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  1. #1
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    Shimano XT Deore Brakes Locking Issues

    I currently ride a 2013 Pivot Mach 429 Carbon with the Shimano XT Deore brake set up. I absolutely love this bike! However, on my last two rides I found myself going over the bars on slow and technical downhills. I just wrote it off as "I was just braking too much" and needed to stop being so cautious. Then it hit me, it seemed as if the front brakes were locking up way to easy. Meaning, locking up with less of a grab than before. Sure enough, that is exactly what was happening. I did a good cleaning of the pads and rotors and all is good again. However, they still seem to lock more than "I" think they should. My question is, is this a known issue with the Shimano XT brakes? Is there an upgrade of rotors or pads I could try?
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  2. #2
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    First and foremost is your braking technique, I think you need to learn how to modulate on the XT. A session or two of trackstand practice should get the job done. If the brake is grabby you can dial it out a bit, same goes to the levers pull distance. Changing the pad may help but I would not go that route. If you are going over the bar it's not the brake it's your body position on the bike, even grabby brake can't just send you endo. Work on putting more of body mass over toward or over the rear axle to evenly distribute the weight and maintain the f/r 30/70 position on the descend.

    On top of that you are going too slow, as too much brake usually sends front wheel into a mild skid or lock up before it catch traction and stop on the track. Next time fist your left hand on the grip don't touch the front brake, only use the rear brake. You are going too slow for any brakes to be effective.

    I have somewhat of a similar issue on the XT brake. The ServoWave tech is great and all but it's not as linear as "traditional" brake engagement. The braking power is variable thru the distance of lever pull. It's great if this is the only brake system you are using but a bit confusing when using multiple systems back and forth. Of course we are talking small change but usually happens at the threshold of braking where you want maximum power and control. You just need to get used to it.

  3. #3
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    The issue with me going over the bars was not a complete endo deal. It was more like I was finding myself falling at low speeds. I will call them more like "lazy fall overs" and sometimes falling over / on top of the bars. Not a typically stop dead, air born followed by drilling my shoulder into the ground deal. I have done these before. These "Lazy" fall overs just started. I'm going harder and faster than ever. My ass is certainly off the seat and back. Maybe not enough. The front brake "was" certainly grabbing way to much. As for the lever pull adjustment, I did try different adjustments. However, as for the "Dialing the Brake out" I have no clue as to what you mean. Also, you, suggest to use the front brake less, maybe this has a lot to do with it, I have been trying to use it more than ever.
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  4. #4
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    Well the XT has 2 adj, one for the lever pull and another is for pad engagement call "free stroke" I think. You have to try the combo of the 2. You can dial the power down, meaning taking more lever pull before the pad engage the rotor.

    You can change to organic pads to take away the power but is the the issue.

    Front for power and rear brake for control, we all have heard it before. If you are using brakes as a security blanket then the last thing you want to do is squeeze the front brake on a slow technical descend, it's better to just fist the grip and roll with it.

    I'm trying to picture where and how you get this "lazy fall over" is it on a tight switchback? tight technical single track? or big rocky descend? Faster and harder fall, are you referring to a front wheel wash out on the deepish ruts?

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  5. #5
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    Ok, now after reading your initial post, for the third time, more has finally sunk in. Yes, as you know, you are correct with the "Free Stroke", daaa, I never noticed that screw. I will play with this. The brake pull I have dialed in & out but never noticed the free stroke screw. Attached is a picture of, what I consider, one of my more challenging sections. This will give you my ability level. Not totally new to mountain biking but certainly not in my youth anymore, "+50"
    Shimano XT Deore Brakes Locking Issues-kimg0039.jpg

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