Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Giant Anthem Rider
    Reputation: Mtbric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    195

    Shimano XTR vs Marta SL?

    I'm trying to decide on which set to go with as I switch to a disc setup for the first time. I got tired of chipping ceramic on my wheels. I ride primarily XC and general trail riding, but I sometimes get adventurous. I'm approx. 190lbs.

    It seems there's been a lot of discussion on what disc brake setup is the best, lightest and countless other criteria and these two seem to be tops for XC. There are secondary issues beyond performance such as the need for separate shifters on the Marta SLs and the learning curve for the dual controls for the XTR. My current setup is XT STI M750 and Avid mag with ti & alumnium hardware.

    Any opinions will be appriciated.

  2. #2
    Bad Case of the Mondays
    Reputation: Jdub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,915
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtbric
    I'm trying to decide on which set to go with as I switch to a disc setup for the first time. I got tired of chipping ceramic on my wheels. I ride primarily XC and general trail riding, but I sometimes get adventurous. I'm approx. 190lbs.

    It seems there's been a lot of discussion on what disc brake setup is the best, lightest and countless other criteria and these two seem to be tops for XC. There are secondary issues beyond performance such as the need for separate shifters on the Marta SLs and the learning curve for the dual controls for the XTR. My current setup is XT STI M750 and Avid mag with ti & alumnium hardware.

    Any opinions will be appriciated.
    I've got a one-sided opinion to offer here. I own an XTR disc, but I have not tried the Martas as of yet. The XTR has a good feel, decent power and great modulation, but to keep them running aligned properly is a minor miracle.

    I've had two calipers, both with their own separate issues. My current is a IS mount, and it doesn't suffer from the sticky pistons that my old one initially did, but getting (and keeping) it aligned to where the brake drag isn't terrible is tough. I've had the fork gnano-matted and the brake aligned by me and a trusted shop, but after a hard ride with some extended downhills the brakes always seem to go back to rubbing.

    I'm still running the brake, and I've learned to just carrry a couple spacers with me in my Camelbak. Let me say that my Post mount caliper wasn't as problematic, I got it setup pretty well. However, my riding buddy has XTR discs with dual control and he is constantly having similar problems to mine.

    So for me, I'm eyeing the Louise FR (similar to the Martas but not as light) and getting rid of my XTR headaches. Like the operation of them when they stay in alignment, but that isn't very often....

  3. #3
    Chrome Toaster
    Reputation: Hecubus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,850
    You can also run the XTR's with any shimano standalone brake lever such as the XT, Deore, Saint, and so one if STI shifting just doesn't appeal to you. Not that its a bad thing, I have the XTR dual controls and love them. I don't have extended riding experience on the Maguras besides some test rides on friends bikes but I do have 2 bikes with XTR discs and one with XT (same caliper, just heavier/more material). The XTR's are quite sensitive to improper alignment, as a matter of fact most of the infamous sticky piston issues can likely be attributed to this. When they are properly aligned they are fantastic. No matter how bad you align them they tend to reset themselves perfectly, as long as they are perfectly parallel and aligned. I've tried most of the major XC discs in the market and these are actually the ones that give me the least drag problem (virtually none ever).

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    32
    I have had XTR and it's hard to adjust without rub especially with new pads and quick release skewer No problem on the rear. The rub on my part actually is minor and doesn't actually slows the rotation. It's more of rotor trueness because of very narrow gap between pads and rotor.

    If weight is not really a concern and you want to stick with Shimano, I suggest using the Saint especially with your weight. I changed my front caliper to Saint from XTR and still using all the rest - XT lever and XT IS 160 rotor. The setup is super easy - just clamp the rotor and tighten the bolts, no shims and completely drag free

    In addition, the power and modulation can't be beat. I can brake much, much later than with XTR. I feel that the power of just using a front Saint with one finger is already like combining the power of F & R of XTR using 2 fingers and with medium to hard effort. The only brake that I'm aware of that can match Saint's performance is Magura Gustav. All of this advantage on a 100 grams difference with XTR on front caliper and much cheaper.

  5. #5
    Chrome Toaster
    Reputation: Hecubus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,850
    Quote Originally Posted by FloppyRN
    I have had XTR and it's hard to adjust without rub especially with new pads and quick release skewer No problem on the rear. The rub on my part actually is minor and doesn't actually slows the rotation. It's more of rotor trueness because of very narrow gap between pads and rotor.

