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  1. #1
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    Upgrade Elixer 5 to SLX or XT

    Concidering upgrading my stock Elixer 5 brakes to shimano slx or xt. What is ice tech? Should i get new rotors too? If the hoses need to be cut and is this a easy job (need special tools)? Whats the difference between the SLX M666 SLX and the XT M785 both ice tech. They seem to be almost the same brake. Are the M785 XT the 2012 that seems to have so much attention?
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  2. #2
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    i think i went from the elixir 7, and upgraded to the xt. honestly, it was a lateral move. i never had a problem with my elixirs, so that is probably why i have such an opinion.

    both had great power, the xt has the edge with strength, by a tad. elixir had better modulation, not by much. i had to upgrade the rotors as the og cleansweeps were giving me clearance problems with the xt calipers. i hear its doable, but the ice techs were so cool

    id probably buy shimano if the price were close. the slx looks like a good deal, i never used the freestroke adjustment.

    im just nit picking, but the xt have a grinding feel to them. the elixirs felt smoother when feathering the brakes.
    Last edited by bing!; 11-17-2012 at 10:47 PM.

  3. #3
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    Id go SLX unless you really want the bling xt.

    The Xt has freestroke adjustment, which allows you to choose at what point in the lever pull does your master cylinder engage.

    In theory the SLX has this as well but where the adjustment screw is there is a blank screw.

    I personally prefer shimano to avid, easier to bleed for a start, and no expensive bleed kit required.
    Lean back, Hit both brakes, And ask yourself, Do you feel lucky today?

  4. #4
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    I'm in the same boat - thanks for starting this thread; I'm looking forward to the replays. I do not like my Elixer 5's one bit.

  5. #5
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    I went from Elixer 5 to Hayes Prime Pro and couldn't be happier.
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  6. #6
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    Did you get the prime pro from price point? I am not set on shimano.....Hayes or Magura would be good too. Did you get rotors also? How was the install....did you have to shorten hoses?
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  7. #7
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    Yes I got them at pricepoint. There a boxed set so they come with everything you need to shorten the lines but I didn't. The installation was very easy and the alignment was the took less than 1 minute with there crossfire system. If you get them follow their instruction on burning them in.
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  8. #8
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    What about rotors. Did you use what was on your bike? I have avid 180 or 185mm front and a 160mm rear. I assume you just reused your adaptors
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  9. #9
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    No I bought new adapters and rotors. I had 185 and 160 as well but wanted to start fresh. If you look around you can find them for about $20.
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  10. #10
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    I've never used Elixers before, but I did have a set of Codes. They were on/off and had ZERO modulation. I bought a set of the new XTs about 2 months ago, and the XTs are better. They are light, are strong enough to lock 'em up if needed, and have better modulation than the Codes (but modulation could still be a bit better).

    That being said, I ran Hayes on my AM and DH bikes for years. They are heavier, but have better modulation than any other brakes I've used. I used Hayes Mags for about 5 years, and now I've had Stoker Aces for about 3 years. I used them on my Nomad, and just recently put them on my Demo. Hayes are a ***** to bleed, though.

  11. #11
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    I'll throw a monkey wrench in... I went from SLX on my last bike to Elixer 5 on this one.

    I will say the SLX was much more quiet, and easier to bleed. But aside from that I really wouldn't consider it an upgrade. Functionally they work about the same IMO. I sure wouldn't drop the money for SLXs and rotors if I already had Elixer 5s.

    Now if I was building from scratch, I would go Shimano brakes every single time.

