Shimano hydraulic brake - new lever recommendations please

So today after having dismantled and rebuilt my 36er a few weeks ago I took it for a ride.

Realised immediately that my brake lever (XTR BL-9020) was too far forwards but hadn’t taken tools so was just accepting it.

Having not ridden for a few weeks I then proceeded to have a slow speed step-off-the-front UPD, smashing the carbon fibre brake lever into two pieces upon contact the ground :sob:
Normally it would have been protected by my bar ends, but the incorrect placement meant it hit the ground first.
So now I need a new one.

(I’ve also had some issues with seal contamination (I suspect) leading to migrating bite-point that recently in storage had got much worse so I’m not looking to replace just the carbon fibre lever part, rather the whole lever assembly. A teardown and potential fix was on my list but I hadn’t got around to it, and now it doesn’t feel worth it.)

Should I try and get the same from somewhere? A 9100? A 9120? Something else? I don’t want one with the stupid plastic guides that break (if they still make those) as that was the reason I ended up with the XTR over the older XT/SLX in the first place.
I don’t care about weight, or i-spec compatibility, just that it’s a nice 2 finger lever one and has servo wave.

My caliper’s a single XT/SLX something or other - it works just fine so I’m not looking to change that right now.

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Servo wave and no plastic guides, that only leaves XTR 9020, 9120 and Saint. Out of those, I would go with the XTR 9120 for the better clamp, but you might have to decide based on availability - bike components are on high demand right now.

The newest Shimano generation you can’t put the lever as far out as you used to by the older generations. I had the newest SLX last summer and I started to squeeze my fingers after less that 100 km of brake pad use with the way how I brake on my T-bar. Where on the older model it didn’t happen even with worn out disc and pads, because you could move the lever further out.

You could also consider the Magura handles if you like. There are many people using magura calipers and Shimano levers, but if you want to do it the other way around it’s no issue either since both use mineral oil.

Personally I’m happy with my Zee brakes, but for unicycling it apparently is a little bit harder to get the lever in the correct location. For my HandleSaddle I had to create my own brake mount, for the QuAx saddle (based on KH Freeride) I had to use some rings to change the angle a bit.

But once set it works really well :wink:

That’s a curious one. In all of my time of occasionally accidentally running pads down to nothing, I’ve never had a lever need to be adjusted as they automatically adjust the bite point to account for wear.
The only issue I’ve had is the variable bite point one due to worn/dirty seals, which Shimano claim is fixed in their new stuff (at least the XTRs anyway).

Haha, not a chance! The Magura levers was the reason why I ditched them and went to Shimano in the first place :smiley:

I said you could, not that you should :stuck_out_tongue:
I must admit that I’m pretty happy with my MT7’s on my street trial bike, but it took me a while to get them sealed properly. I had to put a copper washer on the caliper bleed nipple to stop leakage, but once set they perform great with way better modulation than the Shimano’s…