Long Term Review: Avid X0 Trail Brakes

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The Avid X0 Trail Brakes launched in March 2012, then were joined by an Elixir 7 & 9 level options in April 2013. Both promised XC weights with near downhill level braking power, and first impressions suggested they’d accomplished just that.

They also took advantage of the redesigned master cylinder to, hopefully, eliminate the bleed and performance problems that had plagued the original Taperbore design. We’ve had three sets of brakes in rotation pretty much since they launched, running them on local trails, in the mountains and for some rotor burning descents throughout the 2013 Trans Sylvania Epic.

Have Avid finally gotten it right? Are these the perfect mix of light weight and strong braking that modern bikes (and bikers) need? Read on and see…

TECH DETAILS

Avid X0 Trail Brakes long term review

The levers come with a inline pad contact adjust, carbon blades and tooled- or tool free reach adjust. If you’re running the new Grip Shift twisters, you’ll want the tooled version to avoid clearance issues. One of the biggest improvements to the Taperbore design has been the introduction of what Avid calls Air Trap. The Taperbore design makes it pretty difficult to get every last air bubble out of the system, so the new Air Trap design keeps any remaining bubbles in the master cylinder in a spot where they won’t get in the line and affect brake performance.

Avid X0 Trail Brakes long term review

The calipers are remarkably small for a quad-piston design. They use paired dual diameter pistons with a longer pad to provide plenty of power and and a large contact patch. The X0 level brakes come with alloy-backed organic pads, the others have steel-backed organic pads. Sintered metallic pads are an option. They drop in from the top for easy replacements. Another big change these brakes ushered in is a more direct mount. No more washers are required between the caliper body and frame/fork. I used them on top for this installation, but you don’t need to.

Avid X0 Trail Brakes long term review

The hose banjo can be rotated for smooth lines regardless of frame shape. The caliper bleed port is on the opposite (outer) side.

Avid X0 Trail Brakes long term review

The only difference between the X0 and Elixir 9 models are the pads (alloy versus steel backing) and the X0 gets tool-free reach adjust option. The Elixir 7 model loses the pad contact adjust and gets a metal lever blade.

ACTUAL WEIGHTS

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Caliper, hose and lever weight came in at just 206g for the front brake. Notice the graphics are identical top and bottom, letting you run them moto/euro style or regular without affecting aesthetics. Add 10-15 grams for the rear brake depending on hose length.

Note: These weights photos are from the launch. Our production test samples weighed in the same, these were just better pictures.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

The HS1 rotors launched at the same time as the new brakes, offering a new 170mm diameter. Left to right: 180mm (133g) – 170mm (115g) – 160mm (95g). They also offer a 200mm and 140mm.

2013 SRAM Avid X0 Trail Brakes specs weights and first ride review

Left to right: Six rotor bolts (14g) – Standard bar clamp mount (16g) – 20mm post mount spacer w/ bolts (34g)

LONG TERM REVIEW

Since Zach and Tyler both have been riding these brakes for quite a while, we thought it’d be fun to do a conversational type review. Here goes:

Tyler Benedict: So, Avid Trail Brakes. What’d you think?

Zach Overholt: Honestly, going into testing I had about zero expectations from the brakes. Sorry Avid, but my previous experience with Elixirs made me very skeptical of their performance. But, after one of Avid’s engineers convinced me to give the X0 Trail brakes a chance at Sea Otter, I dutifully mounted them up. The performance so far has been surprising.

Tyler: Well, you beat me to my next question, which was “what was your past experience with Avids?” I liked them, too. My first ride was at the launch last spring and they were great. Lots of control, lots of power and great modulation.

I’ve always liked Avid’s lever shape and feel – the pivot placement and flat lever shape are my favorite. But, I’ve also had plenty of issues with their old brakes, having to bleed them far too frequently to maintain proper power. With these, I haven’t had any problems with losing power.

Zach: Exactly, I had a number of previous Elixirs that lost braking power after being hung up, or placed upside down to work on the bike, or change a flat. Not to mention the amount of time I spent in the shop working on customers’ Elixirs. I haven’t had to touch the X0 Trails since they were first installed.

