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  1. #1
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    New question here. Diff between lever reach and free stroke on XT?

    I recently got some new XT 775s and I'm just curious how folks use the free stroke adjustment.

    What is it really for? I've read the silly instructions that come with the brakes and tied to search for details, but have not really seen a good answer thus far.
    Last edited by Jesterrider; 04-12-2009 at 01:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Meh.
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    I assume that lever adjust is referring to the reach. Which is where the lever sits in its resting position. The free stroke is how far the lever has to travel before the pad engages the rotor.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by XSL_WiLL
    I assume that lever adjust is referring to the reach. Which is where the lever sits in its resting position. The free stroke is how far the lever has to travel before the pad engages the rotor.
    That was my impression as well, as it is the logical conclusion from looking at them and reading the tech docs.

    In practice, I have found that on my 775 levers, the free stroke adjustment screw has almost no effect.

    Since I like a lot of lever travel before the brakes begin to engage, someone on the forums suggested using the reach adjustment. I thought that they were crazy until I tried it. It also adjusted the contact point at the same time.

    So, my levers are closer to the bar (which I don't really care about), but I was able to adjust them so that they contact where I want them to. Strange, but it worked.

  4. #4
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    Yup. That works as well.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel~
    In practice, I have found that on my 775 levers, the free stroke adjustment screw has almost no effect.
    I would have agreed with you until today...
    Lately my XT brakes have been so friggin terrible that I was on a mission to replace them. The lever would come all the way to the bar, and I wouldn't be slowing down. It just didn't make sense though, they worked GREAT a few months ago. As of yesterday they were soft squishy useless weights on my bike. I bled them numerous times and changed the lines, all to no avail. Last night I decided to adjust the free stroke screw as a last ditch effort. Amazing what a difference that screw makes. I was running with it turned all the way in, now it's turned out about 2-3 turns. My levers are no longer squishy useless weights, they now have TONS of power. If I didn't experience it myself I would have never believed it.

    So here's my interpretation on the free stroke screw (since no post or manual ever explains what it does clearly). Turned all the way in you will get more modulation, but with less power. Turn it out 2-3 turns and the power will go up, but modulation will be lost a little. Turn it out more than 3 turns, and it make not difference than turning it out 3 turns. My search for what that friggin screw does is OVER!!!

    -Dan
    Those who know, ride a Mojo AND a Mojo HD.
    Quadzilla
    Quote Originally Posted by benja55
    Ok, whatever, cold water on my bike boner right there.

  6. #6
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    Yesterday on the trail I made the same finding as Dan51. I got my XT brakes this past winter, they were great. Over the past few months it seemed that the lever came closer and closer to the bar. All the while I had the 'free stroke' screw turned all the way to the right. The the other day I backed the screw out a few turns and the braking power was returned.

    Lightentup

  7. #7
    aka dan51
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    These XT brakes continue to be the worst brakes for me yet. The screw did help, but I still have constant problems. I've got a set of Elixirs on the way to replace them. I think the problem is the levers. I run a mix of old Saint and new XT calipers, and have issues with both. The old Saint caliper was never a problem with the older levers.

    Time to try something new for me.
    Those who know, ride a Mojo AND a Mojo HD.
    Quadzilla
    Quote Originally Posted by benja55
    Ok, whatever, cold water on my bike boner right there.

  8. #8
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    I've got some too, and I can't keep the front rotor from rubbing on the pads, thus slowing the front wheel down. And the free stroke screw did nada.

    The instructions don't really tell me how to fix this interference. Any ideas?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcb47223
    I've got some too, and I can't keep the front rotor from rubbing on the pads, thus slowing the front wheel down. And the free stroke screw did nada.

    The instructions don't really tell me how to fix this interference. Any ideas?
    Explain exactly how your front rotor is rubbing. Intermittent, constant, only on one side of the caliper or both sides?

    Brian

  10. #10
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    Front brake: Constant rubbing; looks like only the right (when sitting on the bike) pad is rubbing. Stops the wheel after a few revolutions.

    Back brake: Intermittent rubbing; on right pad. Very minor (severity seems to depend on how hard I tighten the quick release). I can hear it, but does not really slow the wheel down.


