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  1. #1
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    Shimano Deore: Hidden Gem?

    About a month ago my Tektro hydros started leaking on me. I had the caliper warrantied, and two weeks later, same problem. Needless to say, it was time for an upgrade. I saw these M596 Deores on chain reaction for $57, thats about $5 above cost! So I jumped right on them, and liked 'em so much I thought I'd write a little review...

    They came in a big snazzy Shimano box, and contrary to what CRC said, they did include all hardware, bleed, block, hose clamp, and even an olive and barb,
    _DSC0990
    _DSC0992

    The master cylinder was a lot nicer than I expected. I mean a lot, for 57 bones you get the new cylinder design, adjustable lever reach, servo wave technology, and a super easy bleed process. It's essentially an SLX lever:
    _DSC1012
    _DSC0993

    The Caliper, however, is a little less awe inspiring. From the side it looks like a no-name black caliper. It looks to be very similar to the las gen Deore M595. The inboard face does have the model number stamped on, and the top has the Shimano Deore logo. It uses Shimano's metal pistons, and uses in line hoses rather than the thru-bolt banjo design of higher end stoppers.The top loading pads are a nice touch, although not center mounted, so Ice Tech pads can't be used.(Surprise!) Organics come stock.
    _DSC0968
    _DSC1006
    _DSC0983

    Now onto the performance aspect of it:

    The first thing I noticed, before I even rode them, was how snappy, and easy, the servo wave mechanism makes them. They had a definite point of engagement and the lever action from then on was very stiff, something which I like quite a bit. The test rig is a budget XC racer I'm currently building up. Rockhopper 29er:
    _DSC1000

    Then came the break in ride... which kinda sucked. Power right of the bat was whimpy and honestly quite anticlimactic. BUT once the pads finally bed in, wow! These things bite like monsters when compared to say, elixir 1's, or Tektros, or Hayes dyno comps. Two fingers with light action is all you need to lock up the tires. On the trail they're very confidence inspiring. The SLX derived master cylinder had excellent modulation(for $57) and the reach adjustments are a nice touch. I never bother to write these kinds of things because, quite frankly they take a ton of effort and motivation which I often lack, but damn these were good enough to write about! They're not the lightest by a long shot, and they're definitely not the most powerful or have the best modulation. but they perform well out of their price bracket, and make an excellent budget brake. Or at least good enough to write about! haha Does anybody else have a set of these? I'm wondering how they'll be long term, or in a race situation...

  2. #2
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    nice

  3. #3
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    I have the older M595s and absolutely love them. I still use the organic pads. I paired them with Avid HS1 rotors and that combo rocks.

    When I first got them, I obviously had to shorten the hoses so I figured that I would go with a different brake fluid. I stopped by a local NAPA and bought some Pentosin CHF 7.1 and have been using it ever since. There are several Shimano users on here who recommend that fluid.

    I have looked at the higher end brakes from Shimano, but have no reason to "upgrade" because these brakes work like a champ. Best brake for the buck if you ask me.
    I always wanted a Wookie, but I found out they weren't real.
    (Thanks for nothing, George Lucas.)

  4. #4
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    Shimano Deore: Hidden Gem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laser4G63 View Post
    I have the older M595s and absolutely love them. I still use the organic pads. I paired them with Avid HS1 rotors and that combo rocks.

    When I first got them, I obviously had to shorten the hoses so I figured that I would go with a different brake fluid. I stopped by a local NAPA and bought some Pentosin CHF 7.1 and have been using it ever since. There are several Shimano users on here who recommend that fluid.

    I have looked at the higher end brakes from Shimano, but have no reason to "upgrade" because these brakes work like a champ. Best brake for the buck if you ask me.
    I've got some hope floaters on order to replace the stock and ridiculously bendable tektro steel, I've heard great things about them so I have high hopes. (But hey, a rotor is a rotor, right?)

    As for the fluid, the CHF doesn't foul any of the seals or anything? And what exactly was its biggest improvement over the mineral oil? I wouldn't mind giving it a try...


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenzobear View Post
    I've got some hope floaters on order to replace the stock and ridiculously bendable tektro steel, I've heard great things about them so I have high hopes. (But hey, a rotor is a rotor, right?)

    As for the fluid, the CHF doesn't foul any of the seals or anything? And what exactly was its biggest improvement over the mineral oil? I wouldn't mind giving it a try...


