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  1. #1
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    why do people still use avid brakes?

    it started with the juicies', and now we have the elixirs. for the last 6 years people have been reporting the turkey warble, the sticky pistons and the rubbing.
    i now here the 2012 avid xx is much better than the 2011 xx. a top of the line brake, which cost a lot of money, and they are still fixing it's problems, year after year?

    i think its time to except the fact that avid are not that good at making mtb hydraulic disc brakes. no shame in it. they've been trying hard for the past several years, always coming up with an inconsistent product, with the same problems keep showing up year after year.

    why do people keep buying them? paying money for an inferior product when there are many good alternatives is crazy in my book.

    (i worked as a wrench and never had the misfortune of owning avid brakes myself)

  2. #2
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    well perception of Avids problems may be slightly distorted - they come stock on many bikes, so there are tons of them around. Naturally, more people are going to have trouble with them.


    That being said, I have yet to see Avids on anyones bike that don't make noise, rub, or have some other weird problem. I mean, a friend of mine had the first Codes back when they came out, and one of the pistons broke... wtf.
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  3. #3
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    Chrysler mechanics wonder why Chrysler builds crap.
    Whirlpool repairmen wonder why Whirlpool builds crap.
    Hewlett Packard geeks wonder why Hewlett Packard builds crap.
    Harley Davidson wrenches wonder why Harley... well, Harley actually does build crap.

    anyway, see the pattern yet?

  4. #4
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    I run (2009) Juicy 7's and Elixir CR's that came on my 29er's and haven't had any issues. Both sets have great stopping power, pistons do not stick, no issues bleeding them, no significant fading, and run without gobbling to speak of (unless I hit deep water or mud and they make noise for a couple of minutes like any other set of brakes). I agree that there are a lot out in the world so they are likely to have more issues but all of them aren't bad.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetblast10 View Post
    Chrysler mechanics wonder why Chrysler builds crap.
    Whirlpool repairmen wonder why Whirlpool builds crap.
    Hewlett Packard geeks wonder why Hewlett Packard builds crap.
    Harley Davidson wrenches wonder why Harley... well, Harley actually does build crap.

    anyway, see the pattern yet?
    you can't compare the products you listed to a bicycle component. bicycles are made out of entirely independent parts which can be easily replaced. you can't put a toyota brakes/engine/gear box into a chrysler (within a reasonable cost). same goes for the other products on the list.
    you can't take a bad car and fix it by changing some of the parts. you can however, fix a bad bike setup by switching only few components.

  6. #6
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    I'm not comparing products as much as I'm comparing people's perceptions of products and showing many examples. Nearly every product has aftermarket upgrades to select from which will improve performance. By the time anything is exactly the way you want it, it could have parts sourced from many different suppliers. ie. Toyota brakes don't need to fit a Chrysler when Brembo makes a Chrysler set.

    The point is always the same. People want to talk about something they're disappointed in for whatever reason they have; but in the end it's just banter unless some test & validation methodology is employed.

    btw, I bought BB7's. They stop my bike. Good enough for me.

  7. #7
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    somewhat experienced bicycle riders visit internet forums. you have to agree, that the picture painted from many anecdotal evidence, is that avid brakes are more problematic than most.
    is it a valid statistical observation? probably not. but my personal experience, and the experience of many friends is very similar.
    why are there no horror stories of shimano or magura or formula?

  8. #8
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    I've seen lots of people have little or no issues with Avids. They offer decent stopping power at decent prices.
    However I also know people that have had lots of issues with constant need to re-bleed etc.

    I have Juicy 7s on my Trance X and they are OK. I've only bled them once in the last 2 years.

    However I now have a set of Hope Tech M4s on my Nomad and I now see the light! So easy to bleed, great modulation and great adjustability. I also like Shimano brakes.

