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Thread: Shimano Zee

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    Shimano Zee

    I bought and installed the Zee breaks and they do not have the breaking power I was expecting. I bought new discs as well and i can pull the lever all the way to my bars pretty much and they hardly slow me down. I rode my buddies bike that had XT's and they were super grippy and had more power than the Zee's. Anything I can do for more power?

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    Run in the rotors first?


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    Quote Originally Posted by polecats03 View Post
    I bought and installed the Zee breaks and they do not have the breaking power I was expecting. I bought new discs as well and i can pull the lever all the way to my bars pretty much and they hardly slow me down. I rode my buddies bike that had XT's and they were super grippy and had more power than the Zee's. Anything I can do for more power?
    Breaking in rotors, bleed the brakes, get sinter pads (make sure you get new rotors though if they were organic before)


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    Quote Originally Posted by polecats03 View Post
    I bought and installed the Zee breaks and they do not have the breaking power I was expecting. I bought new discs as well and i can pull the lever all the way to my bars pretty much and they hardly slow me down. I rode my buddies bike that had XT's and they were super grippy and had more power than the Zee's. Anything I can do for more power?
    You just went out and hammered new brakes. Cant do that. Have to bed them in. Plus if you didn't clean the rotors prior to install you may have even more issues. Rotors must be cleaned properly to ensure there is no oil on them prior to install.

    But now you will have to sand the pads and rotors at the very least. If your pulling back to the bars then they need to be bled and checked for leaks.

    But it's not a brake problem in this, it's not realizing the steps that have to be taken during the install process and bedding them in that was missed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by polecats03 View Post
    I bought and installed the Zee breaks and they do not have the breaking power I was expecting.
    What are they replacing?

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    Hang on guys, ”breaking power”, lol!


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    Quote Originally Posted by polecats03 View Post
    I bought and installed the Zee breaks and they do not have the breaking power I was expecting. I bought new discs as well and i can pull the lever all the way to my bars pretty much and they hardly slow me down. I rode my buddies bike that had XT's and they were super grippy and had more power than the Zee's. Anything I can do for more power?
    Experienced this with out-of-the-box Saints, both F&R using Shimano IceTech rotors.

    I assumed bedding 'em in would help, but it's only slowly getting better. Maybe I'm not patient enough to bed in properly. Rode them on easy trails and they've improved to the point that they seem they have "good modulation", as opposed to on-off power. All my other brakes have enough power to lock up the wheels. These felt like a step above road rim brakes on carbon rims. Definitely not as much power as I was expecting, but they work. Gonna put more time on 'em since experienced people say it's typical for new sintered pads.

  8. #8
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    It takes 5 minutes to properly bed in brakes when new. Or, you can just ride them and maybe never get real power out of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow4eva View Post
    Hang on guys, ”breaking power”, lol!


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    I'm sorry - I am new to this and don't need your comments if you aren't going to help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by polecats03 View Post
    I'm sorry - I am new to this and don't need your comments if you aren't going to help.
    I already gave you a suggestion, first reply, in fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow4eva View Post
    Run in the rotors first?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow4eva View Post
    I already gave you a suggestion, first reply, in fact.




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    I ran the rotors, i did the whole bed thing and they still feel like crap. Even took it to the LBS and they redid the fluids and topped it off. Still feels like it has zero power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by polecats03 View Post
    I ran the rotors, i did the whole bed thing and they still feel like crap. Even took it to the LBS and they redid the fluids and topped it off. Still feels like it has zero power.
    Are you sure you did the bedding in according to the manual?


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    No fluid got on the pads or rotor and you didn't touch the braking surface with your fingers?
    Sand the rotors, through the pads in the oven on I think it 400F for a bit. Let cool, sand lightly, clean both pads and rotors with rubbing alcohol, dont touch any braking surface with your fingers and go ride around the road not coming to a complete stop for several times. A gentle down grade slightly dragging your brakes (only just barely) a few times works great.

    It sounds like you got something on the pads or rotors (which got into the pads) and they are not bedding because of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    No fluid got on the pads or rotor and you didn't touch the braking surface with your fingers?
    Sand the rotors, through the pads in the oven on I think it 400F for a bit. Let cool, sand lightly, clean both pads and rotors with rubbing alcohol, dont touch any braking surface with your fingers and go ride around the road not coming to a complete stop for several times. A gentle down grade slightly dragging your brakes (only just barely) a few times works great.

    It sounds like you got something on the pads or rotors (which got into the pads) and they are not bedding because of it.

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    I had new zees, had the same problem. Check fluid levels, it was low. Then baked sanded and rebaked pads. Cleaned rotors with brake cleaner then alcohol. Problem solved.

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    Shimano Zee

    Got some in the mail today.

