Giving up on Avid Elixir CRs- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Giving up on Avid Elixir CRs

    Iíve given up on my Elixir CRs. Way too many problems after only 8 months.

    1. Insufficient pad clearance
    2. Non-adjustable pad clearance
    3. Sticky pistons (donít retract enough)
    4. Possible failed lever plunger (according to LBS)
    5. Embarrassing squealing
    6. Hundreds of desperate posts on many forums consisting of tricks, tips and hacks to overcome the above problems (kind of a bad sign I would say)

    Anyway, Iím ordering either XT or XTR to replace them and will either take the loss or sell the pieces of junk for scrap metal.

    Question:
    Do I need the entire Shimano brake kit including hoses? Can I re-use the hoses that came with the Avids for the Shimano brakes?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Avid brakes use DOT fluid, Shimano brakes use Mineral oil. If you use DOT fluid in a brake designed for mineral oil you will destroy the seals in the brakes (which are not replaceable/rebuildable in the case of Shimano brakes).

    Get new hoses for the Shimano brakes and DO NOT let DOT fluid anywhere near them.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizard King
    I’ve given up on my Elixir CRs. Way too many problems after only 8 months.

    1. Insufficient pad clearance adjust bite , see users manual
    2. Non-adjustable pad clearance see above
    3. Sticky pistons (don’t retract enough) clean pistons and bores
    4. Possible failed lever plunger (according to LBS) under warranty?
    5. Embarrassing squealing improper setup?
    6. Hundreds of desperate posts on many forums consisting of tricks, tips and hacks to overcome the above problems (kind of a bad sign I would say) IMHO , most issues are directly related to improper setup

    Anyway, I’m ordering either XT or XTR to replace them and will either take the loss or sell the pieces of junk for scrap metal.

    Question:
    Do I need the entire Shimano brake kit including hoses? Can I re-use the hoses that came with the Avids for the Shimano brakes? You will need the complete system .

    Thanks.

    Good luck .

  4. #4
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    I hear you loud and clear. I gave up on my Elixirs as well and went to XTs. No regrets at all.

  5. #5
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    How often should you have to do all these things like adjusting "bite" and cleaning piston bores? I have a 2010 stumpjumper with low miles and I have had nothing but problems. Is this expected maintenance? can you elaborate on " issues are directly related to improper setup" and give us some tips?



    floydlippencott Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lizard King
    Iíve given up on my Elixir CRs. Way too many problems after only 8 months.

    1. Insufficient pad clearance adjust bite , see users manual
    2. Non-adjustable pad clearance see above
    3. Sticky pistons (donít retract enough) clean pistons and bores
    4. Possible failed lever plunger (according to LBS) under warranty?
    5. Embarrassing squealing improper setup?
    6. Hundreds of desperate posts on many forums consisting of tricks, tips and hacks to overcome the above problems (kind of a bad sign I would say) IMHO , most issues are directly related to improper setup

    Anyway, Iím ordering either XT or XTR to replace them and will either take the loss or sell the pieces of junk for scrap metal.

    Question:
    Do I need the entire Shimano brake kit including hoses? Can I re-use the hoses that came with the Avids for the Shimano brakes? You will need the complete system .

    Thanks.



    Good luck .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by floydlippencott
    IMHO , most issues are directly related to improper setup
    I agree that in most cases that is true. In theory, I could spend days trying to get them tweaked. I have basically given up though. My LBS could not get the pistons to retract. I have tried the piston cleaning techniques and setup tweaks according to Avid instructions and YouTube videos. Pretty much everything except caliper and lever overhaul. That is where I draw the line. I only have so much time to work on brakes and would rather be riding or doing something else.

    The LBS has been helpful and is warranting the lever on the guess that the problem is there.

    Maybe I just have brakes from a bad manufacturing batch. Some people seem to have success with these but I think the problem rate is way too high.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=CarlS]How often should you have to do all these things like adjusting "bite" and cleaning piston bores? I have a 2010 stumpjumper with low miles and I have had nothing but problems. Is this expected maintenance? can you elaborate on " issues are directly related to improper setup" and give us some tips? [QUOTE]



    Bite is adjusted to users preference , it is the distance of the pads from the rotor .

    Piston bores should rarely need cleaning . A 2010 should be warrantied if problems are not in the setup .

    Here is the sticky for FAQ's , much good info and tips : http://www.mtbr.com/discbrakesfaqcrx.aspx

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by floydlippencott
    IMHO , most issues are directly related to improper setup
    Do you work in a bike shop? How much actual experience do you have working on this brakeset?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncfisherman
    Do you work in a bike shop? How much actual experience do you have working on this brakeset?