  9. #9
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    I had Juicy7 brakes on one of my bikes (sold a while back) and my only complaint was the lack of pad retraction (piston bore reflux) upon lever release, which caused varying degrees of friction. Mostly just noise but sometimes a little more.
    But I didn't consider this to be Avid's problem. Instead I faulted the concept of a fixed rotor with zero inherent wobble, a semi floating rotor (think good motorcycle rotors) would've solved that problem. The pad spring clip didn't seem powerful enough to overcome the neutral hydraulic weight. I suppose one could blame Avid for that but I didn't see it that way.
    At any rate, the mechanical brakes don't have that issue. Adjust them every so often and they're good to go.



    question. Do you find that the Avid issues discussed are more common in specific types of riding? Say more XC than downhill or vice versa?

    Also, would you characterize the riders who have issues about Avid as being really really good riders? Like to say they're categorically better than a good average rider? It stands to reason that a professional class rider is going to find (and want to eliminate) nuance issues that a 3 hour per week recreational XC rider wouldn't find or might just choose to accept.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetblast10 View Post
    I had Juicy7 brakes on one of my bikes (sold a while back) and my only complaint was the lack of pad retraction (piston bore reflux) upon lever release, which caused varying degrees of friction. Mostly just noise but sometimes a little more.
    But I didn't consider this to be Avid's problem.



    question. Do you find that the Avid issues discussed are more common in specific types of riding? Say more XC than downhill or vice versa?

    Also, would you characterize the riders who have issues about Avid as being really really good riders?
    what you are describing here is a sticky piston, one of the two major constant problems of avid brakes. its not enough to clean the pistons, as you would on other companies' brakes, rather changing the seals is required.

    those are very good questions. i really can't answer them because riders are not uniform enough. some good riders have no mechanical skills and little experience with different setups. some bad riders have skills and experience, and all the other combinations possible.
    but i can say that many riders don't know that anything is wrong or think its normal (like yourself, for instance).
    also, many riders stick to certain setups they are familiar with (i.e. people who swear on a certain brand and never change it) and are rarely experimenting with new ones, mistakenly thinking that what they have is good. if you had avids on your first "real" fs bike, its likely you'll have avids on the next bike, because this is the first "real" hydraulic brake and you think its good - otherwise, why pay 2k$ for a bike?

  11. #11
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    I've owned Avid V brakes, really good. Avid BB5 mediocre at best. Avid BB7 great brake. Hayes Stroker Ryde, mediocre again, and Avid Elixir 5 powerful and modulate well, but sticky pistons, warbling and bleeding annoyances, but no biggie considering the cheap price. Also remember many ills can be fixed simply by changing the pads!

    So why Avid? Anyhow in China, where I live, if you want parts then really Avid or Shimano are only available. Magura and Formula are possible, but I think SLX or XT will be the future of hydro in this region, BB7 the future of mechs. I've really had enough of Avid hydros, at least for now, but I'll wait for my Elixir 5s to die their natural death, and probably replace with XT. But please remember that really Elixirs aren't any worse than Hayes Stroker Rydes or Trails for example, keep it in perspective.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lew242 View Post
    But please remember that really Elixirs aren't any worse than Hayes Stroker Rydes or Trails for example, keep it in perspective.
    most people know that hayes brakes are crap. no one would put hayes brakes on a high end bike. but avid? plenty.
    you said it yourself how disappointing they are. you said they are cheap, but shimano low end brakes (non serial ones) would be much cheaper, and perform much better; without the constant need for pad changing, rotor swapping and bleeds.
    are there bad brakes on the market? sure - tektro and hayes are two good examples of bad brakes which people stay away from. avid aren't as bad, but not nearly good enough for expensive bikes, and certainly not good enough as an upgrade.

    i get that sram are very powerful, and avid are the leading oem brakes, but that should not stop people from seeing them for what they are - bad products that should be avoided.

