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  1. #1
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    Saint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?

    I want to run the Saint 820 calipers with XTR Race 9000 levers. Has anyone done this? How do they like it? Anyone know the weight difference between this setup and just running XTR 9020 Trails? I suspect the weights will be similar What do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    Trails are quite a lot lighter as the Saint caliper is heavy. I ran the m980 race levers with Saint calipers. There is a thread somewhere on here about it.

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    I was under the impression that the Race lever was something like 50 grams lighter than that the trail. I thought this might help offset the additional weight of the Saint caliper. I know the Saint caliper weighs 159 grams. Anyone know what the 9020 trail caliper weighs?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by artsn View Post
    I want to run the Saint 820 calipers with XTR Race 9000 levers. Has anyone done this? How do they like it? Anyone know the weight difference between this setup and just running XTR 9020 Trails? I suspect the weights will be similar What do you guys think?
    I'm not sure what people define as "so much heavier"....

    I have both 9020 Trails and Saint 820. Weight difference was about 70-80g per brake, including master, caliper, hose. Pictures below

    I like the Saint sooooo much more

    Saint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?-img_5198.jpgSaint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?-img_5199.jpg

  5. #5
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    If I run xtr race levers and Saint calipers the weight difference between this setup and straight 9020 trails is actually 25 grams per wheel. Draper was nice enough to explain to me that he ran this with 980 levers and said it would have been awesome...but he had trouble getting a good bleed. Anybody have insight into why the bleed could be troublesome. Could this issue be fixed with the 9000 iteration? Thanks again guys for the input.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by artsn View Post
    If I run xtr race levers and Saint calipers the weight difference between this setup and straight 9020 trails is actually 25 grams per wheel. Draper was nice enough to explain to me that he ran this with 980 levers and said it would have been awesome...but he had trouble getting a good bleed. Anybody have insight into why the bleed could be troublesome. Could this issue be fixed with the 9000 iteration? Thanks again guys for the input.
    What you also need to ask yourself, is how much performance you sacrifice by mixing and matching. I honestly don't know, but does the XTR master move enough to fluid to displace the quad Saint pistons versus the dual XTR pistons?

    I wouldn't want to be the guinea pig. not for a few measly grams.

  7. #7
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    I hear ya squeak but I am doing this on my cross bike (not saints)that's why I even considered it. The displacement question is super valid.

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    As long as the brakes are bled properly and the pads aren't an inch from the rotors, displacement should never be a problem. If one lever/master displaces less fluid via a smaller piston, you end up with more powerful brakes. Usually, manufacturers use the same size master piston over the entire line and only change the slave/caliper piston area to change up power. If Shimano increased the master piston area to match the change in slave piston area, the Saints would not be any more powerful than the XTRs.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post
    As long as the brakes are bled properly and the pads aren't an inch from the rotors, displacement should never be a problem. If one lever/master displaces less fluid via a smaller piston, you end up with more powerful brakes. Usually, manufacturers use the same size master piston over the entire line and only change the slave/caliper piston area to change up power. If Shimano increased the master piston area to match the change in slave piston area, the Saints would not be any more powerful than the XTRs.
    thanks for the info

  10. #10
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    When I first set up my brakes, Shimano told me the XTR 985 lever would not work with the 810 caliper because the Saint lever pushes 25% more fluid. Also, they wouldn't bleed right with the Jagwire hose. The first few bleeds didn't work well. After I got the bleed down right, no problems at all. I now have the 9000 levers with the same 810 caliper. Had to have the carbon levers. I think the 9000 levers changed a little. Brakes felt awesome first bleed.

  11. #11
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    Awesome

    Thats great news! I plan to run the 820 Saint caliper and the xtr 9000 levers with standard Shimano brake lines! Stoked. By running the lighter levers the weight penalty between this setup and 9020 Trails complete is non existant! 24 grams per wheel. Any other advice or things I need to know to do this successfully?
    Last edited by artsn; 11-16-2015 at 09:35 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post
    As long as the brakes are bled properly and the pads aren't an inch from the rotors, displacement should never be a problem. If one lever/master displaces less fluid via a smaller piston, you end up with more powerful brakes. Usually, manufacturers use the same size master piston over the entire line and only change the slave/caliper piston area to change up power. If Shimano increased the master piston area to match the change in slave piston area, the Saints would not be any more powerful than the XTRs.
    The fluid displacement on the levers is different according to the Shimano tech person in the video below (starts at 2:20 in the video). The Saints and presumably the Zees have a bit more oil displacement than the XTR levers, it sounds like they tweaked the leverage ratios to do this rather than changing the master cylinder diameter. A different servo-wave curve on the levers would also explain why the 4 piston brakes have better modulation than the 2 piston ones. Shimano frowns on mixing & matching calipers & levers, but they're all close enough that they'll work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPEMDigIGoM

  13. #13
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    I saw a pro enduro bike with that setup. It also was running Freeza rotors as well. I think it was a GMBN pro rider bike walk around.

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    I, m also leaning to the same set (9000lever+820calip).
    As i read there might me an issue with:

    -Amount of fluid being pushed to caliper
    -distance between pad and rotor (have heard anything)?

    From pros:
    +The modulation is better, more linear than 0:1
    +used by some pro's so assume setup is checked in hard conditions

    Would You stil recommend this hybrid or rather stay with full Saint?

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    I'm still waiting for more information before I pull the trigger. I talked to my local shop and they think it would be a killer setup.

  16. #16
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    I believe the main reason all the EWS pros were running the the XTR Race lever/Saint combo a few years ago was b/c that was the only way to really get better modulating brakes, b/c the then servo-wave that the XTR/XT/Saint levers had was a bit too off/on for most people's liking.

    If you look at all EWS race coverage, no one's really doing that now. They are all running Saint calipers with the new XTR m9020 trail levers. Why? Because Shimano tweaked the servo wave in the new m9020 and XT m9000 levers, and they modulate WAY better than the previous gen levers. I've got a set of m9000 XT's, and their modulation has really improved. I've had a few sts of XT m785's and XTR m988's, so it's easy for me to tell the difference.

