As others have reported, these brakes squeal like a pig in heat. I bought a new bike a few months ago and after riding a couple hundred miles and working with the bike shop, little to no improvement. We tried sanding the brake pads--helped for about 1 minutes of braking and then the squeal returned. We then tried replacing the brakes with brand new ones under warranty but that didn't help. Swiss Organic pads helped reduce the screaming but they still squealed quite loudly. When I ride with my friends, their brakes are quiet. One friend has Shimano XT disc brakes and loves them. I'm very disappointed with these brakes as I spent $4000 for a very nice mountain bike--2012 Scott Spark Pro 29er.
Strengths: Stopping power, easy pad replacement, lightweight, cool carbon levers.
Weaknesses: Loud, noisy and vibrate intolerably.
After using v-brakes all my life, I was excited to get out on my new bike with disc brakes. Out of the box, the front brake needed to be bled. Then came time to ride...I was dissapointed from the start. The rear brake is so loud and vibrates so much that my hands, feet and butt vibrated through the grips, pedals and seat. I tended to use the front brake more than I would like to or should. That could end in disaster. I prefer my old v-brakes over my Elixir 9s by far.
First I tried cleaning the pads and rotor with brake parts cleaner which did nothing. Then I tried sanding the pads and bedding them in again and that didn't work. I also installed organic brake pads, and bedded them in. They were better, but still intolerable. I called Sram, and they offered no solution. They said it may be the rotor, pads or they need bedding-in. Really? What else is there? They didn't offer new pads or rotors. I thought that they sent out a tech bulletin suggesting a new rotor. That should be under warranty. http://www.bikerumor.com/2010/02/15/sram-issues-technical-bulletin-regarding-elixir-disc-brake-issues/
Next, I'll take it to a bike shop.
I would definitely not recommend these brakes to anyone. If I can't resolve the problem, I may just buy some new brakes like the Shimano XTs. I don't want to spend more money on my bike, but if I have to to have a peaceful ride through the woods, I will.
Weaknesses: Where do we start...
Loud, hard to bleed, vibration when braking, everyone has problems with them.
These came on a new bike I purchased and I was pumped; I had 3 sets of avid brakes in the past (BB7s which were great, Codes, and Juicy Carbon). I did the break-in process or these and they seemed to be ready to go. When I started to do some real riding, they had a lot of noise and vibration. I adjusted, cleaned, and bedded them back in to make sure everything was good. They did the same thing. I kept up the extra maintenance to give these brakes a chance, but they never came around.
They are just flat out junk. I have upgraded to some Hope Tech Evos and I am much happier. I have seen a lot of people have the same problems and go to XTs mostly. At least it wasnt just me.
Since these brakes are nothing more than scrap metal, I gave them 1 chili. Since you are paying good money for scrap metal, I gave the value 1 chili also. I can't believe Avid didnt recall the entire Elixir line in order to save themselves a couple of return customers.
Weaknesses: Poor intructions - extremely difficult to bleed
This is a follow up to my prior review. I discovered though trial and error a methid that seems to work for bleeding these brakes:
1.) Do not use the spacer as avid instructs. Simply leave the brake pads in place and remove the caliper from the rotor during bleeding.
2.) Orient the brake lever port to a point as high as possible. Detach from your handle bars as needed to achieve this orientation.
3.) Open both adusters to thier maximum open positions (loose and in the direction of the arrow).
4.) Completing the caliper bleed as per the avid intructions but keep the pads in and the caliper off the rotor.
5.) Complete the lever bleed as per avid intructions but open and cloise the ajuster s repeatedly. Also retrtac lever repeatedly. Move the lever aouns to move bubbles up to the port. Continue these actions until no more bubbles appear as you push the lever syringe in and out. COntinue this until the lever action is firm to tight and the pads are nearly or completely closed
6. Use the forked portion of the spacer to open the brake pad spacing up wide enough to fit back on the rotor. If the pasd seperate easily or are not closed almost completele return to step 5.
I hope this works for you. I became so furstrtated with these brakes that I orders some Shimano XTRs are worte some scathing reviews on the internet. Please post any further tips you find or better suggestions if you discover them so others can save the 20-30 hours I spent screwing around with these.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 15, 2012
Strengths: Light weight
Weaknesses: Too much free play to be of any value.
After multiple attempts tp bleed these including attempts (and charges) by my LBS I finally gave up and bought Shimano. No mattter what you do (including bleeding without a spacer or pads) you can not eliminate the 1 inch of free play in the levers. The adjusters help but do not solve the problem. You can ride holding the levers half engaged but this gets old very fast. These things are bascially junk. I will never buy another Avid product.
Strengths: Good modulation and stopping power. Good ergonomics.
Weaknesses: Way too much free stroke.
I've got myself a 2012 pair of X9 brakes to upgrade the Elixir R which came stock on the 2010 Enduro SL. I really liked the brakes. Adequate power and modulation, good ergonomics. The only weakness I've found was the lack of adjustability. If I got the reach were I wanted, contact point would be too far and inversely, if contact point was as I wanted, reach would be too close.
So the new X9 seemed a good upgrade. Unfortunatly it is not so. Free play is way too much. Out of the box the lever as an huge amount of dead movement... and the contact point dial is useless, because winding it out will only increase free play.
To achieve the feel I want I guess I'll have to follow the guidelines as depicted on another review. That is, "creative" bleeding.
if you have an old set of Elixirs and you find it OK, keep it.
