I know this is sooooo late, but I think it is worth mentioning that, like others, my left lever got smashed in a crash to where I could hardly reach it. After I got home I figured I'd try to bend it back and hope it didn't break off. It came out perfect! - no crack. I don't believe all the component mfr.'s always consider that (or they don't watch it closely enough) - but hardening and tempering of these light metals is very important! Good job Avid! Also, they work very nicely with the Avid discs.
Bike Setup: 2002 Stumpy M4, 100mm Duke SL, Avid Mechanicals
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2005
Strengths: Great levers for the price, easy adjustement, Speed Dial adjustment
Weaknesses: None identified so far
These are the levers that came stock with my bike, and so far, I am very pleased with them. All the adjustments I could really want, excellent feel through the levers themselves. My only gripe is that, for the life of me, I can't get both levers to "feel" similar... My thoughts are that the extra cable housing for the rear brake causes some drag, which leads my rear lever to feel a little tight. Not a real problem per say, and I believe that I should swap out the rear brake cable before judging, so that remains to be seen.
Bottom line, if you are shopping for new levers, don't want to break the bank and want good bang for yor buck, then try these; you won't regret the purchase.
Bike Setup: Specializes Stumpjumper 04, w/ a few modifications
a Weekend Warrior
from Houston, TX
Date Reviewed: August 11, 2004
Strengths: Unbelievable power...much better than XT's. Great modulation, and completely bomb proof (read below).
Weaknesses: None so far.
These things are indestructible. I endo-ed yesterday going about 15mph on a steep downhill while trying to swipe away a wasp that was stinging me on my leg. The Avid SD-5's took the blunt of the crash (other than my left shoulder). The levers looked like I had thrown them into a combine. I took one look at them and just knew I would have to walk my bike back home. To my suprise, they were still fully functional. They now look like crap now (many deep scratches on the lever bodies), but they work like new. They're also easy to modulate thanks to the speed dial knob. The SD-5's coupled with the Avid mech. discs is a match made in heaven. Thanks Avid for producing such a high quality component. You've made a customer for life.
Bike Setup: 2004 Stumpjumper with SD-5's and Avid mechanical disc brakes.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2004
Strengths: VERY powerfull.Nice looks.Speed dial makes the difference
THey work great,not heavy,unbelivable power(along with lx parallel push brakes),they bended the frame under braking so i installed boosters.I had the right one almost totaled on a crash.am gona change to sd7 or ti once i find a dealer On levers avid leads the way
from Coquitlam, BC
Date Reviewed: November 26, 2003
Strengths: Nice, strong look. Excellent adjustment with the Speed Dial. Reach adjustment is really nice as well.
Weaknesses: They are not easy to set up and it takes a while too. But when they are setup correctly, they are too good for words.
These levers are well worth the money paid for them. They are great with V-brakes, but incredible with mech discs. They're great for XC and freeride use. I would suggest these levers to whom ever can appreciate quality and not care about price.
the avids feel and work great! ive only had them for a short while but compared to the XT's they offer easier adjustment (no fiddly little bits to move around) and they totally kick the DX/LX levers. the avids work great on mechanical disc brakes! couldnt ask for more!
Similar Products Used: Shimano DX, SHimano XT, and Magura
Bike Setup: 2004 diamondback vectra, shimano mechanical discs, kujo dh front and rear.
a Cross Country Rider
from HI, USA
Date Reviewed: April 30, 2003
Strengths: These levers work, no doubt about that. Speed dial is a nice feature, allowing for a good range of adjustment.
Weaknesses: Levers are on the heavier side if you are a gram watcher. They dont look as nice as the higher end avid models.
These came stock on my SJ comp. I really have no big complaints about them. They did an excellent job and work no different from the Avid tis. So why did I change them out? Looks mostly. Sd7 and Tis come with the view ports, they also have a nicer finish, and are a lot lighter (if that rocks your boat). But the for the money, the SD5 levers do their job without emptying your wallet. I recommend them!
Bike Setup: Trek 4900 disc, LX drivetrain, Duke Xc
from St Paul
Date Reviewed: October 30, 2002
Strengths: Speed Dial adjustment rivals shimano servo adjustments. Good money saver, "performance" at a discount.
Weaknesses: Durability, bushings went mushy and crunchy in one season. Not very sexy, heavy.
