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Comparing Shimano V-brakes

Old 04-10-20, 11:28 PM
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dwsmartins
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Comparing Shimano V-brakes

Hi everyone!

Iím looking for replacement v-brakes for my commuter and found four locally available options, all Shimano

* BR-M422 (previous Altus/Acera, pretty cheap)
* BR-T4000 (current Alivio, somewhat expensive at almost 2x the previous one)
* BR-T610 (previous Deore, almost the same as the T4000)
* BR-M580 (new old stock Deore LX, more than 4x the price of M422)

I have ST-EF500 EZ Fires installed on my bike and it looks like theyíre compatible with everyone of them. How does the M422 compare to T4000 and T610? Are the M580 any better than the others or are they just a niche item?
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Old 04-11-20, 12:21 AM
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Yep, you can tell the difference between the really El Cheapos and the expensive ones, not so much in between. Sweet spot is probably the T610. The Deores were good rigid V brakes. Make the dude an offer on the M580s, at this stage they are orphans mostly of use to somebody restoring an old bike.
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Old 04-11-20, 01:48 AM
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To be honest most linear pull brakes work reasonably well, but the T610s are a bit nicer if only because they come with cartridge brake pads, making subsequent pad changes a little cheaper. If you want very good brakes at a reasonable price get those, but you'll probably also be happy with the M422s.
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Old 04-11-20, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dwsmartins View Post
Hi everyone!

Iím looking for replacement v-brakes for my commuter and found four locally available options, all Shimano

* BR-M422 (previous Altus/Acera, pretty cheap)
* BR-T4000 (current Alivio, somewhat expensive at almost 2x the previous one)
* BR-T610 (previous Deore, almost the same as the T4000)
* BR-M580 (new old stock Deore LX, more than 4x the price of M422)

I have ST-EF500 EZ Fires installed on my bike and it looks like theyíre compatible with everyone of them. How does the M422 compare to T4000 and T610? Are the M580 any better than the others or are they just a niche item?
In my experience there is negligible difference between expensive and budget v-brake calipers themselves. Usually a weight difference and in some cases better bushings that MUGHT make a difference over the long term.

The primary functional difference is the brake pads that come with the calipers, and those are wear items.

Iíve bought cheap calipers on sale in the past and just replaced the pads.

EDIT: I am speaking in terms of Shimanoís named groupsets (Acera and up). I donít know about their non-series stuff that you find on really cheap bikes.

Last edited by Kapusta; 04-11-20 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 04-11-20, 09:13 AM
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Brakes are really simple levers. Unless the arm lengths are different the various brakes will have the same leverage/mechanical advantage/clamping force. So the differences are as mentioned, finish, hardware and pads. The first two are not a big deal when the brakes are new and the pads will wear out regardless so their differences are short term only. Some brakes have a pivot that has a bushing that rides directly on the frame's post, others have the pivoting within the removeable brake arm, their interface with the frame post doesn't rotate. I've seen both designs have their issues or work well (and here it's the install and long term maintenance that make s the difference).

This excludes the brakes that incorporate an additional leverage link, like the some early Pauls had (and many current side pull calipers have). Andy.
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Old 04-11-20, 09:16 AM
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M580 is the older pattern; I prefer this cable cinch to the newer one, it's meatier

T610 finish is not that nice. Both silver and black are painted, silver is grey-ish and black is cheap paint. Not too impressed with finish. M580 is also painted but matches silver better and the silkscreening is not as ugly as T610.

M580 might be still made in Japan, T610 is Malaysia.
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Old 04-11-20, 11:15 AM
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Pretty much the same as any other Shimano component. As you move upward through the component food chain:
1. Functionality and finish quality improve arithmetically.
2. Price goes up logrithmaticly.
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Old 04-11-20, 11:22 AM
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If you see plastic pieces, they’re going to break in a year or two. Lower end shimano canti brakes had built in self-destruct.
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Old 04-11-20, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
If you see plastic pieces, theyíre going to break in a year or two. Lower end shimano canti brakes had built in self-destruct.

