Whenever my friends ask about brakes there are always two that are mentioned: Hayes and Avid. Today I am going to run a head-to-head comparison of the Hayes Stroker Trail and the Avid Juicy 7, each considered the “do-all” model for their brand. Depending on who you ask you will get different opinions about these disc brakes, some based on fact, others based on hearsay and it can be difficult at times to differentiate between the two. I’ll do my best to give facts and skip the hearsay.

Out of the box both kits come with everything you need to install your brakes: mounting brackets, bolts, a complete caliper hose lever assembly, and of course a rotor. Both kits give you ample hose length to fit all bikes out there – just remember they are sold as a front and rear brake sets.

Hayes Stroker Trail Avid Juicy 7
Pad area bigger smaller
Weight 406 gm 160mm 395 gm 160mm post
Dot 4 yes no
Dot 5.1 no (compatible) yes
203mm yes yes
180mm yes yes
160mm yes yes
Tri align no yes
Pad adjustments no yes
No tool lever adjust yes no (allen key)
Sintered pads yes yes
Organic pads yes (option) yes (option)
Recommended for XC/ All mountain /Light Freeride XC/ All mountain
Colors Grey/ White Black
Attributes High stopping power Moderate stopping
More on off like Good modulation
Release quickly Release quickly
Easy to set up A bit of fiddling
Quiet operation Not as quiet
Quick pad change Not as quick need tool
Can take a hit Levers bend easily
Tough hoses Hoses tend to kink
Ease of getting parts Ease of getting parts
No hassle customer support Keep your receipt
Upgrades Titanium bolts Titanium bolts
Change to DOT 5.1 improves modulation and increases
boil point
Changing pads can change aggressiveness Same as Hayes
Different brand rotors Different brand rotors
Carbon levers Carbon levers
Stroker Grams Juicy Ultimate

In the photo above you can see the Hayes Stroker master cylinder is integrated within the body and makes for a sleek design. The Juicy, on the other hand, has its master cylinder jutting out a bit and the overall size of the Juicy Seven is a bit larger as well.

Both braking systems work well and stop well out of the box , however you can always make them better. For example, one thing you can do that will make the Hayes Stroker modulate just as well as the Avid is to change the brake fluid in it – I recommend a good quality DOT 5.1. Just visit any motorcycle shop and look for Motul 5.1 or a similar DOT 5.1 with a high boiling point. Another upgrade that can shave some weight is changing the bolts over to titanium which can save close to 60g per set. The photo above shows a Stroker Trail that has had its fluid changed over to a DOT 5.1 as well as the bolts changed over to titanium. On the Stroker caliper there are 6 M6 bolts and installing or replacing these bolts is pretty easy – just follow the instructions carefully.

There a few things you can do to improve the performance of the Juicy Seven as well but the biggest thing is to make sure your installation is correct. Make sure you slowly tighten the bolts that hold the caliper to the frame/fork and pay attention to the CPS hardware during installation. If you’re replacing the brake pads it’s a good idea to replaces the spring at the same time. Upgrading the 8 caliper bolts on the Avid Juicy Seven to titanium you will save about 70gm per wheel – pretty big savings for such a minor tweak!

With both braking systems it’s important you torque all bolts properly and check them regularly. Over time you may decide to upgrade your rotors and both brake sets are compatible with rotors from various manufacturers. The Hayes set-up pictured above is using a Magura Venti rotor.

As you can see, both the Avid and Hayes hydraulic brake systems have their pros and cons and depending on your needs or riding style you may find one better than the other. Don’t just settle when it comes to choosing a braking system for your mountain bike – keep experimenting until you find the best set-up for you!

# Comments

  • Suvacrew

    I take it..you are a Hayes rider, as the spec grid seemed biased, with some items in error or just not present. So this is coming from a juicy carbon rider. Juicy 7s are absolutely tool free pad replacement…basically take off your full finger gloves and you’ve got the tools at hand. The juicy is ambidextrous, if you want to switch and go moto set-up, just put the contact adjust knob on the flip side of the lever. They are also Split Clamp/MatchMaker compatible, making for a tight and tidy cockpit when mated to SRAM shifters..so it all tucks away. Pad Contact-Point Adjustment can be done on the fly with the red knob on the lever…a great option when faced with long epic rides where obstacles abound and a known travel is warranted. The juicy, using their proprietary bleed kit is truly drip free and easy to do and the advent of the G2 Cleansweep rotors has eradicated the much maligned squeal that older Juicys were guilty of. The best upgrade for any Juicy is to make sure you have a G2 rotor and at least a 185mm up front.

