Avid Elixir Carbon hydraulic disc brake

Powerful and controllable stopping

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This new brake from Avid is light enough for cross-country riding, powerful enough to tame a downhill bike and presents the solution to those riders who’ve been cutting and shutting Avid’s lightweight Juicy levers with the heavy duty Code caliper.

But while the power-to-weight ratio is impressive, pad life and adjustment aren’t as good as rivals such as Hope's X2s.

Happily running with 160-203mm discs, the Elixir can be used on many types of bike and features Avid’s new Taperbore technology. This system effectively combines the master cylinder and reservoir in one neat cylindrical chamber. 

This design allows a virtually friction-free lever action until the piston engages in the bore. The result is a similar feel to Shimano’s ServoWave system, but with a smoother and less noticeable transition.

The extra power on offer means a light 160mm rotor will be ample anchorage for most riders. The callipers are bigger, and feature vented pistons that help dissipate any build-up of heat from the pads and fluid. 

The top model Elixir CR has the addition of a banjo at the caliper end for neater routing – unlike the cheaper model that employs direct entry.

Compared to the Juicy’s notorious grabby feel, the Elixir is far more controlled, and no doubt a better application of the available power. This is great for covering the brakes as you can steadily squeeze, rather than taking a grab at them. The harder you pull, the more power you get. However, the bite point adjustment is limited and tends to sneak back in after tweaking as the hose untwists. 

Cup-and-cone washer fitting is easy, the levers sit happily with either Shimano or SRAM shifters (Matchmaker combi mounts are available) and bleeding and pad replacement are a breeze. You’ll get plenty of practice, though, as the sintered pads don’t last long and the organic pads are worse.

If you can't stretch to the Elixir Carbons, check out the Elixir R model (£99.99). The feel is subtly smoother and the power is just as impressive, and they're great value too.

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