Avid Elixir 5 - brake pad wear. Superstar mountain bike wheels review.

Bless my ignorance but in buying new brakes, the aforementioned Avid 5's, I kind of expected the pads to last longer than three rides. The brakes were new on the bike, and I've never used Avids before. Reading the reviews suggested that they have a variable 'bite' point so as the levers gradually moved back towards the handlebar the longer I used them, I figured it was down to this changing point that the reviews had mentioned. Turns out the pads were worn to nubbins in less than 100 miles of riding. Indeed I'd say they wore out within the space of a single muddy ride.

Now I have worn out pads in a single ride before, but it has been rare. 1996 in Scotland was the last time I did it, but AD once wore two sets out within 24 miles over on Leith Hill. Stuff happens but not to me! Most upset with the longevity. I've ordered a set of sintered off Carboncycles [Superstar were sold out of Avids....] and hope that these will last a bit longer. Guess I'm going to have to carry a spare set around with me for a time to judge the wear rate. More hacked off that when I noticed the only stock I could get was from a LBS at £15! That's expensive riding isn't it?

I don't think the fault lies with the brakes themselves as they seem good little units. I'm guessing that cheapo organic pads were fitted to give a bit more initial bite, possibly as some kind of health and safety sop. Again probably reasonable as most people don't ride off road in mud these days, but unreasonable for me as I do.

The Superstar wheels I bought recently? LBS took one look at them, huffed a bit, then pronounced them baggy and I should take them back. I put this down to the stuffy nature of bike shops; why didn't I buy my wheels off them? Well the answer to that one is simple; my LBS wants near £400 for some Hope wheels, where I got the Superstar units for £200. But stuffy, indignance or not I took a look at the rims. Hmmm, spokes do seem a bit lose. Should send them back but quite frankly I can't be arsed, and you know full well they'll either come back the same or tensioned to hell and back. Bit like complaining about food in a restaurant; you know full well the chief will gob in your soup should you moan about it. Hey! I've a spoke key in my backpack, why not give it a go myself? Figured if I nipped them up a quarter turn at a time I'd be fine so long as I did every single one in an even manner. So that's what I did until the nipples went tightish on me [that reads nasty doesn't it?], then went down to an eighth or sixteenth turn as some spokes still seemed lose. Again did the whole lot unless some were tight, at which point I did just the sixteenth. Any lose ones afterwards I went back to the rule of three; tighten the lose one by an eighth then the two outside ones by a sixteenth. In the end each nipple received one full turn, so they were quite baggy. Thanks Superstar, don't think I'll bother with the truing service you offer. All the spokes now seem to have an even tension and the rims run true to the naked eye. Indeed they still run true as I taped a pencil to the frame and spun them around; seemed fine. They'll probably just explode on my first ride......

Ah, you want to know about the Fenwick's sealant for my tubeless setup? On two tyres, Mud-X, the stuff seems OK, and only one tyre drops a bit of pressure. On another tyre, a Nobby Nic, the sealant is gradually oozing out of the sidewalls and can be seen bubbling out in places. The tyre goes down over a period of a few hours - so needs attention mid-ride. I'd not buy it again. Stan's is the best I've used so far.

It's not on though is it? Baggy wheels and junkyard pads do not for a happy consumer make, and the Fenwick's sealant is just annoying. It also made me look stupid [well more stupid] at the LBS as they noticed both. I've built my own bikes from scratch for years, and happily maintain them so it was galling for a third party to point out obvious faults. Especially the brakes as I've been running discs on all of my bikes since 1997! Ho hum, bit of humble pie in front of a cycletech qualified bike mechanic every now and then doesn't hurt.


  1. Fibica.com is also provide great collection of Avid Elixir . It'simproves the bleeding problem. The piston design and geometry of the Elixir line brings the power to this impressive entry-level brake. -


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