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Strange problem with Avid Elixers

583 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  XSL_WiLL
Alright brake gurus, here's one for you.

I just built up a Jabberwocky. I got Avid Elixer R's, 160mm front and rear. Brand new. The levers felt soft from the factory.

I had my LBS cut the hoses down for me, afterwards, the levers were still soft. By "soft" I mean I could easily pull them all the way to the grip.

I'm a man that likes a stiff lever. (sorry...couldn't resist...back to being serious now)

So, a buddy and I bleed the brakes using his Avid bleed kit. We did the front brake first, did it once, and it was perfect. Very stiff lever, lots of bite. Excellent, moving on.

We move on to the rear. First time around, lever still feels soft. So we try again...several more times. Then one of the hose clamps in the bleed kit breaks. So I say "oh well" and take it back to the LBS for them to fix it.

I go in today to pick up the bike, and they couldn't get it right either. They even called Avid for some tips, and still couldn't get it work right. Avid thinks maybe it's a faulty master cylinder, so they're getting a new brake on it's way for me. +1 for Avid customer service.

As I'm talking to the LBS guys, I pull the bike up onto the rear wheel to make it easier to move around the shop...then the craziness starts.

First, the front brake goes soft after I pull the lever a few times. It went from impossible to pull to the grip, to easily pulled to the grip with one finger. Huh?

AND - at the same time, the rear lever stiffens up.

I put the bike back down with both wheels on the ground, pump the brakes a few times, and the front stiffens up and the rear goes soft again.


Any ideas what's going on here? Is air getting into the system? Is there a bubble moving around? There's no fluid leaking. The LBS is going to try and get Avid to send me another front brake too.
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it sounds as though there's a bubble sloshing around in your reservoir that makes its way into the piston and back out again. Are there any nicks in the reservoir seal that might be letting air in?
hmm, only thing i can think of would be if the LBS screwed the barb into the cut line, or pressed it in. The barbs are actually threaded and come with a special tool ( at least the ones i have done) and if pressed in may be causing an air leak?
The front sounds like you had a stubborn air bubble that did not get bled out.

The rear... could potentially be an air bubble in the line or caliper that made its way up into the reservoir.
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