Pinkbike Product Picks

Mar 16, 2012
by Richard Cunningham  
Park Tool TM-1 Spoke Tension Gauge

Park Tool’s TM-1 spoke tension gauge takes the guesswork out of wheelbuilding. Achieving correct spoke tension when building or truing a wheel is critical. Deciding what actually is the correct spoke tension, however, is a moving target that depends upon the spoke design, the strength of the rim and the amount of offset or ‘dish’ in the wheel to make room for disc brakes or the rear wheel’s cassette. Park’s TM-1 spoke tension gauge is designed to measure the tension of individual spokes, but it goes further, by including a guide that suggests correct spoke tension ranges for the most popular spokes, as well as a handy key with calibrated slots with which to assess the thickness of spokes. The TM-1 is calibrated for life (return it to the factory if you bungle the mech’) and is backed with its own web page that offers tutorials and a continuously updated list of spoke and wheel maker’s tension recommendations. Park notes that the TM-1 is designed for home mechanics as well as pro shops and goes out of its way to make this technically oriented tool as understandable as possible. The TM-1 costs around $60 USD At better bike shops. Park Tool

Park TM-1 spoke Tension Gauge
Park Tools TM-1 is sold with a spoke-thickness gauge, spoke-tension/spoke-type chart and detailed instructions.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesPark's TM-1 spoke tension gauge is absolutely simple to use: simply squeeze the handles, place its three pins in the middle of a spoke, release and then read the number the arrow points to on its mechanical display. The number is not the actual spoke tension. It is a reference number that one then matches up with the diameter of the spoke in Park's included chart to determine the tension. The previous two steps afford garage mechanics with enough information to true or even build a wheel. Park's detailed explanation, however, insists that each wheel has an ideal spoke tension and that one should contact the rim and spoke maker to ensure a perfect wheel. Fortunately Park's TM-1 page and some uber-informative sites, like DT Swiss, compensate for the on-line vacuum left by some wheelmakers. I found everything I needed on the TM-1 page. TM-1's trail to a perfect wheel gets a bit confusing if you are not a numbers person, with various equations and numerical ranges which are used to assess average spoke tension. All of which can be ignored with two suggestions: Rule one - spoke tension on one side of the wheel can vary up to 20 percent. Magically, the difference between each number on the TM-1's readout is about 20-percent, so if the gauge says '25' just make sure that none of the other spokes reach 24 or 26. Rule two - Measure and jot down the spoke tension of your wheels when they are new (each side of the wheel) or use the TM-1 to measure the same model wheel at your LBS and simply use the TM-1's readout to tune your wheels instead of bothering with simple math or the conversion chart. Those who tune or build wheels often will discover that Park Tool's TM-1 is an invaluable tool. - RC



Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake

Continuing on the affordable performance theme, Pinkbike tests Avid’s mid-priced Elixir 5 disc brake. ‘Elixir’ brakes all share Avid’s Taperbore master cylinder design, which replaces the seal-destroying side ports most systems use with a smooth, stepped taper. When the piston retracts beyond the taper section, brake fluid can replenish the system. When you squeeze the brake lever, the brake actuates the instant the piston reaches the end of the taper in the master cylinder. Elixir 5 brakes feature every pep of the top-line Elixir 9 brake, except the carbon fiber lever, pad-contact adjust and the sintered metallic pads. In specific terms, the 5’s have Avid’s two-piece, twin-piston caliper; Tri-Align, post-mount attachment hardware; one-finger lever ergonomics; tool-free lever-reach adjustment dial; omni-directional lever clamp; and SRAM’s integrated shift/brake lever ‘Matchmaker’ compatibility. All Avid hydraulic brakes use DOT 5.1 fluid. Elixir 5 brakes offer a full gamut of six-bolt rotors, from 140 to 200 millimeters. The weight of a post-mount front brake assembly is close to 390 grams (with a 160mm rotor). Compare that to the $260 carbon-lever X.O brake at 333 Grams and the ‘5 starts to look pretty good for around $120 USD per side. Avid Brakes

