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  1. #1
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    Giving up on Elixir CR's: Are XTR BR-M975 a good choice

    Hi Folks. My bike came with the Shimano Deore LX disc brakes (160mm f/r) but I decided a while ago to upgrade to the Elixir CR's with 185mm discs. After just a couple of uses I started to get the infamous brake noise in the back ( turkey warble,; at the time had a GT Zascar Carbon Expert frame, now a Look 986 hardtail but still the same noise) so decided to switch to the xx rotors and organic pads to see if it would work better. I still have the same issue and now the front brake is getting air on the line (bike at LBS now) so have decided to try something else. The LBS mechanic told me the Shimanos are very reliable and highly recommended them (And I sold my LX's ) so am considering to buy the Shimano BR-M975 XTR's, which can be found new in the net for around $200-250 pair without the discs apparently due to the fact the newwest models are comming out (M985 for race and trail versions). However, I read the opinions here on the forum and they only got around a 3.2 out of 5 rating. So my questions are: (For owners of them)

    1- Are they reliable?
    2- Would you recomend them?
    3- How easy is to bleed them? I was told by the LBS mechanic that is a lot easier then the Avids
    4- Can 185mm Avid discs be used with Shimano disc setup for 180mm? I realize the disc edge would sit closer to the top of the assembly but wonder if it would fit at all (Would like to retain those nice looking XX rotors ). The other thing I would think would work would be to elevate the disc mount the extra 5mm with spacers, have some done that?

    Thanks,

    Francisco
    Last edited by fskywalker; 09-05-2010 at 08:04 AM.
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  2. #2
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    I wouldn't give up on the CR's , when set up properly they are trouble and noise free . Maybe spend some time with careful setup ?

  3. #3
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    I can answer a couple of your questions.

    3. The Shimano brakes are the easiest to bleed IMHO than others on the market.

    4. You can use the Avid rotors, just make sure to keep using the Avid mounts to give you the proper spacing. If you use the 180mm rotor mounts for the Shimano rotors, the Avid rotors will hit the inside of the brake caliper

  4. #4
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    My bike also came with Avid Elixir brakes. One of the first things I did was to switch them out.

    My buddy still has them on his bike and they are noisy! The pads also wore down too quickly IMO.

    I've heard that Shimano XTR brakes are a little temporamental compared to other Shimano brakes. I've also heard that the XTR's do not have quite the stopping power compared to the others.

    If you are going to switch brake types, you should also switch the rotors to get the best performance out of the new brakes.

    Shimano brakes are certainly an improvement over Avids. Unless you are trying to save as much weight as possible, you should consider Shimano XT brakes. These are supposed to be the ultimate disc brake!
    ...and proud member of the anti-sock puppet desolation

  5. #5
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    Hi ambassadorhawg, thanks for the comments. I understand you may mix and match Shimano disc brake levers and brake assemblies. I don't like too much the look of the XT lever (too much grey); what is so great with the XT's, the whole combo or just the brake assembly itself? I ask because I may then combine the lever of the XTR with the brake assembly of the XT, wonder is that would be a good combination.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fskywalker
    Hi ambassadorhawg, thanks for the comments. I understand you may mix and match Shimano disc brake levers and brake assemblies. I don't like too much the look of the XT lever (too much grey); what is so great with the XT's, the whole combo or just the brake assembly itself? I ask because I may then combine the lever of the XTR with the brake assembly of the XT, wonder is that would be a good combination.
    The XT is more powerful and less likely to overheat, that's all. It's a bit heavier duty than the "race type" XTR brake, that's all I am saying.

    Definately do a ALOT of research. There is TONS of info on this site to help educate and inform you of issues with each type and model of disc brake out there.
    ...and proud member of the anti-sock puppet desolation

  7. #7
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    Had XTR M975 and replaced them with Elixir CR.

    The XTR are weak brakes with little stopping power. They are fine on an XC race type bike, but useless on an AM bike if there are actual hills. I used Sintered and Organic pads to try and get better power. They do modulate well though.

    Bleeding any of the open bladder type Shimano brakes is easy, but messy. The Avid system with the syringes is mess free and easy as pie.

    I ran my CR's for 2 years with no noise. I just switched frames and now I have some. I bled the brakes again and re-set up the brakes and hopefully it is gone. I will post back.

  8. #8
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    I have ridden XTR brakes since 2006, one pair.

    The only problem I have had is sticky pistons, this is easily fixed.

    I tended to cook the front on steep downhills with a 160 rotor...

    Now I have a 203 front rotor and no more overheating.

  9. #9
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    The new XTR (M980) are supposed to be amazing.

    My CR's have been troublefree once I finally got them bled properly after installing new hoses (gold!).

  10. #10
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    Can't speak to to XTRs but I demo'd a Top Fuel with XTs and I left thinking that was the way MTB discs are supposed to work and feel. It was a back to back ride with a Superfly that had Elixirs, they were the suxxor by comparison.

  11. #11
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    What about the Hayes Stroker Ace or the Shimano Saint? I understand both have a 4 piston design and seems to be good based on a few reports. I saw some Sain levers (800 series ) on sale and if they are compatible with the 810 series (newer) calipers may built a full set for around $300
    Last edited by fskywalker; 09-05-2010 at 05:49 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Saints are serious business. LOTS of stopping power and probably overkill for what you want.

    Personally Id split the difference and buy some XT M775s. Love mine (and I also hate my elixirs) and they can be had cheap, considerably cheaper than XTRs when I was shopping them last week, and only 60g difference IIRC

  13. #13
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    Well, I order a pair of XTR's on sale, lets see how they work once I got them delivered....
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  14. #14
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    Avid makes noise. That's just how it is. I can recommend Shimano brakes... old XT, new XT, and new M810 Saints 100%. Love them and they are rad.
    "It looks flexy"

  15. #15
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    i sold my shimano brakes...XT's though and got the Elixir CR...that was my WORST decision ever!!Lucky for me i was able to sell my avids.go with shimano...you cant go wrong

  16. #16
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    I was going to go with XTs but ended up getting the Formula RXs and so far they are really great. Superb stoppers and no noise (running Hope rotors).

  17. #17
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    A friend w/Avid (SRAM) Elixirs had complete failure of front and back (lost cotter pin that helped hold the pads apart on back, complete failure of front) during Leadville and had no brakes for the last descent of ~ 2000 feet. That was enough for me, as I was running the same brakes and was lucky enough to not have any issues. All XTR M985 now.

    What I believe:
    Shimano = Reliability
    Shimano = Superior Design

    Heard, but not yet experienced: Shimano's XTR brakes have great modulation, Elixirs next to none.

  18. #18
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    I ended up buying the Shimano Saint 4 piston brakes. Don't really needed that much power, but would rather have it just in case I need it!
    IMG Jamis Sixfifty B2
    Gone, but not forgotten:GT LTS-3, GT Zascar Expert Carbon, Look 986, Giant Anthem Advanced

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