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  1. #1
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    Shimano XT Vs Avid Elixir X9 trail

    Which is better for a Specialized enduro 29er (rotors: 200mm F/180mm R)?

    I read that the X9 trail has a 4 piston caliper. Is that makes it better/more poweful than the Shimano XT?

    Thx, Mo.

  2. #2
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    You can't go wrong with the XT's, they are an awesome brake. Have not used the X9 so not so sure about them.

  3. #3
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    I'm curious to hear some first hand elixir trail feedback. I haven't been able to find much out there. I'll be watching this one closely.

  4. #4
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    from personal experience shimano brakes are a whole lot better than any of the avid brakes. ask any bike mechanic. after having problems with my elixirs fading (and overheating, and vibrating, and being incredibly noisy to the point that i was embarrassed-and yes i cleaned the rotors with isopropyl alcohol and lightly sanded the surface of the pads and rotors...alot) i finally went in to have them tuned up by a mechanic who told me he wouldnt even work on my elixir brakes because then he has to stand by them as a good and safe product. he then pulled out two new high end bikes (one of them his own) that he was assembling but had taken off the avid brakes to put on shimanos. he says frequently customers will buy a bike from him and have their elixir brakes taken off before they even take the bike home. since upgrading to shimano slx brakes with ice tech rotors (basically the same as xt, but cost less and have "slx" painted on rather than "xt" laser etched. also the caliper on an slx is held shut with a cotter pin whereas the xt uses a screw) i have had zero problems with vibration, overheating, noise, fading, modulation, etc. the ice tech rotors are significantly stronger than the basic one piece rotors also.

    now having that said, when i used to live in minnesota i had no problems at all with elixirs. same with the short time i spent in ohio. it wasnt until moving to colorado and doing 2,000 ft decents that i started having serious and dangerous problems with elixirs, the fading. in the midwest i had some noise with the elixirs but nothing too bad.

    after using both brakes i wont buy a bike with elixir brakes. i know the pros ride elixirs with no problems, but they also have professional mechanics that will switch out the whole set with a brand new one as often as needed. for the rest of us, shimano brakes give a MUCH better bang for the buck. as far as shifting goes, they are pretty comparable and i couldnt say one brand is better than the other.

  5. #5
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    and also, is "more powerful" even a good thing when talking about brakes (in 2013)? with a 200mm front rotor you could go flying feet over head with even a low end hydraulic disc brake. not saying the rotor size is wrong, i think 200 is good. im just saying dont get sold on a "more powerful" caliper when power isnt even a problem. the problems are brake fading/overheating and shimano is one step closer to eliminating that with the ice tech rotors. also, i think their lever is a lot easier to grasp with one finger giving you more fingers to control the rest of the bike.

  6. #6
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    I have the XT's and a set of XO Trails. The more time I spend on the XO Trails, the less I think XT's are the end all be all. I prefer the feel of the Avid lever to the Shimano. Plus, Avid ditched the CPS washer system which was my least favorite part of Avid. While both the Shimano and XT are great brakes, none of my pad contact adjustments seem to do much on my Shimano's. Even after a warranty claim on it. I was able to get the XO Trails feeling spot on within minutes.

    When bleeding I trust my bleeds on the Avid brakes. I've never had a bad bleed using the Avid procedure. Although, I've watched mechanics skip steps and wind up with bad bleeds and talk about how bad Avid is. That said, the Shimano bleed is WAY simpler and a huge time saver... except I've had to repeat it several times on occasion to get the brake to feel good. Also when the Shimano pads are done the brakes really feel weird at the lever, even though there is plenty of pad left (I've run Avid pads to the spring in races before and never noticed a performance loss).

  7. #7
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    sounds like the xo trails may be just as good. go with whichever lever you prefer, because they are different. however, if you decide on the xt's i would really put some thought into getting slx (with ice tech rotors) instead. i cant notice a difference at all. same pads, cables, lever, you pick the rotors....they work just as well!

  8. #8
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    SLX doesn't have the same lever as the XT, XT has tool-free adjustment if I remember right and there was something else it had that the SLX didn't, in regards to the lever.
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  9. #9
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    SLX = XT - free stroke adjustment and the texture on the lever where your finger goes.

