Shimano XTR BR-988 Trail Brake
- Item: SHI0348 Actual Weight:"Actual Weight" means we weighed this item ourselves. 269 g
Just as you can get XTR Cranksets in two versions, Race 2x10 and Trail 3x10, the brakes are available to match. And with the wholesale design change from the previous 970 brakes, the performance is more akin to the Shimano brakes we relied on for years, and they weren't recent models either. These XTR Trail Brakes M988 are visually similar to the 985 XTR Race Brakes, though a close inspection will reveal that there are indeed a few differences that make the 988 Trail Brakes more suitable for extreme use.
The lever blade itself is one mm wider, at 14mm, to give you a bit more surface area, and it's dimpled for extra gription. Your fingers will appreciate the beefier blades after lengthy, white-knuckle descents. This version also allows you to adjust the free stroke of the lever blade where the XTR Race levers do not. This function lets you determine how far you like the blade to travel before your pads make contact with the rotor, and couple that with a reach adjustment and you can dial them to perfection.
In comparison with the previous 970 XTR's radial master cylinder design, this 988 XTR master cylinder is far different. For starters, the integrated barrel reservoir sits along and atop the master cylinder which is positioned at a tangent to the bar rather than straight out from it. Sizewise, these levers are much lower profile, 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 where the Race Levers do not. 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 are the same for both the XTR Race and Trail Brakes. They both use a 22mm piston for inspiring stopping power, and Shimano has brought back a banjo fitting for the hose attachment. We're glad because it allows more flexibility with hose routing to keep it safe and looking nice. It should also be noted that these M980 Calipers are lighter than 970calipers, and the polished finish looks great to boot. These 988 XTR Trail Brakes provide 25% more power than 970 levers with no weight increase. They employ Shimano's Radiator Pads. These are specific to the Trail brakes and have integrated fins that rise up out of the caliper to dissipate heat from the pads and caliper body, reducing the temperature by 50° C.
The Shimano XTR Trail Brakes 988 are available separately as right or left levers and calipers and have hinged, split clamps for easy mounting. They come as pre-bled lever/caliper/hose assemblies and are complete for each end of the bike except for rotors (sold separately). Shimano XTR Brakes will work equally well with XTR Ice Tech Rotors or the more standard XT 6-bolt rotors. Please Note: If you plan to run 180mm or bigger rotors, you may need to also purchase the proper Shimano caliper adapters. Check your frame and fork compatibility to determine your needs.