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  1. #1
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    Are my XTR Trails ever going to wake up?

    Who's got rides in on their XTR Trail brakes?

    3 rides in and mine have not developed the power I was hoping for. I've never had a brake that didn't bed in in this much riding.

    They feel about as strong as the current-gen XTs (which I sold in hopes of finding more power) and not as strong as my old Elixir CRs.

    How firm are your levers? Mine are slightly spongier than I would have expected, but equally so, left to right. I assumed this was because they were over-leveraged and a byproduct of massive power. No noise (even less than the usual semi-metallic pad sound), vibration or contamination. New XT RT76 rotors 203/160.

    Input is appreciated. If this is all I can expect, then I need to know if the lever will mate up to a Saint caliper, I guess.

  2. #2
    How much does it weigh?
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    The lever will work with a Saint caliper yes.

    As for the power, I don't believe the XTR should have much if anymore than the XT you had. You're paying for lighter weight.

  3. #3
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    WOW... The power and feel on my buddy's brakes are amazing. Super firm lever and the ability to lock-up with one finger. Something is probably wrong.

  4. #4
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    Did you try bleeding them?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onetrack
    WOW... The power and feel on my buddy's brakes are amazing. Super firm lever and the ability to lock-up with one finger. Something is probably wrong.
    You have to figure that one persons "feel" is going to be different from someone else. So going by "feel" especially over the interwebz, is going to be interpreted differently.

    He said that the power feels like the current XTs according. There might be absolutely nothing wrong with them. Shimano advertised that the Trails offer 25% more braking power than the last gen XTR brakes. IIRC, the last gen XTR brakes didn't have as much power as the XT's due to the lack of the servo wave system.

    So, maybe, just maybe, that the new XTR's are fine and that the power is not as much as expected.

  6. #6
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    XTRs are all about weight savings as mentioned by others here. The last gen XTR brakes really sucked from what I hear so a 25% increase in power would still put them in low power level as far as what disc brakes are capable of.

    Sorry that you thought XTRs would ever be a performance upgrade over XTs. You did save some weight and I do believe that they will gain a little more power over time.

    Spongy levers almost always indicate air in the system somewhere which will lower the cabability of any brake's power. Definately bleed them.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    Who's got rides in on their XTR Trail brakes?

    3 rides in and mine have not developed the power I was hoping for. I've never had a brake that didn't bed in in this much riding.

    They feel about as strong as the current-gen XTs (which I sold in hopes of finding more power) and not as strong as my old Elixir CRs.

    How firm are your levers? Mine are slightly spongier than I would have expected, but equally so, left to right. I assumed this was because they were over-leveraged and a byproduct of massive power. No noise (even less than the usual semi-metallic pad sound), vibration or contamination. New XT RT76 rotors 203/160.

    Input is appreciated. If this is all I can expect, then I need to know if the lever will mate up to a Saint caliper, I guess.
    Did you shorten the line and then do a complete bleed ?? I would say that xt type power is to be expected,with that said my xt have nice stopping power.
    If your looking for monster stopping power try saints,hope v-2 (nothing short of mindblowing) or stroker ace.
    I was told by shimano c.s. that the hose is not compatible with other brakes in the shimano line,so call them if you going to do a swap out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMCAT
    I was told by shimano c.s. that the hose is not compatible with other brakes in the shimano line,so call them if you going to do a swap out.
    Known as the "$$$$himano way".
    Last edited by Shuteye; 02-18-2011 at 08:11 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by frdfandc
    You have to figure that one persons "feel" is going to be different from someone else. So going by "feel" especially over the interwebz, is going to be interpreted differently.

    He said that the power feels like the current XTs according. There might be absolutely nothing wrong with them. Shimano advertised that the Trails offer 25% more braking power than the last gen XTR brakes. IIRC, the last gen XTR brakes didn't have as much power as the XT's due to the lack of the servo wave system.

    So, maybe, just maybe, that the new XTR's are fine and that the power is not as much as expected.
    Couldn't agree more--lever feel is a very personal thing. Some people get used to the hard stop feel of Elixr's and think that's how a brake should feel. They then try Hopes, which typically have a very progressive resistance in the lever (no hard stop, and more like a car), and think they are mushy. Go the other way and you'll think the Elixr's have no modulation. It's personal preference.

    I have not used the XTR trails, but have heard that they offer a more progressive lever feel. If you don't like that, you should get some XO's or even Codes. Not sure about the power.

  10. #10
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    I pulled the pads last night and they were unusually dark. I emery-ed the surface and cleaned the rotor with alcohol. I'll see what happens on the next ride.

