Shimano XTR M980 Race disc brake review£260.00

Flagship race brakes

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The Race’s master cylinder uses the same high polish piggyback reservoir design as its XTR stablemate, the Trail (M985), but with the bore cap on the reservoir screwed in to reduce capacity (and weight) and only small Allen key reach adjust on the lever.

It’s not a flip-flop design and it’s heavier than other flagship race brakes but the hinged bar clamp makes fitting easy. Feel from the short lever blade is superb – slightly squeezy but with outstanding modulation and fine control of its average power. The four-arm-spider ICE rotor (140mm size; the larger sizes, as pictured, are five-arm) uses a high-tech sandwich construction to reduce heat build-up.

However, our sample was fading at the end of the 150N pull sequence. The ICE rotor is only available in a Center Lock splined version which limits it to Shimano and DT Swiss wheels. It’s sold as separates so you can swap to a standard six-bolt XT rotor if you’re not going to cook it too hard.

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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