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  1. #1
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    Experiences with Disc brake equipped road bikes?

    Hi everybody,

    I used to be an active member here about a year ago. Lately, I have been to busy for just about everything.

    I was wondering if anybody has had experiences with road bikes equipped with disc brakes? If you do, please indicate frame make, model, and year so I can find out more about your frames. I ask this because I'm still planning my next bike build, and I want to have disc brakes. My only problem is that I really can't find much out there for anybody building road frames that use disc brakes.

    Thank you,

    flyingcadet
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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  3. #3
    smitten by саша pwdeegan's Avatar
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    echoing mijome's link above, one reason there aren't many "road" frames with disc brakes can also be found in the corollary that most rear disc hubs are spaced in "MTB" 135mm. Just the same, a quick scan of the CX community (cyclecross) will demonstrate that an aggressive road-capable bike, with a 135mm rear disc hub, is easy to attain. For my part, i use a 2009 Salsa La Cruz (they've stopped making this particular frame, but there are still plenty of others), and never have trouble in spandex-warrior road club rides (although i am rarely the fastest rider, but that's not the point of the ride). I've recently drooled over a couple of Co-Motion disc frames ( http://www.co-motion.com ).

    you can see pictures of my current build at:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/10135726...eat=directlink

    don't let the IGH scare you either; conventional drivetrains are also supported (it used to have a Shimano Ultegra 1x9 system, until the upgrade, and i do mean upgrade).

  4. #4
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    My wife has two disc brake equipped road bikes. One is a Redline Conquest-D (the "D" is for disc, there are also canti-equipped Conquests) with an aluminum frame and the other is a Lemond Pop Rad (853 steel frame).

    Both bikes have carbon forks. She goes back and forth between the two bikes quite a lot, but to generalize, she uses the Redline for double centuries and the Lemond for shorter rides. Both are cable operated discs (Avid), whereas she has hydraulic discs (Hayes) on her mountain bike.

    Rick / OCRR

  5. #5
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    salsa vaya?

    http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/


    i have a front on my monstercross / mtb / fixed gear / frankenbike.
    love it, even if it is noisy. running mechanical bb7s.

    would go to disc or paul racers if i ever do another rando frame. currently running 'long' reach shimano's.

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    My Raleigh Sojourn came with disc brakes. Work fine, but seem to require too much tinkering to keep them working fine, and for my use, don't seem to offer any real advantage, either.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    My wife has two disc brake equipped road bikes. One is a Redline Conquest-D (the "D" is for disc, there are also canti-equipped Conquests) with an aluminum frame and the other is a Lemond Pop Rad (853 steel frame).

    Both bikes have carbon forks. She goes back and forth between the two bikes quite a lot, but to generalize, she uses the Redline for double centuries and the Lemond for shorter rides. Both are cable operated discs (Avid), whereas she has hydraulic discs (Hayes) on her mountain bike.

    Rick / OCRR
    Those are cyclo-cross bikes.

  8. #8
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    Is it necessary to have two disc brakes? I changed the fork on my cyclocross bike so that I can run a front disc, but still use a rim brake on the rear. I'm very happy with the setup.

    Using only a front disc would expand your choice of frames immensely (and avoid problems with 130mm rear spacing). Just make sure that you get a frame that is designed for a fork that has the axle to crown length and rake of the disc fork that you match it to so that the handling will be as intended.

  9. #9
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for the links.

    At the moment, I'm looking at both the Soma Double Cross DC and the Salsa Vaya. I'm leaning towards the vaya at the moment because the geometry is closer to what I need and the rear brake mount is in a better position. With the the brake mount on the chainstay, I can use any rack and fender set without issue.

    Chris, I already have a bicycle that has two different braking systems--calipers upfront and cantilevers on the back--and doing overhauls is annoying. I like to just get one part for everything. As soon as this bike is built, it will be replacing my current road bike as my road bike. My commuter bike will also be upgraded to BB7 (mountains) as soon as I have money again. As for the rear dropout spacing, it doesn't matter. I have access to either size and no preference.

    flyingcadet
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  10. #10
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    My Raleigh Sojourn came with disc brakes. Work fine, but seem to require too much tinkering to keep them working fine, and for my use, don't seem to offer any real advantage, either.
    I'm not sure if there is a material advantage; I think I've read they work well in the rain vs. other systems.

