Friday, 8 May 2015

Shimano Deore M615 mountain bike brakes review: Good and cheap

How good are the Shimano Deore M615 brakes?. Is there a huge difference in performance between Shimano Deore entry-level model and the more expensive XT or XTR?. Read on to find out our test conclusions.
Overall Shimano entry-level groupset performance and quality have greatly improved in recent years and Deore brakes are not exception. Over the years Shimano has gradually incorporated in the cheaper or entry-level models, some of the brakes technologies used in the more expensive brakes like Shimano XT or XTR.
The current Shimano Deore disc brake is indeed an affordable entry model of the Japanese brand, with some nice features like the Servo Wave leverage cam or the I-spec clamp, allowing the attach of an I-spec ready shifter to the brake lever's clamp directly.
The M615 is a basic and not extremely light brake system but makes a solid impression like other Shimano products, with first-class material and surface qualities.
The weight of the Deore M615 brakes is 521g (front brake with 203mm adapter included), quite high but not excessively compared with the more expensive models like Shimano SLX or Shimano XT from the same brand. 
Shimano Deore M615 lever and calliper

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Top 10 mountain bike brakes used in the Enduro World Series 2014

Mountain biking has progressed a lot through the years, and nowadays DH and XC race bikes are extreme machines that limit their use only to those disciplines. But, what if you just can afford one bike only, and like to pedal to the top but also going downhill as fast as you can?. Here is where enduro makes sense. 

Originating from France, the basic definition of enduro is timed downhills and untimed uphills with a series of special stages. The fastest combined time after all the stages wins. Enduro World Series is the most professional enduro competition nowadays with races around the world, from Italy to Chile. Let´s see which are the brakes used by the top 10 riders in the Enduro World Series 2014.

Jared Graves 2014 Enduro World Series champion with Shimano XTR / Saint brakes in Whistler

Thursday, 2 October 2014

How to reset mountain bike disc brakes - calliper pistons

When the brake pads are replaced or if accidentally the brake lever is pressed without a rotor or spacer between the pads, you will have to reset the brake calliper pistons. Basically resetting your brake pistons is just only pushing your calliper pistons back to their original position. It is an easy task, and will ease the new brake pads installation.

Shimano M615 brake with the pads fully retracted
Shimano M615 brake calliper with fully retracted pads as it comes from the factory

Monday, 15 September 2014

Top 10 mountain bike brakes used in the Downhill World Cup

Focusing on the mountain bike brakes, Downhill World Cup is probably the most demanding mountain biking competition today, because the brakes work under very severe and changing conditions. So we ask: which brake brands and models have been used by the top 10 downhill riders in the World Cup 2013?.

Steve Smith 2013 DH World Cup Winner
Steve Smith 2013 DH World Cup Winner with Avid brakes

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Buyer's guide - Mountain bike disc brakes explained

Mountain bike hydraulic disc brakes are very simple in principle. There is a lever attached to a master cylinder at one end, a hose in the middle and finally a calliper pushing some pads on to a metal disc bolted to your wheel hub. Tiny changes to the brake system can make a noticeable difference to how well it performs, so let´s see which are the main parts of your mountain bike disc brake system.

Lever/master cylinder
All disc brakes have a master cylinder (brake lever body) with a piston inside pushed by the brake lever, but on some brakes the piston is parallel to the handlebar (e.g. Shimano Deore), while on others like in Formula´s it’s perpendicular to it. The master cylinder contains the brake fluid reservoir allowing to automatically adjusting for pad wear and heat expansion of braking fluid. Brake levers can be very different in shape and material (aluminium, carbon fibre) and designed for one finger use, two fingers or more. Potential adjustments include reach, leverage ratio and bite point.

Mountain bike brake parts
Mountain bike lever/master cylinder parts - Hope Tech3 V4

Monday, 28 July 2014

Quality mountain bike disc brake pads extreme testing results

If you want to improve the performance of your mountain bike brakes and are looking for online mountain bike brake pad reviews, it´s easy to find subjective tests that usually end up with conclusions like "good durability", "they have great power", or similar. This type of evidences even though they are very important, rely heavily on the rider perception and the testing conditions, which tend to be highly variable.

Gorilla riding a bike

Below you can see how a pair of disc brake pads finished after an extreme test performed to check the reliability againts critical failures that could put ourselves in danger.

Monday, 14 July 2014

2015 Giant Defy road bikes with TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes

Giant makes a move forward, including disc brakes in the Giant Defy road bike model, becoming the first major bike brand to use only disc brakes in the entire Defy Advanced line-up. Cheaper alloy Giant Defy models will be sold with conventional road brakes, while the Defy Advanced model will get TRP Spyre mechanical brake callipers.

Giant Defy Advanced
Giant Defy Advanced