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    I've been using the Pentosin for almost a couple of years and haven't had a single issue. No leaks, sticky pistons, levers anything. I cannot say what differences there are exactly, but when I fiddled with the brakes before shortening the lines, the levers seemed to snap back a little quicker with the CHF. Also, it appears to work much better than the Shimano fluid in cold weather.

    One other reason why I bought the Pentosin, other than the recommendations, is because no one around me had the Shimano oil in stock. Plus, it was cheaper overall.

    I understand the CHF 7.1 is now discontinued and has been replaced with CHF 202. I have no experience with the 202, so I can't say how that is in Shimano brakes. You can still find the 7.1, but looks to cost more than what I paid.

    Even after a couple of years, I haven't used much of the fluid, so it will last a very long time.
    I always wanted a Wookie, but I found out they weren't real.
    (Thanks for nothing, George Lucas.)

  6. #6
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    Shimano Deore: Hidden Gem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laser4G63 View Post
    I've been using the Pentosin for almost a couple of years and haven't had a single issue. No leaks, sticky pistons, levers anything. I cannot say what differences there are exactly, but when I fiddled with the brakes before shortening the lines, the levers seemed to snap back a little quicker with the CHF. Also, it appears to work much better than the Shimano fluid in cold weather.

    Even after a couple of years, I haven't used much of the fluid, so it will last a very long time.
    The pentosin is probably less compressible than the mineral oil(which is a pretty damn good advantage) and as for the cold weather, I would seriously consider it because my last set used to freeze up constantly in the winter. But granted, they were tektro... I'll have to see how these hold up next winter. I wonder what it's boiling point is in comparison to mineral oil.. I may have to do some research!


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  7. #7
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    I did a write up on them right after they were released. I have them on my 29er and I LOVE them as much as the XT brakes on my full squish 26.
    2013 Stumpy Evo
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  8. #8
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    There are also several posts on here about the Pentosin, some with good info and links to outside write-ups. When I found no Shimano oil nearby, the first thing I searched for here was a compatible oil for Shimano brakes. Most of the results were pointing to the CHF.
    I always wanted a Wookie, but I found out they weren't real.
    (Thanks for nothing, George Lucas.)

  9. #9
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    Shimano Deore: Hidden Gem?

    I'm pretty happy to hear there's an alternative because that shimano stuff is running about $24 a liter(I think) right now. Definitely not cheap. And let's not forget how mineral oil get everywhere and NEVER Goes away unless you have copious amounts of isopropyl lying around...


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  10. #10
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    I've been running mineral based ATF trans oil in my Deore 525 discs for over 8 years now with no complaints. Always worked right, even in the dead of winter and never had a leak or bad seal.
    '93 Giant Sedona ATX custom
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  11. #11
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    I had the M596 brakes on the rear until recently when I made a totally unnecessary upgrade. The lever was surprisingly nice, the servowave action took a bit of getting used to but I really liked the lever shape and super easy bleeding. I didn't get the chance to ride anything with long & steep enough DH sections to fade the brakes or even get them past mildly toasty, but I was quite satisfied with their performance.

    The power is there and I think modulation is as good as any of Shimano's other 2 piston brakes, though not up to the level of the current Saints of Zees. There's a bit of a wonky spot in the Servowave action in all of Shimano's 2 piston brakes which makes feathering the brakes a bit difficult at times, but I'm pretty spoiled by the old 4 pot XTs so my standards are higher than most. One other minor issue I had was performance in freezing temperatures, when it got below -10C or so, the pistons were a bit slow to retract so that doing quick let-offs or on-off-on brake applications would result in the lever pumping up and moving the engagement point outwards. If I did it enough times in a row the freestroke would disappear entirely and I'd have to completely let off the brake for a couple seconds to return things to normal. My guess the caliper pistons seals are a bit on the tight side and cold weather hardens them just enough to make the brakes slow to return.

    Other than that, no complaints, no leaks, no noise, no trouble. They just worked and in terms of power & overall performance they were a good match for my quad piston XTs. They're good brakes, period, and taking price into consideration they're ridiculously good.

  12. #12
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    Shimano Deore: Hidden Gem?

    So far I'm incredibly happy with them as well, haven't had enough time to fully test them(its been raining here in Chicago for about a week straight...) but the power is awesome. I did notice the swerve wave thing you talk about though. Right before the cam engages there's a little "sticky" spot where the lever takes more effort to engage. I don't mind it though as that's before they actually bite, so it doesn't impair feathering too much..


