloy wheels vs XTR, BikeYoke dropper, Onyx hubs on fancy carbon rims) would be as fast downhill and pretty close on the ups........
  • 8 0
 Should've compared to Magura MT5's which is like 130€ for set
  • 4 0
 Or the Code R, they can easily be found for $100 per brake in the US
  • 1 0
 @skyrez18: Code R takeoffs here for about 120€ f/r, 420s and 520s too. So cheap to get a decent set of brakes.
  • 1 0
 @skyrez18: wait 135 is per brake price of these shimanos?
  • 3 0
 "Aftermarket pads are a bit limited"

Not really. Pretty sure all Shimano 4-pots use the same basic pad shape. In fact, the M8020 (XT) brakes can take the same D03X-RX pads that come stock with this one. Maybe the finned pads don't fit this particular caliper correctly, but any non-finned pads that fit in the high-end 4-pots, such as D02S-MX and various TRP and Trickstuff options, will fit.
  • 2 0
 I ran the deore 4pots for two seasons. They were pretty good until they were, then turned into mushy scary monsters, one lever breaking which was proprotionately expensive to replace. They worked well for a time, though. First brakes I've ever HAD to replace, though.
  • 2 0
 i feel like the pistons and piston seals wear out faster on the cheaper shimanos which may be why. its cheap to replace but quite hard to do and quite annoying too. So while the part is cheap I'd put a premium on having long lasting seals as well.
  • 1 0
 @p1nkbike: That sounds like my situtation. blew a seal on the rear level. Shop mentioned to fix wouldn't be that different than buying a new brake. Grabbed some slate T4s which were pretty cheap. Bit less powerful to be honest, but construction seems better. We'll see.
  • 1 0
 I broke my xt8100 lever, i could find a spare in Aliexpress for around 20eur, but that was the only place where i could find it. Plus they made the lever different to an xt8000.
  • 2 0
 I also appreciate the separate caliper bleed port and close/open screw. It's really dumb to have your bleed port have to rotate to open/close it (as with M6100 on up) and it's resulted in me spilling mineral oil a few times (and an unnecessarily touchy bleed procedure). Having your hose be stationary as you open/close the port is pretty good. Pretty, pretty good.
  • 2 0
 I've been running this setup with an old Zee caliper for awhile now and I really like it. The added modulation up front is especially noticeable in the wet.

I'm running the newest style of lever. Check my profile/blog for a writeup.
  • 5 0
 Oh yeah, I love my $40 Shimano MT200's. Nose wheelies for days: www.pinkbike.com/video/566319
  • 2 0
 "This results in the lever pull feeling more like a SRAM Code"

I think you mean "like a Code R and specifically not a Code RS[C]". Because SRAM's SwingLink is basically the same thing as ServoWave. "R" vs "RS or RSC" has literally the same difference of "longer pull and a more gradual bite ramp up" in the non-SwingLink version.
  • 2 0
 The actual power of your brakes is derived from the ratio of the piston in the lever compared to the piston in the caliper . I was not aware that Shimano used different ratios . Is the XTR brake a different ratio from these ? Are 4 piston calipers a different ratio? I don't believe 4 piston calipers offer greater power just apparently better modulation. When all 4 pistons behave properly the smaller pistons engage first to in theory give better modulation. I'm running low end Shimano levers and calipers with aftermarket rotors. All the stopping power I could ask for when large rotors are used .
I want these levers . Non servo wave with longer blades . 4 piston calipers look cool but eventually I end up with one piston not moving as well as the others then the pads engage at strange angles . I don't feel the issue but the pads wear out unevenly. Not a problem if you enjoy tearing apart your calipers and cleaning the pistons in the caliper . Who does that . ?
With large aftermarket rotors these brakes are powerful, simple and reliable.
  • 1 0
 Its always been surface area times the pressure generated times the volume displaced equals the hydraulic force on the other end. What changes with 4 pots however, is the surface area. It's roughly double the SA so it can generate double the braking force, or it takes half the lever squeeze to generate the same braking force.
  • 2 2
 @Breeconay: sure about that ? Twice the power you say ? I have run 4 piston and 2 piston . No difference in power. Dream on . Better yet test your "theory" .
  • 1 0
 @Sshredder: If I remember correcly, shimano is using 14&16mm pisons on 4 pots and 21mm on 2 pots and that gives a few % more surface on the 4 pistons. Lever is the same.
There is also more pad surface and more caliper volume so they are a bit less sensitive to heat.
  • 2 0
 @Sshredder: They're not twice as strong but my Zees and 520's are noticeably more powerful than my 2 piston Deores, SLX's, and XT's.