Avid Elixir 5 Brakes
(clockwise) Avid Elixir 5 levers share the same one-finger-braking profile of Avid's elite level X.0 brakes. The lever-reach dial is hidden in front of the lever pivot and can be rotated with a small Allen wrench. Split clamps and a bi-directional casting allow Elixir levers to be flip-flopped. Top-loading brake pads are plus, the Tri-Align post-mount system is debatable. With perforated, wavy rotors, the Elixir 5 brake looks as well as it performs.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesAvid's Elixir 5 brakes deliver smooth, easy to modulate braking without feeling grabby, even after hard, rotor-burning technical descents. Lever ergonomics are a bit behind the times when compared with Shimano's new shorty blade and the comfortable shape of Magura's latest offerings. Still, we arrived at the bottom of each downhill without hand fatigue, which is job-one for any brake lever. The organic pads in the -5 calipers give up some stopping authority over the sintered metallic pads we have enjoyed on Avid's upper-end brakes, but the exchange is that the -5 Elixirs run, without the buzzing that the X.0 and cousins often emit. Top-loading pads make for easy replacements and the Avid bleed system is one of, if not the easiest to use. We question the lever-reach-adjust barrel, which can be turned by strong fingers, but is designed to be manipulated via a small Allen wrench like a windlass on a 16th century sailing ship. It works, though, and is an adjustment that most only do once. Avid prides itself on its Try-To-Align semi-hemispherical washer system, that in its idealized form, allows the caliper to seek perfect alignment between the brake pads and the rotor faces - which occurs about 50-percent of the time. Lose the lottery, though, and the simple act of tightening the mounting screws will skew the caliper, cause the pads to drag, and make seasoned mechanics cry. Our Elixir 5 brakes bolted up drag free the first time, however, and thus we heartily recommend them to anyone on a budget who is searching for top-level braking performance. - RC



Mavic CrossMax SX Wheels

Mavic CrossMax SX Wheels are designated for Enduro racing and all-mountain applications, and have been seen in a few Pinkbike tech features. The highlights of this beautiful looking wheelset begin with a 21-millimeter ID rim profile that is a true UST tubeless design. The oversize, round spokes are Mavic’s ‘Zicral’ aluminum, paired with straight-pull hub flanges. Mavic uses 24 spokes on both front and rear wheels, with a two-cross pattern up front and with the rear wheel, two-cross on the left and one-cross on the drive side. The front hub is available in 15QR or 20-millimeter and is easily convertible. The rear hub is convertible from standard quick release to 142/12 and 12/135 millimeter through-axles. Mavic upgraded its entire CrossMax line with the stronger, more responsive four-pawl ITS-4 ratchet mech. Two pawls engage in unison and the ITS4 mech is said to be 60-percent quicker to engage. SX hubs fit six-bolt rotors only and the rims are certified for tires up to 2.5 inches wide. The rear hub bearings are adjustable for free play, which is good, and the wheelset comes with a full compliment of extras like: 15mm and 20mm through-axle adapters for the front hub; a 12mm through-axle adapter for the rear hub; a rear quick release, spoke wrenches, bearing adjustment wrenches and tubeless valve stems. Weight is darn close to Mavic’s stated 1755 grams in the 15QR/142/12mm configuration and the price is around $850 for the wheelset. Mavic

Mavic Crossmax SX Wheels
(Clockwise) The CrossMax SX wheels are the jewel in Mavic's trailbike/AM crown. The SX rim is a true UST tubeless profile with a reconfigured U-shaped well that causes the tire to air up easier. Straight-pull Zicral aluminum-alloy spokes nest into the spoke flanges.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThere is much to love about Mavic's CrossMax SX wheelset. It has withstood the test of time on Pinkbike's tire-testing bikes, and after a year, the wheels still look stunning, the tension is even and the rims run straight. Best of all, every UST tubeless or tubeless-ready tire we have mounted has popped on with a hand pump. With a 21mm ID rim profile, the SX rim gives new life to old-school tire designs with more responsive cornering and a broader footprint for climbing and braking. Add Mavic's convertible axle hub design to the wheel's sharp performance and the Crossmax SX is a go-to for anyone in the market for a lightweight wheelset for Enduro racing or technical trail work. The Crossmax SX may be Mavic's best design in its entire trailbike lineup. - RC


Which of this week's Product Picks would you consider?