    If weight is not really a concern and you want to stick with Shimano, I suggest using the Saint especially with your weight. I changed my front caliper to Saint from XTR and still using all the rest - XT lever and XT IS 160 rotor. The setup is super easy - just clamp the rotor and tighten the bolts, no shims and completely drag free

    In addition, the power and modulation can't be beat. I can brake much, much later than with XTR. I feel that the power of just using a front Saint with one finger is already like combining the power of F & R of XTR using 2 fingers and with medium to hard effort. The only brake that I'm aware of that can match Saint's performance is Magura Gustav. All of this advantage on a 100 grams difference with XTR on front caliper and much cheaper.
    You do realize that the Saint and XT are exactly the same caliper with a different color. Only the rotor changes. And the XT and XTR are the same caliper except the XTR has a lot more material removed to save weight. They all perform exactly the same given that they are essentially exactly the same part.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    You do realize that the Saint and XT are exactly the same caliper with a different color. Only the rotor changes. And the XT and XTR are the same caliper except the XTR has a lot more material removed to save weight. They all perform exactly the same given that they are essentially exactly the same part.
    You're right that they're the same design. I believe the difference is more materials for Saint to have better heat absorption. I don't know if Shimano tweak the Saint more, but the power is really much stronger than my XTR. My friend got an XT, but I can't really compare because he got the bigger rotor, but the power of my set up can match his XT with bigger rotor.

  7. #7
    Bad Case of the Mondays
    Reputation: Jdub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,915
    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    You can also run the XTR's with any shimano standalone brake lever such as the XT, Deore, Saint, and so one if STI shifting just doesn't appeal to you. Not that its a bad thing, I have the XTR dual controls and love them. I don't have extended riding experience on the Maguras besides some test rides on friends bikes but I do have 2 bikes with XTR discs and one with XT (same caliper, just heavier/more material). The XTR's are quite sensitive to improper alignment, as a matter of fact most of the infamous sticky piston issues can likely be attributed to this. When they are properly aligned they are fantastic. No matter how bad you align them they tend to reset themselves perfectly, as long as they are perfectly parallel and aligned. I've tried most of the major XC discs in the market and these are actually the ones that give me the least drag problem (virtually none ever).
    I run the XTR caliper with a XT lever I picked up. I do like the feel of the combinations, but I actually liked my buddies dual control more than expected. I expected to hate it, but it felt somewhat nautral in a weird sort of way.

    I will say that the rubbing I've had is pretty minimal, it isn't like the wheel wont turn. I think its mainly mental, when I hear that rotor dragging as I'm creeping up the tough climbs it just gets to me. I don't like hearing the rotors dragging ever, I'm very anal about shifting, wheels being true, brakes not rubbing, etc.

    I'm actually about to swap calipers again and go back to the post mount caliper (long story), and I had much better luck getting it lined up perfectly than I have the post mount version. I can get the post mount lined up perfectly on the bike stand, but then after a short ride its rubbing again. It doesn't seem to be the sticky piston, but the caliper never seems to recenter itself.

  8. #8
    Bad Case of the Mondays
    Reputation: Jdub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,915
    Quote Originally Posted by FloppyRN
    You're right that they're the same design. I believe the difference is more materials for Saint to have better heat absorption. I don't know if Shimano tweak the Saint more, but the power is really much stronger than my XTR. My friend got an XT, but I can't really compare because he got the bigger rotor, but the power of my set up can match his XT with bigger rotor.
    I would be willing to bet it is more about your setup being spot on with the Saint than it was with the XTR, new pads, new rotor or something like that. I've learned that getting a disc brake setup properly can make a huge difference in both power and modulation.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by Jdub
    I would be willing to bet it is more about your setup being spot on with the Saint than it was with the XTR, new pads, new rotor or something like that. I've learned that getting a disc brake setup properly can make a huge difference in both power and modulation.
    Saint's set up is a no brainer; it's very easy, so that might have helped. I'm not using any new pad or rotor. The only new one is the caliper. When I switched to Saint, I just transferred the pads from XTR since it still thick. The rotor is still my original XTR one.

    I have a new 160 Galfer wavy here. I'll install it this week and see if any noticable performance difference with Shimano rotor.