    No I do not currently work in a bike shop . The three sets of these brakes that I currently own and use gives me plenty of experience in it self . I have made most of the common mistakes with these , usually simple setup issues or requiring a bleed .

  10. #10
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    My Avid J7's had all of these same issues until I coated the caliperís piston seals with Automotive Silicone brake grease. I purchased a 2007 Specialized SJ three years ago with J5 brakes. And within one month the back brake developed the dreaded turkey warbler scream. All the tricks posted throughout this forum did not work to solve the problem because one of the rear caliper's pistons seized up preventing proper alignment setup and even brake pad(s) force on the rotor. When I figured out the frozen piston was causing the warbling sound, I bought a $50.00 caliper seal kit and rebuilt the caliper. These new seals lasted about two months before the inside piston seized up again. Luckily my LBS warranted out the OEM J5's for a new set of J7's. Again within a few months the front caliper pistons froze up causing the warble. This time I rebuilt the caliper using the original seals coated silicone brake prep. grease in lieu of the DOT 5.1 fluid to lube them before I pressed in the pistons back into their bores. This trick has held up for more than two years now because the excess grease in front of the seal between the cylinder and piston prevents dust and dirt from directly working its way under the seal to seize the piston. My trail that I ride on is very dusty, which explains why my pistons keep freezing up. Bicycle hydraulic disc brakes will be a lot more durable once MFRís start putting dust shields in front of their caliper seals to prevent dirt from gumming up the works. Before you spend $300.00 plus on new brakes just note that all Bicycle hydraulic disc brakes lack dust shields and will all eventually have this same problem due to dirt contamination. Go with Avid BB7ís if you want affordable durability.

  11. #11
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    Xt problem free

    I am about to but 3rd set of xt brakes. I was considering avid xx but they are too pricey and the feedback on the same basic design is not sounding very maintenance free. I have about 1/2 a liter of Shimano mineral oil and will buy Price Point xt 765 for my newest single speed 29er. Plus the pads are the same for all my brakes. # pais. Thanks again Mtbr for keeping me from making a bad move.

  12. #12
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    BUY 3rd set

    Buy not but. sorry.

  13. #13
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    FWIW, I bought a set of XT's last spring and they squealed pretty bad and after a couple weeks of trying just about everything I sold them on Ebay.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton
    My Avid J7's had all of these same issues until I coated the caliperís piston seals with Automotive Silicone brake grease. I purchased a 2007 Specialized SJ three years ago with J5 brakes. And within one month the back brake developed the dreaded turkey warbler scream. All the tricks posted throughout this forum did not work to solve the problem because one of the rear caliper's pistons seized up preventing proper alignment setup and even brake pad(s) force on the rotor. When I figured out the frozen piston was causing the warbling sound, I bought a $50.00 caliper seal kit and rebuilt the caliper. These new seals lasted about two months before the inside piston seized up again. Luckily my LBS warranted out the OEM J5's for a new set of J7's. Again within a few months the front caliper pistons froze up causing the warble. This time I rebuilt the caliper using the original seals coated silicone brake prep. grease in lieu of the DOT 5.1 fluid to lube them before I pressed in the pistons back into their bores. This trick has held up for more than two years now because the excess grease in front of the seal between the cylinder and piston prevents dust and dirt from directly working its way under the seal to seize the piston. My trail that I ride on is very dusty, which explains why my pistons keep freezing up. Bicycle hydraulic disc brakes will be a lot more durable once MFRís start putting dust shields in front of their caliper seals to prevent dirt from gumming up the works. Before you spend $300.00 plus on new brakes just note that all Bicycle hydraulic disc brakes lack dust shields and will all eventually have this same problem due to dirt contamination. Go with Avid BB7ís if you want affordable durability.
    Interesting, what you are saying makes a lot of sense. I ride in very dry dusty conditions all summer. Iíve suspected this is a common design problem with hydraulics.

    Okay, so can I find this Automotive Silicone brake grease at most auto parts stores or is it hard to find?

    Is there any point in trying to use it to un-stick and salvage my current pistons or would that just be futile because it probably needs a seal rebuild?

    Thanks for the info.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizard King
    Interesting, what you are saying makes a lot of sense. I ride in very dry dusty conditions all summer. Iíve suspected this is a common design problem with hydraulics.

    Okay, so can I find this Automotive Silicone brake grease at most auto parts stores or is it hard to find? NAPA or other well stocked parts house .

    Is there any point in trying to use it to un-stick and salvage my current pistons or would that just be futile because it probably needs a seal rebuild? Absolutely try it , it's cheaper than buying new brakes , it has a high probability of success .

