I recently made a much needed upgrade to the brakes on my mountain bike. While making my choice on the new brakes, I had to take a few things into consideration. You have rotor size, reach, lever adjustment, pad contact adjustment, stroke, tool-less options, as well as brakes specifically geared toward different riding styles...Not to mention the various bleeding procedures for the different models/brands. All of those factors can make for quite the ordeal when choosing brakes. My choice in the end was Avid's Elixir 7 brake.
Here's why: I wanted a brake that was geared more toward singletrack riding, as well as something that was lightweight, and looks good. Avid recently revamped their taperbore in the master cylinder to further eliminate chances of air getting into the system to simplify bleeding. As a bike mechanic, I've bled my fair share of hydraulic brakes... and as it is arguably one of the most meticulous procedures I perform on bikes. I personally believe Avid's is the best and most precise bleed proceedure. Ease of bleeding coupled with awesome brake actuation, the new HS1 cross drilled rotors, (to eliminate squeal), tool free reach adjust, and carbon levers make these brakes an excellent choice. The modulation on the trail is amazing and gives the rider a great sense of control and they definitely hold up as far as braking power goes when needed. One more thing i really like about the brakes, that may go unnoticed when shopping around for them, is the way the pads come in and out of the caliper. They can be taken out with the wheel still in, and simply pull out of the top of the caliper once the bolt is taken out with a 3 mm allen. this makes pad installation/removal a snap. All in all, for a cost of about $380 for the set, i am %100 satisfied with this setup. they come on some of our bikes here, so come on down to Agee's and give em a squeeze!
Alex Morse-- Service Manager Agee's W. Broad St.