Avid's Ultimate brake has always been exactly what it says on the tin - the ultimate in materials and performance. Avid have only ever put the Ultimate tag on a V-brake before, so the Juicy Ultimate hydraulic disc brake has been on our most wanted list for a while.
Visually, it's not that different from the existing Juicy Carbon disc brake, except that it's black and the bite point thumbwheel adjuster is replaced by an allen key socket (which you can adjust with the removable rebound knob from a RockShox fork).
The lever and one-piece brake body are magnesium alloy not aluminium, and there are carbon reservoir caps and lever blades. The titanium hose and mounting fixtures of the Juicy Carbon also feature. Add a shortened hose, a 160mm (6.3in) front rotor and a 140mm (5.5in) rear rotor and the weight is 354g for each brake - 50g less than the Juicy Carbon.
What's really impressive is that Avid have lopped all the weight out without it having any effect on the proven braking performance and excellent feel of Juicy brakes. Although we were sceptical of the hype at first, the Power Reserve lever sweep geometry genuinely gives a super solid and progressive feel throughout the pull, upping both power and control compared to other brakes.
Even with smaller-than-normal rotors, the set-up never felt underpowered for aggressive trail use, and overheating has never been an issue with Avids. Being able to adjust the bite point of the pads is a bonus for feel fettlers too. Once the pads are bedded in - five minutes of intensive stop-and-go will do it - they bite reliably in all conditions and last a long time.
Avid's Tri-Align (TA) fitting system is the easiest and fastest way to bolt your brakes on, plus it's compatible with both IS and Manitou post mounts as standard.
All is not entirely rose tinted though - despite the crazy high price, the TA mount adds weight so the whole brake weight of 354g is only on a par with the likes of Formula's Oro Puro, Hope's current Mini and Magura's Marta SL rather than undercutting them dramatically. The last two companies are releasing lighter versions of their brakes shortly too, which may leave Avid lagging slightly. The front hose is obviously optimised for short forks too, because even with a low-rise bar and dodgy shortcut routing, it only just stretched to fit a 130mm (5.1in) travel fork.