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  1. #1
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    How to "stiffen up" XTR hydros

    Can anybody clue me into the process required to stiffen up the brake lever pull/feel of an XTR disc? I feel like I my lever goes down too quick, leaving me with less braking power than I would like. Note: these are properly functioning and correctly bled, I would just like less travel in the lever.
    Last edited by Litemike; 09-02-2009 at 06:39 AM.

  2. #2
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    when you pull the lever, does it stop? Or does it slow but pull to the grip?
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
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  3. #3
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    Two things: remember, this is a servo-wave lever, designed to ramp up the leverage the closer you pull the lever in. So you sacrifice that "immediate lock-up" feeling for more power later.

    But I didn't care for the feel either. It felt a little soft, particularly the rear brake, where there is more flex in the housing. The only advice Shimano tech gave me was to replace the plastic housing with steel braided.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlliKat
    when you pull the lever, does it stop? Or does it slow but pull to the grip?

    It stops, It does not pull to the grip.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litemike
    Can anybody clue me into the process required to stiffen up the brake lever pull/feel of an XTR disc? I feel like I my lever goes down too quick, leaving me with less braking power than I would like. Note: these are properly functioning and correctly bled, I would just like less travel in the lever.

    You can adjust the lever so that it engages the master cylinder sooner, with a 2mm hex...

    You can put in new pads...

    You can might have to add some oil to the reservior...

    You might have the caliper a little skewed on the rotor....

    Try quickly pulling the lever in several time...don't no why but it seems to harden up my older XTRs.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    You can adjust the lever so that it engages the master cylinder sooner, with a 2mm hex...

    You can put in new pads...

    You can might have to add some oil to the reservior...

    You might have the caliper a little skewed on the rotor....

    Try quickly pulling the lever in several time...don't no why but it seems to harden up my older XTRs.
    Thanks - I'll check on that 2mm screw. The pads are new, aligned etc., everything is set up good, including oil res, level, I just tend to bottom out on my knuckles when I use one finger.

  7. #7
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    Thanks - I'll check on that 2mm screw


    That is the lever throw adjustment, give that a try for sure.

  8. #8
    Meh.
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    XTR does NOT have servowave.

    The 2mm screw is not for throw, it is for reach.

    Make sure the caliper is aligned properly. If the bleed is good, the lever should be pretty firm. If it is firm but you just want it to engage sooner, you may want to remove the wheel and squeeze the lever a little bit to pump out the pistons a bit.

  9. #9
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    Ok, so I've had a couple of set of recent Shimano brakes. 1) Their lines flex. Some people like the feel, some don't, but the overall result is less power. Adding steel braided lines helps a LOT with power. 2) A great pad setup to try is one M06 metal and one M07 resin pad. More power, still with some feel.

    Overall, I find Shimano brakes to have less feel than Hayes and Avid brakes I've used and am going to go to Elixir CR's as soon as I can get my piggybank filled up.
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  10. #10
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    The 2mm screw is not for throw, it is for reach.
    Yes, now you say that it jogs my memory. I adjusted the reach on mine (XT) when I first got them using the 2mm screw. It's been a year and a half.

  11. #11
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    So is it normal/common for the rear brake to have more lever "travel" than the front because of the longer routing and housing? I have Elixir Rs and have the same issue, where the front lever engages firmly but the rear feels sloppy in comparison. It seems to firm up a bit after repeated engagement. Is that normal too?
    Peace outside

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by precar
    So is it normal/common for the rear brake to have more lever "travel" than the front because of the longer routing and housing? I have Elixir Rs and have the same issue, where the front lever engages firmly but the rear feels sloppy in comparison. It seems to firm up a bit after repeated engagement. Is that normal too?
    It shouldn't do that, but it does. My XTR and my wife's m486 both do that. Both bled numerous times. The rear lines expand ever so slightly. And as mentioned, braided steel lines will help sort that problem out.

  13. #13
    Meh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by precar
    So is it normal/common for the rear brake to have more lever "travel" than the front because of the longer routing and housing? I have Elixir Rs and have the same issue, where the front lever engages firmly but the rear feels sloppy in comparison. It seems to firm up a bit after repeated engagement. Is that normal too?
    Sounds like you have air in the system.

  14. #14
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    I had the XTR brakes for a while and they are made to have lots of pad clearance so no rubbing- that is why the lever travels a long way, and the brakes are weak aswell which compounds the issue. Pumping them with the wheels out is the only answer, but even that didn't improve things much for me. I would say the only way to really stiffen them up is to leave them in the freezer for a few days
    I can recommend the Hope Mini X2 Pro if you decide to sell up -much more solid lever feel and more power too.
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  15. #15
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    After I adjusted the reach on my XTR levers they felt much better. Also took a couple rides with long downhills before they felt like they were really broken in. I don't know how you can call them weak, once they really started working right I had to re-learn how to brake to avoid locking them up. I do have 203mm rotors so that may be the answer to the problem.

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