Avid's mission in designing these new brakes was to enhance ride quality, increase power, and improve modulation. They were also able to reduce weight, improve temperature performance and reduce some noise issues with the Juicy line. The Elixir has a new, very sleek look, which is almost a throwback to the days before large reservoirs. But large reservoirs do not improve stopping power or modulation. The real trick is inside the Elixir R lever, which features Avid's all new Taperbore technology.
As soon as these brakes were broken in I was impressed. They deliver a heightened sense of the interaction between the tire and the ground. In a way, they changed the way I rode, and the more I got used to the brakes, the more I liked them. There was a slight learning curve, because I'm used to brakes that skid easily and all the time. With the Elixir, you skid only when you want to. I've ridden approximately 22 separate times on the new brakes so far, including solo sessioning and group rides, riding up and shuttling. Locations I rode include Syncline in Washington, and Post Canyon and Black Rock, in Oregon. Post Canyon the most, since it's my local haunt. I tried to hit all the trails I'm familiar with to compare them to what I was used to. The following movie includes the installation of the brakes at Craig's workshop/pub, 2 days in Black Rock with Craig, and Anna and Jason of IMBA Trail Care Crew, then back to Post Canyon for a top to bottom of Extended Play and my trail, Frankenstein.
Craig, Carl and I headed up to Syncline, near Bingen, WA.
Syncline is a fast, wooded single track that leads out to a cliffside single track, worthy of many vertigo inducing nightmares, and then into a choice of either nice switchback single track or a rocky cliffside decent. We chose the latter. Watch out for rattlers. No joke. The panoramic view of the Columbia River and Oregon on the other side is always worth the trip. Carl was able to get a few nice photos.
Now here are the brakes right out of the box the day they arrived. The brand new G3 rotors are approximately 10-12g lighter than their Juicy predecessor, the G2. I'm running a 185mm on the rear, and the 203mm on the front. Overall, the Elixir is about 20g lighter than the Juicy 7, with a comparable rotor size.
A shift in the pivot location makes the Elixir more controllable, by enabling less initial power and deep stroke modulation, allowing the rider to better manage and use the increased overall power. From the power coming on to complete lock up, the modulation curve of this brake is completely unique. The Elixir features larger pistons, which are grooved to manage heat distribution more efficiently. They also include a large top port for easy access to the brake pads, so you can switch pads without having to remove your wheel. The increased opening allows better airflow through the brakes during operation. This translates to a 10-15 degree temperature difference from previous generation Juicys.
A redesign of the master cylinder incorporates the reservoir around the cylinder, giving it a sleek design and less weight. Rather than a traditional timing port, the Elixir features an o-ring at the end of a push rod assembly into a tapered bore. This provides the Elixir a nearly infinitely variable modulation range.Day 1
Right after installation. If the pads look tight against the rotor, it's because they are. There is not a lot of room for a wobbly rotor there. Once they broke in, there was a little bit more room, but you might want to have a Park Tool rotor straightener just in case. Just to shed some light on a common misconception in regards to the Avid pad contact feature (not found on these Elixir R brakes), it does NOT adjust the distance between the pads and the rotor. Day 24
Weight: 375 grams (Front Post-Mount 160mm rotor)
System: Two piston, open system
Fluid: DOT 5.1
Features: Tool-free reach adjust, top loading pads, tri-align caliper positioning system, MatchMaker compatible, Drip-free bleeding
Rotor sizes: 160/185/203mm
Colors: Body and Caliper: Mercury Silver, Lever: Tungsten Grey
Available: Carbon blade optionPricing:
Elixir R w/ 160 rotor: $129/wheel
Elixir R w/ 185 rotor: $133/wheel
Elixir R w/ 203 rotor: 137/wheel
At the end of the day, the Avid Elixir delivered seamless performance, smooth power application and a sleek look. At this price point, you couldn't get a better brake. They would be great on your trick town cruiser or on your DH race rig. These brakes are awesome!
Hope to see these out by Spring '09!
-Miles aka ShovelPick
To learn more about Avid and other products from SRAM, please visit www.sram.com