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  1. #1
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    Shimano XT M8000 vs. M8020

    I'm shopping for brakes and am trying to figure out whether to go with 2 pistons or 4. I weigh about 165 and am not a super aggressive rider. Do I need the 4 pistons or should 2 be adequate? Are there any other factors that should tip me toward one of these models vs. the other (other than cost, which is very much on my mind. )?

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    That's why I went with Magura Trail Sports. 4 piston front, 2 piston rear. Best of both worlds for trail riding, IMO.

    That being said, my buddy has M8000's on his Transition Triple. They work really well. I don't think you'd go wrong either way.
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  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=chadbrochills;13969624]That's why I went with Magura Trail Sports. 4 piston front, 2 piston rear. Best of both worlds for trail riding, IMO.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I know my boyfriend loves his Maguras, and this seems like an interesting setup.

  4. #4
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    I have a pair of M8000's and just bought a pair of M8020's. I have two bikes.

    Gonna swap calipers and make my own Shimano XT Magura Trails... 4pot front/2pot rear on both bikes.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcontent View Post
    I'm shopping for brakes and am trying to figure out whether to go with 2 pistons or 4. I weigh about 165 and am not a super aggressive rider. Do I need the 4 pistons or should 2 be adequate? Are there any other factors that should tip me toward one of these models vs. the other (other than cost, which is very much on my mind. )?

    2 will be more than adequate.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    I have a pair of M8000's and just bought a pair of M8020's. I have two bikes.

    Gonna swap calipers and make my own Shimano XT Magura Trails... 4pot front/2pot rear on both bikes.
    This is the hot setup.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    2 will be more than adequate.
    This.

    I still run the 2-piston XT brakes on my enduro bike, for whatever that's worth. I really can't see needing anything more on a fat bike.

  8. #8
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    Long fast descents or bike parks? 4. Regular ole riding (most of us)? 2. If you find you want/need a little more power with 2 piston, larger rotors help.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcontent View Post
    I'm shopping for brakes and am trying to figure out whether to go with 2 pistons or 4. I weigh about 165 and am not a super aggressive rider. Do I need the 4 pistons or should 2 be adequate? Are there any other factors that should tip me toward one of these models vs. the other (other than cost, which is very much on my mind. )?
    You'll be fine with the 2 pistons, no question.... However if it were me, I would go with SLX 7000s all day over the 8000s. Cheaper, way better looking finish, no useless free stroke phillips bolt thingie and they feel exactly like 8000s.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    This is the hot setup.
    I'm looking forward to it! Metal pads all around as I like the aggressive bite and burn through organic pads quite quickly.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcontent View Post
    I'm shopping for brakes and am trying to figure out whether to go with 2 pistons or 4. I weigh about 165 and am not a super aggressive rider. Do I need the 4 pistons or should 2 be adequate? Are there any other factors that should tip me toward one of these models vs. the other (other than cost, which is very much on my mind. )?
    Need? Maybe, maybe not. But what does that have to do with anything =)

    I've run the 8000's on two bikes, and my current bike has had 8000 and 8020 and hands down, i love the feel, power, and everything else about the 8020 setup more. Granted, add about 35lbs, and some sorta aggressive downhill bits in my normal rides, but I've also been just as happy with 8020s on casual rides through smooth flowy XC trails.

  12. #12
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    I have 8000 and I suffer the level pumping issue, I believe 8020 don’t have that problem, not sure though, but if that’s the case I’d go 8020.
    In fact I’m thinking of swapping mine for Deore 4 pot

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaniardclimber View Post
    I have 8000 and I suffer the level pumping issue, I believe 8020 don’t have that problem, not sure though, but if that’s the case I’d go 8020.
    In fact I’m thinking of swapping mine for Deore 4 pot
    .... my 8020s pumped as well. If I were buying a new brake set today it would be a Formula Cura 2.

