Shimano XTR Trail Disc Brake $239.95
This is stopping power.
Just as you're able to get Shimano 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 braking quality is more akin to the Shimano brakes that we've relied on for years, and they weren't recent models either. These XTR M988B Trail Brakes 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 aggressive use.
The lever blade itself is one millimeter wider, at 14mm, in order to give you a bit more surface area. Additionally, it's dimpled for extra grip at the lever. Your fingers will appreciate the new 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're able to dial them in to perfection.
In comparison to 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. In terms of size, these levers are much lower profile, but more importantly, the movement of the lever pivot towards the bar creates a more efficient design. In essence, the arc of the lever optimizes your natural finger movement. This creates a 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 farther from the rotors at rest, an awesome feature for trail/all-mountain bikes that might see more rotor abuse than a race machine. This is possible because 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 970 calipers, and the polished finish looks beautiful to boot. These XTR M988B Trail brakes provide 25% more power than 970 levers, all without a weight increase. They employ Shimano's Radiator pads. These are specific to the Trail brakes, and they have integrated fins that rise up out of the caliper in order to dissipate heat from the pads and caliper body. As a result, temperature is reduced by a claimed 50 degrees Celsius.
The Shimano XTR M988B Trail Brake is available separately as either a right or left lever and caliper. It's worth noting these have hinged, split clamps for easy mounting. They come as pre-bled lever/caliper/hose assemblies, and they're complete for each end of the bike except for rotors (sold separately). Shimano XTR Brakes will work equally well with XTR Ice Tech Center Lock Rotors or the XT six-bolt rotors, depending on your particular wheelset.
Please Note: If you plan to run 180mm, or larger, rotors, you may need to also purchase the proper Shimano caliper adapters. Check your frame and fork compatibility to determine your needs.
Reviews & Community
1. skill or expertise in a particular activity or field.
2. bravery in battle.
The Shimano XTR Trail Brake has braking juju. It is the best Trail brake on the market. They provide fierce stopping power with comfortable actuation. The adjustable levers are fit for a king. If you've thought about going XTR, just do it and enjoy...they will not disappoint.