    Mine do need fairly frequent adjustments, but adjusting is ludicrously simple. I fix mine about once a week, at stoplights-no tools needed-twist, click, go.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  11. #11
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    chewybrian, what model of brakes do you have?

    flyingcadet
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  12. #12
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Avid BB7 mechanical. The adjustment is easy enough to eyeball, and you change it by twisting a knob on the outside of the caliper. Changing the pads is easy, too. I get about 8-10,000 miles, although it's very flat here. To change the pads, squeeze the clip, remove it, drop in the new pads, and clip it back in. I'm not that handy; there's nothing to it.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  13. #13
    #5639 robertkat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
    Is it necessary to have two disc brakes?
    On a regular road bike = no. On a heavily loaded touring bike, well, it might be nice in foul weather. IMO, and that of a few mechanics I've talked to, the question of disk brakes on a road bike is not "what's out there" but "why?" You rarely need that sort of stopping power. Although I do agree that if disks will be used on a road bike, you only need it on the front. The braking power, especially in wet weather, is nice but I see too many downsides. You have a heavier wheel that requires heavier spokes and you are introducing dish where you don't want it. Keep in mind they can be a pain to install and set up.

  14. #14
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    robertkat, I understand the concerns that you mention. Concerning the extra stoping power, I would prefer having too much stopping power that is predictable then to have enough that is unpredictable--i.e. wet rim brakes. Though constant practice--every time you stop the bicycle--you actually memorize the behavior of the braking system that you employ. As for the heavier wheels, I really don't think I'm worried about that, especially since the parts are tougher. As for "introducing dish where you don't want it," that is only in the front wheel. The rear wheel drive side and non-drive side will become more symmetrical to each other, which reduces the need for excess spoke tension on the drive side. The excess spoke tension is really needed to counter the lateral spoke tension of the non-drive side. With the spoke tension on both sides of the wheel being closer to even, the rear wheel now becomes stronger because the rim is not preloaded under excess stress. Yes, some dish is introduced into the front wheel; however, the track record of MTB front wheels should show us that this is not a concern.

    As for this thread, I wasn't wanting to get into a "disc vs. rim" discussion. I wanted to hear what other's have experienced with road frames built to use discs; though comments on experiences with components are welcomed.

    flyingcadet
    Last edited by flyingcadet; 05-09-10 at 10:25 PM. Reason: signature
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  15. #15
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    The really very cool advantage of discs for rando riding is that you can keep riding on a wheel that is quite a ways out of true. Doesn't matter until it starts to hit the frame or fork. Riding buddy finished a brevet that he might have DNFed.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    I use a rear disk and front rim brake on my tandem. The front rim brake (ultegra) in conjunction with a (Mavic OP) ceramic rim has more stopping power than the Avid disk brake, rain or dry. Most of the stopping on any bike is done with the front wheel anyway. Too much stopping power in the rear brake could easily result in locking up the rear wheel and loss of control. This isn't such a big deal on the tandem with its long wheel base but in a short wheel base road bike it is much more of an issue. Rim brakes, even with a standard wheel are easily strong enough to lock up the rear brake on a standard road bike. If you ran ceramic rims on your bike you would have a much cheaper and simpler solution. Ceramic wheels are quite popular in areas where it rains a lot like the Pacific NW.

    If you decide to go with a disk brake set-up I would suggest a disk in the front and rim brake in the rear.
    Last edited by Homeyba; 05-09-10 at 11:46 PM.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  17. #17
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingcadet View Post
    The rear wheel drive side and non-drive side will become more symmetrical to each other, which reduces the need for excess spoke tension on the drive side. The excess spoke tension is really needed to counter the lateral spoke tension of the non-drive side. With the spoke tension on both sides of the wheel being closer to even, the rear wheel now becomes stronger because the rim is not preloaded under excess stress.
    WOW! Based on your theory, every hub builder should re-design their non-disc rear hubs to place the non-drive side flange closer to the center of the rim, with more similar spacing to the drive-side flange; the wheel would then be stronger based on your theory. Since hub manufacturers don't do this, I'm going to bet that doing so would not make the wheel stronger. The non-drive-side flange tends to be about twice as far from the hub's center as the drive-side, resulting in a 2:1 tension ratio between the spokes on the two sides. I don't completely understand the theory, but I'm pretty sure that you're not going to be able to improve on this using your new theory, otherwise it would have been done already.

