An email… innocent enough, sent me on a chase.
The email: 2008 XTR Brakes, and a link. Tim Scissors knew I was building up a frame and needed parts so when he saw the XTR brakes he immediately emailed it to me. When I got the email I went directly to the website. I read the sale information and was amazed to see the price: $240 for BRAND NEW XTR brakes being sold by a local rider. Two rotors were included with one being brand new and one slightly used, both 160mm. That, to me, was a really good price. Add to it that private party sales almost demand negotiating and this could be a real get! 😉
My pulse began pounding as I began racking my brain. Up to that point I had only been considering XT or SLX brakes for my FS 29er bike build. I was turned onto SLX brakes after riding the Kona King Kahuna. The SLX brakes have been very impressive: powerful, smooth, with great modulation and consistency. I liked them so much I sold my other hydro brakes and was in the process of finding some Shimano brakes to put on the new build.
So when the XTR link came across my email box, I was very excited. I immediately started looking at my spreadsheet of prices I for the XT brakes and compared it to the cost of the XTR brakes. The cheapest prices I found for the XT were just under $210 brand new (not on ebay) and for the XTR I found them for $246 but they were not in the U.S. These prices were significantly cheaper than any place in the U.S. due to the dollar being strong against that country’s currency. The only reason why I had not pulled the trigger on the XT brakes before was because they were out of stock on the front left lever. But now, I figured that if I could get XTR brakes for anything under $220 I was going to come out ahead.
I quickly emailed the seller and asked him for $200, shipping included. He was local but still a good hour drive away. I also told him the lowest price I saw so I could give him a reference point for my offer. He countered back with $210 but I was starting to get cold feet. Two factors really did it in for me: The first issue came about because the seller finally posted pictures of the brakes. In the description the seller didn’t mention that the brakes were IS mount. That meant I had to buy a separate adapter for the front brake which, although not a big issue, would increase my cost another $10. This meant I would be paying about $20 more than the XT which are only sold as Post Mount. It also wouldn’t look as clean. I admit, I can be vain about these things.
The second issue arose when I then started doing some research. I chatted with some friends who rode Shimano brakes and many of them agreed that XTR brakes are not as strong as XT brakes. One friend said the difference was not significant but since I do weigh about 40 lbs more than him it might be an issue for me. Slowly, the thrill of the chase for XTR brakes began diminishing.
After coming so close to sending this local guy $210 for the XTR brakes I ended up going back to my original plan. I sent the seller an email telling him I changed my mind and wished him luck on the sale. I was definitely bummed about this but I knew this was the right decision for me.
I know that I’m not the only one that finds researching parts, finding the best deals and watching the sales ads exciting. Although this chase ended without a purchase, I know I have many more opportunities as with each component I need to purchase comes the opportunity for the thrill of the chase.