95 Comments

  • + 88
 As a bike mechanic I can say that with Avid it's like Russian Roulette- Some of the brakes magically align on the first try. Many of them take a fair amount of time to get dialed in. When finished they feel solid, but the work to get rid of the rubbing noise and get the pull on the levers to be even on both sides can take up half of the time in a build. In the long run, every other brand comes out of the box feeling more consistant (including tektro).
  • + 16
 ^this.
  • + 7
 I concur.
  • + 10
 "In the long run, every other brand comes out of the box feeling more consistant" - does this still apply to the newer Avids? Every other Avid on every other bike I've tried needed bleeding out of the box.
  • + 1
 It happened with me this week! It´s so hard to alling the rear caliper
  • + 7
 I can mostly agree with this. I build bikes for my store when I'm not working on bikes, and the Avids that come on every single one of those bikes has been pre bled, and both sides had a consistent lever pull. However, they do need a lot of work to get them to line up most of the time.. I have Elixir 5's on my Remedy and I'm constantly having to mess with the rear caliper to stop that damn whining and squealing. My front however lined up perfectly on the first try. I still love the brakes though, they do feel very consistent and the pull doesn't feel squishy for either side, ever. I agree with saying that they aren't always consistent out of the box though, but is spending ten minutes every now and then realigning my caliper the end of the world? no it's not.
  • - 2
 This has been happening to me with my 9's. Also, the real caliper body is literally shaking loose after dh/rough-huck days on my Faith. When everything is tight and aligned, they feel and even sound great, but I can actually hear the rear get louder as it works loose. I'm not even sure what to do about this.
  • + 3
 Are you using a thread locking compound (loc-tite etc)?
  • + 3
 The rear rotor feels loose?
  • + 1
 Surely not, Tektro are at best like avid BB5. Except that if you take any Tektro down a hill more than 200 meters it will fade until you have no braking at all! Elixir 5 are much better, although sometimes disappointingly you need to bleed them twice from new to get the best from them.
  • + 5
 I feel I must comment out of frustration with avid brakes. I have them on two of my bikes and they are the most time consuming maintainance item. To get them so they don't rub takes an act of god. Reading the comments of others makes me feel a little better. Glad I'm not alone. The power, modulation and price are great, but my next brake set will not be of avid brand.
  • + 2
 In my shop we bleed every elixir out of the box, and its because they need it. However I have less issue aligning the caliper than many of you, I found when it pulls on way due to tightening its because it got over torqued in the past, putting slight low spots in the paint on the caliper
  • + 2
 Formula is way better. Ive never had any luck with avid.
  • + 1
 Agree completely. Though, they are designed to be super adjustable, so I really can't fault them that they are complex and frustrating to adjust. The act of god comment made me laugh, but yeah, it usually is Russian Roulette - some bolt up with no adjustment whatsoever, while some leave the shop two hours later and "as good as they're going to get".

On occasion, I pull the "v-brake hardware" that provides the roll adjustment and replace them with appropriately sized washers to remove that degree of rotation [i also find they shift a bit as you tighten them down, which is completely maddening]. Doesn't always work, but after an hour of frustration [constant swearing], I'm usually up for trying non-standard [read: desperate] solutions.
  • + 0
 Its very easy too dial in your avid brakes. I can do it in 5 mins front and back. Your spin the wheel leaving the bolts on your caliper loose and grab a little bit of the brake till you see the caliper move into position and tighten it down bingo you got it your done.
  • + 2
 Avid is like any mass market / mass produced brand

you get good quality products, and sh*t quality products from the same model / line....

