In product year 2009, SRAM has been making a lot of changes and introductions throughout its brands. Truvativ released the Hammerschmidt…the Rock Shox suspension fork line was almost completely updated…and the Avid brake lineup saw the introduction of the Avid Elixir R and CR hydraulic disc brakes.
The Avid Elixir brakes replace the Avid Juicy Ultimates and become the top of the line, multipurpose brake set for Avid/SRAM. Braking power with the new Avid Elixir’s are claimed to be somewhere in-between the Juicy and Code lineups. With new technologies like Taperbore, tool free adjustment, new G3 rotor and banjo fittings, the Elixir brake lineup brings something completely new to the table for Avid.
Avid Hydraulic Disc Brake Review
SRAM sent me a set of the Avid Elixir CR hydraulic disc brakes to review. The Elixir CR’s are available in two lever configurations (OEM only alloy and carbon fiber) and 3 different rotor combinations (160mm, 185mm and 203mm). The test set was sent with the carbon lever and two sets of rotors…the 185mm and 160mm.
For the exact weights of the rotors and brakes, check out this preview post on the Elixir CR’s. Due to the minimal weight difference between the 160mm and 185mm rotors (40g), the 185mm rotors were installed and that is what stayed on the bikes. For the purposes of this review, the brakes were tested on a Ventana El Terremoto 6.0 and a Rocky Mountain Slayer. Both of these rides are 6″ travel bikes that are taken on everything from shuttle runs to cross country epics. This provided a vast amount of contrast in different riding conditions, and made perfect test mules for this new do-it-all brake from Avid.
The install for the Elixir CR’s was quick and painless. The two bolt lever mount (now standard on most brakes) makes install and adjustment a breeze without having to remove any other parts off the bars. Straight out of the box, the lines were the perfect length for my large Ventana, so no cutting was required. Avid’s tri-align caliper positioning system makes caliper alignment easy and for the first time ever with Avid brakes, I was able to use the adjustable banjo fitting to properly align the brake line with the frame. This was a very welcomed change from Avid.
The lever adjustment on the Elixir CR’s is completely new for Avid. These two, tool free adjustments control the pad contact point and reach. A small black dial on the lever body brings the reach of the lever inboard and out. Once you have the reach fitted to your hands and preference, you adjust the pad contact point via the red barrel at the end of the lever body. With the pad contact adjustment, you are able to dial in exactly how much throw it takes to fully engage the pads. If you like to have a lot of throw for increased modulation and feel…that is now possible with the Elixirs (the Juicy 7’s, Carbons and Ultimates used a top mounted dial). You can still adjust the pad contact point close to the rotor and get a minimal throw point for full lockup. These two, tool free adjustments also make trailside changes depending on trail conditions extremely easy. It has a tendency to move under vibration if there is resistance against the brake line. To insure that this does not happen, hold the brake line independently of the pad contact adjustment barrel. This will keep the brake line from moving with adjuster.
Now that I had the Avid Elixir CR brakes mounted and adjusted to my liking…it was time to hit the trail and see if they really were everything that Avid claimed they were.