Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12.00pm
By Guy Kesteven
If you want outstanding reliability and control in all conditions – at a bargain price – nothing comes close to Shimano SLX.
The double-barrelled master cylinder and reservoir design is similar to XT and XTR, but without the free stroke adjustment that rarely works convincingly anyway.
SLX has a sturdier, dimpled alloy lever that's so tough it's used in the Saint downhill brake, and it shares those distinctive finned 'Stegosaurus' pads (there to boost cooling) with Saint and XTR Trail. It teams well with Shimano's Ice Tech or Freeza rotors too, if you're heading for big hills.
Control is excellent, and modulation and fine feedback is as good as any other brake here – at least once you're used to the changing leverage of the Servo Wave cam. The power assist from the cam makes merely decent dyno readings feel plenty powerful on the trail. The few extra millimeters of pad retraction the cam brings also mean cleaner, quieter running in dirty conditions, and bedding in is rapid.
Bleeding is easy, the I-Spec mounts integrate with Shimano shifters and reliability is absolutely excellent. That leaves high weight as the only downside to this benchmark of performance versus price.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
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