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Shimano’s top-level XTR Race brakes aren’t super-light but
they’re an impressively powerful and beautifully touchy-feely single-finger

The Race master cylinder actually uses a smaller diameter
double barrel design than the Trail (M988) version, with Allen key rather than tool-free blade
reach adjust. The dimpled finger area in the crooked one finger lever is
equally broad though and feel is just as smooth and rich, giving it outstanding
control on the trail.

Weight is higher than other race competition, but then so
is power output which makes a smaller rotor an option to even things out. While the pads are conventional rather than finned as on the
Trail, the alloy core/steel skin Ice Technologies rotor keeps heat under control unless
you drag them down an Alp.

The Ice Tech rotors also save 20g over Shimano’s
conventional discs and are now available for conventional six-bolt hubs rather than
just with Shimano’s proprietary Center Lock splined setup. They do cost an extra £8 but as it’s a modular buy
you can choose your exact build or just use your existing fixtures. Price has
dropped nearly £20 since last year too.

article was originally published in What
Mountain Bike
magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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