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  13. #13
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    I understand that these brakes don't come with the hardware or adapters to mount them. Were you able to use your existing hardware or did you have to buy adapters & bolts?
    -always thinking about the next ride-

  14. #14
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    I've got Deore M596, SLX 666 and XT 785 all on different bikes. 596 is a no-brainer BB7 killer, but 666 is one finger endo heaven with mad modulation especially good on a 180 rotor. XT isn't really much better than SLX. Finned pads and ice-tec rotors are a bit gimmicy though unless you are doing a trail with over a 600 meter vertical drop.

  15. #15
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    596 are very, very good. No more BB7 on budget builds.

  16. #16
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    Not sure what the difference is between the levers for 595 and 596 brakes, but I get 1 finger braking with my 595s. Personally speaking, I really see no advantage of upgrading to the higher series Shimano offerings. I thought about it in the past, but since these brakes are so good for me, there's really no point.

    One thing I did do when I bought mine was that I changed the cotter pin that holds the pads out to the bolt used on the XTs. All you need to do is tap one side of the caliper (forget what size tap).
    I always wanted a Wookie, but I found out they weren't real.
    (Thanks for nothing, George Lucas.)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiWolverine View Post
    Not sure what the difference is between the levers for 595 and 596 brakes, but I get 1 finger braking with my 595s. Personally speaking, I really see no advantage of upgrading to the higher series Shimano offerings. I thought about it in the past, but since these brakes are so good for me, there's really no point.

    One thing I did do when I bought mine was that I changed the cotter pin that holds the pads out to the bolt used on the XTs. All you need to do is tap one side of the caliper (forget what size tap).
    This exactly what I want to with the SLX brakes I just put on my so s bike. Finding the right size tap shouldn't be difficult, finding the bolt however is a different story.

  18. #18
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    I bought my On-One Inbred 29er SS from a mate who built her up with Formula RX's. After 100km with the Formulas, I sold them and bought M596's. Couldn't be happier!

    They have all the power, modulation and reliability one could wish for. I've had dry and dusty rides, wet and very muddy ones and not a single issue. I'm still on the same resin pads that they came with and after over 2000km, they still have at least 50% life left in em.

    Love these brakes and would find it very difficult to justify buying anything more expensive.

  19. #19
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    Gimme some!!!
    Gettin mine soon.
    BB-sev's are till good tho...if you prefer mechs...
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  20. #20
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    This exactly what I want to with the SLX brakes I just put on my so s bike. Finding the right size tap shouldn't be difficult, finding the bolt however is a different story.
    I found my M666 calipers are already tapped, they come with the cotter pin but a Shimano or even Hayes Stroker Ryde retaining pin fits.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by divernick View Post
    I'm still on the same resin pads that they came with and after over 2000km, they still have at least 50% life left in em.
    Same here. I have around 2000 miles on the resin pads and absolutely love them. I tried semi-metallic and when they got even slightly wet, they would howl really bad. I immediately switched back to the resin.
    I always wanted a Wookie, but I found out they weren't real.
    (Thanks for nothing, George Lucas.)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiWolverine View Post
    I have the older M595s and absolutely love them. I still use the organic pads. I paired them with Avid HS1 rotors and that combo rocks.

    When I first got them, I obviously had to shorten the hoses so I figured that I would go with a different brake fluid. I stopped by a local NAPA and bought some Pentosin CHF 7.1 and have been using it ever since. There are several Shimano users on here who recommend that fluid.

    I have looked at the higher end brakes from Shimano, but have no reason to "upgrade" because these brakes work like a champ. Best brake for the buck if you ask me.
    I have elixer 3's that need to be bled

    Can I use regular auto dot 5.1 ? or chf 7.1?

  23. #23
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by toot334455 View Post
    Can I use regular auto dot 5.1 ? or chf 7.1?
    DOT 5.1, like Motul's. Other one is mineral oil based, not good for Avid.

  24. #24
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    I've got exactly the same brakes front and rear. Their my first hydros, and I like them. One finger breaking is very nice feature to have.

    They replaced the stock Promax mechanical brakes. (wich were absolute s***)

    and they cost me 80 + delivery.

  25. #25
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    Shimano Deore: Hidden Gem?

    UPDATE:

    My rear brake has started leaking somewhere at the master cylinder... The lever is soft, they're starting to squeal.... I'm officially unimpressed.

    Not to mention my multiple attempts to contact Chain Reaction Cycles have been simply unanswered....

    Anybody have any ideas on how I can get them warrantied?



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