Bargain price stopper with serious power and minimal maintenance
Shimano’s Deore is one of the best mountain bike brakes on the market and arguably the pick of the Japanese giant’s range. When you buy the Shimano Deore BL-M6100, you’ll find a forged caliper and lever in the box, but they’ll be separate, so you’ll have to put them together yourself.
You’ll also need to budget for a rotor and have wheels that either accommodate the splined Center Lock rotors or buy adapters to make them work with six-bolt hubs. You can upgrade to an SLX rotor, which is available in a six-bolt pattern, as both designs actually cost the same.
The price goes up with the size – a 203mm rotor is £32.99 and a 220mm is £50. You will however, need a fork adapter for the big dog, which will add another £10-13 to the price. Also, if you mess up the cutting and fitting process, you’ll need to splash out another £30 on a bleed kit.
All we’re saying is that £94.99 can suddenly become about £150 when you need to get up and running.
The Deore brake has a two-piston caliper mated to the company’s compact lever assembly. The lever blade is a folded aluminium construction, but it’s stiff and strong. There are no dimples on the blade but we had no issues with a lack of grip.
Close to the pivot is an Allen bolt to adjust the reach, and the brake has Shimano’s familiar, annoying, hinged clamp. You have to push a small tool into the side to get it to open, and the one on our test brake actually stopped working.
It didn’t feel like we were riding a two-piston brake – it was that good
Two hard stops and this brake came up to full power. The pads are resin and they also make a little bit of noise when they bite initially, but the brake has plenty of bite and power. Crucially there’s none of the inconsistency that can plague XT brakes. The power just builds really progressively, and it didn’t pull to the bar.
Also, it really didn’t feel like we were riding a two-piston brake – it was that good.
We’re awarding the Deore best on test because it’s great value, has a quality finish and a ton of stopping power. In fact, we want all of Shimano’s top-end brakes to feel like this and continue to be disappointed that they don’t.