    Cant imagine how they would be any different than any other brake.

    Build up the brakes, bleed em.

    Clean rotors with alcohol from installation
    .
    Go out in the street and do a bed in process.

    I will report if i have any issues.



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  16. #16
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    I cleaned break pads and rotors with rubbing alcohol and then used sandpaper to really scrub. Rinsed all of it, dried and then went to street to bed them. I wore gloves to make sure no oils from hands got on any parts. The lever still goes almost to the grips so maybe it’s a fluid thing?? My buddies XT’s have so much bite and my Zee’s feel like they are an old break on a wet road bike lol

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    I don't think I can help with the "friction" aspect of your issue but I think I can help with your lever free stroke travel.

    My stock 2016 Stumpjumper M605 brake lever was leaking and needing replaced so I figured I'd upgrade at that time to something with better stopping power - the ZEE.

    I specifically wanted the ZEE lever without the travel adjustment knob since I set my reach and never change after being set. But it also doesn't have the "free stroke" adjustment screw that most complain never works anyway. I thought, no worries, my cheapie 605s don't have a free stroke adj screw either so no harm/no foul.

    I too was quickly dissatisfied when I put on my new ZEE rear brake. Decent friction on the IceTech rotor but the lever travel was way too far. I knew they needed bedded for better friction but didn't expect to travel all the way to the bar before engaging.

    With buying completely sealed and bled units there sure as heck shouldn't be any air in the system and I didn't think so with the system firmness being what I'd expect once I got to the brake pads reaching the rotors. With no free stroke adj screw, I went in search of adjusting the free stroke for caliper/levers without an adj screw and here's what I discovered:

    The caliper piston adj spacer that comes to set up these brakes was too thick for my travel preference. I like my brakes to start engaging pretty quickly once I start the braking stroke (*there can be a downside to this I'll describe below). I started experimenting with basic adjustment of the pads using a feeler gauge thinner than the provided stock plastic spacer. With the wheel off/away from the calipers, I pushed the pistons in with a flat bar (careful not to nick or contaminate my new pad surfaces), put the feeler gauge between the pads, squeezed the brake lever firmly a few times, then reinstalled the wheel and tried the brake lever stroke. You must push in the piston each time trying a new feeler thickness to ensure you're starting anew.

    I'll cut to "my" best result/preference: I found the best free stroke for my preference was using a 50mm or 55mm feeler between the pads to set the initial adjustment. I'm at 50mm now but think I'm going to try 55mm because I think I might be riding my brakes a touch in tough/rough terrain and my bike moves around and I have my finger resting/staged on the lever.

    * 45mm initial gap set was a little too short and risked me unintentionally riding my brakes in really rough terrain and 60mm has too much stroke before engaging for my preference.

    I learned on my old brakes that I didn't have air in my system but free stroke was increasing with wear. The old brakes didn't have free stroke adj screw either, it just needed the pad gap reset (simple periodic maintenance in my opinion) as pad and rotor wore and increased gap.

    Just like on automobile brakes, the system and piston seals pull the piston back into the calipers just a fraction when released creating the needed pad-rotor gap needed not to drag. Some brakes, like the ZEE just need that set manually on occasion and you should learn what mm gap you like.

    Check that on yours and see if that doesn't help you set your travel adjustment to your own preference so you can get on with solving your friction issue (if not justing needing better/more bedding).

    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
    I don't think I can help with the "friction" aspect of your issue but I think I can help with your lever free stroke travel.

    My stock 2016 Stumpjumper M605 brake lever was leaking and needing replaced so I figured I'd upgrade at that time to something with better stopping power - the ZEE.

    I specifically wanted the ZEE lever without the travel adjustment knob since I set my reach and never change after being set. But it also doesn't have the "free stroke" adjustment screw that most complain never works anyway. I thought, no worries, my cheapie 605s don't have a free stroke adj screw either so no harm/no foul.

    I too was quickly dissatisfied when I put on my new ZEE rear brake. Decent friction on the IceTech rotor but the lever travel was way too far. I knew they needed bedded for better friction but didn't expect to travel all the way to the bar before engaging.

    With buying completely sealed and bled units there sure as heck shouldn't be any air in the system and I didn't think so with the system firmness being what I'd expect once I got to the brake pads reaching the rotors. With no free stroke adj screw, I went in search of adjusting the free stroke for caliper/levers without an adj screw and here's what I discovered:

    The caliper piston adj spacer that comes to set up these brakes was too thick for my travel preference. I like my brakes to start engaging pretty quickly once I start the braking stroke (*there can be a downside to this I'll describe below). I started experimenting with basic adjustment of the pads using a feeler gauge thinner than the provided stock plastic spacer. With the wheel off/away from the calipers, I pushed the pistons in with a flat bar (careful not to nick or contaminate my new pad surfaces), put the feeler gauge between the pads, squeezed the brake lever firmly a few times, then reinstalled the wheel and tried the brake lever stroke. You must push in the piston each time trying a new feeler thickness to ensure you're starting anew.