If you limit the discussion to the one model, CT-90, then your are right. Not that I think Shimano did this on purpose. They spent thousands (many thousands) of $ to offer free replacements for many years and after that sold replacement covers for real cheap. This is pretty well known in the LBS world. The next generation (like the current CT-91) still has plastic spring covers but they don't crack over time. So it's not that plastic is the bad thing just the particular formulation that the CT-90s had. I'll also note that the CT-90s still functioned as a reliable stopping device even after the covers cracked, it's just that the pads would tend to rub. There are many CT90s still on bikes that are working properly after the free/minimal cost replacement covers were installed. I've probably replaced more then a hundred pairs of these covers over the years. We still see them come in on old service jobs and you know what? The rider rarely knows there's even a problem as the bike still stops. So much for self destruction claims. Andy
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Old 04-11-20, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
If you limit the discussion to the one model, CT-90, then your are right. Not that I think Shimano did this on purpose. They spent thousands (many thousands) of $ to offer free replacements for many years and after that sold replacement covers for real cheap. This is pretty well known in the LBS world. The next generation (like the current CT-91) still has plastic spring covers but they don't crack over time. So it's not that plastic is the bad thing just the particular formulation that the CT-90s had. I'll also note that the CT-90s still functioned as a reliable stopping device even after the covers cracked, it's just that the pads would tend to rub. There are many CT90s still on bikes that are working properly after the free/minimal cost replacement covers were installed. I've probably replaced more then a hundred pairs of these covers over the years. We still see them come in on old service jobs and you know what? The rider rarely knows there's even a problem as the bike still stops. So much for self destruction claims. Andy
I stand corrected. I coincidentally had 2 Specialized I think Rockhoppers that had those very brakes. I don't take stuff to the bike shop, I have no idea the history. Those brakes were crap, got replaced with Avid v-brakes.
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Old 04-11-20, 03:25 PM
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Having been using the Deore Brakes for a while they are just fine with my Avid Speed Dial 7 levers. However most important regardless of the actual brake or lever is the quality of the shoes/pads, cables and housing. I personally would much rather have cheaper brakes with high end shoes/pads, cables and housing then nicer brakes with cheap pads... What you want to look for in a pad and shoe combination is that they are separate pieces and the shoe is nice and stiff and the pad has a good rubber compound for your riding. My current favorite linear pull brake pads are Kool Stop V-2 dual compounds and they are sitting in the stock Shimano Deore shoes but the KoolStop Tectonics would work great if you don't already have shoes with replaceable pads.


For cables and housing Jagwire is my go to and generally it is going to be the Elite Link or Pro Polished and I go for the kits because it has everything I might need for that job and I keep whatever spare stuff for another job usually for replacement or building another parts bike. I prefer uncoated cables that are slick and stainless. Never galvanized ever unless I was desperate on a ride and couldn't get anything else and I would probably replace that thing once I got back to civilization. Coated cables tend to lose their coating and can clog up the brakes a little and the really nice cables are much smoother so they don't drag as some cables can. The nicer housing may last longer but more importantly it is less likely to compress and will like also be smooth and well lubricated so you have better performance.


Overall it is the small stuff like that, that can make a bigger difference then the actual brake. Granted if you can do all of this go for it, the high end brakes will likely give more stiffness and maybe better actuation and have other features that will enhance performance. Also if you can get better levers those are never a bad idea, smoother lever pull and potentially better ergonomics can all be beneficial.
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Old 04-12-20, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Brakes are really simple levers. Unless the arm lengths are different the various brakes will have the same leverage/mechanical advantage/clamping force. So the differences are as mentioned, finish, hardware and pads. The first two are not a big deal when the brakes are new and the pads will wear out regardless so their differences are short term only. Some brakes have a pivot that has a bushing that rides directly on the frame's post, others have the pivoting within the removeable brake arm, their interface with the frame post doesn't rotate. I've seen both designs have their issues or work well (and here it's the install and long term maintenance that make s the difference).

This excludes the brakes that incorporate an additional leverage link, like the some early Pauls had (and many current side pull calipers have). Andy.
They donít seem to have removable bushings or something like that, but the Deore T610 surely has better bushing, with better polished surface. Iím tending towards that.

Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
M580 is the older pattern; I prefer this cable cinch to the newer one, it's meatier

T610 finish is not that nice. Both silver and black are painted, silver is grey-ish and black is cheap paint. Not too impressed with finish. M580 is also painted but matches silver better and the silkscreening is not as ugly as T610.

M580 might be still made in Japan, T610 is Malaysia.
The seller of the M580 almost shouted at me when I asked for a discount, theyíre out of reach for now. About the finishing, all the other three seemed somewhat equal, as you said. Iíve noticed some better polished bushing on the T610, as I said up here.

Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Pretty much the same as any other Shimano component. As you move upward through the component food chain:
1. Functionality and finish quality improve arithmetically.
2. Price goes up logrithmaticly.
I donít noticed any better finish on the M422, T4000 and T610. Sincerely, they all look the same. Better bushings on the T610 and thatís all. Itís about 2x the M422, though. Youíre probably right about exponential price growth.

Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
If you see plastic pieces, theyíre going to break in a year or two. Lower end shimano canti brakes had built in self-destruct.
There are plastic caps around the spring on the M422 and thatís the only thing Iíve noticed. Otherwise, theyíre all metal, as far as I could tell.

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Having been using the Deore Brakes for a while they are just fine with my Avid Speed Dial 7 levers. However most important regardless of the actual brake or lever is the quality of the shoes/pads, cables and housing. I personally would much rather have cheaper brakes with high end shoes/pads, cables and housing then nicer brakes with cheap pads... What you want to look for in a pad and shoe combination is that they are separate pieces and the shoe is nice and stiff and the pad has a good rubber compound for your riding. My current favorite linear pull brake pads are Kool Stop V-2 dual compounds and they are sitting in the stock Shimano Deore shoes but the KoolStop Tectonics would work great if you don't already have shoes with replaceable pads.


