2012 Shimano Deore XT and MT55 mountain bike wheels – Just in

Plus Magura MT8 disc brakes and Blackburn Toolmanator 3

Two of the latest mountain bike wheelsets from Shimano have just arrived in the post – the ‘Race’-spec Deore XT M785 and the new entry-level MT55 – along with Magura’s new range-topping MT8 disc brake. Look out for reviews on BikeRadar soon.


Shimano Deore XT M785 wheels

The 2012 Deore XT groupset is split into two halves, as with its pricier XTR stablemate – ‘Trail’ and ‘Race’. We took a first ride on the M788 trail wheels back in June and now have a couple of sets of the M785 race variants to test courtesy of UK distributors Madison.

The new black and silver hoops have a more subdued look than the white-accented previous-generation XT wheels with their red anodised spoke nipples, but fit in better with the rest of the groupset and look a lot like the latest range-topping XTRs.

Shimano Deore XT M785 15mm front hub
Shimano deore xt m785 15mm front hub: shimano deore xt m785 15mm front hub
James Costley-White/BikeRadar

Shimano stick with their usual cup-and-cone hubs, and the rims are sealed for UST tubeless compatibility. They’re laced with 24 butted stainless steel spokes, front and rear. The rims have a 19mm internal width (23.4mm external) which, based on past experience with Shimano wheels, should support tyres up to 2.2in wide.

If you want to run wider rubber, look to the 21mm-wide trail versions instead, but expect to pay a weight penalty of around 175g. The M785s weighed 1,747g on our scales – 757g for the 15mm-axle front wheel (a quick-release version is also available) and 990g for the rear, including QR skewer. Shimano claim 1,625g a pair.

Other features include a quick-engaging freehub body with pawl engagement every 10 degrees, and forged then anodised alloy hub shells for improved durability. RRP is £339.99 (quick-release front axle) / £349.99 (15mm).

Shimano Deore XT M785 rear hub
Shimano deore xt m785 rear hub: shimano deore xt m785 rear hub
James Costley-White/BikeRadar

Shimano MT55 wheels

The SLX-level MT65 wheels are unchanged for 2012 but slotting in one notch below, and one notch above the entry-level MT15s (which have been given a facelift for the new season), are the new MT55s, priced at £219.98 a set.

For this money you don’t get tubeless compatibility, but you do get cup-and-cone hubs, a fast-engaging freehub at the rear, 24 straight-pull spokes per wheel and Center Lock rotor mounts. The rims are wider than the XTs at 24.6mm (external).

Claimed weight is 1,920g/set but on our scales the MT55s weighed in at 2,077g (945g front, 1,132g rear). There’s a choice of colours – black or white – and a 15mm front hub option for £10 extra. A 29er version of the wheelset is also available.

Shimano MT55 wheelset
Shimano mt55 wheelset: shimano mt55 wheelset
James Costley-White/BikeRadar

Magura MT8 disc brake

We had our first experience of Magura’s new stoppers at their 2012 press launch in Majorca back in April and came away impressed, but with a couple of concerns. Production sets have now landed in the office for more thorough testing so it’ll be interesting to see how they hold up.

This is the first chance we’ve had to put the brakes on our scales, and the results are impressive at 599g a pair, including rotors and mounting hardware. This breaks down as follows: front calliper, hose and lever 180g; 160mm front rotor and bolts 100g; rear calliper, hose and lever 193g; 180mm rear rotor and bolts 126g.

You can find out more about the MT8 in our first ride review. There are three lower priced models in the range for those who can’t afford the £299.99 (per end) pricetag. Look out for full reviews in Mountain Biking UK and on BikeRadar soon, and if you fancy a chance to win some Magura riding kit, head over to our Facebook page.

Magura MT8 disc brake
Magura mt8 disc brake:
James Costley-White/BikeRadar

Blackburn Toolmanator 3

The final new product to land on our desks this week is the Toolmanator 3 from Blackburn. We first saw this clever little 17-function multi-tool at the UK’s iceBike trade show back in February. What sets it apart from its rivals is the inclusion of a tiny shock pump.


Due to its size it’s obviously not going to be much good for pumping up a rear shock or fork from scratch, but for small trailside adjustments, where you just want to add a few psi, it could be ideal. The tool also includes 1.5mm-8mm Allen keys, a Schrader valve adjuster and bladed and Phillips screwdrivers. RRP £35.99.

Blackburn Toolmanator 3
Blackburn toolmanator 3:
John Whitney/BikeRadar