Well, as far as I recall/know, the ones I tested were the V4s and I was coming/going by my past experience with personal Mono Minis I had and ran back in 2005/6 - never did seem to be able to get any real power out of them. So going by that and my Deore/SLX/XT experience, I was quite impressed with what I felt. Was on someone elses bikes, a lot shorter, so only rode/tooled around on it, up a bit of inclined and down, but really seemed to have a good feel to me, somewhere between SRAM and Shimano in terms of modulation and at least Shimano 2 piston type power.
I've not personally ridden a set of the original Zee/Saint 4 pistons, but I did spec a set for a big guy 6'5", 250lbs and when I installed them I was actually very under whelmed by their power when just doing an initial quick pedal outside to lightly bed/test the. Fast forward nearly a year later when the guy brought the bike back for a service and Holy Hell, I could not believe the power compared to my XT 2 pistons, nearly went OTB when I test rode it and grabbed a handful of front brake expecting the same results after initial setup - guess they need proper bedding in compared to regular XTs with resin pads.
Good insight and mini review Andrew, would have to concur with your once again cost vs performance metric, I have found this too in the 2 piston varients as well. Although all my personal bikes do use XTs, but all my other use SLX or Deore and have never had anyone complain about them, if anything they comment how good they are or how powerful.
While I guess I am a Shimano-phile because they just seem to work, especially down in the tropics, even if with some having the wondering bite point, most don't notice and the ease of bleeding or a quick lever bleed and they use mineral oil. All that being said, with the now current price of the 4 piston offerings, even this chepeast option, they're now not much more than brakes from other manufacturers, who like you said, can be serviced instead of just chucked if something happens.
Honestly, if I'm looking to drop $150+US per wheel for brakes, I'm going to be looking at a set of Hopes, despite the whole DOT fluid thing, because of all the DOT brakes I've experienced, they are the easiest to bleed and IMHO, one of the best looking, plus you have colours to choose from if you want, PLUS Hope has a reputation for supporting products 10+ years down the road.
I actually go 20mm=1 degree, which seems about right after trying different travel on the same fork and measuring with a phone app. I go by actual travel, not total height from ground to crown, so would be interesting to hear what an engineer had to say. Guess to be accurate you would need to also take HTA into account.
Vik, thanks for the tip, already do that one most of the time, but sometimes you just need to undo the collar and get some fresh grease in there. I only just used my homemade version of slick honey the last time, was using regular grease before and the time before that tried a special marine anti seize grease, which I think may have lead to the dust seal degradation. Also doesn't help living where it's either hot, hotter or way too damn hot, eats plastic and rubber stuff.
Nah, doesn't matter if you're a lighter weight person, say 140-180lbs (add a pack, kit and now you're 160-200lbs>), if you've got the saddle slammed way back on the rails, inevitably, at some point you're going to bend and break the rails.
Concur with Vik about the 9Point8 posts, they're only viable option out there if you want/need a setback head and while when I bought mine it was $425 US (one of the most expensive) in the 4 years I've had it I've not had one issue with it, only done colar re-lubes basically, only now have the seals come to need replacing.
Agreed. Going by my Unit with a 530mm long ST on which I run a 150mm drop post that's already 35mm out the frame, this would be ridiculous, AND I run 180 cranks. My guess is they're going for people upsizing to get more Reach without loosing the ability to run a longer dropper - so 5'10" person on the XL.
I'm going to 100% agree with you on this one, a HardTail with a STA steeper than 74* static is not a pleasant all day bike unless you only ride in the mountains and go up and down, on long pedally days with a good mix of flat, rolling, mild climbing etc, no bueno.
[EDITED to ADD] I love my rigid Kona Unit, it's such a fun bike, always makes me smile, even if after the ride I'm more achy than if I was on my FS and rode slower, always, always fun and more capable than most would expect.
Also, own a '08 Monkey, Banshee Paradox and those super short rear ends just aren't for me, have always used/run the 10mm Monkey Nuts to keep the stays about 17.1", run the Unit with the stays slammed all the way back to fit 29x3" rubber in there, barely, but actually leave it there when running 29x2.6" as well, although 5mm shorter wouldn't hurt, makes mud clearance actually a thing.
Hey Al, while most would get the tongue in cheek/satire of this piece, it may be wise to add a small disclaimer at the end stating that this is in fact the opposite of how we should act and what we should do, just in case a n00b reads it and isn't that "enlightened" to know better :-\
I've used the method before, especially when I was new to hydraulics brakes, just like you do with a car, basically. Here's a YouTube video by Marshy, the Santa Cruz Syndicate mechanic demonstrating it. As to the cheat method, all you do is simply pump the lever with the wheel/rotor removed and let the pistons move in slightly, then re-install like that to make the lever throw to contact much less - you also make the space between pads and rotors much less as well, so if you bend/warp your rotor, it will rub much easier.
Actually you're wrong there, it absolutely does have an effect on the bleed and especially the amount of fluid in the reservoir. If you want proof, just do a quick funnel bleed and leave the screw wound all the way in, then once you're done, wind it all the way out and watch the fluid level drop.
I'll admit right off the bat that I'm a Shimano "fan boi", there performance to cost ratio is the best and their ergonomics are, IMHO, much better than SRAM for shifters. Run Shimano on all my bikes, Deore, SLX and XT and have always been happy with the power they provide for the $ they cost and the ease of bleeding, but hopefully they've at least sorted the occasional, wondering bite point of previous generations that can be a little annoying if you don't keep it in mind on long descents without brakes and bumps/jumps.
That being said, at the current pricing for the new Shimano 4 piston options, I'd rather spend my money on something deserving of that sort of price, like a nice set of Hopes.
Good review Al and exactly what I figured after my experience with the 10 and 11spd versions. I also really like that multi-release function, something you could hack in the last iteration of the 9spd shifters, but not 10spd, however in the 11spd lineup, I sacrificed it to get MUCH lighter shifting with the SLX over XT, so glad that they've fixed that issue.
Another thing you didn't mention is that while there's a 80g weight penalty on the SLX over GX, you also only pay 1/2 the cost for one, so that coupled with much crisper shifting is an absolute no brainer to me. It's no wonder with the quality of Shimano's lower end parts like Deore that this year OEM has flocked to them for a cheaper cost, but better performance metric.
Not quite sure if I understand Andrew correctly, but on mine, I run mine rolled forward (so center mark is down of center) by about 5mm so I get more upsweep to the bar and have found that very comfortable on my rigid Kona Unit. I initially tried them how SQLab suggest and did not like that one bit, a bit of fidling and getting some more upsweep was the ticket for me.
For me the 16 is it, no issues descending once, as Andrew said you ge through that small learning curve to get accustomed to the bit different feel. I tried a 12 degree Salsa bar and compared to my 9 degree, it really did not make much of a difference, actually felt about the same, the SQ Lab 16 was a whole nother story. Only problem you'll find is that if you own multiple bikes, once you've spent enough time on the 16* bar, you'll want one on all the other bikes, so can get expensive :-D