Avid Elixir 5
Specification: Weight: 262g each (lever, hose and caliper) / Rotor weight: 136g (180mm)
Avid’s Elixir and Core brakes have long been regarded as some of the best-feeling stoppers around, and the Avid Elixir 5 are no exception. Combining the fluid reservoir and master cylinder in one unit means it sits parallel to the handlebars, allowing the lever blade to pivot close to the grip. This means your fingers pull less of an inward arc and move less on the lever. It also means that you get tons of leverage, resulting in greater sensitivity and control on the trail.
The lever ergonomics are the best on test — the blade is broad and comfy, as well as smooth and light to pull, meaning your hands get less tired on long descents. The Avid Elixir 5s also offer stacks of modulation (the ability to easily feather the brakes for better control), without compromising stopping power. Lever adjustment is via a tiny Allen bolt, but this is a job you only really need to do once.
The two-piece calipers performed flawlessly here, but we’ve had the same brakes on several mbr test bikes with intermittent performance. The lever feel can be inconsistent — one run it feels perfect, next run the bite position has changed and the lever pulls right back to the grip. If yours suffer from these performance wobbles then get them swapped for new ones, because at their best the Avid Elixir 5 offer class-leading control and sensitivity, and at under £115 per wheel they’re excellent value too.
MBR Rating: 9