    I tried the old XTR m985 Race lever/Saint caliper combo, twice. One set worked great but howled like a banshee on crack on my frame, no matter what I did. The second set on a different frame I just couldn't get them to feel as good as the previous set.

    Now I'm back on full Saints and happy, and couldn't give a flip about the weight difference.
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  17. #17
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    So this tweaked Servo mech rely also to Saint lever or, to have advantages of all power/modulation/setup is to take only the newest XTR trail 9020?

    And my presonal question.

    You say the EWS bikes combos are quite old but this is about 2014
    http://blog.rahoxbrakes.com/2014/10/...-2014.html?m=1

    Team mech had already new xtr 9020(redesigned as you say) and still went with 9000. Why did thay if the 'improoved servo' was just next to it??

  18. #18
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    Saint levers remain unchanged as far as I know.

    Can't comment on that article, but I know Graves and Rude weren't running Race levers last year from all the pics I saw.
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  20. #20
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    That's not his 2015 race rig. That's his 2014 one he won the championship with. He didn't win the championship last year, Rude did.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Placek View Post
    I, m also leaning to the same set (9000lever+820calip).
    As i read there might me an issue with:

    -Amount of fluid being pushed to caliper
    -distance between pad and rotor (have heard anything)?

    From pros:
    +The modulation is better, more linear than 0:1
    +used by some pro's so assume setup is checked in hard conditions

    Would You stil recommend this hybrid or rather stay with full Saint?
    i think this is it... no feeling of the 'instant' bite and lock. wonder how m8000 levers will work with saint

  22. #22
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    Whenbyou mentioned lst year for both riders than thught to search for 2014.
    Anyhow you,'re the first person saying that 9020 with servo should have better modulation from 9000 (and overall perforrmance) as the servo was redesigned from last version
    Quote Originally Posted by rscecil007 View Post
    That's not his 2015 race rig. That's his 2014 one he won the championship with. He didn't win the championship last year, Rude did.

  23. #23
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    Here's a few shots from this year, best I can find without serious hunting. You can only see the levers in the pics, but if you look through the EWS coverage articles you can see they are both running Saint calipers.

    at EWS 8 2015 in Finale Ligure, Italy - photo by mattwragg - Pinkbike
    Justin Leov at EWS1 2015 in Rotorua, New Zealand - photo by mattwragg - Pinkbike

    Don't take what I say as gospel, I'm only relaying my experience. I spoke to Grave's mechanic Shawn Hughes (sp?) before I ever tried this. He said the Saint caliper/XTR race (non servo lever) were by far the best trail brake set up, due to the fact they were super strong and rock solid at the end of the pull, and didn't have that bit of give that the servo wave levers do. HOWEVER, he did say that the setup could be very finnicky, but I didn't ever hear back from him as to what exactly he meant.

    The finnicky part could be why one set I had worked great, but the other not as much.

    Like I said, I'd like to try the new 2015 XTR or XT levers with a set of Saint calipers, but I'm so happy with my stock Saints at this point, I'm not messing with anything.

    Hope this helps.
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  24. #24
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    I'm running M987 (Race) levers with M820 Saint calipers on my 30 lbs trail bike. Lots of bite with great modulation... The XTs and XTR Trails of the previous gen had too much initial bite... The XTRs Trail did have more modulation than my XTs (setup?), but nothing like the Race levers without the Servo-Wave. Oh, didn't issues with the XTR Race levers and Saint calipers. I did the full Shimano bleed procedure and can't be happier...

    On another bike, I have the M9000 a Race levers with the M9020 Trail calipers, and this setup has more power than the previous gen XT and XTRs, with dialed modulation. But now I'm curious to see how the M9020 modulation is, if in fact the new Servo-Wave does have improved modulation.

    Anyways, that's been my experience...

  25. #25
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    can servo wave be disabled?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by spyghost View Post
    can servo wave be disabled?
    No it's an integral part of the lever.

  27. #27
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    So it seems like. We do have only modulation case.

    Whether 820 caliper works better with new 9020 lever or 9000 lever,in terms:
    -Modulation
    -power
    -amount of pushed fluid and possible cons.

  28. #28
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    I mixed a set of m985 race levers with the older m755 four pot calipers and it is one of the strongest brake sets I've owned with the amount of modulation I felt Shimanos lacked.

    I don't recall the actual piston diameters, but I chose the m755's over the m820's because they have less area, but still more than the two piston calipers.

    All that to say I believe the idea has merit, but I suspect the difference in area between the Saint and XTR is wide enough to put it near the threshold, as evidence of some of the reports in this thread.

  29. #29
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    So guys, i mixed M9000 lever and 820 caliper by Saint hose.

    Bleeding was quite easy, i did that 3 times to make sure there are no bubbles.
    First rides:

    - Lever is smooth
    - caliper bites the rotor in half way


    despite feeling is very linear , there is no way i could finally lock the wheel.
    There are moments when You just need that but at my experience lever stays quite flexy when i push it hard to achieve wheel lock - not to say i never managed to lock it.

    So there are some options/ concerns.

    Saint lever seems to have higher fluid movement capability so:
    Shall i change hoses to XTR
    Use XTR TRail lever - but not sure if fluid job will improve over Race version
    Create full Saint setup (with dedicated but in some way old lever)

  30. #30
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    I'm now on m820 caliper and m9020 levers and I can happily lock the wheels, they are less snatchy than the full m829 setup.

    What pads are you running?

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    Regular Saint, which came in box.
    I've done another round just hr ago and despite many descents wheels were always spinning, despite enormous power i put to the lever.
    My feeling was that faster i'd brake the lever than freeze the wheel.

    What hoses do You use?
    Have You been trying original Saint lever or raxe XTR?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Placek View Post
    Regular Saint, which came in box.
    I've done another round just hr ago and despite many descents wheels were always spinning, despite enormous power i put to the lever.
    My feeling was that faster i'd brake the lever than freeze the wheel.

