Sea Otter: Avid Code brakes and new Rockshox shocks

It’s easy to lure the bicycle world’s journalists to your booth with the offer of a sandwich and a coffee, so I found myself at the SRAM booth to see the yearly announcement. Now they’d already announced ten speed X0 and X9 the evening before, but there was still more to see.

First up we have Avid’s downhill specific Code brake. Already bonkers powerful, it’s been upgraded with the Taperbore piston seen on the Elixir. It’s a four-piston brake with dual diameter pistons. Power is claimed to be very linear in application and there are still sealed cartridge bearings in the lever pivot. Oh, and the pads are now top-loading to replace.

The lever offers pad contact and lever travel adjustments, which are now detented so they won’t rattle and change your settings. Weight for a 160mm rotor set (which is how Avid measure all their brakes) is 410g a wheel, which is 10g lighter than the original Juicy 7 – a brake that was hailed as being a super light XC brake only a few years ago.

There’s a Code-R brake which offers much of the same technology for a lower price. It misses out on the lever bearings though…

Over at the Elixir brake now… we have the new SRAM XO level brake. It replaces the Avid CR Mag and comes in at 333g a wheel (160mm rotor). The magnesium has been replaced for aluminium as it’s not aimed at being an XC race brake (they have XX for that) and they wanted it to be a little tougher. (For example, it’s the brake that Steve Peat uses on his downhill bike…) Avid has also changed the insides of the system a little for better ‘air management’ should you get air into it during a bad bleed. There will be carbon and ally levers available. It’ll be coming in the new SRAM XO colours of Gold, Blue, Black and Red.

Also from Avid is the eagerly awaited Shorty Ultimate cyclocross brake, which is swappable between wide or narrow modes and features all the neat machining, bearings and gadgety bits of the Ultimate range.

Avid Shorty. All the 'cross kids want them.

Over to Rockshox now. First up is the Vivid rear shock. It’s a DH or Freeride shock and it now comes in a full air sprung version. The Vivid Air is a ‘twin tube solo air’ shock and though it looks huge, it takes up the same amount of space as a coil shock.

One problem with air shocks can be that as the shock heats up with prolonged use (like on a big downhill) it can cause the shock damping to fade as the damping oil heats up. Rockshox reckons it’s got round that by having a ‘Hot Rod’ thermoplastic damper rod that heats up with the oil and expands to counteract the new, less viscous oil. The SRAM guys hauled Mick Hannah up to tell the crowd how much he liked it as he reckons it helps the bike sit up a little more into its travel, rather than wallowing in the corners.

There’s also a new twin crown Domain fork coming out that you’ll doubtless see on many bike park rental bikes and budget downhill racers’ bikes as it seems pretty bombproof and won’t be too expensive.

The Argyle jump for too has been revamped. It now comes with rebound, compression and threshold, with alloy stanchions. It’ll also come in 80, 100 or 140mm travel with a long travel solo air cartridge. One other thing to spot is there’s a new Maxle Lite axle. It now only expands on one side and does away with the far side nut. This makes it lighter and stiffer apparently.

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