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Caliper vs disc brakes on road bike?

Old 11-20-19, 05:07 PM
  #1  
AWillZ
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Caliper vs disc brakes on road bike?

Getting ready to replace my 2009 Ridley Damocles - I am sticking with Ridley as the Damo that I have been riding / racing for 10 years has been fantastic. Probably going to a Fenix SL. I had no intention of going with disc brakes but a couple of my riding partners think I should.

I understand the difference but the extra cost / weight doesn't justify the benefit (to me). I will outfit with HED Ardennes Black wheels (no pads on carbon tracks)

why pay more and add 1/2 pound to wheel weight??
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Old 11-20-19, 05:30 PM
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Sounds like you've made your decision. Are you looking for affirmation or to be talked out of it?
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Old 11-20-19, 05:35 PM
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Heavier, uglier, more expensive, less aero, more finicky to adjust, and don't stop your bike any faster. You can see why everyone's jumping on the disc bandwagon. /eyeroll
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Old 11-20-19, 05:53 PM
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Now we're rolling
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Old 11-20-19, 06:37 PM
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Not trying to be talked out of it, but trying to understand the why the whole road bike world is going disc. For the majority of riders I don't see the benefit as it relates to cost and weight unless you are riding or racing in the rain or riding poorly designed carbon rims.

Also agree that disc are high maintenance...I spend more time on the brakes on my Mtn bike than the rest combined
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Old 11-20-19, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by AWillZ View Post
Not trying to be talked out of it, but trying to understand the why the whole road bike world is going disc. For the majority of riders I don't see the benefit as it relates to cost and weight unless you are riding or racing in the rain or riding poorly designed carbon rims.

Also agree that disc are high maintenance...I spend more time on the brakes on my Mtn bike than the rest combined
With a trend in road bikes towards larger tires, 28 is very common, 32 getting there, disc brakes make it much easier to get a wheel on and off the bike, compared to standard road brakes where an inflated 28 can be a pain.

I think it will be cheaper in the long term for component manufacturers to standardize on disc for all their road, gravel and cross bike systems, to use disc as opposed to having to do a separate set of side pull levers and brakes. Not that thatís a good reason.
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Old 11-20-19, 07:03 PM
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[QUOTE=AWillZ;21216969]I understand the difference but the extra cost / weight doesn't justify the benefit (to me). /QUOTE] What else is there to say?
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Old 11-20-19, 07:14 PM
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At this stage itís a matter of time before rim brakes are a thing of the past on all road bikes. Just as itís hard (not impossible, but hard) to find compatible equipment and spares for Look Arc pedals, or square taper bottom brackets, or downtube shifters or threaded fork frames, so itís going to continue to get harder and harder to replace brake-track rims, or to source good quality brake pads etc etc.

I may never buy a new road bike again (barring catastrophic failure of one of my current bikes) but if I do, Iíll buy a bike with disc brakes. Probably with gravel/offroadish capability.
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Old 11-20-19, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by AWillZ View Post
Not trying to be talked out of it, but trying to understand the why the whole road bike world is going disc. For the majority of riders I don't see the benefit as it relates to cost and weight unless you are riding or racing in the rain or riding poorly designed carbon rims.

Also agree that disc are high maintenance...I spend more time on the brakes on my Mtn bike than the rest combined
High maintenance? I replace the pads when worn, takes maybe 5 minutes for both. Shimano hydros, avids or such. What kind are you using?
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Old 11-20-19, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Now we're rolling
Beat me to it. See what I did there?

The real question is whether disc or rim brakes are better for practicing crashing.
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Old 11-20-19, 08:29 PM
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I have a rim brake bike, and a hydraulic disc brake bike. I spend about the same amount of time messing with the brakes on both, cumulatively-- that is, maybe 10 minutes a year. What crappy brakes are people using that they need to futz with them all the time?
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Old 11-20-19, 09:58 PM
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Like the doc, I have both. Canít say that Iíve spent much maintenance time on either. I have carbon rims with the discs, AL with the rims brakes. Happy with both in dry weather. Not keen on rim brakes on carbon wheels, know a few folks who have had problems. Dave at November bikes suggests with discs wheels can last a long time:

https://novemberbicycles.com/blogs/blog/forever-wheels
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Old 11-20-19, 11:49 PM
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If you want one bike to do it all, road, gravel, combination of both then I can see the advantage of being able to go from 25 or 28 to 32 or even 40 tires as needed but I was referring to road bikes and most caliper brakes will work with up to 28's...and I cant see any advantage in anything wider than that for the road.

Not sure a road race or even an "endurance" race bike is really the best choice for gravel riding and I think that as much as the one bike concept is attractive, I don't buy it. If you willing to spend big $ on a bike, decide what you want it to be.
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Old 11-21-19, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by AWillZ View Post
If you want one bike to do it all, road, gravel, combination of both then I can see the advantage of being able to go from 25 or 28 to 32 or even 40 tires as needed but I was referring to road bikes and most caliper brakes will work with up to 28's...and I cant see any advantage in anything wider than that for the road.

Not sure a road race or even an "endurance" race bike is really the best choice for gravel riding and I think that as much as the one bike concept is attractive, I don't buy it. If you willing to spend big $ on a bike, decide what you want it to be.

I get all that. I ride 23s on the road and feel no need to go wider than that. I only added the bit about possible offroading as an afterthought. If my future bike never ventures off the asphalt, it will still, most likely, have disc brakes. Unless a better braking technology is invented in the meantime.

