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  1. #1
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    Free stroke - Shimano please explain!!!

    After a recent bike build I decided to go the Shimano XTM785 brakes over Avid because I was told that the 'free stroke' adjuster was equivalent to Avid's contact point adjustment.

    After stuffing around with these brakes for hours I still cannot figure out what the 'free stroke' adjuster does or how it works.

    Shimano has basic information on what it does but no information on how it works or how to use it!

    I've read bike forums, searched the whole of the interwebs and travelled to every corner of the globe and still cannot figure out how these work (okay I exaggerate, but I did got to France last year and saw a MTB or two).

    Can someone who understands this black art please explain it to the rest of us? Heck, even if the legend at Shimano who designed the unit could write a brief explanation that would be really cool.

  2. #2
    g3h6o3
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    It does basically nothing, and it's a well known fact.
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  3. #3
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    It's supposed to work in a similar fashion to the Avid PCP system. The adjuster changes the point in the lever stroke that the piston in the MC starts pushing fluid to the caliper. Turn it to the + side and the fluid moves earlier in the stoke, pads move sooner, etc. and you get less "free stroke". Turn it to the - side and you get the opposite effect.

    The big difference, as Cil noted, is the Avid system works, Shimano's does not.

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  4. #4
    g3h6o3
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    I'd really love to see the internals of Shimano's free stroke. What I experience on my XTRs is that the free stroke changes the "slack" there is at the lever when pushing it away from the bar (You know the slack that should help prevent damage in case you crash).

    The lever doesn't move, and the feeling when pulling it remains the same. It made me wonder if that was what the free stroke was supposed to adjust... For the 770, the manual seems to indicate this is the case as their picture show a fixed pad contact point. The XTR manual has the same statement and picture.
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  5. #5
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    From what I am reading here it basically controls the modulation of the lever, more pull or less pull. I should have my set tomorrow/following day and will test this all out.
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  6. #6
    g3h6o3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post
    From what I am reading here it basically controls the modulation of the lever, more pull or less pull. I should have my set tomorrow/following day and will test this all out.
    No need to test it, it won't affect lever pull.
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  7. #7
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    Yeah, it doesnt effect lever pull. As already pointed out, it also doesnt work. I have it on the 810 Saints and the 785 XT's and its the same for both.

    This being said, I love both sets of brakes. But in order to change the amount of free stroke in the systems (especially the Saints) you really need to pull the caliper, give the lever a squeeze or two, and replace it. This pushes the pistons out closer to the pads. The downside is potential pad drag. On my Saints I have given up caring about this, and focus on the pull of the lever and the feel of the brake. Since its on a DH bike it doesnt make much difference.

    On the XT's I havent had to do this yet, and my lever pull has remained very good. It should be noted however that the bike the XT's are on sees probably less than half the use of my DH bike.

    Also, I prefer the lever pull to be very short compared to what it seems most people like. The Saints I got after selling a set of Codes that I hated because no matter what the lever had to be pulled to the bar basically for it to contact.

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys. This all confirms my thoughts. It's still very disappointing though for a company as big as Shimano to include a 'feature' that's basically useless. It's also frustrating as it was the one feature I wanted in my new brake set up. Hmmm may have to revisit the Avids.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsTrance View Post
    Thanks guys. This all confirms my thoughts. It's still very disappointing though for a company as big as Shimano to include a 'feature' that's basically useless. It's also frustrating as it was the one feature I wanted in my new brake set up. Hmmm may have to revisit the Avids.

    I do feel your pain about a "feature" not actually working, BUT give the XT's some time. Ive had and tried many Avid brakes and have not liked a single one of them. Even with the feature essentially missing teh SHimano's are still great brakes.

  10. #10
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    That is unfortunate on the free stroke. I do hope mine have some solid modulation I like to get a lot of pull on the lever, my XTR levers (v brake) pull just about to the bar.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post
    That is unfortunate on the free stroke. I do hope mine have some solid modulation I like to get a lot of pull on the lever, my XTR levers (v brake) pull just about to the bar.
    Isnt that also a feature of reach adjustment?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    Isnt that also a feature of reach adjustment?
    Not really. The reach adjustment simply moves the lever closer or further from the bar in its static position. So, while if its moved further away, it will also be further from the bar when the lever is fully engaged, you need the longer finger(s) to be able to effectively reach it.

    The free stroke adjusters are SUPPOSED to change the amount of lever pull required to go from static to fully depressed, regardless of the lever position.

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