Tyler: If anything, I’ve had the opposite problem. I have two sets of X0 Trail brakes on two different bikes. After a good bit of riding, they sat for a month or two while traveling or testing other bikes. During the hiatus in action, one of the brakes firmed up to the point where I couldn’t squeeze the lever at all. I simply took the bleed bolt off the master cylinder, squeezed the lever slightly to push a little fluid out, closed it back up and it’s been perfect ever since. I had this happen to the set of new Elixir 7′s we had in (not Trail Brakes, and apparently no long offered) and the same fix cured it. To be fair, I’ve seen this happen on other brands of brakes in both hot and cold climates, so I don’t believe this is a problem exclusive to Avid. And over more than a year of testing, I only had to do that once and they’ve been otherwise flawless.

Zach: Did you bleed the brakes before this happened?

Tyler: No, didn’t need to. Did you?

Zach: Yes, it’s usually a neccessity because I’m shortening the hoses.

Tyler: That’s because you’re so short! Heh, heh. I’m usually good to go putting them on the bike straight outta the box. And I try to test stuff straight out of the box anyway, since I imagine a large portion of home mechanics that install something aftermarket are going to do just that. Real world conditions, right?

So, from a maintenance standpoint, would you say Avid’s fixed the issues that have plagued them?

Avid X0 Trail Brake 1

Zach: From a maintenance standpoint, yes. I bled the brakes once when I shortened the hoses – which was easy to do with their pro bleed kit. After that I haven’t come across any issues with the hydraulic system.

Performance wise, they have improved any issues except the “turkey gobble” noise of the rotors. I tried to break in each brake exactly according to Avid’s procedures, and the HSX Centerlock rotors still developed a bit of noise after a season of use. It’s better than other Avid brakes recently, but still could be improved.

Tyler: I was running the standard 160mm HS1 six-bolt rotors and had a bit of chatter from them on a rainy day when it first started getting wet. It was pretty loud. Fortunately after about 20 minutes, it went away and hasn’t come back. Thank goodness! I’m running my most-used set on a carbon Niner Jet 9 RDO frame and SID XX WC fork, direct mount (ie. no adapters) in either spot. I’m convinced brake chatter has as much to do with frame and mounting as anything. What’s your set up?

Avid X0 Trail Brake 2

Zach: I’ve been running the X0 Trails with a 180 and 160mm centerlock rotor on the Turner Burner project with the Rock Shox Pike 150mm fork.

Even with the bit of noise, the easily utilized power of the Elixir Trail brakes is well worth it. Few brakes seem to offer the ramp up in power that makes the X0s so easy to use.

Tyler: I agree. And I think that’s what’s so good about them: They’re easy to use. I know I’m going to get flak for even comparing the two, but Shimano’s brakes bite in abruptly on the front end, then gradually increase power. And a lot of people seem to like that – that’s just the way their ServoWave design works. Avid’s is kind of the polar opposite: Smooth, linear pull from start to finish. And both of them end up with plenty of power. Between that and Avid’s relatively unique lever shape, you simply need to pick your preference. And, now, I’d say you’re talking about two things that can be compared in the same sentence.

Other than noise, was there anything about the performance or use worth mentioning?

Zach: No, just smooth, powerful braking without ever feeling the need to use more than my index finger on the lever.

Avid X0 Trail Brakes long term review

Tyler: I have one. On one of the longer descents during an enduro section of the Trans Sylvania epic, I was on the brakes constantly for almost three minutes. Seriously, after pedaling out of the start, 100% of the descent required braking to stay in control. About halfway through, the front brake starting getting a bit of pump, firming up the lever. It happened gradually, with more than enough warning to take corrective action, so I let off that brake completely for about two seconds and it immediately returned to normal. As a precaution, I let off the back brake for a couple seconds, too, and finished the run with no problems. At no point did I feel like they were going to lose power, and I really like that they built up so gradually. Of course, my rotors were damn near purple at the bottom! They’ve since worn back to silver, but you can see the remnants of the heat discoloration in the pic above.

Final thoughts? Anything else you’d add?

Zach: You seem to be a magnet for brake issues? Just kidding! Seriously though, these brakes have done a LOT to restore my faith in Avid disc brakes. Previously, I was giving away any Elixirs I had, but the X0 Trail brakes seem to be worth the money. Products seem to be in ever changing ebb and flow as far as quality, and while my XT 785 brakes have had minor issues with the master cylinder weeping, and problems with the pads being easily contaminated, the XO Trail brakes have been rock solid.

