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  1. #1
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    Inconsistent XTR lever pull

    My front XT hydro disc lever (connected to XTR caliper with metal/organic pad mix) has inconsistent pull/power. At the start of a ride I was able to squeeze the lever to the bar w/o much power. I tried resetting the caliper by putting a broad flat screwdriver between the pads, squeezing the lever and then spreading the pads w/ the screwdriver while resisting w/ the lever. Not much improvement. So I adjusted the levers out more which improved things greatly. But over the course of the ride I was able to squeeze the levers closer and closer to the bars and the power wasn't top notch. Then near the end of the ride there was an abrupt change in that I only had to squeeze the lever a little for it to apply braking but since i had let the levers out the reach was way to much. Nothing was lodged inbetween the pads and rotor either. After a while this went away and I was back to squeezing the lever almost to the bars. Usually I'm able to brake w/ my middle finger only while keeping my index finger wrapped around the bar. On this ride I had to two finger the lever to keep from crushing my index. My pads aren't worn out yet either. There's a good 1/10" (2.5mm) of pad on either side of the rotor. Is a bleed in order? Does it sound like I need to add fluid?

  2. #2
    LA CHÈVRE
    Reputation: Dan Gerous's Avatar
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    My rear XT does the same but not as bad as yours it seems. I can control it easily, sometimes the lever has to be pulled much more but I just pump the lever and it goes back to normal, We probably both have air in the system and need to bleed the brake, I never bled a brake before so I'll need to take it to the shop or learn how to do it myself...

    DAN.GEROUS.NET : MOUNTAIN BIKING : CYCLOCROSS : ROAD :

  3. #3
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    Bleeing XT/XTR

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous
    My rear XT does the same but not as bad as yours it seems. I can control it easily, sometimes the lever has to be pulled much more but I just pump the lever and it goes back to normal, We probably both have air in the system and need to bleed the brake, I never bled a brake before so I'll need to take it to the shop or learn how to do it myself...
    Here's how I've bled before (cross check w/ shimano instructions ontheir website): get a large syringe (50cc), 6" of fishtank tubing, mineral oil and a coathanger. Put bike in stand. Remove front wheel and brake pads (don't want to get oil on them). Install yellow plastic block from shimano in caliper. If bleeding front brake orient bike so that lever is above caliper. Loosen lever clamp and rotate so resevoir is level w/ ground. Put towel under front of bike. Cut and bend coathanger so you can hang syringe from fork crown. Fill syringe w/ mineral oil. Attach fish tubing to syringe. Push oil into tubing. Make sure there are no bubbles in syringe or tubing (ever watch ER or MASH?). Remove bleed nipple cover. Hang syringe from fork crown. Attach tubing to nipple. Take cover off resevoir. Loosen nipple w/ 7mm wrench 1/4-1/2 turn. Start slowly squeezing syringe, pushing oil into caliper while pumping lever (i think, check this). Oil will start to fill resevoir. Do this for a while till you don't see any more bubbles coming out of line. Close bleed nipple. Tap caliper w/ handle of screwdriver and keep tapping on up the brake line while working the lever to get any more bubbles out. With resevoir completely full, put cover back on and screw down.

    I think that's it. Verify w/ a bike shop though. Not to bad. Keep everything clean too--no dirt in syringe or resevoir.

  4. #4
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    Interesting...

    My xtrs have same pull on levers every time but the power is noticably inconsistent -sometimes fantastic sometimes not great. Sometimes front, sometimes back. A friend has same problem. I've done everything imaginable and so has he. My hopes never did this. There is no air in the system and I use metal pads. When they are good they are fantastic then next time its as if they got a little oil on one of them ... then next time I ride brilliant again - wierd anyone else had this?

  5. #5
    Live 2 Ride
    Reputation: Kona0197's Avatar
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    Are you guys using Dual Control levers? Rule number 1 about DC - don't use them.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
    I already rode that
    Reputation: SuperNewb's Avatar
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    My old XTRs did something like that till I bled them and new ones worked flawlessly and always the same 1 finger stopping power.

    Dont listen to the naysayers about daulcontrols as they rock! But its just like the old gripshift vs trigger debate before sram agreed and went to making triggers as well

  7. #7
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    oh and ...

    I've tried resin, sintered and a mix of both types of pad. I found sintered Shimano pads the best but still have the same problem

  8. #8
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    Sorry but .....

    Believe me I have become an expert at bleeding them and my firend who has the same problem is a bike mechanic, a graduate engineer and used to build racing cars for a hobby (I mean he knows what he's doing).

    I use DC's but tried the XT levers for a month - same problem. My friend uses XT levers. Exactly the same problem. I have tried 203mm XT rotor on front and 180mm Hope rotor. Tried changing pads. Pistons dont stick. Lever pull is solid and perfect. Its just as if they decide to get an atmospheric film of moisture or grease on one of the rotors for a day then its gone the next. When it doesnt happen they are brilliant and can lock with one finger, when it does, its difficult to lock at all.

    Hopes on same rotors are brilliant every time. I know two other people with same problem. Its not a real problem as one is usually working fine and overall they are light and stop you. Its just a niggle that shouldnt be there on an expensive piece of kit. Friend thinks its weak caliper design or very slight piston centering problem even though they dont actually stick at all (does that sound like a contradiction?).

    LBS mechanic said this problem is why he gave up on his own XTR's (!). I would go for hopes but the DC's with rapid rise XTR are so fast at changing and totally noiseless over bumps which the old XTR mech is not even with the rubber bump stop fitted.

    Should I give up and get another hobby?

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