Rim Brakes in Winter
I have two bikes that I think I could ride in the winter. The one I've been riding is an aluminum frame with disks (BB7). The brakes have been fine. It's got tiagra components, cheap wheels, winter tires. I also have a 2009 steel frame bike that I ride on dirt/gravel/paved surfaces...it has rim brakes (dia compe BRS-101) with salmon kool stop pads, mix of components, including DA downtube shifters.
I'm considering selling the bike with disk brakes because it's not as comfortable as the other bike (N-1 ). I have a skinny tire road bike for fair weather, a F/S mountain bike, and this steel framed Masi that fits great and handles gravel nicely, and I'm thinking that if it can handle my winter riding that I don't need the other bike. The two concerns I would have for the winter riding I do (more on that below) are whether the brakes will work well, and that it's a steel frame and I don't want it to rust (granted - if my bike is salty, wet, dirty, I give it a quick cleaning after a ride, followed by a thorough one when needed). I can mount the same winter tires I use today on this bike.
My winter riding consists of: temps as low as -20c (just a few times that low...mainly -10c to 0); salty roads, wet roads (when I know there isn't much ice), minimal snow (I'm not talking snow-covered roads, more like you're riding and you know there may be snow in sections and you ride over sections where there is compacted snow for 10, 50 feet at a time). I avoid ice, high winds. I'm usually riding 1-4 times a week depending on how many days are ridable.
Thoughts and things to consider???
Mad bike riding scientist
The frame fit is a bigger consideration than the type of brakes the bike has.
Originally Posted by Noonievut
Lots and lots and lots of people will tell you how superior hub mounted disc are but, in reality, I see nothing superior about them in any condition. I've commuted on a rim brake equipped bike of one flavor or another for 35+ years and on a hub mounted disc bike for ~5 years. The disc doesn't do any better in any condition than the other bike...including deep snow. The limitation isn't the braking power but the amount of traction that the wheel can get when braking. There is a little bit of lag on rim brakes when the pads are wet but I've found the same lag on wet disc pads.
This year, I found myself with chunks of snow/ice that built up where the wheel passes the pads. These worked their way between the pad and the rim, which made braking impossible.
cyccommute - thanks for the perspective...sounds like you've had a lot of experience to support your point. I have also found some 'lag on wet disk pads'.
MEversbergII - I've had the same thing happen on my rim brakes...where every revolution produced a thud because of ice on that part of the rim. Fortunately for me it wasn't on both sides of each rim...just one side of the rear.
I'm either going to sell the bike with disks, or put a new seatpost (with setback) and handlebar on it...I think those two things will make a better fit. If I sell the bike I have to be strong and not be tempted by fat bikes ;-)
just another gosling
I ride a lot in the rain here, but had the misfortune to get into a heavy wet snow once. I completely lost rim braking. The tracks became ice covered and were so slick that the brakes couldn't generate enough friction to melt it in a reasonable amount of distance, say a hundred feet. That was not good. It was a group ride. Some people used the Flintstone put-your-feet-down method. Conditions like that are rare, but they do occur. Also the cassettes iced up so that we had single-speed bikes. Only the cog in use wasn't covered in ice. Peeing on your bike in public is kinda weird.
The other thing is that they sand the roads here, so when the snow is gone the sand remains. I wear out about a rim/year. Cost isn't too bad because I build my own wheels, but discs are rather attractive for that reason alone.
I've decided to keep the cross bike with disks. The fit issue is that I wanted to use my Brooks on it, but the rails are short and I could get the right adjustment. I also fins the bars uncomfortable. So I've purchased a post with setback and new bars...if that works I'll be happy to have the bike because it has performed well in harsh conditions.
eagle claw feature of those Kool Stop's brake pads was intended to clear off the rim , being on the leading edge of the brake pad ..
Cool, I'll check it out.