  13. #13
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    why do people still use avid brakes?
    Because they come stock on many bikes. Even though I have had the occasional problem with Avids over the years, and even though I've developed a liking for Shimano-brand brakes, I can't afford to just toss away what I've got. They work. So I run 'em.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by brake jack View Post
    most people know that hayes brakes are crap. no one would put hayes brakes on a high end bike

    ...

    sure - tektro and hayes are two good examples of bad brakes which people stay away from. avid aren't as bad, but not nearly good enough for expensive bikes, and certainly not good enough as an upgrade.
    This is debatable. There are a lot of people on these forums that would disagree with you, especially in regards to certain models like the Stroker Ace. They're obviously going to not be as good as top-of-the-line models, but their prices reflect that.

  15. #15
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    i had a set of juicy ultimate 7's that were great. came stock on my old carbon stumpy. my first hydro's after years on v brakes...

    i specced sram xo's on my new 29er build on the back of that limited first hand (or left and right hand?) real world riding. and they are stunning. and they fit into my alt bar set up with their neat rounded clamp - bonus.

    i think avid brakes are great, never had any problems. think folk have various hang ups about certain brands based on experience etc which is fair enough but im a fan.

  16. #16
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    My avids are still ok , i think they're getting a little softer and the front one slipped down in the fork clamp(for the housing) and crimped pretty bad. I grabbed a lever onmy friends new saint brakes,wow! I've heard shimano's are the shiz and they feel great,i didn't ride the bike but just from the lever feel amazing. I think shimano is the best at making good products right off the drawing board and then making real improvements year after year.

  17. #17
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    +1 to the OEM spec argument. i'd venture to guess that most avid owners got them as stock brakes on their bikes. the big boys seem to spec a lot of avids in the different iterations as oem brakes hence the seeming ubiquity of them.

  18. #18
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    A lot of people have and love Avid brakes. I fixed up the problems on my elixir 3s but they still needed to be bled to often and were not as powerful as I'd like them to be. I now have XTR brakes and like them a lot more. Still, there are good riders with avid brakes.

  19. #19
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    My Avid brakes are incredible. Best stopping power and modulation I have experienced. I have never been able to figure out why people have so many problems. Sure they squeal a bit when they get wet and muddy, bit in a few seconds the squeal goes away. Set these babies up right and they provide solid performance with smooth modulation. Love 'em FTW!

  20. #20
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    my thoughts upon those who absolutely hate Avid brakes are that they probably haven't tried enough of them that are properly set up to really say a whole lot about them. Personally, I got tired of inconsistency and lacking power abilities when I decided to go from Elixir 3 brakes to XTR Trails

  21. #21
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    I just upgraded to avid hydro's this week over my stock tektro mech's.

    My reasoning? Price. They were well within my price range and they work.

    I'm not a racer or hardcore rider, so that's all I need. And I'm sure there's alot more out there like me.
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  22. #22
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    first time I bought a set of Avid brakes wasn't too long ago, they were elixir-r's. I got em because they were decently priced and bone simple to install. Unpack, uncoil, attach, squeeze lever to center caliper, secure caliper, spin wheel to check and ride.. dead easy. Worked beautifully ever since.. THEN..I rode over winter where it got wet..somehow thought I'd sidestepped the turkey warble I'd heard about..but two hours of "Gobble-gobble"and I'd be damned if'n it does sound exactly like a turkey. Anyhow..other than that the suckers just work and work.

    When I was putting this bike together I wanted to avoid the irritating trait I have of somehow missing out some small parts or other that halts the build dead in it's tracks until I can get them, hate that..and the LBS NEVER have the little and specific things you have in mind... I just gathered, and built and wanted it to be a simple process and the Avids came with everything, rotors, loc-tight'ed bolts...easy peasy.

