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Another disc thread...

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Another disc thread...

Old 08-31-08, 10:12 PM
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Another disc thread...

To those of you have been around for a while, I'll apologize for my flogging this dead horse. I commit this sacriledge for my own clarification, as well as education for all of my fellow noob's...

After doing some searching of the forums, I've gleaned the following:

Disc vs. rims are a wash in ideal conditions. But as conditions deteriorate, then the advantage goes to disc.
Disc specific bikes are more expensive initially.
Brake pads can/do wear down the rim, creating the necessity of buying new rims/wheels.
Discs will still work if you bent the wheel (assuming the wheel is still useable, that is), while rim brakes will rub against the wheel creating unwanted drag, or less stopping power when needed.
Replacing/repairing discs can be a little more $, but the service interval is less frequent than rim brakes.
Rim brakes could superheat the rim and cause a blowout on long/steep descents. I'm not saying that's probable, just possible...

Now, at the risk of starting yet another holy war, I ask this: Due to all of the perceived advantages of disc brakes, why are they not more prevalent among commuters?

Also to my fellow noobs, lurkers, and wannabe's: There are two different 'search' links that I know of. One is at the top of the page just below the BF logo, the other is at the top right next to all of those annoying flash advertisments.
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Old 08-31-08, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post

Now, at the risk of starting yet another holy war, I ask this: Due to all of the perceived advantages of disc brakes, why are they not more prevalent among commuters?
Same reason most commuters pass up road bikes for MTBs, hybrids, and cruisers; because they're more expensive.
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Old 08-31-08, 10:58 PM
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Main issue is that discs don't work too well with racks or they have disc tabs, but no rack mounts.
Although some bikes deal with this specific problem, most don't do it correctly...
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Old 08-31-08, 11:41 PM
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- Disk brakes are more "complicated" - harder to service. Especially hydraulic ones.
- Disks can also get out of true, just like rims. Probably less frequently.

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Old 09-01-08, 12:01 AM
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Discs are getting there but if you look at the overall riding community you'll find that at least 1/2 of them are not really bicycle enthusiasts. They just want a cheap way to get to work and the dumpy Walmart Special they end up with is just fine for them. And since they don't want to pay more than they have to they ride with rim brakes. Don't assume that everyone that rides a bike is Bike Forums material. The vast majority doesn't go down to the basement and tuck their bike(s) in before going to bed like we do.
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Old 09-01-08, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
Main issue is that discs don't work too well with racks or they have disc tabs, but no rack mounts.
Although some bikes deal with this specific problem, most don't do it correctly...
True, but there are 'disc-specific' racks available.
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Old 09-01-08, 03:35 AM
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Disc brakes add to the cost of the bike, and make it more desirable for theft. Having had my first bike stolen in the first week of commuting, I'm sensitive to that. I WOULD NOT commute with an expensive bike. Since I have a very reasonable distance to travel and no dramatic hills (3.5 miles, mostly flat) I haven't noticed any issues where disc brakes would be better for me. My road bike stays home except for road trips which I do round trip, parking the bike in the garage.
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Old 09-01-08, 04:31 AM
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Why not just a front disk brake conversion? That's really your stopping power. I know it works for me, and I ride in all weather conditions.
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Old 09-01-08, 04:49 AM
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I can park my bike inside the machine shop where I work. I ride in wet conditions fairly often. I have worn out at least two sets of rims from braking use alone. I can't afford to use rim brakes anymore. The wet conditions create a grinding compound on the rims and will erode them with regular use, so disc brakes are the only economical choice for me.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Due to all of the perceived advantages of disc brakes, why are they not more prevalent among commuters?
  1. Tradition. Look at those who still prefer friction shifting, or steel. Same deal with brakes.
  2. Cost. Upfront, discs cost extra. The savings are only down the road after a few pad and rim replacements.
  3. Weight. Near as I can tell, they add about a pound to a pound and a half per wheel. This includes calipers, rotors, beefier fork, extra frame mounts and the heavier hubs and hoops.
  4. No need. Fair weather commuters are the majority, although perhaps not here on this forum. But look around next time it rains or snows. Where are all the cyclists? Very few of us benefit from the foul weather advantages of discs.

