Avid Elixir 7 Brakes Review

Oct 27, 2011
by Mike Levy  
Avid Elixir 7: Avid's brake lineup spans the gamut of uses, from their cross-country intended XX brakes, to the powerful Code stoppers that are usually seen bolted to downhill bikes, but it's their five model Elixir lineup that will appeal to most riders, having been designed for duty as all around brakes. The 350 gram Elixir 7's tested here sit one down from the top range 9's, and feature adjustable reach via a redesigned tool-less dial, a carbon or aluminum lever blade option and come with the new HS1 rotor that are said to be less prone to noise. The Elixir 7's are available in either silver or grey color options, and retail for $179 USD per end.

Avid Elixir 7 brakes
Avid's Elixir 7's are all around brakes that can do duty on everything from cross-country to downhill bikes.

Avid Elixir 7 details:

- Adjustments: tool free reach
- Carbon or alloy lever option
- Top loading, two piston caliper
- Comes stock with sintered pads
- 160/180/200mm HS1 rotor options
- DOT 5.1 brake fluid
- Hinged Ambidextrous bar mount
- Silver or grey color options
- 350grams (front post mount, 160mm rotor, w/ carbon lever blade)
- MSRP: $179 USD per end


What's new

Redesigned internals: The Elixir series incorporates a number of updates that look to improve on the previous models in a number of categories, enough in fact that while the new brakes may look similar to prior designs, they need to be thought of as an entirely new platform. The biggest and most important changes have taken place internally, with the Elixir lineup making use of Avid's Taperbore internals that are claimed to not only offer increased longterm reliability, but also better heat management and more effective bleeding. Taperbore is exactly as it sounds - the design seals off the master cylinder by forcing the plunger's O-ring into a tapered barrel as the brake lever is pulled. Not only does this system move more fluid than a more standard timing port system, thereby better managing heat, but it also lets Avid's engineers better fine tune the system's power and modulation to suit the brake's intentions. Even more beneficial, especially in the long run, is the fact that the sealing O-ring no longer passes over the timing port like within more traditional designs, meaning that it is less likely to become worn or tear over time.

The previous design (<i>left</i>) has its bleed port located on the contact adjustment dial. The Elixir's bleed port is now on the lever body itself (<i>right</i>) to allow air to be removed from the system easier. The internal shape of the master cylinder is referred to by Avid as their Airtrap feature and prevents bubbles from entering the system.
The previous design (left) has its bleed port located on the contact adjustment dial. The Elixir's bleed port is now on the lever body itself (right) to allow air to be removed from the system easier. The internal shape of the master cylinder is referred to by Avid as their Airtrap feature and prevents bubbles from entering the system.

Better air management: Comparing the new and old lever bodies side by side will also reveal a different location for the bleed port, with the Elixir's now located on the body itself instead of on the contact adjustment dial. This change, as small as it may seem, means that the brake's DOT 5.1 fluid has to pass by one less O-ring during the bleeding process. This, along with changes made to the internal shape of the master cylinder, is claimed to allow for both more effective bleeding and works to keep any air that is present in the system from entering the brake line.

New reach adjustment dial: There have also been some notable external changes to the new Elixir's as well, including the reconfigured reach adjustment dial that now lives between the lever blade and the bar clamp and is inline with the master cylinder, making it much more protected from impacts than the older location at the front of the lever body. It also features stronger detents that should do a better job of keeping adjustments in postion, a point of contention that we had with previous designs.

Avid Elixir 7 brakes
The new reach adjustment dial (top left) is better protected from impacts and stronger detents should limit migration. The brake's bleed port (top right) has been moved to the lever body to aid air removal. The Elixir 7 brakes can be had with either a carbon (bottom) or aluminum lever blade option.

Less heat, less sound: Moving down the system will reveal a caliper that has been pared down quite a bit when compared to last year's model. Avid has done this for two reasons: first and most importantly, the extra surface area created by the reliefs in the caliper body allow it to expel heat at a greater rate, reducing the chance of fade during sustained braking. Secondly, the trimmed down caliper saves grams when the total weight is added up. Spinning between the Elixir's sintered brake pads is the new HS1 rotor. Avid says that the new shape, including the redesigned brake track that is said to offer better feel under light braking, goes a long way to reducing the dreaded "turkey warble" that plagued some riders. There is a slight weight savings as well, about 10 grams per rotor in the 160mm size.