    What hoses do You use?
    Have You been trying original Saint lever or raxe XTR?
    Try the over-fill method. It will take a while to get right, but totally worth it.

    Put a fill cup on the lever side and pour about a quarter inch. Pull the pads and then slowly pull your brake lever. Top off the master cylinder and replace the screw. Reinstall the pads and see if the change in lever pull is adequate. The feel should be changed and feel like clamping power has increased (provided there are no bubbles in your line).


    -r.

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    Should i do that "on rotors" or without wheel ?
    Maybe best would be to find spacer similar to space created by rotor to avoid flooding the rotor ?

    Quote Originally Posted by rondre3000 View Post
    Try the over-fill method. It will take a while to get right, but totally worth it.

    Put a fill cup on the lever side and pour about a quarter inch. Pull the pads and then slowly pull your brake lever. Top off the master cylinder and replace the screw. Reinstall the pads and see if the change in lever pull is adequate. The feel should be changed and feel like clamping power has increased (provided there are no bubbles in your line).


    -r.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Placek View Post
    Regular Saint, which came in box.
    I've done another round just hr ago and despite many descents wheels were always spinning, despite enormous power i put to the lever.
    My feeling was that faster i'd brake the lever than freeze the wheel.

    What hoses do You use?
    Have You been trying original Saint lever or raxe XTR?
    Hmmmmm.....before making yourself too nuts, I'd check for pad glazing and contamination. Takes 10 minutes:

    1. Remove pads. Material down, do several figure 8's on 100 or 200 grit sandpaper to remove any surface residue
    2. If you have a torch (I use a cheap handheld butane torch), sear the pads from the backside in an attempt to evaporate any contaminates. Alternatively, you could bake them in an oven. I've been surprised by how much condensation comes out of the pads sometimes
    3. Lightly sand rotors with sandpaper, then wipe down with denatured alcohol
    4. Thoroughly clean calipers with denatured alcohol
    5. Reinsert pads, then rebed


    Lever to bar with no power makes me think this could be a pad issue.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Placek View Post
    Should i do that "on rotors" or without wheel ?
    Maybe best would be to find spacer similar to space created by rotor to avoid flooding the rotor ?
    On rotors. Do a half lever pull at a time. What this does is change lever travel before pad contact. This immediately solved a lever pull/braking force issue for me.

    If your lever will pull all the way to the bars you have air in your lines.

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  36. #36
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    Also, I've had my best results with both my Saints and XTR brakes by completely dialing out the reach adjust and the contact point screw before bleeding.

    I also use a 2 syringe method, I push fluid from bottom to top, top to bottom, bottom to top, several times and have never had issues.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post
    Also, I've had my best results with both my Saints and XTR brakes by completely dialing out the reach adjust and the contact point screw before bleeding.
    +Bajillion.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post
    Hmmmmm.....before making yourself too nuts, I'd check for pad glazing and contamination. Takes 10 minutes:

    1. Remove pads. Material down, do several figure 8's on 100 or 200 grit sandpaper to remove any surface residue
    2. If you have a torch (I use a cheap handheld butane torch), sear the pads from the backside in an attempt to evaporate any contaminates. Alternatively, you could bake them in an oven. I've been surprised by how much condensation comes out of the pads sometimes
    3. Lightly sand rotors with sandpaper, then wipe down with denatured alcohol
    4. Thoroughly clean calipers with denatured alcohol
    5. Reinsert pads, then rebed


    Lever to bar with no power makes me think this could be a pad issue.
    Just a small correction, the torch should be done first, on the friction side of the pad. Then sand lightly to get rid of any burned off residue and install. No alcohol. The pads have to be heated pretty good to burn off the fluid. Remember, it's boiling point is 528F. It's flash/fire point is even higher. 400F in an oven does not work as well as a torch.

    No sanding of rotors. If you suspect contamination, you can torch them lightly. There's supposed to be a layer of pad material on the rotor for the brakes to function properly. Assuming the caliper position has not changed, bed-in should be very quick as in just a couple brake applications.

    The lever going to the bars is usually a sign of air in the lines or someone squeezing extremely hard and bending the lever and other components.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Draper View Post
    I... they are less snatchy than the full m829 setup...
    I don't have experience with the Saint calipers, but I do like the XTR race levers because they don't have the "servo wave" mechanism and are much less grabby than those that do. However, Saints are four pot calipers so may require a lever that pushes more fluid.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuickGN View Post

    The lever going to the bars is usually a sign of air in the lines or someone squeezing extremely hard and bending the lever and other components.



    Quote Originally Posted by Placek View Post
    despite feeling is very linear , there is no way i could finally lock the wheel.
    There are moments when You just need that but at my experience lever stays quite flexy when i push it hard to achieve wheel lock - not to say i never managed to lock it.

    This statement makes me suspect contamination/glazing.

  41. #41
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    I had similar issues with my Saints, stock levers or XTR levers. I found that the metal pads are quite finicky if you don't bed them in properly. Stuff the pads, clean the rotors, and bed them in again. At the beginning of a ride the pads are "cold" and don't stop as readily as later in the ride. I think it's oxidation on the pad that decreases performance, but eventually scuff off after/during use. Gonna try resin pads after these metal ones are toast.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    I don't have experience with the Saint calipers, but I do like the XTR race levers because they don't have the "servo wave" mechanism and are much less grabby than those that do. However, Saints are four pot calipers so may require a lever that pushes more fluid.
    They have about 20% more piston area so about 20% more fluid is displaced with equal piston movement. This usually translates to a longer lever stroke. I'm not positive but I believe Shimano takes care of this issue with a slightly different servo wave setup since the master Pistons of the 2 piston and 4 piston brakes are the same diameters.

    If you are very good at bleeding and you have the pads riding very close to the rotors, reducing piston travel to almost nothing, there should be zero problems with the different levers. IF Shimano actually revised the Zee or Saint servo wave cams to take up more travel at the first few mm of lever pull, setup would be the key to successfully running a 2 pot master on a 4 pot caliper. You would really want the pads to be nearly touching the rotors when not in use.
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    So i did my homework.
    Used isopropyl alcohol, burned pads fromm all (i hope) fluids.
    Cleaned calipers.

