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When it comes to XC race days, you want the best. The best trail conditions, the nicest carbon layup on your bike, featherweight components, and a snazzy groupset. To keep in line with your cream-of-the-crop attitude, we suggest pairing your bars up with a set of Shimano's newest XTR BL-M9100 Brake Levers and heading to the starting line. This simple and sleek levers take some queues from their predecessors, the 9000 Race, but feature some major redesigns, like a magnesium master cylinder, updated brake lever shape, and new mounting placement that boosts rigidity for better control when you're on your first lap of the course and forgot about the loose and wild switchbacks just ahead. Normally we see a lot of similarities from one generation to the next in Shimano's lineup, but this year things were a little bit different. Engineers at Shimano redesigned the M9100 Brake Lever from the ground up, both in the construction, and positioning of the brake levers. They use a new magnesium master cylinder to shed grams, and feature the all new I-Spec EV that moves the clamp inward from previous design, so that the new master cylinder contacts the bar. This extra point of contact boosts rigidity, improving braking power for better control when you're in over your head coming into a hairpin corner. In addition to the new I-Spec configuration, Shimano employs a new brake lever shape with ergonomics in mind, to comfortably allow dual-finger braking for seamless operation. Shimano claims that the new brake design offers a whopping 10% increase in stiffness above M9000, even under high temperature conditions. Hitting the market this year you'll also spot Shimano's new M9120 Brakeset, and you might be wondering where the M9100 falls in comparison. If we're comparing to years past, the M9100 falls in line with the Race model, while the M9120 is more similar to the Trail model. This means that while the M9120 packs in just about ever feature under the sun, like Servo Wave adjust...

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