XTR comes as a self-assembly kit — so you cut the hoses to length and have everything you need to bleed the brakes included in the price. The catch is that XTR brakes are bleed sensitive so you’ll have to do it at least three times before they are right. Also, you have no reference point as to what is a good bleed.
The new alloy lever has a squarer edge than traditional Shimano lever blades and it’s not as comfortable. Shimano has increased piston/pad travel to give better rotor clearance but this also increases lever travel so you have to run your levers further from the bar to achieve a given bite point. Also, if you run the levers closer to the bar the brakes don’t feel as firm.
Modulation with the resin pads is excellent but if you want stopping power you need to run the metal pads (also supplied), upping the weight. Detailing and finish on XTR is amazing, even the bottom edge of the brake pads has been chamfered to help guide the rotor into place. At face value XTR is the heaviest brake on test, but the centre lock hubs are approx 18g lighter than equivalent IS hubs, making it the third lightest.
MBR RATING: 9/10