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Old 05-09-08, 08:10 PM   #1
Wilbur Bud
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V-brakes - differences XTR vs XT vs LX

I don't have V-brakes today and I'm ready to upgrade. What are the primary differences between these three models of V-brake: XTR M970, Deore XT M770, and Deore LX M580?

Price, weight, and color/finish I can understand, but what am I going to experience in performance, wear, and maintenance that is different and noticeable from one to the next?
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Old 05-09-08, 08:21 PM   #2
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I'm not particularly fond of the parallel-push feature on the XTR calipers, which require maintenance on the pad pivots. I think it's an unnecessary complication to an already solid design.
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Old 05-10-08, 01:36 AM   #3
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Stay away from Shimano all that linkage robs you of stopping power. Unless you go with the new XT's that don't have the linkage. If you go with Avid single Digit 7's you won't be disapointed. You can usually find them on E-bay for a good price.
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Old 05-10-08, 03:47 AM   #4
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If you're changing, I won't use the word upgrade, from cantilevers you'll need new brake levers. Good luck

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Old 05-10-08, 07:52 AM   #5
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I have the older XT V's with the parrallel-push on my 05 Rockhopper hardtail. They do brake better than the V's that are similiar to the DeoreLX version in the OPs post, but the difference is not substantial.
As for cantilever brakes, we have 5 MTBs with cantilever brakes including 2 with the older, Deore design that is supposed to be superior. We also have 4 MTBs with V brakes. Any of the bikes with V-Brakes can out brake any of our bikes with cantilever brakes. No contest.
One of my old Rockhoppers with cantilever brakes is in the process of being converted to V's.
You will have to replace the brake levers.
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Old 05-10-08, 12:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I understand that levers will be needed too. I a similar impression about V-brakes vs cantilevers as even our toy store bikes with unbranded V-brakes do better than my cantilevers with kool-stop pads and a lot of fine tuning on the adjustments.

I'm just trying to understand what the differences are from base model to top model, as it seems like any of them will be superior to what I have today. I probably wouldn't buy the top model unless I understood why it costs 2 or 3 times as much as the other models. I expect there are differences, I'm just not able to spot them in the specs and was hoping to hear from someone doing a lot more wrenching or riding than me about those nuances. If they're all more or less the same, then I'd typically buy in the middle of the line, whether Shimano, Avid, or other.
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Old 05-10-08, 01:40 PM   #7
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Usually with Shimano's top grades of parts you are buying less weight along with a little bit of performance. A caveat about the highest grades is that you as a sport rider may not be getting increased reliability, in fact your reliability may be worse as the lightest racing parts require more maintenance and are sometimes designed with short lifetimes (an expense of maximum performance)
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Old 05-10-08, 02:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by stevemtbr View Post
Stay away from Shimano all that linkage robs you of stopping power.
Just curious, but have you ridden with Shimano parallel push brakes? I have parallel push XT's from several years ago, the front brake yelps, barks, and whines, but the bike stops on a dime. Paired with Shimano Servo Wave levers, it's an incredibly powerful brake setup-

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Old 05-10-08, 02:38 PM   #9
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I recently changed out my older Deore v's for a set of Deore XT M770's... Since then I have only been out a few times on single track, but for the life of me -- they seem the same. They definately are blingier though, and weren't much more expensive than replacement Deore's (in my case).
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Old 05-10-08, 05:10 PM   #10
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Biggest difference between XTR and XT is that the XTR brakes pivot on ball bearings while XT uses the traditional brass bushing. The bearings are really nice since there's no play in the brake arm whatsoever. Same thing with Dura-Ace vs. Ultegra ... the Dura-Ace calipers have ball bearing pivots while the Ultegra and lower have bushings.

If you look closely at the XTR brake arm, you'll see a 6-sided nut just below the brake arm mounting bolt. That's the bearing adjustment nut.
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Old 05-11-08, 06:03 PM   #11
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Just curious, but have you ridden with Shimano parallel push brakes? I have parallel push XT's from several years ago, the front brake yelps, barks, and whines, but the bike stops on a dime. Paired with Shimano Servo Wave levers, it's an incredibly powerful brake setup-
Been riding shimano V Brakes since 97. I have ridden older non parallel LX brakes that worked great. Got a hold of some new LX V's with the parallel push and was very disappointed. Upgraded to XT and it was a little better. Two years ago I went with the Avid single digit 7's and they are much better than the XT's. All that linakage adds flex which robs braking power. I do have the XT levers and they rock. With my XT's I never did have a squeeling problem up front and back then I was on Mavic rims. Have you noticed that the new 08 XT's don't have the parallel push.
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Old 05-11-08, 06:12 PM   #12
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I agree with(stevemtbr), ..Avid single digit Seven"s are the way to go(I mean stop). great choice.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:39 PM   #13
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Been riding shimano V Brakes since 97. I have ridden older non parallel LX brakes that worked great. Got a hold of some new LX V's with the parallel push and was very disappointed. Upgraded to XT and it was a little better. Two years ago I went with the Avid single digit 7's and they are much better than the XT's. All that linakage adds flex which robs braking power. I do have the XT levers and they rock. With my XT's I never did have a squeeling problem up front and back then I was on Mavic rims. Have you noticed that the new 08 XT's don't have the parallel push.
I won't argue with you about the Avid brakes being good, I do agree.

But I do have to say that when I installed my parallel push XT's with the Servo Wave levers, they pulled so hard they flexed the seatstays on a very stiff aluminum frame a LOT. So much so that I had to install brake boosters to get the frame flexing under control. After that, the brakes were just incredible.

My only complaint is with the front brake noise, and I think that is pretty much unavoidable with that era of XT parallel push brakes. I tried everything from a lot of toe-in, a little toe-in, no toe-in, brake booster, a wide variety of pads, cleaning of rims, pads, etc, etc.

Bottom line, I've cussed those brakes because of the noise, but I've NEVER thought of them as needing more power.
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Old 05-12-08, 10:29 AM   #14
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Thanks for the help. Since I'll be buying 2007's instead of 2008's to keep the cost down, looks like the SD 7's are the ones for me.
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Old 05-13-08, 02:12 AM   #15
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Well really for me it's a moot point because I will buy a new hard tail when I come back from the desert and it will have dics brakes on it. I 'm probably going to wait and see about 09 Stumpjumper or Trek 8500.
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