Post by Robb Sutton (198)
Mountain Biking by 198
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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