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Old 12-03-06, 02:39 PM   #1
Zero_Enigma
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Disc-brake vs V-brake. Pro/Cons?

I'd like to know the pro/cons of disc vs v-pads. Please list pro & cons and reasons. Thank you in advance.


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Old 12-03-06, 03:00 PM   #2
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This is a topic I'm interested in, since I was considering putting disc brakes on a steel frame bike I've been using for commuting.

As I understand it, you can stop a lot faster, but not having done much mountain biking, I'm not at all familiar with the technicalities of disc brakes.

They are obviously heavier of course. And apparently it takes a stronger fork to put up with them because of the force they generate. At leat according to someone I know--I don't know how much truththere is to that, but it is kind of logical. This would almost certainly mean I won't be wanting to put them on my bike : )
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Old 12-03-06, 03:18 PM   #3
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In addition to my original question I'd like to know which brake wears faster? Say same given distance oh I don't know, lets throw out 2000km. I don't ride as hardcore as others so if my 2000km is off then someone adjust it appropriately.


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Old 12-03-06, 03:24 PM   #4
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Rim brakes wear faster. A search will probably turn up the other info you are looking for.
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Old 12-03-06, 03:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma
I'd like to know the pro/cons of disc vs v-pads. Please list pro & cons and reasons. Thank you in advance.


Zero_Enigma
This topic ( and the always-ensuing arguments and occasional flamewar ) has been done to death here. I am a proponent of disc brakes, but someone is sure to jump in quickly with many reasons why they should be avoided at all costs. For street and commuting use, I like Avid BB-7s more than any brake of any type I have used. These are my opinions on BB-7s, and they may not apply to other types:

Pros:
-Their braking power is unaffected by rain or snow.
-They are easy to install and set up.
-They are easy to keep adjusted.
-They do not cause wear to the rim.
-The pads last a very long time. Weather conditions have very little effect on the pad life.
-Changing pads is quick and easy, as is re-adjusting the brake for the new pads.

Cons:
-They require disc brake mounting tabs on the frame and fork. Very few road bikes have the mounting tabs; the only ones I know about are some cyclocross frames and flat-bar commuters.
-A complete set of brakes costs $150 - $200. A good set of v-brakes is about 1/3 the cost.
-The wheels must have disc brake hubs, which cost a little more than non-disc hubs.
-The replacement pads are expensive ( but last a very long time ).
-Most cheaper disc brakes are truly awful.
-If you live in a place that is dry, there is very little reason to have them.

Other people here have made claims that you will fly over the handle bars every time you apply your disc brakes, or that every time you ride you have to constantly stop and re-adjust the brake pads. I have been using the Avids since they came out and have never experienced either of these problems.
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Old 12-03-06, 04:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmseattle
Pros:
-Their braking power is unaffected by rain or snow.
-They are easy to install and set up.
-They are easy to keep adjusted.
-They do not cause wear to the rim.
-The pads last a very long time. Weather conditions have very little effect on the pad life.
-Changing pads is quick and easy, as is re-adjusting the brake for the new pads.

Cons:
-They require disc brake mounting tabs on the frame and fork. Very few road bikes have the mounting tabs; the only ones I know about are some cyclocross frames and flat-bar commuters.
-A complete set of brakes costs $150 - $200. A good set of v-brakes is about 1/3 the cost.
-The wheels must have disc brake hubs, which cost a little more than non-disc hubs.
-The replacement pads are expensive ( but last a very long time ).
-Most cheaper disc brakes are truly awful.
-If you live in a place that is dry, there is very little reason to have them.
To this fairly complete list i would add:

cons
- Disc brakes interfere with the normal attachment of fenders and racks. There are work-arounds for this but they are not elegant and can be relatively expensive. Your choice of racks is reduced.
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Old 12-03-06, 04:37 PM   #7
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I think the previous two posts pretty much summed up the Pros and cons of disc brakes. They are affected by water but much less than V-brakes. Good disc brakes like Avids are expensive compared to V-brakes and they require a different and usually more expensive frame and wheel mounts.
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Old 12-03-06, 07:02 PM   #8
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Never buy any aftermarket mechanical disc brake other than the Avid BB7. They work better than all the other mechanicals and are much easier to adjust.

If you run flat bars, the hydraulic Shimano Deore M525 and newer M535s are comparible in price (often cheaper) than BB7s, levers and cables. Hydraulic discs completely outclass any mechanical or v-brake on the planet. The Deore brakes are better than many other brand hydraulic brakes 2-3 times their price.

If you add up the time spent fussing with brake setup and the cost of kool stop pads, rims and cables over the years, are v-brakes any cheaper?

Unless you know exactly what you are doing, don't go out of the way to swap your hubs for disc hubs, get mounts added to your frame, then go to the expense of buying discs. Enjoy the bike you have, and then get a disc ready or equipped bike for your next ride. It will be cheaper.

Having said that, a nice set of wheels tends to move from bike to bike, so disc hubs are not a silly idea for the future if you need to get a new set of wheels built.