Originally Posted by AEO View Post
Main issue is that discs don't work too well with racks or they have disc tabs, but no rack mounts. Although some bikes deal with this specific problem, most don't do it correctly...
I've seen this with MTBs and hybrids, but every road bike I've seen with discs has this nailed. My Portland, for instance, besides taking full fenders and a rear rack, can also take front low-rider racks.

Originally Posted by JoebikerLa View Post
I have worn out at least two sets of rims from braking use alone. I can't afford to use rim brakes anymore.
One winter, one wheelset. That's the whole reason why I wanted discs on my four-season commuter. It was so nice this past spring not having to replace anything brake related.

Originally Posted by stevage View Post
Disks can also get out of true, just like rims. Probably less frequently.
Um, uh, that's true. Mine go out of true only through mishandling. I have two wheelsets and switch wheelsets instead of tires. If I'm not careful in the way I store the wheelset I'm not using, I can knock a rotor out of true. On the plus side, you don't need special tools to true a rotor. I can usually do it with my fingers. Takes just a minute or two. It stays mounted on the bike and I listen as it passes through the caliper.

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Old 09-01-08, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Due to all of the perceived advantages of disc brakes, why are they not more prevalent among commuters?
Every time I rode my commuter with disk brakes (a Dahon Matrix) in the rain, it needed work the next day because of the awful noise and grinding once it dried out. And since I'm not up on disk brakes, that meant taking it to the shop. Big pain.

Maybe the disks on my Matrix were junk, or lemons, or... I don't know. But whatever--I prefer V-brakes with Koolstop Salmon pads. They stop on a dime in both wet and dry conditions, and they don't need any attention after a rainy commute.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by stevage View Post
- Disk brakes are more "complicated" - harder to service. Especially hydraulic ones.
- Disks can also get out of true, just like rims. Probably less frequently.

Steve
I don't get how discs are more complicated. At least mechanical. Cable runs down to a caliper which "squeezes" two pads together on a rotor.

I actually find my BB7's easier to adjust than any rim based brake I've ever used. On the flip side, the pro-max that came on my mtb are a little more finicky and the outside pad needs an allen wrench.

The Schwinn World DBX and Trek Portland mount the rear caliper on the inside of the seat stay so that normal rack brazons can be put on the frame and eliminating the need for disc specific racks or workarounds. A simple solution to what an age old problem.

I don't think I saw the "weight" argument in anybody's post but it's been raised many times. I think that argument is somewhat nullified by the fact that the weight is at the most optimal part on a bike. On/near the axis.

I do think the bling factor will play into how much we start seeing discs more common on road bikes in the future. It was a huge factor in mine coming from the mountain bike world. But as stated, bling works both ways in that it attracts thieves.

Cost wise, the actual callipers and rotors can be had for around $100 for BB7's or less for other brands. But start factoring in disc compatible forks, frames, and hubs/wheels, and it starts adding up in a hurry.

I love my road bike discs. Performance wise, they're not head/shoulders above a good rim based setup except in wet/muddy conditions and even then YMMV. Having said that my discs smoke my v-brakes on my mtb and the cantis' on my old mtb in wet/muddy conditions and resulted in less hand fatigue on long and steep road descents.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JoebikerLa View Post
I can park my bike inside the machine shop where I work. I ride in wet conditions fairly often. I have worn out at least two sets of rims from braking use alone. I can't afford to use rim brakes anymore. The wet conditions create a grinding compound on the rims and will erode them with regular use, so disc brakes are the only economical choice for me.
That's one of the main reason's why I'm leaning towards going w/discs. Effective time management. Between work and classes, and the distances involved, I'm not sure I can afford the time to hose/wipe down the rims and check/clean the pads.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
Why not just a front disk brake conversion? That's really your stopping power. I know it works for me, and I ride in all weather conditions.
This is my thought, too. I'd like my next bike to have discs up front, at least.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Danre View Post
This is my thought, too. I'd like my next bike to have discs up front, at least.
I'm glad I'm not alone. It wasnt hard to find a good used conversion parts at the local bike shops, and it sure is better than replacing my entire bike. reuse, recycle.....
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Old 09-01-08, 10:09 PM
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I'm not the one to go by, simply because I'm bigger than most folks, but discs are the only thing I can use. Rim brakes just don't have the guts to haul my weight to a stop soon enough. The fact that, out of three car-hood-spread-eagles in eight years, only one was on a disc bike (6" rotors -- not enough!), is enough for me to keep the minimum standard at 7"f/7"r. Currently, it's 8f/7r, and I LIIIIIIIIIIIIKKE it!!!!!
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Old 09-01-08, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by noteon View Post
Every time I rode my commuter with disk brakes (a Dahon Matrix) in the rain, it needed work the next day because of the awful noise and grinding once it dried out.......
Your situation really is out of the norm for disc brakes. The bikes I have with them are wonderfully low in their need for attention and only need it at most a couple of times a year.