Performance


Setup and bleeding: Our Elixir 7 brakes showed up with a much better factory bleed than what we've come to expect from Avid - their older models were notorious for needing to be bled right out of the box - that we were very thankful for. Avid has invested quite a bit in new factory bleeding hardware and refined the process, allowing you a much better chance of being able to simply bolt them on and head for the trails. Regardless, we wanted to bleed our test brakes to see for ourselves if the master cylinder updates translate to the real world. Anyone who has bled Avid brakes before will surely acknowledge that Avid's bleeding procedure is slightly more involved than what some of the competition requires, calling for two syringes and a few extra steps. That procedure is still basically the same, but we had one noteworthy difference when performing a bleed on the Elixir 7's - air stopped coming out, presumably because we removed it from the system. When bleeding previous Avid brakes we've always managed to be able to get just a little more air out of the master cylinder regardless of how many times we redid the job. It may have only been a small amount, but it was always disconcerting. With the Elixir's we were quickly able to perform a solid bleed that had us satisfied that there was zero appreciable air in the system, no matter how much suction was applied to the syringes at the caliper or lever. Avid's Tri-Align caliper hardware (concave and convex washers that allow the caliper to center itself over the rotor regardless of inconsistencies in hardware or brake tabs) made it easy to set them up drag free, and the hinged lever perch allows for simple installation. SRAM's Ambidextrous clamp is also MatchMaker compatible, meaning that you can also mount up your shifters, X-Loc fork lockout or Reverb remote as well - this system actually allows for three different controls to be mounted to the bar with a single clamp.

On the trail: Performance at lower speeds feels to be on par with Avid's previous offerings, with a light touch and manageable feel that makes riding in slippery conditions quite user friendly. The power is there, but it comes on in a gradual way that won't catch you by surprise. It's easy to get caught up in the battle for outright power, but a brake system needs to have a useable feel and not simply loads of unwieldy bite - The 7's don't disappoint here - but it's when you get up to speed that the new Taperbore internals make themselves known. Modulation is second to none at that critical moment just before locking the wheels up, making for a lever feel that seems to let you know exactly when is going on under your tires in the heat of the moment. There is no doubt that Elixir's lever feel in the heat of the moment is a step forward from previous designs.

Avid Elixir 7 brakes
The Elixir's Ambidextrous lever mount is MatchMaker compatible, allowing you to bolt up the shifter, X-Loc fork, and even a Reverb remote to the same clamp. You may have hoses everywhere, but at least the bar clutter will be kept to a minimum.

We tested the new Elixir 7's back to back with Avid's previous XO stoppers and found that there is a noticeable increase in power with the Elixir, even if the new brakes don't quite feel like they have the sheer bite of some of the competition. But it was clear on the first ride that the Elixirs have more usable power than those same brakes, the type of bite that has you at a stand still on the steepest pitches without leaving a skid mark in your wake. The lever perch also felt to be slightly stiffer than what was used on XO, contributing to a firmer overall lever feel. Brake fade proved to be a non-issue on sustained downhills, even when dragging the binders on long, steep pitches more than the average rider would in the real world. While we could fault some of Avid's previous offerings in this regard, the Elixir's have impressive consistency regardless of conditions.

We've always been fans of Avid's lever shape and it's no different with the Elixir 7's, our fingers feel at home on its lever blades. The shape is not too tall and not too skinny, and the rounded edges feel just right. The levers also pull into the bar in a way that doesn't feel as if you are losing leverage or going to slide off the end if there was no hook to the shape. Full points in the ergonomics department. The brake's new reach adjustment dial does as asked, moving the lever postion in or out, but, more importantly, it didn't creep during use. Lever reach is still exactly where we set it during installation, which is more than we can say for some other designs.

Avid Elixir 7 brakes
A new pared down caliper features more surface area, allowing heat to escape from the system for more consistent and fade free braking.

