Shimano SLX M7120

Shimano SLX M7120 disc brake review

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The brake that felt like the best combination of top-end power and all-over feel was the Shimano SLX M7120.

  • Price: £175.00
  • Rotor weight: 168g (203mm)
  • Brake weight: 286g
  • Tested by: Benji
Shimano SLX M7120
Shimano SLX M7120

As one of the biggest Shimano brake fans from the XT M785 era (what a brake that was… sigh) it’s been saddening to see so many newer higher tier Shimano brakes let down by wandering bite points.

When a Shimano brake is operating at 100% there is nothing better out there. Super powerful, but with an almost magically controllable touch to the bite point, they have an instant feel to them combined with tons of stopping power. They aren’t instantly on with a disappointing lack of oomph to follow. Nor are they vague or delayed feeling when delivering the top end power. You know where and when the power is.

These SLX brakes have been like the good old days of Shimano. They are brilliant. The absolutely critical thing to bear in mind, in my experience, is that these are not ‘fit and forget’ brakes. They don’t like to be run until the pads have worn down to the metal (they will require a rebleed if you let them get that far gone). And they’re no longer happy just to have a quick ‘bubble bleed’ to sort them out.

Owning a Shimano brake is a bit more like owning one of the more demanding house plants… it’s not a cactus you can leave to gather dust. If you fail to keep an eye on your Shimano, it will let you know. Is this level of maintenance acceptable? Before I’d tested these brakes, I would have said no. But gosh darned if there isn’t still something amazing about Shimano brakes when they’re operating at 100%.


Not fit and forget, but you know what? If you like working on your bike anyway, there’s nothing like a Shimano stopper.

Review Info

Brand: Shimano
Product: SLX M7120
Price: £175
Tested: by Benji for Issue 144

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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