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Justin Vander Pol
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My XT suck so bad that I can't even stop. I ran into a buddy the other day, they're so bad.

Help me out here. I run Juicy's on my other bikes, and can lock up the front with one finger on any of my bikes. These XT's, even with an 8" rotor, are horrible.

They're the stock brakes on an 08 Trek Remedy I bought this fall as a demo bike. The brakes were ok, just a bit mushy. I just replaced the pads and bled them out. The new pads are metallic.

What the heck is going on here? I rode in some really cold weather (15* F) and noticed they were rock hard and strange feeling. Not sure why this would matter, but the cold is the first time they felt like poo.

Here's my theories:
* These brakes just suck ballz compared to Avids.
* The metallic pads suck ballz compared to resin pads (the opposite of Avids).
* I contaminated my BRAND NEW pads (not likely, I'm careful, alcohol on rotors after a bleed, etc, but you never know).

They're soooo bad that something has to be wrong. I'll bleed them again, throw new (metallic, 'cause I have them) pads in, and see if they improve.
 

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If set up right, correctly bled, the 775's should of felt anything BUT mushy when you first got the bike. You rebled them, new pads (which need a bit of bedding-in, but not the issue) so what you should have experienced -but don't mention- is an attained FIRM feel at the lever. If you never achieved that- a successful bleed, then it makes your second experience in cold weather more understandable-

Mineral oil PLUS air in line at 15 deg is going to make for bad braking. If there was no air in line, you might experience slow pad retraction, a slower, full feel at lever but still able to brake sufficiently.

Shimano did have issues early with the 775 and cold, cold temps, and I am sure my reply will be followed with more exact info on that. I have been riding with others that have these brakes, installed a few, and really dig the brake, nice grab, excellent power, and less fuss as I have followed their use. Even I have ridden with them at same temp outside, and have experienced the mineral oil move more slowly, but still have power. If you can't feel security with these brakes, especially running an 8" inch rotor/s, something is afoul.

(Then again, if they do indeed "suck balls" there is an unique market to sell- kidding!)
 

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Justin Vander Pol
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The cold issue was before I bled them and put in new pads. They actually had decent stopping power at that time - though I didn't really give them a run on anything DH-ish.

The levers were indeed nice and firm. I just (meaning an hour ago) re-bled, topped off the fluid, cleaned my rotors, re-centered and cleaned/lubed the pistons, which were pretty sticky on one side. The levers are, again, nice and firm. Just squeezing them and coasting down my driveway I can tell they still lack adequate power. Both front and rear. Pads definitely weren't contaminated.

I put about 2000 feet of vert on them last time I rode, and the pads were basically new. 4 laps at the local hill. They're basically little 500 ft vert DH runs that we call our weeknight xc ride. Is it possible that this isn't enough to break them in?

Do any of you guys run the metallic pads? I'm starting to think this might be the root issue. I'll definitely order up some resin pads.

I also like to run my levers really close to the bar. Maybe XTs don't like to run close to the bar?

The only other think I can think of is that I used Finish Line brand mineral oil. Maybe this stuff sucks (but they're nice and firm, which makes me doubt this is the issue).

This is just strange. I'm really leaning towards the metallic pads being the culprit, which is consistent with what some of my riding buddies recommended. I just can't believe metal pads are this bad.
 

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Thanks juice, for the added information. I am going to have to pass because I have set these brakes up with reach close to the bar (woman with small hands). In testing before handing the build over I could easily stop myself cold -the virtual OTB test- with 160 rotors on a very steep driveway where I work- before a bed-in. Back for a tune-up and check a year later, and I am still impressed ( I ride various brakes, and generally 7"- 8" rotors front on my bikes ).
All that said, I am none too happy about the tendency for the pistons sticking when cold, losing all that servo/cam spacing to boot.
I know where you are riding and the loop you are doing too- huh? Should still have power though. We all are running metallic pads @ the moment too, mineral and DOT users.
 

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I had the same issue once I rode them in cold weather. Mine came on an 08 Yeti. A large batch of the 08 brakes were defective, something about piston alignment. My LBS sent them back to Shimano at my request. Shimano sent back new levers and calipers at no charge. Didn't have an issue after that.
 

