One thing I had never really tried was a set of hydraulic disk brakes, so when my 2013 Salsa El Mariachi came with a set of Avid Elixir 5 brakes I thought I would keep them on the bike and test them out. At first I really liked them and they seemed to work well, providing a good solid braking power and easy to use. But the real test for them came on a long windy decent on a recent on day trip into the mountains. On a long decent I was controlling my speed at about 45km per hour when suddenly a huge banging noise developed from my rear brake which caused me to stop, upon inspection the rotor seemed straight and not bent , the only reason for that to happen was the rotor was vibrating and hitting the leading edge of the disk pad. So for peace of mind and future ease of use , no disk brake bleeds. I have up graded to a brand new set of Avid BB7 MTN S mechanical disk brakes with some Avid speed dial levers. The BB7 system gives you far more adjustment in how close the pads contact the rotor , you do not even need tools to do this operation so if for some reason your disk rotor gets bent which will happen some time you can adjust the pads and continue riding unlike my previous set of brakes where you cannot adjust the pads at all. Pictured below is the Avid Elixir 5 brakes that came on my 2013 El Mariachi , it is interesting to see that Salsa has changed to Shimano hydraulic brakes for 2014 instead of Avid
So after taking the set of Avid Elixir 5 brakes off the bike and cleaning them up, some lucky person will be able to buy this set of brakes for half price as I no longer need them. I set about fitting the new model Avid BB7 MTN S mechanical disk brakes to my bike. They are super easy to set up and if you are into bikepacking its a good idea to fit your front handle bar bag to the bike so you can get the perfect length of cable and set them up so the cables have plenty of room even with your bag attached. One trick to setting the pads against the rotor is to slip a business card in between the rotor and the pad and turn the rotor dials so that the wheel cannot move, once you have the stainless steel mounting bolts tightened you can then slacken off the pad dials and remove the business card , if your rotor was perfectly straight they should now be perfect. If your rotor is not perfectly straight which many new rotors are , you will need to speed a little more time adjusting the pads . Once set up the BB7 system offers you peace of mind, no oil changes are needed in the future , you can adjust the rotor to disk contact point without tools out on the trail & new pads are cheap and easily to replace when needed.