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  1. #1
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    disc break +'s and -'s

    I had trouble in the MTB thread, they seem to say all the other threads can help but they have not. For those commuters who use hybrid bikes with disc breaks. How long do the pads last for and how often do they need to be adjusted? how often do you replace the hydrolic fluid also? Any other maintanence things I need to know about? I live in washington and it rains 24/7 and my breaks just can't aren't as good as I need in the rain.
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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    brake, brakes, braking, braked

    What is so great about disk brakes?
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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markhr View Post
    no rim wear so no rim replacement every 6 months
    consistent braking no matter what the weather and roads are like
    masses of power and great modulation
    simple to setup, adjust and use
    no hassle changing/removing wheels
    no rim contact so no worries with out of true wheels
    no grabbing or pads wearing so fast you have to replace every 2-3 weeks (wet, gritted roads)
    from the "what's so great..." thread
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    I had no idea you had to change rims every 6 months.
    Life is short, focus on the things that do matter in life and don't forget the rest.

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    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac27 View Post
    I had no idea you had to change rims every 6 months.
    Cheaper to buy new rotors than rims, and there are a few places where you can buy titanium rotors in various sizes and thicknesses to fit your particular needs. One of my neighbors got tired of replacing worn out rims 1-2 times a year, so he bought a World DBX and been happy ever since. Depends on the terrain and conditions you ride in before considering going to disc brakes and not all disc brakes are equal. If you live where it's hilly with a few steep grades or if it rains a lot with leaves and mud to ride through, then the advantages of disc brakes become more apparent and desirable for a daily commuter...if not then rim brakes is good enough.

  6. #6
    Commuter Choccy's Avatar
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    I can't agree more. I go through rims at least 1 pair a year unless I clean them after every ride. I'm switching to discs very soon. And I'll be fitting brakes rather than breaks.

  7. #7
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    What I hate is when my brakes break.

    Az

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    Senior Member acroy's Avatar
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    disc brakes = good.

    initial setup can be a bit intimidating, but go slow & read instructions, and it's all good.

    After the initial setup, you shouldn't have to touch them for a looong time.

    I'm running Hayes hfx-9 Carbon for almost a year, over 5k miles. Original set of pads! (metallic). And I have 52 stops on my 12-mile r/t commute, total load about 250lb. can't beat that!

    they can scream like a banshee when wet, but that's okay. They are unnafected by weather & rain.

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  9. #9
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I just changed to disc only on front for the winter, so I'm not through my first set of pads yet.
    I went with mechanicals; it looks to me like the Avid BB7 is a pretty well-regarded brake and it's a lot less crud to mess with; all I had to buy was a new wheel (which I built myself), the BB7 itself, and a new brake cable.
    So far it's working great.
    The brake does seem to chatter - sometimes it seems that it grabs and releases several times a second. This could be the studded tires though.

    I didn't like the $20/set that Avid wanted for their pads, so I bought a couple of aftermarket pads off eBay for $6 each. I'll keep track of how many miles I get out of the factory pads vs the aftermarkets.

    The only significant downside I've found to the discs is that they're noisy.
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    I'm not anti-disc brake, but this thread is missing disk brake minuses:
    - Wheels tend to weigh more because they are build to accommodate more stress from braking.
    - Disc brake wheels are usually (well, almost always) built to accommodate wide tires - so forget about running 23c... and this is more weight.
    - Added weight for the disc brakes themselves.
    - Fork is build to be stiffer to accommodate extra load from disc brakes, so the ride quality suffers, often by a lot.

    That being said, if I lived in a rainy area, I'd definitely consider a disc braked bike as a commuter. Rim brakes chew up rims when it's wet, and rim replacement is a PITA.

  11. #11
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    I like disc brakes and would prefer them on my commuter, but my rim brakes are fine for now. One thing I hate about rim brakes is aligning the pads. One thing I like is that they need a small barrel adjustment only once avery few weeks, were as the BB5's on my MTB need fixed pad and barrel type adjustment almost every ride. On the other had my rim pads only last about six months, but the BB5 pads last at least a year.

  12. #12
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthew_deaner View Post
    I'm not anti-disc brake, but this thread is missing disk brake minuses:
    - Wheels tend to weigh more because they are build to accommodate more stress from braking.
    - Disc brake wheels are usually (well, almost always) built to accommodate wide tires - so forget about running 23c... and this is more weight.
    - Added weight for the disc brakes themselves.
    - Fork is build to be stiffer to accommodate extra load from disc brakes, so the ride quality suffers, often by a lot.