These levers were just begging to be replaced. They're not bad as stock on a bike around a grand, but they're nothing special. They also weigh a lot, and the pivots haven't been smooth since their first season. I opted for the upgrade to the Ultimate for their superior adjustability, SEALED bearing pivots, and sic weight savings.
Bottom line is that the SD5 levers are great budjet grabbers, but anyone serious should be looking to upgrade when the price is right.
Similar Products Used: SD7, XTR, XT, LX, and now SD Ultimate
Bike Setup: 01 Schwinn Homegrown Comp stock except: XT cassette, XTR Chain, SD Ultimate levers (now), '03 Manitou Skareb Super front suspension
a Weekend Warrior
from Cleveland, OH
Date Reviewed: July 28, 2002
Strengths: Slick look, Avid reputation for quality, speed dial function is a cool idea, not too heavy, not too expensive (aftermarket). Almost the best lever ever for the price.
Weaknesses: I'm not going to knock this product, but the trend in general... they are short!
Why have levers gotten so small? I guess it could be that brakes are getting more powerful, but here's my stance... I was a V brake user when V brakes hit the market. I am a heavy dude and need brakes and levers that will lock like a MOFO when I do trials/urban assault. When I got the 1st gen XTR V brakes, I got the Avid SD 2.0 levers. They are huge, but very light and managable. I could grip that puppy so hard with 3 fingers and go apesh!t. But the newer, shorter levers with single digit 3s are not cutting the mustard. Lack of grip is leading to lack of power. Why aren't there varying lengths available? Avid?
Back to the matter, these are great levers for the masses. I like them a lot and may reverse any bad blood when I get my disc brakes. But until then, I'll say this: These are great levers and 99% of the world could benefit from their use. But for big lever fans, look for the old SD 2.0.
Similar Products Used: Avid SD 2.0 red, various other old levers
Bike Setup: K2 Flyin Monkey
a Cross Country Rider
from SF Bay Area, California
Date Reviewed: April 7, 2002
Strengths: Solid, good return spring action, Speed Dial makes all the difference in "customizing" brake setup, good lever feel
Weaknesses: A very small amount of slop in lever (really not noticable once installed and tensioned), could stand to have a bit more range of lever reach adjustment
Really no different in feel of operation than the slightly lighter and more colorful Speed Dial Mag levers I use on another bike. The slight amount of slop in the blade pivot goes away as soon as the brake cable applies some tension. I don't at all miss the view ports of the Speed Dial 7, Mag & TI levers — adjustment is more a tactile function, not visual.
I've got large hands, but have the reach adjustments dialed all the way in. I've recently started prefering my levers closer to the bar than I used to, but find it odd that I've used up the maximum amount of adjustment (same on my Mag levers). Just a heads-up to any small-handed riders — this might be something you want to check out before buying.
Operationally and ergonomically, no difference between these and my Mag levers. Really, I can't ask for much more in the way of features or value in a lever. 5 chilis all around.
a Weekend Warrior
from Somerville, MA
Date Reviewed: March 7, 2002
Strengths: They work, and work well.
Weaknesses: weight, maybe, but it's a commuter bike, and I'm not exactly a lightweight either.
I bought the SD7 brakes for the front because the cheap shimano stuff I yanked off of my trek to build this commuter bike was nasty. Noisier than a poodle undergoing testicular torture, sloppier than an old woman, and weaker than an anorexic newborn. I bought these levers to go with the new brakes. Not that the Deore levers weren't functional, they were, I just figured I'd try something new. I'm glad I did.
I don't mind having weaker rear brakes on the commuter, since there's enough power in these brakes that most of the weight comes off of the rear wheel anyway, and it starts to lock up. (front brakes do 70% of the work on a bicycle, so better to have the stronger brakes on the front)
These levers (and brakes) are better than the XT junk I have on my trail bike. Look on ebay for a full XT brake set with carbon boosters soon: I'm hooked on avid. With just the SD7 front brakes, and these levers, I now have more braking power than front and rear XT brakes on ceramic rims. Thesed levers are much much easier to adjust than the XTs (OR the LX levers, for that matter) and they feel more solid.
5 and 5 for being much better, for much cheaper, than XT
Weaknesses: This is funny....weakness....yeah right...
Excellent lever. First of all, after using this, I'm not sure why'd you'd NOT buy Avid all the time. Second, you wouldn't want to go any lower than this cuzz the Speed Dial nob is da bomb. Adjust your brakes to whatever you want.