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  1. #1
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    Pros cons differences: SLX M675, M640 Zee and XT M785?

    I am looking to put a set of Shimano hydraulics on a trail bike build, and see that all 3 of these brakes are pretty close to the same price:

    SLX M675
    M640 Zee
    XT BR-M785

    I'm having a tough time finding out the differences between them. Does anyone know what each is optimized/designed for? As a rider, what differences would I feel between them?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I have SLX front and XT rear, XT has free stroke adjustment screw that does very little and looks a little different with chrome plate. Also has a screw instead of cotter pin that holds the pads in a caliper (you can buy it for $5 and install on SLX caliper) Performance wise no difference at all.
    I read somewhere Zee was a bit stronger than SLX/XT but less modulation.

  3. #3
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    I have a set of Zees on my Foes FXR set up for freeriding and have ridden a friends Trek Fuel EX 9.9 with XTs. The Zees are less grabby (on/off) feeling with more modulation that the XTs. The Zees have all the power I will ever need with 1 finger braking but the XTs felt pretty good as well. I swapped out the cotter pin on the Zee calipers for the threaded pin of the XTs. I just felt it was a cleaner way to retain the pads.

  4. #4
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    I had the M785 XT on my bike before I replaced it with a Zee. The Zee has far more power and surprisingly enough, it also has better modulation and control. One other key difference is the Zee has the same dimpled levers as the Saint/XTR brakes while the SLX and XT use the standard smooth levers. The Zee is a bit heavier since it's a downhill brake, but I'm more than happy to take the slight weight penalty for the added power & control. For what it's worth I'm running an M820 Saint front, Zee rear on my XC/trail bike and it works great. I also did the cotter pin swap mentioned above to make changing pads easier (I swap between finned and non-finned pads depending on where I'm riding).

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. Zees with threaded pad retention pin (if I can buy them separately) it is! Appreciate the help.

  6. #6
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    I also believe that the Zee and Saint are 4 piston (2 per side) while the XT and SLX are 2.
    which is why they weigh a bit more. I have XT with Ice Tech and I have no issues on my XC HT at the down hill park (Angle Fire, NM) using 180/160 rotor combo. I hear the only difference is the stroke adjustment between SLX and XT.

    My $0.02

    Mark
    2012 XXL Carve Expert

  7. #7
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    Dont the Zee lack the reach adjustment?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fachiro1 View Post
    Dont the Zee lack the reach adjustment?
    The zee needs a tool for reach adjustment, the others have tool free reach adjustment

  9. #9
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    As others said - Zee has much better modulation than SLX/XT and in the end of the descent it somehow has always that extra power in reserve if you need it (due to less heating up, more power and less arm pump). Had SLX for a year, still think they are extraordinary brakes for 135€/pair (IMHO Shimano killed the market when releasing the new SLX/XT brakes). Zees are like 240€/pair so it definitely is a lot more. Think the weight difference is like ~70g per set.

    One thing I would like to notice on the lever feel. Don't know for the rest, but my Zees have a very long lever throw, and while braking hard, the lever gets very near to the handlebar/grips. Some don't like it, so if the OP is one of them - be aware.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuco View Post
    ... Had SLX for a year, still think they are extraordinary brakes for 135€/pair (IMHO Shimano killed the market when releasing the new SLX/XT brakes). Zees are like 240€/pair so it definitely is a lot more. ...
    Thanks for the info. Differences in levers isn't something I had thought much about. I'll look into it, as I really like my old XTR V-brake levers.

    Pricewise though, it is my understanding that they are all about the same:

    All prices from Jenson USA:
    Zee M640 - $140
    SLX M675 - $110
    XT BR-M785 - $130

    All pretty much the same price. I'll pick the one that suits my usage. Thanks for the guidance - I think I need to find a shop with both the XTs and the Zees and check the levers.

  11. #11
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    I've been running 2012 M785s for the past year or so and they've been faultless: consistent, powerful, great modulation... so much so that I took the Elixirs off my brand new Cadabra and replaced them with my trusty XTs. However, I had a low speed crash on a slippery boardwalk yesterday and snapped the rear lever clean in two. Annoying as hell. As Shimano only supply the whole lever assembly (not just the blade) I'm gonna look at using the Zee lever instead, as it's meant to be much tougher.
    For AM riding you'll be just as happy with the SLXs as the XTs/Zees, but if you want toughness definitely pay extra for the DH Zee kit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuco View Post
    One thing I would like to notice on the lever feel. Don't know for the rest, but my Zees have a very long lever throw, and while braking hard, the lever gets very near to the handlebar/grips. Some don't like it, so if the OP is one of them - be aware.
    Take the wheel off and pump the brakes once or twice with no rotor between the brake pads. Then reinstall the wheel, squeeze the brake lever a few times. This should move the pads inward and decrease the amount of lever throw. If you have rubbing issues, just take the wheel back off and spread the pads apart. Try again until you get the right amount of throw.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoDane250 View Post
    Take the wheel off and pump the brakes once or twice with no rotor between the brake pads. Then reinstall the wheel, squeeze the brake lever a few times. This should move the pads inward and decrease the amount of lever throw. If you have rubbing issues, just take the wheel back off and spread the pads apart. Try again until you get the right amount of throw.
    Thanks for the tip, but I'm in the club that likes levers to come close to the bar .

    Even though I think your solution is not permanent since the pads will reposition (or in this case - won't reposition since they were very near the rotor) when they wear out a little.

    @TooStep
    Nice prices for the Zees.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuco View Post
    Thanks for the tip, but I'm in the club that likes levers to come close to the bar .

    Even though I think your solution is not permanent since the pads will reposition (or in this case - won't reposition since they were very near the rotor) when they wear out a little.

    @TooStep
    Nice prices for the Zees.
    The pads will not reposition themselves any further outward without being pushed back out. However, as the pads wear, the lever will need to be pulled further towards the bar before initial pad to rotor contact increasing the throw of the lever. So yes, as the pads wear, the lever throw will increase. If this happens, just repeat the procedure I mentioned earlier. It might be a good idea to top off the master cylinder with some mineral oil but in my experience, it hasn't been necessary.

    Oh and I like my lever throw as short as possible without dragging. That way I can run my levers in closer to the bars so I don't have to reach as far. Helps with arm pump and hand fatigue on long park days.

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