Guitar Ted says…
Avid brakes are a common spec on many mountain bikes these days. As with any hydraulic brakes, they need to be bled from time to time (Avid recommends once a year regardless of manufacturer), so getting a handle on the process of brake bleeds is a good idea. It is a maintenance procedure that all of us with hydraulic brakes should be familiar with.
Trouble was that in the past, Avid brakes were…..ah – a pain to get bled properly, shall we say? Yeah, that’s the nice way to put it! Well, no more. Avid recently introduced a “Professional Bleed Kit” which we were given to try out. I have used it several times and here are my impressions of the kit and the process;
- The kit comes with everything you need to get the job done with the exception of personal protection. You should always wear protective hand and eyewear when doing brake bleeds. The DOT fluid used is not to be trifled with!
- The parts to the system are well thought out, and there are even spares in the bleed kit for “O” rings and extra barbs and olives for hose shortening.
- The bleed kit comes with step by step instructions, but there is also a great YouTube video of the process (may not show the Pro Bleed kit) for those that get more out of watching a process than reading about it. There are a few videos, so search at You Tube
- The process is simple and easy to do within 10-15 minutes. You may even be able to get this done even faster when you have done it a few times.
Overall, I was able to get satisfactory results on first tries when using this kit on several different models of Avid brakes. I only have a few nits to pick.
One: You may want to get an assistant for this the first time you do the process. It helps when you can stop and reference the video or reading materials if you have someone to hold everything in place. Even then, on some rigs the process may require three hands. Something to keep in mind if you delve into this. (To be fair, Avid’s written instructions reference this as well.)
It is imperative that you get all the air out of the syringes before you bleed the brakes. This means a lot of wasted DOT fluid and it is somewhat messy to get done. Tip: Crack the hose connector off the syringe and gently squeeze the plunger to bleed off air from the top of the syringe without squirting it through the end of the hose attachment.
The air bubble that likes to hide at the top of the syringe is easy to miss. If you don’t catch it, you’ll pump a bunch of air into your brakes, making the process take longer than it should.
On some Avid calipers, the bleed ports are placed in odd positions. You’ll notice the bleed port on Elixir 9 brakes is in the middle of the banjo bolt, for instance! And those pesky little Allen grub screws are easily misplaced. Keep an eye on them when you remove them. I like using a magnetic bowl to set them in while I do the bleed.
Otherwise, that’s about it. Avid has definitely improved the experience of bleeding their brakes exponentially from the previous versions of their servicing kit.
I have much the same thoughts as GT does. I have used both the old version and the new Avid Pro Bleed kit and I find the more industrial quality syringes and the well stocked accessories…bleed blocks, barbs, olives, etc, to be a real plus when you have to shorten a brake line which often as not is the reason for a bleed. As bike testers, we do assemble and mix and match parts pretty often so re-hosing brakes or just getting them to behave makes a good bleed set-up a must. The Pro Kit has gotten me back on trail a few times now and is worth its weight in gold. You really should know how to work on your own stuff, including brakes. Either that, or be chained to the mercy of the local shop monkey. Some of them are really good like Guitar Ted, for instance, but some…well, not so much.
Prices on the Pro Bleed kit seem to be in the $65.00 to $70.00 range, likely worth the upgrade in cost over the $45.00 cost of the regular bleed kit, especially if you find that you are keeping several bikes stopping happy!
Note: SRAM sent over the Pro Bleed Kits for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being bribed or paid for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.