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XTR Race brakes powerful enough

Tally HoTally Ho Posts: 32
edited March 2013 in MTB buying advice
I live in very hilly terrain and ride a hard tail xc bike. My current 2012 deore M596 brakes are lacking a little power, especially as I want to move from 2 fingered to 1 fingered braking. I'm considering getting the 2012 XTR M985 race brakes (I can get them at a great price) and would expect them to have ample more power than the basic M596 deore's. But after looking at the reviews, quite a few say they feel underpowered without the servowave of the XTR trail version
(M985). Seeing as my current deore's M596 have servo wave, and I wouln't want to buy these XTR race brakes only to find similar or only a tiny increase in power, what kind of percentage increase in stopping power can I expect from the XTR race over the deore? Would also appreciate any feedback from anyone who has ridden XTR race?

Thx.

Posts

  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    XTR race brakes wont be as powerful as the 596s as the 596 is one of the most powerful brakes on the market. Are you sure you dont just need a pad change and a service, possibly a bleed. The 596 should be able to lock the front wheel with one finger. Going by reviews the 596 is about 10% more powerful than the XTR.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/category/components/disc-brake-systems/product/review-shimano-m596-deore-brake-12-46008

    http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/category/components/disc-brake-systems/product/review-shimano-m985-xtr-race-brake-12-45988
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  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    In all honesty unless you want to loose some weight I'd stick with what you have tbh the deores are fantastic brakes and I can hardly the difference between a friends deores and my xt m785's.

  • Tally HoTally Ho Posts: 32
    That's interesting, the XTR race being 10% less powerful than the basic deore M596. I have recently bled them and they are working optimally with pads only a couple of weeks old. They are resin pads which I know do not perform as well as sintered, but I can't stand the occasional howl from sintered pads. If the XTR Race though are going to be less powerful then I'll give them a miss.
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Bigger discs?
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    Resin pads arent any less powerful than sintered. Can you lock the front wheel up and stand the bike on the front wheel if you cant you have a problem. Did you bed the pads in you need to find a flat car park or something similar and do about 20 hard stops from about 20 mph.
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  • Tally HoTally Ho Posts: 32
    I can lock the front wheel on the flat with one finger at maximum effort, but with many of the steep downhills here I find I need to use 2 fingers most of the time as the hills are really steep and some of my riding includes single track pavement with occasional 25-30 degree hills. And hurtling those at speed requires some stopping power and is best accomplished with 2 fingered braking on the deore's. Hence the desire for a little more power and then see a cheap XTR 985 deal. And I'm also just found this which is a bit confusing as it says that the XTR race is more powerful than the deore in testing (110NM XTR Race to 104Nm Deore) http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/fitness/ar ... kes-24345/
  • swod1swod1 Posts: 1,639
    Probably a silly question but how can xtr brakes be less powerful than the much cheaper deore brakes

    I thought the higher you go up in shimano kit the best you should get ?
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Power is not everything.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    swod1 wrote:
    Probably a silly question but how can xtr brakes be less powerful than the much cheaper deore brakes

    I thought the higher you go up in shimano kit the best you should get ?

    There is for all intents and purposes no difference in performance between the different Shimano brakes all the extra money gets you is things like reach adjust knobs, fancy anodising, chrome and lighter weight.
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  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    Tally Ho wrote:
    I can lock the front wheel on the flat with one finger at maximum effort, but with many of the steep downhills here I find I need to use 2 fingers most of the time as the hills are really steep and some of my riding includes single track pavement with occasional 25-30 degree hills. And hurtling those at speed requires some stopping power and is best accomplished with 2 fingered braking on the deore's. Hence the desire for a little more power and then see a cheap XTR 985 deal. And I'm also just found this which is a bit confusing as it says that the XTR race is more powerful than the deore in testing (110NM XTR Race to 104Nm Deore) http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/fitness/ar ... kes-24345/

    Different tests produce different results I read a test that put the Deore 596 very nearly at the top for power and the XTR985 race a fair bit down. It doesnt alter the fact that the Deore 596 is one of the most powerful non Downhill racing brakes out there.