    The lever 'squish' does not feel like they're in need of a bleed. They do not become progressively firmer with pumping, and both sides are pretty even (with the rear being slightly softer due to added hose length)

    If XT-strength is all I can reasonable expect, then so be it. Initial web reviews sounded promising, so I thought I'd give them a shot. I tend to want something that's too strong for most guys, so if I need to go to a The One, V2 or Saint, I will.

    I appreciate the input and hope that people post more as more brakes get out there.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shuteye
    Known as the "$$$$himano way".
    I hear that,in fact thats just what I said to the c.s. guy...he laughted

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    I pulled the pads last night and they were unusually dark. I emery-ed the surface and cleaned the rotor with alcohol. I'll see what happens on the next ride.

    The lever 'squish' does not feel like they're in need of a bleed. They do not become progressively firmer with pumping, and both sides are pretty even (with the rear being slightly softer due to added hose length)

    If XT-strength is all I can reasonable expect, then so be it. Initial web reviews sounded promising, so I thought I'd give them a shot. I tend to want something that's too strong for most guys, so if I need to go to a The One, V2 or Saint, I will.

    I appreciate the input and hope that people post more as more brakes get out there.
    You should like we like the same style of brake....trust me,go for the hope v2, saints are great but the hopes out bling them and are a bit more stopping power,hold off on the Ones

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    I pulled the pads last night and they were unusually dark. I emery-ed the surface and cleaned the rotor with alcohol. I'll see what happens on the next ride.

    The lever 'squish' does not feel like they're in need of a bleed. They do not become progressively firmer with pumping, and both sides are pretty even (with the rear being slightly softer due to added hose length)

    If XT-strength is all I can reasonable expect, then so be it. Initial web reviews sounded promising, so I thought I'd give them a shot. I tend to want something that's too strong for most guys, so if I need to go to a The One, V2 or Saint, I will.

    I appreciate the input and hope that people post more as more brakes get out there.
    hehe, how about trade you my M810 saints for your XTR trails?

  14. #14
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    I really just want maximum power up front. I brake heavily with the front and love when the front sketches around for traction, throwing dirt clods, and momentarily locking. While I don't normally advocate skidding, I somehow think locking the front wheel is pretty damn cool.

    I got in another ride today and the brake just doesn't have enough at higher speeds. A couple of friends tried my bike and felt they were working great, so I'm confident there's nothing wrong. I hope this thread doesn't scare anybody away from the XTRs, wrongly.

    I guess I'll consider a Saint caliper vs a whole new set from another maker.

  15. #15
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    First, according to Shimano the levers aren't interchangeable. So maybe yes, maybe no. I've heard that they are quite a bit more powerful than XT so you need to bleed and maybe change or sand your pads a little. Personally I'm addicted to Saint 810's with 203mm rotors.....
    "It looks flexy"

  16. #16
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    I have all of the parts in to set up the xtr trail levers to the Saint calipers. All of the fittings mate up fine so we'll see if there are any issues. Just need to bleed to verify they work fine. Ill update once I have some trail time on them. Dang love the new xtr levers, they look awesome!

  17. #17
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    Try some different pads...especially if you a running stock Shimano pads.

  18. #18
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    might try a set of swiss stop pads before you give up hope. I through a set on my XT's on a whim and they are hands down the best disc pad I've ever used.

  19. #19
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    The brakes have gotten a bit stronger since I first posted. Everyone who has tried them falls in love, immediately. If I do swap to something else, I'm going to miss the XTR's levers; they're the best I've felt.

    I just wish I had the extra power lost to the larger 29" wheel. With that extra oomph, I think they'd be perfect. (time to patent a 26/29 switch for brakes? (; )Thanks for the tip on the pads. I've always stayed with stock Shimano, but will seek out another set.

    And do some index finger exercises.

  20. #20
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    Changing pads will probably be enough... Or you could always go to a bigger rotor in the front. Oh wait you're already with an 8 inch... and lacking power?
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay
    First, according to Shimano the levers aren't interchangeable. So maybe yes, maybe no. I've heard that they are quite a bit more powerful than XT so you need to bleed and maybe change or sand your pads a little. Personally I'm addicted to Saint 810's with 203mm rotors.....
    Incorrect. It is possible to Frankenstein together any shimano hydraulic system (afaik).

    I am currently running last gen xtr levers with a saint caliper up front and an xt caliper out back. The lever throw is longer on the saint caliper compared to my xt but there is still saint power (such that I might put a 6" rotor back on).

    I prefer this saint setup because the modulation is sooo much better without servo-wave.

    One of my friend also runs this setup on the rear wheel of his trials bike with a just 6 inch rotor and prefers it to his previous setup of an elixer with an 8 inch rotor.
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  22. #22
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    Are you using good brake hose?

