Shimano XTR disc brake review£218.00

Overweight race brake

BikeRadar score2/5

XTR is the oldest brake in the Shimano line-up and it’s definitely starting to show. With its angular two-tone finish it looks good, but the single-bolt split clamp needs to be nursed onto carbon bars to avoid scratching, and if you need to swap over and bleed the single-sided levers prepare to be patient, as it’s very hard to get all the bubbles out.

Despite cutaway looks and a single-piece calliper body it’s heavy for a top-end cross-country brake (449g), and the XTR’s alloy centre rotor (XT is pictured here) is also heavier than a conventional six-bolt unit.

The brake and rotor are sold separately though, so that may not be an issue, and we like the simplicity of Center Lock fitting if you’ve got a compatible hub.

In braking terms the XTR performed better than we expected on the dyno, recording average power in wet and dry conditions despite feeling a bit weak on the trail. Typically for Shimano it is reliable once you’ve eventually got it set up, though.

Dry brakes graph:
Dry brakes graph:

Dry brakes graph:
Dry brakes graph:

Wet brakes graph:
Wet brakes graph:

Wet brakes graph:
Wet brakes graph:

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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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