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  1. #1
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    Disc brakes on a hybrid

    Hi all

    I'm new to bikes. I've recently started riding a friends old bike to ride with him. It's great fun and a good workout. I'm trying to figure out which bike to buy. I went to my local bike shop and received great help in learning some things and looking at selection. I thought I'd ask a couple questions here to get opionions from several people.

    I primarily at the moment ride the bike on concrete (my friend's old bike is a Road Bike). But there are some trails that I would like to be able to take the bike on in addition to concrete riding--nothing extreme, just dirt and tree roots etc. So A hybrid bike seemed like the best choice for me. The main purpose of the bike is cardiovascular fitness training and a fun workout. If you think I'd be better served with a Road or Mountain bike, please tell.

    The bike shop said he mostly sells disc brakes on Mountain bikes and hybrids generally don't need them. But he showed me a couple hybrids with discs. Some of the big hills I go down on concrete scare me and I'm wondering if having disc brake control will be safer. Plus if it rains etc., would disc brakes be safer or are they not really necessary unless you're mountain biking? Disc brakes do require additional maintenance and expense and add weight to bike I was told.

    The shop showed me a Specialized and a Kona bike. Any comments on these brands?

    thanks all

  2. #2
    Keeper of the Castle
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    I have a Kona Dew Plus with (mechanical) disc brakes. Not a lightweight at 220#, I REALLY have come to like the performnce of the disc brakes, particularly in foul weather. I immediately notice the difference when I ride my road bike with conventional brakes, and my Kona has cheap Hayes mechanicals (although I am not sure I would want the extra "complexity" of hydraulic discs).

    I came close to getting a Trek FX or Valencia when I happened upon Kona. IMO a much better value. PM me if you would like to discuss specifics.
    2009 CAAD9-5 (road)
    2009 Kona Dew Plus (hybrid)
    1993 Trek 930 (mountain)

  3. #3
    Senior Member wirehead's Avatar
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    Only you can tell.

    I ride v-brakes in the rain and they do not scare me. About the most scared I get is on steep rocky downhills, and that's mostly a concern for overheating the rims than running out of brake power. One of these days, I'll re-do the descent with a spare tire in the trunk bag so if I screw it up, I don't need to walk. Because I'm probably over-cautious.

    One thing to consider is that my bike came with v-brakes, not disc brakes. But it's got the mountings front and back for them, so if I wanted to, I could add them. If you know you want the disc brakes, you won't come out ahead... but if you discover you need 'em later, you can add 'em.

    Think of it in terms of wasted weight and money. If you can get away with V-brakes, you'll get a lighter and cheaper bike. Thus, discs would be wasted money and weight. But if you really do need disc brakes, it's not wasted money or weight at all.

  4. #4
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    I have disk brakes on my Kona Dew FS and would not go back to any other kind of brake now. Disk brakes rock. They have a much better feel (to me) in all conditions and have absolutely no fade in wet conditions.

    Whoever told you that disk brakes require more maintenance does not know what they are talking about. I have hydraulic disk brakes and there's virtually no maintenance until the pads wear out, which I'm told will be in about 2 years of moderate riding. With cable disks, you'll probably have to do an adjustment once the cables seat in and then they're pretty much maintenance free.

    With regard to Specialized and Kona -- both excellent brands. I really, really like my Kona bikes.

  5. #5
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Disc brakes are relatively easy to set up and work beautifully and what hasn't been mentioned is that in a wetter climate they will preserve your rims and give them a near infinite life as there is no pad wear.

    In a city like Portland or Vancouver a daily commuter / rider can wear out a set of rims in 2-3 seasons due to the climate and road conditions and in a place like this disc or drum brake equipped bikes are becoming standard issue for many people.

    I get really good rim life here as our climate, although cold still tends to be fairly dry and use I rim friendly brakes (Kool Stops). Stooping power has never been an issue with any of my non disc brakes.

  6. #6
    Dirty old man in training
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    I love disc brakes, I wish I had them on all my bikes. Having said that, I have 3 bikes with good quality rim brakes (caliper and cantilever) and one bike with lower end mechanical disc brakes. They all stop me OK. The bikes with rim brakes take a little longer to stop in the rain. The bike with discs stops quickest no matter what the conditions are.

    On the bikes with rim brakes I clean the rims periodically both for appearance and to maintain braking performance. On the bike with discs I only clean the rims for looks. I have done zero maintenance on my disc brakes in the one year I have had that bike.

    If it is just you riding on your bike with a light load a decent quality rim brake is fine. If you are going to frequently ride in the rain or tow heavy loads (like a trailer with kids or a lot of groceries) disc brakes are really nice to have. Technologically discs have a higher cool factor for me than rim brakes.

