Avid Single Digit 3 Brake System

2.83/5 (42 Reviews)
Weight : 191 grams


Product Description

Forged Arms


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Reviews 1 - 15 (42 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tex5491 a Weekend Warrior from Austin, TX

Date Reviewed: November 11, 2009

Strengths:    When tuned breaks bit very good, works very good even in wet conditions

Weaknesses:    only slowed me down on steep decents.

Bottom Line:   
I weigh 260lbs and ive been to all the major trails in austin and have been through a frame already. Gary Fisher said that the Austin area has more warranty clames that any where else in the contry these brakes have been through it and work. yes i know that there are better brakes out there (I'm currently going Hydro) but these are cheap and get the job done five Chilis for value couse ther cheap and five chilis for reliability.

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Favorite Trail:   Green belt 360 to beyond hill of life

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   OEM

Similar Products Used:   hand full of other brakes some "V" some disc.

Bike Setup:   Gary Fisher warranty fram deore components ect...

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Latias93 a Cross Country Rider from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Date Reviewed: February 21, 2009

Strengths:    Durable, good modulation.

Weaknesses:    May misalign occasionally.

Bottom Line:   
I've been using this v-brakes since I was 9 and now I am turning 16, which makes it almost 7 years. I have been riding cross country frequently and almost every day. The modulation are very good for the price, and the brake pads supplied with it lasted me 6 years. I'm converting to hydraulic brakes soon though, but I'll still keep my Avid Single Digit 3.

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Favorite Trail:   Bukit Kiara

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $18.00

Purchased At:   BikePro

Bike Setup:   Giant XtC Team, Marzocchi Bomber, Avid Single Digit 3

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by jack_demo a Cross Country Rider from UK

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2008

Strengths:    strong stopping power, cheap, reliable.

Weaknesses:    none really.

Bottom Line:   
buy them if you're after a good quality set of brakes at a good price, but if you're an enthusiastic and skillful rider buy something a bit better.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $15.00

Purchased At:   birkenhead cycles

Similar Products Used:   cheapo crap shimano things, scott comps

Bike Setup:   marin pioneer trail 08, mainly stock apart from brakes and tyres (DMR motoR's)

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Harry Hall a Cross Country Rider from England

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2006

Strengths:    Good value for money, decent XC stopping power

Weaknesses:    Dodgy screws, occasional problems with alignment

Bottom Line:   
ne of the adjuster screws gave out on the front brake after about 6 months of riding, and I couldn't get another screw so in the end I bought some Single Digit 5's, which are the same, just a bbit better. Even so, I partly blame myself for the screw, as I adjusted it using a multitool philips screwdriver, not a proper one.

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Favorite Trail:   Quantocks

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   15.00

Similar Products Used:   Avid SD5, Shimano XT

Bike Setup:   2006 Specialized Rockhopper, stock (mostly)

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Paul a Cross Country Rider from Denver

Date Reviewed: August 27, 2006

Strengths:    Seemed to work ok for first few months of riding. Stopping was ok in most situations.

Weaknesses:    After part of the first season their power began to wear out and I was clenching harder and harder to get the bike to stop. Now the spit brake pad material all over the rims and my hands hurt after only short downhills. Just ordered some Avid SD 7s that I am sure will be a big improvement over these. Sheesh, call me a fool for waiting so long.

Bottom Line:   
If you are shopping for V-brakes then look beyond these. For $15 to $20 more per brake you can get huge performance improvements. If they come on a new bike then swap them out as soon as you come accross another $75 or $100 for some better Avids or Shimano.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Chimney Gulch to Apex to Sluicebox

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   on new bike

Similar Products Used:   Other older Avid V-brakes that seemed to work better on my old bike.

Bike Setup:   Stumpjumper hardtail with Fox Float, Thudbuster, Candy SL, soon-to-be new brakes.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by el ray from the midwest

Date Reviewed: March 1, 2006

Strengths:    Mega strong stopping power like all Avids. Immeditate grab.

Weaknesses:    Not as much modulation as weaker brakes (they're simply so strong they often lock up immediately) I try not to ever use the back for this reason. They go out of alignment sometimes (I can't figure this out)

Bottom Line:   
I don't see what everyone's problem is with these brakes. For cheap rim brakes they are absolutely unmatched. They even compete with SD-7's in my opinion. With the exception of the odd alignment issues, the actual performance of these brakes is among the best I've ever used (and I'm a disc brake user). They simply STOP.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   dozens


Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Niklaus Hartmann a Weekend Warrior from Cochabamba, Bolivia

Date Reviewed: March 25, 2005

Strengths:    Simplistic design, above average braking power in its price range.