    That being said, if I lived in a rainy area, I'd definitely consider a disc braked bike as a commuter. Rim brakes chew up rims when it's wet, and rim replacement is a PITA.
    - I'm not 100% about increase/decrease of braking stress at the rim but as long as the wheel is well built then most normal spoke counts/weights/crosses should still work. No use once only 12 spoke radial rims please .
    - you can use any rim width you want to. I used/will use mavic cxp33 rims which are 17mm wide so, in theory, I can run anything tyre width from 18mm to 28mm with no problems. Once I'm ready to convert the nightmare bike from hell back into a 29" (=700=622etrto) then I'll use a 25~30mm rim and run 2.0~3.0" knobbliies.
    - I'd say any weight change was minimal unless you're already using lots of lightweight parts.
    - there are beefy, brutal steel db only forks and there are vertically compliant, yet laterally stiff CF db forks. It just depends on who makes them and what sort of build you're going for.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by markhr View Post
    - I'm not 100% about increase/decrease of braking stress at the rim but as long as the wheel is well built then most normal spoke counts/weights/crosses should still work. No use once only 12 spoke radial rims please .
    - you can use any rim width you want to. I used/will use mavic cxp33 rims which are 17mm wide so, in theory, I can run anything tyre width from 18mm to 28mm with no problems. Once I'm ready to convert the nightmare bike from hell back into a 29" (=700=622etrto) then I'll use a 25~30mm rim and run 2.0~3.0" knobbliies.
    - I'd say any weight change was minimal unless you're already using lots of lightweight parts.
    - there are beefy, brutal steel db only forks and there are vertically compliant, yet laterally stiff CF db forks. It just depends on who makes them and what sort of build you're going for.

    Well, I was making generalizations... sure, there are exceptions to all my points, depending upon how deep your wallet is. You can buy a lot of rims for the price of a carbon fiber disc fork. And not everyone can afford a custom wheelset to use a narrow rim with disc brakes.

  14. #14
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    I've heard the arguments for both sides, for and against disc brakes, in areas like the PNW. It's rainy much of the year and there's grit on the road, rim brakes will wear down your rims, discs are more effective in the rain, etc... Here's my take on it.

    I put disc brakes in the same category as brifiters: Effective and spiffy, but you're screwed if they break while you're on the road. If you've got canti studs, a Paul neo-retro or touring canti outfitted with some Kool Stop salmons will stop you dead to mark, even in the rain. There's a pivot, a spring, and a straddle wire. Not a whole lot to go wrong with it, and not a whole lot you can't fix on your own without needing an engineering degree to understand.
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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    I've heard the arguments for both sides, for and against disc brakes, in areas like the PNW. It's rainy much of the year and there's grit on the road, rim brakes will wear down your rims, discs are more effective in the rain, etc... Here's my take on it.

    I put disc brakes in the same category as brifiters: Effective and spiffy, but you're screwed if they break while you're on the road. If you've got canti studs, a Paul neo-retro or touring canti outfitted with some Kool Stop salmons will stop you dead to mark, even in the rain. There's a pivot, a spring, and a straddle wire. Not a whole lot to go wrong with it, and not a whole lot you can't fix on your own without needing an engineering degree to understand.
    My old avid bbrd disc brakes had to be the most simple around to set up and maintain.

    No problems with toe in, toe out, third hand, fourth hand, cable length, cable angle, rim width, wet pads, dry pads, pad pads, etc.

    Just pretty much drop in, dial in and go.

    Anyway, sorry if that seems a little aggressive, but IMHO rim brakes suck and have to the biggest PITA to set up, maintain and use with any degree of safety never mind consistancy.

    edit: sorry that was a bit of a rant - your wise crack about disc brakes being rocket science - hardly but hey it's almost the holidays so...woohoo!
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  17. #17
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthew_deaner View Post
    Well, I was making generalizations... sure, there are exceptions to all my points, depending upon how deep your wallet is. You can buy a lot of rims for the price of a carbon fiber disc fork. And not everyone can afford a custom wheelset to use a narrow rim with disc brakes.
    Surly 1x1 Fork for $65 and disc mounts. It's Cro-Moly, weighs about 2.4 lbs. and is perfect on a winter MTB commuter. Pair that with Performance's Access XCL alu frame, some mechanical discs and you have a cheap MTB commuter than can do lots. Build a set of disc wheels with rims as narrow as you want and have some roadie-like capabilities or, if you live in a wintry locale, build it with burly rims for fat, studded tires.

    Last I checked you could get a whole set of adequate mechanical discs at Performance for $70. They're Forte, so not as nice as Avid, but they work really well (i.e. do the trick) and are as cheap as buying a set of calipers.

    Anyways, that's my dream winter commuter build. Only thing that build doesn't have that I would want is braze ons for rack and fenders on the rear. Oh well, that's why there's hose clamps!

  18. #18
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    For the OP:
    I have a little over 8mi round trip commute,all hills,all weather. My commuter(Safari) also hauls groceries,and served as my polo bike for about 6 months. I got about 9months(no idea how many miles,well over 2K) out of the front pads. The rears are about 13 months old,and will be swapped any day now when I get my new tires. From what I've read,most sources suggest swapping hydro fluid every 2 years.

    As for extra weight,from looking at stats and actually weighing bikes,discs prolly add about a pound to the bike. Not really an issue when you consider that most commuters also add fenders,lights,racks,computers,lock holders,etc.