What system is on your Matrix anyway?
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Old 09-01-08, 11:47 PM
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Disc brakes will start showing up on more hybrid and "commuter" bikes as time goes on. Easy setup, long maintenance intervals and good performance under a wide range of conditions mean they will likely supplant rim brakes before too long. I long for the day that somebody mass-markets a road brake with hydraulics.
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Old 09-02-08, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Your situation really is out of the norm for disc brakes. The bikes I have with them are wonderfully low in their need for attention and only need it at most a couple of times a year.

What system is on your Matrix anyway?
Unfortunately, I can't go look; it's been in the shop for several months while Dahon sent one wrong warranty replacement part after another. I bought a Xootr Swift to replace it.
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Old 09-02-08, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Danre View Post
This is my thought, too. I'd like my next bike to have discs up front, at least.
Thats what I did.

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Old 09-02-08, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by stevage View Post
- Disk brakes are more "complicated" - harder to service. Especially hydraulic ones.
- Disks can also get out of true, just like rims. Probably less frequently.
Discs are much simpler than rim brakes. You adjust the pads in and out,that's it. You don't have to toe the pads in,or adjust height,or yaw. The pads wear longer so there's much less regular maintenance. Hydro are the easiest of all. Yes,bleeding them is a PITA,but on a street bike it only needs to be done every 2-3 years. Other than that,you just check the pads for wear and replace when necessary. Zero adjustments or regualr maintenance.

I've had one rotor go out of true. That was due to a mallet strike during polo. Fixing it was just a matter of using a Park Tool rotor fork and bening it back into true. Real simple. Also,rotors are cheaper than rims,and way easier to replace.
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Old 09-02-08, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by noteon View Post
Every time I rode my commuter with disk brakes (a Dahon Matrix) in the rain, it needed work the next day because of the awful noise and grinding once it dried out. And since I'm not up on disk brakes, that meant taking it to the shop. Big pain.
Meh? The Shimanos on my Safari squeal a bit after riding in the rain. After a few hard stops they quiet down. That's only because I'm too lazy to clean them. Spray some Windex on a rag and wipe off the rotors and you're good to go.

I'm sorry,but unless there's something really wrong with your brakes(bad lot of pads?) I'm calling user error. Cleaning the rotors is no different than cleaning rims. And if the pads are contaminated,you just pull them and hit them with a little sandpaper. Which is pretty much the same thing you'd do to rim pads.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:09 AM
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I'll throw my two cents in...

I have two bikes, one with rim brakes, the other with mechanical discs. They both do the job well. The disc brakes are better in the rain, don't 'pulsate' due to slightly bent rims, but make a little more noise (at least on my bikes).

I always thought I would really like the discs a lot more. However, other than in rain, it doesn't really matter.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
I'll throw my two cents in...

I have two bikes, one with rim brakes, the other with mechanical discs. They both do the job well. The disc brakes are better in the rain, don't 'pulsate' due to slightly bent rims, but make a little more noise (at least on my bikes).

I always thought I would really like the discs a lot more. However, other than in rain, it doesn't really matter.
The noise on my disc brake bike grates on me. On the other hand, this am, wet, pads wearing down, my cantis were squealing all the way in.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
I'm calling user error.
I'm calling poster smugness.
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