Tyler: Ha! Yep, I’ve had some braking issues. And breaking issues. What I really like about the Trail brakes is that they combine such great performance with light weight. I kept the Magura MT8 brakes on my bike for a long time before mounting the second set of X0′s on my lightweight “A” bike, thinking they would just add weight. Then I weighed them again and compared, and quite honestly, there’s such a minimal penalty compared to the lightest brakes on the market that, in many cases, you’re actually going to drop weight by going with the Trail brakes. And then you get all the big brake performance to boot. Given that I prefer their lever shape and feel anyway, it was an all-around win for me. I have no plans on taking these off my “A” bike any time soon.

Avid X0 Trail Brakes long term review

Comments

dave - 12/23/13 - 5:41pm

Came in to say these brakes are the real deal… SRAM haters move along, I have two pair and they’re solid as they come.

Mortimer - 12/23/13 - 5:56pm

Not a SRAM hater – get it right “Avid hater”. Great drive trains – pitiful brakes.

Fattie - 12/23/13 - 5:56pm

running a pair of x9 trail brakes on my beargrease. awesome stopping power even with a 140 rear rotor and 160 front where i used to ride 160/180 on past fat-bikes. bleeding is simple, and have had zero problems in cold temps… except after I put them underwater and an ice shell formed. Avid haters- we know the old ones sucked- new ones have no such similar problems.

Steven - 12/23/13 - 6:10pm

Great review, I really liked this style of review.

smithcreek - 12/23/13 - 6:11pm

If you have the old Avids, throw away the brake bleeding manual. Do everything you can to get rid of air bubbles (remove calipers and levers, shake, tap, hold so bubbles move toward port or line, etc.) and fill them with as much fluid as possible by putting your wheel back on the bike with the rotor in the caliper (not the bleed block), and pumping in fluid while turning the the contact point adjustment out all the way, they worked great. Or, just get some new ones.

boobie - 12/23/13 - 6:38pm

Interesting review. I just bought some XT brakes because my elixirs have failed to get the job done. With Sintered, they are noisy as shit. With Organic, they fade after about 500 feet of descent. I didn’t have the trail model, but the idea of 4 pistons being necessary to stop a 190lb rider on a 6 inch bike seems overkill – XT brakes just seem to be a better package to me. But to each their own.

pepe - 12/23/13 - 6:53pm

I have been using 5 elixir -old model- brakes for 5 years so far, and never had an issue of any kind. I would buy this X0 without doubts, avid has great brakes.

pornitswhatlwouldratherbmaking - 12/23/13 - 6:55pm

Avid Hater, but l am fair. If these are as good as you guys say then hey these are worth looking into. Good job Avid!

Butterfinger - 12/23/13 - 7:09pm

So avid have finally produced something that could possibly be compared to shimano reliability?

The fact they have admitted that the product is flawed and fitted an ‘air trap chamber’ is proof enough for me its still not right.

I love the feel of avid brakes, but I also enjoy riding my bike with no hassle. I’ll pass and see how many of these we get in the shop to bleed in the next 6 months.

mike - 12/23/13 - 7:12pm

avid brakes have been hit or miss. You get some good ones and you get some bad ones. Some of this just comes down to the quality of the bleed. They seem easy but as the article states are in fact difficult do to the nature of the taper bore M.C. Trapping air bubbles. Having the Lever much higher then the caliper seems to help a lot. Also Rotating the M.C. like Hayes says to do with the ace brakes will also help pull out more air. The Caliper and Hose Bleeding procedure are cake the problem is with the Taper bore cylinder. When you have them bled nice they do give excellent Modulation and power. Shimano are nice and reliable but don’t have too much in the way of modulation. Not as On/Off as the old Hayes brakes obviously their much better. Mineral oil vs. DOT should also be a consideration with brakes. The Mineral is just so much nicer to work with. You can even save the old dirty stuff and use it on your chain on a mud/ice ride. Not the best lube but if conditions are shit it gets the job done.

MissedThePoint - 12/23/13 - 9:07pm

Is that a Shimano 180 post mount adapter in the first pic? Didn’t know it tilted the caliper like the Avid one. There’s a need for the CPS washers, cause the bolt needs to thread in straight, yet the flat underside of the bolt needs to sit flush against the caliper.

Matt - 12/23/13 - 9:59pm

At 330lbs braking performance is one of the things I look at the hardest and I had a old set of Elixir 5s that just crapped out and went the way of you typical avid hydro system. I called avid and they sent me a new XO trail set for warranty and can say without a shadow of a doubt these are some of the best brakes I’ve used. They had so much power I went back to 160mm rotors on front and rear…mad props avid!

doug - 12/23/13 - 10:46pm

Sorry Avid, love XX1 (though I’ll bet shimano will come out with a cleaner version), but as for the brakes given the disaster every pair has been in the past, and even reading between the lines in this review – not going to happen.

