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  1. #1
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    Avid Elixir brake bleed - solid feel but no adjustment left

    I'm fairly new to brake bleeding, but my 2 year old Elixirs have started requiring a couple of pumps to get full power. Time to learn how to bleed the brakes!

    I purchased the Avid kit and followed the SRAM YoutTube video. I did it very slowly, carefully, and thoroughly. There were definitely some bubbles coming out during the process.

    When the process was complete, the brakes no longer require pumping to get full power. They feel totally solid on first squeeze.

    But to get the amount of braking I like (a LOT), I have to have the lever all the way out and the pad contact adjustment all the way in. This provides solid braking, but there's no adjustment left, nothing left for a mid-race adjustment if they fade a little, and no way to compensate for pad wear over time. I would much prefer to have solid braking action with the adjustments more in the middle of the range. At the very least, I'd like to have a few clicks in case of fade during a race or something.

    I think I need to get more fluid into the system. I'm considering sanding the pad spacer block down a millimeter and then doing the lever bleed again. It seems to me that a little more fluid would give me the desired braking more in the middle of the adjustment range.

    Does that make sense to those experienced with Avid hydro brakes? Or is there some other approach I could use to get powerful brake action with the adjustments (particularly pad contact) in the middle of the range?
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  2. #2
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    with my old Avids, I was able to get a little more fluid in the system by taking out the pads and pumping the levers a few times to get the pistons to move out just a bit. then do the bleed. after youre done, it will be very difficult to get the pistons to move back in, so you basically have someone pressing on the pistons (using the wedge end of the bleed block) while you unscrew the lever bleed port just a little bit. when your friend pushes on the pistons with the bleed port unscrewed, a tiny bit will seep out of the bleed port.

    its kind of a trial and error once you get as much fluid in there as possible in, and then take the right amount out to where it has good lever feel but doesnt rub too much.

  3. #3
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    Make sure you don't have your reach too far out when bleeding. You want the reach to be only about 1/4 of the way from all the way in. Then when you bleed it allows you to push more fluid in when the lever is in the pulled position and you force more in when it is slowly retracted. Then when you bleed the lever, you get the final air out. Before you put your wheel back in, remember to reset the pad spacing also. Turn the contact adjust out, squeeze the brakes until the pads are almost touching. <1mm apart. Use the spacer to slightly push them out just enough to fit the rotor in. When you later set the reach and pull, it will be really tight. Then you can tighten more with the contact adjust. Your problem is mostly setting the proper initial spacing.

    You can find the SRAM technical document on setting pad spacing and bed-in under the 2013 documents. They never mentioned this pad spacing in the bleed instructions and it can really affect the lever pull amount. I readjust mine now every 50 miles to get a great tight lever even with pad wear.

  4. #4
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    Sooner518 -- Good idea for getting a little more fluid into the system. That seems like it would help. Thanks!

    chadadally -- I didn't pay much attention to the reach adjustment because it seemed like that wouldn't make any difference, but I didn't consider the effect during the step where you pull the lever in and then release it. I'm not certain where I had the reach adjustment, but it is likely the lever was adjusted close to full out during the process because that's how I ride them normally.

    During my first attempt at bleeding, I followed the Avid directions of turning the reach adjustment the opposite way of the arrow (thus I turned them all the way in clockwise). The end result was no braking at all at the end of the bleed. So I turned them all the way out (counter-clockwise) and re-did the lever process. That resulted in acceptable braking when I was done, though I had to screw the pad contact all the way in and the reach all the way out to get the desired braking power.

    Is the video correct? Should the lever bleed be done with the pad adjustment all the way in? After I had no braking at all, it seemed to me that I'd get more fluid in the master with the adjustment all the way out. That worked, so now I'm thinking I should do it the opposite of the video again.

    I did not set the pad adjustment per your instructions, chadadally. I just stuck the wheel in there and pulled the lever until braking was felt. The first time, the pad adjustment was all the way in (maximum pad contact) and I got nothing. The second time, the pad adjustment was all the way out and there was nothing until I turned it all the way in.

    To be clear - sounds like you are saying to:
    1) Adjust the lever reach to approx 1/4 all the way in
    2) Follow the Avid directions of bleeding with the pad adjustment all the way in (max contact setting),
    3) Turn the pad adjustment all the way out (minimum)
    4) Pump the brake lever until the pads are 1mm apart
    5) Pry the pads apart
    6) Then adjust to suit my taste.

    Did I get that right?
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  5. #5
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    You are close, but bleed it with the contact opposite of the arrow. Should be full out for the contact, and almost all the way in for the lever and about 25% of the way back out. Avid recommends you measure from the center of bars to the end of lever in manual. I found I bring reach all the way in and go 25% of the way out and it is always a perfect bleed. In this position you get full compression of the master cylinder with no over push of it within the lever. SO you get maximum bleed of air and maximum fluid. Go to this manual and start on page 26, its the same for all Avid brakes with Contact Adjust.

    http://cdn.sram.com/cdn/farfuture/cE...nual_rev_c.pdf

    Correct Steps:
    1) Adjust the lever reach to approx 1/4 out from the all the way in setting (70-75mm from center of bar to tip of lever)
    2) Follow the Avid directions of bleeding with the pad adjustment all the way OUT! (Least contact setting, opposite direction of the arrow),
    4) Pump the brake lever until the pads are 1mm apart
    5) Pry the pads apart, just enough to slip rotor in without too much force (1.9-2mm). Pads will adjust out slightly after first few pulls of lever
    6) Then adjust reach to suit taste and contact adjust to tight pads more if needed.