    They both have tool free reach adjust.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by madsedan View Post
    SLX doesn't have the same lever as the XT, XT has tool-free adjustment if I remember right and there was something else it had that the SLX didn't, in regards to the lever.
    My SLX levers, and all other new SLX levers ive seen, have the same tool free adjustment as the XT. The difference in the lever itself is that on SLX the logo is painted on, and on XT it is etched in. Also I believe the XT fluid chamber connected to the lever is chrome coated (possibly aluminum material) and the slx is more of a grey/silver plastic.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Training-Wheels View Post
    from personal experience shimano brakes are a whole lot better than any of the avid brakes. ask any bike mechanic. after having problems with my elixirs fading (and overheating, and vibrating, and being incredibly noisy to the point that i was embarrassed-and yes i cleaned the rotors with isopropyl alcohol and lightly sanded the surface of the pads and rotors...alot) i finally went in to have them tuned up by a mechanic who told me he wouldnt even work on my elixir brakes because then he has to stand by them as a good and safe product. he then pulled out two new high end bikes (one of them his own) that he was assembling but had taken off the avid brakes to put on shimanos. he says frequently customers will buy a bike from him and have their elixir brakes taken off before they even take the bike home. since upgrading to shimano slx brakes with ice tech rotors (basically the same as xt, but cost less and have "slx" painted on rather than "xt" laser etched. also the caliper on an slx is held shut with a cotter pin whereas the xt uses a screw) i have had zero problems with vibration, overheating, noise, fading, modulation, etc. the ice tech rotors are significantly stronger than the basic one piece rotors also.

    now having that said, when i used to live in minnesota i had no problems at all with elixirs. same with the short time i spent in ohio. it wasnt until moving to colorado and doing 2,000 ft decents that i started having serious and dangerous problems with elixirs, the fading. in the midwest i had some noise with the elixirs but nothing too bad.

    after using both brakes i wont buy a bike with elixir brakes. i know the pros ride elixirs with no problems, but they also have professional mechanics that will switch out the whole set with a brand new one as often as needed. for the rest of us, shimano brakes give a MUCH better bang for the buck. as far as shifting goes, they are pretty comparable and i couldnt say one brand is better than the other.
    Why in the hell would you respond to this post when youve never used the x9 trails???? you sound like a total dumbass to me lolol...giving advice about stuff you know nothing about? To the original poster...X9 trails have a little less raw stopping power than the XTS...I have both pairs on two different bikes. The x9 trails have way more modulation and are much better for riding the brakes. XTs are all about tapping the brakes with little modulation. Both are really good brakes. At the end of the day they are so close it boils down to preference. One thing to look at is which bleed process youd prefer. I like my avids better. X9 trails redeemed avid. The guy whose talking about the trouble of servicing them is referencing the older years of x9s.

  12. #12
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    I just received a set of Elixir 9 trails as a warranty replacement for Elixir CRs, these are by far the most impressive brakes i have used, Shimano,Avid, or otherwise. The contact point adjust and the lever adjust work exactly as they should, they have a huge range of adjustment allowing for a perfect setting without much screwing around. I had to shorten both lines and bleeding was painless as well. The feeling at the lever is exceptional, they are so positive and firm it's amazing. I can finally have Avid brakes that match the performance of their shifting. The Deore XTs on my HT will be replaced by the Trail 9s as soon as possible.

  13. #13
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    To update on my post from a while back, I'm now about 2 months+ in on the XO Trails and still am really impressed. Going back and forth between these and the XT's I'm starting to see some of the short comings in the XT's that I've ignored for the last two years. For instance - The pads rattling around on the XT's, the pad wiggling around in the caliper allowing for a "clunk" whenever I brake and making me think I have a loose headset, non functioning pad contact adjustment. The only downside I've found to the XO/X9 Trails so far is that it uses a unique pad that isn't always readily available. Not a deal breaker if you always keep a spare set or so on hand.

  14. #14
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    After riding an Enduro with X0 trails, followed by a Stumpjumper FSR with Formula T1's, I loved the 4 pot calipers of the X0 trails.

    That being said, the XT's are pretty good as well, but a 4 pot brake will usually out perform a 2 pot brake.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by frdfandc View Post
    After riding an Enduro with X0 trails, followed by a Stumpjumper FSR with Formula T1's, I loved the 4 pot calipers of the X0 trails.

    That being said, the XT's are pretty good as well, but a 4 pot brake will usually out perform a 2 pot brake.
    Having used both, currently with X0 Trail on my RIP 9, I can say with confidence that XT is far and away better. Better bite, more power, less fade, no gobble, and easier to set up. Maybe the X0 beats the XT in modulation, but not by much.
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  16. #16
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    and dont forget about price. an SLX setup with ice-tech rotors will save money and work just as well as XT. some go ice tech rotor in the back and regular rotor in the front to save even more money.


    and i have used x9 trails and xo's...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Training-Wheels View Post
    and dont forget about price. an SLX setup with ice-tech rotors will save money and work just as well as XT. some go ice tech rotor in the back and regular rotor in the front to save even more money.


    and i have used x9 trails and xo's...
    It's clear you are referencing the old X9s in your post. It's also clear that you aren't referencing the new ones in regards to the bleed process. It's just annoying someone like you has one bad experience or hears from a friend how loud avids are and then goes to a form to spit a bunch of non-sense. You do avid no favors. Stop acting like you know about **** to look cool or because you have a strange need to feel informative.