Wish that wasn’t the case, but get the MTB brakes right before moving onto road (as we recently saw).

The Turkey Garble has been going on for what seems like a decade. How come every other MFG has dead silent, or close to it brakes and Avid still can’t figure it out?

If I went Avid for brakes – the BB7′s and the old school Ultimate V-brake levers… now that was a sweet mechanical system.

sillybike - 12/24/13 - 1:29am

i have had good luck with the new Avids XO and trail 9, Turkey Gobble on one and silent on the other! HSX six bolt/HS1 six bolt! Good job AVID!

Scott - 12/24/13 - 2:21am

I have been running the XO Trail brakes since march and they are awesome. Great modulation and a ton of stopping power. So much power I went to a 140 rear and wished they made smaller. Avid brakes did suck in the past and I have had to try to fix a lot of customers brakes. But these are the real deal. Way to go SRAM/Avid.

Ron - 12/24/13 - 2:47am

I run these brakes and they are indeed great – smooth, reliable, powerful, light,and hassle-free.

brake expert - 12/24/13 - 3:13am

Whoever installed the brakes pictured above should think about the use of the concave/convex washers.
Installing them on only one side of the caliper does exactly one thing, namely adding weight.

i - 12/24/13 - 7:36am

so they put a band-aid on the poor design of taperbore in that bubble trap thing (a feature no other brake requires), they are still noisy and they have fade/pump-up issues.

And the best thing this ad… no I mean review can say is after 15 years of trying and failing, Avid may have finally made a sort of acceptable hydraulic disc.

Sorry, no. Too many bridges burned, Avid will need a good 5 years of absolutely spotless performance before I consider buying anything from them, and they’re off to a great start with their road brakes… (the issue, if you recall is not anything road-specific, it’s that they didn’t use the correct seal – basic engineering done wrong).

Matt - 12/24/13 - 8:06am

Is dual diameter the actual marketing term?

Mattbyke - 12/24/13 - 8:12am

I just love my BB7 and avid ultimate levers. So many options for modulation. Paired with the full metal jacket , it’s just bomb proof.

Parkourfan - 12/24/13 - 9:14am

Just wanted to put this out there…was using a set, factory bleed, lever was nice and firm, great performance all Saturday…come race day, first race run the rear brake failed at the top of the race. Zero power. Lever pulled right to the bar with no resistance. After a rather scary run down, a comprehensive bleed seemed to form the lever up. What worries me was that there wasn’t a warning. No mushy lever or anything…I’ve gotten used to bleeding elixirs and juicys at the slightest hint of a problem, but at least those had obvious warning signs. Avid chalked the failure to an improper factory bleed. I don’t even know…

duder - 12/24/13 - 9:27am

i’ve had 0 issues with my XO. I experience less fade and more power than the XTs mounted on another bike. However, the Hayes Prime i run on my dh bike are the best of the three.

Tyler Benedict - 12/24/13 - 11:03am

brake expert – I installed them so long ago, I can’t honestly remember why I put just the one part of the concave washers on, probably just needed to take up some space from the bolts being a bit long, and those looked cooler (to me) than any of the standard washers sitting around my parts bin. We don’t always get retail packaging and all the bolts and bits on our review items, so sometimes bolts are too long or too short for the application and we just have to find a suitable part that doesn’t affect the review itself. Hence Zach’s possible use of a non-Avid adapter, too. He’ll have to chime in on that one.

Steven – glad you liked the format, we had fun doing it this way, probably do more like it in the future!

Zach Overholt - 12/24/13 - 11:18am

For me it was simply that my brakes did not include any adapters when they were given to me. since the Centerlock rotors are 180mm instead of Avid’s old 185mm, none of my Avid brake adapters would work so I had to use the only 180mm Post mount adapter I had which was a Shimano.

ching - 12/24/13 - 12:05pm

“And the best thing this ad… no I mean review can say is after 15 years of trying and failing, Avid may have finally made a sort of acceptable hydraulic disc.”
^^^^^
This….

