Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Testing - Avid Elixir R Hydraulic Disk Brake Review
Out of the box
Well first impressions of this brake are great. It has a nice beefy look and great attention to detail. There is no bulky reservoir, it is nicely integrated into the master cylinder (aka brake lever). I instantly look for features like banjo fittings and pad retaining system. More on that stuff later.
The G3 rotors look great though I wish there was a centre-lock version.
On the trail
This is where the Elixir's really show their stuff. Braking power is among the best I've experienced. Even after some mileage it doesn't seem like they are suffering from rotor glaze at all. They still perform like new with that bitey metallic feel. This could be attributed to the aggressive slotting (or cut-outs) in the rotor. I can't tell yet if this will adversely affect pad life but a new, larger surface area pad should offset any extra wear from the new rotor.
Talk about power! These things are 1 finger braking at its finest. Not too grabby but keep adding pressure and the brake responds with a nice linear power curve with zero sponge (ahem Juicy).
Lets talk about banjo mounts. I like em, they are easy to work on and give you an adjustable hose entry angle (no perverted jokes please). The Elixir R doesn't have them which is a bit of a shame. Saving grace is that they actually come on the upgraded CR model so it gives you an excuse to spend the extra $.
The master cylinder has an "easy" adjust lever position dial built in. It adjusts how far the lever sits from the bar, it has nothing to do with lever throw. There was a lever throw adjust on most of the Juicy models which really didn't seem to do much. Back to the Elixir "easy" adjust dial which really isn't easy to turn at all. Seems to get jammed up and mostly has to be adjusted while gloveless. Not a huge deal since you only really need to adjust it once to your liking and never touch it again.
The new pad retaining system uses a bolt like many Shimano systems to securely hold the pad and is waaaaay easier than that crappy Juicy system which sucked. With the Elixir you just loosen and remove the small Torx bolt and pop the old pads out and new ones in. Tighten the bolt back up and go ride.
The master cylinder may look beefy but it actually has a very small footprint on the bar. It does have a fairly long profile, especially for one finger braking, but thanks to its accommodating shape I easily mounted it to the inside of my XT shifters.
I think this brake is my new number one. I'm not going to completely jump to conclusions here since I don't have a ton of hours on it and I have yet to bleed one. I already like it a pile more than the Juicy which was really a sub par brake with a lot of issues. I love how solid it feels with a nice snappy return action and no mush. It is sexy to boot. Specifically the Elixir R is the best brake I've used in the $200 category.
- light weight (Elixir R is actually lighter than the fancy carbon CR model)
- braking power and consistency
- no banjo mounts on Elixir R caliper
- lever reach adjustment dial is hard to turn
- no Avid centre-lock rotor option
Value - 22 delicious advent calendar chocolates
Performance - 15 feet out of an 18 foot tall Griswold family Christmas tree.
Lever Profile, rather long but mounts inside shifter.
Cool G3 rotor. Great braking.
Pads just drop in. I didn't even have to take the wheel off.
Adjustment Dial. Hard to use, half of it is hidden by the shifter.
New, larger pads don't help with power but do accommodate a larger caliper piston which does increase clamping force.
Posted by Benno at 7:39 PM