Weaknesses:    I don't know maybe its just me but I nearly end up in a mental institution everytime I take them apart and try to adjust again. Once you setup the brakes correctly they work very well, but the setup takes me forever... as I mentioned earlier maybe its just me...

Bottom Line:   
If you're not planning on doing anything on the Xtreme side these will cut it... If you set them up correctly they work very well...

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Escalarani, Cochabamba

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   Stock on bike

Similar Products Used:   Shimano Deore and XT's

Bike Setup:   Scwinn Mesa SL '03, RD: Deore, FD: XT, Michelin X-Sport Tires (I highly recommend these)... blah blah blah...

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Matt a Cross Country Rider from Omaha

Date Reviewed: January 13, 2005

Strengths:    Easy To install, Light action, Cheap

Weaknesses:    HAvnt had um long enough to find one. But don't worry I will Everything has flaws.

Bottom Line:   
Well this is just preliminary Findings but here we go. My friend had them on an 02 Giant NRS3 and they worked fine for him. I now have them on my bike. They were so simple to adjust and center. I am very pleased. They have a very good amount of stopping power if you arn't stupid. They are good for light riding not racing. Ive been round the block a few times and I trust pretty much anything avid puts out. On the trail these work, around campus they work, in the snow...well I'd much rather have discs for that but lets just forget about that. Bottom Line, they work plain and simple.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Whateva

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $10.00

Purchased At:   Buddy

Similar Products Used:   Just the stock brakes that came w/the bike.

Bike Setup:   Raleigh M60

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Joe a Cross Country Rider from canada

Date Reviewed: September 16, 2004

Strengths:    Well, I've ridden these for 7 years. The ones I have don't even have the little adjuster screws. They might even be SD 1s! My front pair finally died. Guess I didn't get all the salt out from winter riding before going away for 6 months. Came back to seized brakes. No problem, disasemble, clean, regrease, just like the last 6 years. Well, this time the spring part that's pressure fitted to the bushing came off, leaving the bushing inside. "Well s..t". Just can't get it out. These brakes have,until now (due to neglect), held up wonderfully. The front still has the ORIGINAL PADS, and I've done A SICK amount of riding. I even did couriering on this bike for a year (90+km/day). I didn't think I'd ever replace these. Yes, they could have better braking power and better modulation. But they're so simple and so easy to setup, and if you know how to ride, scrub speed on terrain, use arms and leg movement, then you don't need rediculous destroy the trail stopping power.

Weaknesses:    If you let them sit with salt for 6 months, the bushings will seize. More power would be safer in the wet. More modulation would be sweet (I miss my cantis).

Bottom Line:   
These brakes have lasted for over 7 years (even the pads!), the rear brakes are still going. I am very very demanding on my bike, ride it all year in very cruddy winter conditions (ottawa!), ride it A LOT, sometimes haul a heavy cargo trailer, love technical single track. These brakes have served me well, may they rest in peace. Next brakes I think will be Avid 7s. Anyone looking for long lasting, reliable, easy to adjust, can take abuse brakes, Avid has you covered.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   with bike

Similar Products Used:   xt V, lots of cantis, SRAM 9

Bike Setup:   Thin Blue Line '97 steel hard tail, fully rigid, 8spd xt shifter/levers, avid 1s(?), lx rear d, xt 8 cogset, stx front, ugly green wildgrippers, raceface chainrings, sugino cranks, raceface lowrise bar, blue oury grips, specialized balls happy saddle -it's a frankenbike!

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Patrice Monroe a Cross Country Rider from Ljubljana, Slovenia

Date Reviewed: August 26, 2004

Strengths:    Well... maybe, it is accuracy of braking, but nothing is really special in this brake. It is just to weak.

Weaknesses:    lack of braking power. I cannot do endo even with my

Bottom Line:   
Good for descents up to 15%. Inefficient as a MTB brake, but good enough for city biker. Might serve good for lighter bikers - my weight is over 90kg + 10 kg for a bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   up to 15% on ascent, up to 50% on descent with some obstacles such as roots, stones, no 50 cm drops

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   came with bike setup

Similar Products Used:   brakes on Felt FS-250. Did the same job much better.

