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  1. #1
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    Brakes for 29er build

    I am building a Santa Cruz Highball Aluminum with a 90-12omm Revelation fork. I want XC rig that is all mountain capable.

    I have been looking at hydros. I am kind of leaning towards SLX. Price vs reveiws vs weight seems good. I could swing $ for the XT but dont see the need for 30grams.

    I got to wondering is there anything else out there that suits my needs?
    I have had Avids and I dont think I want those. I have had Shimano and I like the reliabilty, modulation etc. which is why I lean to slx.

    But any Hayes, Magura, Hope that are lower price than XT, lighter than SLX and more dependable than Shimano?

  2. #2
    There's always next year.
    Reputation: padrefan1982's Avatar
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    I have a set of Maguras in the range of SLX/XT brakes. They are great cross-country brakes in my opinion. I'd love them more, but previous bike had XTs with Ice-Tech pads/rotors, which I've found to be more powerful than the Maguras I'm running. When the Maguras get hot, they begin to squeal as well. With that said, I can't bring myself to buy new brakes when they work real well.

    Depending on your definition of 'all-mountain,' I'd lean to XT or SLX if you're building from scratch, if only for the power. If your shifters are Shimano as well, you can also run them together and clean up the bar a bit.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: ColinL's Avatar
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    First thing the OP should know: several places including Universal Cycles are closing out the 2012 XT prebled brakes. I bought a set last month for my wife's bike for $103 each. Ok, now on to the rest of my post...


    Different brakes have different lever feel and actuation. The most critical thing is to spend enough time to get acclimated with how your brakes respond. Once you get acclimated to the feel of a certain brake, you'll probably have a strong preference for that feel.

    I have ridden 2012 XT brakes on my dad's bike (I had it for several months last year while he was out of town) and a little on my wife's bike just to make sure everything is in good working order. Both behave exactly the same-- there's a significant 'step' to the initial lever action where the brake suddenly comes alive. After you've pulled the lever so more, the brakes have awesome modulation and power, but what I find is that when I'm trying to feather the brakes very gently, that 'step' in the first 1/8" of level travel is disconcerting.

    My bike has a set of 2012 Magura MT4 (I think they're unchanged for 2013 & 14). They do not have as much power as the Shimano XT I mentioned above. When you really get on the binders hard, the Shimano has more bite. Note-- all of the bikes use 160mm rotors front & rear.

    But here's what I love about the Maguras: the lever is softer, but it's consistent. There's no 'step', the action is the same when you're lightly scrubbing speed or pulling hard. You do have to put more force on them than the Shimano lever to get max braking effort. But if I'm doing a slow, technical descent, I like the modulation of the Maguras.

    Both brakes are great, but they're different. I can see how if people spend a lot of time with XT brakes they become adept at using them and I don't regret putting them on my wife's bike. I have seen several posts on MTBR about people who disliked the Magura lever feel. I've also seen posts by people who can't bleed brakes properly, and to be fair, the Maguras are more complicated than Shimano in that regard.

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