    I'll cut to "my" best result/preference: I found the best free stroke for my preference was using a 50mm or 55mm feeler between the pads to set the initial adjustment. I'm at 50mm now but think I'm going to try 55mm because I think I might be riding my brakes a touch in tough/rough terrain and my bike moves around and I have my finger resting/staged on the lever.

    * 45mm initial gap set was a little too short and risked me unintentionally riding my brakes in really rough terrain and 60mm has too much stroke before engaging for my preference.

    I learned on my old brakes that I didn't have air in my system but free stroke was increasing with wear. The old brakes didn't have free stroke adj screw either, it just needed the pad gap reset (simple periodic maintenance in my opinion) as pad and rotor wore and increased gap.

    Just like on automobile brakes, the system and piston seals pull the piston back into the calipers just a fraction when released creating the needed pad-rotor gap needed not to drag. Some brakes, like the ZEE just need that set manually on occasion and you should learn what mm gap you like.

    Check that on yours and see if that doesn't help you set your travel adjustment to your own preference so you can get on with solving your friction issue (if not justing needing better/more bedding).

    Andy
    I have no idea what any of that means, lol and it sounds complicated.

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    I was confused too and pmd him.

    I have never done what he is suggesting but researched and its a tactic to use.

    The adjusting spacer is that red thing that comes between your pads when you get the brakes in the box. I always thought those were for traveling if your wheel is out of your caliper to keep the pistons from going to far if the brake lever was accidentally pulled.

    Turns out you can use that thing to kind of tune where you want your pistons to be at. I always thought the pistons kind of self regulated with the rotor but found others using these red things or feeler gauges etc. im trying to wrap my head around how its different than just putting the rotor in there and doing the same thing.




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  20. #20
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    If they pull to the bar and your pads aren't shot, bleed them because there's air in there. Simple as that. (yes, sometimes new brakes need a bleed)

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    Sorry all, didn't mean to complicate the explanation. Ultimately, the piston seal pulls the piston back into the caliper when the lever is released. The problem is the seals pull the pistons so far back in that there's too much clearance between the pads and the rotor. That excess clearance is a lot of wasted lever/piston travel that has to be made up before the pads engage the rotor.

    Simply reregulate how far back the pistons retract in their non-engaged state by using something thinner than the rotor to set how far they extend.

    I use a feeler gauge and documented the thickness set so I can fine tune the amount of pad to rotor clearance so I don't have n excess of wasted travel to make up before my brakes start working.

    If I had a mushiness to my brake feel (which I didn't have with min), then I'd be suspecting air in the system, but if it's nice and firm, it's free stroke that needs addressed not air in the system.

    Anyway, sounds like you have found the same kind of information that I did that finally showed me what was going on with my old and new replacement brake models that didn't have a free stroke adjustment screw Dropper. Sometimes it just takes different ways to read an explanation to understand what's being presented.

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    Thanks i think the sizes if the feeler gauges may have thrown us all off at first. 55mm feeler gauge! Lol thanks again for the intel im gonna try it on daughters xc race bike. I have those exact symptoms

  23. #23
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    The feeler gauges and all that will work until the pads wear down a bit, so this isn't a "set it and forget it" solution, right? I'd guess anywhere from 3-6x per set of pads depending how sensitive you are to the issue, but since I don't have this problem I really wouldn't know. My XTs have bite adjust and I don't even mess with it.

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    From what i have read the XT adjustment doesnt do crap. I have mine screwed all the way in.


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    Bleed them and/or check the pistons. With everything in normal conditions (clean rotors, clean pads, etc) there shouldn't be any problems. One of mine had a cracked piston out of the box but even then it still worked ok.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropper View Post
    From what i have read the XT adjustment doesnt do crap. I have mine screwed all the way in.
    On the older m785, that was pretty much the consensus. The newer 8000 apparently does something useful, but I haven't read enough to verify or even tried adjusting mine (and don't really care). Might be worth checking out if that's a feature you want/need.

  27. #27
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    if everything is new, and the levers go to the bars, they need to be bleeded properly

    any leaks you can see around the lever or caliper? leaks anywhere?

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    Maybe the lever throw adjustment is too close to bars? Is there a lever adjustment on these brakes

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    Shimano Zee

    Did not use a feeler gauge instead used a jensons coupon card folded over a few times. Wow! The coupon card that never works for anything I have in my cart now has a use!

    Brakes are back!!!! No bleed needed.