Bike Setup:   Avid SD3, deore brake levers.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Justin a Cross Country Rider from Christchurch

Date Reviewed: April 28, 2004

Strengths:    Do the job they were designed to do if you bother to set them up properly
Cheap enough for Avid
Look good in black


Weaknesses:    Require a little bit of patience to set up (but nothing a monkey couldn't do)

Bottom Line:   
You get what you pay for. These aren't the strongest stoppers on the planet, but they work well if you take the time to install and set them up properly. I laugh when I read complaints that they don't centre properly after you take your wheel out etc. Even the best V brakes won't centre if you are too cheap or stupid to do some basic bike maintenance. You need to grease the bosses and get the centering / tension adjustment screws adjusted properly. It also helps if you cut the cable to the appropriate length so that it doesn't induce a sideload.

Don't forget that these things are designed for your average XC rider doing average XC trails, and they do fine in that environment. If you ride lots of steep stuff or in the wet and mud, do yourself a favour and buy some discs. I run these on my singlespeed and they work great zipping about the trails in the forrest. I run '04 XT discs on my trailbike because they work great for that kind of riding. Only a Bozo would expect these things to be flawless at this price-point. If you want super-dupa brakes, get out your wallet and go buy some top-end models from Hope, Avid, or Shimano. Otherwise get on and enjoy the ride.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Faff'n round the forrest

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $25.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   SD7's, SD Mag

Bike Setup:   Kona Unit Singlespeed

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Matt Brennan a Cross Country Rider from T.O.,Canada

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2004

Strengths:    * They work well
* Easy to adjust
* Stop bike


Weaknesses:    * None (maybe not cool enough for some)

Bottom Line:   
Most people dont need to spend more. These work well on most everything, except maybe muddy downhills. Great value. Simple to adjust.

Or pay twice as much for sd-7 and get no discernible benefits. Probably the last thing I will replace on my bike, unless they break.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   toxic forest

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   cantilevers
SD-7


Bike Setup:   03 lava dome, raceface prodigy crank, marz Mx comp, Sun subIV w/ xtr hubs, xt drivetrain.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by heine a Racer from St.L,MO,USA

Date Reviewed: April 14, 2004

Strengths:    Cheap. Effective.

Weaknesses:    Arms flex under heavy loads making the stopping power of the brakes less predictable and just plain less. stock pads will wear quickly and changing the pads does help performance a bit. I'm finding that I'd like more tire clearance.

Bottom Line:   
There are two mentalities for creating a good component: Create a expensive high quality piece to stand against all or create a cheap effective piece that can be easily replaced. I used these brakes on my single speed cause it takes a lot of abuse and I expect things break. When they break, I don't want to shell out $$$ to fix them again. This brake works great that. So far, I've bent one arm (polo mallet), but it bent back and it's been fine. Would I cringe if a polo mallet hit an expensive brake-- yes, cause it probably break and then I'm left with the same problem as the cheap brake. 5 chilis for value. These are great brakes for the money. 3 chilis for overall rating: there not high performance brakes but are good enough for most occaisions.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Everywhere

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Avid disc mechanicals, Avid 10, Tektro, various no-names.

Bike Setup:   Single speed full rigid

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Sam from Bend OR

Date Reviewed: April 9, 2004

Bottom Line:   
The Avid line of V-brakes are very similiar - whether they be the 3, 5, or 7. I improved the stopping power by 1) getting good brake levers. I switched to the Avid 7s. And 2)getting good brake pads. I put on the top of the line Avid pads with metal support. The benefit of the Avid 7 over the 5s, and the 5s over the 3s is weight. They all use the same leverage, materials, and pivot points.

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Favorite Trail:   Flagline

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   Avid 2.0, Avid 7.0, Hayes Disk

Bike Setup:   Klein Palomino V

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Benn Jamieson a Cross Country Rider from Brighton

Date Reviewed: February 10, 2004

Strengths:    They're in black.

Weaknesses:    Brake pads wear out too quickly. Fiddly to align. Too weak. Rusts!

Bottom Line:   
Dont buy them unless you only trundle around the park. Not good for XC as they have limited stopping power and you really have to squeeze the brake to get it to grip the wheel.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Ditchling Beacon to Buckland Bank

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $40.00

Purchased At:   EBay

Similar Products Used:   Stock cantilevers on me Cannondale.

Bike Setup:   Cannondale with SRAM and Raceface

Reviews 1 - 15 (42 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Single Digit 3 replacement pads?

Wondering what pads you guys would consider when replacing the stock units in the Single Digit 3 brakes? The stock units are pretty good; low noise, good modulation and low rim wear... But not exceedingly strong stopping power. I can get some older XTR pads for a very good price, but I've heard t ... Read More »

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