The Shimano XTR Race delivers unbeatable value and performance and is easy to set up and bleed as well
Shimano offers two XTR brakes: Trail and Race. The latter lacks the power-boosting ServoWave lever design and finned brake pads, but it is lighter as a result.
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Like most Shimano brakes, the XTR Race is sold as a pre-bled lever and caliper, to which you then add a rotor and adapter. The rotor shown is the top-of-the-range RT99 Freeza design, with laminated construction, heat-dispersing fins and aluminium carrier.
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Unfortunately, it’s only available in Shimano’s Center Lock design, so you will have to use the non-Freeza XT RT86 rotor if you have six-bolt hubs.
Rather than a split clamp, XTR has a hinged design with a push-button quick-release function. On XT, this was always a bit stiff, but with XTR it has a much lighter action.
In terms of power, the Shimano XTR Race brake lacks the grunt of the Formula R1 Racing, but it has a more ergonomic lever shape, a lighter action and better modulation.
There is some flex in the lightweight lever body during hard stops, and it has that Shimano trait of pulling to the bar one moment and feeling firm the next. But it’s a doddle to set up, easy to bleed and, in this test, absolutely killer value.
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