I've been using XTR brakes for about 2 years now having been convinced by my LBS they were THE brake to buy when building my XC race bike. In that time I've never really felt 100% comfortable with them. Firstly the huge amount of modulation felt very alien to me having only ever used Hayes 9s beforehand. I don't like that will-they-or-won't-they feeling as you squeeze the lever to the bar!
Secondly the braking power felt really poor so I put a 180 on the front which helped a bit. Then I bled the brakes properly which helped a lot and I reverted to the 160 on the front. Finally I changed the pads and the brakes were finally running really well.
Now after 6-7 months of use I'm back to square 1 and again feel they lack power. I've rebled, changed pads again and it has improved slightly but I'm now convinced they are not the brakes for me.
So, the question is - what are the favoured brakes at the moment among XC racers?
I guess I'm after something with plenty of stopping power, an on-off feel (minimal modulation), easily maintainable (changing pads on the XTRs was really simple and bleeding was relatively easy too) and reasonably light weight.
I'm thinking Avid Juicy Ultimates (which I'd originally planned to fit in the first place).
Does anyone know how they compare with XTRs?