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To disc or not to disc.

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To disc or not to disc.

Old 07-09-15, 08:20 AM
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WalksOn2Wheels
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To disc or not to disc.

Can't decide.

Finally getting ready to replace my cross commuter that I destroyed in a crash over a year ago. I have everything except for a wheelset and a frame. The initial plan was to steal the wheels off of my wife's currently unused bike and just build up a canti frame with the awesome v-brakes I was using. But I'll eventually have to build a wheelset for it. The alternate plan would require me to get the disc frame, disc wheels (or build a set) as well as some mechanical disc brakes. So a much higher initial cost, but I have some stuff I could probably sell to make it all happen.

I think the main reason I'm divided is that the v-brake build will be very immediate and quick and enjoyable, while the disc build will require some more effort. But what would I be missing out on if I didn't get disc brakes? This will probably be my last bike purchase for a few years at minimum.

Primary use will be commuting, but I also plan to do some gravel riding and general endurance rides with some touring and camping thrown in.

I'm really, really torn on this one.
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Old 07-09-15, 08:29 AM
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Go disc!!! The perform, especially when wet, is amazing.
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Old 07-09-15, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
Go disc!!! The perform, especially when wet, is amazing.
That's why I went with disc on my Soma build. I grew weary of not knowing how my brakes were going to perform in less than idea conditions.
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Old 07-09-15, 08:34 AM
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The last bike I purchased with rim brakes was in 2005. All disc brakes since then. If you have the cash, hydraulic road disc brakes are the way to go.
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Old 07-09-15, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
Can't decide.

Finally getting ready to replace my cross commuter that I destroyed in a crash over a year ago. I have everything except for a wheelset and a frame. The initial plan was to steal the wheels off of my wife's currently unused bike and just build up a canti frame with the awesome v-brakes I was using. But I'll eventually have to build a wheelset for it. The alternate plan would require me to get the disc frame, disc wheels (or build a set) as well as some mechanical disc brakes. So a much higher initial cost, but I have some stuff I could probably sell to make it all happen.

I think the main reason I'm divided is that the v-brake build will be very immediate and quick and enjoyable, while the disc build will require some more effort. But what would I be missing out on if I didn't get disc brakes? This will probably be my last bike purchase for a few years at minimum.

Primary use will be commuting, but I also plan to do some gravel riding and general endurance rides with some touring and camping thrown in.

I'm really, really torn on this one.
Here's my recommendation then:

Get a Surly Troll or Ogre frameset. They can run either cantis or discs.

Then get or build up a set of 26" or 700c wheels to use with your V brakes and you are off and commuting.

Here's the fun part - now, while you are already off and running, you can start building up a second set of wheels with discs, which you can switch out and run on that same frame at will.

Why not get creative in fact... make the disc set of wheels 650b and run the legendary Hetre Grand Bois on them. Both the Troll and Ogre have the frame and fork clearance to run just about any disc brake wheel, it's their rim brake posts that are wheel size specific.

Want to have even more fun and flexibility? Wait until July 17 when the World Troller is released. Built in S and S coupling on a Troll frame, since you mentioned touring. Makes the frame even stronger than uncoupled and if this is a once in many years frame purchase, why not have that option? If you end up taking five flights with it the cost of the couplers is recouped right there in airline surcharges/bike fees.

Only downsides to the Troll/Ogre are they are neither light nor fast. But they can be built as great commuters or tourers, where neither of those things is of paramount importance.
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Old 07-09-15, 09:17 AM
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Along with what shortlegcyclist said, get a frame and fork you could do either with. Personally, the only place I care about disc brakes are on my mountain bike, but I don't really even care all that much about them there. Out of my 9 bikes, only one has discs and I have yet to die on any of the other 8 in whatever weather is happening
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Old 07-09-15, 09:28 AM
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I already have the frame picked out, and it's either disc or canti, hence the need to make a decision. Plus, something about frames with both options drives me crazy. You will always have one set of mounts just sitting there, looking out of place. Can not handle. Too vain.
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Old 07-09-15, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I already have the frame picked out, and it's either disc or canti, hence the need to make a decision. Plus, something about frames with both options drives me crazy. You will always have one set of mounts just sitting there, looking out of place. Can not handle. Too vain.
Yeah, I test rode a Troll with discs and it was definitely odd and a tad disturbing to be going on a downhill and look down and see two bare brake posts sitting there!