  18. #18
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    Wow, somebody is so mad....better stop reading the forum.

    OP, I would choose xt over any avid brakes. Or maybe zee brakes if you want more power.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by inter View Post
    Wow, somebody is so mad....better stop reading the forum.

    OP, I would choose xt over any avid brakes. Or maybe zee brakes if you want more power.
    I was hoping to shoo away the retards. Obviously no such luck. Probably another person who has never used the X9 trails, but preach xt. It's great to see such a well informed community!

  20. #20
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    Re: Shimano XT Vs Avid Elixir X9 trail

    Shimano brakes are great and if you want no fuss brakes get them, they won't let you down in the slightest. However, if you want better lever feel (imo) at the expense of needing to tinker with them a bit then get the 9 or 7 trails. I just put a set of the 7 trails on my trek stache and they work great but I like the feel of avid levers so I guess I'm biased. So in summary, in my opinion Shimano are more user friendly/less maintenence but avid has the better feel.
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  21. #21
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    Avid prejudice still going strong. They fill different niches, IMO.

    Personally, I'd go for Shimano in cases where I valued reliable and consistent performance and I'd go with Avid if I was trying to keep my bike relatively light, with relatively lighter stopping duties in mind. For riding in the dry and bike park stuff, or trails I'm quite familiar with, I would be happy on Avid, but if I were riding down lengthy descents that go 1000s of ft for over miles, or perhaps in wet/slop, in unfamiliar areas with more raw tech sections where I need to slow down just to determine my line, the Shimano would be my go to. Since I mostly do SoCal trail riding (typically dry and not too raw/gnarly), and lines are typically pretty well ridden by traffic, I'd totally pick the X9 trails, mainly because they weigh over 100g less than the Shimano and offer good power to match an AM bike. There's a few places I've ridden where I wish I had Shimano's IceTech stuff, but I know a lighter bike in general is more fun.

    It's a pretty close call. Go with whatever costs less, whichever has a nicer lever feel, whichever matches your bike, whichever is easier to maintain (new pads, bleeds, etc.), and other personal preference and convenience factors. I already have an Avid bleed kit that I'm familiar with, so that's another reason why I'm not prejudiced against it. I often just run whatever brakes come on my bike, but in the case of XT, I was shocked when I found that the lever, hose, and caliper (no rotor) weighed as much as an Avid set with rotor (Shimano's about 1/2 lb heavier for F&R). As far as modulation goes, I find it's a relative thing--brakes that suit your weight, your bike's weight and traction (tires/susp setup), and rotor size affect the amount of modulation and braking control you have.

  22. #22
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    4 piston avids... Twice as many pistons to get sticky and end up out of balance.

    Seriously though, SRAM hasn't told anybody one thing about engineering changes that make these new brakes easier to live with than their prior junk. Given enough time I'm confident people will be crying about them.

    I had various avids for years before getting the current xts. Game changer is about all I can say. No ongoing adjustments, always centered over the rotors, never any rub. The best lever I've ever felt is the icing on the cake.

  23. #23
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    I'm going to sound like a Shimano fanboy, but my SLX and XT brakes are just about perfect.

    They're:

    1. Powerful
    2. Quiet (even in the wet)
    3. Consistent
    4. Good lever feel
    5. Easy to bleed
    6. Easy to set up

    You'd be hard pressed to give me a reason to switch to anything else. I dealt with noisy Avids for a long time. Had some Hayes brakes that were generally unpleasant to deal with. Haven't owned any Hope brakes on account of how expensive they are (though I hear they rock).

  24. #24
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    Thanks guys for all your replies. I'v learned a lot from reading them.

    I'm using Avis Elixir 3 for two years now (came with the bike, 2012 Rumblefish). The Elixir 3 is OK but not anything more to mention. It's doing the job but its noisy, needed some adjusments in the past two years and it's not very powerful.

    After the majority of you recommended the XT's, think I'm gonna get these for my next bike instead of the stock Formula C1 (Speciialized Enduro 29er, still waiting for my LBS to get it, he said maybe late October/Novenber).

    Mo.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mo6500 View Post
    Thanks guys for all your replies. I'v learned a lot from reading them.

    I'm using Avis Elixir 3 for two years now (came with the bike, 2012 Rumblefish). The Elixir 3 is OK but not anything more to mention. It's doing the job but its noisy, needed some adjusments in the past two years and it's not very powerful.

    After the majority of you recommended the XT's, think I'm gonna get these for my next bike instead of the stock Formula C1 (Speciialized Enduro 29er, still waiting for my LBS to get it, he said maybe late October/Novenber).

    Mo.

    Or if you want to save a couple of bux, get the SLX's and add the XT Ice-Tech rotors.

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