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  1. #1
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    Disc brakes or not?

    Want to buy a Sirrus Sport with Disc brakes but can't tell if the weight of the Avid BB-5 mechanical disc is more then the regular forged 6061 linear pull, (how much weight i don't know 1 lbs maybe?)

    The sales guy tells me that if my wheels are not true it wont matter for the disc brakes? While the regular linear pull brakes will rub against the side wheel making a noise thus going to the LBS to get your wheels trued, is this correct? Going to LBS is a headache for me.

    If anyone has opinions on disc brake or regular brakes please comment on the pros and cons.

    In my situation price is equal to on regular brakes vs disc brakes on the bike. So my only care is disc brakes look cool other then that i can't choose which type of bike with brakes discs or not. Only other bad thing i hear is going up hills maybe a problem, tried riding it felt a little slugish tried riding a elite without discs brakes felt almost the same. Until i ride longer will it be a mistake to buy a bike with disc brakes even though i will never ride in winter or rain ever? Its got to be 90 degress and dry for my riding experience.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Yes, disc brakes will make the bike a little bit heavier - perhaps a pound if you're talking both wheels. It's not just the disc calipers, it's the different hub and rotor. Extra weight will affect your hill climbing. Front wheel will need to be dished, resulting in the left side spokes being more suseptable to breaking under hard braking - and the opposite is true for the rear: less/no dish means the drive side spokes won't be as vulnerable.

    OTOH, braking is better, especially in rain. Pads last longer. IMHO, feel is less rubbery and more substantial. The rotor is unaffected by rim trueness, although you will still want your rims running as straight as practicable. If you've ever worn out a rim due to braking - and I have - that won't happen with discs. And if you manage to wear out a rotor, replacing it doesn't mean a wheel rebuild; it means undoing 6 screws.

  3. #3
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    Both types work great and each has it's own advantages. Overall, I find my mech disc breaks require more tuning and adjustment to keep 'em spot on, but regular brakes go through pads sooner and don't assure me of the same stopping power in virtually every circumstance. In either case you should learn to do your own rudimentary maintenance to keep things rolling smoothly and safely.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    First, regardless of whether you have disc or "traditional" pad brakes, you have to have good brakes, and unfortunately you can get bad examples of each. A bad disc brake is far worse than a good traditional brake, and poor traditional brake is far worse than a good disc brake.

    Pretty much it's been said. You will have a weight penalty for disc brakes (figure in usually slightly heavier hubs, rotors and calipers) versus the simplicity of two brake arms on a rim. However, what you get (usually!) is better performance from discs in terms of stopping power and "feel" of the brake. Additionally wheels with disc brakes can run with no real ill effects with slightly warped rims. I'm not sure I buy into the dishing and its characteristics as I've never had one of my (homebuilt) wheels fail, whether it be disc or non-disc wheels. I concur that if you hate a disc pad dragging and are picky, disc brakes can be a bit fiddly to setup and require a bed in time to reach optimum performance. Don't forget that disc pads -though in the case of Avids you shouldn't have a problem, but then again I think the Avid 5's have different disc pads from the Avid BB7s -may be harder to come by if you have some crazy brand name disc brake, or more expensive. A local bike store is almost guaranteed to carry brake pads for regular pad brakes, but are less likely to carry disc pads in stock. Another point to consider is that for the same price point, if disc brakes are included it may be that they've skimped on the hubs or some other component to get discs on the bike. If you take the wheel on and off many times, you are more likely to have trouble with disc brakes as you can jar a disc pad loose. Traditional brakes (perhaps with the exception of cantilevers!) are usually simpler to setup -just my opinion -and are simpler in design and have less components.

    Unless you're going down some pretty big hills/touring/going off road or a bit of a clydesdale, I don't see much of a need for disc brakes, particularly in dry conditions you mentioned. As long as you have decent wheel builds with decent rims, pads and traditional brakes, you should have more than enough braking. I think the guy who told you regular brakes can pull on one side is a bit a scare mongerer; yes they can if the rim is really out of true or if you don't have the brake adjusted properly -but then all components on a bike should be adjusted properly..... I think he was just trying to sell you the Sirrus. I wouldn't want to ride a badly out of true rim with disc brakes anyway.

    By the way, I have both v-brakes on my recumbent and one mtb, and disc brakes on another mtb, dual pivot calipers on my road bike and road discs on my tourer. I much prefer discs (I have all Avid mechanicals on them). The best performance gain for my traditional brakes has been with replacing the stock pads with Koolstop salmons -no doubt about it.

  5. #5
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 49er
    In my situation price is equal to on regular brakes vs disc brakes on the bike.


    Don't buy that. In order for price to be equal, the regular brake bike will have some higher components than the disc brake part. Disc brakes usually are about $100 more than regular brakes.

    As other said, if any of the following apply, get the disc brakes:
    -- ride, or may ride, frequently in the rain
    -- you have steep or long downhills
    -- your weight is 200+
    -- you need faster stopping power because wait to brake at last moment
    -- you have light wheels and want to extend their service life


    Not mentioned yet as disadvantages of normal brakes
    -- will generate wear on rim. Usually only a problem for performance wheels as it will slowly remove rim material. Performance wheel buyers don't care.
    -- require more maintenance in replacing pads and adjusting settings.

