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XX vs XTR brakes

Barnsy's picture

By Barnsy - Posted on 30 July 2013

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Been a long time user of shimano XTR on my race bike and love their brakes. True one finger braking from insane speeds.
I thought I'd try something different on my new 29er machine and went with XX1/XX brakes.
Big mistake. I've found them wooden and unresponsive. Changed the pads out on the suspicion they were contaminated and still no good.
Anyone got any tips on getting these things to work like the high end product they're billed as.

Zoom's picture

Are you using the Organic pads?

GAZZA's picture

You may have thought they were ok?
I have XO and XTR.
The XTR win hands down. No competition.
Now if only Shimano made their rear XTR mechs without that stupid, weak Shadow pivot thing on them then i'd be a very happy man!
But that's another story for another day!

spindog's picture

I'm running older series XTR (M975) on my 26er, they've given flawless performance in the frequently wet/muddy conditions of the last few years. the metallic pads don't have quite as much feel as organic pads but small trade off for the extended pad life in Sydney's abrasive sandstone slurry. My new 29er came with the latest SLX series brakes, they offer sensational performance for the price, I'm very impressed with the modulation and control you can get with one finger breaking, the lever adjustment is a nice touch to!

Antsonline's picture

You are right - the XX/X0 brakes are not as god as XTR.
I have noticed that a lot of the World Cup SRAM sponsored riders (Kulhavy, Fontana etc) are all running the X0 Trail brake - with a dual piston. Massive stopping power compared to a normal XX brake, and only a bit heavier.

I have been running Sram brakes for a few seasons now, and can only say that fresh pads, a regular blead, and keeping the rotors clean with an alcohol wipe are the only tips I have.

Barnsy's picture

Running the metallic pads Zoom.
I've been using Nuke Proof metallic pads on my XTR brakes for a long time now, they wear a little quicker but give superior bite. Using the same Nuke Proof material on the XX brakes thinking they would give similar feel but no go.
Recap. Pad material and rotors are identical, brakes are fresh with no bleed issues, run up about 150k of riding/bedding in.

goatman's picture

Really cheap off CRC, used them for 3 weeks and was ready to bin em. Super spongey. no stopping power, so put my Elixir 3s back on. Admittedly a good bleed would help but not prepared to spend any more money on em. Just got some Shimano XTs which everyone raves about - will put them on this weekend.

They are designed for XC use on light bikes for weight weenies as far as I can tell, check out some reviews - they are pretty ordinary.

Oldiebutgoodie's picture

I used to run Avid/Sram brakes on 2 of my xc bikes and finally got sick of the noise and constant adjusting. Bought a set of current model Shimano XTs and never looked back, brilliant brakes - heaps of power, good modulation and NO problems or adjusting. They pull up my 29er trail bike with 160mm rotors with ease.It actually came with Elixir 5 brakes but after being used to XT these were awful so changed them.

pharmaboy's picture

This is how reading forums can save you money and heartache.

I'm still surviving witha set of SRAM brakes, but only because they fit so nicely with xx1 shifters, and do work much better with xt rotors as well. Unfortunately, SRAM sell shed loads of brakes to the manufacturers for oem install, and that is enough to keep them happy, and it keeps bike shops happy for servicing of them. On top of that shimano is happy, because they also sell a crap load of their brakes after market as well.

The only person to suffer is the consumer , and maybe SRAMs reputation for continuing with a shit product despite the obvious.

Antsonline's picture

@Pharmaboy - just as an 'fyi' you can now get clamps for both Magura and Formula brake levers that accept Sram trigger shift mounts.
I'm about to go to Formula brakes, and was also concerned about my shifter and getting too much clutter on my bars....

Mr Oysterhead's picture

Had Avid Ultimates. Was blessed the day the clamp disintegrated for no apparent reason. Purchased Shimano SLX and they are a country mile ahead.

My new bike came equipped with XX1 drive train but thankfully still had Shimano XTR brakes. The fact that Santa Cruz gives you the option of upgrading to XX1 while still keeping the XTR brakes says a lot.

Shimano stoppers for life.

Floydo's picture

... Fomulae are the ducks guts. Got older XT on one bike and formulae RX on the other just like the feel and modulation of the formulaes.
Both stop you well, and the cost of the Shimanos oversea is so cheap. Current got the new XT trail brakes on my new bike that I am building up(hopely not like there trail pedals) so keen to see how they go. Hearing lots of good things. Those cooling fins on the pads must make a big difference especially clogged with mud. Would of loved to get Formulaes but couldn't justify the price. An I only use Magura storm SL rotors on both the shimanos and formulaes.

GAZZA's picture

Without discs.
Will post them up soon.

fairy1's picture

If you order SLX and possibly XT brakes it is a good idea to get a pair of pad retaining pins as they come with a rubbish split pin that allows the pads to rock back and forth in the caliper body, doesn't really affect perfomance just makes them feel cheap.

jeffmtb's picture

Funny how this discussion has happened right as I have also ordered a new set of XT brakes to replace my sram xx on my Giant Advanced 0.
With the sram xx brakes I always seem to be fidling with the alignment and have had to bleed the front already,I have sintered pads and they do not pull me up very quickly at all. It is almost like the brakes are not powerful enough.
I have copied the link from the sram website on bedding in and still I am not very happy with them.
Was nearly a deal braker for me that it had the xx brakes when I purchased the bike but I thought I would give them a go.I have had the elixir cr model and they were just as bad with bleeding issues all the time,funny I have a set of elixir 5's on my old trance and they work better than the xx brakes.

