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Reviews > Shimano XT M785 Disc Brakes

Shimano XT M785 Disc Brakes

m785-disc-brake
A short term review of the new Shimano M785 disc brakes.
 Shimano M785 XT Disc Brakes
My quest is to find bike parts that work, brilliantly, consistently and with minimum maintenance. This mountain bike holiday season I have been riding 6 or 7 full days each week and if I spend the evenings spannering then I don’t spend them eating, sleeping or spending time with Amaia. So it came to pass when my Avid Elixirs needed bleeding, again, I took a deep breath, gingerly took my credit card out and bought myself a new set of Shimano XT M785 disc brakes. I bought mine from ActionSports for about €92 an end.
Finned Cooling Section Protrudes Above the Caliper Body
The Techy Stuff I don’t really go in for the technical stuff much, what matters is how stuff works and how long it lasts. Manufacturers try to blind us with shiny pictures of new kit against startling white backgrounds, with irrelevant technical data and with percentage improvements measured under ideal conditions in pristine laboratories. Bikers, the real ones at least, buy kit, throw it onto their bikes with scarcely a torque setting or alignment gauge before riding it through the worst filth, sailing past recommended service intervals, crashing it, bending it, throwing it in the back of cars and vans, spraying it with chemicals and leaving it to drip dry in the damp, cold evening air. That’s why I believe in reviews backed by miles rather than press releases. Anyway rant over. Shimano claims 25% increase in power over the old M770 brake, partly due to the stiffness of the two piece caliper and partly due to the Servo-Wave technology used in the lever. The lever also mirrors the XTR lever with it’s short, stubby design and linear action. The new brakes also use a one way bleeding system, designed to make bleeding easier and more reliable. Weight It was really interesting to weigh the new XT M785 brakes, they came in at just around 300g (+/- a few grams for the different length cables) compared to about 290g for my old XT M765 brakes. So, we move forward, ever into the next best thing, yet the weight remains the same!
Rear CaliperOne Peice Finned Brake Pads
Fitting Fitting was really easy. My brakes were Euro style so I had to swap the cables to let me run left/rear, right/front. It’s worth noting at this point that these brakes can’t be run upside down, as the Avid’s can, which is really only an issue on hire bikes where the brakes need to be swapped regularly. Changing the brakes was a matter of removing the hose, cutting it, fitting a new olive (included with the brakes) and refitting the hose. No bleeding was required and it took around 10 minutes an end. The brakes are post mount, so after removing my Avid Elixirs, I didn’t even have to change the adaptors, just screwed the brakes in, centered the caliper by eye and started riding.
Perfect One Finger BrakingClamps Fit Together So Nicely
Tactilability The new lever design is awesome. I don’t say that lightly! With Avid and older XT’s I have always found that I needed the brake levers inside the shifters to get 1-finger braking and hence the positioning of the shifters was compromised. With the new, shorter XT brake levers you can now position them outside your shifters and still use 1-finger braking, letting you set your gear levers more comfortably. It is a huge step forward and the XT brake and shifter clamps sit together perfectly. The levers are just the right size and are extremely comfortable to use. You can also adjust the lever free stroke to set the bite point anywhere from way out to right next to the bars. This is a big improvement over Avid’s system and works well, without requiring constant adjustment. Performance Initially I used these brakes on my Lapierre Zesty, running 160mm rotors, and using the finned pads in their sintered form. The power of the brakes was genuinely startling even with such small rotors. Initially they felt a little hard to modulate, (i.e. they were very off/on), especially after being used to the Avid Elixirs which are excellent in this respect, however after a few rides it became second nature. This was undoubtedly helped by the consistency of the brake; the biting point and lever feel just don’t change regardless of how hot they are. There is no fiddling with the reach adjuster, you just set it once and it works from there. For someone coming from Avid brakes, which generally require fiddling several times a ride, this is a revelation. To get more of a feel for the brakes I transferred them onto my Cove G-Spot, using them now with 203mm rotors front and rear. Again it was just a case of aligning the caliper, setting the bite point and riding. I haven’t had to adjust anything since. I have ridden the brakes a lot over the last month, on everything from fast 1000m descents to slimy 10 minute DH runs and they have performed perfectly. I haven’t touched them since I fitted them. Probably the best thing I can say about the performance is that I haven’t thought about them, just pulled the levers and stopped the bike. Fuss free. The same every time. Vanilla braking. The Future I will write a longer term review of these brakes once I have racked up more miles. I intend to try them with non-finned pads and I will also bleed them at some time in the future so can report on how easy that is.

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