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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 09-16-12, 06:50 PM   #1
JEC7
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Disc or V-Brakes!!!

My local bicycle shop is waiting for me to call them back and confirm which type of brakes I want.

Obviously disc brakes are the way to go for a person of normal proportions, but because I'm 330lb will they squeal? If they're gonna squeal I'll probably be too embarrassed to ride it...

Last edited by JEC7; 09-16-12 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 09-16-12, 06:55 PM   #2
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I am 370 and v-brakes work fine for me.
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Old 09-16-12, 07:05 PM   #3
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Im 280lbs and have disc on two of my three bikes - I love 'em. Stop me on a dime and less stress on a wheel rim for us heavier folk.
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Old 09-16-12, 07:14 PM   #4
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Disc brakes are excellent and there is little to anything that can be said negatively about them. No whether you will actually gain any tangible benefit from them is debatable they may stop a bit more accurately but so will good vbrakes. If you ride in the rain, descend large hills or ride through a lot of mud then they CAN be a little better. Unlike a car which weighs tons and stops from high double digit speeds a bike will not gain as much benefit from disc brakes, but they CAN be better.

I'd personally go with what is potentially the best and go with the disc brakes as long as the price premium isn't too high.
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Old 09-16-12, 07:20 PM   #5
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Discs will cost me $100AUD more. That's somewhere around $100USD.
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Old 09-16-12, 07:27 PM   #6
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Since I found out about Kool Stop pads (and put them on all my bikes), I've quit wanting to upgrade to disc brakes.

Rode today on a 18 mile MUP run in the sprinkles/drizzle with my 9 year old....tested the V Brakes with Kool Stop salmon on a Gary Fisher MTB (with slicks). Awesome stopping power, even when wet, IMHO.

However...when that N+1 bug hits me, discs maybe...
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Old 09-16-12, 07:35 PM   #7
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All I know is that I can ride trails at 280lbs and it doesnt take much lever pressure to lock both front and rear wheels on my MTB. If you dont get the discs its not an easy upgrade - new wheels are required etc.
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Old 09-16-12, 07:43 PM   #8
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I have bikes with V and disc brakes, and in my mind there is absolutely no doubt that disc brakes deliver superior stopping performance. See if your LBS will let you test drive a disc brake bike to see what it's like. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can stop.

Disc brakes squeal when they are wet. They can get pretty loud, but if you brake a lot or give them one good pump, the disc brakes heat up and force the water to evaporate, so unless they get wet again, they won't squeal.

Disc brakes won't squeal if they are dry.
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Old 09-16-12, 07:51 PM   #9
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So money aside, disc brakes are the way to go. But are they worth the $100 premium?
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Old 09-16-12, 07:58 PM   #10
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If you do any serious descending disc brakes are the way to go. Sure, a 140 lb. flyweight can do just fine without discs, but I'm 200 lbs and I notice a big difference doing 2000+' descents with the discs. Our tandem has a rear disc and the only thing I would change is go with a front disc as well.
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Old 09-16-12, 11:03 PM   #11
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I ended up going with the disc brakes. Thanks for your help guys!

Love this sub-forum!
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Old 09-19-12, 05:32 AM   #12
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Im 280lbs and have disc on two of my three bikes - I love 'em. Stop me on a dime and less stress on a wheel rim for us heavier folk.
But MUCH more stress on the spokes, frame and fork. The stress on the rims is negligible due to rim brakes.

Discs are better in mud and for long hard down hill. The downside is that they are heavier, and more expensive. For normal riding, even in the wet, caliper rim brakes are just as good.

Last edited by nfmisso; 09-19-12 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 09-19-12, 08:54 AM   #13
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But MUCH more stress on the spokes, frame and fork. The stress on the rims is negligible due to rim brakes.

