These Shimano XT Disc Brakes M785 are a big improvement over old XT brakes. At first glance you'll see how they use an in-line master cylinder as opposed to the radial design of the M-775. This allows a lighter weight system and an easier bleed process. They still use mineral oil as a hydraulic fluid. The great part is that it's non-toxic and non-corrosive. If you spill some when you bleed your brakes, there's nothing to worry about.They take their design cues from the new XTR M988 Trail Brakes. And though these might not be as visually refined as the highly polished XTR units, the performance speaks for itself. This is hands down the best XT brake we've ever ridden. In addition to the excellent power and modulation, the XT Brakes offer easy adjustment to make your hands happy and to give you ultimate control. There is a tool-free reach adjustment that you can dial on-the-fly. They also have a free stroke adjustment that lets you determine how far you like the blade to travel before your pads make contact with the rotor. You can dial them to perfection.Sizewise, the M785 levers are much lower profile than the M775 levers, but more importantly, the movement of the lever pivot towards the bar creates a more ergonomic design. In essence, the arc of the lever optimizes your natural finger movement and position of strength with the point in the lever travel where your power is transferred through the system to the caliper. These also feature Shimano's Servo Wave technology. Servo Wave allows the pads to sit further from the rotors at rest (a great feature for trail/all mountain bikes that might see more rotor abuse than a race machine). This is possible as the piston travel changes relative to lever travel as you squeeze on the brakes to close the gap to the rotor quickly, then slowing to allow predictable modulation.The calipers use a 22mm ceramic piston for inspiring stopping power, and Shimano has brought back a banjo fitting for the hose attachment at the caliper.
Strengths: Easy to bleed (I had to shorten both hoses), great modulation, works well with my leftover AVID rotors, tool free reach adjustment, and I could go on and on.
Weaknesses: None. Really tried to think of some...but can't.
Upgraded from circa 2009-ish AVID Juicy 7's. Really wanted them to work (or should say really didn't want to spend money on new ones) but after researching, reading, bleeding, tinkering I just couldn't get the stopping power or lever feel that I wanted. Like everyone else, I have a day job and while I don’t mind some tinkering I got tired of the frustration of these brakes just not working perfectly. This is supposed to be a fun hobby, not a source of frustration and stress – right? Turkey warble noise was a frequent occurrence.
Everybody raves about the Shimano M785 discs online, so it seemed like the obvious choice. Caught them on sale (they seem to be on sale everywhere now, which leads me to believe the next generation can’t be far away) and took the plunge.
I used my AVID mounting brackets with no compatibility problems (did not reinstall CPS bolts…just used normal non-adjustable bolts). I’m running 160 AVID rotor in back, and 185 in front (yes…I got it to work with the crazy avid specific 185mm rotor no problems). Someday I might upgrade to Shimano ice tech rotors, but with the good performance I’m getting now I’m in no rush. My brakes also came with the finned brake pads. After 8-10 good rides haven’t noticed any appreciable wear.
Easy to install, and the stopping power is amazing. I had to bleed both front/rear, and highly recommend you just buy the $10 bleed funnel. You could use a syringe on the lever and it would probably work fine but the funnel works really well. I really appreciated the mineral oil (used the Shimano red tinted oil) and how it didn’t cause skin irritation like the AVID DOT 5.1.
Once adjusted they do NOT rub when coasting (having only used AVID CPS bolts in the past I wasn’t sure how this would work, but it does). These things stop so well that I’m afraid in a moment of panic at some point I’m going to (as a reflex) white knuckle the levers and lock both wheels at high speed…we’ll hope that doesn’t happen. I have no problem locking up my rear 160mm rotor (if I want to…but I also have plenty of modulation if I don’t). Once I got them set up I haven’t touched them since. They just work. Period. I can now ride and enjoy without having to spend hours tinkering with brakes.
If you’re using another brake that frustrates you (hard to bleed, low stopping power, bad lever feel) just pony up and buy these. You won’t be sorry, and I don’t see myself going back to AVID anytime soon.
Strengths: Incredible stopping power.
Easy set up.
Slim to no brake fade on extended downhills.
Weaknesses: Two part allow makes them ricky to straighten after bending.
