Shimano just announced two relatively small updates to their workhorse Deore XT groupset that could make a lot of mountain bikers happy. And here’s the funny part… Demand from eMTBs drove the realization of both. The news is that XT has added a four piston brake option to work with existing levers, something us older mountain bikers might remember. That should make aggressive enduro and heavier trail riders happy. Then they added a new shorter 165mm length Hollowtech XT crankarm set that should please smaller riders, although this one is e-bike only…

So e-bikes are driving a little innovation. OK, innovation is a strong word. Rather, e-bikes are creating more of a market for what had been relatively niche products. Everyone already knew that four piston brakes had more power and better heat management. And shorter cranks offer more ground clearance & greater fit options. But there just wasn’t enough market demand, until eMTBs started boiling brake fluid and bashing pedals on rocks.

M8020 Shimano XT 4 piston brake caliper

Shimano XT four piston hydraulic disc brake caliper 4 pot BR-M8020

So now Shimano can justify bringing the 4 piston brake tech from Saint to their XT Trail group. Looking at the casting & fittings it is pretty clear this is the same caliper as the Saint M82o/Zee M640, but now it is branded XT and destined to be mated to existing M8000 levers.

The new 4 piston caliper shares the same tech as the 2 piston variant – IceTech fins in the caliper & brake pads, and one-way bleeding. You’ll also still be able to adjust reach & free stroke through the regular lever. The difference is just in now four ceramic pistons for increased stopping power & improved heat management over the regular 2 piston variant.

The new calipers should be available before the end of 2017 and will sell for $120 as caliper only for upgrading or $200 with a lever.

M8050 Shimano XT 165mm cranks

Shimano XT eMTB-only 165mm crankarm set FC-M8050

OK, so this is new only in that the new M8050 cranks have no spider attached. All of the single, double & triple ring M8000 XT cranks have already been offered in 165mm (in addition to 170, 175 &1 80mm.) But you couldn’t get that driveside spider off, so it was no help to eMTBers.

The new size then will help both shorter riders looking for improved pedaling dynamics, and any other e-bike rider tired of pedal strikes when riding in more technical terrain. Look for these to start to pop up on 2018 eMTBs, especially smaller sizes and those with lower bottom bracket heights.




  1. Toine on

    @Nash, those won’t work due to it’s not the same hose BH59 ( on road STRS685) BH90 or new hose on those 4 pistons caliper

    • Greg on

      You can use a high power (bh90) hose on road systems. You only need to make sure you use the proper barb for a given hose. It will change the lever feel accordingly.
      Also, R9100 disc brakes use the bh90 hose.

    • Freaking Guy on

      You can use BH59 and BH90 hoses interchangeably. BH90 is just stiffer, (firmer feel) and doesn’t have quite as good of modulation.

  2. pinkop on

    Can we have more info about the cranks?
    I hope they will offer other sizes as I need a 26 ring up front and tired to deal with the current options for cranks.

  3. Jeff on

    So this really helps non-motorized bike riders do nothing new since the new crank already existed and the brakes also already existed. really the only thing news worth is that you can now get some Saint brakes that match your XT drive train.

  4. Michael Myers on

    Why are eBikers getting more pedal strikes than cyclists? Lack of skill? The need to keep pedaling so that the motor keeps working? Both?

  5. hpbiker on

    Looks nice but these brakes will never sale at Retail. Shimano does not protect it’s brand. Shimano has ruined the retail world.

    • Jeff on

      It is funny how in every other industry people cry foul when a company tries to make money by charging a higher price for their goods, even going as far as suing them. But in cycling, everyone pisses and moans when consumers are getting exactly what they want which is products at rock bottom prices. Everyone is cool with bike shops ripping the customer off just they can make more money. If bike shops are not able to compete then they need to change how they do things or go away. why should the consumer be punished for their inability to adapt. it boggles my mind how some people justify it.

      • Joe Bond on

        To be fair, the shops aren’t ripping customers off-their distributors are; your friendly neighborhood bike shop is probably paying the “official, authorized” distributor more than what a typical consumer pays to a random UK website reselling the same OEM Shimano components.