I read somewhere that Shimano 4 piston brakes are 10-20% more powerful than their 2 piston equivalents and that seems consistent with my experience.
  • 1 0
 I had the cheapest Shimano lever,the mt 201 paired with a Hope Rx4+ caliper (it is designed for gravel bikes,but it is the same as any other Hope caliper,just 15&16mm pistons) and it works very well. That combo is in my dirt jump bike for the rear brake.
I had the same caliper with a Saint lever in the front wheel of my 29" Enduro and it works even better hehehe. It uses any E4 Hope brake pad and comes with pretty good bleeding instructions,2 sets of pads(1 blue for road use,other are red),bleed blocks and bleed adapter/tools.It works like a dream with a 223 Galfer rotor.
It feels like a Hope brake but the Shimano lever made it really soft,the pads engage really soft and clear and the power ramps up really nice with the Saint lever. In my dirt jump brake,the non servo wave lever is even more sweet and easy to modulate with a 160mm rotor. All with almost no dead travel to the lever compared to regular Shimano or Sram brakes.
  • 1 0
 @faul: I think it is more like 15&17 and 22 for 1 pot.
  • 1 0
 @Sshredder: so spicy. So I just did the SA maths.

Single piston at 22mm: 380ish mm^2 per piston
4 pots, 17 and 15mm allegedly: 404 mm^2 per side.