    Riding expressions.
    Still it's extremely hard to just froze wheel. (lever bites the rotor in half way but still my hand needs to squeeze the lever hard).
    My previous XT's were razor sharp at certain moment that despite conditios i could just lock it.
    Any ideas what can do more?
    Maybe i should just try Saint lever or XTR trail one?

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    --------------------

    Maybe i'd ask question a bit different.

    Would Trail lever work any more effective with 820 caliper or it's just difference in servo hence amount of oil moved to caliper will be the same?
    We all know the XTR laver is newer to Saint - still what would be the difference in daily usage - both are servo though....

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Draper View Post
    I'm now on m820 caliper and m9020 levers and I can happily lock the wheels, they are less snatchy than the full m829 setup.

    What pads are you running?
    Are you running the Saint hose, or M9020? I'm about to convert my Saint to M9020 for normal use, but I'll be trying the M9020/Saint combo for DH trips. If you can use the Saint hose it'd make swapping easier.. That's if the Saint banjo will fit the M9020 calipers..
    #bleedblackdieevil

  46. #46
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    Has anyone tried XT m8000 levers with Saint calipers?

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    Rode my M987 levers with Saint calipers today. I almost had no brakes in the beginning. I rarely ride this bike with this brake setup. After a long descent, and getting on and off the brakes to cook them, they finally came back to life. Was able to lock front and rear. I really think the metallic pads are oxidizing.

    Yes, you can run M8000 levers with Saint calipers, but why? I thought the point was to eliminate the Servo-wave feel by running Race levers.

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    It seems as if the M9000 XTR Race levers are not the ideal setup. Right now it sounds as if these setups are working well.

    1. M987 XTR Race Levers & Saint Calipers
    2. M9020 XTR Trail Levers & Saint Calipers


    Untested AFAIK but probably works well:
    1. M8000 XT Levers & Saint/Zee Calipers
    2. M7000 SLX Levers & Saint/Zee Calipers


    Shimano re-profiled their servo wave to provide more modulation in the x000 series of brakes making. The new servo wave and the new piston profiles seem to make the M9020 levers the better choice over the M9000 Race Levers.

    But if the M9020s are working well then that would seem to make the M8000s and M7000s levers a less expensive alternative.

    The least expensive Shimano super trail brake option right now seems to be SLX M7000 Levers and Zee Calipers but I doubt anyone has tested that setup.

    Right now I'm running full Saints and like the feel so far, but may try XT Levers sometime.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by softbatch View Post
    It seems as if the M9000 XTR Race levers are not the ideal setup. Right now it sounds as if these setups are working well.

    1. M987 XTR Race Levers & Saint Calipers
    2. M9020 XTR Trail Levers & Saint Calipers


    Untested AFAIK but probably works well:
    1. M8000 XT Levers & Saint/Zee Calipers
    2. M7000 SLX Levers & Saint/Zee Calipers


    Shimano re-profiled their servo wave to provide more modulation in the x000 series of brakes making. The new servo wave and the new piston profiles seem to make the M9020 levers the better choice over the M9000 Race Levers.

    But if the M9020s are working well then that would seem to make the M8000s and M7000s levers a less expensive alternative.

    The least expensive Shimano super trail brake option right now seems to be SLX M7000 Levers and Zee Calipers but I doubt anyone has tested that setup.

    Right now I'm running full Saints and like the feel so far, but may try XT Levers sometime.
    Hi,

    I'm looking for a M9020 XTR Trail Levers & Saint Calipers mix. Do you know what hoose do I use ? At first I think go with Saint hoose, but I'm not sure... Thanks for your help.

  50. #50
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    I am using this set up currently (this is my bike: http://bikeandskiblog.com/wp/my-bikes/):

    M9000 XTR Race levers.
    M820 Saint calipers.
    BH-90 Saint hoses (trimmed).
    H03C Finned Metallic Pads.
    RT-86 Ice Tech 203mm front rotor.
    RT-86 Ice Tech 180mm rear rotor.

    I had no problems with bleeding to firm, crisp and responsive level. I have never had any problems with the servo wave based systems but I like to tinker and thought I would try what the M9000 levers felt like. They feel different and I like them, there is not necessarily a more direct feel but perhaps slightly more sensitivity (in a good way) to being able to feel what the brakes and wheels are doing through the levers that I really like.

    Bleed notes:
    I use Shimano bleed blocks on removed calipers so that the hose hangs as vertical as possible (easier to achieve on the front than the rear).

    I generally use the cup bleed tool and a drain bottle method now but have and will use the two syringe method (modified AVID pro bleed syringes that have only ever been used with mineral oil). I think the cup method allows you to really check that the tiny bubbles are released during the final stages of the bleed whereas the syringe method relies on brute force during flushing to pull all the air out and sometimes misses a bubble or two.

    Levers are always adjusted to full lever out (longest reach) and horizontal for bleeding (as per Shimano instructions).

    I always tap the calipers, brake hose and lever bodies with a screw driver handle during the bleed.

    The 35-45 up and down part for the levers at the end is really important (which is why Shimano include it in their instructions), there are regularly small bubbles into the cup during this stage of the bleed.

    The squeeze and release of the lever is also important, there is occassionally a small air bubble or two at this stage. I then do the quick opening and closing of the bleed port on the caliper, with a proper bleed I rarely see air bubbles during this stage but Shimano recommend it for a reason.

    I then re-install the wheels, return the controls to their normal positions and adjust the reach to my preferred position.

    I used to run 180 mm rotors front and rear but have found that the 203 mm just provides more power and feel, with less finger effort and subsequent hand fatigue on really long downhills or when perfect braking is critical, than the 180 mm did. A 180 mm rotor on the rear is more than enough for both my Nomad and V-10.5.