    I have hayes, hope, shimano, formula and avid brakes on my bikes..only one that has ever given me any second glances are the shimano's with the mineral oil fluid...dem suckers keep going spongy but admittedly they are a low end set totally unadjustable set and the bleed kit is a ridiculous price.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by brake jack View Post
    it started with the juicies', and now we have the elixirs. for the last 6 years people have been reporting the turkey warble, the sticky pistons and the rubbing.
    i now here the 2012 avid xx is much better than the 2011 xx. a top of the line brake, which cost a lot of money, and they are still fixing it's problems, year after year?

    i think its time to except the fact that avid are not that good at making mtb hydraulic disc brakes. no shame in it. they've been trying hard for the past several years, always coming up with an inconsistent product, with the same problems keep showing up year after year.

    why do people keep buying them? paying money for an inferior product when there are many good alternatives is crazy in my book.

    (i worked as a wrench and never had the misfortune of owning avid brakes myself)
    These all sound like problems that are common to all hydraulic disc brakes.

    My question is... are they really that bad, or do they have a bad rap because they are so popular? ... I mean, they come OEM on so many bikes.

    My XTRs and Hope Mono Minis get sticky pistons from time to time. I just clean them, and the problem goes away for a while. I don't think this is specific to any one brand of brake.

    That said, I know loads of folks with Avid hydraulic brakes who complain about them... a lot. I know one guy who owned like 8 sets, and basically lot sold them on Ebay for really cheap.

  24. #24
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    I'll personally never buy Avid's again aftermarket. If they came on a bike I'd give them a chance, but that's it. SLX's are only a little more money than Elixir 5's and well worth it to me. No turkey's, dead simple bleeding, minimal dead lever throw and fantastic modulation.

    I know there are lots of people that are happy with Avids. I also know lots of people suggest that setup error is the likely cause of troubles. I did the following in trying to evict the turkeys from mine:
    - Set calipers up "Hope style" with feeler gauges to within 0.003" parallel and centered
    - Trued the discs with a dial indicator
    - Deburred the discs
    - Acetone washed the discs(multiple times)
    - Sanded the discs
    - Chamfered the pad edges
    - Tried different pads
    - Cleaned/reseated pistons
    - Multiple bleeds

    Shimanos? Tightened the screws and rode. There are too many people that have gone through the same issues with Avid's that have had no problems with other brands.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moozh View Post
    ..only one that has ever given me any second glances are the shimano's with the mineral oil fluid...dem suckers keep going spongy but admittedly they are a low end set totally unadjustable set and the bleed kit is a ridiculous price.
    I know the older generations of Shimano brakes weren't considered very good. The m665/m775 brakes and above are dead simple to bleed and don't even need a bleed kit. A foot of tubing from the local hardware store and a zip lock are all that is required.

  26. #26
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    To be perfectly honest, of all brakes I tried and my closest riding buddies have tried, only the Shimano XT was making no issues whatsoever.

    However, if you count out the obvious brake problems like broken piston, the issue could be in tons of things not just the brakes. Contaminated or crappy pads, twisted or bad rotors, misalignment etc. Do not quickly blame the brake system.

    I had issues with X0 brakes, then I bought Hope Saw rotors, and suddenly no issues anymore. They work perfectly. So, it was not the brake itmwas my rotor.
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  27. #27
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    Got a friend with Formula, they were causing problems. He sold them to another friend, and he has no issues with them, they are perfect. This first dude then bought Magura Marta, was ok for first few months, now they are horrible. Etc etc etc....
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    These all sound like problems that are common to all hydraulic disc brakes.
    no, they are not. if you'd ever try "just cleaning" avid sticky pistons, you'd see its a lot harder than with other brands, and rarely achieves the same results.

  29. #29
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    Huh...

    Quote Originally Posted by brake jack View Post
    no, they are not. if you'd ever try "just cleaning" avid sticky pistons, you'd see its a lot harder than with other brands, and rarely achieves the same results.

    ... Too bad.

