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Old 05-30-09, 09:39 AM   #1
roadclown
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Disc vs. Pull Brakes?

I'm a city commuter and love my Jamis Coda Comp, but have a chance to upgrade to a Jamis Coda Elite. It's an '08 priced at two-thirds of the orig. MSRP. A little better components- main difference is the disc brakes on the Elite. Pros/Cons, anyone? Easy to replace or repair? Cost effective? Stop on a dime?
hmmm, I am happy now w/ Comp but, could I be happier?
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Old 05-30-09, 09:49 AM   #2
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disc brakes are way better at stopping on bad weather.
it makes less noise than the regular rim brakes.
the only thing you change are the brake pads, which you wont need to do for a very long time.

rotor, if you ever change your rotor (disc) is only if you get a major accident, else those things will outlast 100+ times the brake pads, i can't ever see the day rotors ever getting worn out, like the ones on cars. LOL
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Old 05-30-09, 09:51 AM   #3
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The disc brakes would be heavier. Disc brakes fall into 2 categories: mechanical and hydraulic. The mechanical ones function like regular bike brakes in that they are actuated by a cable. The hydraulic ones function like your car in that they are actuated by fluid flowing through a tube to drive a piston. From all I know, disc brakes on bikes shine in bad weather. They work much better than regular brakes in the wet and when its muddy. This is why they are popular on off road and cyclocross bikes.
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Old 05-30-09, 09:55 AM   #4
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The only con for a disc brake is the weight. Mechanical ones mey be easier\cheaper to maintain as opposed to hydraulic ones.
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Old 05-30-09, 01:03 PM   #5
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I have Avid BB7 road disks on my primary bike. I have 6500 happy miles and two winters on them. I like them.

I won't ever own another commuting rig without disks. They stop in rain and snow just the same as when dry. (Caveat: Within the adhesion limits of the tires, of course.)

The weight penalty overall is a couple of pounds.

The other potential issue is hubs. Rear hubs for disk brakes and 130mm (road) spacing are rare as hen's teeth. It limits the choice of third-party wheels.

Pads are cheap enough given how long they last. Keeping them adjusted is easy. I had some corrosion issues in the rear one towards the end of the second winter. A little TLC was all it took.
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Old 05-30-09, 01:29 PM   #6
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Given a choice of Good Hydraulic Disc brakes over the best Rim brakes around and I would choose discs.

But a poor set of cable operated discs- will often not give as good a braking effect as a good rim brake.

I have around 6 bikes I regularly ride. Only one has disc brakes- because it needs them. That is an offroad Tandem that is used agressively. Before fitting the disc brakes- it had Avid "V" brakes fitted and they were adequate for all my local rides up on the hills. Only problem with them was that after about 60 miles- The pilot ran out of handpower to get them to work fully. That does not happen with disc brakes.
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Old 05-30-09, 01:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by roadclown View Post
I'm a city commuter and love my Jamis Coda Comp, but have a chance to upgrade to a Jamis Coda Elite. It's an '08 priced at two-thirds of the orig. MSRP. A little better components- main difference is the disc brakes on the Elite. Pros/Cons, anyone? Easy to replace or repair? Cost effective? Stop on a dime?
hmmm, I am happy now w/ Comp but, could I be happier?
The elite actually comes with disc brakes that are actually easy to adjust and don't suck (BB7's). If you like the bike, want to try something different go ahead and buy it.
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Old 05-30-09, 02:33 PM   #8
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disc brakes are way better at stopping on bad weather. it makes less noise than the regular rim brakes.
Ditto. Once you experience the stopping confidence that disc brakes provide in wet/sloppy conditions, you will never want to ride a bike without them.
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Old 05-30-09, 02:47 PM   #9
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Disk brakes will keep your rim sidewalls pristine.
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Old 05-30-09, 06:53 PM   #10
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Disk brakes will keep your rim sidewalls pristine.
Non-issue with disk-specific hoops--no machined and polished surface to worry about. There's no way to run rim brakes on my wheels.
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Old 05-31-09, 10:10 AM   #11
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The process of adjusting the mechanical discs on two of my bikes was faster and produced better results than I've had with the cantis, V-brakes, or road calipers on my other bikes.
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Old 05-31-09, 10:31 AM   #12
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About the only con I can think of for discs besides weight is that they can make your bike a more desirable target for thieves.
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Old 06-03-09, 05:46 PM   #13
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About the only con I can think of for discs besides weight is that they can make your bike a more desirable target for thieves.
word. get it? word? *sigh* Great point, though. My road bike as BB7's and got more attention from on onlooker on the rack than my buddy's pricier and better overall outfitted Giant (his is a little older and the paint scheme makes it seem a bit dated compared to my schweet looking lower level component outfitted schwinn.)
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Old 06-03-09, 05:49 PM   #14
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The process of adjusting the mechanical discs on two of my bikes was faster and produced better results than I've had with the cantis, V-brakes, or road calipers on my other bikes.
Very true. Avid BB7's are pretty much toolless to adjust if they've been setup properly on installation. On the flip side, I've got a cheapy disc brake on my lower end MTB that is a bugger to get right and requires an allen wrench.
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Old 06-03-09, 06:07 PM   #15
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Very true. Avid BB7's are pretty much toolless to adjust if they've been setup properly on installation. On the flip side, I've got a cheapy disc brake on my lower end MTB that is a bugger to get right and requires an allen wrench.
Hmm; does the cheapy brake respond to a BB5-like adjustment procedure? As in, unhook the cable, loosen the caliper mounting bolts, crank down the pad against the rotor (at least the BB5 has one adjustable pad), then retighten the bolts and reconnect the cable.

