Shimano’s new XT brake isn’t light and the bite point adjustment is limited but it offers innovative mountain-proof power and outstanding single-finger control.
The double barreled master cylinder design looks weird, but the short, deeply crooked dimpled grip lever is ergonomically superb and reach adjustment is easy via the tool-free knob too. The ‘Servo Wave’ cam action means plenty of free running pad clearance but serious power and fantastic feedback on contact.
The M785 trail brake comes with finned heat reducing Ice Technologies pads as standard which gives it excellent heat tolerance. Sintered spares in the pack further improve the already good value of the £109.99 brake set.
The matching steel/alloy/steel sandwich Ice Tech rotors (£49.99) are now available in conventional six-bolt or Center Lock splined fixing too. Alternatively you can pick the standard alloy spider rotor (£36.99), the basic steel rotor (£24.99) or just use whatever you’ve already got.
Weight is relatively high but this brake is powerful enough that you can drop a rotor size without worry and reliability has been superb so far. This means the stiff, restricted range ‘free stroke’ bite adjustment is our only gripe.