    I have bags of power, ie no fade, 20 minute downhill levels of power. I can lock up either wheel, at will, with very little finger effort. The feel through the carbon levers is great, lots of feed back about how much power and how close to lock up I am. I think that the modulation is great.

    Just as a compare these are the other brakes systems I either run, have run or ride regularly:
    XTR M988 Trail (complete), RT-86 Rotors, F03C pads (Jackal).
    Saint M820 (complete), RT-86 Rotors, H03C pads.
    XTR M988 Trail levers on Saint M820 calipers (prefered the silver lever bodies) with SH-90 hoses, RT-86 rotors, H03C pads (V-10.5).
    XT M8000 complete, RT-86 Rotors, F03C pads.
    Guide RSC complete with centreline rotors (actually pretty good but did not ride them long enough to experience any bleed problems).
    XT M785 complete, RT-86 rotors, F03C pads.
    Codes with G2 Rotors, crazy powerful, not great feel.
    Avid Elixer, good power, good feel but needed bleeding all the time.
    Last edited by AndrewBikeGuide; 10-17-2016 at 09:21 PM. Reason: spelling & grammer
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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    I am using this set up currently (this is my bike: http://bikeandskiblog.com/wp/my-bikes/):

    M9000 XTR Race levers.
    M820 Saint calipers.
    BH-90 Saint hoses (trimmed).
    H03C Finned Metallic Pads.
    RT-86 Ice Tech 203mm front rotor.
    RT-86 Ice Tech 180mm rear rotor.

    I had no problems with bleeding to firm, crisp and responsive level. I have never had any problems with the servo wave based systems but I like to tinker and thought I would try what the M9000 levers felt like. They feel different and I like them, there is not necessarily a more direct feel but perhaps slightly more sensitivity (in a good way) to being able to feel what the brakes and wheels are doing through the levers that I really like.

    Bleed notes:
    I use Shimano bleed blocks on removed calipers so that the hose hangs as vertical as possible (easier to achieve on the front than the rear).

    I generally use the cup bleed tool and a drain bottle method now but have and will use the two syringe method (modified AVID pro bleed syringes that have only ever been used with mineral oil). I think the cup method allows you to really check that the tiny bubbles are released during the final stages of the bleed whereas the syringe method relies on brute force during flushing to pull all the air out and sometimes misses a bubble or two.

    Levers are always adjusted to full lever out (longest reach) and horizontal for bleeding (as per Shimano instructions).

    I always tap the calipers, brake hose and lever bodies with a screw driver handle during the bleed.

    The 35-45 up and down part for the levers at the end is really important (which is why Shimano include it in their instructions), there are regularly small bubbles into the cup during this stage of the bleed.

    The squeeze and release of the lever is also important, there is occassionally a small air bubble or two at this stage. I then do the quick opening and closing of the bleed port on the caliper, with a proper bleed I rarely see air bubbles during this stage but Shimano recommend it for a reason.

    I then re-install the wheels, return the controls to their normal positions and adjust the reach to my preferred position.

    I used to run 180 mm rotors front and rear but have found that the 203 mm just provides more power and feel, with less finger effort and subsequent hand fatigue on really long downhills or when perfect braking is critical, than the 180 mm did. A 180 mm rotor on the rear is more than enough for both my Nomad and V-10.5.

    I have bags of power, ie no fade, 20 minute downhill levels of power. I can lock up either wheel, at will, with very little finger effort. The feel through the carbon levers is great, lots of feed back about how much power and how close to lock up I am. I think that the modulation is great.

    Just as a compare these are the other brakes systems I either run, have run or ride regularly:
    XTR M988 Trail (complete), RT-86 Rotors, F03C pads (Jackal).
    Saint M820 (complete), RT-86 Rotors, H03C pads.
    XTR M988 Trail levers on Saint M820 calipers (prefered the silver lever bodies) with SH-90 hoses, RT-86 rotors, H03C pads (V-10.5).
    XT M8000 complete, RT-86 Rotors, F03C pads.
    Guide RSC complete with centreline rotors (actually pretty good but did not ride them long enough to experience any bleed problems).
    XT M785 complete, RT-86 rotors, F03C pads.
    Codes with G2 Rotors, crazy powerful, not great feel.
    Avid Elixer, good power, good feel but needed bleeding all the time.
    Many thanks Andrew, for your technical advices very well detailed !!!

  52. #52
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    So basically, M9000 (vs. M9020) levers don't have "Servo Wave" and therefore feel quite linear all the way through the travel and are also missing the "Free Stroke" adjustment screw + lever blade reach adjustment knob (allen screw instead).

    The thing is, when I dial all the way out the "Free Stroke" adjustment screw on my M8000 levers, brake pads move quite close to the disc and it gives me a sharper/straighter feeling when applying brakes with my M820 calipers.

    My questions:

    Do M9000 levers w/o "Servo Wave" and "Free Stroke" adjustment screw set brake pads closer to the disc compared to other levers with these features and FS screw dialed all the way in by default?
    So I can save around 40 g per lever and won't need to dial all the way out the FS screw as it won't be there anyway with brake pads being set very close to the disc?

    And what about "Sil-Tec" (Teflon) coating on inner walls of M9020 levers' master cylinders?
    Should it reduce drag when pistons moves through master cylinders?

    Because I can unfortunately feel much more drag inside my right M8000 lever, when I slightly press the lever blade at the beginning of the stroke, where it has to start the movement as opposed to my left M8000 lever that has a pretty consistent feel at all stages.

    Could this be lever piston's seal rubbing against cylinder walls?
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 06:56 PM.

  53. #53
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    FYI:
    BL-M820 weight per lever: 101 g
    BL-M988 weight per lever: 98 g
    BL-M987 weight per lever: 62 g

  54. #54
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    Difference between all SM-BH90 brake hoses.