      • The_Truth. on

        @Jeff, do you know how the bicycling retail industry actually works? Especially in regards to Shimano? @hpbiker is actually making a valid and true point here. The issue at hand is that Shimano Japan/Europe and Shimano America are two different entities that give two entirely different pricing standards to their distributors. Shimano America gives horrible margins to its dedicated retail distributors and basically shrugs its shoulders and pff’s at us when asked why our pricing will never be able to match that of online price and tells us “sorry, but you can’t go through Shimano Japan for those prices, you have to go through Shimano North America”. The cost that consumers get online from these European websites such as chainreaction or merlin are actually LESS than the US distributors COST!… so how the hell are we supposed to compete and how are we supposed to feel protected? Its not crying foul here, or pissing and moaning, its calling bullshit when we see it. I find it hilarious and ridiculous when customers think that bike shops are “ripping them off” when in actuality a lot of these companies are ripping their own damn distributors off. The truth is, is that a lot of our margins are crap. It boggles MY mind when i hear or read comments such as your own that are made without any actual validity or knowledge whatsoever. But its cool, Im sure you also treat bike shop employees like car salesman too huh? I guess in this respect, it is a good thing that online retail exists.

        • Jeff on

          I actually don’t care how the industry works, that is not my point. i just find it a bit ridiculous that in every other industry there is this drive to protect the consumer and get them the best pricing possible. Then in the bike industry there is all this push to protect the bike shop at all cost. everyone does piss and moan that bike shops are not able to make it. there is an article every other month posted on FB or the like. if the shop is competing only on price and giving no other value then maybe they should close their doors. Why should i have to pay more to keep them open. Bike shops keep pushing an antiquated business model and the industry has moved on. Clearly there are plenty of people that are not seeing value in the bike shop since more and more people are turning to factory direct bike companies.

          • SAWTOOTH on

            You’re joking right? Every other industry is trying to protect the consumer? Such as?

            You do realize that Amazon doesn’t make money and will often sell at a loss right? No one is trying to get you the best possible pricing. They do it because they want your business, not because they want to do you a favor.

            There are plenty of people that only see price, that’s true. The bike shop provides plenty of value, the average consumer like yourself just doesn’t attribute any value.

            Can you test ride a bike from the internet? Can you touch and feel parts from the internet? Can you get fitted or find out what size bike you ride? Can you get expert advise and suggestions? Can you have your bike repaired through the internet? Do expect a bike shop to honor the warranty of an online part?

            You are the cheapskate who see’s no value in the bike shop. You spout all this off because maybe you know what size bike you ride or you can install your own cables and housing. Most people can’t do these things and the internet isn’t going to help them. Do you have all the tools you need?

            More people are turning to this because people like you make bike shops seem like they have no value and that they “overcharge” for the services that they provide. Many of these online customers end up;

            1) Bringing their online purchase in to a bike shop anyway and realize what they saved was having a properly built bike, that they like, and is the correct size, fitted to them.

            2) Riding a bike that doesn’t fit, isn’t built or adjusted properly, and/or is the wrong style of bike.

            3) Hate riding because they have no idea that the experience in a bike shop is 1000X better than buying a bike from the internet that probably sucks.

            4) Having a local bike shop install the online purchased parts after wasting a bunch of time at that same local asking what they should buy and what exactly they need. Which leads to..

            5) Purchasing parts/bikes multiple times because the customer doesn’t actually know the difference between BB30, PF30, 386EVO, etc. or XD vs Shimano or Flat mount vs Post mount, or the clamp diameter of their front derailleur, tapered or straight, etc., etc..

      • Person on

        You should get a better understanding of margins if you think that bike shops rip people off. We operate on slim margins and a lot of us work passionately while we are actively watching our livelyhoods slip away. This is happening as we speak. We’re not all crying foul. We’re just not exactly jazzed about the catch 22 of trying to “compete” while watching our own industry eat itself alive. Industries have trade secrets for a reason and being able to calculate a margin is paramount to running any business. When everyone knows how much you paid for something, then they tend to think that you are actually making that $50 profit on a sale, and putting that cash directly in your pocket. It’s easy for people to say that bike shops just need to be more competitive, but they often don’t understand that it’s insinuating that we will have to drop our prices while still trying keeping the same level of quality when it comes to customer service. No one was ever punished for purchasing a product at retail. It’s just the recommended price, and that price is calculated in a manner so that a retailer can operate their business. On the flip side, as others are pointing out, dealers are being squeezed more and more from every direction and it has become very taxing on the industry. I totally understand that a consumer wants products at the best price possible, and they naturally will continue to act in this way. But if the LBS (generally speaking) goes out of business within the next year or two, it’s most likely going to the result of an uncontrollable market force, not being a result of us not knowing how to run a business and adapt to the market. The adaptations that customer bring up most often is based on price and that’s not a change that some shops can literally afford to make.

        • Jeff on

          I get how it works. My point is that everyone says that people need to support their shop which means in the end the consumer is paying more. The question then is what am i getting for paying more for everything? a shop has to provide more value then fedex. and if they don’t then how can you blame the consumer. do you go to the grocery store and pay 30% more for the exact same service just because you want the store to stay open?

          We will just have to agree to disagree.