Well, how often will you be commuting in bad weather and/or going down extended steep downhills? Those are the two situations where discs would be desirable IMO.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:08 AM
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Extended downhills are almost next to never due to the local terrain, but it would be a good bike to take on trips with more climbing.

I do expect to ride in the wet with this bike, though. It will most likely have a set of fenders that will live on it and only come off for extended offroad adventures. I really miss having a bike with fenders because even the slightest bit of water on the ground makes me not want to ride.

If anything, the cleanliness of discs vs. rim brakes might sway me. The nasty black sludge you get all over your brakes and rims in the wet is my least favorite thing to clean off. And I keep my bikes clean because, like I said, I'm vain.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ShortLegCyclist View Post
Yeah, I test rode a Troll with discs and it was definitely odd and a tad disturbing to be going on a downhill and look down and see two bare brake posts sitting there!

Well, how often will you be commuting in bad weather and/or going down extended steep downhills? Those are the two situations where discs would be desirable IMO.
+1

That is the main question. I'm annoyed by the screeching of my discs when some crap gets on the rotors. They clean themselves off eventually. Also, just removing and replacing a wheel can throw the caliper alignment off enough to cause some rubbing unless your careful to make sure the QR is the same tightness as before you removed it. Some people count the turns when removing the wheel. My discs are mechanicals though. Others folks swear by hydros and I've never tried those.

The important thing is that they stop the wheel from turning in all conditions. If that's what you want then they are better choice than any rim brake.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:25 AM
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I already have the rest of the group, so hydro brakes weren't really a consideration, but I know those would be way better, especially Shimano hydro brakes with feel better and are generally quiet. I haven't looked into the mechanically operated hydro brakes in a while, so I don't know how those are.

What mechanical brakes do you have? You mentioned they get noisy? That would drive me out of my mind.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I already have the rest of the group, so hydro brakes weren't really a consideration, but I know those would be way better, especially Shimano hydro brakes with feel better and are generally quiet. I haven't looked into the mechanically operated hydro brakes in a while, so I don't know how those are.

What mechanical brakes do you have? You mentioned they get noisy? That would drive me out of my mind.
I have hydraulic Shimano Alfines on one bike and mechanical Avid BB7s on another. Both have slight chatter but no real noise. I would not say the hydraulics are any better stopping power but the pull is lighter and more consistent through the range.

If you don't break in disc brakes properly, they will end up squealing and that is very annoying. You want to spread the material of the brake shoe evenly across the rotor surface to avoid that as you are breaking them in.

Rim brakes will squeal too at times, but the usual culprit there is brakes shoes not tight enough.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:36 AM
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You have to pay attention to servicing most brakes, new pads, cleaning , adjusting for wear,

drum brake hubs dont require that. they just wont lock up if you touch the lever too hard.

I have hydraulic 'V' brakes on one bike , Magura, & BB7 on a 3rd,& drum brakes on my Studded tire bike.

Texas? its not that severe a winter rim brakes should be fine..,

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Old 07-09-15, 11:52 AM
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I've got hydraulic discs on my bike, I love them. The next bike will likely have them too. What I really like is the shorter handle, less pull effort, feel of more control and lack of fade.

Are they necessary? Nope, not by a long shot, especially for me a mediocre cyclist at best. A good set of brakes of damn near any type will work almost as well.

