The line between trailbikes and all-mountain bikes is getting blurrier every year. New pedaling platform technologies
and approaches to geometry have pushed the length of travel
acceptable for a “trailbike.” These do-it-all bikes are becom-ing the norm, and riders expect components that can handle
the rigors of aggressive trail riding without the weight penalty. Avid recognized this and wanted to create a mountain
bike brake that could be used on any bike. Their answer was
the X0 Trail brake.
The Avid X0 Trail was created to fit in
between Avid’s burly Code brakes and their lighter-weight
X0 brakes, borrowing design elements from both models. The
X0 Trail’s master cylinder sees the same second-generation
changes to their taper-bore technology as other Elixir brakes;
however, the lever assembly itself is unique. The Trail uses
dual, sealed pivot bearings with a Torx bolt holding it all in
place for a solid, smooth pull and durability. The lever features tool-free reach and pad contact adjustments so you can
easily fine-tune the fit and feel.
The master cylinder uses the same leverage ratio and
power curve as the X0, so the increase in stopping power is
created at the caliper. As on the Code brakes, the Trail X0’s
caliper features four, dual-diameter pistons. However, at 14
and 16 millimeters, the Trail’s pistons are smaller than the
15- and 16-millimeter pistons found on the Code. Avid
engineers fine-tuned the amount of power they wanted by
experimenting with different piston sizes. The pistons are
laid out in a similar manner to towed V-brakes. The lead-
ing piston is the more powerful, 16-millimeter piston, and
the trailing is the less powerful, 14-millimeter piston. This
configuration increases modulation and control while
decreasing brake noise. The dual-piston design allows for a
longer brake pad with more surface area for a more power-
Impressively, the X0 Trail brakes weigh only a quarter
ounce more than the previous generation of X0 brakes.
Avid shaved as much material as possible and also used the
direct-mount hardware instead of the old stack of conical
washers to position the brakes. The complete setup—with
lever, caliper, 6-inch rotors, hardware and an uncut line—
weighed 15.5 ounces for the front and 1.4 pounds for the
rear. The Trail X0s retail for $310 a wheel.
Field test results:
The X0 Trails were designed to
adapt to any steed. Our Trek Slash 9 seemed to be the most
fitting candidate in our stable. It seems Trek would agree,
as their 2013 Slash 9 comes stock with the X0 Trail stoppers. The Slash originally came equipped with X0 brakes with a 200-millimeter rotor up front and a 180-millimeter rotor in the rear. For a direct comparison, we ran the same size rotors. After getting the brakes installed and the brake line cut down to size, we took the time to break in the X0 Trails before heading out on a ride.
The X0 Trails retain the classic Avid feel; they come on
smooth and dive deeper into the power as you increase
lever pressure. While the modulation feels very familiar,
the amount of power is noticeably increased. Given the
slight weight increase over the old brakes, the power gain is
even more impressive.
The X0 Trails go toe to toe and gram for gram with the best brakes out there and would work great on a wide array of bikes.
Though more powerful, the brakes are still very
controllable. In the last few years, Avid engineers have
changed their leverage ratio from a falling to rising rate so
that the power ramps up more and more as you pull the
lever farther. So, while there is more overall power, it doesn’t grab unexpectedly. You can still feather the brake
for slight speed adjustments.
The updated taper-bore technology inside the master
cylinder provides more consistent braking. On long
descents, the Trail brakes remained consistent and
While the X0 Trails are sure to impress fans of Avid
brakes, even within the wrecking crew, there are those who
prefer the feel of Avid brakes and those who prefer
Shimano or another brand. If you aren’t a fan of the feel
of Avid brakes in general, the X0 Trail probably won’t
convert you. Additionally, at $310 per wheel, the X0
Trails have a hefty entry price when compared to the X0’s
$261. They are, however, are on par with Shimano’s XTR