Just like a sports car's top speed, outright power can be overrated as long as the brakes offer up enough to get the job done without excessive lever pressure. Having said that, there are more powerful brakes on the market than the Elixirs. While we never found ourselves in dire need of more strength, heavy riders will likely do well to make use of the larger 180 and 200mm rotor sizes, especially if using the 7's on a dedicated downhill rig or 29'er. Avid is one of the few companies to offer an effective pad contact adjustment system and we would have loved to see it on the Elixir 7's, but that may be asking a bit much considering the sound $179 USD per end asking price. Riders who feel that they can make use of the extra setup option should opt for the Elixir 9 brakes that retail for an extra $35 per brake, although keep in mind that it does add complication and extra weight.

Our last concern comes down to the new HS1 rotor design that does little to lessen the "turkey warble" sound, especially when riding the Elixirs in the rain and mud. Power and modulation don't seem to be affected in the slightest, but we can't deny that the sound is annoying.


Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesSo, how do the Elixir brakes compare to their direct competition, Shimano's XT and SLX stoppers? Shimano has the lead in sheer power, but the Elixir 7's have much more modulation and lever feel. The result is an easier to control brake system that lets you get the most out of the traction provided by your tires, a trait that we'd choose over out and out power any day. When talking ergonomics the Elixir's take the win, hands down. Their lever shape and geometry is second to none in this category. After spending a considerable amount of time on both the previous models and the new Elixir's we can confidently say that Avid have taken a step forward with their 2012 brakes - usable amounts of power, loads of modulation when it's needed most, and much more effective bleeding thanks to a master cylinder redesign. With an MSRP of $179 USD, the new Elixir 7's are a great choice if you're thinking about new brakes. In fact, we would have a hard time recommending to the average rider that they should spend more for extra dials or less weight. - Mike levy


Visit the Avid website for more information.


100 Comments

  • 25 0
 Interested in comparing a bit more about the 2012 Shimanos and the Avids. The topic no doubt will spark lots of cat-fights but want to know say...
* How do the ice tech rotors compare with the HS1s (and the centerlock equivalent)
* Which one wins if you were to drag the brakes the entire way down
* Longer term reliability?
* .... etc?

Personally I'm less interested in comparisons between same brand models and more between the competition. The last section of "Pinkbike's Take" leaves me wanting a lot more on that front..
  • 5 0
 not sure if mike had the brakes long enough to conclude those tests but good points.
  • 8 6
 pay the extra, buy formula and never have to buy a set of brakes again Smile
  • 3 1
 Formula's are in a totally different ballpark. They're twice as expensive, at least, as SRAM and there's just too much power for a lot of riders. I might consider a set for my Sunn, but I'd never put formula's on my AM or XC bike - Overkill! As Mike said in the article - "with a light touch and manageable feel that makes riding in slippery conditions quite user friendly". A brake with as much power as Formula's The One is pretty much useless in the wet when compared with other brakes: you lock the wheels too easily and slide.
  • 15 0
 What kind of bars are those
  • 3 0
 what are the bars the avid's are put onto in these pictures?
  • 1 0
 Very true @bunkey

I bought a cube fritzz and it had formula the ones on with 203mm/185mm and for the first week of riding I pretty much flipped the bars every time I went to brake!! Being an XC racer I wasn't used to the quick power!! Had to change the front to a 185mm and I still have plenty of power!
  • 2 0
 They look like Pro Taper bars?
Could be wrong though
  • 3 5
 The bars are pro taper bars. Anyone can figuire that out from just looking at the letters..
  • 3 0
 i've always felt that Elixirs had more than enough power as they were, so for Avid to improve them yet further is absolutely great news to me.
I recently built a set of 'Elixode' brakes (Elixir lever paired to a Code caliper) for my SX Trail and was blown away at how much better they work compared to stock Elixirs or stock Codes.
dirttreaders.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10706
  • 1 0
 shimano ice tech rotors with 2011 / 2012 avid code CR brakes... crippling amount of power, IMO best brake set up i have ever tried
  • 5 5
 Im not getting elixirs ever again! My elixir R's suck.
  • 2 0
 mtblocos1, im running the same thing and loving the setup, stupidly awesome amounts of stopping power and the lever feel and modulation are spot on!
  • 1 0
 Formula RXs are roughly equivalent to elixirs in terms of pricepoint, and I would most definitely rather have them.
  • 6 0
 I have ot disagree on the "lever feel". My XTR trail's feel exactly like v-brakes. Soft feel untill the pads touch the disc, and from then on, the more I squeeze, the more stopping power is created. I can't imagine another brake doing that better, not an Avid.
  • 2 0
 i have xtrs and hope x2s the hopes win all day every day without fail, a massivily more reliable brake and feels better too, but thats my opinion.
  • 5 1
 I've owned Elixir Rs, Elixir 5s, and now some Elixir CRs and I can honestly say that I've never felt like I needed to spend more money to get better brakes. I love the lever feel, modulation, and they have always had enough power to slow me down. I work in a shop and it is true that the stock bleeds can be a bit inconsistent but its good to hear that they are addressing this issue.