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Justin Vander Pol
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Tinshield. I'll talk to the local Shimano rep, who I've worked with on various advocacy/trail projects. I does seem like something isn't right. I've heard very good things from a lot of folks about these brakes.

I was kind of thinking user error (still very possible), but I'm a pretty good wrench, and took the time time to re-do everything just to be sure.

Grand Salmon - sounds like you're local. I've had the bike out at Duthie a bunch, but mostly just sitting on the ground as I built the big logride. Got a few laps on it, but not much braking is required. The ride I did last week was Tokul East - one each of the usual trails we all ride.
 

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juice said:
Thanks Tinshield. I'll talk to the local Shimano rep, who I've worked with on various advocacy/trail projects. I does seem like something isn't right. I've heard very good things from a lot of folks about these brakes.

I was kind of thinking user error (still very possible), but I'm a pretty good wrench, and took the time time to re-do everything just to be sure.

Grand Salmon - sounds like you're local. I've had the bike out at Duthie a bunch, but mostly just sitting on the ground as I built the big logride. Got a few laps on it, but not much braking is required. The ride I did last week was Tokul East - one each of the usual trails we all ride.
All it took was one cold ride and the levers had zero free play and brakes had zero power. Felt like the pistons were stuck. They were never the same after that. My SLX brakes on my Kona have organic pads and feel better than the XT's did with metallic pads... :confused:
 

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Ah good, Tinshield knows more about the bad batch of the first 775's, and both of you have/had '08 sets. juice: thanks for all the Duthie work- looks awesome (and yes, I am an Evergreen member [hard not to say BBTC]), I will have to go check it out soon. And for all your hard work it seems kismet that you have quick and close access to the Shimano rep- good Karma shall prevail; I feel you will get replacements- no doubt!

(now as mineral oil and very cold weather is concerned...)
 

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ballbuster
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I have older XTRs...

juice said:
The cold issue was before I bled them and put in new pads. They actually had decent stopping power at that time - though I didn't really give them a run on anything DH-ish.

The levers were indeed nice and firm. I just (meaning an hour ago) re-bled, topped off the fluid, cleaned my rotors, re-centered and cleaned/lubed the pistons, which were pretty sticky on one side. The levers are, again, nice and firm. Just squeezing them and coasting down my driveway I can tell they still lack adequate power. Both front and rear. Pads definitely weren't contaminated.

I put about 2000 feet of vert on them last time I rode, and the pads were basically new. 4 laps at the local hill. They're basically little 500 ft vert DH runs that we call our weeknight xc ride. Is it possible that this isn't enough to break them in?

Do any of you guys run the metallic pads? I'm starting to think this might be the root issue. I'll definitely order up some resin pads.

I also like to run my levers really close to the bar. Maybe XTs don't like to run close to the bar?

The only other think I can think of is that I used Finish Line brand mineral oil. Maybe this stuff sucks (but they're nice and firm, which makes me doubt this is the issue).

This is just strange. I'm really leaning towards the metallic pads being the culprit, which is consistent with what some of my riding buddies recommended. I just can't believe metal pads are this bad.
and they stop just fine... I would put them up against any brake out there... at least on par with any XC two piston brake out there. XTs are largely the same. My levers are a bit on the spongy side, and I'm pretty sure I got all the air out of there. I think that is just some flex in the brake lines. It isn't that bad at all.

I run the sintered pads... you know... semi metallic. Resin pads suck. I have never been able to get resin to work once they get at all warmed up. Resin also wears out super fast.

I've ridden several friends bikes equipped with XT brakes. They all worked very well. They don't suck. There isn't much that Shimano does that sucks. They spend some really fat cash on engineering and production.

I would look at glazed pads and rotors, or maybe the pads got fouled. If the levers are going flat to the bar and you already bled them, I would double check your bleeding method against the instructions. I found if you rock the bars a bit side to side, some tiny amounts if air will break loose.
 