One of my bikes has BB7s, but another had BB5s, and before I sold it I took five minutes to set them up just right.
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Old 06-04-09, 08:04 AM   #16
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About the only con I can think of for discs besides weight is that they can make your bike a more desirable target for thieves.
FYI,my Coda Elite was 24lbs 4oz,not heavy at all. My Trek Portland is only 22lbs 14oz. Disc weight is only an issue if you're road racing.

And I've never understood the whole 'discs make thief magnets' thing. If anything,a 700cc disc bike is going to be slightly less desirable due to the fact that they are less common and will stick out.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:05 PM   #17
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a

And I've never understood the whole 'discs make thief magnets' thing. If anything,a 700cc disc bike is going to be slightly less desirable due to the fact that they are less common and will stick out.
Wrong
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Old 06-04-09, 10:03 PM   #18
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FYI,my Coda Elite was 24lbs 4oz,not heavy at all. My Trek Portland is only 22lbs 14oz. Disc weight is only an issue if you're road racing.

And I've never understood the whole 'discs make thief magnets' thing. If anything,a 700cc disc bike is going to be slightly less desirable due to the fact that they are less common and will stick out.

criminals that steal bikes dont think "which one is gona be easier to resell" they just steal the one that looks the fanciest.
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Old 06-04-09, 11:19 PM   #19
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FYI,my Coda Elite was 24lbs 4oz,not heavy at all. My Trek Portland is only 22lbs 14oz. Disc weight is only an issue if you're road racing.

And I've never understood the whole 'discs make thief magnets' thing. If anything,a 700cc disc bike is going to be slightly less desirable due to the fact that they are less common and will stick out.
My point was not that any bike with discs is heavy, just that discs are heavy compared to rim brakes. Personally, I also feel they're well worth the weight gain. Being able to stop, and perhaps more importantly, to have full control of braking modulation outweighs the paltry few ounces given up to rim brakes. I can't feel the ounces when riding, I can certainly feel superior braking power.

Perhaps the only other downside to discs is the learning curve and specialty tools needed to service them. They require a frame with the correct tabs, special hubs and compatible levers...or even hydraulic fluid-filled lines. Hydraulics require a bleed kit for service (not typically included), all of them require very precise setup alignment to maximize power and lengthen pad life. Rotors may require truing in time, a process very difficult to get right without the jig and tools. Care must be taken to avoid squeezing hydraulic levers when the wheel is removed. Most manufacturers suggest flushing and replacing fluid once a season. Master and slave cylinders will inevitably require rebuilding in time, possibly after replacement parts are no longer available. Again, compared to relatively simple and proven rim brakes, these could all be considerable downsides to a rider wishing for the simplest cycling experience with the least amount of maintenance possible.

Considering that disc brakes drive up the price of any bicycle, yes...they are a very easy to spot sign to a thief that the bike is more valuable than average. You were attracted to them, so would any other potential buyer be looking at a stolen bike. Thieves aren't idiots. They steal what sells quickly.
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Old 06-05-09, 11:47 AM   #20
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Perhaps the only other downside to discs is the learning curve and specialty tools needed to service them.
Discs are easier to adjust than rim brakes. Disc pads go in and out,that's it. You don't have to adjust height,angle,or toe them in.

