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Do all Avid Hydraulic Brakes Suck?

Sept. 26, 2012, 9:47 a.m.
Posts: 1153
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

What's up with Avid hydraulics? Everyone who owns them seems to have a complaint about them, usually about the constant need for re-bleeding. I have a pair of Avid Elixir 5s. I found out the hard way that you can't store your bike hanging it front-wheel up, or you will get air in your line. What kind of crappy design is this? I've used other hydraulic brake systems for over 12 years (Hayes, Shimano) and never encountered any of this crap before.

I have 3 sets of Juicy 7's on my wife and my 4 bikes. The 4th bike has Shimano. I have had no such issues with the Juicy's, and have been a fan of them since day one. I might have to bleed each set once a year? If that. A good bleed is the key to any brake! To be honest I did run them by default on some of the later builds just to have consistency between so many bikes! The XTR trails I have on the 4th bike are nice, but the faulty hose that comes with them is inexcusable. Going forward, I will probably start switching over to Shimano when it is time to replace the Juicy's

Sept. 26, 2012, 10:42 a.m.
Posts: 4851
Joined: Nov. 25, 2002

-ca. 2005/2006 Juicy 5s - awesome, zero maintenance, lots of power (for the times)

the cheap (or, value oriented, rather) bastard that i am, have 2 sets of juicy 5's - dirt cheap on ebay; toss on alligator rotors [HTML_REMOVED] a sprinkling of ti bolts that are inevitably kicking about in your toolbox and you have a set of bomber, low maintenance brakes that weigh within a powerbar wrapper of the weight of the latest top end carbon infused hardware - at about 1/3 (or less) the price.

that said, my carbon infused juicy ultimates (circa 2007) are still running strong on the dh rig; not bad for an xc brake.

elixirs seem problematic; have they finally got things sorted?

Sept. 26, 2012, 11:46 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: May 31, 2011

Apart from the needing to be bled often thing and bleeding being a bit fiddly, I really like my Juicy 5s. I actually think they feel better than my SLX brakes when they're freshly bled. Held up for a season riding WBP pretty much daily with no fade or anything - and I was braking loads when I first started riding there! Great pad life and I like the lever feel/blade shape, plus the lower profile lever looks way better than the new shimanos.

Sept. 26, 2012, 12:14 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: April 14, 2011

thought 2005 Juicy 7 was pinnacle of Avid brake manufacturing and quality control - mine came on my 2005 Banshee Scream V2, had them on 5 different bikes after the Scream and I gave them away last year to a kid who needed some brakes for his DJ bike, they were still working perfectly :)

feel like Avid's quality has gone downhill ever since (cheaper materials?), because from working on customers bikes, the later Juicy and Elixir brakes seem to be very hit and miss in terms of QC and reliability

had some good sets of Elixir CR and Elixir 5 on my own bikes whilst customers with same brakes had nothing but trouble

but this season I got the 2012 Elixir 7SL (o.e. spec) on my Stumpy and after 6 weeks the front brake's M.C. locked up solid, it went back to Sram Tech. for warranty, they could not determine what was wrong

so upgraded me to aftermarket Elixir 7 with the c.f. lever, and gave me a coloured matching rear brake free of charge as my o.e. brakes had a special colour made for Specialized bikes..been working great ever since!

Sept. 26, 2012, 1:21 p.m.
Posts: 8256
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

2011 Code R's - 2 seasons, no bleeds, no problems. The simpler models seem to be more reliable.

WTB Frequency i23 rim, 650b NEW - $40

Sept. 26, 2012, 1:26 p.m.
Posts: 8935
Joined: Dec. 23, 2005

I have a pair of Juicy 3's that have been wicked awesome. Couple bleeds since 2009, still going strong.

That said I love my latest style SLX. Best brakes I've ever used.

Sept. 26, 2012, 1:41 p.m.
Posts: 16163
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I rather enjoy the Magura Louise setup I'm using on three different bikes!

I do need to bleed 'em 1-2 times per year but OMG so easy to do!


When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity.

When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.

Sept. 26, 2012, 2:03 p.m.
Posts: 468
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

I've also had years of great success on Avids. Minimal maintenance other than a yearly bleed and pad replacement as required. Occasional noise when wet but nothing I haven't experienced with other brands.

Maybe this suggests a quality control issue?

There's nothing better than an Orangina after cheating death with Digger.

Sept. 26, 2012, 3:36 p.m.
Posts: 2615
Joined: March 29, 2009

Occasional noise when wet but nothing I haven't experienced

That's what she said.

Sept. 26, 2012, 8:03 p.m.
Posts: 287
Joined: May 16, 2010

Juicys 5 and Elixirs R here. Got a warranty replacement on my elixirs after a couple issues with my codes 5. Both elixirs and juicys have been awesome with minimal maintenance, about a bleed every 2 years and i ride a lot

Sept. 27, 2012, 6:32 a.m.
Posts: 367
Joined: Feb. 7, 2005

Few years ago had those 'nice' Codes 2009 (raw galvanized look, red bite dials) for about 3 months. I was real nightmare, they have worked properly only for a month (couple rides in all). My friendly service ended up bleeding them once a week, had master cylinder replaced using Avid service kit I had to buy. Sold them soon after. The least reliable brakes ever!

Funny thing but all of my friends who bought the same model had same problems. Anyone who bought cheaper Code 5 had more luck.

Personally will never buy Avid again despite some of my friends running Juicies, X0s, Codes, Elixirs have no problems.


Sept. 27, 2012, 7:23 a.m.
Posts: 16
Joined: Aug. 27, 2007

Hated my Juicy 7s, switched them for Saints (m800) which were awesome. Then had XTs with the servo wave crap, liked then when working but had to be bled lots.

Now I have Formula The Ones on the Enduro and love them to pieces. Great power, weight,feel and reliability. Funnily enough I picked up an old set of Juicy 3s for the hardtail and they have been pretty good. Lots more fade on the big decents but I kinda expected that anyway

Sept. 27, 2012, 11:59 a.m.
Posts: 33195
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Are Formula brakes, like the R1, OK? Any issues?

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.
- Josiah Stamp

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
- H.G. Wells

Sept. 27, 2012, 12:43 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: June 12, 2004

My only complaint about my formula the one is the lever. I don't have the smallest hands but even with lever in all the way.. it still sits too far once brakes are engaged.

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