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  1. #1
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    Juicy 7: The Pinnacle of Design Excellence (a long rant)

    Warning: What follows is a cathartic excercise in sarcasm following my first experience with bleeding the 2005 Avid Juicy 7. There have been some design changes incorporated into the 2005 Juicys that, IMO, should result in a swift kick to the crotch with a steel toed boot for the person or persons responsible. If you're considering the 2005 Juicy you may want to read on.

    I started riding a 5 Spot back in January 2005. Since I've got over 900 miles on the bike and we're approaching the midpoint of the year I thought I bleed the brakes and get everything working like new again. I've had intermittent problems with stuck pistons since early February (usually the the outboard ones), but now its a weekly issue and I'm really tired of taking the wheels off, removing the pads, springs, clips, pumping out the pistons, cleaning everything, etc.

    I bought the $30 bleed kit when I got the bike. I opened up the kit last night and read through everything a couple times. Included in the kit were the Changing Hose Length & Bleeding instructions and the Revised Bleeding Instructions. Revised for the 2005 brake or revised because the first instructions were somehow inadequate? Doesn't say. There are some minor differences in the instructions, but there are some really using tips, too, such as how to degas the brake fluid with the included syringes. The instructions also suggests that you locate a large rubber band to clamp the lever to the bars during the bleeding process. Apparantly Avid couldn't afford the extravagance of a large rubber band in their overpriced kit and I don't have a parts bin of rubber bands. I got one from a neighbor.

    The first bit of trouble begins at the lever. One is instructed to loosen the bolts on the shifter and brake so as to manipulate the brake lever later in the bleeding process. Simple enough. Eventually one needs to remove the resevoir cap. This is where the trouble starts.

    The instructions say to slide the cap off. The problem is on the 2005 version the cap is retained by two phillips screws that face toward the handlebar (see attached photo). No amount of sliding the lever back and forth or rotating the level will put both screws in a position to be removed. I could remove one, but not both. The bend in my right-angled phillips was not close enough to the tip to get it under the bar. That means to remove the resevoir cover one has to remove the entire brake lever/master cyclinder assembly from the handlebar.

    Since Avid changed the design of the perch from a two-bolt mount to a single bolt mount on the 2005 Juicy this now necessitates removing your grips and shifters in order to remove the levers. Nice touch! Lots of foresight and convenience here. But it gets better.

    In section 1F of the revised instructions one is advised to "Remove the caliper from the bike at the mounting bolts" so as to manipulte it better to romove all bubbles.

    So if one deals logically with the design issues of the 2005 Juicy 7 and follows the instructions the brakes have now effectively been removed from the bike. Snip a couple of zip ties and one could hang the whole brake system form the rafters of the garage to work on it.

    Needless to say I bled the brakes with the resevoir caps on and the calipers in place and periodically tapped everything with a small rubber coated tool to encourage the escape of bubbles. If one uses the syringe at the lever to draw a vaccum and pump the lever and few times (this is the abbreviated version) you can remove all bubbles. I did this about 5 times until no more bubbles could be drawn into the syringe. Everything seems fine so far, but the real test will come on the long, extended downhill I get to experience this weekend. Hopefully my front lever won't pull all the way back to the bar at an inopportune moment.

    I welcome any and all comments from others. The Juicy's are my first hydros so I'd be interested in hearing about the procedures for other brands of brakes. BTW, I'm not new to brakes. I've rebuilt the master cylinder in my '91 Acura and I have installed braided Goodridge lines, Brembo rotors (twice), and AEM and EBC pads. I've bled this system many times and its nothing like what I just experienced (instructions and design-wise) with the Juicy 7.

    From a performance standpoint I love the Juicy. The modulation is outstanding. But...

    Thanks.--Clyde
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  2. #2
    Never enough time to ride
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    Clyde,

    I read somewhere that Avid did away with the sliding reservoir cap for a very good reason. When people were bleeding their brakes they would see a teeny tiny airbubble and freak out about it. Avid kept getting huge amounts of e-mail about this and decided to remedy the issue with this, but I agree they cerainly need to update their bleed instructions. But a tiny bit of air in the system isn't that big of a deal.

