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  1. #1
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    XC brake - best bang for the buck

    Need ya'lls help yet again. I was hoping to sell my stumpy and get a new bike for the spring but its looking like I'm gonna hand on to it so looking to upgrade my brakes. Currently have Elixer's and I will admit the front works like I want it too. But the rear just doesnt give me the power I want, it just never feels right too me. I've replaced pad's, rotors and bled the lines. Spent all last summer trying to tweak them just right but they dont hold up.

    I'm mainly an XC rider, but I'm a heavy rear brake user.

    I'm on a limited budget, so i was thinking of just changing out the rear brake, dont know if thats a good idea or if I should just change out both?

    So the obvious choices I have researched thus far are XT's, SLX, Saint's or Hope's. **I only listed Hope's because currently I can get a good price on a set of front and rear M4's.

    Whats the good, bad and ugly of any of the above mentioned brakes? Or which brakes have I not listed that I should consider?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I have SLX front and XT rear on Stumpy FSR, really enjoy them. Way better than Elixir 5 I had before.

  3. #3
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    Go with the SLX. I wanted the best bang for buck also and got a set of SLX replacing my elixir 1's.

  4. #4
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    Yes. Buy whatever you find cheaper. If anything I like my SLX front better than my XT rear. They look almost exactly the same besides some chrome and different lettering on XT.

  5. #5
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    I have SLX on one bike and XT. I will never use another brake. I can't tell the difference from one to the other. Both are great.

  6. #6
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    XC brake - best bang for the buck

    I have SLX and XT on 2 different bikes and they are practically the same but you'll save at least $100 on SLX. They are night and day difference from Elixirs. I say go SLX!
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  7. #7
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    If the budget is tight, go for the Deore M615. I have the older M596 version and it was great, reports are that the M615 is even better and can take the ice tech pads.

  8. #8
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    I dont like the idea of a plastic brake lever tho, which I believe the SLX has. And I have heard the XT's don't have the best in modulation. More of an on/off type of braking.

    On the other hand I have not once heard or read a bad review on either, so with that many people saying you cant go wrong either way, its gotta be true?

  9. #9
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    I love my XT trail brakes. First truly one finger brake system I have ever used. I have no issues with modulation on the stock semi metallic pads but have read the resin based brake pads provides an even higher degree of modulation. The ice tech rotors are an integral part of the overall brake system but are sold separately.

    The current XT / XTR brake system from Shimano is night and day better than the Avid Elixr and Avid juicy brake sets I have used in the past.

  10. #10
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    I have the XTs on all my bikes and have tried others but none work as well as Shimano.

    Arts has the prebled f/r for 104 per side right now which is almost as inexpensive as any SLX Iv'e seen...

  11. #11
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    Another vote for Shimano. Nothing but good to day about them. I have the SLX front and rear. Easy to install. Easy to bleed. Though I haven't had to bleed mine once. Easy to adjust the lever. Low to no maintenance. The only negative thing I can think of is the "ice" pads with the cooling fins are a bit pricey. Around $30 per brake, but you can usually find them on sale for around $20. I have to say they seem to last a lot longer than my Avid pads so really not a bad deal.

    Also the levers are aluminum not plastic. I have crashed my bike more times than I care to admit and they have taken a beating and still work perfectly with no damage other than some scratches.

    I can't tell you how much time I wasted with bleeding Avids, trying to get them to adjusted, trying to just get them to work. Never mind the turkey gobble. I am guessing you know that already though.

    Look around, a couple of weeks ago I was seeing XTs at the same price point as the SLXs. Especially if you don't mind ordering OEM from Asia.

    What size rotors are you using? Even though I would suggest you learn how to use the front for stopping, you might consider going to 180mm front and back. I run 160mm in the back and can lock it up no problem. 180mm in the front is much better IMHO.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  12. #12
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    +1 on slx, I run them on two of my bikes. I have heard that the deores are pretty good too. I think you wont go wrong with any of those two.

    All shimano brakes have aluminum levers, no plastic.

    Cheers

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rzims View Post
    I have the XTs on all my bikes and have tried others but none work as well as Shimano.

    Arts has the prebled f/r for 104 per side right now which is almost as inexpensive as any SLX Iv'e seen...

