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  1. #1
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    Question about disc brakes

    I am in the process of getting a new bike for city and touring use. I have been mostly doing off road biking but want to expand my experiences (I'm in the 50+ group if that makes a difference). One of the questions that comes up is disc brake or not. Depending on the salesperson there seems to be strong opinion either way.One opinion is that as these are harder to care for in the field (touring) it is better to stay away from them. This seems to make sense. Is there a general guideline on this question or are their experiences that suggest to stay away from disc brakes for touring (I gather they are not used outside of North America so that is something to consider). Thanks for any feedback on this. Greg

  2. #2
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    I can't really help you with your question (although I can tell you that disc brakes are really nice to have if you live in a wet part of the world), but disc brakes are certainly used in the UK, not just in North America.

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  3. #3
    Go, CroMo, go! mtmann's Avatar
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    disc brakes

    For what it's worth. I just got my first disc brake-equipped bike, and one thing that surprised me was how easy they are to adjust and service (Avid BB7's). A couple knobs to twist, a couple 5mm hex adjustments, and the pads are cheap and easy to replace. Really, easier to service than standard brakes, and as East Hill says, there's nothing better for the rain. IF I was doing international touring I'd just pack spare pads and maybe a spare rotor, but I certainly wouldn't let that argument sway my decision. I'm sold.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member mlh122's Avatar
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    +1 BB7s. mechanical disk brakes don't take much maintenance at all. i installed mine in about 20 minutes, and haven't touched them since. Even if i did need to tune them, that is done by 2 red knobs, so i can do fine adjustments on the trail with no tools, and i haven't even needed to. Supposedly disc brake pads last longer than V brake pads also.

    However yes, if something breaks on them and i need a new caliper or a new pad, and im in the middle of nowhere with just a huge department store at my disposal, they probably can't help me. but a standard set of V-brakes you could probably find pads there, maybe some of the hard parts too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Disc brakes are used the world over, even here in Latvia. Where they are good for touring is a completely different kettle of fish.

  6. #6
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Excellent question, thank you. I was in the same quandary myself recently, and have decided to go for cantis. In the end, I figure it may always be possible to at least do discs on the front by changing the fork if I wanted. But in the end my choice of bike dictates it. No biggie for me I guess. Though I say this having never ever tried discs. he.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  7. #7
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    And welcome to BF, you filthy animal
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  8. #8
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    I recently put them on my MTB and I'm considering doing my around town hybrid over the winter as well. I can't imagine the weight penalty that severe.

    Besides you can never stop too well.

  9. #9
    Videre non videri
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    Placed an order for wheel parts + Avid BB7 front disc brake for my commuter. Had a scary experience in the rain the week before*, and I have a fork with disc mount anyway. The new wheel and the brake will set me back about $200, but as Stacey put it - you can never stop too well.

    * I have Kool-Stop Salmon pads for my V-brakes, and they're set up correctly. Rims were clean at the time - only very wet. Coming down a fairly steep hill on my way home from a friend, the light turned red and I started braking. I finally stopped about 15 feet past the line, with the brake lever squeezed so hard that I feared it would snap... Luckily, the red light only activates to let traffic emerge from a parking area, and the only car there saw me and waited...

  10. #10
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    I also just ordered a new hybrid with BB7 disc brakes for commuting. I'm sick of constantly having to remove the v-brake pads and dig the sand & grit out of them that get imbedded when the wheels get wet. The grinding on my rims got very annoying.

    The switch was made far easier by the experience I've had on my mtb with hydraulic Juicy 7s. It was a no brainer for me.

    Finding a decent hybrid with decent disc brakes was another thing.

  11. #11
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsyptak
    I also just ordered a new hybrid with BB7 disc brakes for commuting. I'm sick of constantly having to remove the v-brake pads and dig the sand & grit out of them that get imbedded when the wheels get wet. The grinding on my rims got very annoying.

    The switch was made far easier by the experience I've had on my mtb with hydraulic Juicy 7s. It was a no brainer for me.

    Finding a decent hybrid with decent disc brakes was another thing.
    Oh THANK CHRIST. I thought I was the only one. I'm going insane here. And I'm in Holland, kinda built on sand dontcha know. Thing is, I never noticed it on any previous bikes so I thought it was largely due to a bad setup.

    My rims now have bits of sand embedded into the rim all the way round. Whenever it rains I end up digging out chunks of metal from the pads.