    As I mentioned above, I am another one-disc-only on road bikes advocat. Due to the physics of a one-person bike, the rear wheel is never going to have much stopping power, and so a disc is almost wasted there and is just useless extra weight (as Homeyba said, things are different on a tandem, which is why I also have a rear disc on our tandem and a rim brake up front). A disc up front can be a useful thing in certain conditions when on the road, so is a good idea for some bikes, but I can't see how a rear disc is going to be useful (again, this may be different if riding off-road, but that is not what this thread is about).
    Last edited by Chris_W; 05-10-10 at 12:55 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    Carbonfiberboy, that is also one contributing reason why I want disks. Do you know what frame your riding buddy was using?

    Chris_W, I'm not telling you that you are wrong. I will stick with with the two disk brakes because that is what I have chosen. Not to mention, it simplifies keeping spare parts stocked in the parts bin.

    As I stated earlier, I did not intend for this to be a "technology A vs. technology B" thread. Nor, did I want this to be a "What's the best configuration for _______" thread. Both of those types of thread are hopeless because every thing is based on personal choice and preference. Without thinking about it, I have replied to those that have changed the direction of this thread. I am not trying to convert people to my opinion of the dream bicycle, and I would appreciate it if people would stop telling me what "my" bicycle should be like.

    If you have experience with a road frame that uses disk brakes on the front and rear wheels, please post about your experience with those frames, especially if you have done long distance riding on that frame.

    flyingcadet
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  19. #19
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingcadet View Post
    Carbonfiberboy, that is also one contributing reason why I want disks. Do you know what frame your riding buddy was using?

    Chris_W, I'm not telling you that you are wrong. I will stick with with the two disk brakes because that is what I have chosen. Not to mention, it simplifies keeping spare parts stocked in the parts bin.

    As I stated earlier, I did not intend for this to be a "technology A vs. technology B" thread. Nor, did I want this to be a "What's the best configuration for _______" thread. Both of those types of thread are hopeless because every thing is based on personal choice and preference. Without thinking about it, I have replied to those that have changed the direction of this thread. I am not trying to convert people to my opinion of the dream bicycle, and I would appreciate it if people would stop telling me what "my" bicycle should be like.

    If you have experience with a road frame that uses disk brakes on the front and rear wheels, please post about your experience with those frames, especially if you have done long distance riding on that frame.

    flyingcadet
    Sorry, I don't remember. It's a carbon cyclocross frame. Carbon fork with disc brake tab. All that stuff is available, though maybe not as a completed bike, so I think he had the bike built up special to his specs.

  20. #20
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    Carbonfiberboy, thanks for the details. Although I prefer steel, It is nice to know that somebody is making carbon frames for this role.

    flyingcadet
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  21. #21
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    If you ride anytime it isn't sunny and warm out, get them. You will notice an increase in brake response and power. Just stay away from 130mm hubs if the frame isn't steel.

    As to the mechanics who still wonder why, well there are mechanics out there who still wonder why people need 8+speed bicycles.

    There are a lot of experts or "pros" out there who told me I didn't need my disc brakes(some continued even after i had them)... but it's not like they ride in the adverse weather i do... just saying that is where a lot of the unfounded criticism comes from.

  22. #22
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    Electrick, I used to have the braking problems when I was commuting by bicycle in high school in the rain. Now days, I don't really get caught in the rain that often, but I've had a few training rides canceled because of the rain.


    What bicycle frame are you using?

    flyingcadet
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  23. #23
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingcadet View Post
    What bicycle frame are you using?

    flyingcadet
    Kona's Sutra.

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