I have too many years of professional experience working on and owning Avid disc brakes, and would freely admit not the easiest brakes to set up Wink
  • + 1
 My personal experience with Avid brakes was not the best. I'd been running Hope Mono M4's and was persuaded to run a set of Avid Juicy 7's, suffice to say, they were a bloody headache to get settled in with the Hope floating rotors I was using at the time, and within a month I'd gone back to my M4's. As testament to that, I'm running Mono M4's on my new build, and they run perfectly with the floating rotors I prefer.
  • + 0
 I just had to offer my experience with installing/setting up Avid brakes. I've worked at shops too and at first I used to have troubles getting them to line up because you would try to eye ball the space between the rotor and the caliper then try to slowly tighten the bolts.. but sometimes as your tightened the bolts the brake would move.. and you start all over again.

Well I came up with a simple solution to my brake set-up issues and its simple because the brake does all of the work for you courtesy of the self-centering pad feature.
So tighten the bolts till they're almost tight... leaving just enough loosness so that the caliper can still move... but not too much.
Next... spin the wheel, not too fast, not too slow..
Then... Grab and hold the brake lever firmly...
Evenly tighten the bolts to spec
release lever spin wheel, 99% success Smile

Whenever I had or suspected an issue.. I'd remove the wheel.. spread the pads all the way then repeat the process.
I've done this too many bikes and never seen any damage and I do this to my own Avid's and again no issues.
Don't spin the wheel so much that the brake receive a violent jolt, I do this to help centre the caliper as well as set the bolts and mounting hardware.

I went through the comments pretty quick, so if someone already mentioned this never mind.
Cheers.
I think the avid's are one of the best consumer friendly brakes on market. Everyone complains that all the bike parts are only easy to use if you have a full time mechanic at your house. Well Avid's may not be the most powerful brake ... but they sure are very far from the weakest.. and their ease of use make them my choice for my bike.

see you on the trails.
  • + 4
 Pushingbroom, I think thats what we all do. Thats what avid tells you to do
  • + 1
 I agree, I have last years elixr r and I had to bleed them twice to get them working properly(get all the air out from the factory bleed) however they now work great and I have only experienced brake fade @ sun peaks, smittys steeps
  • + 2
 all good points, though the "spin'n'lock" method doesn't work if your rotor is out of true - Ask me how I know. it's a good thing customers never bend their rotors, and box bikes always come with perfectly true rotors.

Kidding aside, it's good advice, and usually the best place to start when setting up almost any system - except for old magura's, for that you need a young priest and an old priest.
  • + 1
 Thanks for the input jagarcia89... I didn't know avid printed that, I don't think I've ever read the installation instructions :p just bleeding and service manuals. As far as rotors being out of true.. ye that always sucks. but with the park tools rotor tool, fixing that is pretty easy.

Its so nice that theres so much more info on how to service our bikes. I remember being a kid working in a bike shop years ago and everything was just done with hammers, wrenches and trial and error. Forget setting up a disk brake.. try dialing in a cantilever brake that actually had some decent stopping power. hahaah.
  • + 0
 go tektro! i don't know why everyone hates them. i have never had a problem with their brakes!
  • + 1
 I friggin hate my elixir fives
  • + 1
 I must have gotten lucky. My 2010 elixir 5's have seen hell, and only been bled once. They feel great. I just got some Elixir 1's for free a couple months ago, so I am seeing how the budget brakes hold up over time before I decide to upgrade. Seeing as Avid's seem to be hit and miss, I am hoping I hit double.
  • + 1
 I've never liked low-end Avid brakes, but their high end kits are great!
  • + 1
 @PacaroSandwitch

Tektro make good affordable disc brakes, normally seen on commuting hybrids and low to middle range mountain bikes

Tektro is the factory that actually makes Avid brakes (to Avid's own design technology) Wink
  • + 1
 wow. didn't know they were made by the same company! and i have Tektro's on my downhill bike... and its not a low to middle range mountain bike? honestly, other than having to bleed them after two years of use, they are the best brakes i have ever owned! i don't get why people diss them all the time. just like people say crap about manitou forks? i think they are great.
  • + 1
 Ive never heard that. where did you???
  • + 1
 its well known in the non-retail side of the bike industry (I worked for distribution companies dealing with OE suppliers)

there are many "brands" made in well known, and not so well known, off shore factories using patented designs and technologies owned by the brand, or in some cases just licensed from partners of the factory
  • + 1
 one of my favorite quote from my friend about avids

"avid brakes are like hot women. They are really sexy but most of them are expensive and have problems"
  • + 2
 great quote! however, compared to my dealings with Hope, Shimano and Hayes, Avid brakes have been much more reliable and are very competitively priced compared to competing brands at the different pricepoints
  • + 2
 Pre 2012 Elixirs are temper-mental for sure. Knock on wood; all of the 2012 Elixirs I have worked on seem to have all the previous years "bugs" worked out of them.

