Avid has released a new set of brakes at Sea Otter, called the Elixir. Bucking the trend of products designed for a particular niche of the mountain bike world, the Elixir is meant to meet the needs of riders from weight-conscious XC riders to power-hungry DHers. This certainly seems like a challenging set of design criteria, but Avid seems to have pulled it off.
On the weight front, the Elixir boasts a super-slim master cylinder, neatly incorporated into the lever body. Hiding inside this master cylinder is the element of the Elixir that Avid is most proud of: the ‘taperbore’ cylinder. The taperbore cylinder replaces the near-universal system of using a timing port to close off the brakes when actuated, by using an o-ring which is pressed into a tapered bore. The details are boring (read: beyond my understanding), but the result is an improvement in modulation and lever feel, particularly under hard braking.
The Elixir also uses Avid’s new G3 rotor, which uses a new profile to save 10 grams of rotating weight over previous rotors, with the additional benefit of less chatter while braking.
Overall, the Elixir weighs 20 grams less than the already trim Juicy 7, and a carbon lever option will shave a further 10 grams (while also lightening your wallet).
Lest you should think that all of this weight savings will relegate the Elixir to XC race-only duty, Avid has also managed to wrangle more power out of the Elixir, and total braking power is said to fall in between the Juicy line and the four piston Code. Part of this power increase is thanks to the fancy taperbore technology, and the rest is the result of bigger pistons and pads compared to the Juicy.
Avid has also paid particular attention to heat management in order to maintain power even under heavy braking. A new grooved piston helps to dissipate heat, and the top-loading pad design also helps to cool things down while making pad changes easier. The end result is a brake which should be powerful enough for downhill race duty, and both Steve Peat and Sam Hill are going to be riding Elixirs on their race rigs.
Overall then, it seems that Avid has done an impressive job of meeting the demands of a pretty broad range of riders, but what has us excited is the potential of these brakes on an all-mountain bike. Having the braking power of a nice DH brake, while saving weight and improving modulation should be a win-win-win for trail riders.