Shimano’s basic Deore delivers the best performance in the budget brake market.
They don’t get the tool-free reach adjust or the variable leverage ‘Servo Wave’ cam of the more expensive SLX brakes. That means there’s less pad retraction and increased scuff noise in dirty conditions.
The hose exit angle on the calliper is fixed and can look untidy on some frames, and when you stick them on a dyno they’ve got 7% less power too. That’s enough for perceptive riders to notice on the trail when things get fast and steep and makes a 180mm or larger front rotor essential for aggressive riding.
There’s no dimpled grip detailing on the broad lever either but feel is still excellent, with impressive modulation being the obvious gain over cheaper Shimano sets. You also get a hinged safety-catch-equipped bar clamp with I-Spec shifter integration for a neat cockpit setup.
Funnel-based bleeding of the skin, paint and eco-friendly mineral oil internals is simple if you’re patient and we’ve had none of the variable bite point issues of some more expensive Shimano units.
Pads are secured with split pins not screw-in rods, but we’ve found the original resin sets to last surprisingly well even in winter conditions. They deal with heat well enough to run longer-lasting, harder-biting sintered pads for riding in the UK or upgrade to finned pads for big-mountain use.