    I'm just saying a lot of what people complain about wtih Avids sound like the same problems I have with my brakes from time to time. I'm just getting a feel if this is a popularity vs. folks aren't aware of hydraulic brake issues, or worse... Avids aren't designed very well.

    Yeah, I love Shimano brakes. Next set will likely be Shimano, mostly because I like dual control levers... yeah, I 'm a freak.

    The one thing I don't like about Shimano is that they don't have replacement parts like seals and pistons. They are disposable. That said, I've never actually worn out a Shimano caliper or lever. I rebuilt my Hopes, and that turned out well. Parts were cheap when ordered from the UK.

    Are Avids serviceable?

  30. #30
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    People that are happy with their brakes rarely go to forums to talk about them. I ran juicy 7s that came oem for 6 years, and the only annoyance I ever had was that it always seemed a lot harder to get new pads in the calipers than it should be. Other than that there has not been one issue. I never even new there was a "brake time" forum until about a month ago I got a pair of the new xt's and I have been on this forum almost every day trying to work different issues out. I just sent my front brake back to shimano for warranty.

    I'm still excited for when I get the xt's dialed, but my point is with the high numbers of avid brakes being used out there, think of all those that have great brakes with no need to visit this forum or your bike shop.

  31. #31
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    I'm happy with my elixirs that came stock on my 2009 specialized stumpjumper fsr. I have them on my mach 5 now.

    Sent from my Nexus S using Tapatalk

  32. #32
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    Oh boy. First, I was going to get the XT 785 disc brake set on sale at Bluesky for $250 with rotors and adapters, but the "I love XT" brake thread indicated there might be a manufacturing defect with the XT brakes. Then I started looking at the 2012 Avid Elixir 7s, and now I read this thread.

    My LBS says to go with XT 785's and Avid rotors!! What do you think is my best choice for xc/all mountain?

  33. #33
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    I have had three different sets of avid brakes. One bb7 that has worked flawlessly for years on my hardtail And on my enduro, One set of juicy sevens that worked great but got replaced with a set of juicy ultimates after they got trashed in a wreck. I put dangerboy levers on them and have been running them for 3 years now. No problems with the sticky pistons, turkey warble, or bleeding. Maybe I haven't "seen the light" cause I haven't tried anything else but also if it isn't broke don't fix it. As of right now I ride mostly downhill and love these brakes. When I decide to get new ones I'm sure I'll probably stick with avid. I might just be lucky but I feel a lot of the bad remarks come because of the huge number of people using avids.

  34. #34
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    Why should I change if I've had no problems?

    Spending money just costs money.

  35. #35
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    Love my Avid's, any one throwing theirs away can feel free to send them my way.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by OS cuda' View Post
    I might just be lucky but I feel a lot of the bad remarks come because of the huge number of people using avids.
    I hear you. If there are 50,000 Avid brakes vs 20,000 Shimano brakes, and there are twice as many complaints for Avid brakes, then the Avid's are actually better brakes!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    Love my Avid's, any one throwing theirs away can feel free to send them my way.
    I'll take the overflow.

    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    I hear you. If there are 50,000 Avid brakes vs 20,000 Shimano brakes, and there are twice as many complaints for Avid brakes, then the Avid's are actually better brakes!
    Exactly.

  38. #38
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    I have two set of Juicy 3s. One had a sticky piston after 3 years. Both had the turkey gobble and squealing when new. Nothing a good long break-in period didnt fix. Washed them down with brake cleaner while I was breaking them in (about 3 rides). Bleeding isnt much of a problem with the exception of having to do it with the manual. I havent gotten the sequence down, only do it once a year.

    None of these problems I find excessive. At least not worth 400 dollars worth of new brakes. They stop good and require basic maintenance. I hear YMMV

  39. #39
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    I've ran Avid Juicys for years and had issues but nothing major and you know what, just picked up some Elixir's and impressed so far.


    There main selling point is the Tri Alignment system, no hassling around getting your frame and forks faced just bolt them on and ride, great for cheap ish bikes with sloppy made brake tabs.

