For years, Shimano has delivered high-quality, fuss-free brakes to the masses. Having tested the top-end XTR flavor in the past, it was time to test the entry-level Deore M615’s for the season.
Shimano Deore M615 Disc Brake Features:
- Opposed 2-piston design reduces leading effect and optimal pad wear increases braking control
- Two piece caliper design
- Hinged clamp for single-bolt install/removal
- Ergonomic alloy brake lever for optimum comfort and performance
- Non-corrosive mineral oil
- Shim-less mounting system
- Reach adjustment via allen key
- MSRP: $230 pair
Good stoppers for little dough
There was a time not too long ago when Shimano was seemingly the only braking game in town. Their mineral oil stoppers have achieved a high level of reliability that has not been matched by other hydraulic brake systems over such a long period of time. Now that the competition (a.k.a. SRAM Guide) has stepped up in a big way, what’s Shimano to do? Well, just keep soldiering on by making fuss-free brakes for the masses.
Over the entire season, i’ve put the Shimano Deore M615’s to the test aboard the Niner ROS 9 Plus. With 180mm front and 160mm rear rotors, the Deore’s have easily stopped this plus-sized bike in every situation I’ve encountered.
Again, the Deore M615’s are fully-hydraulic, using mineral oil. During the duration of the test, they never once lost power or needed bleeding, in fact, I never even so much as thought about them once. Yes, these are a pedestrian-level brake set; they don’t feature any of Shimano’s Ice-Tech goodness, but since the ROS 9 Plus is not a DH machine, reducing heat was never an issue and I never experienced any noticeable brake fade. You could employ Ice-Tech rotors or metallic brake pads for more demanding braking needs.
One nice-to-have feature that is forfeited is a tool-free reach adjustment. While this is great to have, it’s more of a hyped-up selling point since most of us simply adjust the reach and leave it. Don’t be too worried though since you CAN adjust the reach, it just requires an allen key to do it. Frankly, it’s one less part to potentially break in a crash.
The lever feel is very comfortable and fantastic for one or two-finger braking. One thing I’d fault with the braking characteristics of these is modulation. You don’t get much of it as the best brakes on the market, but again, these are pretty good all things considered. I never had any issues with the brakes being too grabby and honestly appreciated the power they provided in conjunction with an extra large 29+ contact patch. I recall on several rides feeling very impressed with the overall braking quality
- Entry-level pricing with top-notch performance
- Consistent braking power
- Quiet throughout 6-month test period
- Mineral oil is non-corrosive and easy to work with (though I never had to mess with it)
- No tool-free reach adjustment
- Modulation could be better
The Bottom Line: Shimano Deore M615
Shimano knows how to make fuss-free brakes and these budget stoppers show just that. I’ve enjoyed powerful, consistent braking with a comfortable lever feel all season long.