    When you don't want disc brakes,
    -- if you brake apart your bike frequently for transport, i.e. take off wheels and put back on after get at destination.
    -- if you are uncomfortable turning the adjustment wheel if rotors squeel.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Don't buy that. In order for price to be equal, the regular brake bike will have some higher components than the disc brake part. Disc brakes usually are about $100 more than regular brakes.

    As other said, if any of the following apply, get the disc brakes:
    -- ride, or may ride, frequently in the rain
    -- you have steep or long downhills
    -- your weight is 200+
    -- you need faster stopping power because wait to brake at last moment
    -- you have light wheels and want to extend their service life


    Not mentioned yet as disadvantages of normal brakes
    -- will generate wear on rim. Usually only a problem for performance wheels as it will slowly remove rim material. Performance wheel buyers don't care.
    -- require more maintenance in replacing pads and adjusting settings.

    When you don't want disc brakes,
    -- if you brake apart your bike frequently for transport, i.e. take off wheels and put back on after get at destination.
    -- if you are uncomfortable turning the adjustment wheel if rotors squeel.
    This post answers your question.
    I've had rim brakes and I currently have Avid mechanical disc brakes.
    I got the disc brakes for the rasons mentioned above, but my new bike will likely have rim brakes because it is a commuter bike only and I rarely reach speeds over 20mph and don't need the added stopping power.

  7. #7
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Disc brakes have better hook-up with less lever travel, even on mechanical discs. Just for that alone they are worth it.

    BB7, if adjusted right, can be practically on a hair-trigger for braking. That's how mine is set, and I love it....I would not have it any other way.
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  8. #8
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    The component are exactly the same for the bikes with pad brakes and discs. $800 for both bike types can't get price down for none disc brake bike so the disc brake bike is a good deal.

  9. #9
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    2006 sirrus sport does not have disc brakes. To get disc brakes, hydraulic, you need to go to the pro for $1,600.

    If the components are exactly the same, then you are getting a $100 upgrade for free. Only down side is a tad more weight, but less than a water bottle.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    2006 sirrus sport does not have disc brakes. To get disc brakes, hydraulic, you need to go to the pro for $1,600.

    If the components are exactly the same, then you are getting a $100 upgrade for free. Only down side is a tad more weight, but less than a water bottle.
    The Sport and Pro both come with discs except the pro has Juicy discs rather then the sports that i mentioned earlier.

    I had another option which for the same money get the Scott Speedster GO Shimano group with Suntour cranks and narrower tires probably a fast bike. Better then Sirrus Sport maybe but tires maybe a tad narrower then i need. Lots of punctures for type of riding.

  11. #11
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    I have BB-5 discs on my full-suspension MTB and Ultegra brakes on my road bike. I do my own wrenching, so I am confident that each set of brakes is optimally adjusted. I have Kool-Stop salmons on my road bike. It rains a lot up here, and I stop a lot better with my discs than on my road bike in wet weather. In dry weather, they are about the same. All things being equal, I am biased towards discs. Someone who lives in drier areas may not have the same bias as I do.
    Regards, MillCreek
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  12. #12
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    If you ride in alot of rain and mud, then yes. If your wheels are always going out of true, then yes.

    Otherwise, no.

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    So i finally bought the sirrus with avid mechanical brakes. Now i got to keep them clean and wash them with brake cleaner making sure no dirt or grease gets on them.
    Also the brake pads when they weardown i will find out quickly that i have no brakes.
    Most people discourage me from buying a disc brake bike, but i guess i got to try it and learn if it was a mistake.

    Most sales guys tell me that disc brakes on high end bikes maybe the way in the future, lighter brakes calipers carbon design. I suppose some sales guys say its overkill but thats there opinion.

    I guess i should be happy to get a bike at the MSRP of a sirrus with linear pull brakes to a disc brake sirrus. To all who commented thanks, now i need to ride it to see if its worthwhile or not.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flak
    If you ride in alot of rain and mud, then yes. If your wheels are always going out of true, then yes.

    Otherwise, no.
    I'm one of the extreme few that can give you another reason for discs: overheating & melting brake-pads to the rim on downhills. I've petitioned all the local clubs to have their hill time-trials include a combined up AND down time. I'll sprint as hard as possible down hills to get maximum top-speeds. I'll wait to the last minute at the end of the straights and jam on my brakes at 100%. I'll corner at maximum speed and start sprinting 2/3rds of the way through to maximize speeds on the next straight... And yes, I have found the limits of traditional rim brakes when the pads melt...

    Otherwise... if you don't encounter these problems, discs probably won't make much of a difference for you...

