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Sram Issues Technical Bulletin Regarding Elixir Disc brake Issues

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Avid G3 Solid Sweep Rotor
SRAM has released a Technical Bulletin concerning possible excessive vibration or resonance that some Elixir equipped bikes have developed. So far the bulletin which was issued in January and this week was made public to dealers, is more of a heads up to dealers due to the fact that it seems not all frame and brake combinations are affected.  It is also noted in the bulletin that the issue is not consistent across the same combination of product meaning you and a buddy could have the same bike, and only one of you could have an issue. The service bulletin covers all currently available models of the Elixir brake.

Hit more to see what measures SRAM and Avid are taking to fix the issue…

To help combat the unwanted vibrations and concerns of excessive pad wear, Avid has introduced a revised rotor for the affected brakes and or frame/brake combination’s. Obviously the new rotor has zero cut-outs to eliminate the possibility for pads to catch the leading edges, and cause said vibrations. SRAM is also sending out new sets of organic compound disc brake pads that are to be swapped out in conjunction with the new rotors. It is imperative that the rotors and pads be replaced at the same time, or the stock sintered pads can contaminate the new rotors. In addition SRAM has issued further detailed instructions on set up and bedding in of the new pads and rotors including:

  • Making sure pistons are smooth and clean
  • Ensure all mounting points/hardware/bolts are clean and torqued properly
  • Ensure all frame suspension pivots are properly torqued (there should be no slop or “play” in frame
  • Be sure to bed new pads in properly: To safely achieve optimal results, remain seated on the bike during the entire bed-in procedure. Accelerate the bike to a moderate speed, then firmly apply the brakes until you are at walking speed. Repeat approximately twenty times. Next, accelerate the bike to a faster speed. Then very firmly and suddenly apply the brakes until you are at walking speed. Repeat
    approximately ten times. Important: do not lock up the wheels at any point during the bed-in procedure. Allow the brakes to cool prior to any additional riding.

Having been an early adopter of the Elixir brakes, I was concerned at first that the new rotors were going to be substantially heavier (it is hardened steel after all) than the previous G2 rotors that came stock with the Elixir brakes. After a trip to the digital scale, I was happy to see that the G3 185 rotor was less than 20 grams heavier than the 185 G2 rotor, and that is fine by me. After installing the new pads and rotors on my Elixir CR equipped Gary Fisher Roscoe, I was floored by the difference the new rotors and pads made. After a season of hard riding on the stock brakes, I have to admit the feel of the rotors did concern me. True to form though, SRAM came through in the end with a solid (pun intended) fix to the matter.

When pushing the limits of technology to create the best parts available there are bound to be set backs along the way – but it’s nice to see a company like SRAM that admits their shortcomings and truly helps until the customer is satisfied. If you are having issues with your Elixirs, instead of contacting SRAM, hop on in to your local bike shop and let them take care of you. If they haven’t heard of the issue, tell ’em BikeRumor sent you!

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13 years ago

Hey Avid, what about product testing? Fixing this with a solid rotor seems like you just gave up.
Surely this problem would have surfaced with adequate testing.

I have the Avid Elixers that came on my Stump Jumper and this annoying problem has cropped up. The brakes work fine at speed, but try some slow speed stuff (trials type) and they grind… very annoying.

I wish my bike came with Shimano brakes. I have 3 sets of these on multiple bikes and have never had this problem.

SRAM I like your shifters, but your brakes do not impress me much.

I guess all the bike mags just ignore this…

12 years ago

I have the Avid Elixir CR’s on my 1 month old Ghost HTX 9000 Actinium.
They weren’t a choice they just came with the bike – bit strange when the groupset is Deore XT & XTR that they didn’t use XT/XTR brakes too? I would have much preferred that they did.

Anyway, they were fine at first (for the first couple of weeks) but now, even at really low speed, they squeak badly – I’ve seen other people calling it “turkey warble” & can see why. It’s extremely annoying.
I took the wheel off to check the pads & see if there was anything on them that might be causing the noise issue (I was advised to clean them with alcohol), but didn’t see anything on them at all.
Put the wheel back on & now the pads are sticking – I get one or two revolutions of the wheel & then it comes to a stop where the rear wheel spins freely, I believe it might be rotor drag – & the levers don’t feel the same as they did prior to removing the wheel.

After my experience I would not purchase these brakes, although their stopping power is excellent, so I would recommend them for that, however nobody wants to spend a shed load of cash to then sound like they’re riding around on something that just rolled out of the scrap yard.
My personal opinion of these brakes – save your money & buy something better, unless you’re happy to sound like a squealing banshee every ride you go on.

12 years ago

I have the same problem with my Merida TFS 120 (2010). I had no choice with the brakes, they came standard with the bike. Initially I had no problem with the brakes, but after a few short rides the bike started shudder and squeal when applying the rear brakes. Took it back to bike shop where I bought it. They bled the brakes as Lever felt a little spongy. When I fetched it the sponginess was still there and they put it down to length of hydraulic line. The shudder and squealing got worse. I took it back and they contacted the agents (South Africa), who recommended a change in brake pads and disk, which was done under warranty. Still did not solve the problem. They then sent the whole brake set to the agents, who serviced them. When I got them back, the first hundred kilometers they seemed fine. Since then I have had to just put up with the shudder and squealing. Except for changing the brake set, nothing more seems to be able to be done. I even tried contacting the agents in South Africa. Six weeks later, haven’t heard a thing. Agent is a waste of time, sounds like one man show, who couldn’t care a dam.

12 years ago

My 2010 Paragon with Elixir 5’s began the resonating a few weeks ago. Back brake only. I inspected the pads and they had plenty of life left. Just a note: About the time it started I did begin to notice the the spot on lever action was a little more mushy than it was.

In an attempt to figure it out I took the pads off and sanded them down a little. This stopped the resonating for about 4-5 rides. Then it came back. So I’ve got in a habit of roughing them up every now and then. You can even just use concrete to carefully rough up the surface.

As expected this shortened the life of the pad but the were soon due to be replaced anyway.

So I bought new pads thinking this would fix the problem completely. I say that because at that point I had never googled the issue and had no idea this is a wide spread problem.

Following directions I spread the caliper with a screw driver with the old pads still on the bike. Installed new pads, flipped the bike upright and had no brake at all. I looked down at the small puddle of brake fluid on the floor and realized that when I spread the caliper it all fluid came out from somewhere around the lever.

So I obviously have a hose problem which explains in part the mushy rear brake. The rigid rotor/wheel/spoke/frame combo somehow creates this unpleasant vibrating.

The bottom line is you can’t ride this way. Any distraction while riding dangerous trails is a big huge no-no. And trust me this is a distraction. You grips even vibrate. Anything that takes your mind off the trail is bad and this certainly does that. It even causes you to avoid your back brake. Unacceptable and dangerous.

12 years ago

My problem is that I am riding along, hit a bump and then I get the loud brake screaming noise. I have not touched the brakes or tried to slow down, the noise just starts when riding. Is this the same issue?

9 years ago

I am seriously losing confidence in Sram’s products. I recently bought 2 bikes with Sram components on them and I will never a bike with them again. I have had nothing but problems with the components on both bikes.

8 years ago

I had this problem with a 2012 stump jumper, It got so bad the Shop finally got Avid to replace both front and rear but now the new brakes have another issue.

When I carry my bike in the back of my truck with camper the brake fluid gets hot and expands to the point the brakes just locked up. I can squirt water on it and it will slowly release but its a real pain in the buttocks

Anyone know a fix for this short of throwing the Avid’s away and starting over ?

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