    Cheap rim brakes suck, period.

    Be advised disc brakes take a little while to get bedded in. By that I mean if you test ride a brand new, just assembled bike with discs the braking power will suck. If you test ride a disc brake equipped bike that has been ridden a lot the braking power should be a lot better.

    Test ride before you buy. Make sure you get a bike that fits you and that you enjoy riding. Good luck.

  7. #7
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    First off,I'm guessing the shop showed you a Specialized Sirrus and a Kona Dew? For the type of riding you mentioned,a Dew would be perfect. It's basically a rigid MTB with road gearing and 700cc wheels. As long as you stick to trail work it should do fine,and it will be much better on the street than a actual MTB.

    As for disc brakes,discs don't stop any harder than properly set up V brakes. But the pads last much longer,they require less tweaking,are generally easier to swap pads on,are not effected by rain,work just as well if the rim is out of true,don't wear on rims,don't make your wheels as dirty,and you don't have to disconnect/reconnect them to remove/install a wheel(or forget to).

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  8. #8
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    Another vote for the disc brake equipped Kona.

    After a ride in a driving rainstorm, the brakes really showed their stuff. After a short break in period, they are without equal.

    My Kona has mechanical disc brakes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Riverside_Guy's Avatar
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    Having logged several hundred thousand miles on motorcycles in the past and being in the middle of the conversion from drum to disc, I think I have a real good feel for disc brakes. I had a very nasty experience with bicycle brakes during some wet weather that I always thought bicycles would be well to switch to discs.

    I seem to see many comments mostly about the discs getting bent and the results of ultra cheap fittings. But seemingly what down on disc brakes sure seem to be easily overcome. Yet I'm surprised to nmot see all that many bikes so equipped.

    How come?
    1991 Trek 750 Multitrack Hybrid

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    I was looking at the same thing. The 2008 model of my bike had disc and the 2009 I have doesn't, so I feel like they took somehting away. Same thing with my truck BTW, the 2003 model had a couple features my 2004 doesn't so I want and bought a few parts and added back in a few of the removed features. I thought about doing the same with my bike. The hard part I've found is buying the disc hub wheelset. Wheelsets can get expensive, costing many times the cost of my bike even, I don't see a lot of inexpensive wheelsets when looking around so its going to be tricky to do it cost effective, I don't mind spending a couple hundred $$ on brake compenents and such, just don't want to have to buy $1000 wheels.

  11. #11
    pedaler baldsue's Avatar
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    My Marin Point Reyes came with the cheap Hayes mechanical disc brakes. I replaced them with Avid BB7 mechanical. I do like the feel of the brakes. However, the noise and readjustment, getting the rotor between the caliper just right is a real PITA. I won't be buying another disc brake bike because of this.

    My other bikes all have koolstop pads and I feel perfectly fine with the stopping power they provide.

  12. #12
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    It all depends on what conditions you plan to ride in. Is 10% or more of your riding going to be on dirt, loose gravel, in the rain, or city-technical (lots of stop and go)? If so, go for disc brakes. For the reasons mentioned above: Zero rim wear and better braking performance in poor conditions. Disc brakes offer consistent reliable braking in nearly all conditions, especially rain. You will lose a little performance in rain, but not nearly as bad as with most rim brakes. The weight difference is negligible, sure it may be as much as a full pound heavier for a disc brake setup, (rotor, bolts, caliper, pads, springs, adjustment plates... x2) but on a 30lb hybrid going to 31lb means going 9.93 miles instead of 10 miles with the same effort.

  13. #13
    Sceptical European
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    Let's just say I don't miss the brakepad-dust-covered rims of my old bike

    Three years and counting with fairly low-end mechanical disk brakes, and they're still as good as ever. Maintenance couldn't be simpler: Clean disc and pads with isopropanol (is that what americans call "rubbing alcohol"?). The only adjustment I do is keeping the cable tight. No, I haven't missed rim brakes at all.

  14. #14
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Trek Valencia for the win. It's esssentially a stretched FX with discs.

    -Roger

  15. #15
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Disc brakes are relatively easy to set up and work beautifully and what hasn't been mentioned is that in a wetter climate they will preserve your rims and give them a near infinite life as there is no pad wear.

    In a city like Portland or Vancouver a daily commuter / rider can wear out a set of rims in 2-3 seasons due to the climate and road conditions and in a place like this disc or drum brake equipped bikes are becoming standard issue for many people.

