Avid Juicy 5 – Long term review

One of my main concerns when I bought the Yuba Mundo back in 2009 was the V brakes. I am not really a fan of this type of brake (even back then). After buying the Yuba Mundo I promptly bought a new fork with disc brake tabs so I could be rid of the V brake at the front. I intended to replace the rear brake eventually too, although I still haven’t gotten around to this mainly because the rear brake contributes so little to overall braking power. That was almost two and a half years ago now.

If I was doing this again now, I might have chosen a 90mm Sturmey Archer drum brake hub, such as the XL-FD or XL-FDD, a Shimano roller brake such as the IM70 or some nice cantilever brakes. However, at that time I was unfamiliar with such things, which are generally ignored by the sport-centric UK cycle retail industry. I was also still unfamiliar with the process of wheel-building. Having owned an entirely inappropriate mountain bike for several years at this point, what I was familiar with was disc brakes.

My old mountain bike had cable-actuated disc brakes (Avid ‘BB7’) which are relatively easy to maintain. For the Yuba Mundo I decided to give in to my curiosity and try hydraulic disc brakes. I bought an Avid ‘Juicy 5.’ The brake came with the lever, hose and caliper as a complete sealed unit, plus a 185 mm disc rotor. I fitted the brake and have not had to do anything else to it since. Even the famously low-maintenance drum brakes have required a little maintenance, but not the hydraulic disc brake.

The brake has very good modulation and produces the most stopping power of all of the brakes I have owned. This is what I wanted and expected when I bought the brake, considering the amount of weight the Yuba Mundo can carry. What has surprised me is that it has turned out to be particlarly durable and low maintenance too. With no cable to stretch over time and a design which accounts for and automatically corrects pad wear, the ‘Juicy 5’ has been a surprisingly good choice for a utility bike, even if it probably wasn’t designed with this type of bike in mind.

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4 thoughts on “Avid Juicy 5 – Long term review

  1. Good to hear that the brake has been reliable! Unfortunately, I’m not the only one (at least if you search the various MTB forums) who has found Avid brakes to be completely unreliable, at least after a few months use in good old British muck! I’ve owned Juicy 3 and 5 brakes, plus the newer Elixir 5 and ‘R’ brakes, and every one has let me down after one winter of use, except (ironically) one of the old, cheap Juicy 3s!

    The problem seems to be when fine grit/dust gets into the caliper seals when its very wet; then the brake just instantly loses all power. Apparently you can change the master seals, but mine just went on eBay as faulty/for spares… I expect that your brake will remain fine for normal road use.

    Incidentally, Avid’s cable operated disc brakes (BB5 & 7) have an excellent reputation and are apparently almost as powerful as the hydraulic units. If you ever need to clean it, I recommend Muc-Off disc brake cleaner, which seems to do a great job.

  2. i also ride a specialized enduro with juicy 5 s i rode a giant 760 with center pull they worked well but for the juciys 5 s i cant to get the stopping power i think they should have i replaced pads more times than i care to count my nephew has the same stopers on his santacruz and it will stop a train whats the deal i would almost rather have my center pulls what do you or your readers think i should do short of the fred flinstone? ps they are full hydro’s help iam running out of shoe’s steve727@gmail.com thank you

    • The trick to adjusting this type of brake is to loosen the screws holding the brake caliper to the fork. Pump the brake on and off hard a few times to position the caliper properly, hold the brake lever down with an elastic band or similar and then re-tighten the screws holding the caliper to the fork. For best results tighten each screw off a bit at a time to retain good caliper alignment.

      This, combined with some bedding in time for the new position, should improve braking performance to what you’ve experienced on other bikes with the same brake.

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