Mysterious temporary fade when reinstalling wheel.
These brakes were an upgrade from the sub-par mechanical discs that came stock on my bike. I installed the six bolt rotors myself with the required torx bit and then brought them by my bikeshop to have them torqued to spec. The levers needed no help from the shop to install however the hydraulic lines were quite long for my 18" hardtail.
These brakes come with the necessary clamp and new olive to allow you to trim them down and do away with ridiculous loops in your brake lines. The only tools needed are a hammer, cable cutters and adjustable wrench and a vice grips. The trick is to keep the caliper below the line when you cut it so you don't lose fluid, create bubbles and then have to bleed them. There are some great vids online describing how to do this. You can skip trimming the lines all together if you don't mind long cables or your bike shop can do it for a reasonable price.
Once I had everything bolted up and the lines cut to length I went for a ride. The stopping power is an effortless one finger affair with excellent modulation and control. I tackled extra technical descents with confidence. The remarkably easy one finger braking power left the majority of my hands and fingers free for controlling the bike and shifting. On pavement I tried a few emergency stops from a full sprint with my butt over the back wheel and found it surprisingly easy to lock up the back brake but once on the trail these brakes proved well mannered and infinitely controllable. They can be dialed in on the fly from the handlebar. With a few spins of the adjusting barrel you can put these right in the sweet spot of your index finger.
These brakes would satisfly anyone but the most dedicated downhiller. Their lightweight makes them great for racing and cross country and their stopping power would make them perfect for all mountain riders. I ran the 60mm rotors and I have trouble imagining any improvement from bigger discs. I suppose you could go to 80's if you spend a lot of time bombing down huge descents. Although I went with Shimano's discs to guarntee perfect compatibility and avoid squealing I believe these brakes will work with other rotors.
These brakes are amazingly quiet. I chose the XT's after reading about squeeling issues coming from Avid and other manufacturers. I've had squeeling discs and there is no bettter way to spoil a ride. The consensus was these brakes don't squeel and that was the case for me. My experience is that the assessment is absolutely correct. I have not heard a peep from these beastly stoppers.
Somehow my rear wheel came out of it's dropouts on a large log hop and bent the disc. I was able to finish my ride but when I got home I found the Ice Tech system with aluminum mounting spokes and outer steel disc is difficult to bend back into shape. The steel disc dissipates heat into it's alluminum mounting star which also makes the discs lighter. When trying to straighten these the disc tends to bend independent of the arms, tweaking instead of straightening. All of this will probably never be a concern if you know how to properly tighten a wheel skewer and not bend your disc in the first place.
Bike Setup: Scott Aspect 55 26er hard tail. Suntour Axon 100mm remote lockout suspension fork. Easton EA-70 wheels with front 15mm hub.
Sram XO grip shift 1 x 10 with Sram 11-36 casette and X9 med cage derailleur. Shimano XT Hollowtech crank 28-40.
Strengths: Price, power, modulation, lever design, pad wear, adjustment, reliable easy to bleed.
Weaknesses: not the lightest brake out there
These are fantastic performers and the just work and are reliable. No warranty returns leaks or frequently bleeding. No fading even when descending 2000-3000 feet. I had the privilege of descending about 100,000 ft last year and these work every time. Some of my friends descended more like 200,000 ft with theirs and they continue to perform flawlessly. Its the best brake on the market for the price.
Similar Products Used: Hope Mini's, Formula Oro K24's, Avid Juicy 7's
Bike Setup: Nomad C complete XT group
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2013
Strengths: Impressive stopping power
I replaced an Avid Elixir 3 system that came stock on my Stache with these based on reviews and techs at my LBS. They do the job they're designed for very well with a minimal amount of tinkering. Good modulation, power. They may seem abit pricey, but compared to XTR's and some others they're a steal considering they perform very well and are much less money. Have had Elixir 1's and Hayes on previous bikes and there is no comparison.
My advice: Pay the man and get something you can count on.
Pay the man and get something you can count on
Strengths: No-fuss brake setup with excellent braking ability and excellent reliability.
Weaknesses: Plastics but that's just cosmetic.