          • Hmmm on

            Uh, Jeff….bought a car lately? For example, the same Tahoe that used to have an msrp of 41,000 is now 60.000. Same vehicle. Same deal with bikes. Talk to the manufacturers don’t bad mouth the LBS. just sayin

            • Jeff on

              this example is not even close to what i am talking about. Now let me use your example to make my point again. You can buy a Tahoe from your local dealer for $60k. it takes a week to come in and when you go to get it the guy there has no more knowledge then how to turn it on and put gas in it. The other option is to order it from an online dealership and pay $41k. It takes 2 days to get dropped off in your driveway and you already know how to put gas in it.

              • SAWTOOTH on

                The reason the local guy doesn’t know anything is because you don’t want to pay for him to know anything. All you care about is price and that’s all you’re talking about. You want the lowest price? You get what you pay for?

                Your example leaves out some glaringly large details. If you were to apply them like they are applied to a bike.

                You get to the dealer and there is an educated sales person to guide you to the model that best suits your needs and budget. You buy a Tahoe from your local dealership for 60K, which includes warranty service at that dealer and a year of oil changes included. You can have accessories installed before you pick it up. You might have to wait but you can probably drive it home that day if you aren’t asking for the most exotic version that is widely unavailable.

                You don’t want that regular Tahoe (hybrid bike), you want the BMW X5M individual version (carbon road bike with ETap), in a limited edition color, with a black interior, and black wheels, and the black out badges, and you want a discount. Except no dealer has this in stock, as BMW never made one, but they can.

                Lets say you do want a Tahoe, and you order it online for 41K. It includes no warranty support. It doesn’t include any service. All accessories are need to be installed. There is zero expert advice. Are you sure you got the right model? Are you sure it has ALL the same features? If it’s anything like a bike, it will only be 40-70% assembled. Can you assemble a Tahoe yourself, even if it includes instructions?

          • Simon Says on

            Jeff, let me give you an example of what’s going on with Shimano pricing and the associated idiocy. Perhaps once you can understand concrete, real-life numbers and examples, you’ll understand what North American bicycle shops are going on about when we tell the world how frustrating, annoying, and damaging Shimano’s business practices are. You’re also more likely to understand why it angers us so much.

            Full disclosure: I’ve worked with numerous different Canadian bike shops over the years, in roles ranging from sales and service to buying and marketing. I understand this market, I’ve been in the game for years. The examples I’m giving you will vary in terms of exact numbers and prices in the US, all costs and figures are in Canadian Dollars.

            I currently sell the Shimano Deore XT M8020 trail pedal (the one with the larger platform), in my shop, in Canada, for the suggested retail price of $149. It’s a totally legitimate price for a great pedal that with even just barely the most minor of maintenance (or without it, TBH) will last a consumer who rides a ton for years of heavy use. The pedal itself is an excellent value at $149. No consumer paying $149 plus applicable taxes for an M8020 pedal is getting ripped off. I forget what the suggested retail for the XT clipless pedal without the platform is, but it’s roughly $145.

            From my back-of-shop perspective, I love XT pedals. They last forever, my clients are always happy with them, my return rate is close to zero, it appears to be a win/win. So how does Shimano screw this up? Easy: grey market distribution and likely shady practices as it concerns sales to bulk buyers (Bike brands, and I believe brand specifically)

            The same pair of M8020 Deore XT Trail pedals, on Chain Reaction, right now, will cost a Canadian consumer $80.99. The smaller ones without the platform will cost a Canadian consumer $76.99. A great deal, to be sure. You might be tempted to think that the problem isn’t grey market distribution but rather an obscure and ridiculous pricing policy, a volume discount due to Chain Reaction specifically buying a huge number of pedals, or some other factor that is easily explainable. You might even be tempted to think that Canadian retailers are just charging their clients enormous margins on XT pedals and that we could simply lower our prices to help compete. And fair enough, I wouldn’t expect a basic consumer to think any differently.

            The truth is that when I charge a client $149 for a pair of M8020 pedals, I’m making a margin that is barely sufficient. It’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s enough to keep the lights on and pay my staff a living wage. Barely. Truth be told, we don’t sell XT pedals because they’re easy to sell, or because we make a ton of money with them, or even because they’re particularly popular. We do it because it’s mostly worth the time and effort up front to not have to deal with any issues later on, and because we know our clients will be satisfied with their purchase.

            Put another way: the prices you see on Chain Reaction, in Canadian Dollars, for a lot of Shimano’s SLX, XT, XTR, 105, Ultegra, and Dura Ace products are generally lower than our costs and close to employee/pro-form pricing. In some cases they’re sometimes lower than both of those costs.