    I get really good rim life here as our climate, although cold still tends to be fairly dry and use I rim friendly brakes (Kool Stops). Stooping power has never been an issue with any of my non disc brakes.
    I endorse the bad tempered hotelier's opinion 100%. Also

    - Discs have excellent stopping power even in the wet, but rims brakes with Salmon Kools come close

    - Discs require less hand pressure to apply maximum braking. This matters a lot if you are in an MTB race and braking hard for hours, otherwise not much.

    - Discs don't provide more full-on braking power than good rim brakes. Either will lock your front wheel. The way to get more total stopping power is fit a wider or stickier tyre.

    - Discs weigh and cost more and bad ones aren't worth it. I'd go for Tektros at a minimum. Otherwise I'd get decent rim brakes and Kools.

  16. #16
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    First off,I'm guessing the shop showed you a Specialized Sirrus and a Kona Dew? For the type of riding you mentioned,a Dew would be perfect.
    The Sirrus would suck - it can't take a wide enough tyre for offroad. The Dew comes with 37mm tyres, so it at least scrapes into being offroad capable.

    It's basically a rigid MTB with road gearing and 700cc wheels. As long as you stick to trail work it should do fine,and it will be much better on the street than a actual MTB.
    Wrong. Certainly compared to a hardtail rigid fork MTB. Why do you believe otherwise? Otoh, the price on the Dew is good.
    Last edited by meanwhile; 08-22-09 at 06:33 AM.

  17. #17
    Keeper of the Castle
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    Kona Value

    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    Trek Valencia for the win. It's esssentially a stretched FX with discs.

    -Roger

    The Valencia is a nice bike. I came very close to buying that model or the 7.3FX - until I discovered Kona.

    The Valencia ($750 MSRP ) and Dew Plus ($550 MSRP) are very close match-ups, both being aluminum frame bikes with chro-moly forks. Both have mechanical disc brakes and a Deore RD. The Kona has an Altus FD (new for 2010) while the Valencia has C102 (as did the 2009 Dew Plus). Both have EF50 shifters. The Kona does have wider tires (which I like) but they can be replaced with thinner ones if more speed is desired. I felt the handlebars on the Kona were more comfortable for me and also felt the pedals were of higher quality (seemed cheap and out of place on the Valencia). Being a Clyde, I also appreciate the 36 spoke rims front and rear on the Kona! Being in the industry, I am NOT impressed with the coating system on the Konas (vs. comparable brands) however. The finish scratches much too easily.


    http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=dewplus

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ncia/valencia/

    For $700 (still less than the Valencia MSRP) the Dew Deluxe can be had with hydraulic brakes and a few other minor upgrades:

    http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=dewdeluxe

    Kona has several other Dew (and "Asphalt") models with various component levels, including the regular ($450 MSRP) Dew if disc brakes are not desired. All the Dews (except for the FS suspension model) come with their excellent P2 700C forks.

    The Kona Dew series along with the Trek Valencia and FX models are very nice all-around bikes, with the Konas being especially good values.
    2009 CAAD9-5 (road)
    2009 Kona Dew Plus (hybrid)
    1993 Trek 930 (mountain)

  18. #18
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gromulus View Post
    The Valencia is a nice bike. I came very close to buying that model or the 7.3FX - until I discovered Kona.

    The Valencia ($750 MSRP ) and Dew Plus ($550 MSRP) are very close match-ups, both being aluminum frame bikes with chro-moly forks. .
    As a FYI, my LBS said that Trek's dropped the pricing on the Valencia to $680

  19. #19
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldsue View Post
    My Marin Point Reyes came with the cheap Hayes mechanical disc brakes.
    My '04 has Hayes hydros. And is LX/XT w/Mavic wheelset.

    Quote Originally Posted by baldsue View Post
    I replaced them with Avid BB7 mechanical. I do like the feel of the brakes. However, the noise and readjustment, getting the rotor between the caliper just right is a real PITA. I won't be buying another disc brake bike because of this.
    I had zero probs putting a BB7 on the front of my 1x1(it had V's when I bought it). Much more of a PITA swapping V or canti pads and having to adjust height,depth,yaw,and toe-in every time you change them.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  20. #20
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    I ride a Jamis Coda Elite with Avid BB 5's (mechanical) and a Felt Nine Comp with Hayes Strokers (hydraulic). Both work great but the edge definitely goes to the Strokers. An additional advantage to disc brakes that I don't think has been mentioned is how easy it is to drop the wheels when needed. I use a trap sometimes to transport bikes and that's a real plus.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  21. #21
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    I have an 08 Dr Dew and wouldn't trade it for the world. Shimano hydraulic disk brakes have worked flawlessly. No muss, no fuss, they have just worked.

    08 Dr Dew
    torgrot

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