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Old 08-08-06, 10:03 AM   #1
IdiotMD
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Two questions

First off, I should note that I live in Alaska and I recently started commuting to work on my Surly LHT. I am contemplating winter commuting as well since the last few years have been relatively mild and the municipality has been fairly prompt in cleaning the bike trails after a snow fall.

That out of the way, I am curious if it is advisable to switch from caliper to disk brakes on the front. Considering my route is roughly five miles with some traffic involved and quite a bit of elevation changes while toting some 50-60 pounds of school supplies (in addition to my 200 pound self) I am concerned with braking ability on studded tires and sloppy/icy conditions.

Second question is how difficult is it to switch tires? I currently on Mavic A719 rims with 700x32 Panaracer Messengers and the fender are rated to take up to 40s. Can I just change out the tires or would new rims be in the equation as well?
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Old 08-08-06, 10:25 AM   #2
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Switching tires is very easy, and a lot cheaper than buying a whole new wheel!! Here's a guide to matching tire width and rim width: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html#width ... I don't know how wide your rims are, but if they can hold 32 mm tires comfortably, 40 mm will hopefully work as well.

To replace tires you need tire levers, which are only about $5 for a set of three. Here's a great guide on how to do it: http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=100

I can't help you on the disk brakes, since I've never used them and since I'm only 165 pounds and don't ride on many large hills. Sounds like you have a crazy hardcore commute though... badass!! By the way, I think a Surly LHT can accomodate V-brakes as well, which would be an easier and much cheaper upgrade since it wouldn't require you to replace your front hub (unless you already have a disk hub). V-brakes are quite powerful and reliable, though they are sensitive to mud and ice like all rim brakes.
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Old 08-08-06, 10:47 AM   #3
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there are 700c disc brake forks availible, however they generally preclude using fenders. vicious cycles makes a nice one, but cheaper, you could get a winwood carbon fork, or perhaps an IRD... however, i would look into the much cheaper option of a drum brake in the back, which using a bolt on adaptor. need a new rear hub, but all in all, hundreds less, with even better long term braking than a disc.
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Old 08-08-06, 11:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridelugs
there are 700c disc brake forks availible, however they generally preclude using fenders. vicious cycles makes a nice one, but cheaper, you could get a winwood carbon fork, or perhaps an IRD... however, i would look into the much cheaper option of a drum brake in the back, which using a bolt on adaptor. need a new rear hub, but all in all, hundreds less, with even better long term braking than a disc.
Sheldon Brown sez that drum brakes are best used as drag brakes: they're good for slowing you down on a descent, but if you're also concerned with quick STOPPING power, a drum brake is probably not the right choice. A new rear hub that can fit a drum brake is quite expensive, something like $400 (!!!) for the Phil Wood hubs... not sure what other brands are available.

You can get a new disc-compatible steel fork for only $50 from Nashbar: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

Then, $35 for a good disc-compatible front hub: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

Then however much to rebuild the front wheel, and maybe $100 for a front mechanical disc brake and lever. Disk brake definitely seems like the cheaper option to me...
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Old 08-10-06, 02:00 PM   #5
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first of all, you dont wanna lock your wheel in the winter, a drum brake is perfect for icy stuff. shimano hubs can be sourced that dont cost a bucket load, and the whole key is you dont need any wacky adaptors, new forks ect. remember hidden costs: installation, new cables, ect. a drum can be used in combo with existing brakes, ala a tandem
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Old 08-10-06, 02:17 PM   #6
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I can't even imagine snow, it's 106 F right now and heading toward 108.
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