    As far as the removing the caliper, the last time I bled mine after cutting the lines, I just left them in place and tapped with the soft end of a screw driver. This seemed to work, so now worries there.

    I will have to second your motion that these are some of the best brakes I've used. I've never been really all that impressed with what Hayes has had to offer, and haven't had the opportunity to try any Hopes or Maguras. But I like what I got and will stick with em.

    happy trails...

    squish

  3. #3
    not so super...
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    whew...All I got to say is I'm glad I got the 2 bolt levers and the sliding resevoir cap
    Nothing to see here.

  4. #4
    grumpy northerner
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    When I read the revised instructions and compared them to the originals, I decided the sliding cover was so you could check the reservoir through the transparent window beneath (but that it was still essentially closed to the world), and without the sliding cover you just couldn't check the reservoir as you went along. I can see how you could read it and think you had to remove the whole cap though - it's pretty poorly worded.

    btw, if you think $30 for the bleed kit is bad, I paid 24 ($45?) for mine in the UK. No rubber band either, and the tabs on the body of one of the syringes had already broken off

    Re: the air in the reservoir - isn't that because it's an open system, to allow for the brakes to self-adjust?

  5. #5
    M070R-M0U7H FR3NCHI3
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    that is why forums exists a quick search would of given you this thread
    bleeding juicy 7's

    with this:
    Definitely buy the Bleed kit - makes it MUCH more easier!! I've never tried bleeding them without - heck I don't even know if you can do it without the bleed kit.

    Bleeding instructions:
    ** first, make sure you have spare compression fittings and hosebarbs BEFORE cutting any line.
    ** Cut lines at the lever, not the caliper

    Bleeding:
    - Fill one bleed syringe 1/2 full with Fluid. Then de-gas (get air bubbles out) the fluid by clamping the syringe off and pulling a vacuum. As you do this, you’ll see gas bubbles float to the top. Make sure you’re holding the syringe upright. Pull and release the plunger until no more gas bubbles appear. Un-clamp, remove any excess air, then re-clamp this syringe. Leave the other syringe empty and unclamped.

    - Attach ½ full syringe to caliper

    - loosen lever clamp – just enough to rotate, but not too much so it moves freely.

    - position lever parallel to the ground

    - attach empty syringe to lever

    - position lever at 45 degree

    - **Might have to open the lower syringe before doing this** Pull the brake lever completely to the bar and secure with a large rubber band.

    - Draw a vacuum at the caliper. i.e. slowly and gently pull the plunger on the caliper syringe to draw a vacuum. Continue to draw a vacuum until no more air bubbles appear in the fluid.

    Note: Pulling too hard may allow fluid to by-pass the master cylinder. Keep your eye on the master cylinder reservoir to make sure you don’t empty it and draw air into the system!

    - When no more air bubbles, close the lower syringe.

    - release the lever (take rubber band off)

    - Force fluid through the system by holding the lever syringe upright, release the clamp on the
    caliper syringe and force fluid through the system into the lever syringe. Do this until the lever syringe is approximately 1/4 full, then re-clamp the caliper syringe.

    - with both syringes closed, remove the caliper one and re-install the bleed plug

    - Keep the top syringe upright, open it up and SLOWLY squeeze the brake lever halfway to the bar and release 5 or 6 times. This will displace any air bubbles within the master
    cylinder into the master cylinder reservoir. If your bleed is right, it should be pretty crisp. You can also do the vacuum thing to make sure all the bubbles are out – but again be carful. While doing this step, you might want to also vary the position of the lever so to move all the bubbles out.

    - Position lever parallel to the ground

    - close and remove syringe

    - top our the bleed hole and close.

    - you are done.

    and yes...Juicy's ROCK..