  10. #10
    Bad Case of the Mondays
    Reputation: Jdub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,915
    Quote Originally Posted by FloppyRN
    Saint's set up is a no brainer; it's very easy, so that might have helped. I'm not using any new pad or rotor. The only new one is the caliper. When I switched to Saint, I just transferred the pads from XTR since it still thick. The rotor is still my original XTR one.

    I have a new 160 Galfer wavy here. I'll install it this week and see if any noticable performance difference with Shimano rotor.
    Very interesting....I figured you went with new pads and/or rotor with the Saint. I'd still lean towards thinking that your setup/alignment improved with the switch because as Hecubus said, they are essentially the same part. The caliper itself shouldn't be the part that dissapates heat, that is the rotor hence larger rotors cool better.

  11. #11
    Giant Anthem Rider
    Reputation: Mtbric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    195

    Any Marta SL input?

    I appreciate the input though I'd hoped to get equal amount of input for each brake set.

    At first I wanted the Martas for lightness, but truthfully I have been leaning towards a Shimano setup. The two issues for me was the dual control and the dragging, but it seems I can get used to the dual controls and I'll have a shop do the final alignment on the discs if need be. I installed Deore M525 hydros on my bro's bike and that was pretty easy. He had pm Manitou. I hope I don't have any problems with my IS mount Fox RLT.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    260

    Marta SL input

    I cant compare the SL's to the XTR but can to the XT M-765 dual control. I must admit the XT brakes works pretty well. Good power and deceint modulation but personally I found the dual control to be VERY ANNOYING!!! You have to move the shifters a lot before they shift and becomes a problem when you need quick shifting. I have then changed bikes and setup completely and now run the Marta SL's with X.O grip shifters and really like it. As for performace, I have found the Martas to have just a tad less power but better modulation then the XT's and ,in turn, works much better in my riding conditions.

  13. #13
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    17,234
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtbric
    I appreciate the input though I'd hoped to get equal amount of input for each brake set.

    At first I wanted the Martas for lightness, but truthfully I have been leaning towards a Shimano setup. The two issues for me was the dual control and the dragging, but it seems I can get used to the dual controls and I'll have a shop do the final alignment on the discs if need be. I installed Deore M525 hydros on my bro's bike and that was pretty easy. He had pm Manitou. I hope I don't have any problems with my IS mount Fox RLT.
    I have owned Hayes hydraulics, Shimano XTR (using XT-756 levers), and now run Magura on both of my bikes and am so very impressed with both sets of Maguras.....though I have only had them for a couple of months on one bike and a few months on the other. Having said that, I am very impressed with the Maguras in every regard.

    In terms of XTR brakes I had, as I think other posters have noted, I too had just a horendous time with how finicky they were in regards to either sticky pistons and or alignment/pads rubbing CONSTANTLY. This problem held true not only for the first set of XTR calipers I ran, but the same problem started even after getting a warranty replacement for both front and rear calipers and yes...I know how to deal with sticky pistons....it was just not worth it thus, XTR no more. In fairness, their power was very good as was the modulation.

    I have had zero of these problems with my Magura brakes. On my XC bike I run Magura Marta SLs and they not only work flawlessly, but are sweet looking (not that it should matter but on my XC bike, I went overboard on parts). I would say they are comparable to the XTRs in power and modulation from my experience but overall, just have a better feel and are much, much less frustrating as they have not had to be touched at all and zero brake rub.

    I just put Magura Louise Freeride brakes on my trailbike and am equally impressed. The levers on the Louise FR brakes are awesome and would be ideal for folks with average or smaller than average hands who want to run twist shifters, given the lever dimensions. I do however run twist shifters with my Marta SL setup (see pics) and also have not problem but I mention it because using twist shifter with small hands may pose a problem for some (as it would for a lot of other brake levers).

    Cheers
    Attached Images Attached Images

Similar Threads

  1. New to the sport, need bike :)
    By iLLestOne in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-13-2005, 06:28 AM
  2. Marta SL vs. Louise FR
    By gUst in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-21-2004, 07:57 PM
  3. using shimano xtr 2003 rear derail. with deore mega-9 shifter
    By m4dj4ck in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-17-2004, 02:31 AM
  4. Marta SL with XTR Dual Control?
    By htims_nivek in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-13-2004, 10:36 AM
  5. Marta SL/XT rapidfire setup lighter than XTR Dual Control?
    By dawgcatching in forum Weight Weenies
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-25-2004, 03:00 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •