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Shimano Deore XT M8000 2-piston Disc Brakes (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Excellent)
Shimano Deore XT M8000 Brake
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Consistent, reliable power

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Power - Enough to use on DH, Enduro or long descending trail rides.
Reliability - Through several crashes and hits, these brakes continue to perform like they did on day one of purchase.
Availability - Replacement parts and pads are available at most if not all bike shops even in the most remote locations.
Ease of Maintenance - These are by far the easiest brakes to bleed, repair, and replace by using simple hand tools.

The Bad:

The only bad thing is that there always seems to be a need to pump the brakes a few times before they grab at the correct location, like there is an air bubble in the line no matter how good you bleed the brakes.

Overall Review:

These are the standard, no matter what company you prefer, they will always need to compete with Shimano for power andreliability.  There is nothing more consistent than the Shimano XT and the price point is good enough to cover most if not all aspects of Mountain Biking.  With the introduction of the Shimano XT 8020, these can cover the enduro/DH riding style.  There is not much trigger feel as the brakes bite with 80-100 power within the first few cm's of pulling the lever.  Something I've gotten accustomed to and require in my riding style.  However, there is a downside to these brakes is that there always seems to be an air bubble in the line or caliper which causes you to pump the brake levers a couple to a few times before getting full  power at the desired brake lever pull.  Other than that, these are the ones.

Shimano XT brakes review

The Good:

Easy to maintain. Easy to adjust. Spare parts easily available. Good price. The lever is extremely comfortable. Power is good enough but....

The Bad:

Temperature management could be improved under long descents. Could have a little bit more power.

Overall Review:

I use these brakes in my Yeti Sb5.5 for all mountain / enduro type of rides. They are pretty well tested in some very gnarly conditions, from fast trails, to technical to long descents in Costa Rica where conditions are tropical.

They have proven to be easy to maintain, easy to get spare parts, not expensive and the lever shape and feeling is spot on for my taste. 

The only drawbacks has been in long technical descents where they get hot, hence the lever feeling gets on the stiffer side, and I wouldn't mind a bit more power. I know the Shimano Saints would address this, but with the cost of added weight.

Why this is the only brake worth considering....

The Good:

The online discounted price.
The components (lever, caliper, hose) are all compatible with every Shimano brake of the last 20 years.
They're piss to bleed and if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere you can use literally ANY oil, eg Olive oil works fine (tested in the Alps!)
They work fine - power is average
Pads are available everywhere

The Bad:

They're probably more reliable than anything, but they're still not exempt from the "master cylinder lottery" (ie they will eventually start to go wrong)
The levers are flexier than the previous version (M785)
They're only safe to use for 12 months before you should get rid and get some (identical) new ones
The finned pads are a waste of time and offer no noticeable "real" benefit

Overall Review:

It's impossible to review these brakes without first mentioning that they're heavily discounted all over the internet, so the "real" price is closer to £100/pair (not including rotors). That makes them by far the best value performance brake available, from any brand before you even mention that they actually work pretty well too.
They're light weight and pretty powerful, especially with a big ol' rotor.

In theory mineral oil has a lower boiling temperature than DOT fluid, but I've never experienced an overheating problem that was due to the fluid, only the pads start to struggle if you drag and drag them down Alpine hills.

Pads are worth mentioning separately.  Some of the super cheap OEM XT brakes come with really basic pads (not the proper after market pads) that are complete junk and manage to offer little bite and wear out extremely quickly so that's worth bearing in mind before you click "order" from a random German website.  That said, while the proper XT pads are decent, they're not better than your average aftermarket equivelant.  The finned pads offer no ugrade that I've ever noticed either, they just look a bit fancy if you're into that kind of thing. 

Similarly, the aluminium sandwiched disc rotors (Ice Tech) aren't anything other than gimick as far as I'm concerned and that goes for the finned (Freezer Tech) rotors too, although they do look kind cool (only available as Center-lock, which is balls).

I think we should all accept that brakes have a finite lifetime.  None of them last forever before the master cylinders go to random bite points, so 12 months is the most you should expect from these XT's before they'll require what I call "eBay servicing", ie sell on eBay and buy some new ones.  Anyone who buys 2nd hand brakes on eBay deserves what they get.

So they're you go - not outstanding performance, but thoroughly "note bad" and they're so cheap online that I don't see how you could consider other brakes that cost 2 or 3 times as much that are unlikely to be better or last longer.  SImples

All The Stopping Power You Need At A Price You Can Afford

The Good:

Gobs of stopping power. Consistent braking. Tough as nails. Excellent lever shape and feel. Parts are easy to come by. Ease of maintenance, Shimano's are by far my favourite brake to bleed.

The Bad:

Some times the lever requires a couple pumps to get things feeling right and the brakes grabbing. I was told this is an issue with the lever but I couldn't be bothered to send the brakes back and not ride and now I am just used to it. I did have an issue with a rear caliper leaking after 2 years of abuse and crashes, but I grabbed a new caliper on Jenson USA and tossed it on, gave it a quick bleed, and good to go.

Overall Review:

These have been my go to brakes for years. I am a big fan of the way they grab. I couldn't care less about modulation, when I pull my levers I want the brakes to grab. I have used these brakes for everything from a 6 hour endurance event to trail riding to enduro racing and have no complaints. I had a couple issues with them, like the leaking caliper, but the new caliper is working perfectly with no issues. I would recommend these to just about anybody. They look great and can be found for a pretty decent price. The SLX brake is also great if you want to save a couple more bucks and works just as well. I am a big guy at 6'7" and 250 + pounds and love these brakes and have no issues slowing down or stopping, so it always baffles me why lighter guys think they need huge 4 piston stoppers for trail riding. no in saying that, I would love to try the new 4 piston XT brakes. As a reliable everyday do everything brake you can't go wrong with the Shimano XT's or even the SLX's.


Product Shimano Deore XT M8000 2-piston Disc Brakes
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Lever Material
Mount Style Post-mount
Rotor Sizes 140mm, 160mm, 180mm, 203mm
Rotor Mounting 6-bolt or Centerlock
Fluid Type Shimano Mineral
Colors Black
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous Ceramic piston
Brake pad types: G02A Resin, J02A Resin, G04S Metal, J04C Metal
Brake hose type: SM-BH90-SBM
Piston type: 2
Price $56.99
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