In my opinion Avid offers a great brake at a decent price. My Elixir 5s were some of the best brakes I've owned when it comes to performance and value. There is no doubt that there are better brakes out there but for most people the idea of $300 or more per brake just isn't practical. I'll run Avid brakes until they give me a good reason not to and I'm looking forward to spending some time on the 2012 Avids.
  • 3 0
 "Even more beneficial, especially in the long run, is the fact that the sealing O-ring no longer passes over the timing port like within more traditional designs, meaning that it is less likely to become worn or tear over time."

wow! so they will fail after 2 months instead of 1? I've had 2 pairs of elixir brakes. CR and X.0.
the X.0 just lacked power and a firm lever feel, even after bleeding (yes, i know how to). but the CR was somehting different. when trying do decelerate, hard, they just lost their pressure point and touched bars (l+r).

got new shimano xtr trail brakes for my fs and '12 xt brakes on my hardtail. looks like shimano did their homework. so far really great Smile
  • 5 1
 My Elixir 5's are still like new and im running them since 09 on my DH Rig. I havent even bled them since I took em from the box, they dont fade or feel spongy at all.
  • 2 0
 Yeah i only rode The Ones for 2 days and it was my first time there so i wasn't giving them an absolute thrashing. (still learning the trails) then i rode Code R's for 3 days. the codes were amazing as well, they weren't as smooth as The Ones but i was still stoked on them. I ride saints at home and i have never had a problem with them, nor have i ever heared of anyone ever having a problem with them. so if you want a reliable brake, get Saints.
  • 7 4
 Lets just hope that the internals don't die after 3 months. Avid has the power, but not the reliability that i want from a brake.
  • 9 3
 My Elixir R's are alive & decelerate me & my bike for 2 years now!
  • 10 3
 Thats great. unfortunately thats not the case for everyone.
  • 3 1
 I've had my codes since 2007 and have taken some ridiculous abuse. Still in perfect working condition, only bled once a year.
  • 1 0
 I have two juicys going strong after three years of riding. Have yet to need to bleed the front brake, had a back brake bled once because I accidentally left the banjo bolt on the caliper a little loose and it leaked.
  • 1 0
 I just finished building a cotic with these on, using it for everything from downhill tracks to dirt jumps, originally wanted the slx brakes until I felt these! At first I thought I'd have to bleed them but as the pads bedded in the bite point came right out and any spongy feel went and was replaced by this predictable, but sturdy power. Running 180 front 160 rear and never feel underbraked
  • 1 0
 As you said, it always comes down to personal preference, my The Ones have been flawless, no maintenance ever required in 6 months, by far the best brake I've ever had, and I've been on R1s, Juicys, Hayes, and Saints. I'm not saying codes aren't great, I'm just saying my experience is different that yours. What you cannot say is that The Ones have no power, they are IMHO on par with Saints, the Gustav M being the king of the bike anchors Smile
  • 1 0
 Yeah, I've always been a fan of Avid and in fact still have them one a couple of bikes, Juicy 5s and Elixir CRs. However I recently fitted a set of new SLX with Ice-Tech rotors to my trail bike and they are a treat - incredible power, great modulation and fitting was a breeze. I guess its just whatever floats your boat, some people have better experiences than others with certain brakes and of course its depends what you've been used to previously.....
  • 3 0
 I don't like those washers/spacers they use on the caliper mount. I've never got why they use them?
  • 2 0
 it's so the position of the calliper can be adjusted quite a lot to centre on the disc
  • 2 1
 any of you guys tried hope brakes what are they like???
  • 1 0
 its probably save to assume that man chickens calipers / brake-pads aren't centered on his disc properly.
  • 2 0
 I have Hope Tech V2's on my DH bike and love them, haven't tried any of their other offerings yet. Getting parts locally (in Calgary at least) can be a pain, so if you go that route you may want to carry a stock of extra parts - I keep a couple backup rotors, brake pads, and a lever blade in my toolbox just in case - ChainReaction is an excellent source for all your Hope brake needs. Also plan on doing all your own bleeds.
  • 2 0
 those washers are like adjusters for out of line brake mounts on cheap frames! they put me off ever buying avids, too many parts to go missing. another vote for HOPE! they are simply amazing, i also have the tech V2's on my furious an they are so powerfull i had to wind out the bite point!!! the level of adjustability is great, the build quality is fantastic go HOPE, expensive but SO worth it
  • 2 0
 They've actually adjustments and alignment considerably easier (and better) for me. All you have to do is loosen the bolts a little, pull the brake, and simultaneously tighten the bolts back down. I get perfect adjustment every time.
  • 2 0
 I actually run hopes and they're amazing. I've had no issue aligning the calliper, the power is great, the modulation is better than any avids I've used, they look pimp etc

