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Shimano brakes

Feb. 4, 2020, 10:51 a.m.
Posts: 766
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

just read another bike review that complained about 'wandering bite point' and how it made it hard to ride aggressively. i have a set of Zee's on each bike and don't understand or experience this (or i'm completely immune to it?). 

so is this only an issue with the newest redesigned Shimano brakes or old ones as well? the fact that this issue is mentioned ad nauseam in every review is curious to me.  would those on Saint brakes have the same issue?

Feb. 4, 2020, 11:42 a.m.
Posts: 11573
Joined: June 4, 2008

I've been riding saints forever.  I love them.

They brake when I want them to brake... if it wandered I'd be dead by now.

Feb. 4, 2020, 12:28 p.m.
Posts: 1239
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

I ride Saints as well. Love them. I have read of the wandering bite point phenomenon, but have never experienced it myself. It could be that I am accustomed to their feel, and am immune to it as well.

Feb. 4, 2020, 12:50 p.m.
Posts: 3686
Joined: Aug. 22, 2005

My XT M8000 brakes have this issue. Running genuine Ice-tech pads, 203mm rotors and mineral oil. Seems to be heat related for sure as the rear is always the first to act up. Bite point ends up too far out.

Feb. 4, 2020, 12:52 p.m.
Posts: 49
Joined: Dec. 1, 2008

There are thousands of posts about this issue on multiple message boards in various languages but no definitive answers. Distilled facts I could gather:

Affects multiple generations of brakes, going back at least 7 years.

Affects all generations of XT and XTR brakes, 2 and 4 piston.

Saint brakes seem to be rarely (if ever) affected. Not sure about Zee.

Not all individual units are affected and some more strongly than others.

Cold temperatures seem to make it worse.

People have been experimenting with different hydraulic oils. This has helped in some cases but not all.


 Last edited by: Timer on Feb. 4, 2020, 12:55 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
Feb. 4, 2020, 1:48 p.m.
Posts: 1216
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Had to warranty my XT's twice for this issue a few years ago. Shame as they are such an excellent brake otherwise. It's that bizarre Shimano arrogance where they ignore a glaring issue and engineer an otherwise perfect product.

Even changed out the hoses for steel braided to see if it would randomly help.


 Last edited by: Hepcat on Feb. 4, 2020, 2:07 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Feb. 4, 2020, 1:48 p.m.
Posts: 1630
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Have the 4 piston xt's. They have been flawless in hot and cold weather.

Feb. 4, 2020, 4:09 p.m.
Posts: 858
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

I have some 2015 xt’s barely used due to the mystery of wandering bite point. Didn’t even go through one set of pads. They can be had for some crafty beer.

Feb. 4, 2020, 4:13 p.m.
Posts: 308
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

My 8020 XT brakes do it a bit as did my SRAM Guide RSC brakes. They both seemed to work best with new full depth pads or a fresh bleed without pushing pistons back into their bores. I read somewhere that a lot of modern brakes have small reservoirs in the master cylinder so when the pads wear down the brake levers start to get too close in. If it’s a DOT 5.1 versus mineral oil issue SRAM brakes should be immune and mine weren’t. And that’s two sets. And Magura brakes should also have this issue but I have never used Magura brakes nor have I read that they have this issue.

Feb. 4, 2020, 5:52 p.m.
Posts: 374
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

I had the wandering bite point on set of XTs...can't recall the model number. Got some replacements and it had the same problem. So I got Codes and they work great so I just going to buy more Codes when I need brakes until I don't here anymore Shimano wandering bite point issues.

I do have older Shimano brakes that work great. I'm continuing to run them without issue. I would have told you I was a "Shimano Brake Guy" before this issue, but it was really annoying both how the brakes performed and the constant attempts to bleed the problem away...which didn't work.

Seems odd to me that the Big S has been through at least one if not two generations of brakes since the vintage I had issues with and yet the problem is still there.

Feb. 4, 2020, 6:20 p.m.
Posts: 570
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

I've got a set of XTR's on the plastic bike and have noticed the wandering bite point issue as well. I bled them a while back and in made a big difference but have noticed they have gradually gotten worse. I find now the first grab of brakes the lever goes pretty much to the bar but they pump up after a few strokes. They always have decent bite, but it's the bite point that can be a pain in the ass, especially on sections where there is lots of harder on/off braking. The lever can go from 3/4 of the way to the bar to almost barely moving at all. Of course it only takes to let off the brake for a second and then the lever bite point will move closer to the bar. I've read that there are a few key things to do in order to get a proper bleed, and that includes letting the bite point adjustment screw all the way out, adjusting the reach all the way out and bleeding from the caliper to the lever - pushing the fluid up from the caliper. I did my bleed from the bottom but didn't do the other two and I also didn't have the Shimano bleed kit with the cup on top - I just wrapped a rag around the lever to catch any mineral fluid. I'm going to give it a go again with the revised method and see what happens. 

On the aluminum bike I've got a Zee caliper up front and SLX rear with SLX levers front and back and once bled, they've been fine with no wandering bite point.

Feb. 4, 2020, 9:47 p.m.
Posts: 1216
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Man you needs one of those Shimano funnels, that little cup is what makes one-way bleeding Shimano brakes a 5 minute job.

When doing this top bleed changing the angle of the master cylinder several times and then flicking the lever helps find more bubbles.

Using a syringe with a hole in the side, like in that German video in the Magura thread, is reportedly an even more effective method than this. I'll be testing it out shortly.

For a full bleed: 

•Pull pads (always), remove wheel. Put in pad block.

•Attach syringe at bottom.

•Attach cup at top. 

•Push a large amount of fluid up, then *pull a large amount of fluid back down*, slowly. Repeat several times.

•Remove cup.

•Remove syringe.

Feb. 4, 2020, 10:23 p.m.
Posts: 570
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

I basically do the same thing, just using  the syringe at the bottom and using a rag at the top to catch any fluid that comes out. Admittedly it's not as good as having that cup. There's a kit on amazon for like $40 that comes with adapters for all sorts of brakes and the cup that I'm going to order to make it easier. I've had the avid bleed kit which does basically the same thing and that pumping action is really what makes the difference in getting all the air out. It's like using a power bleeder when doing your car brakes.

Feb. 5, 2020, 8:14 a.m.
Posts: 269
Joined: April 15, 2017

I thought Shimanos were a one-way bleeding method, push through from caliper up to catch cup.

That Shimano little bleeding cup is a godsend but I hate with a vengeance the crappy connection I always get with the caliper. At some point I always end up with the tube falling off and then sodding slippy mineral oil everywhere. If they could address that then I’d be more into bleeding Shimano brakes, unless that is fixed if I bought into a more expensive bleeding kit. SRAM’s bleeding edge port is a thing of beauty.

Feb. 5, 2020, 8:59 a.m.
Posts: 11573
Joined: June 4, 2008

Has anyone tried this way?  

https://youtu.be/piWBVDh1pTE

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