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  1. #1
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    best pads for xtr m975 brakes?

    (forum search didn't show much). I bought a used hardtail over the winter with xtr m975 brakes & 160 disks, it came with stock shimano metallic looking pads, the rear barely worked when I bought it, there was quite a bit of glaze on the pad, it worked a bit better with the glaze sanded off, but not great. I put Truckerco alloy backed pads on before race season (early) in February, those worked great in dry/damp, but when it got really wet and nasty they worked very poorly. I read good reviews about Serfas, and I've got their Semi-metallic pads on their now that work pretty good, but I still have problems with the rear needing a lot more squeeze to grab. I bought a new xt rear disc (not ice tech) in the spring too.
    I'm a pretty experienced rider (25yrs), just xc with quite a bit of racing experience incl C1, and I don't ask a lot from my brakes, I'm quite happy with the cantis on my cx bike and the Vs on my other bikes. I've read so many great things about the new xt and slx brakes I wonder if I should just buy those, but maybe I'll try another set of pads on the 975s before I give up. The front is working quite well, the rears always seem to crap out, -and I do rely heavily on the front like I know I should.
    Anybody know of 'the pad' for 975s?, sintered or other?

  2. #2
    dru
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    I've got the 975s and they are underwhelming. I run a 180 up front and a 140 on the back and have more than enough power on the rear even with the organic shimano pads. I'm guessing your pads are contaminated and /or you need a bleed. I took my pads out and fried them with a torch after winter riding (a no-no in freezing weather) contaminated them with oil. Poof, a little bit of flame, and then smoke and all is well again. I've got a brand new pair of organics for the front that I may try because I too rely on the front brake for 75% of my braking, and the braking isn't as good as my 12 year old Deore 555s on the other bike.

    As for pads to try, I've read here that EBC gold in the best. Do a search.....

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  3. #3
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    I have the same brakes and use SwissStops. Great stopping power.

  4. #4
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    I see the swissstops are cheap on ebay; they have both Organic and Sintered, which do you prefer?, and which rotors are you using? - thanks!

  5. #5
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    I get my XTR 975 compatible pads from discobrakes. They have a range of different pad choices. I have used the ultralight ones, the sintered and the ceramic pro pads. My favourite are the ceramic pro versions. Great braking power on a variety of rotors (aligator aries, Ashima AiRotor, Hygia SLP, Avid HS1 and HSX rotors). Best power is achieved using ceramic pro pads and HSX (or HS1) rotors. It's not the lightest combination (30g heavier an end compared to alu backed pads and a ultralight sub 80g rotor), but the great power and modulation of that combination is worth the extra weight.

  6. #6
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    I use the Organic ones with Ice Tech rotors

  7. #7
    g3h6o3
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    The Jagwires are pretty good.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  8. #8
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    I'd also suggest the swiss stops. Although when I used them the only offering they had was a hybrid sintered/organic pad.

    One thing that does help the 970 brakes is to replace the lines with Saint brake lines. They have notably less expansion and get more of the lever effort to the pad. It's not night and day but it's notable.

  9. #9
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    Today I tried putting the old shimano pads on the rear that were ok when on the front, worked like crap, tried the older Deore disc from when I got the bike, cleaned with electrical cleaner too, still bad. It feels like the pads won't bite the disc and they just want to glaze. I'll try a set of those swiss stops before I give up and a new brake for the rear.
    It's strange that the front works so well, with a Deore disc and any pad I've tried on it, but the rear just won't work right for long (at all now).

  10. #10
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    Do you have air in the system?

  11. #11
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    I don't think there's air in the system, but I should probably bleed just to be sure. The lever is very solid (both are similar).
    Yeah, I'd better try a bleed just to be safe. I've done my own brakes on the cars for a long time, so I think I have a decent feel for how brakes work, but I think these will be much easier to bleed than the cars.

  12. #12
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    Only other option is to swap pads and rotors, only way to be 100% sure nothing is contaminated.

  13. #13
    dru
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    CF, there's no doubt there are strong enough solvents and cleaners to decontaminate a rotor..., but for the OP, switching pads around in my case took a few rides before everything bedded in again. As I said earlier I contaminated my pads, torch baked them and reinstalled, but the power on the front was less than spectacular. I was running the Shimano organic compound on front and metal on back. I switched them around a few rides back and the front was a bit better. Now two rides since the switch the front feels great. I expect that it took a few rides just to wear in a set of used and baked pads, and now they are ok. I'd guess there's somewhere around 100 km of single track riding since I took the torch to the pads.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  14. #14
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    I kind of flipped a coin and went with the Discobrakes Ceramic Pros. I started by extending the pistons out as far as I dared, and cleaning around with mineral oil on a q-tip. I flushed with shimano mineral oil, cleaned my regular xt (used) non-icetech rotor with automotive brake cleaner, after the brake cleaner dried I installed the pads.
    I rode about an hour on them today, in my regular trails. Bed in was a non-issue, they started working well right away, - I did take it easy on them for the first few miles. By the end of the ride I could get threshold with one finger and a lot of weight on the back end, -so far I'm very happy, if they continue working like this my problem is solved.
    This is how these brakes are supposed to work. Thanks for all the input!

  15. #15
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    Glad to hear you like the ceramic pros. They are my favourite pad compound from Discobrakes. Now, if only they'd make some for my Magura MTs. At the moment they only seem to do the Kevlar or Sintered.

  16. #16
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    Last time I rode the race bike with the M975s was in November for a CX race (mtb type terrain), and it worked great, I cleaned it off and hung it up for the winter. I've been riding my training bike quite a bit, I pulled the race bike out yesterday to get re-familiarized (race season starts in about 3 weeks), and the rear brakes are horrible again; barely any bite, lots of squeal, I could not lock up of the back end. I pulled the pads out after the ride and they have quite a bit of glaze, which I sanded off. Hopefully that will help, I'll look at Swissstops again on ebay. I'll probably end up buying new XT's eventually, but the budget is tight this year, and it seems I should be able to make these 975s work acceptably well.
    Any new ideas?

  17. #17
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    Different pads are for different conditions. There is no best pads for xtr brakes.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    Any new ideas?
    My guess is your rear brake caliper is leaking. Brake pads do not go bad by themselves, and even if you put your bike away wet & muddy from the CX race (which you didn't) it's not going to do anything to the pads. Which leaves 2 possibilities; someone sprayed WD-40 on your brakes, or there's a slow leak in the caliper. Bad seals are a known problem with M975 calipers so I lean towards that as the cause.

    Clean the pads, then put them back into the calipers and squeeze the rear brake lever as hard as you can a few times. Then remove the pads and carefully inspect them to see if there's any oil residue on the back side of the pads. If there is you have a leaky piston seal, and unfortunately you are SOL.

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