The race stops here.
Already considered some of the best brakes a cross-country racer can buy, Shimano's XTR Race brakesets are light, reliable, and powerful enough even for moderately seriously trail riding. The newest generation, the Shimano XTR BR-M9000 Race Brakes, sees even further refinement — including to the oft-changing I-Spec design, which adds yet one more generation to become I-Spec II.
If you've got a pair of I-Spec II shift levers, you can save valuable cockpit real estate by attaching both the shift and brake levers with one clamp; however, do note that the expanded customization options of I-Spec II levers mean they aren't compatible with the less adjustable I-Spec A or B models.
While the basic platform of the XTR Race brakes hasn't changed dramatically, and it will be cosmetically familiar to anyone who knows mountain bikes and has eyeballs, a host of improvements have been made under the skin. Foremost, the Race calipers and master cylinders are now made out of magnesium, while the lever blade is now made of carbon fiber, all in the name of weight savings without sacrificing strength or performance. The Servo-Wave lever cam has also been eliminated and the lever motion refined for smoother engagement and control. Inside, ceramic pistons have been replaced by phenolic glass ones, which Shimano says are more durable and better at heat insulation. New insulation of the pistons and special insulation on the backing of the pads across the XTR brake range all furthers the mission of heat management, all but negating your concerns for compromised braking performance or control on even the longest and fastest of descents.
The Shimano XTR BR-M9000 Race Brakes come in one color, and rotors are not included. Shimano strongly recommends its new 140mm, 160mm, and 180mm Freeza rotors for use with the Race brakes. The brakes are sold as individual front or rear units, so please purchase one of each if you’d like a complete set.
- Magnesium caliper and master cylinder
- Carbon fiber brake lever
- Refined braking engagement
- Improved heat management