Avid Elixir 5 brake review£124.99

Decent, reliable choice for the cash

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The entry-level Elixir 5 disc brake delivers decent, reliable braking and a great lever feel at a reasonable price.

It isn’t quite the same as pricier models, because the reach adjuster barrel is recessed rather than exposed, so you have to reach it with an Allen key. Feel from the broad lever is equally solid though and the two-piece clamp and flip-flop design ease fitting.

Power is reasonable, if not outstanding in the dry, but truly powerful for a trail brake in wetter or cooler conditions. The unique Power Reserve geometry sweep offsets the slightly falling rate modulation too.

Bleeding is easy and quick but requires a specific syringe-based bleed kit. Reliability on the simpler Elixirs is great, although proper bedding-in is essential for decent pad life.

Dry brake test graph

Dry brakes graph avid elixir 5:
Dry brakes graph avid elixir 5:

Dry brake test graph for all brakes tested

Dry brakes all:
Dry brakes all:

Wet brake test graph

Wet brakes graph avid elixir 5:
Wet brakes graph avid elixir 5:

Wet brake test graph for all brakes tested

Wet brakes all:
Wet brakes all:

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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