Avid’s first product in 1991 was not a brake but the Micro Adaptor—a crank adaptor that allowed riders to bolt a 20-tooth granny gear in place of the then standard 24- and 26-tooth chain rings that came stock on cranks of the time. Then in 1992, Avid launched the Tri-Align “V” brake into the lightweight brake market. Avid then introduced riders to the idea of tunable lever modulation in 1994 with the Speed Dial Ultimate Brake Lever. The Speed Dial changed riders’ perception of how brakes could feel and allowing them to dial-in the lever feel to meet their personal preferences.
Today, the Avid X0, a highly tunable, versatile disc brake, represents the culmination of Avid’s years of experience. Our X0’s weighed in at 333 grams a set, with carbon fiber levers and aluminum body. The X0 caliper is a two-piece forged-aluminum body with two pistons, and has an adjustable banjo for those tight frame mountings. The X0’s caliper has a top loading design for easy brake pad replacement. Out of the box, the X0’s come with organic brake pads and are pre-bleeded. A nice touch is that the levers are ambidextrous—for the motorcycle set out there.
The 2011 X0 brakes are packed with Avid technology. First, to help prevent brake fade and power loss, the X0’s are filled with DOT 5.1 fluid. DOT 5.1 takes longer to boil than DOT 4 fluid, and it is premature boiling that causes brakes to fade and lose power on long descents. All that DOT 5.1 is contained in Avid’s integrated reservoir with Taper Bore Technology. Roughly translated, Avid was able to integrate the master cylinder and the reservoir directly in line with each other for a slimmer lever body. Also, in line with the master cylinder and reservoir is the Contact Point Adjustment barrel. This adjustment barrel allows the rider to adjust where in the lever throw the pads contact the disc rotor. Other Avid technologies include Deep Stroke Modulation, Power Reserve Geometry, Tri-Align Caliper Positioning—along with reach adjust and top-loading brake pads.
Our set of Avid X0’s disc brakes came factory bled, and, luckily for us, the lever feel was positive out of the box and we never had to re-bleed them during the test. Included was a set of the Match Maker X clamps. These allow the X0 shifters and fork remote to share a clamp with the X0 brake levers. Being set up for just a T25 for all the bolts is a nice touch, however, we were not keen that the shifter pod effectively buried the bolt for the brake lever clamp when installed. This made last minute trailside adjustments more complicated. The Match Maker X clamps do have a separate adjustment for the position of the shifter pod.
Caliper installation only took us around a half an hour and would be fairly simple for the experienced home mechanic. Do not to attach the brake hose to the frame until after aligning the caliper to the rotor. This way the caliper is less affected by a stiff brake line.
The X0’s brakes pack plenty of stopping power, so ideal lever placement puts the lever where a single finger is all that was needed to operate the X0 brakes. This is something some of us are still wrapping our brain around, but also learning to appreciate. On long descents there was minimal brake fade and modulation was consistent throughout the test. The Contact Point Adjustment is one of the defining features of the X0 brakes as it provides options for different sized hands and riding styles, without effecting braking performance.
Packing plenty of stopping power in a compact lever design, the X0 disc brakes are for the rider who has experienced the performance of SRAM’s X0 drivetrain and is looking for a disc brake set to match and round out their X0-equipped machine. As a robust multi-discipline disc brake, the X0 brakes can be used for a variety of riding styles. Avid’s X0 disc brakes are capable of being mounted on every bike in a rider’s quiver. Compact and feathery light for a cross-country bike but packing enough single-finger power to stop bigger, heavier all mountain machines.
As Avid’s second-tier family of top-end disc brakes below the XX family, the X0 disc brakes are compatible with a variety of disc rotor sizes and adaptors.
The Bottom Line
Weight: 333 grams (per set)
Rotor sizes: HS1 (140-mm rear)/160/180/200 mm
Colors: Silver and Black
Price: $245 (160-mm front)