And even in terms of road bikes right now, the trend is, overall, towards discs. And the fact is, disc brakes do a better job of stopping your bike than calipers do. Yes, rim brakes will stop you perfectly well, but then, threaded headsets and bottom brackets steered and drove steel frame bikes perfectly well for a hundred years, yet they're all history now, too.

And ok, there's still a weight penalty, but as tech develops and with discs being effectively the standard now, we're already seeing the weight of disc-ready road frames come down, and that's just going to continue. While rim-brake frames get heavier as nobody at the big manufacturers keeps up the level of R&D that goes into the disc brakes.
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Old 11-21-19, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Heavier, uglier, more expensive, less aero, more finicky to adjust, and don't stop your bike any faster. You can see why everyone's jumping on the disc bandwagon. /eyeroll
Heavier? Marginally.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Less aero? Maybe. I'd like to see figures for real world drag.

More finiky to adjust? They're self adjusting. Fail.

Don't stop your bike any quicker? Now you've lost it completely.

You forgot to add discs work when wet. Something rims are still ridiculed for.

ITT -watch out for people commenting on cable discs. They're not fit for purpose much more than rims are.
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Old 11-21-19, 04:21 AM
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[QUOTE=shelbyfv;21217099]
Originally Posted by AWillZ View Post
I understand the difference but the extra cost / weight doesn't justify the benefit (to me). /QUOTE] What else is there to say?
Riding when wet, more room for fenders, stopping power is greater but you may not need that depending on how you ride. Not everyone is concerned with every ounce they carry.
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Old 11-21-19, 06:25 AM
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Old 11-21-19, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by AWillZ View Post
why pay more and add 1/2 pound to wheel weight??
Because all of the cool kids are doing it...

You don't want to be left out, do you?
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Old 11-21-19, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by AWillZ View Post
Getting ready to replace my 2009 Ridley Damocles - I am sticking with Ridley as the Damo that I have been riding / racing for 10 years has been fantastic. Probably going to a Fenix SL. I had no intention of going with disc brakes but a couple of my riding partners think I should.

I understand the difference but the extra cost / weight doesn't justify the benefit (to me). I will outfit with HED Ardennes Black wheels (no pads on carbon tracks)

why pay more and add 1/2 pound to wheel weight??
Why start a conversation asking why, when you know full well nothing anyone will say will change your mind?
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Old 11-21-19, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by AWillZ View Post
Getting ready to replace my 2009 Ridley Damocles - I am sticking with Ridley as the Damo that I have been riding / racing for 10 years has been fantastic. Probably going to a Fenix SL. I had no intention of going with disc brakes but a couple of my riding partners think I should.

I understand the difference but the extra cost / weight doesn't justify the benefit (to me). I will outfit with HED Ardennes Black wheels (no pads on carbon tracks)

why pay more and add 1/2 pound to wheel weight??
You race, so you have a ton of miles and plenty of experience to know if your current setup is lacking in any way. If your current setup's brakes work for all the riding you do, then you dont need a different type of brakes.
I dont touch my disc brakes and I dont touch my rim brakes. I have caliper, hydraulic disc, hydraulic-cable disc, and cantilever. None of them require maintenance beyond changing pads.

Benefit to disc- fit wider tires(quality 28-30mm is loved by many).

You race and find rim brakes to work for your needs. You are using your bike closer to the limits than probably 90% of cyclists, so if you dont want disc brakes, dont get disc brakes. Its quite simple.
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Old 11-21-19, 10:10 AM
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Old 11-21-19, 10:40 AM
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Really, we must.
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Old 11-21-19, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
More finiky to adjust? They're self adjusting. Fail.

Don't stop your bike any quicker? Now you've lost it completely.
Hydraulic discs only self adjust for pad wear. I'm willing to bet most disc brake adjustment is not for pad wear exactly but due to rubbing. Any slight rubbing is more noticeable a road bike due to less road and tire noise. What I have experienced is that the two pistons never quite extend evenly and thus you've eventually gotta loosen up the adjuster bolts and realign the caliper.

Quality rim brakes with quality pads will brake you hard enough to do an endo if you apply the brakes too aggressively so, no, discs do not stop any faster unless you have low quality pads. Bike stopping distance is limited by tire traction and how hard you can brake without flipping yourself. More clamp from the brakes does not help.
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Old 11-21-19, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
With a trend in road bikes towards larger tires, 28 is very common, 32 getting there, disc brakes make it much easier to get a wheel on and off the bike, compared to standard road brakes where an inflated 28 can be a pain.
Only if you are running wide tires on old narrow rims because you're needing the caliper to open up from maybe 17mm to 28mm. Pair wide tires with appropriate width rims and it's no issue.
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Old 11-21-19, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
Hydraulic discs only self adjust for pad wear. I'm willing to bet most disc brake adjustment is not for pad wear exactly but due to rubbing. Any slight rubbing is more noticeable a road bike due to less road and tire noise. What I have experienced is that the two pistons never quite extend evenly and thus you've eventually gotta loosen up the adjuster bolts and realign the caliper.

Quality rim brakes with quality pads will brake you hard enough to do an endo if you apply the brakes too aggressively so, no, discs do not stop any faster unless you have low quality pads. Bike stopping distance is limited by tire traction and how hard you can brake without flipping yourself. More clamp from the brakes does not help.
This. I am waiting for someone to explain to me how disc brakes magically make your tires grippier.
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