Avid Elixir 3 (2012)


Elixir is already a large family with many members, namely products oriented towards the needs of each rider. Elixir 3 is characterized by relatively low purchase price and the set can be found in some stores at a price lower than that recommended by importers. How do the new Avid Elixir 3 manage, you can read in this test

Weighing about 400 grams, with 160-mm rotors, recommends Avid Elixir 3 for Cross Country and All Mountain. Lever body resembles that of Elixir 1 brakes, but the major difference lies in the clamp secured with two screws. It is not necessary to remove the sleeve or the brake lever to install them.

The brake fluid reservoir is integrated into the lever, and yet, design manages to remain compact enough. Lever is broad, as we’ve been used to since Elixir R (or the above models placed within range). It provides good grip while not excelling in grip provided at lever end. Nor operating force is as small as the Shimano Deore brakes with Servo Wave technology.

But the good thing is that the new Elixir 3 provides acceptable modulation. Although it is said that modulation is actually in your index finger, it is very important to get a different brake force depending on the power applied to the lever. Therefore the bike remains controllable at cornering, without a wheel lock, so much less on the front.

180 mm HS1 rotor did well with heat dissipation, but it is true that the track we opted for was not particularly a steep one. Difficult descents were short, so the fading was not observed. However, if you brake at high speed to zero, you’ll feel strong friction in the lever between the pad and rotor. As compared to old models, Avid Elixir are not noisy on dry tracks, acceptable under wet conditions.

To draw a conclusion, I can say that you can rely on the new Elixir 3, as long as you use them on a XC, All Mountain or Marathon bicycle. They are not among the lightest brakes, but within this segment it is hard to find a set that weigh less. Shimano Deore brakes are much stronger and have better modulation, but are not as light. Therefore, Americans’ stoppers are a decent compromise between weight and performance.

Weight: 398 grams

Overall score:


  1. My wife bought a Cannondale Scalpel several years ago with these Avid Elixir 3 brakes. We kept bring it back to the bike shop for “break adjustments” to stop the binding issue. The wheel would almost lock up it got bound so tight in the calipers. I wish the bikes hope would have been up front with us and just replaced them with another brand. This situation has ruined more than a couple of bike rides, some required a long road trip to get there. The bike shop made us feel like it was an adjustment that we weren’t doing right. When obviously from this and other reviews, Avid makes poor quality brakes.