    SM-BH90-SS stands for Strainght & Straight
    BR-M615 Deore
    BR-M665 SLX
    BR-M775 XT
    BR-M975 XTR

    SM-BH90-SB stands for Straight & Banjo
    BR-M666 SLX
    BR-M675 SLX
    BR-M7000 SLX
    BR-M765
    XT
    BR-M785 XT
    BR-M8000 XT
    BR-M800
    Saint (double pistons)
    BR-M965 XTR
    BR-M985 XTR
    BR-M9020 XTR

    SM-BH90-SBM stands for magnesium
    BL/BR-M987 XTR
    BL/BR-M9000 XTR
    Special aluminium surface treatment helps prevent corrosion when used with XTR M9000 series magnesium brake calipers and levers.

    SM-BH90-SBS stands for short banjo bolt
    BR-M640 Zee
    BR-M755 XT (quad pistons)
    BR-M810 Saint
    BR-M820 Saint

    SM-BH90-SBLS stands for long golden banjo & short bolt
    BR-M820 Saint
    BR-M640 Zee
    BR-M755 XT (quad pistons)
    BR-M810 Saint
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-25-2016 at 08:37 AM.

  55. #55
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    If you already have SM-BH90-SB brake hoses with long silver bolt and want to keep them for Zee/Saint calipers, than just order 2x short black bolts.

    Shimano references:
    Y8H001500 - short black bolt
    Y8SY28000 - o-ring
    Y8H098010 - short black bolt + 2 o-rings

  56. #56
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    That's good info Groove. Do you know if the BH90-SBLS can be ordered in a length greater than 2000mm? I am using 820 Saints on my mtb tandem but had to use a jagwire universal kit and fit kit for the rear as I couldn't find a Shimano hose long enough. Thanks

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhopton View Post
    Do you know if the BH90-SBLS can be ordered in a length greater than 2000mm?
    Thanks
    I don't think so. Didn't find anything.
    That's sad, because none of Jagwire or Goodridge are as rigid as those from Shimano.
    Have tried both, because of colours' palette available, but had to go back to Shimano, because when applying brakes, I could easily see theses hoses move and expand slightly once the end of the stroke was reached. The feeling was kinda spongy, not so sharp as with Shimano ones and contributed to some more lever travel.
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 06:58 PM.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groove_c View Post
    I don't think so. Didn't find anything.
    That's sad, because none of Jagwire or Goodridge are as rigid as those from Shimano.
    Have tried both, because of colours' palette available, but had to go back to Shimano, because when applying brakes, I could easily see theses hoses move and expend slightly after the end of the stroke was reached. The feeling was kinda spongy, not so sharp as with Shimano ones and contributed to some more lever travel/sponginess.
    That's exactly right. Now add into that equation a hose run that is 7' or so and imagine the multiplication if sponginess.

    While I know you can buy the BH90 hose bulk, unfortunately I cannot find the long, gold fitting pressed on for the Saints.

    Thanks

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhopton View Post
    Unfortunately I cannot find the long, gold fitting pressed on for the Saints.
    As it has to be pressed, you won't be able to fit it by yourself anyway.
    Only threaded banjos remain as the only solution.
    And even if you would have tried to thread in the ones provided with Jagwire or Goodridge it wouldn't have worked, because the inner BH90 diameter is smaller and the material much harder - the bore wouldn't expand enough to fit in 3rd party threaded banjo.
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 06:59 PM.

  60. #60
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    SM-BH90-SBM brake hoses specially for magnesium
    BL/BR-M987 XTR
    BL/BR-M9000 XTR
    Special aluminium surface treatment helps prevent corrosion when used with XTR M9000 series magnesium brake calipers and levers.

  61. #61
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    Proper alignment of caliper pistons (part of bleeding procedure)
    (especially valide for Saint quad pistons!)

    Pushing pistons flush with caliper body is no enough!

    1. Remove your wheels
    2. Install worn out pads
    3. Start applying brakes gently and using a thin flat object, make sure that all 4 pistons come out at the same time, have the same reach and move freely, so you have to align your calipers just centered to the disc position rather than centered to misaligned pistons position.

    It can even happen to brand new calipers to have pistons misaligned.

    This provokes:
    - loss of responsivness/sharpness feeling
    - loss of braking power
    - premature and unequal wear of brake pads
    - more prone to slight deformation/distortion of discs when they get very hot/soft
    Saint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?-p4pb10886480.jpg
    Saint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?-p4pb10886482.jpg
    Saint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?-p4pb10886478.jpg

    Notice: if a piston is having trouble to move freely or to move at all, try to push it back and apply brakes several times to see if it helps.
    If this doesn't help, than using a strap, apply brakes to make the piston(s) come out about 2 mm out of the bore(s) and tie the strap to the handlebar so piston(s) remain in same position and then take a brush/pencil and using soap, clean the outer surface around the piston(s).
    NO disc brakes cleaner that can dammage resin o-ring around the pisotn(s)!
    NO mineral oil as lubricant that will only create more drag and attract all the gunk to piston(s) area.

    Because shavings of brake pads, dirt, sand and dust work their way through pistons/ o-rings to find themself later mixed to the mineral oil. That's why when you change mineral oil it is darker and no so translucent as before.

    Make sure piston(s) is(are) not rubbing against caliper bores and you guaranteed will feel better lever responsivness and feel much less drag
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 07:04 PM.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groove_c View Post
    So basically, M9000 (vs. M9020) levers don't have "Servo Wave" and therefore feel quite linear all the way through the travel and are also missing the "Free Stroke" adjustment screw + lever blade reach adjustment knob (allen screw instead).

    The thing is, when I dial all the way out the "Free Stroke" adjustment screw on my M8000 levers, brake pads move quite close to the disc and it gives me a sharper/straighter feeling when applying brakes with my M820 calipers.

    My questions:

    Do M9000 levers w/o "Servo Wave" and "Free Stroke" adjustment screw set brake pads closer to the disc compared to other levers with these features and FS screw dialed all the way in by default?
    So I can save around 40 g per lever and won't need to dial all the way out the FS screw as it won't be there anyway with brake pads being set very close to the disc?

    And what about "Sil-Tec" (Teflon) coating on inner walls of M9020 master cylinder?
    Should it reduce drag when master piston moves through master cylinder?

