If you want easy to maintain but good performance then perhaps look at BB7's - they are easily as good if not better than many hydraulic brakes, cheap and about as reliable and hassle free as you can get. I have some partnered with SD7 levers and they are fearsomely powerful and just need the pad adjusters clicked round a bit from time to time. Job done.
On the subject of Avid - I also have some Juicy Ultimates on my Scalpel and they are better than XTR, Hope M4 and Hayes Strokers whcih I have also tried. Maybe its just me ?