    I like the bleeding method to, the pretty little bubbles

  40. #40
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    But dude, if all those aforementioned brands built stuff to the quality you're implying, the typical consumer wouldn't want to pay for it.
    Question to a custom frame builder..."So what makes your bikes climb better?"....his answer, "Uh, your legs?"

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by brake jack View Post
    (i worked as a wrench and never had the misfortune of owning avid brakes myself)
    Couldn't hack it as a tube changer at the bike store? Why did they fire you, because you couldn't fix brakes?

  42. #42
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    The worst brakes I've used and also the most expensive are the Hope Mono Mini's so >Price does not equal better quality, build quality was actually higher but it didn't mean better performance it meant uber sensitive and picky and a nightmare to use.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd View Post

    I like the bleeding method to, the pretty little bubbles
    I may be mistaken. There is nothing in biking I hate more than degassing brake fluid

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bing! View Post
    I may be mistaken. There is nothing in biking I hate more than degassing brake fluid

    Works with my geeky scientist side I guess.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by bing! View Post
    I may be mistaken. There is nothing in biking I hate more than degassing brake fluid
    I take it you've never hit a tree at speed.

  46. #46
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    The solution to the "Turkey gobble howl" is actually quite simple.

    1. Remove stock pads

    2. Install Kool-Stop pads with the new metal "clip"

    3. Before putting the "clip" onto the pads, *very lightly* put a tiny coating of Orange CRC Brake quiet goo onto the sides and, eyelet of each pad. (NOT on the backing of the pads, JUST where the clip holds the pads). Also put a very light coating where the screw-in pin goes through the eyelets of pads.

    Let the goo set-up for a healthy 10 - 15 minutes, before putting the pads onto the clip.

    4. Carefully install the pads & clip assembly back into the caliper, and install the screw-pin & E-Clip.

    5. Let the setup chill out for about 30 minutes so the goo starts to dry, and then go ride your bike.

    6. Enjoy quiet brakes.



    The only "problem" with the Elixir's is that the clip allows resonance when you brake. A lot of cars & trucks have this problem too, just on a much larger scale.

    Be very gentle with the amount of CRC Brake Goo you use, and DON'T put it on the backings, and you really won't have any issues.

    Attention to detail can sometimes go a long way.

    You in Oklahoma City? If yes, come ride with us.

  47. #47
    ballbuster
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    Huh....

    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd View Post
    The worst brakes I've used and also the most expensive are the Hope Mono Mini's so >Price does not equal better quality, build quality was actually higher but it didn't mean better performance it meant uber sensitive and picky and a nightmare to use.
    IMO, Hope Mono Minis were the best brakes I ever owned. I had some minor issues with them, nothing that was a big deal to figure out once I learned how.

    After 3000 miles and 6 years, I just rebuilt my rear.... $30 in parts, and tinkering with it for an hour and it's good as new.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by brake jack
    i get that sram are very powerful, and avid are the leading oem brakes, but that should not stop people from seeing them for what they are - bad products that should be avoided.
    Are Hayes and Avid necessarily crap though? The reviews from Hayes Stroker Ace and Avid Code suggest that their high-end offerings work well. The dumbing down of the prices and quality seems to have been where they have failed most.

  49. #49
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    I recently upgrades to Hayes Strokers after I saw 4 of my riding buddies continually have issue with their Avid brakes. I've been using Hayes brakes on several different bikes since about 2000. Never had an issue with any of them.

    BTW I love my Hayes Strokers. They're hands down the best brake for the $$.
    2016 Santa Cruz Hightower 29er
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    BTW I love my Hayes Strokers. They're hands down the best brake for the $$.
    That's funny, because mine are the worst I've ever seen, and on par with what I've come to expect from Promax. I suppose that just goes to show how it's important not to rely overly much on a single anecdote or point of experience.

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