Novos Avid Elixir 9 2012

On 2011-03-25, in Blog, by Tigas

Chegam as primeiras reviews aos novíssimos Avid Elixir 9 de 2012 (segundo a marca).

Estes novos travões vêm substituir os Elixir CR que tenho na minha bicla e até agora sem problemas.

Fica o review.

Avid Elixir 9 review

The Elixir 9 is all-new for 2011 (it’s officially a 2012 model year product) and uses Avid’s reworked Taperbore design. While we got our hands on it too late to test it on the dyno and include it in ourlatest disc brake super-test, we’ve been impressed by its performance on the trails.

When Avid talk about their brakes they mention something called ‘deep stroke modulation’. Our first experience with this came while riding a 180-degree switchback on ice and snow, where the subtle power control allowed us to micro-manage braking on the very verge of skidding. Puckered and skittering across the ice, we managed to keep traction. With any less modulation, we’d have been on our butts.

That scenario played out a fortnight into our four-week test of the new Elixir 9. Our first experience of the brake was at its launch in Santa Cruz, California in February, where we rode steep and muddy ‘gravity’ trails to gain a first impression. During those two days we just grazed the tip of the product, but the inclement weather produced some interesting results.

In Santa Cruz it rained. Actually it poured, but we rode anyway on steep trails that put us in a perfect position to really test the brakes. Why? We used them a lot — more than we should have — because we were riding trails, blind, that pushed us and the bikes hard, toward the upper limits of our riding skills. So we dragged the brakes, and they heated up, but they didn’t fade; score one for Avid.

The caliper sports a new forging:

We found the sintered pads to wear quickly in wet conditions

Something we did notice, however, was pad wear. After a half dozen rides — in atrocious conditions, mind you — the pads appeared to be half gone; score one against Avid. This says something about the pads’ durability, which we’ll elaborate on after longer-term testing, but also for the increased volume and air penetrability of the revised Taperbore system. Even though the worn pads required the pistons to push further out, the brakes maintained consistent feel and performance. We’re not sure Avid’s older brakes would have coped as well.

Home turf testing

After returning from the launch, we immediately mounted the Elixir 9s to our Santa Cruz Butcher test mule. Actual weights are 392g for the front brake (with 180mm rotor and hardware) and 360g for the rear (160mm rotor and hardware). We rode them predominantly on our two burliest low-elevation wintertime test tracks — trails that put 150mm of travel to legitimate use — with good results.

Since we know our home trails better than those in Santa Cruz, speeds were higher and braking was both harder and more professional — meaning we weren’t dragging them like a noob. The result was good, usable power and modulation. The brakes are middle-of-the-road when it comes to pure power, yet above average in terms of a mix of power and modulation, which makes them very usable.

The new 180mm rotor weighs 126g and requires a spacer that weighs just 13g:

The 180mm rotor bracket weighs just 13g on our scale

We haven’t noticed any loss of power due to the switch to a 180mm front rotor, even in a back-to-back comparison with an older CR model with a 185mm rotor; in fact it seems slightly better. Modulation is certainly better than CR, after a break-in that lasted a couple of rides; initially the brakes could be described as grabby.

We’ve set and reset the reach adjustment and fine-tuned the lever’s feel and (actuated) placement using the detented pad contact adjustments with good results. We’ve also bled the brakes once after shortening the lines, which was an uneventful task and produced seemingly solid results. Lever feel isn’t super-firm — we’d like it slightly firmer — but we haven’t experienced any fade or inconsistency in feel, despite riding them hard and hanging the bike for storage.

Overall, Elixir 9 seems to be a positive evolution of Avid’s TaperBore concept. It’s a solid brake with a very good ratio of power to modulation and, so far, more consistent than the CR model it replaces. While the Elixir 9 is a 2012 model product, it’s due to hit shops in the US next month. UK price and availability is still to be confirmed.


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