    I tried sticking in a clean flat object (flat head screwdriver) and pushing the pads/pistons apart, but as soon as I engage the brake, the problem comes back. I did not try pushing on the pads/pistons with the reservior cap open yet. May try that.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcb47223
    Front brake: Constant rubbing; looks like only the right (when sitting on the bike) pad is rubbing. Stops the wheel after a few revolutions.

    Back brake: Intermittent rubbing; on right pad. Very minor (severity seems to depend on how hard I tighten the quick release). I can hear it, but does not really slow the wheel down.


    I tried sticking in a clean flat object (flat head screwdriver) and pushing the pads/pistons apart, but as soon as I engage the brake, the problem comes back. I did not try pushing on the pads/pistons with the reservior cap open yet. May try that.
    If you need more pad clearance you need to reset the pistons. Open the reservoir (after first making it level to the ground). Push the pads back, then put in the orange spacer. Squeeze the lever a few times, then put everything back together. This has worked for me.

  12. #12
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    Before you reset your pistons, take the brake pads out, and squeeze the lever to expose about 1/4" of piston on either side. Be very careful not to push them too far out. From there, take a Q-Tip with a little denatured alcohol and lightly clean the newly exposed part of the piston.

    Dry the piston with a clean rag and use the other end of the Q-tip to lube the piston with some mineral oil. Use a plastic tire lever to reset the pistons, wiping off any excess mineral oil. I've never tried lyndonchen's method of opening the reservoir and squeezing with the stop-block in place.

    Good luck,

    -D

  13. #13
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    If you don't open the reservoir, I'm not sure you're going to relieve the back pressure that forces the pistons back out. I'm not saying it doesn't work, but in my experience opening the reservoir is more effective. The procedure I outlined above is actually the Shimano recommended method of resetting the pistons. It's detailed in the XT tech doc here:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyndonchen
    If you don't open the reservoir, I'm not sure you're going to relieve the back pressure that forces the pistons back out. I'm not saying it doesn't work, but in my experience opening the reservoir is more effective. The procedure I outlined above is actually the Shimano recommended method of resetting the pistons. It's detailed in the XT tech doc here:
    That's great to know. I've read all of the shimano tech docs that came with the brakes, but I don't recall seeing that section.

    Thanks for posting the info! Very helpful.

    -D

  15. #15
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    Indeed, Lydonchen, it worked. Thanks!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcb47223
    Front brake: Constant rubbing; looks like only the right (when sitting on the bike) pad is rubbing. Stops the wheel after a few revolutions.

    Back brake: Intermittent rubbing; on right pad. Very minor (severity seems to depend on how hard I tighten the quick release). I can hear it, but does not really slow the wheel down.


    I tried sticking in a clean flat object (flat head screwdriver) and pushing the pads/pistons apart, but as soon as I engage the brake, the problem comes back. I did not try pushing on the pads/pistons with the reservior cap open yet. May try that.
    Lets start off by checking the obvious......are your calipers properly aligned? Basically what I am asking is, after tightening your front wheel in the fork dropouts, have you tried adjusting your front caliper itself so the rotor is centered between the pads vice up against the right pad?

    Brian

  17. #17
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    I'm bumping this thread because the free stroke feature on my new M775's is driving me crazy. I set the lever reach to where it's comfortable, but I simply canNOT detect any difference in the pad contact with the free stroke adjusted all the way in/out.

    I've read the tech doc and even watched the YouTube video, and I'm still feeling clueless...

    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  18. #18
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    Yeah, the free stroke doesn't seem to do a whole lot on these levers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by XSL_WiLL
    Yeah, the free stroke doesn't seem to do a whole lot on these levers.
    OK, so I'm not going crazy, then.

    I think that the right/rear brake could use a bleed because the lever feels a little spongy compared to the left/front (I purchased the brakes pre-bled). Is the following procedure the best way to perform the bleed?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXmWziLAlBU
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  20. #20
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    Yup, that's very thorough. The lever clamp is expensive IIRC. You could just bleed it like a car or motorcycle from top down too.

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