But I've bent both levers in crashes so will be getting blue ones :3
  • 2 0
 I agree on the usefullness of the Avid caliper bolts. You really appreciate it when you are trying to mount a caliper without them (hayes) to a fork with a mount that is cocked (09 DJ1). I dont know why people fuss about the Avid bolts, they work well.
  • 3 0
 Exactly the spacers are just to make sure you can line things up perfectly. With brake sets that come without them, yah you can keep the pads from rubbing but its very hard to make the pads contact at the exact same time without the spacers. That simultaneous contact is so important in break setup. Your hopes would likely feel even more amazing with spacers in them.
  • 1 0
 doubt it, they wouldnt fit an everything is straight then theres just no need for them
  • 1 0
 true. But even high end forks and frames aren't perfect. Its a nice feature.
  • 2 1
 I spent many hours trying to align my old Juicy Carbon calipers and never got it. I switched to Saints and had perfect alignment within 2 minutes of unboxing and installing them. CPS is crap and shouldn't be a selling point for anyone.
  • 1 0
 If you lose them there the same as the ones from a V brake block, but they make set up harder imo, if you face the mounts there is no reason for the tri align system
  • 1 1
 Facing the mounts will almost always void your manufacturer warranty. And Droog, it's not crap, and certainly not a selling point. It's a nice benefit for setup, and honestly, I rather doubt you'd get a Saint to align properly if you couldn't get an Avid to align properly.
  • 4 0
 I am a pro mechanic. 4 years of experience. those spacers suck. they make it more of a pain to get things aligned. if they were so good, why does NO other company use them?
  • 1 1
 @LindTaylor: Why would you doubt it? I just told you it happened. CPS is crap.
  • 1 0
 apart from the obvious left/right alighnment, a diagnal or twisted alighnment has never been an issue for me in years of using disc brakes, so i just see em as not needed an a bit gimmicky

an overcomplication of a problem that has never existed (for me anyway)

an i doubt they would make ANY difference in the performance of HOPE brakes... an i think they wouldnt fit because of the extra stack hieght of all those washers
  • 2 0
 I was a big fan of Avid's earlier brakes, but their quality control has been somewhat inconsistent in recent years

the CPS brake mounting washers are not a good feature, in my opinion as a workshop manager with 20+ years of wrenching experience

the problem with the CPS is it offers too much freedom of movement when mounting your calipers

Avid's method of mounting the caliper by loosening the caliper bolts, holding the brake lever tight and tightening the caliper bolts very rarely works - you have to eyeball the caliper relative to the disc rotor

often with CPS, when you go to tighten the caliper bolts there is a slight twist when you apply torque, which throws the alignment off

the brake may run freely through the rotor, but this slight mis-alignment can cause further problems including horrendous noise in the wet (one pad is hitting the rotor slightly before the other), inconsistent lever feel and longer term issues like unbalanced pad wear and a sticky piston

