Avid Elixir 9 Disc Brake - $158.20

As the fearless leader of the Elixir battalion, the Avid Elixir 9 Hydraulic Disc Brake has a lot to live up to. That means offering serious performance and high-end materials without forcing you to take out another mortgage on 'Chateau Velo-Geek.' Since they're part of the Elixir family, these brakes use Avid's Taperbore technology, which incorporates the fluid reservoir into the piston assembly. This simplifies the system a bit and saves weight over designs that use separate reservoirs. Taperbore also features a new bladder material that reduces air permeability for a smoother feel and more braking power than previous iterations. The carbon fiber levers pivot close to the bars, closer than other makes. The reason for this is that it provides a lever swing that more closely matches the movement of your fingers as they close in towards the handlebars. This is part of what gives Elixirs a natural feel. Combined with the tool-free reach adjust and pad contact adjustment, they're easy to dial in to your particular hands and preferences. Elixir 9 levers are also Matchmaker compatible, which allows you to bolt your shifters, brake levers, and even a RockShox PushLoc remote onto one clamp for a simpler, lighter control arrangement on the bars. Maintaining a set of Elixir 9s is a snap, even if you're working on your bench at home. Avid Elixirs have top-loading pads, so you can replace the pads without working under the caliper or even removing the wheel. That means less bench-time and more trail-time. Elixir 9s also feature Air Trap technology, which prevents air from entering the reservoir to simplify the bleed process. Avid's Tri-Align Caliper Positioning System makes installation easier, too. The caliper aligns itself to the rotor. Just loosen the mounting bolts, squeeze the lever, then tighten the mounting bolts. It's that easy. - $158.20