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Avid Elixir CX brakes- Reliable enough for bikepacking?

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Avid Elixir CX brakes- Reliable enough for bikepacking?

Old 12-02-14, 10:57 PM
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Avid Elixir CX brakes- Reliable enough for bikepacking?

Hi All,

First off, TYPO: Avid Elixir CR, not CX

New to mountain biking, old to biking. Just picked up a Surly Karate Monkey Rigid with Sram X9. Intended use is non-stop trail riding (no big hits or anything crazy) and some bikepacking trips. Big tours are inevitable.

This puppy has Avid Elixir Brakes. I got the bike used, but they look to be in perfect shape and work great. Owner says 300 miles of use after warranty replacement and I believe him.

I have a couple of questions:

1. I see a lot of information in both directions on hydraulic disc brakes- some say they last for years, some say they last for months. Can I rely on disc brakes for bikepacking in remote areas, or should I switch to Avid BB7's with compressionless cable?

2. Can I bleed the disc brakes myself? Can I trust myself to do it right without experience?

3. What happens when my disc brakes "fail?" Do they just stop working altogether?

Thanks for any and all info, including anecdotes.


Last edited by mdilthey; 12-02-14 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 12-03-14, 12:01 AM
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Avid/Sram hydraulics don't have a great rep but they aren't going to kill you either. I ran a set of Avid Juicy 5s for years and they had great feel and worked just fine except that they needed bleed every 6 months to a year, they get spongy. Wouldn't be that big of a deal but Avids are a PITA to bleed.
I always did it myself but my hands would be killing me by the time I was done. Shimano's on the other hand can just be gravity bleed and they rarely need it. I know it happens but I've only seen a disc brake fail once and he blew a seal in the lever and lost all his fluid. Not much you can really do in the field to fix that. If you want repair-ability then yes BB7s are going to be the way to go.

Nice bike btw. I have a rigid monkey too and I'm running really old Shimano hydraulics on it and love them.
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Old 12-04-14, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey
Owner says 300 miles of use after warranty replacement and I believe him.
This should answer everything.

As #Canker notes, Avid hydraulic brakes (Juciy & Elixir) have a bad rep, either you get a set which never go wrong, or always do. 2014 on brakes seem (so far) to be much better

If you are looking for reliable hydraulic brakes, current Shimano are fit and forget till pad changes.

For your questions

1 - As long as you don't damage the hose/rotor, you should have no issues in using them for long duration's

2 - For Avid, they use DOT fluid which isn't to use as nice as Mineral Oil, you first time will take the longest, from talking to other users, it can be hit and miss with them for servicing.

3 - Have been using discs for 10+ years now, and never experience full failure, used the previous generation of Shimano for a few years, and when below zero, the levers would get stiff, just needed a lot more pressure to get them to work
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