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Thread: Is it air?

  1. #1
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    Is it air?

    I was riding my week old spearfish last night and noticed that after a 1ft drop the front brake lever seemed to be really squishy (not a good feeling), they felt better after a few aplications. When I went to hang the bike up after the ride I pulled the front brake lever with the bike upside down and the lever pulled all the way to the handle bar, it took 2-3 minutes to pump back up (with the bike rightside up). The brakes didn't feel great when I got the bike, but i figured they would "break in" and feel better. The brakes are Elixer R's, which are alot like the CR's I have on my Stumpjumper and those have never been confident stopers either but they have never felt like the R's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob12676 View Post
    I was riding my week old spearfish last night and noticed that after a 1ft drop the front brake lever seemed to be really squishy (not a good feeling), they felt better after a few aplications. When I went to hang the bike up after the ride I pulled the front brake lever with the bike upside down and the lever pulled all the way to the handle bar, it took 2-3 minutes to pump back up (with the bike rightside up). The brakes didn't feel great when I got the bike, but i figured they would "break in" and feel better. The brakes are Elixer R's, which are alot like the CR's I have on my Stumpjumper and those have never been confident stopers either but they have never felt like the R's.
    Yup, air in the system. There are lots of places in hydro brakes for air bubbles to hide. The drop likely jarred a bubble loose from it's hiding place. Pumping the lever moved it enough to firm up the brakes a bit. Hanging it upside down allowed it to move back into the line. A good bleed should solve the problem.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squash View Post
    Yup, air in the system. There are lots of places in hydro brakes for air bubbles to hide. The drop likely jarred a bubble loose from it's hiding place. Pumping the lever moved it enough to firm up the brakes a bit. Hanging it upside down allowed it to move back into the line. A good bleed should solve the problem.
    That's some really good advice. I'd be interested to hear how they are after a bleed is done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbnozpikr View Post
    That's some really good advice. I'd be interested to hear how they are after a bleed is done.
    I'll be sure to give you an update after they're bled, probably early next week. I was going to buy a bleed kit and do it myself,but my LBS will do it for $10 a brake and they know what they're doing!

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    I finally had the brakes looked at and the mechanic said he went through a complete bleed procedure and found no air. The shop employees all agreed that the brakes don't feel right, but no one has any idea why. Sram has been contacted and they haven't heard of a problem quite like this. They had the shop check a few adjustments and told them to let me ride it and if the problem persists they will look into replacement.

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    Yeah, absolutely its the air in the whole system..!
    Your idea was correct.!

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    I dropped the bike back off at the shop yesterday after a couple more of scary rides. I haven't picked it up yet, but the mechanic left me a voice mail saying he found water in the system. Does this sound strange to anyone else? I'm an automotive mechanic and I do a ton of brake work and it just sounds strange. I will assume that DOT 5.1 brake fluid (which is what elixirs use) is silicone based and doesn't absorb water like DOT 3 and 4 so the water was visible in the bled fluid. How does water get in to a sealed system? The bike only has 100 miles on it since I bought it and the brakes felt bad on my first ride. Oh well, I hope that was my problem, I'll check back in after a couple more rides.

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    Brakes bled, but are no better

    The shop did a complete bleed/flush and found water in the fluid. I picked the bike up last night and headed to the trail, the brakes initially felt better but were back to feeling weak and squishy in no time. I have noticed, over the last few rides, that moving they bike away from level seems to make things much worse (bounding down hills, getting up on a burm in a corner, or even out of seat climbing if I rock the bike side to side). Any ideas?

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    I hate saying this: Your LBS probably did not do a proper bleed. They might not know fully what they are doing when it comes to your specific kind of brake. Evidence of this is that you still have the problem (did they consider everything?). Other things to check for are rotor centered between pads and a sticky piston. Maybe you got some bad brakes, but it just sounds like air.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob12676 View Post
    The shop did a complete bleed/flush and found water in the fluid. I picked the bike up last night and headed to the trail, the brakes initially felt better but were back to feeling weak and squishy in no time. I have noticed, over the last few rides, that moving they bike away from level seems to make things much worse (bounding down hills, getting up on a burm in a corner, or even out of seat climbing if I rock the bike side to side). Any ideas?
    That kind of sounds like BS. I doubt they would be able to analyze the water content in the DOT fluid. Considering that they are the ones that bled them recently, it's unlikely that there is a significant amount of water there anyway.

    You should push them for warranty replacement- tell them you crashed because the brakes didn't slow the bike down and you are not going to put yourself in danger anymore.

    Avid supposedly has a good reputation for their warranty/ service department.
    Get it unlocked.

  11. #11
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    It was air, but it aint fixed!

    I picked up my bike from the shop again last night along with a refund for the $30 I had been charged to bleed the brakes (the refund was a pleasant surprise). The shop owner said he had contacted Sram and that there is a new bleeding procedure for 2011 Elixers and he had missed a step on previous attempts. After trying to bleed the brakes several times, and with no better results, he had a someone from Sram coach him through step by step over the phone and the problem is still there. I was told that during bleeding the mechanic could see a constant stream of air coming out of the master cylinder and that after the 7-10 attempted bleeds there is no way there should still be air. So, the conclusion is that the brakes are defective.
    Last edited by Bob12676; 09-01-2011 at 09:22 AM.

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