Shimano Deore M615 MTB disc brakes review

Basic but sorted, reliable stopper

BikeRadar score4/5

Shimano’s basic Deore delivers the best performance in the budget brake market.

They don’t get the tool-free reach adjust or the variable leverage ‘Servo Wave’ cam of the more expensive SLX brakes. That means there’s less pad retraction and increased scuff noise in dirty conditions.

The hose exit angle on the calliper is fixed and can look untidy on some frames, and when you stick them on a dyno they’ve got 7% less power too. That’s enough for perceptive riders to notice on the trail when things get fast and steep and makes a 180mm or larger front rotor essential for aggressive riding.

There’s no dimpled grip detailing on the broad lever either but feel is still excellent, with impressive modulation being the obvious gain over cheaper Shimano sets. You also get a hinged safety-catch-equipped bar clamp with I-Spec shifter integration for a neat cockpit setup.

Funnel-based bleeding of the skin, paint and eco-friendly mineral oil internals is simple if you’re patient and we’ve had none of the variable bite point issues of some more expensive Shimano units.

Pads are secured with split pins not screw-in rods, but we’ve found the original resin sets to last surprisingly well even in winter conditions. They deal with heat well enough to run longer-lasting, harder-biting sintered pads for riding in the UK or upgrade to finned pads for big-mountain use.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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