    Cheers mate

  • element22

    Actually i do like Hayes however thanks for reminding me of the fact of the matchmaker, that i did miss but if check carefully there is nothing that really says who is better. Both manufactures make a good product. When i was talking about tool free adjustment i was mentioning the Lever not the contact of the pads. Also you also have to remember that i am evaluating the brake and the matchmaker feature only works if you use Sram not Shimano. As far as the ambidextrous feature you don’t have to do a thing for Hayes, just flip and go.
    Both brands have their respective strong points, give both a try and see for yourself…Now as I stated there are things that can be done that will really improve both brands. Changing rotors or fluids as well as changing hoses all are things that can be done to make a stellar brake set.
    With brakes and how they fell that for a rider is a personal thing some like the on off feeling others like a more progressive feel. Neither one is right or wrong.
    One thing that i really like about your brake set is that the finish on the carbon lever is great and it makes for a stiffer lever as well.

  • Suvacrew

    Tool free adjustment vs tool free pad replacement. I was referring to the pad change and the “Not as quick need tool” on the grid, because I’ll agree the juicy needs some tools and the allen wrench for the indexed shifter isn’t always a normal one for bike tool clusters. I use the FCS Fin tool from my surfboard set screws.
    Thanks for the article..and for the response.
    Now we need an article on my most hated topic….AM/XC tires that can go AM all seasons of the year!!

  • element22

    Hmmm ok I will think on that one….However as with everything on the planet whenever you make something for all conditions there will always be a compromise and that compromise may be of no concern to you or it may be all the world. For example a tire that is all conditions could wear quickly and as a consumer that fact may not be something you like..

    For all condition tires my short list contain Nevagal 2.3, Eskar S-works 2.2, Chunder 2.2, Larsen TT and Michelin XCT AT ( a bit narrow ). Now for snow hmmmm how much snow is the big question! Up here where i live in Canada we have had in the last month 120cm

  • Mongoose

    Thanks for the valuable info & the work to put it together. Greatly appreciated!

  • AK_Dan

    This posting yesterday prompted me to do a bit of research on my own disc brakes, a subject Im not really up on. Im one of them ‘if it works- dont mess with it’ kind of guys, this past fall however I was forced to look into the brakes that came with the bike I have stateside, they were a first generation Hayes Sole model. Originally all I knew was they worked a whole lot better than the center pull brakes I had been used too so all was good. But eventually it came time to replace the pads and after that I never could get them to work without making all kinds of racket, you know the kind that drives you absolutely insane and makes everyone else not want to ride with you- yea.
    So these actually only came with a piston on one side that pushed the rotor into a pad secured on the other side instead of squeezing the rotor like most brakes will do. Fish at Over the Edge Sports in Fruita had a set of used Hayes he sold me, including installation which was way cool. Still Hayes but they are the El Camino model and really they are designed and look a lot like the Juicy’s pictured above, and so far they work a whole lot better than the Sole model ever did, even new. They have a couple different adjustments on them that I try not to play with too much but this thread prompted me to go download the manual for them so Ill have that going for me anyway. Im parting this bike out next month and these brakes along with the wheel set and shifters will end up on my Rockhopper in AK, which still has rim brakes. I plan to buy a new bike stateside which will start the learning process all over again, with any luck it will come with either of the brakes reviewed above as they both seem like top of the line choices.

  • highlander9

    I want to use a 2 piece rotor for my Stroker Ace front disc brake but am worried about clearance. I noticed you pulled it off for your Stroker Trail. Do you think it would be possible for me to use a 160mm Magura Venti 2-piece for my front Stroker Ace Disc brake? The Hayes 2 piece rotor is NOT compatible with any of the Strokers (Gram, Trail or Ace), so that’s why I’m asking about the Magura Venti (if it has better clearance).

  • element22

    Actually I think the Venti rotors will have less clearance..Now I did muck around a bit with those rotors a while back. They do look cool…..Thats about where I stop….

    What your going to have to do to make it work is clip a bit off the tab that you use to remove the pads. That tab will strike the aluminum portion of the rotor.

    To make it work I used a side cutter and grinder to remove half of the tab. It works fine, just takes a bit more work removing the pad…A needle nose plyer will grab it easy enough.

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