Is it that the xx brakes on the 29er wheels are not powerful enough ? 160mm rotors.
The elixir 5's do work well on the 26er trance with 180 rotor on the front.

Anyway I suppose I am not going to get much for the old xx brakes now after this blog.

Barnsy's picture

Sorry Jeff. Didn't mean to ruin the resale value of your XX brakes. I only started the link to see if anyone had any success in getting SRAM brakes to work. Seems no one really likes their brakes. I wonder if the local SRAM importers read these forums and give feedback to SRAM HQ. I guess the only way to fix the problem is to buy a set of XTR brakes and a new mount for the poplock remote. Expansive!

Synjin's picture

For anybody wanting to switch from SRAM brakes to Shimano and also want to keep their SRAM shifters without wanting to run a separate handlebar mount for each device. Give these a shot.

Personally I am in mixed minds about my current X9 brakes which is what lead me to find the SRAM/Shimano adapter. It took a fair amount of by eye aligning before the stopping power improved.

hawkeye's picture

Got X9s on my new Scalpel. The seem to stop Ok with the 180mm rotor up front but the rear makes a high pitched squeak that is like fingernails on a blackboard (for those old enough to remember what that's like) and goes from not enough to locking up much too quickly... hard to modulate properly.

I've just ridden it instead of going through a proper bedding in process like I normally do, so I might scuff the pads up and try again... hopefully I'm not too late.

The 2010 XT dual control that I have on the Rize are better.

pharmaboy's picture

Hawkeye, you have 2 choices right now, as you are at the fork in the road.

If you take the left fork: you will start reading about avid elixir s and turkey gobble and specialized bikes, how to bed them in, how to set them, and how to bleed them - all methods that work you will find have nothing whatsoever to do with SRAM official guidelines. You will find some dot 5 fluid for your brakes, and will buy a bleed kit. You will also experiment with resin pads as a solution or possibly removing the CPS bolts and replacing with washers. Eventually you will come to understand your brakes and may revel in their modulation ( another word for lack of power).

If you choose the right fork, you will take them off, walk to your garage, and place wit reverence the said brakes into the square and green eternal resting box of avids, and sometime next week the eternal resting box will be picked up by truck and taken away - the next day ( if you have planned right) , a box from wiggle will arrive with a set of 785's for you to spend the night installing on your green 'dale. The next day without any bedding in, and no particular care, you will have wonderfully powerful brakes that require no more love, ever.

Choose your path young one, the path of wisdom is the way of the avid, or , ......... Happiness.

Zoom's picture

Barnsy before you do anything rash, try the organic (resin?) pads, they're much, much better. The metal pads are useless. If you're still not happy then consider other options.

Lach's picture

... seeing as its a Cannondale, he has no choice but to take that left fork... Smiling

hawkeye's picture

Umm, yeah, right. Smiling

Black Flash's picture

That's funny.

sleepalldayrideallnight's picture

That description is a slap in the face of reality for me. I needed it, thanks. The 758's you mentioned are they the Trail version ? Does anyone have any experience/difference between the XT and the XT Trail (the finned ones)

GAZZA's picture

The trail have an adjuster knob on the lever where the race, you have to use an Allen key(saves about 3 grams!)
And the trail has the fins on the pads for better stopping power where the race have normal pads (saves another 3 grams!)
Like I said, I have brand new, in the box XT trails for sale!

Andy Bloot's picture

if you've still got those by the Dam ride, bring them along
I may be interested

I have a 2 year old set of Avids that are ready for the shithouse
They are not too bad with resin pads, but are on their way out (all the usual problems)
Compare these with my 8 year old LX brakes that still work perfectly

GAZZA's picture

I was asking 200 which is still $30 cheaper than anywhere on the net.
Another $20 off for being an old mate.

Andy Bloot's picture

If you're happy to wait a couple of weeks, I'll bring the spandooglies on the day

May even enlist some helpers to install them at the bbq lol
Varying reports on the ease of swapping with avids

GAZZA's picture

Ill check the mounting.

hathill's picture

You are going to love them Blooty.
Straight swap onto existing mounts on my Anthem.

Andy Bloot's picture

unfortunately Specialized seem to choose Avid brakes for their bikes
Been keen to ditch these for a while and been waiting to get money together for a CRC buy
But when Gaz had some for sale, thought best to just take the plunge at a better price from someone I know
Very good timing actually - thanks Gazza!

dimmer86's picture

Bit hard to judge because of wheel size. But I have a 26" hardtail with SRAM XO and test rode an 29" S-Works Epic with XTR and I felt my XO stopping power was far superior... Like i said though, hard to judge because of the different wheel sizes. But at the end of the day, they are both going to stop your wheels better than the the grip of the tyres on the WA pea gravel

jackthelad's picture

name a price for a pair of brakes/discs
no more than CRC pricing
if you want cash for some shimanos,
happy to take a pair off someones hands

hawkeye's picture

Well... I have some carbon lever X9s if you're interested only done 180km Eye-wink

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