    Thanks for the info.

    Good luck .

  16. #16
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    Lizard King, I have had no luck what so ever freeing up a sticky piston. Dripping brake fluid between the outer piston and cylinder, spraying silicon oil in the seam between the cylinder and piston, extending the pistons out then coat them with silicone grease and pressing them back in a number of times, re-bleeding the brake and etc. None of these tricks remove the small amount of dirt that has worked its way under the seal, which is causing the seal to bind up against the piston and preventing it from moving or allowing the seal to spring forward or backwards. Some people on this forum have had some limited success with these tricks but I suspect it is only a short term fix. An old timer that I know told me that the first hydraulic motorcycle disc brakes also had a lot of sticky piston problems because (like the current crop of bicycle disc brakes) they lacked dust shields to protect their piston seals. The sticky piston problems were resolved once motorcycle MFRs incorporated dust shields in their calipers brakes. If you have skimmed though automotive manuals you may have read that the root cause of a seized caliper piston is a torn dust shield. So the only thing a bicycle owner can do at this point in time is to warrantee the hell out of these brakes and constantly complain to the MFRís tech support about this fundamental design problem that may have saved a few dollars per unit. Otherwise buy a hydraulic disc brake that offers inexpensive replacement seals like Hayes. From what I understand Shimano does not offer rebuild kits for their calipers so if dripping mineral oil onto the seal does not free the piston then your only options left is to reuse the seals when you rebuild the caliper, warrantee out the caliper or buy a new one.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=AZ.MTNS][QUOTE=CarlS]How often should you have to do all these things like adjusting "bite" and cleaning piston bores? I have a 2010 stumpjumper with low miles and I have had nothing but problems. Is this expected maintenance? can you elaborate on " issues are directly related to improper setup" and give us some tips?



    Bite is adjusted to users preference , it is the distance of the pads from the rotor .

    Piston bores should rarely need cleaning . A 2010 should be warrantied if problems are not in the setup .

    Here is the sticky for FAQ's , much good info and tips : http://www.mtbr.com/discbrakesfaqcrx.aspx
    Bite should not have any effect on pad clearance. Only closed systems can adjust for pad clearance. Avid, Shimano, Hayes, etc are all open system. The bite is adjusted by changing the relative position of the timing port. The only hydraulic brakes which can adjust for pad clearance are ones like the Hayes So1e (single piston) and the old Hope closed system brakes where you turn the knob on the reservoir to change the system volume.

  18. #18
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    i agree its all about setup, at nationals the sram guys at the sram tent fixed my elixer cr's up right and they are nothing but awesome. my buddies with the smae exact brake were noisy as all hell and he had issues too.

    just sayin'
    2011 ERIKSEN XX BUILD IN PROGRESS HERE: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=698673

  19. #19
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    Again, Avidís CPS alignment procedure will not work if you have a sticky piston. Both pistons must move out the same distance to squeeze the rotor in order to align the caliper properly. The trick here is to clamp the slotted rotor with both brake pads so the rotor stays nice and straight during braking. The dreaded turkey warble is caused by one active piston pushing on the rotor to a point where it deflects or bends enough so that the edges of the brake pad rub inside the rotorís slotted elongated holes (not sure if the active or inactive brake pad is causing the vibration). That is why a lot of people in this forum also report major vibrations accompanying the warbler squeal. Another way to visualize this warbler problem is picture a BB5 or BB7 caliper mechanism. Only one brake pad on a mechanical caliper actuates when you pull the cable with your lever and pushes on the rotor until it deflect/bends into the static brake pad on the opposite side to create a pinching/clamping force on the rotor. The reason BB7 owners normally do not have the turkey warble problem is because the gaps between the rotor and the pads are less than the gaps on a hydraulic brake setup. Also Avid sells there brakes with solid rotors. They may also use more material in the caliper to dampen and warbler vibration as well.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton
    Again, Avidís CPS alignment procedure will not work if you have a sticky piston. Both pistons must move out the same distance to squeeze the rotor in order to align the caliper properly. The trick here is to clamp the slotted rotor with both brake pads so the rotor stays nice and straight during braking. The dreaded turkey warble is caused by one active piston pushing on the rotor to a point where it deflects or bends enough so that the edges of the brake pad rub inside the rotorís slotted elongated holes (not sure if the active or inactive brake pad is causing the vibration). That is why a lot of people in this forum also report major vibrations accompanying the warbler squeal. Another way to visualize this warbler problem is picture a BB5 or BB7 caliper mechanism. Only one brake pad on a mechanical caliper actuates when you pull the cable with your lever and pushes on the rotor until it deflect/bends into the static brake pad on the opposite side to create a pinching/clamping force on the rotor. The reason BB7 owners normally do not have the turkey warble problem is because the gaps between the rotor and the pads are less than the gaps on a hydraulic brake setup. Also Avid sells there brakes with solid rotors. They may also use more material in the caliper to dampen and warbler vibration as well.
    bwalton, thanks for the valuable info. You seem to have a lot of insight into this problem. Very helpful.