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure that removing the screws on the reservoir caps on the '05 version is a good idea.
    I found out by making a hash of the bleed on an '04 that the two screws hold the cover on and the plastic 'bladder' (for want of a better word) in the lever is held on by these two screws. So if you remove the screws you end up with Dot fluid every where. Now I don't know for sure if this is the case with the '05 but I took one look at the revised instructions, another look at the lever and decided not to take the risk

    Acadian's method is the one that works for me, or at least it did for the set of J5's and the J7's that I've fitted.

    They work great much more consistant than the Hopes I've owned in the past but plenty of local riders run Hope and have no problems.

  7. #7
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    Thanks, I just bypass looking at the resevoir

    Quote Originally Posted by Acadian
    that is why forums exists a quick search would of given you this thread
    You're right, but I was expending too much energy throwing F-bombs around my garage to think clearly enough to do this. With minor revisions to your procedure this is essentially what I ended up doing on my own. I'll try to think my calmly next time and search this forum FIRST.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acadian
    Keep your eye on the master cylinder reservoir to make sure you don't empty it and draw air into the system!
    This is one of the reasons for my rant above. I'd have to remove the grips, shifters, and brake levers/master cylinders to be able to remove the cover to even see the resevoir.

    Thanks also to squish, SSINGA, , Wils, and Paul5s for taking the time to respond.

    FWIW, the Revised instructions say the "resevoir...has a removable cover and a clear diaphragm so you can see just what exactly is going on in there." They just don't tell you what a PITA is it to see it on the new and improved '05 Juicy.

    Section 1C of the Revised instructions also states, "Now is also a good time to SLIDE [my emphasis] off the master cylinder resevoir cover." Incendentally, no where in the instructions does it say when to put it back on.

    Lastly, the bleeding instructions at Avid's website contains a version of the instructions that date to July 2003. This one is apparently the oldest and most out of date.

    OK, I think I've beat this dead horse enough. For all you prospective Juicy 7 owners out there, if you're careful and thorough about purging air out of the the brake system you probably don't need to remove the blasted covers. In every other regard the Juicy 7s are awsome brakes. However, for what SRAM charges for 4-5 bleed kits they could pay someone to update the written procedures instead of leaving it as one big cluster f***.

  8. #8
    M070R-M0U7H FR3NCHI3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde S Dale
    This is one of the reasons for my rant above. I'd have to remove the grips, shifters, and brake levers/master cylinders to be able to remove the cover to even see the resevoir.
    actually that is a typo form my part. you do NOT have to keep an eye on the master cylinder. just make sure you don't pull too hard on the syringe and you will be fine.

    serious...I cut the lines and bled both the front and rear brakes on my 5-spot in less than 30 mins using the Avid Bleed Kit!

    I've owned hopes for as long as I've been riding, and this was by FAR the simplest set of brakes I've ever bled.

  9. #9
    Jm.
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    No split perch and screws on the resevior on the handlebar side!!???

    There's no excuse for that, maybe on cheap brakes like the hayes HFX9, but this is supposed to be the top of the line.

    I thought avid was known for making stuff user friendly and easy??
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  10. #10
    Roy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    I thought avid was known for making stuff user friendly and easy??
    They did... in '04.

  11. #11
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    Hydraulic Brakes

    Well, flame suit on here, but after scanning this thread, I can't see how these hassles could be worth the small improvement over the mighty Avid Mechs.

    Yes, I've ridden both. The Juicy's are definitely better, but predominantly in their less aggressive initial grab. The mech versions are a little touchy there.

    Let's see, that took about 1 mile of riding to get used to, then forget.

    Before going to Moab in April, I put new cables on the mechs, just cuz I was excited to work on the bike. Other than that and pads (duh), I haven't had to touch the things in years.

    Bring the flames now!!!

  12. #12
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    Well, flame suit on here, but after scanning this thread, I can't see how these hassles could be worth the small improvement over the mighty Avid Mechs.

    Well, lets see, avid mechs are significantly heavier than hydro disc brakes.

    They seem to wear out pads faster.

