Product DescriptionThe Avid Elixir 1 Disc Brakes includes everything you need for a completer setup. These brakes are constructed from durable materials that offer immense stopping power every time. Featuring an ambidextrous mount system, versatility is abundant as you are
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Date Reviewed: November 13, 2014
Strengths: Better than mechanical brakes
Weaknesses: Won't hold a bleed more than 6 month even when they work right
"Self adjusting" means if they dragging or mushy you are stuck with it
Difficult bleed procedure
Lever gets closer to your bars as the pads wear, eventually bumping into your hand -- so then your choice is new pads (which are only 1/2 worn) or bleed to add fluid. Pads front + rear = $50. Shop bleed front + rear = $70 - $90.
Tried bleeding them yourself? $50 avid bleed kit is two cheap 60cc syringes that the hospital gets for 50cents, fittings, piston block, and fluid. Guess what - when you apply the slightest negative pressure to suck air bubbles out of the caliper, the tubing or screw fixture leaks! The only thing crappier then these brakes is the bleed kit!
Duration Product Used: 2 years
Similar Products Used: Shimano xt
Bike Setup: Giant Anthem
Date Reviewed: September 10, 2014
Strengths: Stops the bike easily, no mechanical problems
Weaknesses: Noisy when wet
Date Reviewed: September 8, 2014
Strengths: The clamp fills in that pesky gap between your shifters and grips. You won't look like a buffoon who didn't put brakes on his bike.
Weaknesses: Stopping your bike.
The brake's engagement point only seems to kick in when the lever is around 40% engaged. Then, the "modulation window" from "modulate" to "lockup" is spongy and springy. Even after bleeding/setup with new pads, I have to squeeze the lever almost to the bar to get them to lockup. Remember that brakes on a mountain bike are half of the steering system. To successfully navigate technical features (like a steep, step down switch back) you often have to lock up, or nearly lock up your rear for a fraction of a second. That is very hard with Elixirs.
In small doses, (the 100 miles of training on technical trails I got to do on the bike before the race), this is tolerable, albeit annoying. In a 50 mile, 5200 feet of climbing 90% singletrack race (much of which was rated at blue if not higher), this was a problem. My descending started to suffer as my hands were too fatigued to brake properly, which meant I had to take long technical descents slowly. After forty something miles of this, my knuckles were bruised (and have been swollen for two days). I had not realized how bad these brakes are.
For the money, you can find Magura MT-2s, Shimano SLX or XT, or better and they all do a much better job of stopping a bike. A quick parking lot test on a semi-Pro's F29 with MT-2s yields immediate shock over just how bad the Elixirs are. The mecahnics I talked to said they were all "pure junk". And "a damn shame" as the old BB7 is still an excellent mechanical, offering strengths precisely where the Elixirs fail.
When I ended my life as an XC teenager, I got into DH/FR and learned to use brakes properly. When I started racing road (I still race road) I learned to use brakes as speed control and less for steering. Had I realized how technical this race was, I would have swapped these out prior. Between the brake problems and an unrelated mechanical with my front DR (1x11 is happening as a result), I lost almost 30 minutes in a 4-5 hour race. Unacceptable. For grins, I pulled out my ten year old HT (which needs to be put of its misery for a litany of reasons, lest of which is limited storage space in the city) with its BB5s and noticed IMMEDIATELY that they had none of the problems of the Elixirs (though would not be as good in terms of pure power, plus "too little too late").
Even if you could manage to prevent this hand fatiguing "pull the lever to the bar" thing with Elixirs, you'll also immediately notice the amount of vertical play in the levers' pivots. Ridiculous. Deore brakes don't have that problem.
SRAM/RS/Avid do so many things right and I'm a long time fan (my road and CX bikes are all SRAM/Quarq'd out), but this is mind boggling.
If you only do mild or short technical descents and fatigue won't be an issue, I suppose they're okay. But only use them if your bike came spec'd with them. If you are buying new brakes, get Shimano or Magura. Same price, but a completely different world. These are almost as bad as the Amp research brakes from the late 90s. Avid owes you an apology if you're cursed with these brakes. In 15 years of riding and racing all manner of bikes I have never used a product that was so bad at performing it's chief function.
