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  1. #1
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    Good job! Shimano XT Brakes and Avid Rotors

    Just picked up some Shimano XT brakes to replace my Avid Elixir 1's on my Salsa El Mariachi. Anyone know of any issues using the Shimano brakes with the Avid Rotors other than they may still squeal. I don't have the moola to spring for new rotors just yet and I'm not sure I need them. By the way, got front and rear XT's for $225 shipped at Pricepoint.com and they threw in a free Clif Energy Gel. Thoughts???

  2. #2
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    I haven't done it yet, but I will soon be doing this exact upgrade. According to my LBS wrench, he has seen no issues with the Avid rotors and XT brakes. He says it's the most common brake upgrade he does and it just plain works. No squealing, squeeking, dying cats, turkey warble, underwater sounds. Just good, solid braking after putting XT calipers on! Hope it's true! LOL

  3. #3
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    I just did the same upgrade but I went with SLX since it has the exact same tech as the XTR and the only difference from XT was some useless adjustment mech so I opted for the SLX. Bought at LBS and the kits even came with all new do dads to shorten and reseal your tubes, nicely done Shimano. Useing avid Cleansweep rotors as well, I can't seeing paying what they are asking for this icetech mumbo jumbo rotors. I hope they grab as good as my Hope tech M4's they bite like a rabid pitbull.
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  4. #4
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    been using old Avid rotors on my year+old XT hydraulics for 1,000+ miles w/ no complaints @all. one thing i did have to deal w/ though was my 185/7" Avid would not work w/ the 180 requiring Shimano caliper. had to put a 160 rotor back on up front. no problem since the XT's work every bit as strong as the 7" Avid setup.
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  5. #5
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    Exactly what I came in looking for.

    I'm replacing everything but the rotor on my Avid Elixir 1 setup with Shimano XT M785's.

    What's the deal with all the different XT models? Did I get a good one?

  6. #6
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    I believe that the higher number means it is a newer version. You're doing exactly what I'm doing and it sounds like it will work just fine. Those Elixir 1's suck!

  7. #7
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    I'm using SLX brakes (F - BR-666, R - BR-675) with an Alligator 180mm front rotor and an Avid 160mm rear rotor without problems.

    Once I have some more cash saved up (just bought new shoes, saddle and some ammo) I'll get the ice tech rotors.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Exactly what I came in looking for.

    I'm replacing everything but the rotor on my Avid Elixir 1 setup with Shimano XT M785's.

    What's the deal with all the different XT models? Did I get a good one?
    They are brand model numbers. In both the XT and XTR versions they currently have a trail version 785 an d 985 respectively and a race version 780 and 980. In most cases the trail versions are just more robust and can take a little more of a beating then the race version but you pay for it in weight.

    And yes you got a good one. Been using the 785 brakes for over a year now and they are unstoppable. or Stoppable whichever way you look at it they are awesome.

  9. #9
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    if they are used rotors, just clean them with some alcohol and make sure to bed them in

  10. #10
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    I made this same upgrade at Christmas and have been riding the snot out of it. The Shimanos have done exactly as expected. They do not squeak. They modulate 100x better than the Avids, and the grip is much stronger. Just as a reference, I'm 235lbs, riding XC, and doing alot of climbing (and dropping), on a Giant Trance. (5" bike).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniman868 View Post
    I made this same upgrade at Christmas and have been riding the snot out of it. The Shimanos have done exactly as expected. They do not squeak. They modulate 100x better than the Avids, and the grip is much stronger. Just as a reference, I'm 235lbs, riding XC, and doing alot of climbing (and dropping), on a Giant Trance. (5" bike).
    Awesome news. I was thinking of going xt brakes for my new trance 29er (3 rides in and the elixirs 3rs have turkey warble already) didn't feel like kicking out another 120 plus for rotors. did you do anything to the used elixir rotors besides cleaning with alcohol?

  12. #12
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    You know the SLX are the same as the XT just a few grams heavier and cheaper. I went SLX as being 220 sometimes crashes are very hard. I love Sram shifting but their brakes suck donkey balls. The SLX kit was nice, came with everything I need to cut the hoses as well, new olives and such plus a brake wedge and cable holder to hammer in the end brass fitting, was a nice package. They bleed very easy, I use a home made bleed kit, some hose from the aquarium store and a 60 ml syringe from the drug store, total was like $2.50 for everything.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fahza29er View Post
    You know the SLX are the same as the XT just a few grams heavier and cheaper. I went SLX as being 220 sometimes crashes are very hard. I love Sram shifting but their brakes suck donkey balls. The SLX kit was nice, came with everything I need to cut the hoses as well, new olives and such plus a brake wedge and cable holder to hammer in the end brass fitting, was a nice package. They bleed very easy, I use a home made bleed kit, some hose from the aquarium store and a 60 ml syringe from the drug store, total was like $2.50 for everything.
    Also the XT has the "free stroke" adjustment that the SLX does not have (neither brake really needs it)

  14. #14
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    Do the xt's have metal levers, they're only like 20 bucks more.