            In Canada, Shimano is available through two distributors. Lambert and Shimano Canada. Prices with Shimano Canada are a few dollars lower for most things and on a few things a lot of dollars lower, but buying from Lambert is typically more convenient, easier, and faster. Pedals, shoes, and other such items are ONLY available from Shimano Canada. So yes, there’s a bit of a choice in terms of where we get it from, but not always and not on everything. And no, we can’t even just get away with selling product under the SLX/105 level because even that stuff is popping up online at prices at or below our costs.

            Somewhat recently, Shimano Canada announced that the Canadian MSRP for some items would be dropping a bit. Good news for your average consumer, bad news for your average shop. In short, they dropped the MSRP without a corresponding drop in cost price. So if the MSRP used to include a 40% margin, it was now being sold at a 25% margin. Hint: as a shop you’re not just not making money at that point, you’re actually losing money on every sale. And that’s before you have to decide whether or not you’re willing to discount to come close to matching Chain Reaction’s pricing. Except that you can’t do that, because you’d then be selling that product at BELOW COST with no way to make it up anywhere else. So what, exactly, do you suggest we do?

            We can’t buy all of our Shimano stuff at pro-form pricing. They long ago instituted limits on how much they’ll sell at that pricing, to whom, and how, and yes I’ve tried. You can’t not sell Shimano product because your average consumer has come to expect it and sees it as the gold standard in cycling components, and because you need to stock replacement parts for all the bikes that come specced with Shimano components. And while many shops will actually occasionally use Chain Reaction as a third distributor and order stuff from them when both Canadian distributors show no availability (something that happens way too often), it’s far from ideal and you get hit with duties. Besides, we shouldn’t have to.

            Long story short, Shimano screws their retailers with an awful worldwide distribution network and an obscene and deliberately opaque pricing structure. Chain Reaction is a particularly frustrating example in large part because we now believe that part of the reason they can sell Shimano product at prices as low as they do is their ownership of bike brands like Nukeproof and Vitus. The excuse used to be their physical location (EU/Ireland) and consumer protection laws there, but that’s not enough to make up for the huge differential. I now believe that they’re abusing their component ordering through their bike brands to stock their store, something that no one can compete with unless they also own a bike brand and are willing to break their agreements with Shimano. Only doing that in North America would result in Shimano pulling product almost immediately.

            So whatever is happening with online pricing as it concerns Shimano product, they’re not only aware of it but if not actively encouraging it, at least not doing what they could to solve the problem.

            Meanwhile, try getting SRAM stuff through Chain Reaction. Good luck…

  6. JB on

    Sounds like Jeff hasn’t found a cool bike shop, or he’s such a PITA that no one at the LBS wants to give him the time of day anymore. He’s been banished to the internet!

  7. Vincent on

    @jeff and people that feel the same way. How do you deal with warranty? Most brands won’t deal with the consumer. Part of that “charging a higher price for their goods” has coustomer service after the transaction built in to that cost. Paying people to send emails, photos, wait on hold for warranty that time isn’t free and when a product is from our store and it isn’t right we don’t charge for that time….. and just to get this off my chest, if you go in to a shop and ask opinions of the people there and try something on only to buy it online you are the a-hole in the room. No small businesses deserves that kind of customer. Knowledge and time is worth something too.

  8. kj on

    I don’t really understand why people will spend 5.00/day on coffee (what’s the margin there?), but won’t support a 10% margin at a bike shop. I broke a spoke the other day, and without my local lbs, I wouldn’t have ridden that day (or week). And they gave it to me for free, so I bought a pair of grips I needed for 3.00 more than on line. Buying stuff online is often penny wise/ pound foolish, but that’s human nature I suppose. I think it’s worth considering the long-term.

  9. Heffer on

    LBS are usually bad at the very things you might want from them: Most LBS have a tiny selection of bikes to test-ride, carry a small range of parts that are inadequate for the variety of modern bike components, and are too busy to look at your bike without a booking. Instead of facilitating warranty, I’ve experienced LBSs refuse to return items to the manufacturer for inspection. Most are closed on Sunday when you need them, but open during the work day when you don’t.

    By contrast, internet retailers have done a great job of stocking what I need and accepting anything I’ve returned. It almost always turns out to be less hassle and cost to have your own tools and parts. For tools (and skills) you don’t have, the local bike places that seem to work best are workshops, where service is paid for directly, rather than as a toll on parts
    It feels like time to re-think what the LBS is (hopefully not a cafe) and focus on what consumers need in an internet-first market.

  10. Arno Schönhoff on

    The design looks pretty similar to the existing M820 saint brake. I think Shimano will introduce a new Saint Group shortly since the actual one in on the market since a couple of years already.

    What do you guys think?


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