Review: Shimano XT M785 Disc Brakes vs SRAM Guide RSC Brakes

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Shimano XT M785 Disc Brakes

Price: $139.99

From a control standpoint, brakes are one of the most important parts of your bike. This means that when buying brakes, you want to be absolutely sure you’re getting a good product… and Shimano’s XT M785 disc brakes are an excellent product. Using only a single finger, you are able to maintain an incredible amount of control over your brakes, making normally rough downhill runs an absolute breeze. The stopping power is just amazing, and the XT M785s handle that power impeccably- Ice Tech finned pads and rotors do a wonderful job of keeping everything cool. The best part? These powerhouses are actually reasonably priced!

XT M785 Disc Brakes

With that being said, though, maintenance can be a little costly. Those same Ice Tech finned pads and rotors which keep your brakes so cool are going to burn your wallet up when it comes time to buy replacements. Then there is the biggest downside of the Shimano XT M785 disc brakes- the weight. These things are definitely heavy, weighing in at about 450 grams with the rotors (almost a whole pound). If your main focus is barreling down steep hills with sharp corners, that weight won’t really be a problem- but when you have to go back up the hill, you really may start to feel that extra weight.

 

To mountain bikers, the most desired equipment is always going to be as strong as an ox and as light as a feather all at the same time… and while the Shimano XT M785 disc brakes are most certainly the former, their 450 grams may be a tad bit too high for riders looking to keep the weight of their bikes as low as possible. Overall, though, you really can’t beat a Shimano product, and the M785s in particular are going to give you exactly what is required from a brake- maximum control.

 

Pros:

  • Unbeatable stopping power
  • Precise control
  • Ice Tech finned pads and rotors

Cons:

  • Heavier than you might like
  • Expensive upkeep

 

SRAM Guide RSC Brakes

Price: $136.49

When it comes to mountain bike brakes, many manufacturers find it hard to compete with the Shimano XT series. Before the Guide RSC brakes, SRAM was one of those manufacturers… but now everything has changed. The XT’s biggest strength is stopping power, and the Guide RSCs match it perfectly, giving you the ability to handle the steepest terrain and sharpest corners with relative ease. Where the Guide RSCs stand out from the pack, though, is their modulation. Basically every aspect of these brakes was designed to make modulation easy, allowing you to find a perfect, unique sweet spot that gives you plenty of control over your ride.

 

As far as cons go, the brakes are a little bit pricey when compared to the competition, and they may not be as durable as some of the other brakes on the market right now. There’s also the trouble of repairs- with so many different unique moving parts, repair on the Guides will be a little tougher than on something like the Shimano XT, so that’s something to keep in mind. Finally, the brakes sound really bad when they get wet (and yes, all brakes do, but the Guides sound otherworldly), which could definitely get annoying.

 

Overall, it’s a bit of a stretch to find anything all that seriously wrong with the SRAM Guide RSC brakes… and while they’re above-average in most areas, where they really shine is adjustability, so if you’re the type of rider that likes to customize everything, you’re going to love these brakes. It’s clear to see that SRAM really learned from the mistakes they made with the Elixer and have now manufactured a brake that many will find to be the superior choice over Shimano XTs, so if you’re looking for something new, something with excellent stopping power and unbeatable modulation, you can’t go wrong with the SRAM Guide RSC brakes.

Pros:

  • Extensive customization options
  • Easy modulation
  • Huge improvement over previous SRAM offerings

Cons:

  • A little pricey
  • Obnoxiously noisy when wet

 

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