2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Following the changes to Taperbore and their manufacturing process updates for the new Elixir 7 & 9 last year, Avid is introducing their new X0 Trail brakes. We spotted these a bit earlier, and now it’s confirmed: It’s a full featured 4-piston brake, but the caliper is about the same size and weight as the original 2-piston X0 design!

Backstory: Over the last couple years, the X0 group has been moving more toward trail and DH with 2×10 drivetrains, chain guides and more. Meanwhile, the XX brakes and Elixir 7 & 9 got got complete revamps. Only X0’s brakes remained untouched. No more.

The new Xo Trail brake is positioned as their “quiver killer” in that it’s for anything from XC to DH, and first impressions suggest it may just live up to that hype…


2013 SRAM Avid X0 Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Almost buried under news of the Trail model, a new 2-piston X0 brake replaces the aging current model. Weighing in at claimed 315g, it’s essentially a trickled down XX WC brake that swaps in stainless steel hardware rather than titanium and the lever body is forged aluminum rather than magnesium. Like the XX WC, there’s no Pad Contact adjustment, but it will get a tool-free reach adjust knob as an option. Available rotor sizes include 140, 160, 170, 180 and 200. Yes, you read that right, a new 170mm rotor…more on that later. (For comparison, the XX WC brakeset comes in at a claimed 277g, old X0 was 333g)

New X0 brakes will retail for $261/wheel and be available in mid-July.


2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

One of the more remarkable aspects of the new X0 Trail brake is the weight. It’s claimed at just 340g per wheel, which is only 7g heavier than the current X0 2-piston designs. And if you’re really concerned about those 7g, the increased power should let you run a smaller rotor to offset the slight weight gain. Here are all the component weights so you can piece it together yourself based on your desired setup. Figure about 10-12g savings on the front brake thanks to a shorter hose.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Left to right: 180mm (133g) – 170mm (115g) – 160mm (95g)

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Left to right: Six rotor bolts (14g) – Standard bar clamp mount (16g) – 20mm post mount spacer w/ bolts (34g)

We’ve weighed their MatchMaker mounts versus two standard mounts in the past, and the two standard ones combined came out lighter by a hair, but the clean cockpit of the MMX mounts, particularly if you’re running one of their hydraulic lockouts, is worth a gram or two. The only thing not weighed here are the standard caliper bolts.


2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Both models use two-piece alloy calipers and alloy master cylinders with carbon fiber lever blades. The pistons are 16mm and 14mm offer far more power than the dual piston design with minimal weight penalty. All of Avid’s Elixir-style brakes, which includes X0 and XX, use a 21mm dual piston. Combined with the larger brake pad surface (below), and you get a lot more braking power. Surprisingly, the difference is minimal compared to their Code brakes, which use a 16mm/15mm four-piston set up. The Code brakes do have a beefier caliper and master cylinder, though.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

  • A = DOT5 fluid entry point to caliper.
  • B = Fluid entry port behind front piston.
  • C= Open area for fluid to get behind small piston.
  • D = recessed lip for diaphram seal around pistons (seal not installed on cutaway)

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Internally, the new X0 brakes get a new butyl bladder in the master cylinder. It’s a bit thinner, so there’s less potential seal drag, and it’s air-impermeable, so there’s less chance of air getting into the system. This new bladder has been a rolling change into Elixir 7, 9 and XX brakes since September. Both regular and trail models will ship with aluminum-backed organic pads, and sintered metallic pads are available as aftermarket.

The levers will offer both Tooled and Tool-free reach adjust models at launch. The tool-free adjustment knob interferes with the new Grip Shift, so if you’re holding out for the new twist shifters, you’ll want to get the tooled version…unless you run your brake levers a good distance inboard. The Trail version retains their Tool-Free contact adjust bezel, check this post to see how that works.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

The Trail brakes get a new, longer pad (left). Exact percentages of surface area weren’t known at press time, but compared to the regular Avid pads at right, it’s a good bit wider, albeit a bit less tall.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Despite the longer pads (and appearances), SRAM’s MTB PR manager Tyler Morland says they are top loading, same as the Elixirs.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

The banjo leading the hose into the caliper is adjustable, letting you angle it just right.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

For a four-piston caliper, the overall package is very small – it actually seems smaller than the standard X0 – but the performance is pretty big.

2013 SRAM Avid new HS1 mountain bike disc brake rotors size lineup

New Rotor Size: a new 170mm is only about adding options, allowing the rider to fine tune their brake feel. They said they showed it to OEM guys for testing and they liked it, making things feel closer from front to rear versus a 180/160 combo by moving to a 180/170. In the end, it’s about choice – run it if you want. The 170 rotor should be available in May for about $40-$45 along with appropriate brackets.

While SRAM isn’t doing it with their top level XX, this separation among siblings mirrors Shimano’s XTR Race and Trail offerings…most parts are the same, but now brakes and derailleurs for both families get a more “trail” oriented option.

The new X0 Trail brakes will retail for $310/wheel and be available mid-July. Both the Trail and regular are MatchMaker X compatible and will be available in silver/polished, red and black.

