Shimano Deore XT M775 Disc Brakes Review


With SRAM eating their lunch, Shimano has been forced to step things up a bit in recent years. The new XT shifters and derailleurs sport an improved design and much more logical function over previous years designs. Not to be left out, the Shimano Deore XT disc brakes have also been improved.

Shimano has been at the disc brake game for almost ten years now, but are their designs superior to the many brake-specific manufacturers out there. Hayes and Avid eat breathe and sleep brakes while Shimano makes fishing reels and mountain bike wheels at the same time. Are the Shimano stoppers as good as the competition? We’ll just have to see.

Shimano Deore XT M775 Disc Brakes Review

About the Shimano Deore XT M775 Disc Brakes

New for 2008, these brakes are built to be powerful and adjustable. Looking them over, the design is sleek and smart with some great features. A fundamental difference between Shimano disc brakes and the competition is the fluid. Shimano uses environmentally and paint-friendly mineral oil instead of DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid. If you’ve ever bled your brakes and spilled DOT 3 fluid on any painted surface, you can appreciate the non-abrasive nature of mineral oil.

The levers offer adjustable reach to properly fit your digits–all in a compact, durable design. The lever is a smaller, 1.5-finger design. Calipers are cast as a one-piece “mono block” design for increased braking efficiency. A variety of rotor sizes are available in both Shimano-specific and standard 6-bolt designs.

Just a few more highlights:

  • Levers feature adjustable reach
  • New Servo Wave design for quicker engagement and 20% more stopping power
  • Calipers are single piece for more power
  • 203, 180 and 160 mm rotors available
  • MSRP: $330/pair (without rotors)

Shimano Deore XT M775 Disc Brakes Review

Shimano Deore XT M775 Disc Brakes Review

As standard equipment on the Iron Horse 6Point6 and MKIII, I’ve plowed downhill at breakneck speed, only to need to stop on a dime and carve through some twisty singletrack. The Deore XT brakes have been absolutely superb. Honestly, I’ve been very surprised at how well they have worked in all conditions with no fade–even on long descents.

Quick to engage, the Deore XT disc brakes are powerful and quick to react. There’s not much lever movement necessary before engagement. But, they aren’t like the early-generation Hayes disc brakes that suffered from on/off syndrome. These have a nice progressive feel to them that can be feathered as needed, but when a fistfull of brakes are what you need, you’ve got it and then some.

It is a little odd that you don’t get a set of rotors with the brakeset at $330/pair. This is due to the two rotor attachment options for either a Shimano-specific hub or a standard 6-bolt design. You get to choose your own rotors, but you can’t get fries with that.

Good XT Brakes

  • Excellent modulation
  • Dependable power when you need it
  • Non-abrasive mineral oil
  • Single-piece caliper design
  • Comfortable 1.5-finger lever design
  • Adjustable reach

Bad XT Brakes

  • Expensive
  • Does not come with rotors

The Bottom Line on the Deore XT M775 Disc Brakes

Shimano is giving both Avid and Hayes a run for their money with these high-quality stoppers. I dig their use of non-abrasive mineral oil instead of brake fluid. Functionality-wise, these brakes are top-notch with awesome power and excellent modulation. They are expensive and you don’t get rotors included, but if you’re looking for a solid set of brakes, you’ll dig these.

Buy Now: Find XT Disc Brakes at JensonUSA

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. “Non-abrasive mineral oil”? I’m fairly certain that you meant to write “non-corrosive” as an advantage for mineral oil since DOT3/4 brake fluid eats paint. Obviously no brake fluid or oil is abrasive.

    • Thanks for pointing that out. Yes, I do fail to grasp basic concepts of the English language from time-to-time. Obviously, DOT 3/4 brake fluid is corrosive, though the damage caused by it might make for an abrasive day for me. Regardless… it damages paint and can have a tendency to make the owner grumpy should it destroy a high-end paintjob.

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