Discs are better in mud and for long hard down hill. The downside is that they are heavier, and more expensive. For normal riding, even in the wet, caliper rim brakes are just as good.
Agree that discs put more stress on spokes and fork. Disagree that caliper brakes are just as good in the wet. Even with Koolstop salmon pads, I find that my rim brakes take what seems like forever to clear water/gunk from the rim before they'll generate any braking force. I find that disc brakes provide much more consistent braking in wet weather...
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Old 09-19-12, 09:32 AM   #14
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I routinely descend at 45+ mph and use rim brakes.
Perhaps if I was just doing the mountain bike deal I'd choose disc but it would take a great deal of difference before I laid out the money for them.
If you're concerned about the wet, well I'm not traveling that fast in the wet and would start braking sooner in the wet than the dry.
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Old 09-19-12, 09:44 AM   #15
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No affiliation to this company....just a link from a Google search of 'Bicycle disc brakes vs v-brakes'.

So....it's worth the electrons to display and time to read (IMHO).

http://www.rodbikes.com/articles/brakes.html

Still....after reading the article, I wouldn't toss the idea of discs on any new bike (or one I'd consider off of CL)....but not on ones I already have. Just not worth the $$$ upgrade to me.

Give us a ride report when you get that new bike, OP!
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Old 09-19-12, 12:38 PM   #16
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Compare the stopping surface of rim brakes vs. disc brakes.

Compare how wet and muddy your rims get in the rain or mud vs how wet and muddy discs get right near the hub of the wheel.


Rim brakes work. Discs work better.

I like better.
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Old 09-20-12, 07:57 AM   #17
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If you ride in the mud or wet, get discs without question. If not, I think it's a toss up, the discs cost more and I think they are more finicky to adjust. V brakes will stop you well when dry, less so in the wet, but I've only had a couple occasions in wet conditions where v brakes were clearly fading because of the moisture. V brakes I believe are easier for me to service.

Remeber that v brakes can also squeal.
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Old 09-20-12, 07:59 AM   #18
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I think the main issue with the recommendations is the OPs weight. At 330lbs, what may work for you may not work for the OP. As I say, Im 280lbs and I have ridden all types of brakes. Disc, hands-down, is by far the more superior in terms of stopping a heavier rider - Ive done it.
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Old 09-20-12, 09:12 AM   #19
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If not, I think it's a toss up, the discs cost more and I think they are more finicky to adjust.
I haven't found disc brakes to be any more finicky to adjust than V brakes. The Magura Marta hydraulic brakes on my FS mountain bike have never needed any adjustment. Avid BB7 mechanical discs on my rigid MTB and touring bike need occasional adjustment, but it usually takes only a few second thanks to the big red adjuster knobs. Adjusting rim brakes, on the other hand seems much more time consuming, at least for me...
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Old 09-20-12, 09:47 AM   #20
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They'll squeal when you need to change the pads. You'll also have much more consistent stopping power in the rain. That's a big deal in the Pacific Northwet.
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Old 09-20-12, 09:54 AM   #21
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You'll also have much more consistent stopping power in the rain. That's a big deal in the Pacific Northwet.
Ain't that the truth. Im patiently waiting for the recent dry-spell to crumble so I can get out my wet gear again.
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Old 09-20-12, 09:55 AM   #22
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Yea $100, is about the difference in disc brake up-spec, in the LBS here.. on same model
otherwise..

get a Point of sale wheel swap to 36 spoke, & come back to the shop, as needed,
to keep the spoke tensions up and all should go well..

service after the sale..
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Old 09-20-12, 11:56 AM   #23
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Disc brakes don't wear out the rim. Gone through several wheels due to worn out rims. Much better for my year round commuter.
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Old 09-20-12, 04:06 PM   #24
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Ain't that the truth. Im patiently waiting for the recent dry-spell to crumble so I can get out my wet gear again.
I saw a group of "naked ladies" near work - crocuses with no leaves, that bloom at the end of the nice weather. They mean you won't be waiting long.
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Old 09-21-12, 06:39 AM   #25
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Wait, Washington has a dry spell? Is that the period between the morning rain and the afternoon rain?
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