Bleeding issues aside, I have run into number of pre 2012 Elixir 5s that needed caliper overhauls within a seasons use due to the pistons not recessing into the caliper and not leaving enough room between the rotor and pads for any adjustment what so ever.
  • + 24
 I'd buy the wheels just because the spokes are so huuge !

Wait.....£850 !? pass Frown
  • + 7
 Your paying for the R&D Razz remember without this stupidly expensive stuff the sport wouldn't progress
  • + 10
 yeah that's right. without R&D, they wouldn't figure out using humongous spokes.
  • + 2
 @ mountguitars: Thanks for the laugh!
  • + 1
 You're actually paying for the 1590g weight.
  • + 3
 Those wheels are really good. I my dad has a pair on his bike and they are worth every penny.
  • + 2
 I got the previous model for 2,5 years now and they re rolling like new on my dirtjump-4X bike! I got the new ones for my current AM bike and paid the amount smiling knowing i pay for a great pair of wheels that will last forever.
  • + 1
 I lust after these SXs.
I run SLRs on my Sortie and they are incredibly reliable. On the bike with a pack I weigh about 225 and I ride the bejesus out of a 5" race whip and I have not had a single issue with the Mavics. I take my wheels in for service a few times a year and they are just as good as new. FWIW the WeirWolf IIs (TCS) mounted up no problem, by hand, the first time out. Their wheels are spendy, but you get what you pay for.
  • - 4
flag qbert2000 (Mar 16, 2012 at 13:30) (Below Threshold)
 richard cunningham is a joke. just in his last article on tubeless tires he complained that 21mm rims weren't wide enough, that the sweetspot was 27mm and up. now magically on this review, 21mm wide rims bring tires to life. the guy is full of shit, all the time. whatever he's currently reviewing is awesome despite what he may have written two weeks prior, which is why he's a complete joke. i have no issue running 21mm 721 rims. i have them set up tubeless using mavics ust rim strip that they sold for crossland wheels. no burps , i'm very happy with them. read his tech tuesday article on tubeless wheels and then try to figure out how he can now say 21mm wide ust rims are great. wtf? the guy needs to go. pinkbike tech is turning into mountain bike action tech reviews. that's not a good thing

www.pinkbike.com/news/Tech-Tuesday--Wider-Rims-Are-Better-and-Why-Tubeless-Tires-Burp-.html
  • + 7
 qbert2000 -
The wider is better wheel article was a think piece, intended to introduce the concept that wider rims could offer a noticeable improvement over the present standards. Lightweight rims in 25 to 27mm IDs for trail/AM use are not yet available in the mass market. Pinkbike would be wrong to test existing products to non-existing standards, so we don't. Mavic's CrossMax SX wheels are among the best Trail/AM wheels you can buy today - they deserve the props.
Part of my job is testing and reporting on today's products, part of my job is helping to push envelope by recognizing trends or products that may lead to a better mountain bike. The two aspects often conflict. If you told DH racers five years ago that running a 63-degree head angle and 30 inch bars was a great idea, you might be considered an idiot. It is human nature that significant new ideas are met with fierce negativity. Negative props are part of the job. BTW, I am stoked you read and remembered those wheel pieces. - RC
  • + 1
 boo86 -
they cost just under £600 in the UK so they're actually a reasonable price for what your getting, but it is still a lot of money to be spent i agree.
  • + 5
 I've love Mavic rims, but I wouldn't ever use their hubs.

If I had to spend the above sort of money on an after-market wheel I'd build a set of: Hope hubs + Mavic rim + DT spokes. And if you want to spend more get King or I9 hub on the rear.