    Because I can unfortunately feel much more drag on my right M8000 lever, when I slightly press the blade at the beginning of the stroke, where it has to start the movement as opposed to my left M8000 lever that has a pretty consistent feeling at all stages.

    Could this be master piston seal rubbing against master cylinder walls?
    Could be that you need to check that the pistons are clean: M820 Pro Tune Guide
    XTR Di2 :thumbsup:
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  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    Could be that you need to check that the pistons are clean
    Pistons are really clean and equally well balanced - move lightning fast.
    Thanks for the link. Good tip with partially filing down the bleeding block!
    But I strongly disagree with using mineral oil or anything else around the pistons as lubricant.
    Even Shimano specialists completely disagree with this and this for a good reason.

    Oil attracts dirt and as pistons are moving in and out, all this penetrates the oil even faster and in even greater quantity passing through pistons/ o-rings and also acting like sandpaper if you take sintered brake pads shavings as example, creating more drag/friction as a result.
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 07:05 PM.

  64. #64
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    I'm tempted to swap out my BL-M8000 levers to BL-M9020 ones with their master cylinder teflon (Sil-Tec) coating.
    Apparently it glides like butter and this is what give BR-M9020 brakes slightly more power than BR-M988 have (not taking into account carbon handles and I-Spec-II retention ring).

    But will this coating wear out with time because of constant friction with master piston seal (like their Sil-Tec coating on chains?)?
    Is it even worth to consider such a change?

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groove_c View Post
    ...
    But I strongly disagree with using mineral oil or anything else around the pistons as lubricant.
    Even Shimano specialists completely disagree with this and this for a good reason.
    .
    That Pro Tune document is from Shimano S-Tec training, so using Shimano mineral oil is straight from Shimano engineers and their training video. There should not be any oil remaining at the end of the process as the final step is to clean everything thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol and a lint free cloth/ rag.

    It might be that you have a set of M8000 levers that have an inconsistency. Several bike journos have reported that the latest batch of XT levers sometimes appear to be inconsitent in feel and also performance.

    I have not had any problems with the M9000 levers, I went that path to achieve the direct/ linear, non servo-wave feel and I am really happy with the result.

    I do a hybrid bleed anyway where the final step sets the bite point exactly where I want it in the lever travel so I don't miss the "free stroke" which in my experience did not really make much of a difference. Using an allen key to change the reach, whilst not as convenient, is not the end of the world either.

    Happy trails.
    XTR Di2 :thumbsup:
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  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    That Pro Tune document is from Shimano S-Tec training, so using Shimano mineral oil is straight from Shimano engineers and their training video. There should not be any oil remaining at the end of the process as the final step is to clean everything thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol and a lint free cloth/ rag.
    Thanks a lot for clarification on this!
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    I do a hybrid bleed anyway where the final step sets the bite point exactly where I want it in the lever travel
    Is it by letting wheels mounted without bleeding block?
    Cause I probably will than buy BL-M9000 levers )
    The less parts the more reliable!

    Also check this if you judge it useful

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groove_c View Post
    Thanks a lot for clarification on this!

    Is it by letting wheels mounted without bleeding block?
    Cause I probably will than buy BL-M9000 levers )
    The less parts the more reliable!
    No once I have done a full bleed and am happy that it is a clean, firm bleed. Leave it set up with the bleed block in the caliper and I use a toe clip or re-usable zap strap to squeeze the levers towards the grips to where I want them to bite and then I quickly do a 1/8 open and close of the bleed nipple on the caliper.

    I find that I keep the firm bleed but get the hard initial bite exactly where I want it to happen in the lever stroke.

    I cannot remember who taught me to do this (some shop mechanic a long time ago) but I have been doing it for years and it seems to work for me.

    My only concern about the M9000 levers was that the carbon lever might snap in a crash but I crashed lots during the Trans-Provence and they are still going strong.

    Happy trails.
    Last edited by AndrewBikeGuide; 01-11-2017 at 03:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    My only concern about the M9000 levers was that the carbon lever might snap in a crash but I crashed lots during the Trans-Provence and they are still going strong.
    There's almost nothing to worry about, because lever blades are only cabon "coated" but alloy underneath )))
    I think it's mainly for bling and no frozen fingers when it starts to get relatively cold.
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 07:07 PM.

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    My Saint calipers really give me more modulation than my XT ones and that while having more stopping power?
    I think my XT (esepcially M785) bite pretty early and Saint bite later, more toward the end of the lever travel and thus giving more play/modulation.
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 07:09 PM.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    My only concern about the M9000 levers was that the carbon lever might snap in a crash but I crashed lots during the Trans-Provence and they are still going strong.
    I finally have found a picture of a BL-M9020 lever blade where you can clearly see it's aluminium with only carbon coating.
    Saint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?-shimano-xtr-bremshebel-fuer-bl-m9020-schwarz-universal-46732-157749-1467111026.jpg
    Same goes for BL-M9000 levers, I think.
    But BL-M9000 levers have also thiner lever's blades.
    Trail levers have 5 rows of dimples vs. only 4 rows for Race.
    What annoys me most about the Race levers is that they're made of magnesium and the paint peels off easily and I don't even want to know what will Race levers look like after a crash involving them.

    I think I will just buy Trail "carbon" levers' blades for my BL-M8000 levers for bling factor and for relatively cold days without gloves.
    Shimano XTR M9020 Lever Blade Unit Left or Right
    These XTR Trail "carbon" levers' blades are also compatible with BL-M785 (XT 2012-2015), BL-M988 (XTR Trail 2011-2014), BL-M7000 (SLX 2016) and BL-M8000 (XT 2016) levers
    Last edited by Groove_c; 11-30-2016 at 07:12 PM.

  71. #71
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    Looks like a Carbon lever to meSaint M820 calipers & XTR Race M9000 levers! Possible?-50317876934__b44b2748-4c1e-4272-8b0d-b5fd4b1f6a1f.jpg

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    So who is running the 9000 and 9020 levers, and what are your performance results?