That's the difference. The slightly smaller piston diameters change the total SA quite a bit. And my above comment is still correct, albeit I didn't know the diameter difference was so great.
  • 2 0
 I love shimano brakes. My bike came with the 2 piston version of these brakes, mt401. They do work well but I hate that lever shape. The higher end shimano stuff with the hooked lever just feels so much better. Just go mt520 or above and you get the better lever. Right now I'm seeing Deore 4 piston brakes going for the price you've got these listed at. Ideally I need a rear zee to match the front, still got the mt401 in the rear. Setup works ok but that lever needs to go.
  • 2 0
 I had these and had to pump up no matter how many times it was bled. Now on XT’s and have neither the pump up or wandering bite. Looks like there’s no consistency among the findings, just a bad pair and a good pair, regardless of model number.
  • 5 0
 Waiting for the new Saints.
  • 1 0
 Me too, but they're gonna cost a lot more than these.
  • 2 0
 We'll have to wait and Zee what the new DH brakes are like...
  • 4 0
 feel like brake levers like this need some crash testing as part of it all...
  • 8 3
 Non serviceable Shimano. Products you throw in the trash when they fail.
  • 2 0
 For some reason I never got along with the servo wave feeling. Now running Magura MT5s, but was actually quite impressed with the MT200s that came stock on one of my bikes during the first rides before I swapped them over.
  • 3 0
 "With regular service and a few setup tricks, I've found ways to make the XTRs work quite consistently" Love to hear about the tricks! Another article...?
  • 2 0
 There are non-servowave XTR levers that have the short lever in carbon.
  • 1 0
 These came with my '21 Optic C3 along with the metal pads/compatible rotors. They've worked great and I changed the levers to the Deore ones to get the single finger levers. No problems although they need a bleed at this point.
  • 1 0
 These brakes came on my Devinci Troy. They stopped me just fine but I could not set up the brake with the shifter to be ergonomically friendly with the matchmaker clamp and the left conflicted with my preferred dropper lever position. I was also squeezing down on my middle finger during hard braking 1 finger braking. Would recommend going to the 520's or better or better levers if they came with your bike. I do not notice any bite point issues with the new levers.
  • 1 0
 I wish Shimano offered these brakes with the stubbier lever. Servo Wave and the bite point adjustment create the variables that lead to the wandering bite point, and these 4 pots are powerful enough that the leverage advantage at the lever isn't needed. I also wish Shimano would make rebuild kits. ALL of their brakes weep or have vapor loss within a year or 2 of riding. That's understandable. Having to bin a whole brakeset because of a few seals isn't.
  • 1 0
 Bought them for my trekking bike a year ago for 120€/set as a replacement for the SLX brakes and couldn't be happier.
The SLX had a horribly inconsistent bite point even after bleeding them carefully multiple times, the 420s are perfect in comparison.
They also stop well (even down an alpine descent with a fully loaded bike there were no issues) and have cheap replacement parts should something break.
For use on the MTB I still prefer my Formula Curas (better lever and modulation), but that should be expected looking at the big price difference...
  • 1 0
 Been running MT520's for a few years now on my DH and Trail bikes and they both work fantastic. I lever bleed and rotate pads a few times per year, change pads when they get worn, full bleed once per year when I rebuild the bike. Can they be just as good without so much maintenance? I have no idea, but would imagine they're not going to be bad.
  • 1 0
 I've had a set of these with ice tech rotors and metal pads out performs my xt brakes any day without the constant wandering bite point. Always been a Shimano brake guy...but more and more codes seem to be appearing on my bikes because of there lever feel always been the same
  • 1 0
 I've had these for 2 years on my Norco Optic. Initially I thought I'd change them for something more powerful but after riding with them for a while I never felt the need to upgrade. I found the MT420's to be plenty powerful when paired to metallic pads and 200mm rotors. And at 120€ for the pair, their value really can't be beat. Solid, reliable and cheap. A real work horse part.
  • 2 0
 Just ordered these MT420's off of Thunder Mountain Bikes. Says they come with both resin and metallic (DO2S) pads. Pairing them with some SLX RT66 rotors and bam, a fantastic complete brakeset for $228 shipped.
  • 2 0
 Been using the BL -M4100 levers and 8100 calipers and couldn’t be more happy with this setting, with Shimano sintered brake pads of course.No wandering bite point and much more progressive.
  • 2 0
 Passed on these and got the 6120's instead due to better lever....no wandering bite point, no issues with em after several months!!
  • 1 0
 Sir, they are but trully ugly brakes! Linear pull? Something like Hope? I always feel safer when switching from bike with Hope brakes to bike with SLX brakes because SLX simply brake.
  • 1 0
 Tried these brakes on a demo bike. Long levers (which this reviewer compensated for by moving inboard). Needed lots of grabbing force to properly slow down. I was not impressed. 6100 or 6120 brakes are much better.
  • 2 0
 If you want good brakes fust buy some 2 pot Deore brakes, no need for anything better, they work fine and are simple to maintain.
  • 1 0
 i can tell that you don't live in the mountains both by your comment and the flag on your profile lol. 2 pistons where i live will have you going off trail
  • 1 0
 @therealnobody: my main issue with 4 pots, and I have owned them, is keeping the pistons engaging evenly, maybe the newer versions are better than my old Xts but they were a constant pain.
I do actually live in the Mountains, small British ones though !
  • 2 0
 I’ve been using these for years with Galfer pads and rotors. Best bang for the buck brakes by a long shot, performance is outstanding.
  • 1 0
 I received my bike with these and decided that brakes will be the first upgrade. And then I rode the bike. And rode it some more, and some more. Two years later and I've decided that these brakes can stay.
  • 1 0
 These calipers are actually awesome. Less fragile than the ceramic ones. add slx or xt levers and put ice tech pads in them with a cotter pin instead of a bolt and they feel every bit as strong as strong as a saint.
  • 6 2
 SHATERS assemble
  • 3 0
 Crazy that these things come on bikes that cost close to $4k these days...
  • 2 0
 Yeah...i had the MT200s on my Marin and now rocking the 6120's 4 pot..passed on these due to better levers on 6120s..rock solid with no wandering bite point!!!
  • 1 0
 @fstws6:
Sadly they can get it too.
My 6210's bitepoint started to wander at low temps around -15C
Just like on my Saint's I changed the oil to Putoline HPX and the problem was gone.
Also since the 6210 never felt as solid as Saint's I ditched the levers for Saint Levers, but keept the 6100 calipers.
Way better brakes now
  • 1 0
 I'm using the 50€ for a pair shimano brakes with new pads on all of my bikes, since I discovered them. I don't see a reason to buy anything else.
  • 2 0
 Once the rotors are bedded in properly these brakes actually have some power. use these on a hardtail.
  • 1 0
 How is it that SRAM seems to have an excess of components and that is why we are seeing sales but Shimano parts are still so hard to come by...
  • 1 0
 Just as curious: AXS 12 speed has been out for a long time at this stage - where the heck is Shimano's version?
  • 3 0
 @KJP1230: battery life with a working clutch is probably a big issue
  • 1 0
 @KJP1230: SRAM has a patent for having the battery on/in the derailleur.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: how the hell do they get a patent on putting the batteries on/inside the device they power?
Its pretty much a certainty that any battery powered device will have the batteries contained within. Mad world
  • 2 0
 @Kebabroll: Yeah, patent law is super fcked up.
  • 4 0
 Haha Weed Number
  • 1 0
 I ride them here on the North Shore on a Santa Tallboy. No issue, reliable, a true workhorse, nothing fancy about them...they just do the job
  • 2 0
 "Strong caliper, weak rotor"