I bought a new front set at a great deal from a canadian online store after reading lots of reviews and comments from others. I don't have money for a Hope set so the XT is the next best thing so when I installed it and tried for the first time, it's so much better than the original Hayes Stroker Ryde which came with my bike. It's easy to modulate the braking power yet still have the servowave technology which allow me to clamp on the rotor quickly with a very little lever pull then get it linear till locking. This is with the Hayes V6 rotors which is still OEM and I plan to get a set of Magura Storm SL rotors later.
If you find it at a great price, it's the best you can get !
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz Nickel, FOX shocks, DT Swiss wheels. XT Brakes.
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2013
Strengths: 1 finger braking that stop's you with little effort. Way cheaper than XTR.
Weaknesses: XTR look better
@ Shleppy, clad you're not my wrench. Not sure why you had a problem installing them. I put mine on myself, no problem, easy to set up.
Best stopping power for me so far. I love to brake late & these give you the confidence to do just that. Brake lever is spot on for comfort & economic's. One finger braking with less effort than other brakes = less fatigue. The first time you squeeze the lever, will leave you gobsmacked. Quite too, what's not to like unless you like squealing like a pig. Cheers...
Weaknesses: the only thing would be the alignment, they need a small amount of copper grease on the washers between the caliper and fixing bolt otherwise when u tighten them up they move ever so slightly and feel spongy and no power.
had juicy bb7 bb5 all crap then formula great power but noise and vibration make these crap too.
lets face it all mtb brakes make noise when wet but dry these are by far the best brakes i have used
Strengths: Consistent, just one finger needed, work great in wet conditions
Weaknesses: none yet
I have been riding for about a year and a half and have had the opportunity to ride serveral different bikes. Breaks have almost always been one of the weak points, however these have been an exception to that rule. I have to add the caveat that I have not riden these breaks for a really long time, but in the time I have had them they have been a dream. The last set of breaks I had always required two fingers and when your flying down a steep and fairly technical trail and need to slow down two needing two fingers can be an issue. Especially at the end of a long ride when your grip strength may not be what it was when you started. I would recommend these to anyone and for just about any bike.
Strengths: Gobs and Gobs of power
Nice Feel at Lever
Easy to Bleed
Weaknesses: Expensive if you paid retail
Don't include rotors.....especially at price.
Takes a while to break in
Been on these brakes for about 3 months now. Been running Elixir R's on my SS.
Built up a new SS and heard good things about these, so decided to give them a go.
Hoses were too long for my L Highball, so had to immediately shorten the hoses. Simple task, but bleeding the brakes was kinda a pain without the bleed cup. Micky Moused my own cup and made it work. No loss in performance since then.
First ride out I found them to be waaaayyy too grippy......like lock of the wheels with just light pressure on the bars. Thought this may have been caused partially by the Avid G3 160mm rotors I am running. I found myself a bit timid to break with the front wheel in turns....felt like it wanted to tuck under me. After about 1.5 weeks of riding they bedded in and all was good. Feel at the lever got better and I was able to modulate them the way I wanted. I could only imagine how these work on a bike with 8" rotors.
I have run older 765 XT's in the past and these are much nicer. Not sold on the looks, but they function very well.
I have had some issues with noise coming from the pads. The Metallic pads, mixed with the Avid rotors causing a horrific squeal when they get hot. Planning to swap out for ICE Tech rotors and organic pads.
I run them on the SS so I don't know how well the levers mate up with the X.0 Grip shift I would normally run.
Only wish they included the rotors.
After the first couple of rides, thought for sure I would be selling these quick. They have grown on me.
Similar Products Used: Avid BB7 and BB5. Avid Juicy 5, Juicy 7 and Juicy Carbons. Hope Pro Mini. Magura Martas.
Bike Setup: Trek Superfly pro Al
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2012
Strengths: Quiet, good modulation, VERY strong stopping power
Weaknesses: none yet
These are the first Shimano brakes I have owned, Hoses were very long, easy to mount, and setup.
After riding BB7's on my 29'er FS, I had to re-learn braking with single finger, They are VERY strong, and smooth, After owning SRAM (Jiucy's, Elixirs, BB7's) these are my favorites!!