    This manual explains the pad adjustment procedure that wasn't released until 2013 by Avid. Makes a huge improvement in feel and for some reason, they never mentioned it for 7 years of disk brakes.
    http://cdn.sram.com/cdn/farfuture/yQ...nt_install.pdf

  6. #6
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    My primary objective is to have solid braking action this coming Saturday for a big race. Thus, I'm trying to take a conservative approach this week.

    I tried the adjusting the pad contact point per the steps above. I took the front wheel off, turned the pad contact all the way out (opposite the arrow, adjusted for minimum contact), pumped the lever until the pads were slightly closer together than the width of the rotor, pried them back apart, put the wheel in, and re-adjusted the pad contact to have the braking power I need.

    The end result is that I now have 2 clicks left when adjusted for the power desired.

    I repeated the process for the rear brake and achieved the same result.

    If I repeat the procedure but get a little more aggressive about getting the pads closer together than the width of a rotor, the result might be having the desired power even more in the middle of the adjustment range, right?

    Or should I just leave it alone, race as is, and plan to re-bleed the lever and re-adjust the pad contact on Sunday after the races?

    It seems like the contact point adjustment is on the right track, so I'm tentatively planning on trying to adjust it again tonight (squeeze the pads farther together and pry apart again). But still waffling. Good braking power on last night's ride with 2 clicks left.

    25 mile xc race on Saturday with some fairly long downhills. Definitely need good brakes! Advice welcome.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  7. #7
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    You made improvements through the contact setup. Doesn't hurt and doesn't take long to try and get it a little closer. I like really tight brakes and when I do it, I basically get rotor right up against closed pads and pry apart until it literally just barely slips in. After I squeeze brakes a couple times they retract a small bit off rotor and don't drag. I then have pads that are as close to rotor as possible. I don't have contact on the '13 XX so I no longer have to adjust that, but you are doing it right. Just work them in a little closer and then barely enough apart to fit it in. They will get tighter for you. You may need to rebleed with lever closer to bar as we earlier mentioned to get the rest of the gap closed since you bled it too far out last time. But again, you are on the right track now. My XX are as responsive as an XTR. I hate Avid now but I really like the MatchmakerX and XX1 drivetrain so I have really been working to make XX as quiet and good as XTR on my bike. I have done everything from bleeding bike hanging, upside down, cleaning rotors, bleeding with, without blocks, and the earlier process I outlined in previous post has been accepted by Avid and yields the best feel. The noise and rotors are another issue I am still working on.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadadally View Post
    You made improvements through the contact setup. Doesn't hurt and doesn't take long to try and get it a little closer. I like really tight brakes and when I do it, I basically get rotor right up against closed pads and pry apart until it literally just barely slips in. After I squeeze brakes a couple times they retract a small bit off rotor and don't drag. I then have pads that are as close to rotor as possible. I don't have contact on the '13 XX so I no longer have to adjust that, but you are doing it right. Just work them in a little closer and then barely enough apart to fit it in. They will get tighter for you. You may need to rebleed with lever closer to bar as we earlier mentioned to get the rest of the gap closed since you bled it too far out last time. But again, you are on the right track now. My XX are as responsive as an XTR. I hate Avid now but I really like the MatchmakerX and XX1 drivetrain so I have really been working to make XX as quiet and good as XTR on my bike. I have done everything from bleeding bike hanging, upside down, cleaning rotors, bleeding with, without blocks, and the earlier process I outlined in previous post has been accepted by Avid and yields the best feel. The noise and rotors are another issue I am still working on.
    chadadally,
    thank you, my elixirs finally feel like they should. i've screwed around with these things for weeks, bleeding with the adjusters out did the trick. rep to you

  9. #9
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    FYI, the noise has been cured for me now. Lightly sanded rotors with 200 grit to remove all old pad material. Switched to EBC Green Pads. Noise gone and stayed gone. They did get a high pitch noise from some misalignment but a quick adjust solved that. Noise under braking is now gone. Vibration is gone. EBC has fixed the problem for AVID. Kevlar Organic Pads!!!

  10. #10
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    Avid Elixir brake bleed - solid feel but no adjustment left

    Found this thread thanks to lolaralph. For anyone wondering, this process works perfectly for the X0 Trail brakes, too. Mine feel damn good now.


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  11. #11
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    Re: Avid Elixir brake bleed - solid feel but no adjustment left

    Great thread!

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  12. #12
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    Just wanted to say thanks for the contribution as this thread helped me get my brake bleed sorted

    Thank you

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