Magic potion: Avid Elixir CR

By James Huang The new Avid Elixir hydraulic disc brake platform incorporates some novel...

By James Huang

The new Avid Elixir hydraulic disc brake platform incorporates some novel technologies and promises some compelling performance but is it the real deal?

Avid's engineers and designers certainly had a daunting challenge in front of them when developing a new brake line to supplement its popular Juicy. At least on paper, they certainly succeeded: according to Avid, Elixir is more powerful yet easier to control, plus 20-30g lighter as compared to a similarly configured Juicy 7. Moreover, its intended usage now spans the full range from cross-country all the way to downhill.

Elixir isn't an evolution of Juicy as much as it is a wholly new design. The master cylinder boasts a radical new TaperBore internal architecture that should ultimately yield better long-term durability plus the integrated concentric fluid reservoir makes for a tidy appearance. In addition to the tool-free reach adjustment introduced on the Elixir R, the upscale CR comes with an inline pad contact adjustment at the end of the body. Aluminum lever blades are standard but carbon levered versions are on tap as well.

The two-piece caliper is all-new as well and the upsized pistons (roughly between Juicy and Code) provide more clamping force. The pads are now top-loaded for easier replacement and the correspondingly bigger caliper window works in conjunction with the grooved piston faces to dissipate more heat. Unlike the standard Elixir R's inline hose attachment, the CR caliper gets a rotatable banjo for more customizable hose routing.

Naturally, Avid has retained its superb CPS arrangement of concave and convex washers for easy installation and adjustments. In answer to some user complaints, Avid has also increased the hardness of the washers to prevent them taking a set.

All told, total claimed weight for the new Elixir CR is a competitive 385g for a complete assembly including a 160mm rotor. Carbon lever blades shed 10g per wheel and sacrificing the adjustable pad contact saves another 10g. Avid will offer 185mm and 203mm-diameter rotors, too, and retail price for the CR is a surprisingly reasonable US$204-212 per wheel, depending on configuration.

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