And with the cash you save buy a wheel truing stand and the Park tension meter and you will have straight and light set of wheels for the rest of your (and your friends) lives.
  • - 3
 unfortunately rc to me you have little crdibility. mba sucked and now you are doing the same to pinkbike. just like your test of mavics waterproof jacket in the desert. stuff like that and this just show half the stuff you write is pure fluff. i can give hundreds of examples of it
  • + 2
 @qbert2000 -
Mavic gives the internal width of its rims despite almost everyone else quoting the external, the SX and 321/521/721 all have a 28mm external width - right in the sweet spot. Bashing on RC is all well and good but it doesnt help your cause when you dont have your numbers right
  • + 1
 i know their internal width. if you read his argument he's talking about much bigger internal widths than 21mm. his sweet spot he's talking in the article is much bigger than 21mm internal
  • + 9
 I really hope that Mavic releases a 21mm UST rim as a rim only option. The 819's are a little too narrow but the 823's are overkill as a front rim. Since the 721 is not UST, there really is a hole in the lineup for UST AM rims.
  • + 1
 I agree. I was looking to go with a true UST rim for a build I have coming up, but the 19mm 819s are just not quite wide enough for the tires I would be running.
  • + 2
 I agree x 2. I wonder if its cause they want you to buy the whole wheelset rather just pay for the rim.
  • + 1
 X 3. I have run 2.35 and 2.35 Maxxis on the 819 and its been... okay, but I ran tubes which defeats the purpose of the UST rim.
  • + 1
 I'm running 2.5 exo minions with Stan's on 819's on both my DH and AM bikes. I've had a couple of blowouts though but under circumstances that may or may not have blown off with a wider rim. I've also run DH UST minions on the 819 with no problems for two years on a V10, so maybe they are wide enough. I'd definitely go to 21mm though if that was an option.
  • + 10
 That Park Tool looks pretty handy actually. A LOT of bends and tweaks in the wheel are due to your spokes too loose/too tight. (Or riding like a mad man) *points at self*
  • + 2
 Park TM-1 is an essential tool for any wheel builder whether a professional mechanic or home enthusiast Smile


something I found really interesting during my professional training as a bike mechanic is first hand examples of some of Europe's leading wheel builders denying the need for a tool like the Park TM-1, but when their own work (30-40 years of experience) was actually measured using the TM-1, they were shocked at the variance in spoke tension on their own wheel builds!!!

these guys have all quickly moved to using the TM-1 for all of their work...its a fantastic tool to use when wheel building and will give you accurate information on spoke tension whereas the old methods of "grabbing spoke pairs" or "feeling tension with spoke key" are actually very dubious...
  • + 1
 I've used both the DT tensiometer and the Park tensiometer, and I found the Park one easier to use, both ergonomically and visually.

Some people say the DT Swiss is more accurate, but it can be way out of calibration in a month of constant use. I don't know the longevity of the Park tool's accuracy. DT recommend that their tool, despite the price tag and the gadgetry, should only be used to measure RELATIVE tension from spoke to spoke (as suggested in the article). Richard posted an article a few weeks ago on, I think, Easton, and they calibrated theiir DT Swiss tensiometer with EVERY use. I doubt many wheel building shops would do that, but that's the only way to ensure accuracy.

Conclusion: if tesnion meters should only be used to measure relative tension, you may as well go for the easiest to use and the cheapest - my money goes on the Park tool.
  • + 3
 something interesting about your comments is that the Park TM-1 may go slightly out of calibration (there is no easy way to reset it, I have asked Park) relative to the reading that is generated on the ruler scale (which is then translated into KGF or NM using the card matrix supplied with the tool)

but it will actually give a useful comparison of spoke tension on each spoke you check on a particular wheel

what this means is that your TM-1 may give a translated reading of 1100 NM rather than 1150 NM if slightly off-calibration, BUT it will tell you that EACH spoke on that wheel you check is at that same tension (i.e. 24 on the ruler scale)