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    Glad that approach worked out for you Dropper. My enginerd brain wanted numbers to "see" that the piston had to close on something thinner than the disc to set the proper throw but anything thinner can work if you happen to find what's right for your preference.

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    Shimano Zee

    Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
    Glad that approach worked out for you Dropper. My enginerd brain wanted numbers to "see" that the piston had to close on something thinner than the disc to set the proper throw but anything thinner can work if you happen to find what's right for your preference.
    Oh im getting a set of feelers! Daughter was going on a ride and popped wheel out. Folded the card over once compared to rotor and was a little too narrow i thought and put one more fold slapped in there squeezed the brakes a few times. Put wheel in and it barely cleared. Instant grab. So im following you better now, that instant grab could be trouble some especially more on the front. So feelers to see where you are at and can go up/down from there is essential to do this right. So surprised this isnt talked about a bunch. Thanks again for this info.

    I do have one last question, can you relook at your metric feeler gauges and tell us the ones that were working well. You mentioned “55” mm. That can be right as most of the metric feelers im seeing mac at 1. Are you saying its “0.55mm” as in zero point five-five?

    And again thanks so much!!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropper View Post
    So surprised this isnt talked about a bunch.
    There's a reason it's not really talked about. It's just not necessary with brakes that self-adjust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    There's a reason it's not really talked about. It's just not necessary with brakes that self-adjust.
    I totally agree but I am not the only one on here experiencing “i bled them etc and still have this long lever throw until engagement”

    I think some of us me included were taking the long throw until engagement as a fluid/air problem. So we bleed, clean/lube pistons and throw the wheel back in no discernible difference.
    So i guess the thing is although they are supposed to “self adjust” sometimes they are not and adjusting where they start is the fix. Perhaps a bandaid for a caliper that isnt doing what it should be doing but like i said earlier im not the only one experiencing this. I didnt start this thread and came across it and was like hey thats my problem too.





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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropper View Post
    I do have one last question, can you relook at your metric feeler gauges and tell us the ones that were working well. You mentioned “55” mm. That can be right as most of the metric feelers im seeing mac at 1. Are you saying its “0.55mm” as in zero point five-five?

    And again thanks so much!!
    Yes .55mm.

    My brand new IceTech rotor is 1.80mm and I had to adjust initial throw of pistons to 1.55mm to get the right "relaxed" piston clearance from the rotor.

    If initial lever throw, not same thing as reach adjustment, wasn't something to adjust I wouldn't believe Shimano would have an adjustment screw on some model levers. I just see it as a difference between those who want easy adjustment features at the lever vs those who don't mind a little more periodic maintenance.

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    Shimano Zee

    Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
    Yes .55mm.

    My brand new IceTech rotor is 1.80mm and I had to adjust initial throw of pistons to 1.55mm to get the right "relaxed" piston clearance from the rotor.

    If initial lever throw, not same thing as reach adjustment, wasn't something to adjust I wouldn't believe Shimano would have an adjustment screw on some model levers. I just see it as a difference between those who want easy adjustment features at the lever vs those who don't mind a little more periodic maintenance.
    Yeah i hear ya but seems like the “free stroke” on XTs is a bit of a myth and agree if “free stroke” is something that its equipped with than this is something that is supposed to be or can be adjusted as needed. Yes “reach” not same as the “point of engagement”

    So im gonna look for a set of feelers that go to 2mm. Thanks again.

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    I finally got them to work. I did the whole cleaning thing with the alcohol, scrubbed them, rode them and then adjusted the lever and now they bite. The lever is a tad farther than what it was before but at least there isn't a lot of play where it hits the handlebars. Now I just have to re-center them and get rid of the rubbing. Thank you to all who helped!!!

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    Cool! I picked up a set of feelers from harbor freight today for 5 bucks so i can be a little more scientific than my worthless Jensons coupon card. Notheless it did the trick but for future adjustments the feelers are gonna be perfect.

  38. #38
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    For whatever reason my zees don't self adjust. As the pads wear I have to reset the free travel (I like very little lever pull before the brakes grab) but I can tell you they absolutely do their job very well. I run organic pads and 203mm rotors.
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    They self adjust, it's just that their self adjust is longer than practical. making their self adjust virtually useless.

    That's where a set of feeler gauges come in. I know mine feel best for me when the pad is adjusted .30mm less than the thickness of my rotors. (new=1.8mm rotor - 1.5mm max piston throw)

    So as my rotor wears down from use over time all I have to do is measure my rotor thickness and pick feeler blades that are .30mm less than the rotor thickness. Put the feelers in between the pads, squeeze the levers firmly, then put my wheel back on and I'm back in business where I like my free stroke to be.

    Takes longer to clean and lube a chain than it does to maintain free stroke this way.

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