Shimano Zee brakes – long term test roundup

Lots of people have recently been asking me about my long term thoughts on the Shimano Zee brakes I’ve been running for almost 4 months now and whether they are a significant upgrade over the more commonly seen XT for a trail/AM/Enduro bike.

After riding and racing them hard in the UK and abroad (I’d have been lost without them in Finale Ligure for SuperEnduro), I can say 100% yes, they’re definitely worth the very slight weight penalty over the XTs.

Shimano Zee brakes

What I’ve found with my long term test is that not only is there a huge amount of power on tap, there’s also a lot of modulation and fine control, because the sheer brutal power of the brakes allows you to keep all your braking truly in the one finger, rather than pulling through your forearm. This in turn means fine, accurate control with loads of top-end power when you need it, and less arm pump as you’re not tensing up your arms.

So what setup would I recommend? I’m running my Zee brakes with Superstar sintered pads (same footprint as Saint), Superstar white hoses and Superstar 203mm floating rotors front and rear on the Bionicon Edison. My Supershuttle is getting the same treatment as part of an entire Zee groupset.

If you’re looking to upgrade your brakes for the new year, or are hinting at something for Christmas, make it these!

UPDATE – Great price on Zee brakes here:


  1. Hi, can you tell me how much they really weight ? What is for you a very slight weight penalty in comparison with the XT ?
    I need to order new brakes and it will be XT or Zee, for an all-mountain dedicated Giant Reign.



    • Not done an exact weigh in – but as the Edison is being stripped for service this weekend I can do it!

      Seriously though, it will be a matter of grams, and you can always make your legs get stronger, but better brakes will help you be a ton faster thanks to late late late braking (hilarious when duking with friends), and no arm pump – SWEET!!!!

  2. Thanks for your answer.

    For sure I can make my legs stronger. I just don’t want brakes that are 100% heavier than others…

    I’ll go for the Zee.

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