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I ran into trouble with my LX when installed. I bled a few times and couldn't get them firm. Finally, I pulled hard on the lever and a hole blew out the side of the hose. I believe the inner hard part of the tube broke. When I squeezed the lever, just enough fluid would leak out of the inner part of the tube and give the mushy feel. A new tube make them excellent.
 

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pimpbot said:
and they stop just fine... I would put them up against any brake out there... at least on par with any XC two piston brake out there. XTs are largely the same. My levers are a bit on the spongy side, and I'm pretty sure I got all the air out of there. I think that is just some flex in the brake lines. It isn't that bad at all.

I run the sintered pads... you know... semi metallic. Resin pads suck. I have never been able to get resin to work once they get at all warmed up. Resin also wears out super fast.

I've ridden several friends bikes equipped with XT brakes. They all worked very well. They don't suck. There isn't much that Shimano does that sucks. They spend some really fat cash on engineering and production.

I would look at glazed pads and rotors, or maybe the pads got fouled. If the levers are going flat to the bar and you already bled them, I would double check your bleeding method against the instructions. I found if you rock the bars a bit side to side, some tiny amounts if air will break loose.
What he is describing is a legit issue. The early 08's had issues with sticky pistons and bad cold weather performance.
 

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one of these days people are going to realize that hydro brakes are just overkill for most mtb applications. they are nowhere near worth the hastle, and forget about on the trail repairs unless you like carrying around complete housings and bottles of fluid.

if more people said to the salesguy "i love the bike but we need to ditch the fluid brakes" we would start seeing more mechanical discs on new bikes, but until then (probably never) people will just use whatever the bike industry wants to sell them. hydros are standard not because they are best for the application, but because they make more profit and create more maintenance business.

you just cant beat a good set of bb7's for all around performance, reliability, easy install, and low maintenance :D
 

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Hey dude-
I am really impressed with the elixirs. Sold both sets of my xt 4-pots and my Xtrs, it's elixirs all the way now. They are a bit tricky to bleed, and I suspect the factory bleeds are not consistently good... But the ergonomics, power & modulation are great.

The only reason I mention it, you could sell your xt's & pick up some elixir R's, and probably have cash left over.
 

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Justin Vander Pol
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
salimoneus said:
one of these days people are going to realize that hydro brakes are just overkill for most mtb applications. they are nowhere near worth the hastle, and forget about on the trail repairs unless you like carrying around complete housings and bottles of fluid.

if more people said to the salesguy "i love the bike but we need to ditch the fluid brakes" we would start seeing more mechanical discs on new bikes, but until then (probably never) people will just use whatever the bike industry wants to sell them. hydros are standard not because they are best for the application, but because they make more profit and create more maintenance business.

you just cant beat a good set of bb7's for all around performance, reliability, easy install, and low maintenance :D
No way, dude. Just no way, not even close. With hydros you basically bleed them once a year, change pads a couple times, and they just plain work. I've had Avid mechanicals. Cables get junked up, the pads require constant adjustment, and the power, modulation and feel isn't even close. Sure hydros have some issues, all bike parts do, but less than with mechanicals.
 

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Justin Vander Pol
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
juice said:
I was kind of thinking user error (still very possible), but I'm a pretty good wrench, and took the time time to re-do everything just to be sure.
I think you can see where this is going...

juice said:
Here's my theories:
* I contaminated my BRAND NEW pads (not likely, I'm careful, alcohol on rotors after a bleed, etc, but you never know).
Umm, yeah. My bad. I put in brand new pads on the front and re-re-re-cleaned the rotor. Now the brake has good power.

The pads were obviously contaminated, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how I got oil on them. Maybe in the cold the seals leaked? I did notice my Lyrik drips oil when I hang the bike from the front wheel in my shed, so maybe fork oil got on there (but both F & R?). Maybe I'm just an eeeeediot and somehow got oil on both my front and rear pads. Maybe I was chainsawing too close to my bike and got bar oil splattered on them as we have the oiler valve all the way open for rip-cutting firs into logrides (I actually think this is the most likely). I'm just bummed that I wasted two new sets of pads, and I wasted a bunch of e-time :nono:
 
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