I would rather have balanced tension on my spokes across the wheel, than worry about 50-100 NM accuracy of the tool Smile
  • + 4
 After using the park tension tool, I have to say its one of the best bangs for the buck going. All the other tensiometers are way more expensive and only just slightly better. If you true or build your own wheels, get one and learn how to use it (it ain't rocket surgery).
  • + 2
 Rocket surgery sounds tough! As an engineer, tools like that make my pants fit a little tighter.
  • + 1
 you need help son. As a wheel builder (professionally and other wise) for 10yrs no tool has ever got my pants to fit tighter. Funny, I am orignally from moscow on an unrelated note.
  • + 2
 The Park Tool spoke tensioner is real handy. I built up my jump wheels without it, then took it to my shop and borrowed their tensioner and ran it over, it makes for a really strong set of wheels. It's a shame its quite over-priced in the UK. I'd be reluctant to buy one just to improve truing, certainly you'd have to be putting a few sets of wheels together to justify the £55!
  • + 5
 Have a set of the Crossmax SX - they ooze quality, and have been flawless for me so far, really happy with them.
  • + 2
 When reviewing the Elixers, RC forgot to mention that the 9's or CR's also have the pad contact adjustment over the 5's, 7's etc. For me, with that adjustment you can really dial in the perfect feel.
  • + 2
 Fixed that. Thanks for the heads up. RC
  • + 1
 After working at a bike shop for four seasons now, Elixers are easily my most hated component to work on. They take forever to set up to feel semi-acceptable and then they blow through pads like Gingrich blows through marriages. If you're looking for a cheap, good disc brake look no further than the Shimano SLX. Sram for shifting, Shimano for braking.
  • + 1
 ive had very bad experiances with my avids my rear one needed a bleed so i got it done by a bike shop and it worked for about 2 hours then the lever started to go right to the grip again, and now the same thing is happening to the front :s, i am replacing them both with saints as soon as possible!
  • + 1
 Had a set of elixirs on my bike from that factory and they had a nice bleed. The pad contact was a little annoying and didn't go away fully until the pads wore down some due to my hub face not being completely square. All in all they are very good brakes for a trail bike and as light or lighter than any in it's price range if that matters to you. I bought a set of shimano XTs with 6 bolt ice tech rotors that are supposed to be "completely true and very hard to bend" and I have the same if not more rub with them than i did with the avids initially FWIW.
  • + 1
 Front Avid Trialign is not needed most of the time, adaptor neither - chuck it. Use the elongated holes only to line up with 203 disc . If they rub slightly, that will take care of itself after a few dhs. Rear same story, Smaller and thinner discs leave more padspace though most of the time an adapter is a must. This works well on RS forks - Fox is usually way out of mounting spec. I take care of five dh racebikes. I just want solid stuff and Elixir 1 is my favourite. No exotic boutique crap here like Formuhayhopemagshixosaint. Cheap Sram does it most of the time.
  • + 1
 Had avid 3's on my old setup... were horrible with aligning/bleeding/ANYTHING. Bought a new bike this year with CR-SL's... now were talking. so much braking power now, and they actually work all the time!
  • + 3
 Why would you want Avids. Worst brakes on the planet. It even says avoid on the brake Wink
  • + 2
 not at all...poor set up is a big problem, Avid have not helped themselves with their CPS mounting system which promotes bad set up from inexperienced users, I have seen 100s of sets of really poorly set up Avid brakes (Juicy, BB and Elixir families) over the years

I have owned 15 pairs of Avid brakes over the years on different bikes and have never had issues with them despite all the bad press they get on internet forums, perhaps it helps that I am a professional bike mechanic with years of experience on disc brakes?

and of course, with the 1000s of brakes that Avid pump out of the Tektro factory in Taiwan, you will get bad units (quality control) of production...
  • + 1
 Guess you just don't have as good standards as I have have then Wink Formula, Hope, Shimano offer better modulation and ease of use than any avid brakes on the planet they are a inconvenience to use, maintain and bleed. Its not in terms of quality control in the fact that they are just shit.

p.s. I also work in a bike shop.
  • + 1
 thanks for your input, its always good to share information with other shop staff, to clarify I have very high standards in my workshop and when using products personally (I am a former Pro freerider who rode for Banshee Bikes, Devinci Bikes and Da Kine clothing)

