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  1. #1
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    Avid Elixir Brakes - enough reason not to buy a bike?

    I test rode a bike I liked quite a lot - the trance x1 29er. Then I looked at the reviews online, and apparently its Avid Elixir Brakes
    are a weak point, and issues frequently come up with them (unbearable squealing being the least of them).

    So, then I decided to look at other bikes in the 3k price range -- and tons of them (rocky mountain and specialized) have the same types of brakes and the same types of problems. I don't want to pay 3k and have issues of any kind.

    WTF is up with selling a bike for 3k with known brake issues?!?! this seems totally unacceptable.

  2. #2
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    Avid Elixir Brakes - enough reason not to buy a bike?

    That is the commonly specced brake at that price range, unfortunate yes, but it's true. You usually don't see XT and nicer brakes till the 4k and up range. Now while I hate those brakes, and it would be much better if it came with SLX brakes, it is not enough reason not to buy a bike in my opinion. Do you like the rest of the spec? Do you feel it's up to par with the price? If so, buy the bike and upgrade to XT ( my personal favorite brake and in my opinion the best for the money) or something else in the future. Or see if the shop will swap out the elixirs for something better for a slight up charge. Shops are usually willing to work with you on stuff like that.


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  3. #3
    Hooligan
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    Yeah, swapping out through the shop will probably work. or you could always just run them until you actually have a problem. I have avids on a lot of bikes and they work well. that being said, the new xt's are very nice and theirs always time to upgrade later.

  4. #4
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    Re: Avid Elixir Brakes - enough reason not to buy a bike?

    Don't let the brakes ruin your decision. Even xt and xtr can squeal and howl if not alligned to the rotor correctly. I have a set of 'probem' elixer cr from 3 years ago that works perfect with no noise a all. My new xtrs howl if I don't adjust them to the rotor right..

    Bottom line, 9 times out of 10, it is set up, not the equipment.


    Problem in quotes for sarcasm. Elixers are fine...
    http://Theclydeblog.org Big guy cycling product tester

  5. #5
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    just swap 'em out. either at time of sale or after. nbd. they are more problematic than shimanos in general. set-up is key but shimanos are imo much easier to deal with in terms of set-up and maintenance.
    i'm on my Last Herb
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  6. #6
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    I run Elixirs on a couple of bikes with no problems. I agree. Setup is usually the problem (but I have had some brakes I just could not "set up" correctly). Just make certain they are set up as accurately as possible, burn them in well, and you likely will have no or few problems. And complete final installation yourself. Learn how if you do not know how. I do not trust any bike shop to take the time that I do in installing brakes.

    As suggested, if you do not want to try them out, your dealer may be willing switch to something else (for a little bit more $ of course).

  7. #7
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    what model? elixir CR are the top elixir, and those really are some awesome brakes. Once you know youre way around 'em you have limitless adjustment options

    they get a bad wrap 'cause they can be a pain to service and can squeal. the people that have had issues are the most vocal

    i have a set of elixir CR and a set of zees. the new shimano model years brakes are awesome, but elixirs are still a nice set of brakes.

  8. #8
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    Re: Avid Elixir Brakes - enough reason not to buy a bike?

    Even some elixer 5s on a remedy 8 were fantastic. Held up to lift service just fine.
    http://Theclydeblog.org Big guy cycling product tester

  9. #9
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    I ride a 2010 X1 with Elixir R brakes, and they are some of the best brakes I've ever used. They don't squeal at all, haven't needed to be bled in two seasons, and have crazy amount of stopping power.

    Don't let the brakes sway you, as already stated it's normally the setup.

  10. #10
    psycho cyclo addict
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    You can always swap them out if they are problematic. Let your own experience decide instead of the "everything sucks" people

    I run Juicy 7, Elixir CR, two sets of Elixir 5's and a set of BB7's. All of them work fine (one set of Elixir 5's and the Juicy 7's are louder than the others but all of them stop quite well). Sure water splashed on them causes turkey gobbling for a few minutes when brakes are applied (I've heard some XT's and XTR's scream like spring lambs at the slaughter house too!).

  11. #11
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    For the squealing (if present) swapping to organic pads can make it go away all together. I much prefer how they feel too.

  12. #12
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    I'm not a big fan of my Elixir CR's on my Enduro, but they are not even close to being enough of an issue to make me re-consider the purchase of my bike. Like someone mentioned, bad reviews are a fairly unrepresentative number of the population out there -- a large percentage of people with problems will complain, but a small percentage without problems will bother to give good reviews. 4 of us in my riding group have Elixirs of some model or another. 3 of us are less than satisfied, the other has no issues at all. But the truth is, mine work fine, have plenty of power, and do their job just fine 90% of the time. On resort days after a couple hot runs down steep DH tracks, the rear will start to howl like crazy, and sometimes toward the end of a long descent they will make a little noise. The bleeding process also isn't the easiest. So I don't love them, and I would trade them for some XTs or something like that, but overall they do their job (albeit with a little extra noise!). But they have not made me regret the purchase of my bike at all.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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  13. #13
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    I just bought a Trance X1. I love the bike, but immediately swapped the brakes for XT setup with IceTech rotors. Well worth the $350. I also found some great deals on XT shifters, front and rear derailleur. I think the bike is spot on now. It shifts perfect and stops on a dime.

