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Shimano XTR M9020 Disc Brake Set

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Shimano XTR M9020 Disc Brakes
 Shimano XTR M9020 Disc Brake Set  Shimano XTR M9020 Disc Brake Set
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XTR for All Mountain and Enduro Riding M9020

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Light weight
Good stopping power (within reason)
Highly reliable (especially compared to early XT M8000 series brakes)
Easy to install and bleed
I-SPEC II compatibility
Nice looking

The Bad:

Soft lever feel (due to flex in mount/reservoir and plastic feel of lever)
Poor modulation (typical Shimano on/off)
Spongy feeling in rear (low fluid volume, length of rear line, and use of thin walled plastic)
Cost (They will lighten your wallet too)

Overall Review:

XTR for All Mountain and Enduro Riding M9020

The new XTR Trail M9020 brakes are billed as Shimano's higher end enduro/trail rated brake. The M9020s now have servo wave technology with a shorter lever throw, better modulation, and improved ergonomics. Do these improvements make them a good choice for enduro and trail riding? Well, yes and no.

Installation and maintenance:

Shimano brakes have always been easy to install and maintain. The XTR Trail M9020s are no exception. Installation is straight forward. The rear calipers come with their own light weight bolts; however, the front calipers use normal Shimano mounting bolts. Bleeding is straightforward with the use of Shimano's bleed kit. They can easily be bled from the top or top and bottom. The use of mineral oil is environmentally and bike friendly. I haven't had to bleed the front brake since installation. I've bleed the rear twice to attempt to get some better modulation and a firmer feel in the level. No success in improving the modulation and firmness, but no air in the system either. Pad changes are quick and simple.The J04C metallic pads with fins over the best stopping power and longevity.


These brakes are a great choice for someone looking for a balance of light weight and good performance in most "light" enduro and trail riding conditions. They will even take a little bike park abuse. Notice I said "light enduro" and a "little bike park abuse". While these are great brakes, they aren't on par with Saints for lever feel and sheer stopping power. Front lever modulation, firmness and stopping power is better compared to the rear. Two factors are in play here. First, overall lever firmness is limited by the lightweight design of the lever housing. There is noticeable flex in the entire housing. This is most evident under heavy braking or in rough conditions. Second fluid volume is limited by the small size of the reservoirs, calipers, and brake lines. The rear lever has a much softer feel and less modulation. More fluid volume and stiffer lines would most likely improve both modulation and stopping power. The good thing here is you should be using more front brake anyways and the rear still have enough power to slow you down and help brake the rear end loose as needed/wanted.

All in all, the overall performance of the new XTR Trail brakes is better than Shimano's newer XT M8000 brakes and a great choice for someone looking for weight savings over sheer stopping power. Combine them with a good set of 203mm or 180mm Icetec rotors and your set with a great set of stoppers.

best brakes ever

The Good:

power, 1 finger ease, lever feel, weight, look

The Bad:

absolutely nothing

Overall Review:

IMO the Shimano XTR Trail BR-M988 are the best brakes money can buy for your mountain/trail riding rig. Some people dont like how they feel on/off when you pull the lever but they are just used to not stopping. I have rode various types of brakes from X0's, Hopes, V-brakes (haha), X9's, etc and these are simply they most reliable, easy to service, and not to harsh on the wallet. I will be willing to try different brakes on other peoples bikes but on mine you will only find shimano. These are consistent through desert high heat, mtn snow low heat, rainy day mud rides you name it.

Once you learn how to use these brakes with the on/off feel and make your approaches to corners you dont need modulation. Combine these with the icetec rotors you have stopping power all day. At one point I thought they were yelling something but that was my wife so far these are noise free.

Now if they can get the 1x system down thats another story.


Product Shimano XTR M9020 Disc Brake Set
Riding Type Cross Country, Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Lever Material Carbon fiber with aluminum skeleton
Mount Style Post-type
Rotor Sizes 140mm (rear only), 160mm, 180mm, 203mm
Rotor Mounting Center Lock, 6-bolt IS
Fluid Type Shimano mineral oil
Colors Magnesium caliper and master cylinder
Weight 0 lb 12.7 oz (360 g)
Miscellaneous SERVO WAVE with smooth cam
High rigidity aluminum caliper
Short brake lever with ergonomic pivot
CFRP/alloy structure
ICE TECHNOLOGIES radiator pads
Insulated pad coating
Ceramic piston
Enduro/Trail related power ratio
2-piston design
I-SPEC ll clamp
Tool-less reach adjust
Free Stroke adjust
Weight given for front kit
Price $299.99
More Info

​Shimano website

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