SRAM Avid X0 regular and trail brake lever body comparison

Just for fun, a visual comparison of the Trail and regular X0 levers, which largely mirror the difference between the XX andXX WC levers in girth and features.


SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes first ride reviewHaving spent a fair amount of time on the older generation X0 and XX brakes and a bit on the new Elixirs, I can say that the new Trail brakes are much stronger. What’s nice is that they come on quickly without being grabby, and are powerful without giving up modulation.

We spent plenty of time climbing and swooping through rollers and flat sections, followed by long, brake burning descents. Being unfamiliar with the trails, there were plenty of folks (myself included) dragging the brakes or hitting them hard just before a big turn or drop. On one descent, a rider fumbled to the side immediately in front of me just as I dove in. I was able to brake hard enough to maneuver around him and another guy standing trailside without locking it up or skidding…and that was near the end of a fairly long descent. For me, that meant that even when the brakes were fairly hot, they still kept their composure and allowed very good control over wheel speed. Me likey.

In another instance, a group of us finished a long, fast descent to the smell of burning brakes. A quick water bottle spray on the rotors instantly vaporized, yet everyone seemed to comment how they still had plenty of power left at the end of the run.

Didn’t hear any brake squeal during our two days of 3 to 4 hours of riding each, and brakes were tested on 26″ and 29er, mostly alloy frames. Trail conditions were decent, moist dirt that was grabby with only a couple of small puddles or mud sections. So, not too wet, not too dry.

First impressions are good. A long term test is due, for sure, along with more trips to the mountains…


  1. I assume these test bikes were set up by SRAM, I notice they left off the Tri-Align washers except on the outside of the front brake to help align the bolts/adapters. Is Tri-Align going away?

  2. I take it there was no test riding of the new 2-piston brake? Not that I’m a weight weenie, but I feel like using an upsized rotor with the 2-piston brake would probably result in equal power and less fade than the bigger one.

    By the way, I don’t know from brake rotors, but as far as thin metal goes generally, inducing temperature shock by spraying cool liquid on a hot part tends to be a recipe for warping…

  3. Jordan – Yes, the CPS (Caliper Positioning System) washers are going away. Technically, they should have gone away with the intro of the new Elixirs last year, but they still seem to be showing up on a ton of new bikes. SRAM said then that with frame tolerances much tighter nowadays, there isn’t the need for them and their brakes’ caliper designs are actually made so that they shouldn’t use those washers in order to fit properly.

    Turbofrog – yep, we only got to ride the new Trail brakes as that was one of the primary focus points of the launch event. That, and Gripshift, which we can reveal in a week or so…it’s very nice.

  4. Could SRAM come up with a different name than “trail”? Any of that dreaded “turkey gobble” that the Avid’s are known for?

  5. Looks like a pretty nice set of binders, but I’m still very weary of anything that Tyler writes about in regards to disc brakes.

  6. Another month and another avid brake release. Is there marketing idea just to confuse consumers into submission? I will admit that the caliper looks nice, very subtle for a 4 pot, but the caliper has never been the issue. The lever needs serious work for it to last more than 12 months. Either increase the res size, find a better seal material or switch to mineral oil- and avid, please realize that just because it works in the lab or on pro bikes for six months, does not mean it will last in the punters hand!

  7. I’m down with these brakes. I’ve been riding the new Codes since they were released last year. I have three sets of them. They’re pretty hefty compared to the dual piston models but the raw braking power is worth every extra gram. If you are a clydesdale, like me, and ride pretty aggressively you will want a set of these or the codes.

    Yes, I do admit that Avid brakes suck when it comes to bleeding. They’re squishy right out of the box.

    It seems like you can never get all the air out of these things too. You bleed them and bleed them and just when you think you’re good…..BAM! They go squishy again. Just don’t flip your bike upsidedown.

    It must have taken three-four bleeds per set to get them right. It sucks, I know, but once they are done they are monster brakes. I can bleed a set of Avid brakes in seconds now. I’ve had lots of practice.

  8. @palmer- i think having to have “had” alot of practice says it all. much different than wanting to, want to, and wanted to.

  9. great another avid brake that will not work after a short while. why bother coming out with new brakes if the rest of the line doesn’t work very well.

    spend more time and money making brakes that work please!!!!!

    IMO four piston brakes are not needed. example: formula brakes with a 203mm rotor will stop just about anybody short of 400lbs. on a steep hill all day.
    we don’t need more pads size for better braking, we need more cooling! this is like putting a bandaid on a torn off leg.

  10. better buy that bleed kit and get good at bleeding them. Like Steve said about and any other google search. After two weeks of riding you will be bleeding them. Avid brakes suck major.

  11. I just got a set of the XO Trails for my new SS that I’m building up. The lack of the CPS hardware freaked me out as I thought that I was missing parts. Thanks for addressing the subject. Can’t wait to ride my new steed with these new stoppers!

  12. I have the AViIDXO trail and they have been put through their paces. 800 miles on them with no issues other than im on my third set of pads! However we have had the wettest muddiest winter in the UK for years so that hasnt help with oad wear.
    Very powerful and great modulation.

    All in all a awesome brake with mega power!

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