The upper-level MT6′s are part of their MT brake family, which includes the MT8, MT6, MT4, and MT2 ($369, $269, $174, $104 respectively). The entire brake family shares the same basic technology, with some subtle tweaks and lighter materials for the upper-level models. They all have a carbon master body with the flip-flop design, an alloy double arch caliper with top loading pads, and the dual EBT ports for bleeding. The MT8 uses the Carbotecture SL and Storm SL rotor (same as MT6), but has a carbon fiber Carbolay clamp lever and handlebar bar clamp, and the caliper has more machining to lessen the weight. The MT4 uses the Storm rotor, and has a Carbotecture fiberglass and carbon composite reservoir body, an alloy lever with their BAT (Bite Adjust Technology). Lastly, the MT2, uses the Carbotecture fiberglass carbon composite body, and an alloy lever, and an excellent price point.
|Master Body||Carbotecture SL||Carbotecture SL||Carbotecture||Carbotecture|
|Weight w/ 160mm rotor||278 grams||310 grams||320 grams||335 grams|
|Rotor Model||Storm SL||Storm SL||Storm||Storm|
The brakes come with full-length lines, so they need to be cut to size, dependent on user preference and bike geometry. I prefer my brakes set up in moto style, with the front brake on the right side, and the flip-flop clamp design and dual bleed port makes for easy placement on either side of the bars. Undo the barrel nuts on the clamp, and place the reservoir in the desired location on the inside or outside of the shifter pods on the handlebars. I also set mine up with a set of the new 10 speed SRAM X.0 Grip Shifts, so they obviously went on the outside of the shifters. Put the clamp on, with the thicker part at the top, and thread and carefully tighten the fragile alloy nuts to their proper specs (only 3 Nm). The caliper setup was easy due to the pivoting banjo, which made adjusting the hose angle for varying frame geometry and hose routing requirements a snap.
I carefully measured the desired hose length (longer is better than too short), and cut them with a sharp set of cutters. Holding the cut section up high to prevent any errant air bubbles, I slid on the sleeve nut followed by the olive, and tapped in the hose insert with a plastic mallet, and finally threaded the sleeve nut into the brake lever, tightening with the proper torque. Neither brake leaked after the hose shortening, nor did they require any bleeding until after multiple months of use and abuse. The EBT (Easy Bleed Technology) system uses a port on top of the reservoir for bleeding, and is easy to use. Basic bleed instructions: level reservoir 15 degrees upward, unscrew port bolt, screw on upper syringe, unscrew caliper bolt, screw on a filled lower syringe, push fluid from bottom to top, cycling until bubbles are gone. I have bled the brakes a number of times, and it was a fairly straight forward and mild endeavor, though screwing syringe into bleed port of the caliper is a pain.
For the testing period, I used the MT6′s with the Storm SL and Storm rotors, in 203/180 and 180/180 combinations, on my loyal steed, the impeccable Ibis Mojo HD. The local Colorado terrain is predominantly rocky conditions, with many sections of long steep downhills, rock gardens and slabs, and ugly loose gravel and rocks. I weigh in at 155 lbs, ride with a light touch, and love to use the brakes. I habitually prefer All Mountain riding, and frequent extremely technical terrain, which requires precise maneuvering, split-second timing, and nerves of steel and a big dash of lunacy.
The MT6’s are impressively powerful and strong, with a solid authoritative feel at the lever, and the rotor’s spin drag free through the calipers, and everything is deadly quiet. The alloy lever on the MT6 has a more solid feel than the MT8′s fancier Carbolay version, and it’s very noticeable when you pull really hard on the brakes. In direct comparison to the Louise (no longer made), and some other monster brakes, they offer slightly less power, but have better modulation, with excellent communication between the lever and ground. One of the hallmarks of this brake is their control factor, as they offer excellent ride and lever feel, and small lever movements give rise to fine toothed speed adjustments. Increasing the rotor size to a 203/180 combination, produces some outstanding strength, and moves them up in the power battlefield. I think the MT6 is great looking, though not as gorgeous as the sweet MT8′s, albeit all the MT series have a Germanic engineering theme about them. The weight difference between my test MT8 and MT6 were about 22 grams, nothing to sneeze at for a weight weenie, but not hugely significant.