I’ve been using various Juicy’s on all my bikes for a few years now and have developed a very close bond with them. They are simple, low maintenance, reliable and super easy to bleed and in my opinion were perfect – but I guess not perfect enough for the tireless designers and engineers at Avid. I was pleasantly surprised to see Avid launch a totally new brake at the Sea Otter Classic this year
– the Elixir R.Miles “ShovelPick” just recently gave you a good overview of the Elixir R brake
earlier this week. Seeing how the Elixir R did not feature Avid's popular pad contact adjustment, I knew there had to be another Elixir model in the works. Well here it is – the Elixir CR. Just like the Elixir R the CR model gives you more control, usable power and comfort, but with the addition of a super sweet in-line Pad Contact adjuster and optional Carbon lever. Both the Reach adjuster and Contact Pad adjuster have detents and are tool-free. Each click of the Reach adjuster equals 1mm. The Contact Pad barrel has 24 clicks which is about 2 full turns.OE Elixir CR with aluminum bladeAftermarket Elixir CR with Carbon blade
The Elixir CR will be replacing the now discontinued Juicy Carbon. Like mentioned previously, the Juicy Carbon are pretty sweet brakes, but not perfect. Some of the master cylinder internal parts, like the rubber seals, had a tendency to wear out prematurely. Not something noticeable to the naked eye but if you bleed your own brakes you’ve probably noticed some small rubber particles come out the master cylinder every now and again. Over time, this causes sealing and drag issues. The Elixir uses a rolling bladder design, which means the secondary seal on the back is now static and only the front one moves. This reduces drag and seals don’t wear out as quickly.
To better manage heat, Avid engineers designed a bigger grooved piston. The grooves allow for additional air flow in the pocketing behind the pad. The pads also have a new shape; therefore older Juicy pads won’t work with the new Elixir brakes. I’ve mentioned this in a previous article but thought I’d mention it again - the pistons rolls in a seal and doesn't actually travel through a cylinder bowl. The seal open up and the piston will rock out, then and as you release the lever the seal pulls the piston back in.Grooved Piston
The distance between the push rod and center of the lever pivot has been reduced to give you an effective longer lever. This gives you a slighter softer feel at the beginning of the pull so you don’t have to work as hard to create more power toward the end of the pull. So less initial bite and more control throughout the throw of the lever. The Elixir R and CR share the same features, the man differences are the Contact Pad adjustment, Carbon lever blades and Banjo Adjust on the caliper.Bleed Block
The two piece caliper has a bigger top opening allowing for top loading of the pads. The Elixir caliper uses a threaded pad retainer bolt
which can be removed using a 2.5mm hex wrench or your RockShox rebound knob. Elixir brakes come with a Bleed Block which has many uses. You can use it while traveling to keep the pads separated. You can use it during the bleeding process to keep your pistons in; just remove the pads and insert the Bleed Block. Last but not least, it can be used to open your pre or post bleed refreshments. I was told intensive R&D was perform – wish I was part of that R&D group ;o) Worth mentioning is that the bleeding process is the same as Juicy’s and you can use the same bleed kit. What else?
• Aftermarket Elixir CR’s will come with carbon lever blades while the OE brakes will have the choice of aluminum (as seen in the pictures) or Carbon levers.
• The power of the Elixir sits halfway between the Juicy and Code, but with better modulation than the Juicy.
• Convex CPS Hardware washers are now made of stainless. Being harder, they are less likely to deform over time.
• Carbon lever blades will be available aftermarket. Juicy Carbon blades will not fit Elixir’s
• Breakaway lever with a few mm of reverse throw to prevent damage in the event of a crash
• The hose stop on the Elixir CR act as a swivel. This means no more winding up of the housing when cutting your lines and tightening the compression nut.
• DOT 5.1 fluid for better heat management/resistancePrice and weight:
• Elixir CR w/160mm rotor and Carbon Blade: $204 US per wheel
• Elixir CR w/185mm rotor and Carbon Blade: $208 US per wheel
• Elixir CR w/205mm rotor and Carbon Blade: $212 US per wheel
• Available: August 2008160mm G2 CleanSweep rotor vs New 160mm G3 CleanSweep rotorFront Juicy Carbon vs Front Elixir CRInitial impressions:
I got a chance to ride the new Elixir CR brakes and holy powerful batman are they ever strong!! Compared to Juicy’s, they have less initial grab but overall have more usable power. The lever feels similar to Juicy’s; stiff and crisp. The tools free reach adjuster is a nice feature,especially if you need to do on-the-trail adjustments.OE Elixir CR with aluminum blade
They were silent and no sign of brake shudder. The conditions were dry and the trails we rode were pretty dusty, so they might sound (or maybe not) differently in the wet.
Another great brake from Avid! I’m a bit sad to see the Juicy Carbon go away, but Elixir CR improved look and added features makes, without a doubt, a solid replacement.