Shimano Deore disc brakes have long been my go-to stoppers on a budget. Shimano has basically taken all the essentials needed for a good disc brake and cut away the rest.
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Gone is tool-free reach adjustment – but once set, they don’t need re-adjusting – and gone are any fancy colour options; you can have black or silver, or directional banjo bolts for the hose exiting the caliper. Instead you have a basic lever with a basic two-pot caliper, which just does the job.
They work consistently and work well at a fraction of the cost of other options, so for a lot of people, why look elsewhere? Just about every tester on the team has a bike with Deore brakes somewhere in the stable and no one has a bad word to say about them for the price.
They have plenty of power for a two-pot setup, modulation is good and feedback is right up there with other Shimano brakes as is the positive bite point. There is a good blend of positive lever action and smooth power that’s easy to feed in with increased lever pressure.
There’s enough power too for single finger braking, with a particularly solid feeling, wide-bladed lever.
I ‘ve had previous sets of Deore brakes leak on occasion, mostly at the caliper, but they have largely been repaired under Shimano’s two-year warranty.
Outside the two-year cover period, the lack of seals and pistons in the Shimano spare parts department has led to the frustration of binning otherwise excellent brakes, and while you can’t complain too much when they cost this much, environmentally it’s not ideal.
Although still a pared back version of the more advanced brakes in the Shimano range, the BR-M6000 benefits from features that trickle down from higher up the Shimano ladder.
Hinged bar clamps with safety pins have made an appearance, a feature more traditionally kept for expensive models, and Allen key reach adjustment on the lever helps with customising them to your finger length.
They are also compatible with the aluminium-finned Shimano ICE Tech brake pads to help dissipate heat. With all this tech, they’re far from the super-basic setup you might expect and have got better with age.
Yes, I did find the fixed hose exit from the caliper jarred with the tidy routing on most of my bikes, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker, and it’s great to see all the olives and barbs supplied with the brakes in case you want to trim the hoses.
You can opt for either a fully bled and fitted lever and caliper or, in my case, supplied disconnected for internal routing. Either way, everything is there for trimming, and many will be pleased to know they use the fairly benign option of mineral oil rather than the more paint-stripping DOT fluids.
They lack some of the refinements of brakes higher up the scale, such as on-the-fly adjustment, and maybe don’t have the all-out punch, but for the money you simply can’t go wrong. They are a superb, if slightly functional looking, brake for a lot less than comparable models.
How we tested
We bolted 10 sets of brakes to our test bikes, with a 200mm rotor up front and 180mm at the rear, and scraped our way down descents, checking for power, feel, fade, modulation and reliability.
Other brakes on test included:
- Hope Tech 3 E4 review
- Magura MT 7 Pro
- Shimano Deore XT BR-M8020
- SRAM Code RSC
- Hayes Dominion A4
- Clarks Clout 1
- SRAM G2 Ultimate
- Formula Cura 4