New Shimano XTR brakes: What you need to know

Options for both World Cup XC and Enduro World Series racing

Brakes News
New Shimano XTR Brakes

The new brakes boast an increase in brake lever rigidity that’s achieved in part by moving the brake clamp position inboard, thus creating an extra point of contact between the bar and the lever.

Along with its new 12-speed drivetrain that’s detailed in great length here, and a host of hubs and pedals you can read about here, Shimano has launched two new XTR-level brakes, one 2-piston model geared to the weight conscious XC racer crowd, and a four pot version for the enduro sect who prioritize power and smooth braking feel.

Top line highlights include an increase in brake lever rigidity that’s achieved in part by moving the brake clamp position inboard, thus creating an extra point of contact between the bar and the lever. This added bracing is claimed to increases control over the bike while offering quick brake engagement. The new design also minimizes impact on cockpit real estate, creating space between the clamp and support point for mounting other handlebar accessories.

New Shimano XTR Brakes

The two-piston XC version of the new XTR brakes use a smaller pad that helps lower weight.

The new BR/BL M9100 lightweight XC brakes with carbon lever blades (but no tool-free reach adjustment) are claimed to be 10% more rigid and 26 grams lighter than the outgoing M9000s (including rotors). The lever body is magnesium, while aluminum is used for the caliper body.

Other features include a straight hose connection, quicker brake engagement with shorter free stroke, one way bleeding, and a smaller pad that lowers weight. Claimed weight is 204g a side or 408g for the set. Price for levers, hoses, and calipers is $600. Levers alone are $208.

New Shimano XTR Brakes

Unlike the XC version, the new enduro brakes have tool-free reach adjustment.

Meanwhile, the BR/BL M9120 XTR brakes feature an enduro-specific, 4-piston design that has the same brake power rating as Shimano Saint brakes, but with greater modulation and less grabbiness along with quick engagement with shorter free stroke. Levers and calipers are aluminum and they have tool-free reach adjustment. These brakes use new XTR finned pads or Saint brake pads. Claimed weight is 277g per side or 544g for the set. Price for levers, hoses, and calipers is $650. Levers alone are $214.

Completing the new XTR braking puzzle are new Ice-Technologies Freeza rotors (centerlock only) that are claimed to boost heat dissipation by 20 degrees Celsius thanks to a heat-shedding paint on exposed aluminum layer segments. Rotor size options include 140mm and 160mm for XC, and 180mm and 203mm that are optimized for enduro and focused on cooling.

New Shimano XTR Brakes

Ice-Technologies Freeza rotors (centerlock only) that are claimed to boost heat dissipation by 20 degrees Celsius thanks to a heat-shedding paint on exposed aluminum layer segments.

Price for the smaller two rotor sizes is $160 a pair with claimed weight of 90g and 108g respectively. The 180mm/203mm sell for $170 for the set and weigh 143g and 149g. All XTR M9100 series components will be available in fall 2018.

And while the press launch in Japan attended by Mtbr did not include any testing time, Shimano is coming to Mtbr’s Colorado headquarters in Crested Butte in mid-June, when the North American MTB press will get their first opportunity to experience the new XTR group. Stay tuned for our first ride review soon after.

New Shimano XTR Brakes

The entire new Shimano XTR group.

Until then, head to www.ridextr.com for more info on the new XTR brakes.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)


About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympics, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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  • slownsteady says:

    great stuff…I actually have a slight preference to the xt over my current xtr because they’re so light they don’t have the feedback the xt’s have. XT’s also don’t have brake fade like my current xtr’s.

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