I mean right here is proof of how Avid should literally just give up making brakes. At what point do people break and just stop supporting such a crappy company? Even Tyler and Zach here acknowledge their past and basically state whats quoted above. It took them years with a hoaky work around to make what is just considered “acceptable”. Meanwhile people don’t realize what they are missing until they get a set of XT brakes. Your style of riding even changes with the great XT’s. You can wait till way way late before braking. You can hang your bike upside down, sideways, upright…Doesn’t matter. Heck I even cut the cable on my XT’s without having to bleed them.

Avid..just give up. Actually as a mechanic..sram you should just give up.

Chsad - 12/25/13 - 9:54am

1. It is amazing to have an American component maker of drivetrain components who can compete with Campy and Shimano. 20 years ago most people wouldn’t have believed that.

2. They have nailed dome products. Their chains are excellent. Xx1 is simply awesome. Rock Shox forks are pretty great as we’ll.

3. The non-mechanical brakes: horrid. I wonder if you will see a change in design. A move away from DOT fluid (though Hope and Formula seem to have no issue with that)?

They got me twice. Once with juicy sevens and once with xx. The xx needed a caliper replacement out of the box. Combine the time with diagnosing with the beating I took on ebay selling them (they warranties the brake)….never again

Mason - 12/25/13 - 3:39pm

I think these are great brakes. I’ve got a pair of these on one bike and deore on the other, and I much prefer the x0 trail, and that’s not a knock on the deore brakes (which were a replacement for a Magura pair that were utter garbage)

Avid has made some bad brakes. These definitely aren’t them. For some it’s too late, and that’s ok, but I very much enjoy them.

Local Dutchman - 12/25/13 - 4:21pm

I’m not sure brakes are the component you would want to buy from a company that needs more than ten years to realise that their basic design doesn’t work in real life.

And now they’ve released Road hydro’s, labeled as SRAM, another screwup due to lack of testing.

I’ve settled on Hope, easier to bleed than Formula’s, powerfull, great modulation and even spares for older types.

Tim - 12/26/13 - 9:43am

I have run Avid BB7′s with various levers, usually Ultimates, for over a decade without problems.
It sounds like DOT fluid sometimes corrupts seals and is definitely caustic. But it doesn’t heat up much, even on long descents. And it definitely doesn’t always have problems: I know someone who has been using the original Hayes brake continuously on his main bike since 2000 without problems.
Mineral oil is not caustic, but it heats up quickly, causing pump up. This is why Shimano has to make Ice-Tech pads and has made two generations of Ice-Tech rotors- to compensate for this weakness.
I know hydros of both types have their advantages, one of them being weight, but I will stick with my current brake system. It always works well and I never think about it.

JD - 12/26/13 - 1:45pm

Not buying this, I’ve been a wrench for 15 years and SRAM CONSISTENTLY makes the worse hydraulic braking products I have ever seen.

Ron - 12/27/13 - 6:47am

I love sram, but i hate the avids. Lost all breaking power on the rear breaks (2013 model) this summer during a very fast ride going downhill b/c air bubbles in the system.
It caused me to hit a tree very hard resulting in a serious contusion up to the point i had to visit the hospital for a check b/c they feared for internal damage (stomach area).
So now i ride the XX1 group but with shimano xtr brakes.

Steve - 12/27/13 - 6:52am

I run BB7′s also, little bit heavier but like Mattbyke said …Bombproof

K11 - 12/27/13 - 12:37pm

love sram shift systems, not a fan of their brakes. I just run sram shift systems and shimano brake systems. problem solved.

Marius - 12/27/13 - 11:04pm

Have mine for a year now and can positively say I have had not one problem with them,awesome power and control,saw a lot of guys use them here at worlds in South Africa for downhill.

Kurt G. - 12/28/13 - 1:19pm

I’ve had the X0 Trail brakes on my RIP 9 for about 8 months now and after dealing with bleed issues that came with shortening the hose, I absolutely love them. I loved my XTs on a previous build, and initially put them ahead of the X0s. After spending a lot of time riding a huge variety of terrain, I found that the smooth progressive nature of the Avids to help greatly in slow speed technical downhill stuff: thread the needle rock gardens, tight step-down switchbacks, and the like. The initial XT bite that Tyler mentioned works against you in this respect. I suppose that’s preference, but I can’t imagine who would prefer that kind of bite in those situations.

I was a bit dismayed to find that the turkey gobble wasn’t completely gone, but I only found them to be noisy in one scenario: after long stretches where the rotor heats up then cools a bit. Reapplying power after this would result in 4-5 seconds of gobble, then they’d go silent again. I was able to completely get rid of this by putting a bit of masking tape on the back of the pads, which serves to dampen vibration without any perceptible difference in feel.