'Mullet brakes' (disc on front and v/canti rear) are turning up on serious touring bikes more and more frequently. Just add a new fork, hub and a road lever compatible Avid mechanical. Makes descents while laden touring a lot less scary and the pads last for years rather than weeks.
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Old 12-03-06, 07:43 PM   #9
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just wondering if hydraulic brakes don't freeze up during winter, say -20C, cause if you got frozen brakes, there's no brakes
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Old 12-03-06, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbubbles
just wondering if hydraulic brakes don't freeze up during winter, say -20C, cause if you got frozen brakes, there's no brakes
Do car brakes freeze up?

Because bike brakes either use regular DOT fluid or a non-corrosive treated mineral oil.

You are much more likely to get issues with condensation in regular brake cable liner freezing up.
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Old 12-03-06, 09:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker333
To this fairly complete list i would add:

cons
- Disc brakes interfere with the normal attachment of fenders and racks. There are work-arounds for this but they are not elegant and can be relatively expensive. Your choice of racks is reduced.
This is not true for a Waterford, Gunnar, Lemond and Trek, who all mount their disc brakes on the inside of the rear triangle on the chain stay.

Last edited by greenstork; 12-03-06 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 12-03-06, 10:26 PM   #12
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Neither DOT or mineral oil brakes freeze up.

In fact they don't feel much different at -25C, as far as I can tell with the giant gloves I tend to wear at those temps.
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Old 12-03-06, 11:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker333
To this fairly complete list i would add:

cons
- Disc brakes interfere with the normal attachment of fenders and racks. There are work-arounds for this but they are not elegant and can be relatively expensive. Your choice of racks is reduced.
To me, the fenders are a non-issue. I used the standard work-around ( P-clamps ) on my disc brake equipped commuter. It's cheap, easy to do, and doesn't look bad. As for racks, the only good one I have found is the disk brake version of the Topeak Explorer, but it's very good. I probably wouldn't use it for loaded touring, but I do regularly carry up to about 30 lbs. of junk hanging off mine.
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Old 12-04-06, 12:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmseattle
Pros:
-The pads last a very long time. Weather conditions have very little effect on the pad life.
-Changing pads is quick and easy, as is re-adjusting the brake for the new pads.
With decent V-brakes, in my case Avid Single Digit 7, the pad brakes seem to last forever. I've put the brakes on several years ago and might have changed the pads once since. With the brakes (Lee Chi?) that came with the bike, I had to change the full set (Kool Stop) every half a year or sooner. I ride 2K mi/y. The adjustment gets to be swift once you get a good understanding of what you need to achieve.
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Old 12-04-06, 04:08 AM   #15
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Firstly, i'd like to reiterate that cheap disc brake systems are a waste of time and money. I have never tried Avid BB7's but (prior to reading about them here) would only have considered hydraulic systems for myself.
A 'con' to v-brakes is the wheel going out of true making it hard to set them up efficiently.
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Old 12-04-06, 09:35 AM   #16
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One huge CON to rim brakes is the fact that you are wearing out your rim. I've seen a rim shot in one winter's worth of riding. That's a structural part that I wouldn't like to break/fall apart when I'm braking hard on a downhill.

Besides, from an engineering standpoint, aluminum is a lousy brake surface. Little rubber pads wear out fast -- if they are hard enough to last, your rim is wearing out -- sintered metallic pads on steel rotors last a long, long time.
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Old 12-05-06, 07:47 PM   #17
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I think that rim wear "on the fly" is not a huge CON to rim brakes. Rims are parts that need to be checked one in a while and they don't wear out suddently.

Another advantage of disc brakes: overheating is more expensive but less critical.
If you overheat your disc brakes, the disc overheats and warps; to solve the problem, you usually need to replace your disc. In extreme cases, if that happens on the road, you'll need replacement parts before you continue. ($$)
If you overheat your rim brakes, the rim overheats a wee bit so it doesn't warp. However, the tire gets warmer and explodes. As overheating usually happens in a downhill, you're riding at high speed, so you are more than likely to fall. So while the repair might cost you only a patch, your bodily repair will cost more.

BTW, this is a problem with heavily laden tandems in the mountains.
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Old 12-05-06, 08:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
I think that rim wear "on the fly" is not a huge CON to rim brakes. Rims are parts that need to be checked one in a while and they don't wear out suddently.

While true, there are only a few rims out there with wear indicators, so a quick "eye ball" check of the rim won't tell you how close you are. I'm just saying that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to wear away a structural component.
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Old 12-05-06, 08:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenstork
This is not true for a Waterford, Gunnar, Lemond and Trek, who all mount their disc brakes on the inside of the rear triangle on the chain stay.
hey, thats great, i like that idea.

but where do they mount the front brake? ....
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Old 12-06-06, 04:42 PM   #20
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I won't commute on rim brakes;too many hills and I ride in all weather. Fender mounting is a non-issue if you have any MacGuyver in you. And discs pay for themselves over time. When I sold my first commuter,a Trek 7200 with V brakes,it was on it's third set of front pads and second set of rears. I commuted on it for about 5 months,then used it as a polo bike for another 8 months. When I sold my second commuter,a Giant Sedona LX disc,it was on it's second set of front pads and stock rears. It was used for commuting,polo,and winter riding for a year and a half.

It should also be noted that disc brakes don't care how true your rim is. I once limped home from polo with no front brake on the Trek after I bent the rim.

As for cheaper brakes,I didn't mind the Hayes MX-2's on my Giant. I have several bikes with Shimanos and Avid BB5/7's,and they are nicer,but the MX-2's did the job just fine.
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