    Who and what is arts?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    Another vote for Shimano. Nothing but good to day about them. I have the SLX front and rear. Easy to install. Easy to bleed. Though I haven't had to bleed mine once. Easy to adjust the lever. Low to no maintenance. The only negative thing I can think of is the "ice" pads with the cooling fins are a bit pricey. Around $30 per brake, but you can usually find them on sale for around $20. I have to say they seem to last a lot longer than my Avid pads so really not a bad deal.

    Also the levers are aluminum not plastic. I have crashed my bike more times than I care to admit and they have taken a beating and still work perfectly with no damage other than some scratches.

    I can't tell you how much time I wasted with bleeding Avids, trying to get them to adjusted, trying to just get them to work. Never mind the turkey gobble. I am guessing you know that already though.

    Look around, a couple of weeks ago I was seeing XTs at the same price point as the SLXs. Especially if you don't mind ordering OEM from Asia.

    What size rotors are you using? Even though I would suggest you learn how to use the front for stopping, you might consider going to 180mm front and back. I run 160mm in the back and can lock it up no problem. 180mm in the front is much better IMHO.
    Currently have 160mm up front and in the rear.

    Yea I've had enough trying to tweak these elixers to get them to be consistent. And the bleeding process, on what planet did they think having to use a syringe and all that an easy/convenient way to bleed the brakes.

    Well thats good to hear about the lever, I swear I read a few reviews with people saying the SLX levers were plastic. Glad to be wrong on that one!

    Would it change anyones opinion if I was to say I can get a set front and rear (no rotors) of the Hope M4's for $250. I know they are not as strong as the XT's but I've read the kicker is the customer service at Hope. Almost any part, no matter how small can be serviced or replaced with ease or you can even send in your setup and have them do a complete rebuild to essentially bring them back to brand new. I've heard nothing but good things about Hope's services. Also built in England, not sure if that matters to anyone but I like that.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigGK View Post
    Who and what is arts?
    Assume he means Art's Cyclery. Good on line retailer

  16. #16
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    yep...

    Quote Originally Posted by azorr View Post
    If the budget is tight, go for the Deore M615. I have the older M596 version and it was great, reports are that the M615 is even better and can take the ice tech pads.
    I have M615 on my 2014 Nail Trail, and they are border-line flawless...can't imagine a better system @ their intended price-point
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails XC brake - best bang for the buck-dsc01534.jpg  

    XC brake - best bang for the buck-dsc01532.jpg  

    XC brake - best bang for the buck-dsc01463.jpg  

    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  17. #17
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    I should have mentioned that you don't have to use the ice pads with the models that come with them. You can still use the standard pads for a little bit cheaper. Unless you are really braking hard on some long downhills you probably wouldn't know the difference.

    No experience with Hope. I'm about to buy some of their hubs, but I'd go Shimano for the brakes for the reasons stated above.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  18. #18
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    Shimano SLX best bang for your buck. I don't know how many bike magazine reviews I have read that keep repeating this statement as well as inumerable reviews from us humble bike owners.

  19. #19
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    Shimano all the way. Bang for Buck? the new Deore. Not a fan of avid at all.

  20. #20
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    Shiimano Tech said the m615 has smaller interior diameter hose mated to the inline fitting at the caliper vs the banjo.. This leads to a little less power and modulation. Cheapest option is to just change your front brake. An SLX or Deore would change your control so much you will not use your rear for much any more.

  21. #21
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    I have had Hope Tech X2's for several years and love them. Great feel and stopping power. Bled them after 2 years. Haven't had to service them for anything other than the one bleed.

    A friend has the new XT and really likes them, but not enough time gone by to say anything about longevity.
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    you're lucky enough.

  22. #22
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    how many times do people have to ask this question? You can answer basically everything you need to know about brakes these days in 2 letters.

    They are around $100 a wheel. I just don't see how this is complicated. At all.

  23. #23
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    Just bought a SLX F/R with 160mm rotor set for 90pound shipped. So I'm close to the $100/wheel guide ~~

  24. #24
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    SLX is good, just make sure you get the 29er specific!

  25. #25
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    Did some research online and the SLX are actually pretty reasonably priced! Thinking of picking up a set for the up coming season. My brakes are ok (nothing to brag about) on my Hardrock but an upgrade would be nice!

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