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  1. #1
    ITT
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    Disc or V Brakes ??

    My wife and I are looking at getting a couple of new Specialized Cross trail bikes for trail riding. Most of the trails we ride are paved. We both have experience with V Brakes but the bikes we are looking at come with ether Disc brakes or the V brakes. My wife likes the color of the bike with Disc brakes, Ha,Ha,Ha. I have no experience with Disc brakes. Any advantages or disadvantages with Disc over V brakes?

  2. #2
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITT View Post
    My wife and I are looking at getting a couple of new Specialized Cross trail bikes for trail riding. Most of the trails we ride are paved. We both have experience with V Brakes but the bikes we are looking at come with ether Disc brakes or the V brakes. My wife likes the color of the bike with Disc brakes, Ha,Ha,Ha. I have no experience with Disc brakes. Any advantages or disadvantages with Disc over V brakes?
    Before making a recommendation, I'd want to know what brand and model discs, and what type of weather and road conditions you plan on riding.
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  3. #3
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITT View Post
    Any advantages or disadvantages with Disc over V brakes?
    Advantages are only in the rain or snow (or mud off-road, I suppose.) Rims don't wear out braking in poor conditions. Braking action and feel is consistent regardless of condition. Easier to adjust and keep adjusted than V-brakes

    Disadvantages are greater initial expense, greater weight, special hubs means fewer wheel choices.

    I've had a disc brake road bike for several years now. I ride it in all conditions year-round and wouldn't have any other braking system in bad weather. There's no reason for them in fair-weather cycling, and my three fair-weather bikes all have rim brakes.
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    I have both kinds of brakes and like the disc brakes much better than the old fashioned V brakes. In addition to better stopping in all conditions disc brakes take the wear and heat off the wheels and tires. Actually except for the most slavish of the weight concious there is no reason for anything but disc brakes. Their benefits are the main reason disc brakes are the automotive world standard now instead of the old drum brakes.
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  5. #5
    Old, SLOW bike rider! ;)
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    I've had my "disc brake" bike for 2 years now and JMHO, I'm not impressed. Do they stop good, YES and have a better overall feel than my V-brake bike BUT, they seem to need to be cleaned constantly or they make noises (like grinding rocks), I've had the pads checked several times and they are just fine so I have no idea why, even after cleaning, they last a couple of hours, with a nice smooth wirr sound then start sounding like their "grinding rocks again"?? Mine are OEM, that came with my 2009 Jamis Trail-X 3.0 (Tektro??), I've been looking at going to "Avid BB5's" (I've converted my MTB to a road touring bike, so I don't need the 8in. disc's of the BB7's) and just hope that this brand, which seems highly recommended can solve my noise problem. The 2nd. problem I find is that if you have a flat, you have to get the disc lined up "perfect" when replacing the wheel or it makes rubbing noises, arrrrrugh. I've found that I check the alignment of the disc between the pads, put the wheel back on, then with the "weight of the bike" on the wheel, I just move the disc a bit "side to side" and that seems to get the "disc" in just the right place.

    JMHO, but the wife's bike has V-brakes and they seem to need very little adjustment or noise. When I buy my next bike, it will have "V-brakes" or better yet, the "cyclocross style cantilever brakes", I like evern better than the V-brakes. YMMV.
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  6. #6
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
    I've had my "disc brake" bike for 2 years now and JMHO, I'm not impressed. Do they stop good, YES and have a better overall feel than my V-brake bike BUT, they seem to need to be cleaned constantly or they make noises (like grinding rocks), I've had the pads checked several times and they are just fine so I have no idea why, even after cleaning, they last a couple of hours, with a nice smooth wirr sound then start sounding like their "grinding rocks again"?? Mine are OEM, that came with my 2009 Jamis Trail-X 3.0 (Tektro??), I've been looking at going to "Avid BB5's" (I've converted my MTB to a road touring bike, so I don't need the 8in. disc's of the BB7's) and just hope that this brand, which seems highly recommended can solve my noise problem. The 2nd. problem I find is that if you have a flat, you have to get the disc lined up "perfect" when replacing the wheel or it makes rubbing noises, arrrrrugh. I've found that I check the alignment of the disc between the pads, put the wheel back on, then with the "weight of the bike" on the wheel, I just move the disc a bit "side to side" and that seems to get the "disc" in just the right place.

