It’s gone up in price but Shimano’s Deore brake is still our favourite, totally trustworthy trail brake with useful modular packaging. The crisply ﬁnished right angle master cylinder gets blade-mounted reach adjust and a hinged clamp for easy ﬁtting.
The brake (lever + calliper) is sold separately (£70) so if you’re upgrading an existing system and don’t need mounting bracket (£8) and rotor (£27+) it’s a real bargain. You could also save 50g or more opting for a lighter rotor such as an Ashima Airotor or Gusset R Series rather than the standard Shimano one.
Power with the supplied resin pads is impressive on trail and outstanding on the dyno – signiﬁcantly outperforming Shimano's more expensive SLX and XT Servo Wave brakes, although switching to sintered pads gives a better lifespan.
Most importantly, it’s ultra dependable in terms of control consistency and reliability. Spares are readily available too and we've even run it on olive oil in foreign emergencies when mineral oil hasn’t been available.
Also consider: Shimano SLX, £130. Servo Wave design offers more pad clearance and power assisted feel, but the closed clamp makes initial ﬁtting more awkward.