Shimano’s top-level XTR Race brakes aren’t super-light but they’re an impressively powerful and beautifully touchy-feely single-finger stopper.
The Race master cylinder actually uses a smaller diameter double barrel design than the Trail (M988) version, with Allen key rather than tool-free blade reach adjust. The dimpled finger area in the crooked one finger lever is equally broad though and feel is just as smooth and rich, giving it outstanding control on the trail.
Weight is higher than other race competition, but then so is power output which makes a smaller rotor an option to even things out. While the pads are conventional rather than finned as on the Trail, the alloy core/steel skin Ice Technologies rotor keeps heat under control unless you drag them down an Alp.
The Ice Tech rotors also save 20g over Shimano’s conventional discs and are now available for conventional six-bolt hubs rather than just with Shimano’s proprietary Center Lock splined setup. They do cost an extra £8 but as it’s a modular buy you can choose your exact build or just use your existing fixtures. Price has dropped nearly £20 since last year too.