    They have to be adjusted more frequently than hydraulics (and with hydraulics, my adjustments are pretty much zero)

    They don't seem to dissapate heat nearly as well as a hydro disc (so they overheat more, probably why the pads don't last as long).

    My avid mechs literally fell apart after a few seasons, the pad adjusters got so loose that they'd back themselves out on rough terrain, leaving me in a pretty scary situation.

    You have to change the cables/housing more often.

    The "mighty" avid mechs are a decent economy disc brake, but the benefits of hydros are obvious and well established.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  13. #13
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    Allrighty, then!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    Well, lets see, avid mechs are significantly heavier than hydro disc brakes.

    They seem to wear out pads faster.

    They have to be adjusted more frequently than hydraulics (and with hydraulics, my adjustments are pretty much zero)

    They don't seem to dissapate heat nearly as well as a hydro disc (so they overheat more, probably why the pads don't last as long).

    My avid mechs literally fell apart after a few seasons, the pad adjusters got so loose that they'd back themselves out on rough terrain, leaving me in a pretty scary situation.

    You have to change the cables/housing more often.

    The "mighty" avid mechs are a decent economy disc brake, but the benefits of hydros are obvious and well established.
    We'll just agree to disagree on all those points, since I've experienced pretty much the opposite on all points. The pads last like crazy (Avid only, aftermarket versions do crap out quickly), I typically adjust each red dial one click for every 3 hour ride, or so--takes 2 seconds, mine don't overheat, at least on wimpy 3,000 foot decents, and I bet I need new cables far less often than you need to bleed brakes. And I can install them in 10 minutes!

    Maybe I've just been lucky, but mine (2 pair on 2 bikes) have been stone-axe reliable, and work great. I think a bit of the perceived superiority of hydraulic brakes is that they cost more, so they must be a lot better. Yeah, that's it!

  14. #14
    Roy
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    We'll just agree to disagree on all those points, since I've experienced pretty much the opposite on all points.
    My experience mirrors Kosmo's, but I also really love my Louise FR's.

  15. #15
    M070R-M0U7H FR3NCHI3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    No split perch and screws on the resevior on the handlebar side!!???

    There's no excuse for that, maybe on cheap brakes like the hayes HFX9, but this is supposed to be the top of the line.

    I thought avid was known for making stuff user friendly and easy??
    the split perch will be back for 06

    and how is that such non-user friendly? how often to you take your brakes off? c'mon now...

    guess it's no surprise coming from you - anything SRAM/RockShox/Avid you'll have a beef with.

  16. #16
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acadian

    and how is that such non-user friendly? how often to you take your brakes off? c'mon now...
    I like avid luc, but a non-split perch is just unacceptable these days. Do you run a stem with a removable face plate?
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  17. #17
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    Excellent analogy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    I like avid luc, but a non-split perch is just unacceptable these days. Do you run a stem with a removable face plate?
    Excellent analogy. Funny that they went "backwards".

    Clearly, I have had good luck with Avid stuff, and it's good to hear that the splitty will return for '06.

    Maybe the SRAM/Rockshock/Avid collision will result in a combo package too good to pass up, and next winter's upgrade will be a SRAM drivetrain with Juicy 7' brakes.

    Hey, people are moving away a healthy distance these days when I note that I'm still running 8-speed stuff! Maybe it's time.

    Dragged into modern times--kicking and screaming the whole way,

    Kosmo

  18. #18
    Never enough time to ride
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    All the points listed above are good, but I'm just going to throw my two cents in here.

    I've been running the Juicy 7's for the last three months, I had to bleed once when I cut the lines down, and haven't had to touch them since. They have excellent power, modulation, and feel. These would have to be the easiest set of brakes I've ever bleed, took me a total of about 45 minutes. The split perch isn't really that big of a deal, because like Acadian said, how often do you really take the brakes off. As I said before I do agree that they need to update there bleed instructions a bit so they go along with the new master cylinder design a little better. Over all I would have to say I would take these over anything else.