    Hmmm... maybe I should consider looking into this fork changing thing...
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  12. #12
    Go, CroMo, go! mtmann's Avatar
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    disc brakes

    My main incentive for getting disc brakes with this bike is commuting. I ride every day all year long on a fairly busy stretch of road that for a couple miles is actually a highway connector with lots of traffic. In the winter, though we don't get much snow here in Portland, whenever we do (or even frost) they "sand" the streets. Really, it's gravel and of course is off the streets (and in the bike lanes ) in a day or two. Street sweepers are infrequent and in January and February I actually have to pedal through some sand bars. Needless to say that even with diligent cleaning, I'm constantly grinding down my rims and I'm just sick of it. I recommend the switch to disc brakes for any other commuters facing similar conditions - I'm assuming I'll eventually save money in wheels.
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  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Disc brakes are fantastic- if you travel at high speed- are a bit on the heavyside- and you can afford to get a good quality Hydraulic set.
    For Mountain biking on general XC work then V brakes work well enough to say that the expense and weight of disc brakes are not necessary. On the road and I think that they are not necessary and for the same reasons.
    Only drawback on rim brakes is the rim wear and you will know that when you have to replace rims every 18 month or so.

    Disc brakes- or Good quality disc brakes- are good. They do make stopping the bike from 50mph better and they do stop the heavier riders to stop from 50mph. If have a reason to use them they are fine- If not- you might aswell stay with rim brakes.

    I use Hope Mono M4's with 200 mm discs on A top quality wheel and on a bike that does exceed 50 and has an all up weight of 400lbs. V brakes used to stop this bike and riders with no other problem than theblocks and rims had to be replaced on a regular basis. Since going disc it is a fit-check regularly- and forget operation on the brakes. The bike is a full offroad Tandem and is used aggresively.

    If you want an opinion- On the road- Disc brakes are not required.
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  14. #14
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    If you want an opinion- On the road- Disc brakes are not required.
    What about rain and grit though? And the added weight of discs is not an issue for a tourer.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  15. #15
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtmann
    I'm assuming I'll eventually save money in wheels.
    You will. Rotors and pads can be be found rather inexpensively

  16. #16
    Mad Furyan Quick_Torch C5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdrummond
    I am in the process of getting a new bike for city and touring use. I have been mostly doing off road biking but want to expand my experiences (I'm in the 50+ group if that makes a difference). One of the questions that comes up is disc brake or not. Depending on the salesperson there seems to be strong opinion either way.One opinion is that as these are harder to care for in the field (touring) it is better to stay away from them. This seems to make sense. Is there a general guideline on this question or are their experiences that suggest to stay away from disc brakes for touring (I gather they are not used outside of North America so that is something to consider). Thanks for any feedback on this. Greg
    New technology(?) is awseome, get some disc brakes, you can't have TOO much stopping power
    Why is going slower harder?

  17. #17
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I've got dual discs on my recumbent. Specifically, Avid BB-7 mechanicals. They are awesome compared to rim brakes. For only a slight weight penalty, they are MUCH more powerful than Vees or Dual pivots, they work in the rain, there's no rim wear, the rotors last forever (almost - after 16000 miles I can't feel any wear,) and they're easier to adjust. I'd bet that hydraulics would be even better, but they might be more hassle to set up initially.

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus
    What about rain and grit though? And the added weight of discs is not an issue for a tourer.
    If ploughing through mud and Deepwater on the MTB do not affect my Braking offroad- then On road it does not either. Except it did on the first RAIN ride I took on it. And I mean rain- so much so that the oil and grease from the road contaminated the Brake blocks and Zero braking effect. A change to a block more suitable for rain changed all that though. And I have had the disc pads on the Tandem get contaminated in the same way.

    RIM WEAR. This is the scourge of Rim brakes- Offroad I buy new wheels every 18 to 24 months (Or about 2,500 to 3,000 miles). The rims are shot by this time, but so are the hubs and I am probably about to lose a few spokes. This is OFFroad. I have a set of wheels that have slicks fitted to them for the MTB. Had them since 94 and are 36spokes with XTR hubs and Mavic 217 rims. These are the Lightweight rims that wear fairly quickly- I estimate that I have done about 5,000 miles on these wheels- I am just into my 3rd set of tyres . Rim wear is negligable and the wheels have only had one retrueing in the 13 years I have had them.
    On the New Road bike I have done 3,000 miles so far and there is no sign of wear anywhere.

    Offroad- Discs can be worthwhile but Only worth the expense if you can warrant it. On the road- The extra weight and cost- I don't think warrant them. Besides the fact they do not give a big advantage over rim brakes.

    As I said- This is only my opinion. Others may find different
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