Duration Product Used: 150 ish miles (nine days, one of which was a BIG day)
Similar Products Used: Hayes HFX-9s, Avid Juicy, Magura MT-2 (since then), BB7s, BB5s, old RS Cable Actuated Amp Research Junk, V-Brakes, feet, trees.
Bike Setup: Niner alloy 29er HT. X7 2x (going 1x soon). Niner wheels, tubeless stans. Fizik, Ergon, Time, blah blah blah. A racing bike that I secretly love beating "trails" guys with on the rough stuff.
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2014
Weaknesses: A properly maintained brake that seizes up in middle of long ride leaving a person stranded, even one time, is beyond worthless
Date Reviewed: November 6, 2013
Strengths: Lever is linear and smooth with great adjustment range
More efficient (less tiring/more brake force) than mechanicals
Versus mechanicals, worth every dollar
No more frozen brake cables during winter rides!
Weaknesses: Time to make the move to drop price and eliminate all but the best mechanicals as the low-end brakes for MTB's.
Due to my weight (400lbs), I previously upgraded to 203mm Shimano ICE rotors at both ends. Still, it wasn't enough to break loose the rear tire on hard pack trails unless I shifted my weight forward. Bottom end mechanicals at the time (BB5), but still...
An unbeatable deal added a set of Elixir 1's to my component list. Culture shock again! Even these "low end" hydraulics are heads and tails better than typical mechanicals. The level pull is smooth, linear, and predictable, period. It takes a lot less lever input for braking force, so fingers don't tire out early and max force is significantly increased. The piston seal pulls the piston back off the rotor for silent operation (when off the levers). An adjustment screw allows a wide range for setting the position of the levers.
These pads are a little grabby with Shimano's Icetech rotors. Rotors with big stinkin' holes in the braking surface need long pads to cut back on vibration. The rotors chattered and could be felt in the bar and seat with the round BB5 pads. The longer Elixr 1 pads smoothed things out enough to bring in the confidence, but a real hard jam will still induce some chatter and vibration felt in the bar. This is with a 400lb rider... might not be noticeable for a 200lb rider. For me (anyway), I think the only solution for using these rotors is to have long pads under dual pistons.
I rate the value at four chili's because I think they should drop to about $100-120 and replace high end mechanicals. High end mechs should be the only mechs availlable, and should be the bottom-barrel brakes available for MTB.
Price Paid: $700.00
Bike Setup: 2010 Cannodale F5
Deore XT Crank
Elixir 1 Hydraulics
Xpedo Faceoff Pedals
Geax Roadster/Geax Evolution/Kenda Nevegal
Soon: Mavix EX729 on Saint M820's
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2013
Strengths: - Cheap
- Looks good
Weaknesses: - Squeaky
- Low performance
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2013
Strengths: they stop you they are good but not great
Weaknesses: not build for downhill useless to bleed my avid bleed kit keeped pulling in air they needed bleeding in 2 months hs1 rotors heat up very fast sometimes losing all power
Duration Product Used: 3 month
Price Paid: $86.00
Purchased At: ebay
Bike Setup: 2005 specialized bighit with boxxer 05 fox vanaila sram x7 avid elxir 1 with sun rim double wide wheelset 26 / 24
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2013
Strengths: They stop you hard, handles are fine
Weaknesses: Make a horrible gobble noise. Have almost no modulation. Air in rear line from factory
Date Reviewed: July 18, 2013
Strengths: They look pretty clean. Stiff construction on the lever so it modulates pretty well. I also find that in this brake the lack of features is a strength, there is not much that can go wrong. Reach adjustment
Bike Setup: Iron Horse MKIII, SR Suntour Epicon X1 fork 140mm, SR Suntour Durolux rear shock; these are rad.
Deore Shadow+ 1x10. Alloy post, bars, stem. I actually started riding this more than my 29er because it's that much fun.
Date Reviewed: June 23, 2013
Weaknesses: TURKEY WARBLE, resonant vibrations allowed to propagate due to caliper design/weight, increases in intensity and can make it impossible to hold on to bike.
Similar Products Used: Most every other disc brake (and various avid hydros are the only ones I've had this problem with)
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2013
Strengths: none at all
Weaknesses: worked for 1 week then it was like a sponge had the lbs bleed them 5 times no fix. The lbs called avid and they send a set of Avid Elixir 3 for no money.