  12. #12
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    My elixers made noise at first but now they are quiet as anything. Yes I am having trouble justifying about $300 for brakes and rotors. Not sure if the slightly better perfomance is worth the $. I think I will just table that Idea for now. I am going to put some thought into a second bike to compliment my EX8. Probably a 29er HT.
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    To add further confusion, and then maybe clear up some of it. It depends on what year elixir 5s you have, as they change the design on the master cylinder almost every year, I only know from being a mechanic and have to tear down the entire lever and caliper before sram was willing to send the shop a new set of brakes, and because I own 2 sets of different years myself. For instance my 2009 elixir 5s feel completely different from my 2010 elixir cr, and 2012 elixir 5s. I also have a set of SLX brakes that I absolutely love. I picked them over the xt for ease of set up, and I could make them function on the same level as the XTs and not pay as much for them. The XT brakes differ from the SLX in that they have, as mentioned, the free stroke adjustment, a high pressure hose that does effect how the lever feels, ceramic pistons that reduce heat build up, and come stock with ice tech pads which are the sweet looking finned ones that dissipate heat better. IMO from working on every brake under the sun, and riding them too, Shimano gives you the best bang for your buck hands down. If you wanted to get all the features that are on and XT brake, and SLX as well, from another company, including avid, youd have to buy their top of line model (exp. magura mt8, avid x0, etc...). Also another thing that is a stand out for me, as mentioned, the bleed kit is oh so much cheaper and easier to use than avid, and mineral oil is cheaper and way way way easier to find than DOT 5.1, also if you have a problem and need to bleed the brake, you can technically do it in the woods without a kit, enough to get you safely home with shimano, and the instructions to do so are online. Hopefully this will help you make a decision, and ive answered a few questions. I know detailed info is always difficult to find and confusing most of the time. If you have any questions pm me or leave it here.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wcb2007 View Post
    To add further confusion, and then maybe clear up some of it. It depends on what year elixir 5s you have, as they change the design on the master cylinder almost every year, I only know from being a mechanic and have to tear down the entire lever and caliper before sram was willing to send the shop a new set of brakes, and because I own 2 sets of different years myself. For instance my 2009 elixir 5s feel completely different from my 2010 elixir cr, and 2012 elixir 5s. I also have a set of SLX brakes that I absolutely love. I picked them over the xt for ease of set up, and I could make them function on the same level as the XTs and not pay as much for them. The XT brakes differ from the SLX in that they have, as mentioned, the free stroke adjustment, a high pressure hose that does effect how the lever feels, ceramic pistons that reduce heat build up, and come stock with ice tech pads which are the sweet looking finned ones that dissipate heat better. IMO from working on every brake under the sun, and riding them too, Shimano gives you the best bang for your buck hands down. If you wanted to get all the features that are on and XT brake, and SLX as well, from another company, including avid, youd have to buy their top of line model (exp. magura mt8, avid x0, etc...). Also another thing that is a stand out for me, as mentioned, the bleed kit is oh so much cheaper and easier to use than avid, and mineral oil is cheaper and way way way easier to find than DOT 5.1, also if you have a problem and need to bleed the brake, you can technically do it in the woods without a kit, enough to get you safely home with shimano, and the instructions to do so are online. Hopefully this will help you make a decision, and ive answered a few questions. I know detailed info is always difficult to find and confusing most of the time. If you have any questions pm me or leave it here.
    For a mechanic, You seem to spread alot of FUD. But whatever keeps you in buisnuess.
    High pressure lines? ********.
    Ceramic pistons, SLX has that.
    Finned pads? SLX has that.

    Bleed kit on shimano? Unecessary.

    Are you going to say that the cotter pin reduces braking performance next?
    Lean back, Hit both brakes, And ask yourself, Do you feel lucky today?

  15. #15
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    I do beleive the SLX offers ice tech and with out ice tech. As for in installed pads not sure what is actually there. I have 2011 avid elixer 5. I had them bled once by the shop. It seems The rear brake has a longer pull than the front even though they are adjusted the same.
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  16. #16
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    V-brakes would be an upgrade over anything Avid offers. Worst brakes on the market, period.

    I've ridden the new Shimano's and they are just okay. Nothing great, but not bad either. I've never had to work on them so I can't comment in any way on the maintenance or service needs.

    I'd definitely encourage shopping around that once you reach a certain price point. There are MANY other brands of brake out there which warrant consideration that are the same price as the XT's.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    I do beleive the SLX offers ice tech and with out ice tech. As for in installed pads not sure what is actually there. I have 2011 avid elixer 5. I had them bled once by the shop. It seems The rear brake has a longer pull than the front even though they are adjusted the same.
    The difference in feel (assuming an equally good bleed) is caused by crap hoses. Its more noticeable on the rear because its a longer run. Braided stainless lines can help with this if it becomes an issue.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  18. #18
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    Went from BB7's, Hayes Trail, to Avid Juicy 7's to Elixer R's (2011). Love my Elixer R's. Great Power, easy to service, good control. 180lbs. Never an issue.

    I have to correct 007, Hayes is by far the worst brake manufacturer ever.
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  19. #19
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    Another main difference between the SLX and the XT is the dial for the reach. The XT's have a clip which keep it in place no matter how far you dial out. I like my levers way in so I had the dial way out on my SLX. It eventually fell out by itself.
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  20. #20
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    I just got the finned XT for $109 a piece and rotors shipped to my house for $96 (180/160). I love them, much better then the M446 that came on my bike. Ice tech is just that the pads are finned and rotors are steel/al/steel. It helps bleed the heat from the rotors. I finger stopping. Total price depending on your online skills should be little over $315 or so, very much worth it. BTW I have the 6 bolt rotors C/L are a bit more expensive. SLX are a bit cheaper but should still work fine. They still use the same rotors as XT.

    Mark
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  21. #21
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    SLX is the best cost/benefit . I replaced mine in my Epic/2011 and they are veruy good !. It is really one finger breaking.

  22. #22
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    I went from V brakes to XT's, Night and Day difference!!! Mechanics at a LBS hands down recommended XT's, low maintainance,mineral oil, stopping power, modulation. The SLX's seem pretty similar. Bluesky and Jensonusa have them on sale, without ice tech rotors. I've only used XT's so can't compare them to other brands.

  23. #23
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    Reading this thread makes me want another drink!

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