So you will never know until you try.
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Old 07-09-15, 11:59 AM
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Another reason to switch to discs is that they eliminate rim wear. For me, rim brakes were an incredibly expensive proposition...
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Old 07-09-15, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
Another reason to switch to discs is that they eliminate rim wear. For me, rim brakes were an incredibly expensive proposition...
Even with cheap rims it can add up for a full time cyclist in our climate.
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Old 07-09-15, 12:49 PM
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Another consideration was the fact that a slightly out of true wheel wouldn't be as big of an issue if I were on an extended trip/tour situation. But then again, I'd probably also have a multi-tool with a spoke wrench on it.
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Old 07-09-15, 01:21 PM
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Good v-brakes have worked for me for the last 30 years. No problems. Hills, summer, winter.

If money is not an issue, and if maintenance of disc brakes will not cause you inconvenience (you can do it yourself, or you have a good mechanic you can afford), then hydraulic disc brakes are good.

When it comes to long trips: 26" wheels can be bought anywhere on the planet, cheap. Replacing a warped disc or finding a disc brake wheel - not so easy IMO.
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Old 07-09-15, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I already have the rest of the group, so hydro brakes weren't really a consideration, but I know those would be way better, especially Shimano hydro brakes with feel better and are generally quiet. I haven't looked into the mechanically operated hydro brakes in a while, so I don't know how those are.

What mechanical brakes do you have? You mentioned they get noisy? That would drive me out of my mind.
They don't squeal when dry only when they get wet. Squeezing the brakes while pedaling will clean them up enough to stop squealing unless they get wet again. They are BB7s
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Old 07-09-15, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
If anything, the cleanliness of discs vs. rim brakes might sway me. The nasty black sludge you get all over your brakes and rims in the wet is my least favorite thing to clean off. And I keep my bikes clean because, like I said, I'm vain.
I also keep my bikes clean and switched to discs early this year.

So glad to not have any more black sludge, or the annoying sound of brake pads full of grit grinding down my rims.

I will never go back to rim brakes on a bike that will see regular rain rides for this reason alone.
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Old 07-09-15, 01:56 PM
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Brake sludge is another biggie for me as I keep my primary and backup bike in the house. Now this time of year, the dry season, one of them has rim brakes, but the rims are steel so sludge isn't an issue.
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Old 07-09-15, 01:58 PM
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Just look at all the wet weather crashes in the TDF yesterday. No disc brakes, so they can't stop quickly enough and end up in huge pileups.
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Old 07-09-15, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I also keep my bikes clean and switched to discs early this year.

So glad to not have any more black sludge, or the annoying sound of brake pads full of grit grinding down my rims.

I will never go back to rim brakes on a bike that will see regular rain rides for this reason alone.
Oh sweet Lord, I pretty much ruined a brand new wheel build that way. got a small rock stuck in the groves of the brake pad and it just ate up one side of my rim. Took tons of refinishing the brake surface to finally make it go away. But that rim ended up getting ruined in the aforementioned crash, so oh well.

Yeah, I'm thinking disc might be the way to go. I'm already going to have to get a second wheelset eventually, so I might as well do it all at once.
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Old 07-09-15, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Just look at all the wet weather crashes in the TDF yesterday. No disc brakes, so they can't stop quickly enough and end up in huge pileups.
Good caliper brakes and especially good V-brakes are good enough even in the rain - the limiting factor is tyre traction, not the brakes. You're talking about close riding in tight groups. It is more due to time it takes to react and squeeze brakes, than due to poor brakes.
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Old 07-09-15, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I already have the rest of the group, so hydro brakes weren't really a consideration, but I know those would be way better, especially Shimano hydro brakes with feel better and are generally quiet. I haven't looked into the mechanically operated hydro brakes in a while, so I don't know how those are.

What mechanical brakes do you have? You mentioned they get noisy? That would drive me out of my mind.
I forget what is on my mtn bike (mech disc brakes)....when they get wet (like, going through a stream) they squeal real loud for awhile until they dry off. They also occasionally rub. They do stop my bike, but all of my brakes (-1...my Schwinn Suburbans brake pads are so bad that they no longer stop the bike) tend to stop my bikes just fine. Even wet, rim brakes have always stopped my bike. I would think if it is raining, road surface has more sway than rim brakes vs disc brakes. It would be interesting to see if there is any data on that comparison.

You could always go with hydraulic v brakes.....
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