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So I bought a used mountain bike off Craigslist, it has been great so far but the front hydraulic disc brake is getting "loose" after every ride. The brake is an Elixir 5 system, and the issue is that over short periods of time I have to pull on the brake lever farther and farther to produce the same stopping power. I have adjusted the screw right next to the brake lever (which i assume adjusts the piston position?) a few times to make the brake engage earlier but it keeps creeping back after every ride.

I have inspected the brake pads and they look fine. My thought would be maybe a fluid leak? However, I do not see any signs of leakage around the cables/caliper. I don't really know how to proceed so any thoughts are greatly appreciated. I prefer to do any labor myself, within reason. Thanks!
 

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The brake is an Elixir 5 system
well there's your problem. seriously, those brakes are the worst hydraulic brakes ever made. you could just have some air in the line, and chances are you do, or they could just be worn out. they leak, the pistons freeze, the levers are ****. i hate every inch of those systems.

do yourself a huge favor and scrap them now before you throw a bunch of money at them trying to fix a problem that can't be fixed. been there, done that.

if your convinced that they're ok, and you want to have a go at getting them to work right, as many have before, you can take it to a LBS for a bleed. you can't do it yourself without the right tools, and it doesn't sound like you have a couple hydraulic syringes for avid brakes or DOT fluid.

if you decide to do the right thing and replace them, go HERE and get yourself some Shimano's. great brakes, trouble free, HUGE improvement.

you can thank me later. ;)
 

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Cycologist
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I'm with *OneSpeed*. My Elixirs had a piston lock-up. Tried everything to get it to retract. Decided to spend the money on new Shimano SLXes rather than paying someone to fix the Elixir. No regrets, the Shimano are much quieter and have a better feel and I've done zero to them once I installed them.
 

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For as much as everyone is hating on the Elixirs, and I won't argue with them in a general sense, OP's brakes are exhibiting symptoms of needing a bleed, which is something any hydraulic brake needs occasionally (some more than others).

Now, when it comes down to it, I agree with everyone else that since the Elixir brakes are so poor, that it's better to replace them. While bleeding is super cheap if you can DIY it, Avids of any stripe are not the best brake to bleed if you've never bled a bike's hydraulic disc brake system before. Avid/SRAM hydros have a complicated and finicky bleed process that even mechanics have trouble with. If you would pay a mechanic to do it, you're better off taking that money and putting it towards some Shimano hydraulics.

It's most likely that the screw right next to the lever is the lever reach adjustment. It has nothing to do with the pistons, and simply moves the lever so you can put it in the ideal spot for your finger.

Other, fancier brakes may give you other adjustments. But one adjustment common to just about any brake should be a reach adjustment.
 

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ACHOO
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well there's your problem. seriously, those brakes are the worst hydraulic brakes ever made. you could just have some air in the line, and chances are you do, or they could just be worn out. they leak, the pistons freeze, the levers are ****. i hate every inch of those systems.

...
Tell us what you really think. :)
 

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Tell us what you really think. :)
i think Avid Brakes slogan should be: Avid brakes, the reason people throw hammers across their garage. :thumbsup:
 

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i think Avid Brakes slogan should be: Avid brakes, the reason people throw hammers across their garage. :thumbsup:
I think they missed an "o" out of Avid, they should read "Avoid".

As above, give them a bleed if you feel that may be a quick fix, but look at the SLX brakes, or even the newer Deores if you can live without tooled reach adjust.
 

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It's funny, we used to endure the PITA hassle and all the idiosyncrasies of bleeding Avids. Then we discovered Shimano's gems. I do lots of service for lots of fellow riders needing the assist. Even though I have a real nice bleed kit and have tons of experience wrestling with the POS's, I won't even consider touching Avids for anybody. However, I regularly place orders through Bike-Discount.de for complete sets of XT's and get great pleasure peeling off the Avids and ****-canning every piece in the waste bin. It's very satisfying after all those previous bleed jobs, caliper rebuilds, and trailside turkey-warbling! :lol:
 

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Bin the Avids, some idiot on eBay will buy them, buy a set of Shimanos. Any Shimanos! Deore for the best balance of cost and performance but they all work, and keep working.
 

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So much Elixir hate in this thread. Love it! I worked in a shop that sold a lot of bikes with Elixirs and it was a constant, endless headache for use to bleed every customers' new brakes every other week. Shimano, Hope, or go mechanical.
 

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I worked in a shop that sold a lot of bikes with Elixirs and it was a constant, endless headache for us...
I remember a time when Avid brakes really seemed to take off and were fitted to a lot of new bikes. I assumed they were good brakes.

Someone told me years latter that the reason they were popular with manufacturers was the dome-washers they incorporated into their mounting brackets. The washers let you laterally tilt the calliper and compensate for out of true frames and brake bosses. I don't know if that's true or not, it's just what I heard.

Ironically, Avid mechanical disk brakes seem totally reliable and universally popular!
 

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Bikesexual
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well there's your problem. seriously, those brakes are the worst hydraulic brakes ever made. you could just have some air in the line, and chances are you do, or they could just be worn out. they leak, the pistons freeze, the levers are ****. i hate every inch of those systems.

do yourself a huge favor and scrap them now before you throw a bunch of money at them trying to fix a problem that can't be fixed. been there, done that.

if your convinced that they're ok, and you want to have a go at getting them to work right, as many have before, you can take it to a LBS for a bleed. you can't do it yourself without the right tools, and it doesn't sound like you have a couple hydraulic syringes for avid brakes or DOT fluid.

if you decide to do the right thing and replace them, go HERE and get yourself some Shimano's. great brakes, trouble free, HUGE improvement.

you can thank me later. ;)
I might Thank you now :) - I was going to get BB7's but it seems this is a much better deal and I don't have to mess with e-bay which gives me the jitters - any suggestions on rotors? 160mm 6bolt - Thanks!
 

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good choice. Shimano XT Ice teck rotors. they're not weight weenie, but they're rock solid and affordable. they are kinda the gold standard for rotors IMO. check out ratings at Jenson or Chain Reaction if you want other reviews.

just a thought: not sure how hard of riding you do but have you considered a 180mm rotor in front? it's a pretty standard setup (180f/160r) and will give you slightly better braking and cooling. its nearly (or is) the same price and all you need is a new $8 adapter.
 

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Only one thing to add and it says everything you need to know

Avids reputation is so bad, that Sram dumped the name for the Guides.
 

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Bikesexual
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good choice. Shimano XT Ice teck rotors. they're not weight weenie, but they're rock solid and affordable. they are kinda the gold standard for rotors IMO. check out ratings at Jenson or Chain Reaction if you want other reviews.

just a thought: not sure how hard of riding you do but have you considered a 180mm rotor in front? it's a pretty standard setup (180f/160r) and will give you slightly better braking and cooling. its nearly (or is) the same price and all you need is a new $8 adapter.
Thanks! No I had not consider it and that's what I've on my Heckler, but this bike won't be ridden too hard this is going into that build I'm trying to put together as learning experience/back up bike, and it is going to be rigid which will be a new experience as well. :)

I'll check into those rotors. I did read so many mixed reviews on bb7's, and this thread helped me make a good decision. :thumbsup:

Thanks again OneSpeed.
 
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