• ieuanwilliams



There is often an argument between riders of the best groupset manufacture, Shimano or SRAM. The new Shimano XT four piston brake has another weapon in its arsenal to help fight this battle.

Having ridden the new XTR setup in Slovenia recently, you can tell Shimano are on a push for the title again. Having some top class talent riding their products, these should be the real deal. Intense have also specified the new stoppers on their M29 downhill bike.

Technical details

The Shimano XT four piston brake features the BL-M8000 lever. This has the Servo Wave technology that comes on previous brakes. This setup also boasts reach adjust, free stroke adjust and i-spec 2 compatibility.

The Caliper side of things is taken on by the BR-M8020 unit. This four piston caliper includes Shimano's High power ceramic pistons combined with ICE TECHNOLOGIES heat management. In layman's terms this is the cooling fins on the pads and resin background.

This new setup offers a 10% power increase over the BR-M8000 with 180mm disc.

Combine this setup with a Shimano XT ICE TECHNOLOGIES rotor and it most definitely makes for professional look.


The Shimano XT four piston brake certainly looks the part. With that well known appearance

to the lever that we are used to. The caliper is meaty, with a large pad surface for maximum contact and those ICE TECH vents to keep things cool. If you move onto the feel of the brake, it is the normal setup with a freshly bleed lever feeling clean and direct. This is one of the comfiest finger feels that you will find. There is minimal pressure needed to get the movement and action required. The overall movement is bang on too, with little curve to the lever action so you can pull with little finger sway and resistance.

After a quick blast to bed the pads in it was very obvious that the Shimano was a powerful unit. But power was never an issue before. Maybe in a heavy enduro based situation it would be, these new XT stoppers definitely have the power.

There's plenty of good points but now comes to some bad ones. The ICE TECH pads really did ruin the beautifully silent ride of the Pivot that they were bolted to. This may not affect the standard of the brake but it is so frustrating when a rattle is constant on a descent.

The lever is also up to its old tricks with the inconsistent bite point. This only came apparent a few rides in after a bleed, but it would mean to keep that nice lever feel and trust worthy bite point, you would have to bleed regularly.

When it gets wet the noise from the pads is almost embarrassing, if you have ever seen someone try to pick up a piglet then you will know. The power is still there but man it squeals.

All in all these brakes are good. If the pad rattle can be silenced, and you do not mind doing regular lever bleeds they will work well. These would be on my bike before the XTR thats for sure.


WORDS- Ieaun Williams

PHOTOS- Ieuan Williams, Alex Hunter


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