Shows metal pad compatible RT64 rotor.
  • 1 0
 Although having said that, I was having endless problems bedding in a new set of RT66s recently. They're stamped, so the uneven surface makes poor contact with the pads. I ditched them for some machine finished rotors, problem solved.
  • 1 0
 Test rode someone else's EBike the other day with Magura's not sure which ones they were. I nearly went OTB the brakes were so strong. Impressive compared to my SLX's haha.
  • 1 0
 Here's an important correction for anybody searching for pads: The part numbers are D03S and D02S--with a zero, not with a capital O as published.
  • 1 0
 also, ICE TECH PADS FIT THESE! I'm using them now and they're freakin awesome. you just have to use the cotter pin instead of a bolt
  • 2 0
 Bless you Dario for reviewing reasonable products for normal people. More content like this, please.
  • 2 0
 Can confirm the lever and caliper are great,pads and rotors are average.my Marin alpine came with this setup.
  • 1 0
 I have these brakes with SM-RT86 ICE discs (203/180mm) on my Marin hardtail and they are pretty good for these types of bike. And I´m not the lightest rider.
  • 1 0
 Albert Hofmann took the first intentional dose of LSD on 4/19 at 4:20 pm…. Bicycle day. 4/19 ~4/20 relax and toke.
Pretty funny people are not aware ‍️
  • 2 0
 when is shimano going to put a short brake lever option on the 420 with out having to spend more for less material
  • 2 0
 I came here for the comments with high expectations Big Grin Wasn't disappointed!!
  • 2 0
 Those handlebars cost more than those brakes!
  • 3 0
 420 lol
  • 15 0
 Wake and brake
  • 1 0
 Ive been running these brakes for 6 month and they have taken some abuse. They have been excellent and plenty powerful.
  • 3 0
 Bring back zee
  • 1 0
 For real, so hard to find them anymore. I got a front Zee on sale like a year ago then haven't been able to find the rear haha. Love that brake.
  • 1 2
 BTW, you can use metallic (sintered) pads on the so-called "organic-only" disc rotors -- that's what I did on one of my bikes (Magura MT5 brakes + cheap Shimano discs) and it works pretty well.
  • 2 0
 Was a shimano fan for years. Then I tried maguras.
  • 1 0
 These brakes came stock on my 2022 Ibis Ripley AF and I can say for a fact that they still have a "floating" bite point.
  • 1 0
 I have BL-M4100 with the same lever but 2 pot caliper for sale, hit me up
  • 2 2
 as of recently, shimano CANNOT make a decent rotor. but the brake seems sweet for the money
  • 1 0
 Same model rotor came OEM on new bike that are definitely inferior to the pair I had previously. New rotors are labeled made in China; old ones are made in Japan. Certainly a different grade of stainless steel from the looks of it.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: those are resin pad only rotors and they're softer so cheaper to stamp. but that's not the problem, the problem is uneven shape that causes uneven braking
  • 1 0
 @baca262: They are not. Came on my Ripmo AF w/ SLX 4-pot brakes that came with metal pads...they're RT66s and do not say "resin only" on them
Compared to the older ones I have they have softer edge to the cut-outs, if that makes send. Also brake track has a more polished look.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: i've rt66 they're crap when hard braking going slow, that's why i say it. these pictured are even worse. rotors from back in 2008, solid with little holes were the business. i'd guess the softer ones would have it more visible they're stamped
  • 1 0
 @baca262: Nope, the RT66 (SLX) rotors I purchased recently have changed- MIC
(formerly MIJ) and different steel and they are most definitely NOT resin pad only.
  • 1 0
 I´d probably drop another 50 to get SLX
  • 2 1
 I prefer this lever shape Shimano!
  • 1 0
 Please do an interview with a Shimano rep on wandering bite point.
  • 1 0
 these don't use servowave so that isn's a thing
  • 1 0
 Magura Trail Sport. EUR 150 for the pair. Pretty good kept secret.
  • 1 0
 Anyone running these brake know if a 2.0mm rotor fits well with them?
  • 2 0
 gonna rub a bit
  • 1 0
 No servo wave? Take my money.
  • 1 2
 I got a set of hayes dominion a4s of or $125 a brake on CRC today.. just saying
  • 5 6
 So you have to buy the cheap Shimano's to actually get some modulation lol
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