Hope have excellent modulation but many uk riders (including my customers) have found them somewhat inconsistent in terms of performance, outright power and long term upkeep

Shimano actually seem to have less modulation than other brands, especially XT and Saint which can feel very blunt which leads to some riders downsizing their rotors to improve modulation as a by-product of reduced brake leverage (each size down in rotor sizing leads to approx 25-30% leverage reduction)

little experience with Formula apart from a run of brakes that had issues from the factory (incorrect "o" ring installed) which led to a string of warranty returns and pissed off customers
  • + 1
 Formula seem to have their head screwed on now. Used a few of their brakes oro and rx's and they have been amazing. Hope is hope have a problem in terms of warranty they will sort it out, great brand, great guys and great kit. The shimano kit just works not much else to say really.
  • + 1
 I already have a pair of Crossmax SX's, even though they are the older grey version. Had lots of wheels in my time and these are by far the best. Only an occasional bearing nip up and thats my only gripe...
  • + 2
 My both bikes run on Elixir 5 brakes. I can't complain. I would buy them again for that price.
  • + 1
 i own 2 sets of sx's and they are unreal wheels. stiffer and more compliant than anything less than carbon. I never tweek or true em.
  • + 0
 Elixirs... these product picks are a joke. Please just say "Reviews on random gear companies have sent us for free" instead of implying you should actually pick that crap over the much better choices out there.
  • + 2
 would love a set of wheels but cant justify the cost when my oe set still roll along ..one day
  • + 2
 i never had problem aligning my elixirs..
  • + 1
 I thought of them once, but went for Shimano XT AMs - half the price an bombproof, too bad they don't do the anymore in 20mm. Mavic UST rims is something that you really need to try hard to like - narrow for the purpose, and super tough to make the tyre to sit in properly. Anyways, owning a factory wheelset is a roulette, they are sturdier than any custom hoops of comparable weight but: breaking a spoke is painful, then breaking the rim...huh, you can buy the complete wheel right away
  • + 0
 dont know about where u live, but here the shimano brakes are way more expensive then avids
  • + 2
 Why are all Mavic rims so darn skinny? Only 21 mm id for an AM wheel that is supposed to be UST?!? RC, doesn't this sort of contradict the earlier article you did on the importance of wider rims for running tubeless? 21 mm when running a 2.5" tire doesn't sound like great tire side-wall support. I'd love to buy Mavic, but I think they are too obsessed with advertising low wheel weights and don't mind compromising performance (ie slightly wider rims for UST) to keep the advertised weight low.
  • + 4
 brakes? I thought we were talking wheels
  • + 2
 Much of the reason that Mavic makes 'skinny' rims has to do with the latest ETRTO European tire and rim standards (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization). The rules determine the rim widths and design, as well as specifying what size tires can be used on a given rim width. OEMS that do not adhere to the ETRTO specs have been plagued with lawsuits and other troubles. The standards, however well meaning, have been a stumbling block in rim development. The re-branding of many tires into different sizes has a lot to do with this. See it here www.etrto.org or read the specs on tires and wheels.
RC
  • + 2
 Hi RC, thanks for explaining. It would be helpful if you were to mention in the article itself that 21 mm are not really ideally "wide" for UST. I wonder how Spank is able to produce and market such wide rims being a German company? Although not officially UST, their rims hold a UST tire bead as well as any official UST rim. It would be cool if PB could review some more ideally wide rims. Thanks for getting the word out about the importance of wider rims in your last article BTW.
  • + 0
 Yea we do have a highly developed roadie mafia in EU, sticking their greedy shaved hands into MTB and Mavic is totaly in their pocket.
  • + 0
 there aviod so that says a lot
  • - 2
 Crossbar SX are the sweet
  • + 6
 MAX sx
  • + 1
 yeah they look pretty sweet Big Grin
  • - 2
 Would love to role those babes.
  • - 3
 Get off pinkbike! Im tired of seeing your stuff, go to some greasy jersey shore website or something! Thanks!
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