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Old 09-17-04, 11:27 AM   #1
JupiterGuy
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Disc Brakes - Gadget or Good?

Sorry if this has been covered. I am looking for a new hybrid and am wondering if disc brakes are worth considering, or whether to avoid them. I realize it might depend on how and where I ride, so I should mention that it is pretty flat here and I would not normally ride when it is raining or wet.
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Old 09-17-04, 11:47 AM   #2
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By your own admission, I wouldn't spend the extra money if I were you. Discs are advantageous if you ride where fading due to extended braking, like on long steep descents is a problem. Vee brakes (or rim brakes) will fade due to the build up of heat caused by the friction of the pad against the rim surface. Disc brakes are not as prone to fading from this heat build up. Actually they are affected, but not as much and if you have hydraulics, the hydraulic fluid's boiling point is so high that it's not affected.

Secondly, discs are advantageous in wet muddy conditions. A build up of mud at the brake pads can slow the rotation of the wheel. Plus, if the rim gets coated in mud/water there is a slight hesitation of 'grabbing' until the rim gets 'wiped' clean by the brake pad. Due to the proximity of the disc at the center of the hub, it's less prone to get 'caked' plus, it 'clears' much quicker. Not to mention the brake pad is similar to an auto disc brake pad and isn't affected by mud.

Thirdly, unless you are buying the more expensive models, peformance can be worse than a set of vee brakes. IOW, cheap discs are gimmicks. Good ones are expensive.

If you decide to go with discs, I'd ONLY recommend Avid's if you stick with Mechanically actuated. If you go with the even more expensive hydraulic, there are a lot more decent suppliers/manuf. available. My favorites are Hayes. Shimano XT, and XTR get good reviews. Hope, Magura, Avid and others make quality systems.

Lastly and not a BIG issue is if you damage a wheel, in order to keep riding you have to disengage the brake cable so the wheel spins. With discs, you can almost taco the wheel, bang it back into shape and still ride with full functioning brakes.

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Old 09-17-04, 01:15 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback, that is pretty much what I expected. One of the models I am considering - the Raleigh C-200 - comes with Hayes disc brakes on the '05 model. I haven't been able to find one at a LBS yet though.

The other ones I am considering are the Trek 7500 and Trek 7300, neither of which has disc brakes.
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Old 09-17-04, 01:44 PM   #4
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Those discs are Hayes Mechanical discs. I can't recommend those. I seen them and used them and if those were my choice, I'd stick with vee brakes.

As far as mechanical disc, as mentioned, I would ONLY get some Avid's.

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Old 09-17-04, 03:57 PM   #5
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Thanks again. I stopped by the local Trek dealer again today. I think I will end up going with the 7500. They already sold the one I saw a couple of weeks ago, but will be getting another one in next week.
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Old 09-21-04, 05:22 PM   #6
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FWIW, discs sound like overkill to me, too. In fact, I think they're overkill for most riders. Ordinary brakes (which are actually disc brakes, too, only with bigger rotors) work fine. You pay a ton of money for a marginal improvement that, in your case (and mine) you'll never use.
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Old 09-22-04, 12:35 PM   #7
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That is exactly how I felt about it in the end - at least for me. I got my Trek 7500 yesterday, and the combination of nice wheels and Shimano brakes work very very well.

My first riding experience was great... until I hit the first bump and the handlebars became loose in the stem. The bolts were never tightened and by the time I got home the handlebars were so loose I could slide them left and right and they were wobbling...

It was very unsafe and it made braking difficult. It sort of ruined the experience to say the least...
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