    ^ And this is from a Shimano brake fanboy.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Bone View Post
    .... my 8020s pumped as well. If I were buying a new brake set today it would be a Formula Cura 2.

    ^ And this is from a Shimano brake fanboy.
    Shimano fan here too, that’s why I might go the Deore way :-), no pumping issues on those...but XT lever is so nice...

  15. #15
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    My M8000 suffered from the "pump up" out back until I bled it. They seem a bit pickier than the older gen stuff about air in the system, but they've been great the last year or so. And D Bone is right...M7000 are just as good for less $$.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaniardclimber View Post
    I have 8000 and I suffer the level pumping issue, I believe 8020 don’t have that problem, not sure though, but if that’s the case I’d go 8020.
    In fact I’m thinking of swapping mine for Deore 4 pot
    There were some early 8000 series brakes that suffered from pump. In general, inconsistent bite is a bleed problem, and can't be blamed on the brakes.


    As far as 2 pistons vs 4... if you don't tax your 2 piston brakes... go with 2. If you need to worry about pads or if 7-8" rotors are going to be adequate... just get 4 piston calipers, at least in front. The weight difference is meaningless cuz stopping safely with confidence comes first.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    There were some early 8000 series brakes that suffered from pump. In general, inconsistent bite is a bleed problem, and can't be blamed on the brakes.
    Nope. Not a 'bleed problem'. I spoke with a very helpful dude at Shimano Warranty USA (probably too helpful) and he said that it is a design issue, and they are "constantly back ordered on levers to keep up with warranty demands".

    While he didn't elaborate on the reason for the issue, he said that it's easily repeatable and also easy to see why the brakes bite point gets closer and closer on quick repeated hits of the lever.

    Hold your bike by the grips with the front wheel facing up so you can look down the center of the front caliper. Use a bright background behind the caliper (sun light on a piece of white paper, light on your white door, washer, fridge, ect..) and then dab your brake quickly like you were descending a slow, technical downhill.

    You will see the pistons/pads don't fully retract exactly where they were before the lever was 1st pulled pulled. The pistons/pad will remain out just a hair on repeated pulls which changes the dead band until they reach a maximum of where they stay.

    Then lay off the brakes for 20 seconds or so and the pistons/pads will ever so slightly creep back to their original starting point.... It is visible to the eye, so you can imagine what your finger and brain feels.

    7000s, 8000s, 8020s all do it.... right from the factory box with Shimano's bleed, or after an even more thorough bleed. I'm used to it, but it's ludicrous that I have had to get used to it.

    There are many, many riders out there who don't feel the dead band change for a multitude of reasons, (riding style, terrain, they think it's "normal", ect..) but it doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist...... and Shimano knows it.
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  18. #18
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    ^ I have found that if I "over fill the system" by using the Shimano funnel to add fluid to the levers with the wheels installed on the bike in order to do the popular "5 min Shimano lever bleed" trick, then the variable dead band change is at its worst.

    So now I only add fluid and/or "flick the lever to bleed it" after the pistons have been pushed back into their bores and then the yellow bleed block installed.

    I believe this insures the correct fluid level, and what Shimano does during manufacturing.

    While that hasn't completely fixed the issue for me, it does reduce it by a noticeable amount.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Bone View Post
    Nope. Not a 'bleed problem'. I spoke with a very helpful dude at Shimano Warranty USA (probably too helpful) and he said that it is a design issue, and they are "constantly back ordered on levers to keep up with warranty demands".

    While he didn't elaborate on the reason for the issue, he said that it's easily repeatable and also easy to see why the brakes bite point gets closer and closer on quick repeated hits of the lever.

    Hold your bike by the grips with the front wheel facing up so you can look down the center of the front caliper. Use a bright background behind the caliper (sun light on a piece of white paper, light on your white door, washer, fridge, ect..) and then dab your brake quickly like you were descending a slow, technical downhill.

    You will see the pistons/pads don't fully retract exactly where they were before the lever was 1st pulled pulled. The pistons/pad will remain out just a hair on repeated pulls which changes the dead band until they reach a maximum of where they stay.