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2013
Strengths: Great stopping power and light considering the price.
Weaknesses: Was squeeky initially but broke in well eventually.
Date Reviewed: March 10, 2013
Strengths: Great Modulation. Excellent lever feel with the Taperbore Technology. Strong initial bite with organic, top loading pads. Very light! Sleek lever design with a beefy caliper ( awesome!) and the white one tops the black colored one.
Weaknesses: Lever feels a bit cheap and plastic.. although it is aluminum. Had to bleed after a week of riding.. but I love to service bikes so this was no problem. Reach adjust is tooled.. and you have to remove the lever to adjust the reach. Otherwise great performance!
Date Reviewed: December 12, 2012
Strengths: Excellent modulation with 160mm rotors. I liked them better than elixir 5's with 180mm rotors on a trek fuel ex 8 because it felt too grabby but that was probably just because I am so light and the increase in rotor size. Both handle heat very well as I have cooked them quite a few times on some 15minute downhill stretches. There was no noticeable fade and one finger breaking the whole time make them a joy to use.
Weaknesses: The rear immediately developed the notorious turkey gobble screach that could be felt throughout the entire bike, and if I weighed 200 plus pounds with gear I might want 180mm rotors for long, brake heavy descents. Trek should put shimano's on their bikes unless they can sort this kind of stuff out better. If it weren't for the nasty noise and vibrations they put out they would get five chili's both no problem.
What's interesting is that this only happens on avid hydro's. I worked at a bike rental shop and we had a dozen bikes with the avid bb5's and the same disc and they never developed a problem like this, and these brakes go through hell on these electric bikes. Clearly avid has a problem in the manufacturing process that the hydro's are bringing out because loads of people have the same problem. However, it is more likely that your set will be fine and i wouldn't be reviewing if I didn't have the problem. Compared to shimano deore and the lower level shimano hydro's these are a little better in everyway from what i can tell and I would still reccommend the elixir 1's despite what i just said. Its has a proper brake feel that put a smile on my face when I first used them. Also set up the adjust the reach adjust because it took me two months to figure out it out and I was wondering why I had to pull the levers so far in. Kind of a dumb blonde moment.
Duration Product Used: Four months
Purchased At: Brown's Bikes
Similar Products Used: Avid elixir 5 and shimano M395
Bike Setup: 2013 trek 4900 stock except fox float 32 100mm ctd evolution and shimano saint pedals.
Date Reviewed: October 25, 2012
Strengths: Cheap, Great modulation/feel, Loads of stopping power, Light, Two piston caliper, Sleek look, low maintenance, easy to change pads, rotor sizes available from 140 to 200mm.
Weaknesses: You have to take the handlebar grips off to take off the brake lever, the brake handle may be a bit short for some riders.
Purchased At: Ebay
Similar Products Used: Avid juicy 7, Avid elixir R.
|Reviews 1 - 15 (18 Reviews Total)||| Next 15|
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Related Elixir 1 Forum Posts
When riding the other day, and some how I put a crease in the rear hydraulic brake line. I was thinking of having the brake line replaced. I can buy the avid hydraulic line kit for elixir 1 on amazon.com for about 28 bucks, and have my lbs install it. I also called my lbs inquiring about the rear ... Read More »
New bike. Only ridden a few times but not in the last 2 months. The rear brake lever is very stiff. Meaning, it only takes a couple of mm to engage the brakes. There is no play in the lever before it engages. Actually the pad rubs the rotors a little. Needless to say it locks up the brakes quickly ... Read More »
Hey everyone, I've got a pair of Elixir 1's on my Trek Stache, and they're a bit grabby. Or maybe it'd be more accurate to say that the modulation is more like a switch; there's very little pull between no application of brake, and full application. I've had Juicy 3's in the past, and while ... Read More »
I am a newbie when it comes to hydraulic disc brakes, so please have patients. How hard is it to bleed Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes? My bike is currently at a LBS, which is taking longer than expected to have the brakes bled. Was thinking of going to get my bike and bleeding them myself. ... Read More »
I have a set of Elixir 1 hydro Disc Brakes on my MC Fury. About every couple of months, I have to take them to the LBS to get the adjusted, because the pads get tight on the rotors preventing the wheels from spinning freely. I have never had them bled. they still have the dot 4 brake fluid in the ... Read More »