    The mechanicals are also an excellent brake, I haven't owned a set but I know a couple of guys that do, and they love them. Except for the cable part, seems like they are replacing the rear cable run on three to four month basis. Adjusting the pads for wear take two seconds, and doesn't really need to be done all that long. Hell one of the guys has been running the same pads for the last two years, and has at least another season on them. But they are kinda porky.


    happy trails...

    squish

  19. #19
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    I'd have to agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by squish
    The split perch isn't really that big of a deal, because like Acadian said, how often do you really take the brakes off. As I said before I do agree that they need to update there bleed instructions a bit so they go along with the new master cylinder design a little better...

    The mechanicals are also an excellent brake...
    Now that I know that I don't need to remove the resevoir cover to adequately bleed the Juicy's I'd have to agree the non-split perch is no big deal. But I didn't know that going into the whole process; it was just one more irritating matter to contend with, especially after sliding and rotating the levers all over the place to find a way to remove the cover and needlessly putting scratches on the finish of my carbon bars (gasp! ).

    I've run Avid mechs on another bike for 2.5 yrs now. While I'm sympathetic to Jm's criticism of the mechs my experience has been more like kosmo and Roy's. The mechs have served me well: excessive pad wear has never been an issue; they've been reliable; I've changed the housing once but I'm still running the same old cables.

    The performance of the Juicy's is terrific; SRAM's published bleed instructions are ambiguous, incomplete, and constitute a diservice to their customers. Given the pricepoint of the brake and the SRAM's reputation for excellence the inadequte instructions included with the bleed kit and the one's published online are inexcusable.

    Did I just kick the dead horse one more time? Sorry.
    Last edited by Clyde S Dale; 05-27-2005 at 09:43 AM. Reason: to edit, of course

  20. #20
    Never enough time to ride
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    Man I loved 8 speed

    I never saw the reason for moving to 9 spd drivetrains. I don't think I needed another gear, but some where along the line someone planted the idea in my head that it was cool.

    I actually truly wish they would bring back a nice top end 8 spd drivetrain for those of us who still don't like our chains skipping about when they get muddy, or have a piece of foliage stuck in the teeth of our drivetrains. I'd switch back in a hearth beat, I wouldn't even have to think about it. But alas here we are, stuck again by the big S

    Hey I have an idea, maybe we should boycot 9 spd drivetrains....Naw never mind dumb idea.

    happy trails...

    squish

  21. #21
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    I am in the process of upgrading my last 8 speed bike to nine speed. This was due to the fact that I couldn't get a real 8 sp. front derailleur any more for my X-C bike, and I would get chain rub in my middle chainring with a 9 speed front derailleur, so I upgraded that to 9 speed. Then I got the new bike with 9 speed SRAM that I'm happy with. Now that I like the SRAM stuff so much, I ordered my new SRAM drivertrain for the trail bike so that I don't have to remember "yellow bike triggers, polished bike thumbs." I hate retraining my fingers between rides.

    Given a choice, I would have stayed with 8 speed, though.

  22. #22
    Never enough time to ride
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    Not a bad choice going with a SRAM drivetrain. My Burner is a complete SRAM out fit. I've heard quite a few complaints about the XGen front der. rubbing in the middle ring, but I haven't experienced this one yet. Don't know if it's the bike or the way I have it set up, but it doesn't seem to rub in any more gears than my last XT did, and the shifts are pretty sweet, crisp and nearly instant.

    happy trails...

    squish

  23. #23
    rr
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    Man, I'm glad I didn't have to bleed mine, I bought the kit cause I needed to unhook the line and thread it thru the taco support but I was able to reconnect it and the brake worked fine. The instructions were confusing and I've bleed my Hayes numerous times.

    As far as the brakes, the single perch thing is no big deal to me and the brakes are nice, so far they get the nod over the Hayes cause of the better lever feel(no sloppy pivot!) and slightly better mod., power is the same as far as I can tell.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    I like avid luc, but a non-split perch is just unacceptable these days. Do you run a stem with a removable face plate?
    A non split perch is lighter and usually better aligned. Also less prone to flex in the lever by design. Just a thought.

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