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  19. #19
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac27 View Post
    I had trouble in the MTB thread, they seem to say all the other threads can help but they have not. For those commuters who use hybrid bikes with disc breaks. How long do the pads last for and how often do they need to be adjusted? how often do you replace the hydrolic fluid also? Any other maintanence things I need to know about? I live in washington and it rains 24/7 and my breaks just can't aren't as good as I need in the rain.
    I run Avid mech on my Salsa cross bike. Let me just say this to start - there are NO negatives to discs vs. rim brakes other than a few grams of extra weight - if that matters to you.

    Your Questions:

    Pad Life and Adjustment: This certainly varies depending on conditions, but I change my pads about once/year or less - really just when needed. Just like with a rim brake, you'll need to make slight adjustments as the pads wear.

    Hydraulic Fluid: There is none with a mech set-up. On my mtbs, I do run hydros. You MAY need to replace the fluid every few years at most.

    Once you go disc ..... well, you know the rest of the story.

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  20. #20
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    I'm really not seeing the need to change rims twice a year. What kind of mileage would necessitate that? I expect it could be due to the actual brake shoes being used, particularly if the compound is extra abrasive, or perhaps for very thin, light road rims. But for heavier cheap-o rims and decent pads, averaging only 1k miles per rim seems crazy to me.

    Kool-stops are fairly highly reputed for being gentle on rims, it seems. They're also pretty strong even in inclement weather. Switched to them a few months ago and am very happy so far.

  21. #21
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    I put disc brakes in the same category as brifiters: Effective and spiffy, but you're screwed if they break while you're on the road. If you've got canti studs, a Paul neo-retro or touring canti outfitted with some Kool Stop salmons will stop you dead to mark, even in the rain. There's a pivot, a spring, and a straddle wire. Not a whole lot to go wrong with it, and not a whole lot you can't fix on your own without needing an engineering degree to understand.
    Meh? Dude,my current and former polo bikes have discs,never did any damage to them. And there's a ton of MTB's out there being beaten around the woods that are fine. Not to mention how many dirt,supercross,and racing motorcycles that run discs. I call straw man.

    A much more realistic scenario is something happening to your rim;either being knocked out of true or tacoed. If the rim is out of true,rim brakes are less effective,or can't be used at all if the rim is bad enough. I tacoed a rim once and had to limp home with my front V brake opened because it was useless. On a side note,if brifters are so delicate,then why do you see so many cross bikes racing with them?

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  22. #22
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    The only downside for a hybrid is a little bit of extra weight, and the added cost.

    For a drop bar bike, there are still issues with amount of cable pull. I've found that to prevent rubbing the lever pull has to be significantly longer than with rim brakes. I feel like road disk brakes still need to be redesigned to be more sensitive, meaning they would require less cable pull for actuation. They're still usable, and you tend to get use to the extra pull required, but it's still less than ideal.

  23. #23
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    The only downside for a hybrid is a little bit of extra weight, and the added cost.

    For a drop bar bike, there are still issues with amount of cable pull. I've found that to prevent rubbing the lever pull has to be significantly longer than with rim brakes. I feel like road disk brakes still need to be redesigned to be more sensitive, meaning they would require less cable pull for actuation. They're still usable, and you tend to get use to the extra pull required, but it's still less than ideal.
    Which discs brakes are you using? I had my avids set up for ~10mm movement at the brake lever with no rubbing at the disc. It was just a case of dialing them in until they just started to rub then going back out slightly.
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  24. #24
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Avid makes road-specific BB7's for use with road levers. I've got them on 3 of my bikes and they work great. Problem Solvers also make pulley adapters that take up the extra cable. I used a set when I converted my old cross bike from cantis to V's and they worked great.

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  25. #25
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    For a drop bar bike, there are still issues with amount of cable pull. I've found that to prevent rubbing the lever pull has to be significantly longer than with rim brakes. I feel like road disk brakes still need to be redesigned to be more sensitive, meaning they would require less cable pull for actuation. They're still usable, and you tend to get use to the extra pull required, but it's still less than ideal.
    Respectfully, I disagree. My Trek Portland came with Avid BB7s and 105 levers. This is a truly sweet combination. The way the brakes feel in my hands is one of my favorite things about riding this bike. Actuation is feathery light, progressive, with superb modulation. Riding the hoods, I can lock 'em up if desired with just my ring and pinkie fingers.

    Everything is in the adjustment. They can be adjusted so actuation begins with so little movement you have to be careful not to brake while shifting. Or they can be adjusted so that you have to get a good squeeze in before anything happens. Stroke length is also affected by adjustment--you can make it short or long.

    Adjustment isn't difficult, but it takes a bit of messing around to learn how things interact.

    A downside not mentioned above is rotor warp. Sometimes it seems you just have to stare at them real hard to warp them. This is particularly so with the Avid Roundagons that came stock on my bike. For my winter wheelset I went with the stainless steel ones from Delta. They stay true a little better.

    Of course, in my case, swapping wheelsets with the weather doesn't help much either. I have a hard time removing wheels without pulling to the side a bit, and inserting the rear one while lining up the rotor with caliper while getting the chain on the cassette takes more coordination than I have.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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