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  1. #1
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    XTR vs XT brakes (785 and 988) power question.

    I've got 3 sets of XTR trail brakes on my bikes. All purchased this year. All 3 had to go back for warranty for the leaking caliper/hose, and were replaced by Shimano. No problems there.

    The problem I have is that comparatively, I kinda feel the XTR brakes "suck" compared to XT stuff I've ridden. The power just isn't there. I've made sure I'm on fresh new pads, I've cleaned, deoiled, etc the rotors. When friends have jumped on my bike, they comment on how much the brakes suck. When I jump on bikes with XT brakes, holleeeyy **** they stop. Like NOW!

    Is there something different with the leverage ratio on the XTR trail lever compared to the XT stuff? I thought both of them were that "servo" or whatever.

    Thoughts/Comments/Etc? Am I crazy? Thinking that I'll buy a set of the XTs to throw them on and see if it's in my head or if it's real.

  2. #2
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    Nah you're not cra cra. My XT brakes on my Yeti are better then the XTR brakes on my Epic, way better.

    The feel is great and modulation is spot on, Plus the XT can be adjusted on the fly.
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  3. #3
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    I had XTRs on my Pivot 5.7 and hated them...XTs have much better power.

  4. #4
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    XTs must be pretty damn powerful.
    I've got XTR trails on mine and the power is phenomenal. Best combination of power and modulation I've ever tried.
    I actually sold my Hopes because I was so impressed that the XTR were able to match their feel and modulation but wih way, way more power.

  5. #5
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    Sounds to me like your XTR pads have been contaminated.
    Replace them clean rotors with 300 grit sand paper and retry. I had this issue on my XT brakes being poor.

  6. #6
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    So to follow up on this. I think I figured it out. I've cleaned my bike with ProGold Bike Wash and Finish Line Bike Wash. Always sprayed the brakes liberally as to get all the old dust off of there. They both have pretty much the same formula and it's actually sort of slimey until you really wash it off. I think this stuff gets into the brake pads.

    When I ride on my normal XCish stuff around here and the short descents, the pads never get hot enough to burn that stuff off. I took the bike to Colorado and had a couple of rotor searing descents. Like turn the rotors blue. After that, the XTR brakes have been PHENOMENAL. Now that I rode back home and compared on my "normal trails" the brakes were much better. Then I washed my bike.....back to garbagio.

    Heading to the mountains in a few mins. I'll make sure to do a brake drag down one of the longer FSR descents to heat up the brakes and we'll see if they come back.

  7. #7
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    Re: XTR vs XT brakes (785 and 988) power question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flucod View Post
    Lesson here is, DO NOT WASH YOUR BIKE!

  8. #8
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    The metallic pads make a huge difference in performance on the XTR brakes, otherwise the resin pads seem to go to crap every time you turn around, and they howl and squeal. Metallic pads and you instant consistent performance.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  9. #9
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    The resin pads are supost to be more quiet I thought...?

  10. #10
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    Yes, resin pads are quieter and have a smoother feel. The metallic pads are more powerful, but also feel grabby.

    I personally have never felt a difference between XTR, XT (and SLX for that matter) brakes, and I've run all 3, so the contamination with the bike wash stuff makes sense. I guess if you want to use anything else besides water to wash your bike, take out your pads first.

  11. #11
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    I kind of had the same problem with you except with my XT's. I thought mine sucked, but then everybody else's XT's were phenomenal. I swapped out the Ice-Tech Resin pads for Ice-Tech Metallic pads and holy crap what a difference! I rode a buddy's Yeti today with XTR's and they felt identical to mine, except his looks cooler lol

  12. #12
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    Realize time has passed but how are the XTRs holding up compared to Hopes?
    Quote Originally Posted by jon123 View Post
    XTs must be pretty damn powerful.
    I've got XTR trails on mine and the power is phenomenal. Best combination of power and modulation I've ever tried.
    I actually sold my Hopes because I was so impressed that the XTR were able to match their feel and modulation but wih way, way more power.
    All bike, all the time

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeIntelligencer View Post
    Realize time has passed but how are the XTRs holding up compared to Hopes?
    I can't praise them enough!
    Truly a remarkable brake that easily lives up to its hype.
    Power is phenomenal. Way more than Hopes in my opinion. Modulation is every bit as good. Bleeding is ridiculously easy (and even enjoyable).
    And the refinement and precision of Shimano is amazing. In fact, I've been so amazed by Shimano that after years of running Sram I've switched over to XTR drivetrain too.

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