  21. #21
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    I didn't want to start a new topic, but:

    I notice the Elixir Mags are not listed on the SRAM site. Have they been pulled off the market? Or are do they have a new name?

  22. #22
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    I'm pretty sure they are the new xo brakes
    2011 ERIKSEN XX BUILD IN PROGRESS HERE: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=698673

  23. #23
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    I'm honestly surprised to hear this. The Elixirs have been the easiest brakes to set up for me so far and they have never given me problems. On the flip side, My Magura Martas have been a pain in the neck. The worst brakes I have ever tried though were El Caminos....blah.
    "You can't discern by calculating in your mind how it will work. You have to feel how it rides differently to understand."

  24. #24
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    El Camino

    Yeah, I just sold old pair last week on craigs so I could buy real brakes, that stop you. I called Hayes and spoke with a service guy about the proper way to bleed El Camino and he said " buy our Stroker brakea, El Caminos are not so great ". I think the trick for those stuck w/ El camino is to overfill fluid and they feel more solid. I will miss the addrenaline rush of crappy brakes down 1000 ft drops.

  25. #25
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    I'll jump in here. I've got Juicy's on two bikes. Yeah, they have had their problems but overall they've been ok for me and I can't imagine going back to shimming to adjust a caliper.

    I just built up a new bike with Elixir's. I've got 70 miles on them and the back brake has always had the dreaded vibration/noise issue. UNTIL NOW.

    I spent 20 minutes carefully aligning (for the second time) the rear caliper. Didn't use the CPS squeeze and tighten technique, I visually did the alignment this time. One thing that helped a great deal in doing this is to make sure I had a white background behind the caliper so I could more easily see the gap as I was adjusting this. A grey garage floor isn't going to cut it for this. As I had the bike in my stand, I laid a poster face down on the floor. Worked like a charm.

    2 hour ride this morning, and not a peep from them. Halleleujah! Give it a shot, once or twice before throwing in the towel.

  26. #26
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    More crap made in China.

  27. #27
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    simple solutions

    Let me state the obvious, alot of the symptoms listed here are simply a function of the stock brake pads.. Change out to the organic "green" pads if you have not yet done so... brakes squeel goes away, as does the piston stiction..

  28. #28
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    tightly wrap an inner tube around NDR seat and chainstays. usually this stops the vibration by deadening its resonance with rear triangle and frame. My Elixirs howled like crazy on my Rune until i learned about this.

  29. #29
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    While I love the SRAM XX drivetrain on my bike, I cannot stand the XX brakes. Hang the bike upside down for a day and they feel like all the fluid has poured out. Ride hard on them for a week and they already need new pads compress inconsistently. I did a comparison with my Shimano XT brakes and the XT's won hands down. Better braking power, more consistent, no problems upside down, and the pads lasted longer. I will be sticking to Shimano brakes, maybe try XTR never had those.

  30. #30
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    I have the Avid Elixir CRs and I have been happy with them. I do get the squeals and the occasional vibration, but I haven't paid it much attention. Now that I have read this thread I may try to take a look at them and see if any of the quick fixes work to any extent. When I first assembled my bike I did read the Avid manual. I did the alignment procedure that they recommend, and it helped significantly. Of course they had never been aligned prior because they were brand new.

    I will entertain the idea of new pads as well. I just contributed the recent noise I have been hearing as being due to the pads finally seating and mating with the rotor surface. You know any brake pads will wear pretty agressively up until this point, and are usually quiet until they mate.

    I will try the alignment issue by sight and see if that helps as well. I rode with a friend the other day that just picked up a new '11 Top Fuel 9.9 SSL, and it has Shimano XTR brakes. Not a peep from those things..

  31. #31
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    Meant to say the thing that concerns me is removing and reinstalling the wheels. When I do this, I know the wheel should go back to exactly the same spot, but I have my susipcions..

    I wonder if this can be contributed to the alignment in any way.

  32. #32
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    Anyone know what SRAM part number to order to fix the Elixir CR "floppy lever" syndrome?

  33. #33
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    I also have XX brakes and have had no problems. Jordansrealm, if you hang the bike upside down, then have problems, then the brakes need to be bled. I know Iím going to get flamed for saying this but, if you still have problems then you have not bled them properly.