  15. #15
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    yes you can and they will work all right

  16. #16
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    i didn't like the XT braking action at all until i adjusted the free stroke. w/o it, it was on/off action.
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  17. #17
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    Every time I've setup a bike with Shimano brakes and Avid rotors they had less power than when using Shimano rotors. It's not a huge difference but it's definitely there.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    i didn't like the XT braking action at all until i adjusted the free stroke. w/o it, it was on/off action.
    When you adjust the free stroke adjustment, what are you noticing that is different? The only thing that I *may* notice with it is that it gives slightly more lever pull before the pads make contact - but it is not a huge noticeable difference on the XTR / XT brakes I have used.......

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    When you adjust the free stroke adjustment, what are you noticing that is different? The only thing that I *may* notice with it is that it gives slightly more lever pull before the pads make contact - but it is not a huge noticeable difference on the XTR / XT brakes I have used.......
    are you using the Phillips screw adjtr. or the thumb/forefinger adjtr? sounds to me like it's the lever throw adjtr. you are turning. that is for more/less lever free "play". the screw is for "free stroke" or the way i see it, modulation. w/o it screwed in from all the way out, it's just on/off action, no modulation.
    my XT's are the 785 model.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    are you using the Phillips screw adjtr. or the thumb/forefinger adjtr? sounds to me like it's the lever throw adjtr. you are turning. that is for more/less lever free "play". the screw is for "free stroke" or the way i see it, modulation. w/o it screwed in from all the way out, it's just on/off action, no modulation.
    my XT's are the 785 model.
    I am talking about the phillips screw "free stroke".

    The Thumb/forefinger adjustment is for the lever position - it does NOT change how much lever travel there is before pad engagement - it changes the starting position of the lever.

    I have often wondered what is "modulation" to one person and what is "power" to another. Personally, I have always preferred brakes that are very "grabby" and control the "modulation" by the amount of pressure my one finger applies on the lever. When Hayes were at the top of the game, I did not mind the grabby nature of these brakes, but many commented about the lack of "modulation".

    When Hope started to become big people raved about the superb modulation and superior power. I had a set for 5 rides, hated that I had to pull like all he!! to get the grabby feeling that I have always enjoyed, and said if that is "modulation" you can have it!

    Back to the free-stroke, my understanding is that it is supposed to function similar to the Magura "bite adjustment" point - meaning more lever pull (modulation?) before the pads make initial contact with the rotor. (again, when I ran Maguras with this feature I always preferred it biting almost instant).


    Out of curiosity, how far out do you dial your free stroke adjust (phillips screw)? I have backed mine way out (so that well over 1/4" to threads are above the MC body) and I can not detect any difference - so I dial it back in as it "looks" better. FWIW my current brakes are the XTR M988.

  21. #21
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    i've got less than 1/4" showing. mine came out of the box backed out completely which is closer to 1/2". i detect a big, preferred difference. i think of it as modulation after 10 yrs. of cable Avids. whether it really is "modulation", i don't know or care. i like 'em plenty.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    i've got less than 1/4" showing. mine came out of the box backed out completely which is closer to 1/2". i detect a big, preferred difference. i think of it as modulation after 10 yrs. of cable Avids. whether it really is "modulation", i don't know or care. i like 'em plenty.
    Hear ya on that - I am super pleased with them as well!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hophead1 View Post
    Do the xt's have metal levers, they're only like 20 bucks more.
    They all have metal levers.. The XT and XTR lever blades are machined and SLX are stamped. If you don't look at the inside of the blade you probably couldn't tell the difference. SLX and XT share the same calipers
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    i've got less than 1/4" showing. mine came out of the box backed out completely which is closer to 1/2". i detect a big, preferred difference. i think of it as modulation after 10 yrs. of cable Avids. whether it really is "modulation", i don't know or care. i like 'em plenty.
    I've been running BB7's for about 7 years. I set them up so that the levers come very close to the bar when I brake, but this gives me less finger fatigue and I like it. I've been demo'ing a bike with XT brakes, and they seem really nice and powerful, but my finger gets tired. Is there much room in the reach adjustment of the levers to make it similar to how I like my current brakes?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding View Post
    I've been running BB7's for about 7 years. I set them up so that the levers come very close to the bar when I brake, but this gives me less finger fatigue and I like it. I've been demo'ing a bike with XT brakes, and they seem really nice and powerful, but my finger gets tired. Is there much room in the reach adjustment of the levers to make it similar to how I like my current brakes?
    no problem, there's more adj. than you'll need
    breezy shade

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