For cables and housing Jagwire is my go to and generally it is going to be the Elite Link or Pro Polished and I go for the kits because it has everything I might need for that job and I keep whatever spare stuff for another job usually for replacement or building another parts bike. I prefer uncoated cables that are slick and stainless. Never galvanized ever unless I was desperate on a ride and couldn't get anything else and I would probably replace that thing once I got back to civilization. Coated cables tend to lose their coating and can clog up the brakes a little and the really nice cables are much smoother so they don't drag as some cables can. The nicer housing may last longer but more importantly it is less likely to compress and will like also be smooth and well lubricated so you have better performance.


Overall it is the small stuff like that, that can make a bigger difference then the actual brake. Granted if you can do all of this go for it, the high end brakes will likely give more stiffness and maybe better actuation and have other features that will enhance performance. Also if you can get better levers those are never a bad idea, smoother lever pull and potentially better ergonomics can all be beneficial.
Iím tending towards your opinion, but the better Shimano pads are more than a third the price of the brakes FOR A SINGLE PAIR here in Brazil. So, if I buy the M422 intending to replace the pads for the same on T610, Iíll save 50% on the brakes, but Iíll more than double that including the pads, so they end up being more expensive than T610.

The pads on T4000 donít seem to be any better than those in M422, so I guess my question has an answer: Iíll go for the T610!

Thanks everyone! Thatís why I like Bikeforums more than the local forums Iím also a member: you provide information and good reasoning, instead of simple fanboy arguments.

Iíve asked the same question on a local forum (Iíll not say itís name here) and all Iíve got was something on the lines of ďv-brakes are SO yesterday...Ē and ďget a disc brake!Ē. If that was an option, I wouldnít looking for a replacement vís, on first place!

My old v-brakes, for the record, are locally rebranded Chinese ones in all metal construction. Theyíve been around for about ten years, but now the pinch bolt in one pair started to become less ďpinchyĒ after my last maintenance session.
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Old 04-12-20, 12:02 PM
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Apart from weight, finishing, and bushings, higher end brakes have better spring feel, better ease of adjustment, and less play once installed. Ok, these are maybe attributable to better bushings 😅

I don't really consider the pads as that's a wear item that's easily replaced.
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Old 04-12-20, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by dwsmartins View Post
They donít seem to have removable bushings or something like that, but the Deore T610 surely has better bushing, with better polished surface. Iím tending towards that.


The seller of the M580 almost shouted at me when I asked for a discount, theyíre out of reach for now. About the finishing, all the other three seemed somewhat equal, as you said. Iíve noticed some better polished bushing on the T610, as I said up here.


I donít noticed any better finish on the M422, T4000 and T610. Sincerely, they all look the same. Better bushings on the T610 and thatís all. Itís about 2x the M422, though. Youíre probably right about exponential price growth.


There are plastic caps around the spring on the M422 and thatís the only thing Iíve noticed. Otherwise, theyíre all metal, as far as I could tell.


Iím tending towards your opinion, but the better Shimano pads are more than a third the price of the brakes FOR A SINGLE PAIR here in Brazil. So, if I buy the M422 intending to replace the pads for the same on T610, Iíll save 50% on the brakes, but Iíll more than double that including the pads, so they end up being more expensive than T610.

The pads on T4000 donít seem to be any better than those in M422, so I guess my question has an answer: Iíll go for the T610!

Thanks everyone! Thatís why I like Bikeforums more than the local forums Iím also a member: you provide information and good reasoning, instead of simple fanboy arguments.

Iíve asked the same question on a local forum (Iíll not say itís name here) and all Iíve got was something on the lines of ďv-brakes are SO yesterday...Ē and ďget a disc brake!Ē. If that was an option, I wouldnít looking for a replacement vís, on first place!

My old v-brakes, for the record, are locally rebranded Chinese ones in all metal construction. Theyíve been around for about ten years, but now the pinch bolt in one pair started to become less ďpinchyĒ after my last maintenance session.

Ahh maybe in Brazil things are more expensive. But yeah pads are the better upgrade assuming the cost is there. Also you don't have to go Shimano my favored pads are Kool Stop or SwissStop but again if you can get them. I don't know the market in Brazil but if you are ever in the U.S. for any reason stock up on parts but realize tax evasion and customs evasion is illegal.
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Old 04-14-20, 12:54 PM
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Br-t4000 is $10 here including brake pads. Upgrade to koolstop cartridges was double its price. They work fine, better than the stock oem tektro.
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Old 04-19-20, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
Br-t4000 is $10 here including brake pads. Upgrade to koolstop cartridges was double its price. They work fine, better than the stock oem tektro.
On a direct conversion, Brazilian Real to Dollar, the T4000 are about $25 here. And our wages are lower...
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