CPS will rarely compensate for badly manufactured disc mounts, as I found out yesterday on a hybrid with a rigid fork and resorted to using a Hope Tech. disc brake facing tool to complete the work despite mounting an Avid BB-5 brake with the CPS

www.pinkbike.com/photo/7321156/#top

BTW, facing disc mounts has no effect on either frame or fork warranty, and is a standard procedure for mechanics - many frames and forks come with the disc brake mounts already faced Wink
  • 1 0
 hmm, I want to get one of these facing tools. Link please.
  • 1 0
 cyclo is the best as it faces both IS mounts at the same time however not a cheap tool www.dotbike.com/p/11550
  • 2 0
 I got my 2012 Elixir 7 last week... and im loving them!! As mentioned above..the modulation and overall feel is just awesome!
  • 5 1
 Buy hopes and you will never have to get brakes ever gain
  • 2 0
 No need to knock AVID I've been riding Juicy 5's for 5 seasons of serious downhill with only bleeds for maintenance, new elixer 7's are great
  • 3 0
 Sick handlebars ! What are those?
  • 1 0
 looks like answer pro taper
  • 3 0
 Yeap. Those are limited ProTaper handlebars, they releasead 250 at Crankworx. Very cool graphics, there's another model also. You can check it here: www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-gear/answers-limited-protaper-780-dh-review
  • 3 0
 Yeah guys, that is the limited edition "Chaos" Print Answer ProTaper bar. The Graphics are actually anodized into the bar surface using a proprietary process that conforms to all Military, Automotive and Industrial specifications. It's pretty cool. Keep your eyes out for the next wave of graphics as they come along and grab 'em while they're hot. Peep www.answerproducts.com for a list of local distributors in your region, or just ask your LBS. Cheers Eh!
  • 1 0
 in my case, i find avid's to be too strong that i find modulating quite challenging. shimano for me has the best modulation, though not as strong as avid's.
  • 3 1
 SHIMANO, SHIMANO, SHIMANO... Shimano's NEW SLX through XTR are awesome easy-to-modulate power and are silent...
  • 1 0
 My Cr's work sweet with shimano XT discs... i wont change em for a looong time.
  • 3 1
 they're STILL noisy?! wtf is wrong with you avid?!?!?!
  • 2 0
 I personally think the sintered pads have something to do with it. In my experience sintered pads are always louder than organic pads, especially when wet. Probably due to the fact that they're usually a harder compound than most organic offerings.
  • 1 0
 dont know if you guys (states and canada) have got an equivalent to superstar kevlar pads that are here in the UK, I find they are great for getting rid of noise and by no means offer any less noticable power, if not more. Just a thought?
  • 1 0
 You try rain riding and not having noisy brakes. I bet you can't do it.
  • 1 0
 of course it'll be noisy when wet but god damn it can't they make a brake that's quiet when dry? i mean, ever since i've heard of avid there were complaints of vibration and noise (that was when csg2 rotors came out) and i find it hard to believe they haven't sorted this issue out in all those years.

i'll bet it's the pads, they went thru so many rotor designs already and this latest one really should have taken care of that but no.
  • 1 0
 My juicys only make noise when they're wet, misaligned or if I need to clean mud out of the calipers.
  • 1 0
 then you're just lucky.
  • 1 0
 My Hope tech M4's are pretty much silent wet or dry. I think a lot of people don't take the time to centralize their calipers correctly with avids even though they may not be getting noticable drag. This is how it should be done: www.youtube.com/watch?v=akIWGqEE0PY.
  • 7 7
 You forgot to mention that 70 percent of the internal parts are made of plastic! Not formula or shimano share that, AVID IS ABSOLUT CRAP!
  • 8 1
 Funny, I've seen the inside of my avids (three juicy 7's and one code) and have yet to find any plastic.
  • 1 1
 avid doesn't share their design with rs, you know Big Grin
  • 1 0
 You compare AVIDS to shimanos, OK but formula brakes are out of both manufacturers league
  • 1 0
 codes, saints, the ones....... they're all good brakes with a different feel, none are better than each other (maybe pre-2011 codes were a bit crummy)
  • 2 0
 Funny that you mention Formula, since Formula had a big part in designing the Juicy series for Avid, I heard. That could be the reason why Juicy 3 is still pretty popular. They could possibly be made out of the same factory, for all I know. Avid has gone another direction with their design, learning from their previous models, and Formula jumped in. A saying goes, "it's easy to create a high end part. The challenge is making high end performance a good value." Avid seems to be driven by a similar philosophy.