    Thx

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    Quote Originally Posted by verrocchio100 View Post
    So who is running the 9000 and 9020 levers, and what are your performance results?

    Thx
    I have run both. There is no difference (that I can detect) between M9020 lever and M820 Saint levers when used with the same caliper (either BR-M9020 or BR-M820).

    The BL-M9000, which obviously does not have the servo-wave, just feels a little more direct and, for me, a little more sensitive in its modulation. I can feel that the tyre tread/ wheel is doing through the lever a little better than with the M9020 or M820.

    As stated I have concerns about losing a carbon lever in a crash but having watched alloy levers get destroyed (mainly they just snap rather than bend these days) I don't think there is much in it from a risk factor and I am not racing so it just means a longer more careful day if I do break a lever rather than a ruined stage or day.

    This is my full blog post about brakes: A question about brakes? - bikeandskiblogbikeandskiblog

    Hope that helps. Happy trails.
    XTR Di2 :thumbsup:
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    was using 820s with 920 levers and they worked well enough, however the tip of the lever snapped off when I clipped a tree(didnt even know until i pulled the brake the next time). Replaced that lever with a saint one and that is working sweet. I dont think I will play around with XTR levers again as that was the third lever I have broken(previous models)

  75. #75
    Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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    Just a quick note:

    Where are people sourcing replacement lever blades for Non-Servo-Wave levers like the XTR-Race? I found a company called "Voice Components" who makes replacement blades, but can't find a reseller.
    GIS/GPS Pro using ArcFM for Utility Mapping - Always willing to connect with other MTBers in the industry.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    I have run both. There is no difference (that I can detect) between M9020 lever and M820 Saint levers when used with the same caliper (either BR-M9020 or BR-M820).

    The BL-M9000, which obviously does not have the servo-wave, just feels a little more direct and, for me, a little more sensitive in its modulation. I can feel that the tyre tread/ wheel is doing through the lever a little better than with the M9020 or M820.

    As stated I have concerns about losing a carbon lever in a crash but having watched alloy levers get destroyed (mainly they just snap rather than bend these days) I don't think there is much in it from a risk factor and I am not racing so it just means a longer more careful day if I do break a lever rather than a ruined stage or day.

    This is my full blog post about brakes: A question about brakes? - bikeandskiblogbikeandskiblog

    Hope that helps. Happy trails.
    How is this holding up now? Are you still running this set up? If not ,why?

    thanks.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewBikeGuide View Post
    I have run both. There is no difference (that I can detect) between M9020 lever and M820 Saint levers when used with the same caliper (either BR-M9020 or BR-M820).

    The BL-M9000, which obviously does not have the servo-wave, just feels a little more direct and, for me, a little more sensitive in its modulation. I can feel that the tyre tread/ wheel is doing through the lever a little better than with the M9020 or M820.

    As stated I have concerns about losing a carbon lever in a crash but having watched alloy levers get destroyed (mainly they just snap rather than bend these days) I don't think there is much in it from a risk factor and I am not racing so it just means a longer more careful day if I do break a lever rather than a ruined stage or day.

    This is my full blog post about brakes: A question about brakes? - bikeandskiblogbikeandskiblog

    Hope that helps. Happy trails.
    The Carbon lever on the M9000 is stronger than the magnesium body ... I know from experience dude!
    It takes half a joule more to accelerate Brass Nipples over Alloy Nipples on a 29er to 30kph.

  78. #78
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    Ive been running this combination for 12 months now. The positives of running no servo have been well explained in this thread, so I wont go over them again. Personally I find the combination a worthwile improvement and investment over the stock servo set-up.
    Reliablity wise, its holding up great. That said, I managed to destroy two levers. The first one was a bit faulty when I bought it (second hand), the guy had crashed with it and although advertised as functional, the C clip had given away in the crash and wasnt holding up reliably. In the end I bought a new one. The second one I broke in a crash. The rear end slipped on a fastish rooty corner, I caught the slide but the oversteering put me in an inside trajectory destined to meet a tree head on. I was lucky I struck the lever body and not my fingers, which would've ended up b/w the tree and the handlebar yikes. The body cracked on the clip that attaches to the handlebar. At least I've got plenty of spares now (left and right) and two perfect blades.

    Regarding sourcing the blade only, you need:
    Right Y8WM98010
    Left Y8WM98020
    https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...64&category=31
    https://www.pure-bike.co.uk/levier-c...pour-xtr-m9000

  79. #79
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    if you want to save on future lever repairs dont tighten them too much. it should be just enought so that handles dont slip under (hard) braking, anything over that should make them slip and greatly reduce crash damage.

    Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chillius View Post
    Ive been running this combination for 12 months now. The positives of running no servo have been well explained in this thread, so I wont go over them again. Personally I find the combination a worthwile improvement and investment over the stock servo set-up.
    Reliablity wise, its holding up great. That said, I managed to destroy two levers. The first one was a bit faulty when I bought it (second hand), the guy had crashed with it and although advertised as functional, the C clip had given away in the crash and wasnt holding up reliably. In the end I bought a new one. The second one I broke in a crash. The rear end slipped on a fastish rooty corner, I caught the slide but the oversteering put me in an inside trajectory destined to meet a tree head on. I was lucky I struck the lever body and not my fingers, which would've ended up b/w the tree and the handlebar yikes. The body cracked on the clip that attaches to the handlebar. At least I've got plenty of spares now (left and right) and two perfect blades.

    Regarding sourcing the blade only, you need:
    Right Y8WM98010
    Left Y8WM98020
    https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...64&category=31
    https://www.pure-bike.co.uk/levier-c...pour-xtr-m9000
    but seems like you broke the clip not the carbon lever blade which seems to be what most are concerned with...

  81. #81
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    I never overtighten them, but the way I crashed I dont think any lever would've survived. As I said, I felt lucky it wasnt the fingers. Fcuk the lever, I can buy a new one anyday, unlike new fingers.
    Yes in that instance I broke the clip, which means you need a new lever. If people are more concerned with the blades only - they are sold separately as per my previous post.

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