"Performance and consistency of the Shimano SLX is a match for any brake on the market."
The latest generation Shimano SLX brakes use a parallel reservoir that sits in line with the handlebars and a short, hooked lever blade that pivots close to the grip. The internal (Servo Wave) design pushes more brake fluid at the start of the stroke to afford excellent pad clearance, before smoothing out pressure on the rotor for improved modulation as the lever is pulled further in.
We haven’t heard any riders gripe that they can’t get a comfortable position from the nicely shaped stubby lever blade, and it’s simple to adjust set-up and reach via a barrelled adjuster. A hinged clamp allows easy handlebar fitment and the compact levers free up more bar space for things like dropper post remotes or computers.
Shimano offers several rotor choices (not included in the basic price) from cheap but effective single-piece steel discs through to the powerful Ice Tech rotors that employ laminate technology to dissipate heat build-up.
Overall, the performance and consistency of the Shimano SLX is a match for any brake on the market. On the trail, the they strike a superb balance between stacks of bite and overall power, yet with enough control not to be too grabby. Just about the only criticism you could level is that these affordable stoppers aren’t class leading in terms of weight, but we’d consider the 60g penalty an acceptable price to pay for such a superbly engineered product.
MBR Rating: 10
This test appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of MBR. The brakes on test are: Avid Elixir 5, Formula R1X, Magura MT4, Shimano SLX and the TRP Dash Carbon.
SLX is a compilation of all our favourite bits of Shimano brake tech, and all at a relatively bargainous price. The double decker lever body is similar to XT and the hinged clamp is compatible with Shimano's 'I-spec' combo mount. The deeply kinked one and-a-half-finger lever with reach adjust thumb wheel feels the same as XT, and the brake also uses the Servo Wave cam action for clean running, wide clearances yet increased contact power. Stopping is strong and control superb once you've adapted to the feel. It's not ambidextrous, but switching hoses is easy, as is bleeding. We've even run them on cooking oil in emergencies. They were very tasty.*
The calliper comes with stegosaurus-style, heat dispersing finned pads as standard and modular selling means you can choose single piece, floating, six-bolt, Centerlock or Ice Tech bi metal rotors according to your needs, wheels and pockets. Or you can stick with the mounts and rotors you've already got and just get the brakes for £95. The only real downside is the high weight.
*Joke. Do not eat brakes