Pros: - Gobs of stopping power
- Can't beat the feeling of Avid levers
- Tool less pad contact and lever throw adjustments
- Top loading pads
Cons: - The Avid bleed procedure isn't fun
- Little to no modulation, they're full on or full off
- Pad contact adjustment could have a higher range of settings/significance
Recommendation: In DH there are two brakes that sit above the rest: Shimano Saint and Avid Code. Now to me this is the same argument as Ford and Chevy so I won't get into it. Now that being said I would recommend the Codes, not partially over the Saints, but to anyone researching or looking for an industry leader in stopping power. With Codes you will only ever need to do one finger braking because as soon as you hit your brakes they will grab instantly and begin to slow you do. They're fully on or fully off... there isn't too much modulation on these guys.
Avid has also made things very easy to custom tune your brakes to you. All adjustments (pad & lever) are tool-less and very easy to adjust, just turn the dials until they're perfect for you.
The bottom line is that the Avid Code is at the top of the game and will stop you when you want to. If you're contemplating them take them for a test ride to ensure they're right for you. Some people don't like the on/off feel. And if you're on the fence between Saints and Codes, it will depend on whether your a Ford or a Chevy guy, there is no poor choice... unless you like Toyota Tacomas haha.
Pros: Good power and modulation. The smaller caliper is welcome as well as the top loading pads.
Recommendation: A much improved brake over previous models. The savings of weight is great as well as the new Taperbore lever. The integrated reservoir and the pad contact adjustment are bonuses as well. Over all power on these is very good and will stop you for sure.
Pros: I like the contact adjustment for tuning the feel. The brakes provide very solid, controlled brake power. They don't fade at all ever. They're easy to rebuild and easy to bleed. The hoses are conventional, so no special fittings like the Elixir has.
Cons: I have no complaints after over a year of use. If I had a do over I would get larger rotors.
Recommendation: If you can afford it they are worth it. Once you use them, most other brakes feel weak.