Do all the non-free-stroke versions (SLX, Zee, etc.) pull quite far to the bar before putting the brakes on? I'm more used to the pads biting with only a smal bit of lever stroke.
New style Shimano brakes
nope, you can adjust the little knob at the lever
The knob on the lever doesn't adjust how much lever throw there is before the brakes bite, it just adjusts the reach. If you wind them out, they will bite further from the bars but the throw will remain the same relatively.
I always found Shimano brakes bite quite soon through the lever stroke compared to other brakes. Or if they don't, then a good bleed and a fresh set of pads sorts it so that they do.
I never found the free stroke adjuster did much on the XT brakes I had.
Just bought some brand new zees and they travel miles before biting and feel weak when they get there. My old slx's had no play at all so i'm going to bleed them.
It does sound like a bleed is necessary. Excess lever travel is usually down to air in the system.
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