  15. #15
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Unclear, which did you buy? disc brake bike or traditional brake bike?
    Hi 'o Silver away

  16. #16
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mothra
    I'll sprint as hard as possible down hills to get maximum top-speeds. I'll wait to the last minute at the end of the straights and jam on my brakes at 100%. I'll corner at maximum speed and start sprinting 2/3rds of the way through to maximize speeds on the next straight...
    Although I don't take big hills as aggressively as it sounds you do, I have been known to pedal at 50 mph, and I like the fact that discs let me carry my speed much closer to the turns than rim brakes would let me. The improved braking has another benefit, even if you're not aggressive at all - increased brake power means you don't have to use as much pressure squeezing the levers, which means you don't get hand cramps on long steep downhills.

  17. #17
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    I am confident that you will not regret getting a bike with Avid BB-5 brakes. These enjoy a well-deserved reputation as being among the most robust, reliable and easy to adjust disc brake systems. You will also find that the rotors are largely self-cleaning, whereas rims are not. I have to scrub the rims on my road bike to maintain optimum braking performance far more often than I have to clean the BB-5 rotors on my MTB.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Unclear, which did you buy? disc brake bike or traditional brake bike?
    Bought Sirrus with mechanical Disc Brakes.

    Most other people say Hayes discs are better then Avid ones?

  19. #19
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 49er
    So i finally bought the sirrus with avid mechanical brakes. Now i got to keep them clean and wash them with brake cleaner making sure no dirt or grease gets on them.
    Also the brake pads when they weardown i will find out quickly that i have no brakes.
    In SF you'll probably get about 12 months on a set of brake pads. Check out www.sram.com/_medai/techdocs for the manual on the brakes giving the details of how to adjust them. Or just take into LBS to get adjusted.
    No warning of impending brake failure. Not with discs. With rims they'll just go, but discs will start squelling, just like car brakes.


    What's this keep clean, wash with brake cleaner?? They are not high maintance brakes. Dirt and stuff will come off when you apply the brakes. Now grease,that would require a cleaner, but if you're not dropping grease everywhere, just ride, ride, ride.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    In SF you'll probably get about 12 months on a set of brake pads. Check out www.sram.com/_medai/techdocs for the manual on the brakes giving the details of how to adjust them. Or just take into LBS to get adjusted.
    No warning of impending brake failure. Not with discs. With rims they'll just go, but discs will start squelling, just like car brakes.


    What's this keep clean, wash with brake cleaner?? They are not high maintance brakes. Dirt and stuff will come off when you apply the brakes. Now grease,that would require a cleaner, but if you're not dropping grease everywhere, just ride, ride, ride.
    Keeping it clean was the sales guy, saying you don't want dirt or a guess wet chunks of leaves, or salt deposits on the pads getting stuck or jamming up.

    To translate what he meant is if keep it clean man.
    If i ride in the autumn with leaves on the ground with it being wet some debris may get stuck in between the disc pad and rotor. Winter time the salt in the street and just slush can leave white residue from the beer byproduct they leave mixed in with the salt the city sprays on the streets.

    I-brake from Sram look good. Now i got to get a small gas trimmer engine put on my bike to go faster, electric bikes are outlawed in my area. Got enough stopping power for it to work.

  21. #21
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 49er
    Now i got to keep them clean and wash them with brake cleaner making sure no dirt or grease gets on them.
    <cough>OVERKILL<cough>

    Seriously, I have commuted on my disc-brake-equipped bike for a year and a half, in EVERY kind of weather (well, ok, no hail)... but rain sleet ice slush salt mud leaves etc etc etc.

    I have NEVER washed my disc brakes. I suppose they've gotten rinsed the handful of times I've hosed off the bike.

    They still stop perfectly.

    If you get greasy fingerprints on 'em, ok, wash 'em with brake cleaner. Grease takes a while to wear off the pads since it's a lubricant it reduces the effectiveness. Excessive grease could ruin the pads.

    But how often do you go out and clean the brakes on your car? Never... The mechanic only does it when he services 'em because he gets his greasy fingers all over 'em (and of course to remove brake dust which can be hazardous).

    If you get a piece of gravel caught between the pad and the rotor, it can cause poor wear patterns... on the other hand, bike disc rotors have such large vent holes I can't imagine anything being able to get stuck in there and stay.
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  22. #22
    Fatties Fit Fine carless's Avatar
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    Disc brakes or not?
    Disc brakes.
    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
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  23. #23
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    For touring and/or maintenance ease (who wants to get stranded) I prefer mechanical Avid BB-7 disc brakes. I have never needed more braking power, and have even gone to the Aztec brake rotors to increase brake modulation, and control on my recumbent Catrike.

  24. #24
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    IMO the benefits outweigh ever so slight weight disadvantage. I would put the difference at much less than a pound if that..

    I've seen a lot of refinement in disk brakes over the last ten years. I don't think I could go back now that I've took the plunge...

  25. #25
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    Pictures from Taipei Bike industry trade show, include a White Colnago Road bike with discs.
    as well as others with the clearances for wider Cyclocross tires
    that are already showing up for commuters, at a more modest price.

    It's said, Bike making companies are leaning on UCI to make Disc Road bikes Legit,
    like they finally did for cyclocross..

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