At this point, I really, really like the X0, even more than the XTs, but I’d probably still buy XTs if I was putting together a new bike on my own, just because I don’t think the X0/XT price difference bears out in performance.

My 2 cents…

Paul - 12/28/13 - 2:03pm

I was a mech at Specialized shops during Avid’s majority marketshare of bigbrand bikes w. hydro discs 2010-12, and after doing a TON of bleeds and lever replacement warranties on elixir’s Sram came through and replaced EVERY old elixir 7 brake with XO’s and XO trails.

For my trouble they hooked me up with a set of XO trails (same as the ones in this review). I ran them since spring/summer 2012. I had a very similar experience and my review would be a lot like this one.

They squabble like a turkey at first, but the smooth feel is top notch and power is not an issue. With the new factory bleed process they use and the updated master cylinder many of the old “avid” issues have been solved IMO.

Just bled them for the first time after a year, same pads. I used 140R/160F and recently switched to 160R/180F (on 650b wheels). These are great brakes, well done Avid!

PS: shimano’s yellow bleed blocks work great in these calipers and if you file down 1/4 of the block you can push the pistons out individually for maintenance.

Garth - 12/29/13 - 11:45am

My set of XO Trails came stock on a bike. It made me hesitant to actually buy the bike considering I had two other bikes with XT’s on them and wasn’t sure if they’d live up. After 6 months, the XO’s are superior in every way. Neither set of my XT’s ever had functioning pad contact adjustment, but every adjustment on the XO Trails just works. The only issue I had was that the caliper seals in my rear failed last month, but Avid sent a complete new brake set (both sides) and new rotors. To be fair, the exact same issue happened to my friend’s XT brakes almost at the same time (right when the weather started getting cold). Shimano sent him a non-icetech rotor (downgrade) and just a rear caliper with non-icetech pads (downgrade). It took him over an hour to bleed out the air from the caliper.

I’ve personally never had any issues with my Avid brakes (2 sets of Juicy, 2 sets of Elixer, now 1 set of XO Trail). I feel like I need to bleed my XT’s more often to fix random changes in lever feel. Although, in reality, XO really is closer to XTR in the grand scheme of things so I’m not sure how much of a comparison can really be made between the XT and XO offerings.

Simply put, Avid nailed it.

Charles - 12/29/13 - 6:50pm

“Air Trap,” lol. SRAM has the nerve to creative a techy-term for a fix to problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Hydraulic disc brakes have been around for many years not, not rocket science. Lemme guess, when they finally figure out how to get their brakes to stop squeaking, they’ll list “Squeak-stopper” as a feature you need to pay $$$ for.

Mason - 12/29/13 - 11:52pm

It’s funny how everybody who has owned and used these brakes has great things to say about them.

Everybody talking trash about how awful Avids are hasn’t used them, they’re just here to make noise. Telling.

Nooge - 01/03/14 - 7:02am

I don’t care if they are perfect in every other way if they make that damn noise! Drives me nuts. Also, won’t trust reliability this early on. Too much of a bad history on a critical component.

pDD - 04/07/14 - 2:03pm

Last year (2013) I bought X.0 Trail brakes. It supposed to be great, it supposed to work without the flaws of previous Avids and 1 year after here we go… we get a brand new lever design – SRAM Guide Brakes. Avid brings to the world the piggyback reservoir which I had like 8 years ago in Hayes HFX brakes! Brakes that I had for 7 years and changed to X.O Trails. Don’t get me wrong. Trails are powerful and that’s what HFX didn’t have. But I seriously doubt and don’t expect Guides to be operational after 7 years. On the first trip to mountains I found the lever of X.O Trails getting “stiff” after one downhill ride. No piggyback reservoir? SRAM give me back my money.

Fat Marty - 09/07/14 - 7:20am

Thanks for a well written thorough review that acknowledges past avid problems; but relies on real world longer term testing.
Because these are relatively new design it is hard to find good info on them.
After reading this article, and the comments, I think it’s clear the X.O Trail brakes are the right choice for me with the X.O grip shippers I just got.

It sounds to this amateur home mechanic that it’s wise to bleed them from the factory just in case there’s air in the MC’s.
But that if set up proper at the start: these are sweet brakes that work as good as they look.
Thanks Bike Rumor.

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