Avid Juicy 5 Hydraulic Brake Review

Brakes Pro Reviews

Avid Juicy 5

Post by Robb Sutton (198)
Mountain Biking by 198
http://www.mtbtrailreview.com/

Avid Juicy 5 Hydraulic Disc Brake Review

Are you looking to make the switch to disc brakes without breaking the bank? Are you tired of the poor lever feel and performance out of those other “budget” disc brakes? Look no further than the Juicy Fives from Avid.

From the SRAM website:

  • Intended Use - Cross Country, All Mountain, Freeride, Downhill
  • Finish – Aero Silver
  • Special Features – New refined lever body design, 20 grams lighter than last years model, Tri-Align Caliper Positioning System, Power Reserve Geometry, Ambidextrous, Split Clamp/Matchmaker compatible, Drip-free bleeding, Indexed reach adjustment, DOT 5.1 standard
  • Rotor Sizes – 160, 185, 203mm
  • Fluid – DOT 5.1
  • Weight – 397g (160mm rotor; front post mount)

Before the introduction of the Juicy 3′s, the Juicy 5′s were Avid’s answer for low cost hydraulic disc brakes that didn’t perform like their price would suggest. This 2008 set came installed on the Ellsworth Evolve review bike, but I have also owned a set of the 2006 version.

What do you gain over the Juicy 3′s? From the stats off the website, you get lever reach adjustment and a light brake. Those two features alone make upgrading to the 5′s a no brainer.

What do you lose from the Juicy 7′s? They are a little bit heavier (if you call 2 grams heavier) and you have no pad contact adjustment. The lighter 7′s carry around a 40 dollar premium.

Juicy 5 Hydraulics – The Good News

Price – Finding the Juicy 5′s around 120.00 dollars US is a pretty easy task. This puts these brakes at a great price point for hydraulics.

Lever Feel/Adjustment – The lever design allows true one finger braking and is comfortable to use. Many of the brakes in this price point come with 2 finger levers. You can also adjust the lever reach closer or farther away from the bars depending on your hand size and preference.

Modulation - While the modulation is not great, it is very respectable. Juicy’s tend to have an “on/off” feeling sometimes. The lever has a light feel that is progressive throughout. Match this with the ability to use one finger and these may be the best feeling budget brakes on the market.

Two Bolt Lever Clamp – Installing and removing the levers is extremely easy with the two bolt design. You can also use the Matchmaker from SRAM to mount the Juicy brakes with SRAM trigger shifters.

Design – The overall fit and feel of the brakes are top quality.

Easy Pad Replacement – The spring system makes pad replacement a breeze.

Juicy 5 Hydraulics – The Bad News

The Turkey Gobble – This set of Juicy 5′s had the infamous Avid “turkey gobble”. The G2 Clean Sweep Rotor on the rear emits a gobble-like sound when braking is applied. There are other brakes in the Avid line that do this same thing. This can get annoying during the ride.

Noisy – On top of the “gobbling”, these brakes can be loud if not adjusted perfectly. There are other brakes on the market that are not quite as finicky.

No Pad Contact Adjustment - You could adjust some of the noise out of the brakes with a contact adjustment. You would also be able to keep lever feel constant as the pads wear.

Power - The braking power on this set was not up to par with some of the other brands I have used in the past. They do have more power than their direct competition, but I would recommend using the 185mm rotors to get more power and better modulation out of these brakes.

Juicy 5 Hydraulics Overview

For the price, it will not get any better than this. One finger braking on a high quality feeling design. If you are going to run these brakes on a 29er, opt for the 185mm rotors (at least on the front). These brakes were overpowered by the big wheels on downhills, and the 185mm rotor would have prevented it. The little annoyances that go along with these brakes to not change their overall value. You can step down to the Juicy 3′s to save a couple of dollars, but I believe the weight and reach adjustment make the Juicy 5′s worth the upgrade.

Note: If you plan on cutting the lines and bleeding these brakes yourself, pick up the Avid bleed kit.

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Original post found on Mountain Biking by 198 – Juicy 5 Hydraulic Brake Review

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  • Fred says:

    Very helpful and detailed. thanks.

  • fatdave says:

    Did you get rid of the ‘turkey gobble’? I got so tired of it with my J5 brakes I purchased a used set of xtr brakes. End of problem. I wouldn’t recommend these brakes for any price, given the noise.

  • Dig Avids says:

    I have Avids on two bikes and have never heard a sound from them, I have ridden under every condition imaginable, wet, dry, salt water, dirt and mud and still they perform flawlessly. I have friends with the same brakes and they are equally happy with them. Why cant I get mine to make this “turkey gobble” sound?
    Anyway. I love them and wouldn’t think of going back to old fashioned rim brakes.

  • Dig Avids says:

    I have Avids on two bikes and have never heard a sound from them, I have ridden under every condition imaginable, wet, dry, salt water, dirt and mud and still they perform flawlessly. I have friends with the same brakes and they are equally happy with them. Why cant I get mine to make this “turkey gobble” sound?
    Anyway. I love them and wouldn’t think of going back to old fashioned rim brakes.

  • Dig Avids says:

    I have Avids on two bikes and have never heard a sound from them, I have ridden under every condition imaginable, wet, dry, salt water, dirt and mud and still they perform flawlessly. I have friends with the same brakes and they are equally happy with them. Why cant I get mine to make this “turkey gobble” sound?
    Anyway. I love them and wouldn’t think of going back to old fashioned rim brakes.

  • austinbiker says:

    I have the Avid Juicy 5′s that came installed on my new Paragon, with the 160 mm rotors on front and back. I have had a few times when I wish there was a bit more braking power, but overall they’re an enormous step up from my old (cantilever) bike’s brakes.

    Mine do gobble, and the shop can’t adjust it out of them. They said that perhaps the noise will go away as they break in a bit more (it’s only 2 months old). If anything, it seems to get more pronounced as I ride more. No matter- it doesn’t bother me too much, since they work just about flawlessly.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have these brakes on my Cannondale F4 and they suck. Everytime I ride it something goes wrong with them. Do whatever you can to avoid them!

  • ned says:

    Got them on my 08 Paragon and they sounded worse then a flock of butterballs. I also feel they lack power and the modulation is so so at best. 1.5 year later the brakes are still noisy, I’ll be upgrading soon.

  • KP says:

    These came on my Specialized Stumpy 29. I had Hayes on a Trek Fuel prior to these. The Hayes gobbled too and I went to Juicy 5′s to get rid of it – no such luck. The Stumpy suffers from this too and for me, this is a show stopper. I have spoken to the LBS > new pads > cleaning > alignment…none of which worked. The latest was to bake the pads then sand both them and the discs with 100 grit paper. This worked for a short test ride, but it remains to be seen if this works over time.
    I would expect as long as discs have been around, they would have it about perfect by now. No such luck. The gobble ruins the whole fun of this and I don’t want to have to be swapping expensive parts on a new bike if Avid would just get this right in the first place.

    Don’t buy these. Price? You get what you pay for and that is disappointment.

  • Ron says:

    I have managed to put up with the noise of these for four years as they came on my 07 Stumpy and couldn’t justify spending out more money.
    I can now justify buying some new brakes as I feel I have got a lot of use out of the Juicys and can’t wait to put them in the bin and give my ears a rest. I don’t think it would be fair to put them on ebay just to give someone else ear ache…I might even set fire to them.

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