    JMHO, but the wife's bike has V-brakes and they seem to need very little adjustment or noise. When I buy my next bike, it will have "V-brakes" or better yet, the "cyclocross style cantilever brakes", I like evern better than the V-brakes. YMMV.
    I highly recommend going with BB7 over BB5. They are available in all rotor sizes, not just 8 inch. The ability to adjust the outer pad as well as the inner is a tremendous advantage.
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  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    If you need the best braking possible- then top quality disc brakes are the only way. Cons are expense and weight.

    I can't see any need for fitting them on a road bike. Rim wear is not excessive and if the brakes don't work well enough then the brakes just need sorting----Or changing.

    But offroad--Rim wear can be bad. I only get around 2,000 miles to rims in our winter mud and summer dust before the rim will start to bow at higher pressures. Admittedly that is on the lightweight Mavic rims- but they are the only ones I use. V Brakes are completely adequate and the rim wear is acceptable as by the time the rims are worn- The hub has had it aswell.

    But the tandem was fitted with discs after one year of V Brakes. Too many occasions where V's were not good enough and we went through a Heavy weight rim in 500 miles. But those disc brakes and the top quality wheels to go with them were as much as I paid for the TCR-C.
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  8. #8
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Aside from water and mud problems, disc brakes can also be valuable in hill country where heat shedding becomes worthwile on long downhills. Head on disc rotors does not melt tubes.

    Hill country, bad weather, mud or riding through standing water all are good reasons for using discs. Light weight bikes with ease of setup and maintenance for the mechanically disinclined favor rim brakes (which are actually big disc brakes if you care to look at it that way).

  9. #9
    ITT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    Before making a recommendation, I'd want to know what brand and model discs, and what type of weather and road conditions you plan on riding.
    Tektro mechanical disc brake, fair weather when riding with ny wife. Any type weather when I'm alone.

  10. #10
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Beside the obvious advantage in the wet, disc brakes offer consistant power even when hot. On the mtb my total weight is around 240 pounds, and on a long descent discs are just more powerful.

  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I like disc brakes, for no other reason than how powerful they are. Both of my lowracers have discs because I believe braking ability should be proportional to speed ability. But for riding on MUPs in mostly nice weather? Probably not worth the extra expense.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
    I've had my "disc brake" bike for 2 years now and JMHO, I'm not impressed. Do they stop good, YES and have a better overall feel than my V-brake bike BUT, they seem to need to be cleaned constantly or they make noises (like grinding rocks), I've had the pads checked several times and they are just fine so I have no idea why, even after cleaning, they last a couple of hours, with a nice smooth wirr sound then start sounding like their "grinding rocks again"??.... The 2nd. problem I find is that if you have a flat, you have to get the disc lined up "perfect" when replacing the wheel or it makes rubbing noises, arrrrrugh. .
    This is why I don't have discs on my road bikes.
    .
    But, this debate could go on forever.

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  13. #13
    Squeaky Wheel woodway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
    Mine are OEM, that came with my 2009 Jamis Trail-X 3.0 (Tektro??), I've been looking at going to "Avid BB5's" (I've converted my MTB to a road touring bike, so I don't need the 8in. disc's of the BB7's) and just hope that this brand, which seems highly recommended can solve my noise problem. The 2nd. problem I find is that if you have a flat, you have to get the disc lined up "perfect" when replacing the wheel or it makes rubbing noises, arrrrrugh. I've found that I check the alignment of the disc between the pads, put the wheel back on, then with the "weight of the bike" on the wheel, I just move the disc a bit "side to side" and that seems to get the "disc" in just the right place.
    If you go with Avids, go BB7's. Once you get them setup initially, they are really pretty maintenance free. I have my wheels on and off regularly and have never had any issues with alignment.

    Also, get rid of the metallic pads that come stock with the brakes and get organic pads. All your grinding noises will go away.

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big john View Post
    Beside the obvious advantage in the wet, disc brakes offer consistant power even when hot. On the mtb my total weight is around 240 pounds, and on a long descent discs are just more powerful.
    The heat factor is a bonus and on the tandem we weigh in at around 400lbs. Top rate system with 200mm discs front and rear. We have had the discs emitting a dull orange glow on night rides and they still worked. But there are problems- Disc alignment can be a problem- Choosing the right type of pad material is a factor and we always use the sintered pads. They work better when things do get hot but the normal pad will work from cold- Sintered don't. Noise can be frightening at times. One big downhill at 50mph+ and we put the brakes on for a sharp bend and the screech that came off the brakes was frightening. No problem- we took the brakes off and leaned the bike a bit more.

