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advice on disc brakes

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advice on disc brakes

Old 07-29-18, 01:01 PM
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chikon2000
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advice on disc brakes

For the past few years, I have lived in a city without a lot of hills, and so a 3 speed worked well for me as a commuter ride. Now that I have moved back to California and live in a very hilly neighborhood, it's time to look for a bike with more gears (and I'm going to need to up my game to take on these hills!). But it's gotten me thinking about braking as well. Specifically, would I be better off with disc brakes for the downgrades, or do you think that v-brakes or similar would have enough stopping power? (We have distinct wet and dry seasons here). I am leaning toward a hybrid (I am kind of a fan to 1990s-era hybrids), but few hybrids, whether used or new, come with disc brakes. The bike is also likely to be locked at a rack at the subway station, and so I am wary of too dropping a lot of money on an expensive bike. Thanks! Michael
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Old 07-29-18, 05:42 PM
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fietsbob 
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Rim brakes are fine in Dry So Cal, BUT rather than leave your bike behind
how about a folding bike to go with you ?

Or go Craptastic and spend big bucks on locks to keep it there just get the brakes to work well

V brakes are strong.. and cheap when someone strips parts off while you are at work.
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Old 07-29-18, 09:09 PM
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Disk brakes are such a polarizing discussion here on BF.

I am an advocate of disk brakes in wet climates because they just work better. So my answer is if you are going to ride in the wet, disk brakes may be an advantage. Of course it will also depend on the quality of the brake itself.

That isn't to say that V brakes can't do the job because they have been on bikes for many years and seem to work. I have used them on commuting bikes and except for winter riding they worked well.

I would choose a bike for its overall ability rather than if it had disk brakes or not.
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Old 07-29-18, 10:08 PM
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chikon2000
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The San Francisco Bay Area, where I now live, is not really a wet climate, although it does have a rainy season (roughly November to April). My concern is more about stopping power on the hills than on braking in the rain per se, although choosing a bike for its overall ability is very good advice. Thanks, Blakcloud.
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Old 07-29-18, 10:59 PM
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I live in northern Santa Crud county, up in the hills where people sit on their porches playing the banjo, shooting gophers and shooting up methamphetamine. We have lots of steep hills, not unlike your fair city 70 miles to the north.

Disc brakes are very nice to have in hill country here 'bouts.

If you lock your bike at a subway station, you will never see it again. You should take your bike everywhere you go. You should even sleep with it, with your leg wrapped around the top tube, and with one eye open. Even then, it will likely be stolen.
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Old 07-30-18, 08:20 AM
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I have a road bike with rim brakes. I wouldn't replace it over the upgrade. However, any new bike that I purchase will have disc brakes. They are definitely an upgrade from the rim style and are on most new bikes these days.
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Old 07-30-18, 08:26 AM
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I'm heavy (I think) at 250 lbs. I had crappy disc brakes on my commuter. I switched over to TRP Spyres and they've been very good after bedding them in. Previously however, I used to have a road bike with rim brakes on it. I distinctly remember thinking that in the rain, my road bike stopped way better than the disc brakes... that was until I switched to a better caliper.
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Old 07-30-18, 09:38 AM
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I've had minor problems with rim brakes in two conditions. First, when there's a heavy dew on the grass I should have mowed last night and I wheel the bike across the lawn before starting out, and second, when I get caught in heavy rain.

Disk brakes might help with the first, but I wouldn't expect much improvement in the second.

I can get thicker pads for my rim brakes, meaning less maintenance to worry about. And they've stopped me on a heavily loaded bike coming down an 8% (or was it more?) grade. Put my vote in the "slightly prefer rim brakes" column.
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Old 07-30-18, 09:58 AM
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my personal experience with TRP Spyres as my disk brakes with all types of pads has been that in dry conditions, the rim brakes on my road bike seem to stop faster. the disc brakes still stop at an acceptable rate, it just seems that the road bike stops faster.

however, my disc brakes seems to stop at a rate that is consistent with the dry stopping power in a downpour, in snow and ice and in mud.
i'm fickle about my bike set up and i tinker with it often enough until i have what i consider to be as close to perfect as reasonable set-up. these particular calipers squeeze the disc the same way that a hydro set up would where both pads actuate to squeeze the disc.