    If your pads wear too quickly then switch from organic to semi-metallic. In my opinion, most all of the problems listed above are from bad wrenching.

    Some Ďprofessionalí bike mechanics at the LBS donít know how to do a proper bleed. One tip is that the bled will work best if you completely remove the caliper and hold it horizontally when removing the bled syringe. This prevents fluid from leaking out. They do it that way on the Avid video. Also, make sure you undo any reach adjustment you might have made to the levers before you even start the bleed.

    As for the CPS bolts, I have found that it works best if you squeeze the leaver and only lightly tighten the CPS bolts. Then release the lever and fully tighten them, in small increments, one then other. It may take a couple of times but you can get them drag free. This is another thing the Ďprofessionalsí at the LBS have not figured out.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by cncwhiz
    Meant to say the thing that concerns me is removing and reinstalling the wheels. When I do this, I know the wheel should go back to exactly the same spot, but I have my susipcions..

    I wonder if this can be contributed to the alignment in any way.

    I always re-adjust the caliper whenever a wheel is removed.
    I also tend to check the alignment when loaded on the bike rack before a ride.
    Never seem to have a problem with any of my brakes and it only takes a moment!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cncwhiz
    Meant to say the thing that concerns me is removing and reinstalling the wheels. When I do this, I know the wheel should go back to exactly the same spot, but I have my susipcions..

    I wonder if this can be contributed to the alignment in any way.
    The way it seats in the dropouts and the tension on the quick release lever is often not the same, resulting in rub. There are some quick release levers designed to tension to the same amount every time.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweatyYeti
    I also have XX brakes and have had no problems. Jordansrealm, if you hang the bike upside down, then have problems, then the brakes need to be bled. I know Iím going to get flamed for saying this but, if you still have problems then you have not bled them properly.

    If your pads wear too quickly then switch from organic to semi-metallic. In my opinion, most all of the problems listed above are from bad wrenching.

    Some Ďprofessionalí bike mechanics at the LBS donít know how to do a proper bleed. One tip is that the bled will work best if you completely remove the caliper and hold it horizontally when removing the bled syringe. This prevents fluid from leaking out. They do it that way on the Avid video. Also, make sure you undo any reach adjustment you might have made to the levers before you even start the bleed.

    As for the CPS bolts, I have found that it works best if you squeeze the leaver and only lightly tighten the CPS bolts. Then release the lever and fully tighten them, in small increments, one then other. It may take a couple of times but you can get them drag free. This is another thing the Ďprofessionalsí at the LBS have not figured out.
    Reach adjustment should have no influence on a bleed. Reach only changes the position of the lever relative to the MC/pushrod.

    The throw/freestroke/whatever you want to call it needs to be adjusted though.

  37. #37
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    I will start loosening the caliper mounting bolts and reseating it from now on. The only way I can carry the bike on my Vette is to remove the front wheel. Being a 29er, the front wheel sits about 4" off the ground. That's too close for my comfort. To transport it I have to remove it.

  38. #38
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    CRC's offer for the elixir cr mags or the formula oro puros?

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by XSL_WiLL
    Reach adjustment should have no influence on a bleed. Reach only changes the position of the lever relative to the MC/pushrod.

    The throw/freestroke/whatever you want to call it needs to be adjusted though.
    XLS_WiLL you are wrong that reach adjustment does not influence the bleed. This is directly from the Avid manual: ďFor models equipped with Reach Adjust, ensure that the reach is not adjusted so far out that it causes the lever blade to bottom out on the lever body. Doing so can make bleeding the brake impossible.ď

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweatyYeti
    XLS_WiLL you are wrong that reach adjustment does not influence the bleed. This is directly from the Avid manual: ďFor models equipped with Reach Adjust, ensure that the reach is not adjusted so far out that it causes the lever blade to bottom out on the lever body. Doing so can make bleeding the brake impossible.ď
    All it says is that you can't have it so that the lever blade bottoms out on the lever body. If it's in a reasonable range, it does not influence the bleed.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by cncwhiz
    I will start loosening the caliper mounting bolts and reseating it from now on. The only way I can carry the bike on my Vette is to remove the front wheel. Being a 29er, the front wheel sits about 4" off the ground. That's too close for my comfort. To transport it I have to remove it.
    I have the same problem when using THE BENZ!!!

  42. #42
    mtbr member
    Reputation: AK47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,087
    To the OP - this is exactly why I won't ever use Avid hydros again. Their mechanical disc brakes, yes. But hydros, never again (problems with other versions than yours)...

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