XTR is the oldest brake in the Shimano line-up and it’s deﬁnitely starting to show. With its angular two-tone ﬁnish it looks good, but the single-bolt split clamp needs to be nursed onto carbon bars to avoid scratching, and if you need to swap over and bleed the single-sided levers prepare to be patient, as it’s very hard to get all the bubbles out.
Despite cutaway looks and a single-piece calliper body it’s heavy for a top-end cross-country brake (449g), and the XTR’s alloy centre rotor (XT is pictured here) is also heavier than a conventional six-bolt unit.
The brake and rotor are sold separately though, so that may not be an issue, and we like the simplicity of Center Lock ﬁtting if you’ve got a compatible hub.
In braking terms the XTR performed better than we expected on the dyno, recording average power in wet and dry conditions despite feeling a bit weak on the trail. Typically for Shimano it is reliable once you’ve eventually got it set up, though.
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