    But there are drawbacks. Although we have the calipers and discs set up properly- Replacing a wheel is not easy. When everything is covered in mud it is almost impossible. You have to use the right Fluid for your system and that has to be changed on a frequent basis. Pads are very thin to start off with and mud and grit can wear them out quicker than you think. And transporting wheels- on or off the bike- you have to take care not to warp the discs.

    For most bikes in "Normal" use- disc's are not necessary and they do require regular maintenance to keep them working- the same as any brake set up- but on the road or trail they are not easy to adjust. I only have them on the Tandem where they are required- but I also carry a spare set of pads- a spanner for the bleed nipple and 100cc of Fluid. Never had to use them on the trail- but have had to re-adjust before a ride after setting them up perfectly in the shed the day before.
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  15. #15
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I absolutely love the Avid Juicy 5 hydraulic disc brakes on my mountain bike. They are strong, easy on the hands and modulate well for tricky offroad conditions. But V-brakes served me well (but not as nicely) in the same situations for years before I got the bike with discs. For casual path riding, paved or not, rain or shine, I see no compelling reason to have disc brakes, nor do I see any big problem with having them. Cheap v-brakes work pretty well. I'm not so sure about cheap disc brakes.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Honestly, people have used V-brakes for the kind of riding that you are describing for years and have been completely satisfied. I don't have anything against discs but I just don't see them as necessary and I'd steer anybody away from the cheapies. For that matter, I'd strongly steer people away from cheap linear pull brakes too. Basically, if it doesn't say "Avid" or "Shimano" I don't want it.

    That said. If your wife likes the color of the disc brake bike better - what's wrong with that? You don't want her thinking "I wish we'd have gotten the other one." every time that she looks at her new bike.

  17. #17
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Couldn't resist the urge to switch from adequate Tekro V-brakes to BB7's - the V3 came with disc wheels and disc tabs front and rear. This bike didn't need more weight but they do work very nicely and I am able to get into the 40's downhill (it is about the bike) so they might come in handy some time.
    Last edited by JanMM; 10-27-10 at 11:50 AM.
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  18. #18
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    For that matter, I'd strongly steer people away from cheap linear pull brakes too. Basically, if it doesn't say "Avid" or "Shimano" I don't want it.
    I wouldn't go that far. I've never had any problems with the Tektro v-brakes on my rigid MTB. They work just fine as do the Tektro caliper brakes on my Casseroll. Most of the generic brakes on major brand bikes are made by Tektro. Cane Creek brakes are rebranded Tektros. They may not be quite as nice as Shimano or Avid brakes, but they are certainly decent brakes.

    I try not to use brakes anyway, all they do is slow me down.
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  19. #19
    ITT
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    Thank you all, I'm going with the V Brakes.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Look at it logically. Discs do not wear out expensive rims. Worn or warped discs cost only a fraction of what rims cost.

  21. #21
    Old, SLOW bike rider! ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    If you go with Avids, go BB7's. Once you get them setup initially, they are really pretty maintenance free. I have my wheels on and off regularly and have never had any issues with alignment.

    Also, get rid of the metallic pads that come stock with the brakes and get organic pads. All your grinding noises will go away.
    Thanks for the advise, at the LBS, the BB7's had the 8in. disc's so thought that was just another difference between the BB5 and BB7, I'll look into the BB7's with 6in discs and the organic pads!
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I wouldn't go that far. I've never had any problems with the Tektro v-brakes on my rigid MTB. They work just fine as do the Tektro caliper brakes on my Casseroll. Most of the generic brakes on major brand bikes are made by Tektro. Cane Creek brakes are rebranded Tektros. They may not be quite as nice as Shimano or Avid brakes, but they are certainly decent brakes.
    I've had mixed results working with Tektros. ProMax, however, is a horse of another color. I HATE 'em. Almost all of the lower end bikes that I've worked on have ProMax brakes.

  23. #23
    Old, SLOW bike rider! ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I've had mixed results working with Tektros. ProMax, however, is a horse of another color. I HATE 'em. Almost all of the lower end bikes that I've worked on have ProMax brakes.
    Have to agree, just bought a "back up/utility" bike, used, (2006 Fuji Monterey 3.0), it has ProMax V-brakes and, well they SUCK!! I'll be saving up the funds to replace them with Avid V-brakes before Spring!, jmho, ymmv!
    Last edited by bjjoondo; 10-30-10 at 07:09 PM. Reason: mis-spellings
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  24. #24
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Disc brakes on bikes that will spend their lives on paved trails make me feel dirty.

  25. #25
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    See this thread for a full discussion. And everything I know about the topic is in there, so I won't add it here:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ike-a-bad-idea
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