First look: Avid Elixir 3 and RockShox Sektor

Light on the wallet, heavy on performance

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s unveiling of the new 10-speed X7 groupset, the SRAM group today announced the launch of a new entry-level Avid Elixir 3 brake and 150mm-travel RockShox Sektor trail fork.

Avid Elixir 3

The Elixir 3 is an all-new brake from Avid for 2011. Despite being their cheapest hydraulic disc, it will feature the Taper Bore piston technology found on the company's higher-end models.

This is a proprietary patented way of pushing a plunger into a tapered bore to close the reservoir and build brake pressure. The system is said to offer a lighter lever feel and move more fluid than brake systems with a traditional timing port.

Avid's new Elixir 3 blends budget and performance.

The new entry-level brake features ambidextrous levers, tooled reach adjust, MatchMaker compatibility and a two-piece calliper with top-loading pads.

It's said to produce more power than the equivalent Juicy model and weighs a claimed 405g for a front, post-mount, 160mm rotor brake. Rotor options include 160mm, 185mm and 203mm. The suggested price is US$105 (approx £70) per brake.

RockShox Sektor

The new Sektor has a similar chassis to the RockShox Revelation but with a less refined damper, resulting in a fork that's designed to meet the needs of the workhorse trail rider on a budget. It has an alloy steerer tube, forged 6061-T6 crown, 32mm 7075 stanchions and magnesium lowers, which include a new-for-2011 15mm through-axle version.

“We just put it out there,” said Tyler Morland RockShox’s press manager. “We’re going to produce the lightest easiest thru-axle system out there and the way our business works is that we’re going to do it in every which way the market sees fit.”

The market pushed SRAM for 15mm products and they decided to say yes even though they still believe that they can produce a better thru-axle system with the 20mm diameter axle.

“We were never anti-15mm,” said Morland. “We were definitely pro 20mm, because we can build them lighter and stiffer. What it came down to is wheels, that’s the match up, there just wasn’t enough movement behind light 20mm front wheels.”

The Sektor will be available in an array of different versions: 1.125in, tapered 1.125-1.5in or 1.5in steerer; 15mm Maxle, 20mm Maxle or 9mm quick-release axle; coil (130/140/150mm travel), Solo Air (130/140/150mm travel) or U-Turn (100-140mm or 110-150mm) spring. Damping options include Motion Control, TurnKey lockout and simple rebound-adjust variants.

RockShox adopts the 15mm standard in 2011, as shown here.

The standard steerer Solo Air fork with 20mm Maxle Lite axle and Motion Control damping weighs a claimed 1,966g (4.33lb) – roughly 1lb more than a Revelation, but retails for a reasonable US$471.

Trickle down technology

The Taipei International Cycle show started yesterday in Taiwan, which explains the rash of new product releases coming from SRAM and other companies. The show continues through the weekend and we expect at least a few more new nuggets to make their way out before its conclusion.

SRAM will hold off the official release of a new X0 group (and likely X9) until April’s Sea Otter Classic. With the release of X7, however, they’ve left little to speculation. By combining the releases of the Elixir 3 and Sektor fork with the X7 group, they've shown their willingness to quickly trickle down their technology to levels that are attainable to all riders, rather that keeping it for the select few who can shell out for the top-of-the-line.

SRAM are telling us that they want to provide X7 riders with the same operational experience as XX riders, just with a bit more weight and lower quality materials. This spurs a conversation about the sexiness of components that balance our needs and wants of high performance with the reality of budget. We confess that the X7 2x10 news has us very excited to get our hands on the new components to see for ourselves if this trickle down theory will hold up.

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