Brake upgrade (+ fitting advice please)

chrisw333 Posts: 695
edited February 2014 in MTB buying advice
I have the 2013 Giant Trance the brakes are currently the basic Shimano M446 with 180 front rotor and 160 rear (6 bolt).

I am taking it to the Alps this year and am tempted to ugrade the brakes (something I had been thinking of doing anyway). The current ones are ok, but not sure if they will be up to the Alps and seems a worthwhile upgrade anyway?

I was thinking probably slx ... 58528.html

or Xt for £25.00 more. ... 55284.html

I was also wondering whether to put a 203mm rotor on the front and swap the 180 rotor to the rear (im prob >16.5 stone in full gear)

Any advice on above? Is the extra £25 worth it for XT? If I do change the rotors any recommendations (ice tech worth it?) and also a link to the right mount adaptors would be great.


  • tarbot18
    tarbot18 Posts: 531
    I have deore m596 and the new slx 675 on 2 of my bikes are there is no difference in power and it'll be the same with xt you just get additional features .
    I d go for slx with the finned pads and up the size of your rotas as you said .
    ive done the alps with 203 front and 180 rear and im 14st and my deores where great.
    The family that rides together stays together !

    Boardman Comp 29er 2013

    Whyte T129s 2014 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12965414&p=18823801&hilit=whyte+t129s#p18823801

    Road Scott speedster s50 2011
  • Years ago hope used to be the daddy is this not the case anymore ?
  • poah
    poah Posts: 3,369
    hope are good brakes with great modulation with replaceable parts but shimano are a lot cheaper and just as effective but with less modulation. I got rid of my hope and bought SLX
  • lawman
    lawman Posts: 6,868
    Slx will be fine, all you with Xt's are freestroke adjustment (which makes no difference at all), shinier finish and they're a few grams lighter.

    Hope brakes are over-priced, over-hyped and thoroughly outclassed in most areas by the latest Shimano brakes.
  • Thanks for the replies. A little more advice please.

    The bike currently has front post 180mm 6 bolt rotor (with adapter) and rear post 160mm no adaprtor. The current calipers are post mount too.

    If I buy these brakes: ... 58528.html

    and this rotor for the front (ice tech 203) for the front ... -prod67197
    (is this the best rotor for my needs - any alternatives I should consider?)

    is this the correct adapter for the front?: ... -prod13747
    this it looks odd to me - i would have thought it would need longer 'posts' to go from 180 to 203?)

    Finally, if I swap my current 180 rotor to the rear, can I just swap the current front post adapter to the rear too?

    Thanks again for the help, I'm a bit of a doofus when it comes to the techy stuff, so links to any recommended adapters etc would be great.
  • jairaj
    jairaj Posts: 3,009
    If you are going to upgrade the new Shimano brakes then I would say your current rotors are fine. I haven't used the ICE tech rotors but many people have said they don't notice any difference and there have been reports of the alu core melting and highly warping the rotor. If you must go bigger then just use standard rotors not ICE tech.

    But my 2p is that your current brakes are fine and up to the job. I only recently changed to the new shimano brakes as my old broke in an accident otherwise I had good performance and reliability with their older style ones. If they work fine then stick with them
  • Thanks Jai.

    Did you see the reasoning for the upgrade in my original post - that I'm going on an alps trip and I'm a heavy lad? I did some long descents in Wales last year and the brakes were red hot and fading by the bottom, hence my concern about them surviving the Alps.

    Does this change your advice or do you think the Alvio are broadly as good as the SLX / XT?
  • Cookeh
    Cookeh Posts: 351
    To my knowledge, the Alvio is the level below the Deore/SLX/XT (which are all much of a muchness). I would go for the SLX, but the rotors should be fine as is - certainly size wise.
  • 97th choice
    97th choice Posts: 2,222
    I don't see the need to upgrade.
    Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye

    Giant Trance
    Radon ZR 27.5 Race
    Btwin Alur700
    Merida CX500
  • jairaj
    jairaj Posts: 3,009
    Fair enough if you have had real experiences with brakes getting too hot then maybe an upgrade might help. The newer design does produce more power than the older design and is supposed to manage heat better. I never had any heating problems on the older versions so was just basing my opinion on my experiences.

    My experience with Shimano brakes is that going up the range does not give yo more power. simply lighter weight and more adjusters and better materials. So SLX or even Deore will work just as well as XT.

    edit - If I understand correctly your problem seems to be heat management not power? So possibly try large rotors first. Larger rotors act as a larger heat sink and keep your brakes cooler. Is that correct logic?
  • Your logic does sound reasonable. I guess my reasoning is the trip is a big financial commitment and although I wont be doing the full DH stuff I want to ensure my bike doesn't let me down. I'm sure all brakes get hot on long descents, but it was particularly noticeable on some of the long descents we did on a 3 day Welsh trip last year. I've heard great things about slx so it seems like a reasonable upgrade anyway for a bike like a Trance anyway.

    With that said, I'm not the sort to waste money for the sake of it and I'm now in two minds to be honest!

    Anyway, if I do go for the rotor option, is the adapter linked in my comment above the right one and can I transfer the front adapter & rotor to the rear?
  • jairaj
    jairaj Posts: 3,009
    yep assuming you have post mount on your forks should be the correct adaptor.

    I'd try the rotors first, you can easily get rotors for under £15 to give it a quick try. Not too expensive if it doesn't work.
  • ok, thanks for the advice