    Then lay off the brakes for 20 seconds or so and the pistons/pads will ever so slightly creep back to their original starting point.... It is visible to the eye, so you can imagine what your finger and brain feels.

    7000s, 8000s, 8020s all do it.... right from the factory box with Shimano's bleed, or after an even more thorough bleed. I'm used to it, but it's ludicrous that I have had to get used to it.

    There are many, many riders out there who don't feel the dead band change for a multitude of reasons, (riding style, terrain, they think it's "normal", ect..) but it doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist...... and Shimano knows it.
    Interesting - thanks for sharing.

  20. #20
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    I've had the older xt brakes without a bite point issue (785 I think), the 8000 without a bite point issue, 8000 with a bite point issue, and now the 8020s also with a bite point issue.
    The good: The 8020's are more powerful. There's no doubt about that and I like it.
    The bad: the 8020s seem to have a little less lever reach adjustment than the 8000s. I'm not sure why that is. I guess the 8020 levers are slightly different than the 8000 levers even though they are supposed to be compatible. I prefer the adjustment on the 8000s but I've gotten used to it. I've also gotten used to the wandering bite point.
    The alternative: If I were doing it over again I might just source the calipers, the correct banjo bolt and use the old levers. I did consider the TRP brakes but chose the xt route.

  21. #21
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    can anyone tell me how these compare to the Guide RSCs? Do they provide more stopping power?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lardo5150 View Post
    can anyone tell me how these compare to the Guide RSCs? Do they provide more stopping power?
    I'll let you know. I am replacing my Guide RS brakes with 8020s. I should have them by the end of the week.

  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by lardo5150 View Post
    can anyone tell me how these compare to the Guide RSCs? Do they provide more stopping power?
    I installed the XT 4 pot M8020s on Friday and got a couple rides in this weekend. The XTs definitely bite harder. My perception is that it takes a lot less force to lock the wheels up than with the Guides. On the Guides I would have to pull the levers damn near to the bar to lock up a tire. I would actually have to consciously think about it if I wanted to skid. The XTs have a strong initial bite but also modulate nicely until lockup. They require less force overall and have a nice light feel.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Bone View Post
    Nope. Not a 'bleed problem'. I spoke with a very helpful dude at Shimano Warranty USA (probably too helpful) and he said that it is a design issue, and they are "constantly back ordered on levers to keep up with warranty demands".
    Did he say if this issue was resolved via warranty or if it was just a design issue we have to deal with?

    Quote Originally Posted by lardo5150 View Post
    can anyone tell me how these compare to the Guide RSCs? Do they provide more stopping power?
    Yes, significantly more.

    I feel they modulate well enough, but the added power is really nice. They aren't as grabby as I expected and I didn't have to adjust my riding too much compared to the guides, but I could get away with just about anything on the Guides with brake power down. These do require more modulation with your fingers and more careful application of the brakes, but I found it an easy adjustment even on slower technical sections.

  26. #26
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    Can someone tell me please how’s the XT 4 pistons compare to Sram Code R in terms of power-modulation-reliability? My next bike (Bronson V3) comes with Code R, but my LBS offered to replace them for the XT 4 Pistons free of charge.

    On my last bike i had Guide R and i had many problems with them, in the end i had to fix them, but when they worked i really liked the modulation compared to the XT 2 pistons i tried (didnt like the ‘on\off’ feeling).

    Im sure the Code R are powerful and having nice modulation, but unless they’re super reliable, im thinking to go with XT M8020, hoping they are reliable, having more modulation and power compare to the 2 piston version i tried. I would like to have brakes that works and i can trust them, without thinking if they’ll hold the all day or will brake down while im riding…

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddy-Runs View Post
    Can someone tell me please how’s the XT 4 pistons compare to Sram Code R in terms of power-modulation-reliability? My next bike (Bronson V3) comes with Code R, but my LBS offered to replace them for the XT 4 Pistons free of charge.