BUT, to @pdlamb point, my rim brakes on my road bike have stopped me coming down a very steep grade where the rear wheel was coming off of the ground a bike and skidding. again, i weigh 250 lbs and i had slid my weight back some while this was happening. rim brakes that are properly set up with the correct pads will work well in many conditions.

i just happen to slightly prefer the consistency in performance in more conditions than the rim brakes offered me. (shameless plug) plus, i think they look cool on my particular bike.
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Old 07-30-18, 10:22 AM
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My Favorite all weather brakes are Sturmey Archer's Drum brake hubs...

current version of what I have been using for 30 years

Front Sturmey-Archer | X-FD

Rear Sturmey-Archer | X-RD

now there is a cassette type .. Sturmey-Archer | X-RDC..

Drum brake advantage , brake shoes good for a Generation or 2..
so close to zero maintenance..

And you can retrofit an old beater that will not be as attractive
sitting in the rack .. Uglify shiny stuff if you wish ...




...

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-30-18 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 07-30-18, 11:12 AM
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I live in NH and some portions of my ride are relatively hilly. I have a bike with Vbrakes (older trek 520) and a bike with inexpensive Discs (trek FX 7.2 disc). they both seem to work well even in the rain. i plan on using the disc brakes for the winter commute this year, but before I had the 7.2, I used to ride a lot with the 520 up and down some steep hills and they worked great.

i just check my brake cables and pads regularly and make sure they are in good shape and replace them as needed. i've ridden with moderate loads (laptop, clothes, lunch, water, cable lock) down some pretty steep hills and the V Brakes did fine.

I really do like the disc brakes, but the V brakes seem to work too.
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Old 07-30-18, 11:16 AM
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i forgot to mention that i use kool stop brake pads on my V brake bike. a local shop recommended them several years ago and they said that these pads have good wet braking performance. they seem to work fairly well in the rain/damp conditions. also, if it's wet and i'm riding with the v brakes, i will occasionally pull the brake levers to try and dry off some of the water on the pads pre-emptively.
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Old 07-30-18, 01:55 PM
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My 2015 Charge Plug has mechanical disk brakes and they work a little better than the caliper rim brakes on my 1984 Nishiki International, and a little more-so in the rain. Both bikes worked better than the cantilever brakes on my 1997 Nishiki Blazer Mountain bike commuter. But then I swapped the Blazer's cantilevers for v-brakes a couple of years ago.

Oh, Em Gee!

The V-brakes haul that thing down amazingly well and very consistently, sun, rain or snow! People call V-Brakes "digital" claiming they lack modulation and are either "on" or "off" but I am able to modulate them on the edge of lockup just fine. The Blazer as I have it set up with old steel back rack and more is very(very) heavy, so that may have something to do with the ability to modulate.

The V_Brakes mounted on the same bosses as the cantilevers.
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Old 07-30-18, 11:24 PM
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These are great suggestions. Thanks, everybody.
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Old 07-31-18, 01:13 AM
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I think if you are locking up maybe you should look around at the bikes locked up and see what you feel is a good price level to risk it. This might determine the kind of brakes you wind up with more than fussing about weather performance and hydraulics
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Old 07-31-18, 11:26 AM
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chikon2000
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I am not totally committed to locking up my bike. The last time I lived here, I usually took it on the train with me. Then again, I had gotten that bike because a neighbor had left it out with the trash, so I wasn't too worried about what might happen to it.
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Old 07-31-18, 09:54 PM
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I used to swear by rim brakes. Then I starting using my ST-1 as a car replacement. Going faster, heavier bike ... and up to 100lbs of stuff from Costco ... I now appreciate the factory provided Magura's. I can stop faster on the ST-1 (with panniers; but not the cargo trailer ... so less than 100lbs of cruft) than on my old Gary Fisher.

Fortunately, I can lock my bike indoors at my office. If I had to leave it out 8+ hrs a day daily ... I fear it would have gone walkies by now (coming up on 2 years without a car; another couple of years before that where I was slowly increasing my commuting by bike).

I think for most purposes, the mechanical disc brakes probably suffice. Cheaper than the hydraulics and less labor intensive to maintain.

But different horses for different courses ... and moreso for the riders ;>
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Old 08-02-18, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by chikon2000 View Post
These are great suggestions. Thanks, everybody.
Good road rim brakes or hydraulic disk brakes can lift the rear wheel with their stopping power. Cable disk brakes generally can't do that. Seems to me that rim brakes last longer if you are worried about hills.

Either way, good brakes are better than cheap brakes. ;-)
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