Shimano SLX disc brake review£123.00

Powerful and reliable braking

BikeRadar score3/5

SLX looks like a stripped-down XT, but there are some significant differences that make it the more cost-effective brake of the two.

It shares its angular-looking master cylinder body and hooked lever with XT, which means the same awkward-to-install closed clamp and single-sided design.

It doesn’t get the ‘free stroke’ bite point-adjust screw, but we’ve always struggled to make that work anyway. The calliper is a two-piece bolted unit that adds 36g over XT, but it’s £40 cheaper and easier to bleed.

Organic pads make it usefully powerful in the dry but are less impressive in the wet. Life is short too so we recommend you upgrade to sintered as soon as they’re worn out.

The Servo Wave lever cam system increases power at the point of contact but gives more clearance when open. Overall control is good but not outstanding.

SLX dry: slx dry
SLX dry: slx dry

Dry all: dry all
Dry all: dry all

SLX wet: slx wet
SLX wet: slx wet

Wet all: wet all
Wet all: wet all

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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