    On my last bike i had Guide R and i had many problems with them, in the end i had to fix them, but when they worked i really liked the modulation compared to the XT 2 pistons i tried (didnt like the ‘on\off’ feeling).

    Im sure the Code R are powerful and having nice modulation, but unless they’re super reliable, im thinking to go with XT M8020, hoping they are reliable, having more modulation and power compare to the 2 piston version i tried. I would like to have brakes that works and i can trust them, without thinking if they’ll hold the all day or will brake down while im riding…
    Not what you’re asking but how about swapping them to Code RSC’s? They’re a bit nicer than R’s as you can adjust the contact point. Codes don’t have any issues like the first version Guides did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farfromovin View Post
    Not what you’re asking but how about swapping them to Code RSC’s? They’re a bit nicer than R’s as you can adjust the contact point. Codes don’t have any issues like the first version Guides did.
    The Core RSC will cost me extra while the XT's are free of charge. If i need to pay more for new brakes, i'll go with Magura MT7 instead... but good to know the Code's dont have any issues compare to the guides i had.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    Did he say if this issue was resolved via warranty or if it was just a design issue we have to deal with?
    Current design issue somewhere... he didn't elaborate and I didn't push.
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  30. #30
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    I recently moved from m7000 slx to shimano zee 4-pots. I thought it would be a substantial upgrade due to my clyde-ness. Its only been a week or so, but thus far I dont think its worth the extra upcharge. Granted I dont do very long downhills, but the 2 pot shimanos have always worked well for me. I do like the modulation on the zee, but I also thought the m7000 had good modulation compared to the earlier m785 range. For a 165 pound rider, I think youll be fine with the 2-pots. Get bigger rotors if you want.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Bone View Post
    ^ I have found that if I "over fill the system" by using the Shimano funnel to add fluid to the levers with the wheels installed on the bike in order to do the popular "5 min Shimano lever bleed" trick, then the variable dead band change is at its worst.

    So now I only add fluid and/or "flick the lever to bleed it" after the pistons have been pushed back into their bores and then the yellow bleed block installed.

    I believe this insures the correct fluid level, and what Shimano does during manufacturing.

    While that hasn't completely fixed the issue for me, it does reduce it by a noticeable amount.
    I think you are on to something here. I read in another thread someone had the same experience and observed that with the topped off reservoir, the pistons have a more difficult time retracting. It kindof makes sense, I suppose, the fluid seems to thicken when it's cold and I could see a situation where it can't retract back into the reservoir fast enough when there is excessive oil and not enough space.

    I have two other friends that use the same brakes and haven't had this issue, one said it happened a few times when she first started using them, then stopped. Another said it was never an issue.

    I experimented with the process that the Syndicate mechanics used and published on YouTube a few months back, which is basically a gravity bleed with the bleed nipple removed entirely, followed by what amounts to a bleed using new pads or the bleed block (they used new pads but I think the difference is negligible). They also bleed with the freestroke fully out, then close it while doing the lever portion of the bleed. I tried this and, so far, there has been no issue and the amount of stroke change I get is negligible even in colder temperatures.

    The worst time I noticed this was when I did a full Shimano bleed, using their instructions, followed by the reservoir top off technique with the pads in. I think people use this to get a tighter lever feel, but it seems odd to me that it would be necessary to do as the pads wear, that'd be a pretty big design deficiency IMO. Later, I went to bleed them and removed the bolt on the lever and the system was pressurized. The extent to which I had lever issues was the highest at this point.

    I have a spare M8020 rear that I will experiment with this on once it gets cold enough again.

  32. #32
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    This "overfilling logic" could also explain why this wandering bite point appears on hot(ter) conditions; When the brake is used heavily, the fluid expands when it heats up, but if the reservoir is overfilled, it has nowhere to go causing the bitepoint to move inwards...

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