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Rotors may require truing in time, a process very difficult to get right without the jig and tools.
Meh? The rotor on my polo bike got warped(mallet strike). I tweaked it straight with a Park Tools tuning fork jobber. You just look down at the rotor between the pads and then bend it accordingly. QED,and it's perfect.
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Old 06-05-09, 11:51 AM   #21
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Meh? The rotor on my polo bike got warped(mallet strike). I tweaked it straight with a Park Tools tuning fork jobber. You just look down at the rotor between the pads and then bend it accordingly. QED,and it's perfect.
Warped rotors don't render the brake useless should you be on the road/trail with one. They're cheap enough to replace as well. Non-OE rotors can be had for under $10 if you're in a budget crunch.
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Old 06-05-09, 02:08 PM   #22
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Discs are easier to adjust than rim brakes. Disc pads go in and out,that's it. You don't have to adjust height,angle,or toe them in.
Unless you're setting them up for the first time and have alignment issues. Disc tab facing tools are not something a home mechanic is likely to have. If you include hydraulic discs, rebuilding them can also require specialty tools.

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Meh? The rotor on my polo bike got warped(mallet strike). I tweaked it straight with a Park Tools tuning fork jobber. You just look down at the rotor between the pads and then bend it accordingly. QED,and it's perfect.
It's "perfect" unless you throw it on a dial gauge jig. Granted, I'm a professional mechanic and my standards are required to be higher.
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Old 06-05-09, 02:34 PM   #23
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I never adjusted disc brakes before, and it took me five minutes to do both the front and rear on a set of BB5s that were on a bike I was selling.

Okay, I'm lying -- including putting the bike in a stand, it took six minutes. They ended up even better than they were when I got the bike new from the shop. So much better, actually, that I almost wanted to keep the bike instead.
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Old 06-08-09, 09:49 AM   #24
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I agree with the other posts already that mention how disc brakes still work well in the rain and snow. I've heard people make claims that their Koolstop Salmon brake pads worked about as well in the rain as in the dry and as well as disc brakes. However, I have not owned a pair and my Dura-Ace brake pads all well as all the other pads I've had have ever had on my bikes have always taken twice the stopping distance to stop once the wheel/rim gets wet, whereas my disc brakes just don't have this problem.

If you're doing winter biking in a place where there's snow and they salt and sand the roads and do you a lot of biking wearing out your rims can be a possibility and disc brakes are much better at dealing with that - partly it's because they don't rub against the rim so you're not wearing the rim out, partly it's because the disc is farther away from the road and doesn't get as much stuff on it.

But the disadvantage of disc brakes, in my experience (and especially if you're taking the wheels on and off your bike on a regular basis, like I sometimes remove my front wheel to get my bike in my car) is that they're very finicky to get to not rub. My dad has to readjust his disc brakes every time he takes the front wheel on and off or they'll rub. On my bike it took 3 times back to the bike shop to get them not to rub, and now that I've removed my back wheel once (switched from studded winter tires to regular tires) the back one is rubbing. I have the Shimano Alfine hydraulic discs.

I've been to 3 different bike shops asking about the problem and all 3 have tried to tell me either that's it's "normal" for disc brakes to rub, or that they can't really do anything about it. If you read around on reviews of disc brakes there's always a bunch of people who complain they can't get them to stop rubbing completely. People on this forum have tried to tell me it shouldn't be a problem, but since both mine have this problem and my dad's have this problem (he has cable disc brakes, I believe Avid 5's) and 3 different shops don't want to try to fix them, I think it's a common problem with disc brakes.

However, I'm not sure that it really slows me down much, it's mostly just annoying.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:01 AM   #25
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Disc rub is an issue I've experienced and is annoying. If I get rub after removing a wheel, I don't adjust the brake. I adjust the skewer. On the rare times that adjusting the skewer doesn't solve the issue, the BB7's have tooless adjustments. I've never had BB5's , but BB7's are very easy to adjust. My cheapo mtb discs are a PITA to adjust and rub out of nowhere sometimes. But again, usually I can just adjust the skewer to solve the problem.
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