I've come to the same conclusion as Pinkbike, but I've compared CR Mag to various years of Shimano brakes. Shimano have a ton of power, and coming off of a 185/160 set of Avids, I feel like I could go with 140s with Shimanos. Avid's modulation really gives you more control, trying to find maximum stopping at that fine line between tire grip and tire slip/skid. Fine tuned braking is a skill for some finesse riders and I haven't found another brake to better fit that style than Avids.

I hear XX brakes need constant rebleeds by some folks. Bleeding Avid brakes is a skill. I tend to flip my bike around into all sorts of orientations (sideways, upside down, vertical, etc.) while bleeding, to get all the air out and have my bleeds last the entire year. I'm also not too excited by the 2 piece rotors, due to extra play and rattle/noise as they get worn.

I'm a 1 finger (index/forefinger) braker and found Avid levers to have a long history of feeling great. Older Shimanos are too long and putting them inboard of the shifters made them a bit too short and compromised shifter location. On long descents, my fingers would get tired. Never felt that finger fatigue with Avids in which I had proper reach set up (probably due to the lighter touch/force used on Avid brakes). The '12 Shimano levers were shortened and now fit great though.

That all said, I'm looking to upgrade to Formula R1s for my trail bike, if I can find a set cheap, mainly for weight savings.
  • 1 5
flag HariMXDH (Oct 29, 2011 at 13:49) (Below Threshold)
 TLTR, btw Juicy 3 Sucked a lot!
  • 4 1
 quote: I hear XX brakes need constant rebleeds by some folks. Bleeding Avid brakes is a skill. I tend to flip my bike around into all sorts of orientations (sideways, upside down, vertical, etc.) while bleeding, to get all the air out and have my bleeds last the entire year. I'm also not too excited by the 2 piece rotors, due to extra play and rattle/noise as they get worn.

this here is a load of bs. do ppl flip around cars and motorbikes when bleeding brakes? hell no. that is simply a flawed design.
  • 4 0
 lol omg i just got the best mental image of a machine flipping over a car to bleed it....
  • 3 1
 Cars don't get laid down on their side to rest, flipped over to have their flats fixed, nor turned vertical to be wheeled on their back wheel to fit through tight spaces either. When you do that on a bike and bring it back to its upright position to ride, sometimes that causes the air to migrate and leave you with a brake that doesn't work until you pump the lever a few times. You just need to take that into consideration during the bleed procedure to better address the problem. When I read "needs frequent bleeds" or "can't hold a bleed", it's reasonable to suspect the bleed procedure. Lots of people on XX brakes that don't have such issues.

Juicy 3 whooped virtually all other brakes in its generation, in it's price range. It still beats most brakes in its price range today, despite being such an old design. It didn't suck. Have you even tried it? It'd be the top brake on my list if I were going for a budget build.
  • 1 0
 a well designed brake doesn't require moving around in weird positions to shed air bubbles. i never turned my bike around to bleed a M775 shimano xt yet (and it's impossible since it has an open resorvoir - this is where elixirs fail) and i have no bubbles in the system - the brake has the same lever feel when the bike is upside down. and juicy's have nothing to do with elixir's except for being manufactured by the same company.
  • 1 0
 There's no comparison to Formulas or Maguras but this is a different price point. these compare to Shimano and Hayes.
  • 1 0
 Hayes? You mean avid? because hayes is an even lower price point haha
  • 1 0
 not the new primes, they're an excellent brake.
  • 1 0
 Forget about schoolboy brakes, go ahead an buy a pair of manly Hope V2s or Formula the 1s they put avid and shimano to shit!
  • 2 4
 hahaha this has to be a joke, "Brake fade proved to be a non-issue on sustained downhills, even when dragging the binders on long, steep pitches more than the average rider would in the real world." These brakes are straight garbage, They feel like poop when they are brand new, I can't even begin to imagine how bad they would feel after at least a month of usage. I have had multiple pairs of Avids and they are all a disgrace. Go buy some xt's like I did. Shimano = smart
  • 1 0
 avid brakes have a much better feel than ther saints, stroker ace, and other similar product but the sait stops like a champ
  • 8 6
 xt brakes all day
  • 5 4
 hope for life, everything else is just garbage ;-)
  • 1 0
 honestly i just want those bars
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