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  1. #1
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    Noisy disc brakes

    I am new to 29ers and disc brakes so I apologize if this is a dumb question. Are disc brakes normally loud? I have a Jamis exile with Avid Elixir 3 hydraulic brakes and they seem to squeal louder than I would have thought. Is this normal or is there some adjustment that can be done to minimize the noise? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

  2. #2
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    It depends on the sound you're hearing. Some sound, by some brakes, is normal. That said, if the caliper is misaligned a brake can go from very little sound to a high pitched squeal.

  3. #3
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    Agree with above. Could be squeeling due to misalignment. Could also be from pad contamination.
    I would loosen up your caliper bolts, then squeeze your brake lever and re-tighten. This will align the calier/pads evenly on your disc.
    If the squeeling continue's, I would take the pads out, give a quick shot of brake cleaner, scuff wiith some emery paper and then re-install. Don't spray the cleaer while on bike/still in caliper. Brake cleaner is not exactly paint friendly.
    Karakoram...ZS44, X-Fusion, Freq i23, Tioga's, Shadow & XT,Shim Hydro 180/160, MG-1 pedals & more.

  4. #4
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    When you begin reading about Avid Elixirs in the Brake section you will see this is common -- and unacceptable to must. The best fix is to replace them with XT or SLX brakes 2012-3.

  5. #5
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    Cool. Kind of bummed it's common, but glad mine aren't just bad. They stop the bike, just a little embarrassing at times. Thanks to everyone for the help.

  6. #6
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    Had the same problem...

    My Rip9 has Elixir 5s on it. Was running into the same problem. Especially noisy when hot or dusty. Downright loud when both. Cleaned many times with only temporary improvement.
    Switched to organic pads and quiet as a mouse now. The elixirs come with a semi-metallic pad that has a harder longer lasing compound. There is an optional organic pad that is softer and quieter. I also like the feel of the organic pads better. Organic won't last as long but it's a small price to pay. I should get a whole season out of mine though. Try this before investing the big bucks in new brakes. I think you'll like the results.

  7. #7
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    Awesome advice. I'm looking for some right now. Any $$$ savings is good, but saving that much is great. Thanks a bunch.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    When you begin reading about Avid Elixirs in the Brake section you will see this is common -- and unacceptable to must. The best fix is to replace them with XT or SLX brakes 2012-3.
    +1 Had Elixir 5 brakes on my bike for about a year, came with my bike. Since then the Trek store has replaced the rotors and pads to the new updated versions which did nothing to cure the squeals. They told everything under the sun; I didn't break them in correctly, I don't ride hard enough, I don't ride "real" trails, I must have got oil on the rotors, etc. Just a bunch of excuses for a sub-par product.

    Last month I bought a pair of 2012 XT brakes and rotors. I've rode 4 different trails since then from the most gnarly we have in Ohio to the flat stuff here around Columbus, not a squeal out of them yet.

  9. #9
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    Awesome. I'll look into that upgrade down the road, for now I'll give the twenty dollar pads a shot, can't get much worse than they already are.

  10. #10
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    Elixir 3? Sorry man, and good luck. I didn't want rip some guy off by selling them when I got XTR brakes, so mine sit in a drawer. Try bleeding, aligning the caliper body, and cleaning the rotors-but again, good luck.

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  11. #11
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    I didn't feel like replacing my Elixer 5s and the constant squeaking, even when not braking, was impossible to stand. I did some research and found a trick to put Squeak No More at the auto parts store on the pads. They use it on car brakes. Put it on, let it dry and rode like normal. That was 4 months ago and not a squeak since. I actually found it on some Avid threads.

  12. #12
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    I had the problem with my Elixers and switched to Scrub brand pads and they've been perfect.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    When you begin reading about Avid Elixirs in the Brake section you will see this is common -- and unacceptable to must. The best fix is to replace them with XT or SLX brakes 2012-3.
    Yeah Avid brakes are screamers. I have the Shimano XT's and they can't be heard and stopping power is way better! Best brakes for the money right now!

  14. #14
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    Cleaning the disc sometimes helps. Readjusting them sometimes helps, and going with organic pads helps.

  15. #15
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    I have avid X0's and they are a constant maintenance item for me to keep them quiet. I really want to replace them with the XT's but it's hard to justify that expense with them pretty much brand new. They squeal, turkey gobble, warble, scream, whatever you want to call it. I'm not impressed.

  16. #16
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    The only thing good about Elixir brakes is that they will scare away bears on the trail and provide ample warning to trail runners that you are coming!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by XterraMike View Post
    The only thing good about Elixir brakes is that they will scare away bears on the trail and provide ample warning to trail runners that you are coming!
    So true!!

  18. #18
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    I've had 2 pairs of Elixir CRs, a pair of Elixir Rs and a pair of Elixir 5s over the past 4 or 5 years, and not one of them has been noisy or a problem to adjust or maintain - go figure
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat View Post
    I've had 2 pairs of Elixir CRs, a pair of Elixir Rs and a pair of Elixir 5s over the past 4 or 5 years, and not one of them has been noisy or a problem to adjust or maintain - go figure
    Which ones have been you favorite?

  20. #20
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    Probably the 5s. The pad contact adjuster on the CRs never really gets used once set up. Though the carbon lever feels nice. I think a lot of the noise issues come from improper set up initially, but some frames just seem to resonate weirdly.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  21. #21
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    Avid is a really popular oem brake and as a result there are more troubles recognized because more people ride them. Both Shimano and avid have had problems right out of the box. Still, I favor Shimano. Love my truvativ/Sram drivetrain, but yeahhh those elixirs in my drawer are toast. I know some people love avid and hate Shimano, so if the shoe fits, wear it. But if I had to make a recommendation between the two, Shimano.

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  22. #22
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    I had elixir cr's on my Santa Cruz SL, never had a problem. A friend got a sc tall boy this summer that came with juicy 5's, total junk. Avid replaced them with 7's complete with new rotors, and while they will stop him, you can here him from a mile away.
    We were in Durango to check out the Pro Cycling Challenge, and decided to check out my fav bike shop, 2nd Ave Sports. We walked in and he went to the repair counter and randomly asked, do all avid brakes suck ? The 3 bike techs on duty all laughed while nodding their heads yes, and said that about 70% of their brake repairs were issues with avid brakes. You would think avid would have brakes down by now. He has since ordered xt !
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  23. #23
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    I have Avid CR on my bike. No problems, as long I spray alcohol on cotton ball and clean both sides of Avid rotors. Works great for me.

  24. #24
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    I found that switching my front skewer lever to the opposite side made mine quieter. Go figure...
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  25. #25
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    On many disc brake systems, when aligning the brake caliper, you might find that in the last 1/4 turn when tightening the caliper mount bolts, that the caliper starts to move as you clamp down the bolt. I've found this happens with Avid brakes as well as others. Pay really close attention the gap between your pads and rotor while tightening it down; the gaps between each pad and its respective rotor face should remain even - parallel with the rotor. If the caliper moves a bit under the last torque on the wrench, you might need to counter this movement by setting the caliper up off centered, so that it moves into the idea position as you tighten the bolts.
    Eat, ride, eat, rest, repeat.

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