Normally, if I don’t like something I simply won’t write about it. I don’t need to be difficult and I certainly don’t need to be mean. Brakes are a different story though. We’re talking about the things that stop you – they’re kind of important, ya know?
Specialized likes to use Axis 1.0 on their entry-level high-end bikes. Those entry-level bikes were once called “Comp”, then Elite. In other words, Venge Comp, Alias Comp, then Venge Elite….
The Venge Comp and Elite came with 105 brakes. This year, Specialized are going with the Comp and Elite divisions and then the entry-level model is the Sport. That’s the one I’m talking about. The Tarmac Sport, at $1,900 has Axis brakes. So does the Amira SL, the Amira SL4 Sport… you see the pattern. The Venge Elite still has 105’s.
Anyway, back to the point of this post. We had nothing but trouble with my wife’s set of Axis caliper brakes. They were horrible. They stopped my wife’s bike poorly, they didn’t have enough spring in them so the cable would bind up and the pads would rub the wheel because of it. We had the bike in to the shop four times trying to get them to work right (all of the work was done free of charge). Nothing would work for long.
I bought a new set of brakes for my Venge, that actually match the Venge perfectly, so I put my 105 brakes on my wife’s bike. What do you know, they work like you’d expect brakes to… Or in other words, the problem was the Axis 1.0 caliper brakes, not something else in the braking system.
The Axis brakes were so bad, I didn’t even bother to save them. After the switch was complete and everything was set up to my liking, I took the Axis brakes to the shop and gave them to the owner. I don’t even want them in my part collection – I don’t even want to be tempted to use them in a pinch. Now in fairness, I could have gotten a bad set of brakes but I doubt I’ll ever find out for sure. From now until I’m worm food, I’ll upgrade any set of Axis brakes I get on a bike for 105’s or better. They’re not even worth the chance of the headache.
This has been my experience.