    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    Who's got rides in on their XTR Trail brakes?

    3 rides in and mine have not developed the power I was hoping for. I've never had a brake that didn't bed in in this much riding.

    They feel about as strong as the current-gen XTs (which I sold in hopes of finding more power) and not as strong as my old Elixir CRs.

    How firm are your levers? Mine are slightly spongier than I would have expected, but equally so, left to right. I assumed this was because they were over-leveraged and a byproduct of massive power. No noise (even less than the usual semi-metallic pad sound), vibration or contamination. New XT RT76 rotors 203/160.

    Input is appreciated. If this is all I can expect, then I need to know if the lever will mate up to a Saint caliper, I guess.
    I mean, assuming you have a good bleed, hose makes all the difference in the world.

    I have two sets of older XTR brakes (M965s and M970s). One set is installed with Jagwire brake hose, the other with Shimano regular resin (black) hose. The Jagwire hoses are spongy as heck, no matter how crazy completely I bleed the brakes, whereas the Shimano hose brakes feel nice and solid at the lever.

    Both have good enough braking power for my uses. The Jagwire hose equipped bike doesn't work so badly that I'm actually motivated to fix it... but I might someday.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by peedrama
    Incorrect. It is possible to Frankenstein together any shimano hydraulic system (afaik).
    that was the case up until the 980/5 group came out. Those brakes use a brake line and olives that are specific to that brake. I have been told that you can mix and match within the 980 series XTR but that they are not compatible to the older shimano brakes.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab
    that was the case up until the 980/5 group came out. Those brakes use a brake line and olives that are specific to that brake. I have been told that you can mix and match within the 980 series XTR but that they are not compatible to the older shimano brakes.
    Ditto - same thing I've been told. Maybe it will work after all... you can mix Magura and Shimano and I don't think either company would like that much.
    "It looks flexy"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay
    Ditto - same thing I've been told. Maybe it will work after all... you can mix Magura and Shimano and I don't think either company would like that much.
    the only thing that really matters is the hose barb and it's seat on the master or the caliper.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab
    the only thing that really matters is the hose barb and it's seat on the master or the caliper.
    And how the ratio of the brake lever interacts with the caliper. Depending on it is set up, you could have a mushy on-off or a rock hard lever you really have to yank on to make work.
    "It looks flexy"

  27. #27
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    Hi guys,

    i just switched from V Brakes to Disc, so mind my ignorance if you could share some knowledge i just bought these brakes and i just bedded my brakes. My problem is during downhills,the front doesn't seem to fade but the rear brakes, seems to have a big problem going down the hill. Is this because of heat? I just rebled my brakes, and i saw a couple of bubbles when i pushed the oil up to the yellow reservoir, could this have caused it? Both my rotors are 160mm. Hope you could give some advise.

  28. #28
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    How's the weather out there today?
    Last edited by SCR818; 03-19-2011 at 02:18 PM.

  29. #29
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    I currently have an old pair of 960 series brakes, a relatively new pair of XT 775 brakes, and a year old pair of Saint 810s. The difference between the 960s and the 775s is just as pronounced as the difference between the 775s and the 810s. Once you've used the 810s, everything feels mushy.

    I have Goodridge lines on all of them. Only reliable way to go.

    Overall, the 775s feel just fine everywhere except on long downhills. I have been considering switching to 988 brakes, but after reading this, I think I'm just going to ride out the 775s. 810s are THE Holy Grail of brakes, and nothing lighter weight is ever going to measure up.

    By the way, using the 960s by themselves on a ride feels just fine as well. You acclimate. Only issue there is that side-by-side with 810s, they feel like only about 20%.

    WOW!
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lycra Matt View Post
    I have Goodridge lines on all of them. Only reliable way to go.
    Really? I've never had a hose fail in many, many years of disc brake use. I've never even heard of the OEM hoses being a problem. Not that I don't like the Goodridge but I'd be shocked if there's a bunch of people with reliability issues due to hose failure.
    "It looks flexy"

  31. #31
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    Sold XTR brakes.
    Got Hopes.
    Got goodridge lines.
    Never looked back.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acrophobe View Post
    Sold XTR brakes.
    Got Hopes.
    Got goodridge lines.
    Never looked back.
    Words of wisdom

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L. View Post
    Input is appreciated. If this is all I can expect, then I need to know if the lever will mate up to a Saint caliper, I guess.
    Sounds like they need re-bleeding.

    Shimano levers traditionally feel very sharp, if they're at all spongy it probably means air in the system.

  34. #34
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    Not sure, it sounds like your pads may have been contaminated at some point. My set had great power and great modulation out of the box. I did have a set of pads get contaminated and then it felt like they had no power, try swapping pads and see if that helps.

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