    It sucks to have to swap parts out on a new bike but I'm still in it cheaper than an X0. There is an LBS here in GA selling the Trance 29erX1 for $2199 new....Thats a great deal!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kennyboy404 View Post
    I just bought a Trance X1. I love the bike, but immediately swapped the brakes for XT setup with IceTech rotors. Well worth the $350. I also found some great deals on XT shifters, front and rear derailleur. I think the bike is spot on now. It shifts perfect and stops on a dime.

    It sucks to have to swap parts out on a new bike but I'm still in it cheaper than an X0. There is an LBS here in GA selling the Trance 29erX1 for $2199 new....Thats a great deal!

    You got the x1 29er I assume? I'm thinking of just getting the trance x1 26 inch version which seems to have better components than the 29, or the trance x0 29er...for 3500.

  15. #15
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    I did get the 29erX1. I see the 26in comes with SLX and XT components, which are better than the Sram X7/X9 and avid elixir 3 brakes. So if you can snag one under $3K, you are getting a good bike.

    Or you could hold off a few months and get a 27.5in Trance....

  16. #16
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    Don't get caught up in all the Shimano fan-boy talk on MTBR... Avid Elixirs work just fine for 95% of the people using them.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    Don't get caught up in all the Shimano fan-boy talk on MTBR... Avid Elixirs work just fine for 95% of the people using them.
    Steve is right, just go in and buy whatever they have at your LBS. For 95% of you, you wont know the difference.

  18. #18
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    I ride Elixir3 on my Transition TransAM 29. I love how they stop, yes the front squeals a bit....but in my opinion that's just one more thing to keep the bears away. Bleeding is not an issue either, though some have had problems. It went fine for me, first time bleeding ever.
    When I upgrade mine, it'll most likely be Shimano brakes, but that won't be any time soon. Asking about Avid breaks on MTBR is like asking "How do you guys vote, Democrat or Republican?" on a gun forum. Just sayin.
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  19. #19
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    My elixir CRs are no way as bad as MTBR leads you to believe.

    I prefer my shimanos, but they work fine. I prefer organic pads for improved feel.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  20. #20
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    I've had more bad luck than good with Avids (use Hope and Formula now), but I agree with getting the bike and seeing how they work for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  21. #21
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    I've been running a set of Avid Elixir 1's for 1.5 years. They started to brake a little soft and felt a little spongey so I changed the pads and bled them for the first time about a month ago. Other than that I am very happy with my bottom end Avid Elixirs...

  22. #22
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    The LBS might be able to swap them out, giving you the cost as difference. Mine did that for me, but in regards to a seatpost upgrade to a Reverb.

    My bike came with Elixir 5s that shortly after getting it started producing the god awful turkey howling and shaking so bad I could feel it in the bike. Multiple trips to the LBS to no avail. Got lucky with Blue Sky having the then brand new XT's on sale and I quickly jumped on it. I doubt I'd go Elixirs again, maybe the Code's but I don't need DH brakes for trail riding.

  23. #23
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeNeverwinter View Post
    Don't let the brakes ruin your decision. Even xt and xtr can squeal and howl if not alligned to the rotor correctly. I have a set of 'probem' elixer cr from 3 years ago that works perfect with no noise a all. My new xtrs howl if I don't adjust them to the rotor right..

    Bottom line, 9 times out of 10, it is set up, not the equipment.


    Problem in quotes for sarcasm. Elixers are fine...
    Avid is the only brake manufacturer where I've seen the turkey-warble problem consistently. This isn't squeal or howl, it's resonant vibration that is caused by the caliper weight/design and propagates through the frame, eventually causing a loss of control due to the parts moving so badly.

    The elixirs are pretty bad as disc brakes go, still, disc brakes are simple mechanical devices and relatively easy to service usually. I wouldn't decide against a bike because of a couple components, but if it's a lot of components I may move on. Some new specializeds are coming with formula brakes instead of the lower level elixirs. I just got mine a few weeks back and there were one-piece caliper formulas on there, so I was happy to not end up with another bike with elixirs (I have one, not a fan of the brakes on that bike either).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  24. #24
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    Don't allow the brakes to be a deciding factor. If you like the bike, then get it. Ride it a couple of times with the stock kit. What's the worst that could happen? You like everything but the brakes? swap them out and problem solved. Also, dont always fully trust internet reviews...

    Here's my experience

    This was the one weak point I was worrying about when I bought my Bandit, it came with Elixir 9s. From the day I bought it I said I would change the brakes because they had bad reviews.

    A couple of weeks after I placed the order came her maiden voyage, shortly after that came a two-week-long bike trip on Moab and Western Colorado. To this day (coincidentally, she'll be exactly one year old tomorrow) I have yet to hear the squeaking. I have ridden in various conditions (wet, dry, muddy, dusty) and still havent heard the slightest hint of a squeak from them..

    I do like the feel and stopping power of the Elixirs, its more than enough for me and my set has never let me down or annoyed me in any way. Stopped thinking about changing them a long while ago.. Again, try them, if you dont like them swap them out for a different set and problem solved.

    Although I confess I still want to try a set of Shimano brakes, the reviews and experience from close friends seem to be solid.

    Hope this helps.

  25. #25
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    Re: Avid Elixir Brakes - enough reason not to buy a bike?

    . Buy it, but some slx brakes with rotors $200-300 and sell the take offs

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