    What size front disc have you got the jump from a 160mm to a 180mm is I believe about 10 to 15% extra power with a bit of loss of modulation. The jump from 180 to 203 is again about 10 to 15% extra power but when you get to 203 you run into problems with scraping noises as 203 discs are never as true as smaller ones, plus you do lose quite a lot of modulation and feel it becomes more abrupt.

    I ride in the Pennines and the Lakes a lot and there are some pretty damn steep rocky downhills but I have never even come close to needing 2 fingers to stop using my XT brakes and I am a fat knacker who likes to let rip downhill.
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  • Tally HoTally Ho Posts: 32
    I'm running on 160'mm front and rear so I could try 180mm on the front and see how that works. Still a shocker though that the XTR race is less powerful than the deore.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    Tally Ho wrote:
    I'm running on 160'mm front and rear so I could try 180mm on the front and see how that works. Still a shocker though that the XTR race is less powerful than the deore.

    No its not a shocker the XTR is XC racing kit and designed for light weight as its No1 priority power is a secondary priority. Unless your a top level XC racer XTR is a waste of money and most people would be better off using XT, SLX or Deore and spending the money saved on something important like Beer. Get yourself a bigger disc and an adapter and a new set of pads. Fit them and bed the pads in properly. Should cost you no more than about £40 for the lot if you shop around. 160mm discs are not for use in big hills unless your a featherweight.
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  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    A 180 rotor will increase the power a fair bit, you really shouldn't need to two finger brake with the deores I actually downsized my rear rotor on my xts to a 160 from 180 as it was just too powerful. A 180/160mm combo and properly bedded in pads should be more than powerful enough. Shimano make awesome brakes and I know several guys who use xt or slx brakes or DH.

  • Tally HoTally Ho Posts: 32
    Good advice. Thx
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    If you struggle to stop using two fingers, I'd look for some other issue - contaminated pads, gunk on the rotors, or badly adjusted/not centered.
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  • Tom BartonTom Barton Posts: 516
    If you have that sort of money to blow on top of the range brakes - get Formula The Ones - ludicrously powerful and with a XC* weight.

    However, like others have said I'm surprised by your apparent lack of stopping power

    For brake squeal - if your happy your new pads are properly bedded in (remember not to touch the pad surface with your fingers - sorry if I'm stating the obvious), you could always give the rotors a clean with some good disc rotor cleaner (a degreaser essentially) incase you have some polished in contaminants like oils or simple skin oil (i.e. finger print smudges). This may improve performance if they are contaminated.

    A well set up disc brake normally has a reasonably solid and definate 'bite' when it engages with the disc - if your brakes feel spongy or the bite is indistinct - a rebleed may be in order and again may solve your problem (and certainly be cheaper than 300-400 pounds of new brakes)
  • step83step83 Posts: 4,044
    I'll throw this in as I had a similar issue with my rear needing two fingers to do anything. Make Sur the pads have been advanced correctly if the tapping between your pad and rotor is too great most of your brake modulation will be trying to get the pads to meet the rotor.
  • Dick ScruttockDick Scruttock Posts: 2,533
    Tom Barton wrote:
    If you have that sort of money to blow on top of the range brakes - get Formula The Ones - ludicrously powerful

    Don't do that. Great brakes but poor poor pad clearance. Go for any version of the Shimano servo wave brakes. You cannot go wrong.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    The Shimano 2 pot brakes all use the same master to wheel cylinder ratio, so should all have the same power, you will get slight differences due to bedding in, and disc, as well as a natural variation depending how far off the discs the pads sit and it's effect on effective lever angle to the master cylinder. Fomula appear to use a more aggresive size ratio but this means the pad has to sit closer to the disc for it to work and that means the more frequant rubbing issues that get reported.
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