If you really want to upgrade, search somewhere else.
Similar Products Used: Avid Elixir R
Bike Setup: Stock 2010 Specialized Enduro
a All Mountain Rider
from Seattle, WA
Date Reviewed: April 5, 2012
Strengths: Easy installation, simple to set up so they don't rub. Looks great, and plenty of adjustment.
Weaknesses: Hosings were much too long, and stock they are WAY too soft and need to be bled.
I bought these to replace the 2005 Juicy 5's I've had on my Enduro since I got it. Installation was simple, though the hydraulic cables were way too long, especially the rear brake. Not a big deal as I had the Avid bleed and cable shortening kit for my Juicy's anyway (works fine with the Elixirs), so making them the right length was no big deal.
However the brakes were way too soft right out of the box (yes, before shortening the cables), even with the pad contact adjusted all the way in. I had to have the lever reach almost all the way out to keep from having the brake levers hit the bars before they started working. This was the exact opposite of how I wanted them to be, I got the Elixir 9's to have the lever closer to the bars, not further away. They basically felt like weaker and less dialed-in versions of the brakes I had been using for the last 7 years that were extremely beat up.
I decided to rebleed the brakes even though they were new, and ultimately had to do it three times before the brakes worked as expected.
The main issue is that Avid recommends setting the pad adjuster all the way IN when bleeding the brakes, and it's inevitable that a couple drops of fluid will come out of the reservoir or caliper when you remove the syringes, no matter how fast you are. These brakes are VERY sensitive to the amount of fluid in the system, so these couple of drops mean that even done properly, there will still be too much slack in the lever once you're done. Literally an inch to 1.25 inches where nothing happens.
The third time I bled these brakes, I ended up dialing the contact OUT all the way, and using a brake pad spacer I made out of cardboard that was half the thickness of the included one in the bleed kit. That way, even though I lost a few drops of fluid when removing the syringes, the pads were still reasonably close to the rotors when I was done and had the lever reach where I wanted it.
FINALLY, these brakes are responding like I expected for something that costs this much. I can have the levers set close to the bars (within an inch), and I can go from no engagement to full stoppage with less than a half inch of lever travel. All without the pads rubbing the rotors normally at all. Modulation is incredible, and I can lock up both brakes with one finger if I want (and I don't). The carbon levers are comfortable, and the response over all is exactly like I expected initially from a high end brake like this. Once the pads were broken in on some long downhills, I was amazed at how well these brakes worked and responded to the slightest input.
I can't imagine someone with no experience bleeding brakes trying to install these though, it would be a nightmare. Despite what I read about Avid redoing their factory bleed machinery, they still need to improve on this. Also, while my front brake is dead quiet, the back do have the dreaded turkey wobble noise still when it gets wet. I plan on replacing the pads with organics soon, as this solved the issue for me when I had the same issue with my Juicy's 7 years ago.
Super happy with these brakes now, I just wish it wouldn't have taken me a while weekend to get them to where they should have been fresh out of the box.
Bike Setup: Specialized Enduro Elite set up for all-mountain and light freeriding.
a Cross Country Rider
from cherry hill, nj, usa
Date Reviewed: March 7, 2012
Strengths: When pads contact the rotor the modulation is good, it allows for a braking range before locking up. Overall a nice progressive braking feel once the pads hit the rotor.
Weaknesses: Where do I begin. WAY too much "dead zone" in the lever stroke before pads begin to bite the rotor. While you would think this could be rectified with the pad contact adjuster it simply isn't the case. The contact pad adjustment is limited meaning you only get a certain amount of clicks in and it stops.
SRAM's so-called new generation Elixir is a huge disappointment. The previous Elixir CR was a better performing brake. Like the CRs before it the Elixir 9s offer reach and contact pad adjustment which is great. Unfortunately if you dial the lever reach in the pads don't contact the rotor until the lever is close to the bar, giving you that wonderful sensation that you don't have brakes. The first 50% of the lever stroke is useless. You would think you could remedy this by dialing in the pad contact to be closer to the rotor BUT you come to learn the pad contact adjustment is limited. So you're forced to run the lever further out than the previous generation Elixirs. Note to SRAM, don't offer a lever adjustment if it renders the brakes ineffective. Do yourself a favor and find some previous generation Elixirs (CR, 5, whatever), they're cheaper and perform better. SRAM needs to do some follow up work on the new Elixir.
Bike Setup: 2012 Fatback upgraded build. I commute all year round. In two months this bike has not seen pavement, water or dirt. Just to cold.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 2, 2012
Strengths: Good stopping power, good modulation and if dial perfectly will definitely throw you off the bars. surprisingly the bleed manual is easy. hardly find brakes that bleed successfully the first time.
Weaknesses: the stock HS1 rotor. squeak like pig when wet or dry. tried most of the semis and organic yet nothing seems to work.
the brakes work perfectly. good improvement to the old taperbore tech. advice: if you get one, go for the older rotor. stock rotor suck
Strengths: lightweight, strong,and compact system. a lot of adjustment, including self centering. easy, painless pad removal. they slow you down not skid you to a stop. it takes 2 fingers for that...
Weaknesses: the system screams when there wet. even with organic pads. barrel adjuster for the lever reach is questionable in its quality. had a slight issue with is but nothing that cost me money to fix or much time.
besides the use of different materials, its XX technology without the price tag