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Disc brakes are great!

Old 02-15-24, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
For the same reason you post on an American football thread?
It was more about Taylor Swift at the start and the thread title had no mention of "football".
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Old 02-15-24, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Steam locomotive drive wheels have replaceable tires. Sure, they’re made of steel, but they’re separate from the wheel (or “wheel center”). Instead of using tire levers to install them, they use fire to make them expand, install them, and let them cool onto the wheel for a shrink fit. The cast iron brake shoes are forced against the tires to effect braking. And yes, the heat generated from braking down long grades has been known to heat the tires enough to loosen them from the wheels—probably where you saw the wheel cooler reference.
Thanks - you saved me a lot of investigative work. (That's both true and a Firesign Theater reference.)

This topic jogged my memory. In the bike shop in New Haven where I worked in 1974, I sold a single-speed bike (built up from a Reynolds 531 Witcomb frame) to Marshall Dodge. Some oldsters may remember the name from the Bert and I Down East (Maine) comedy records, or from Calvin Trillin's New Yorker article about him.

Great guy. Charismatic. After he'd had the bike for about a year, he stopped by to visit us in the shop. He mentioned that he'd been busy completing his build of a pedal-powered railroad car (like the handcar seen in some silent movie comedies, but with pedals instead of the usual seesaw arrangement). Showed us a photo of himself sitting in a chair bolted to the car's platform, legs stretched out in front of him to the pedals, in recumbent fashion, grinning.

One of us said the wheels looked unusual. He said he was good friends with the crew at the New York, New Haven, and Hartford repair station in Bridgeport and that, the previous year, they'd showed him around in their shed full of parts and equipment left over from the days when a lot of experimentation was going on with railroad rolling stock.

When they showed him a set of aluminum wheels, that's when he thought up his pedal-powered rail platform idea. (I remember the wheels looking smaller than most - don't know what they were originally designed for - maybe for handcars.) They had quite a few of the wheels, so they gave him four.

The last question we asked him was, what was he planning to do if he saw a train coming toward him? I remember vividly that he looked solemn (Calvin Trillin's article noted, accurately, that Marshall could summon a terrifically solemn expression when he was about to lie) and said, "I plan to install a large mirror at the front, hinged at the bottom. When I hear or see a train approaching, I'll hoist the mirror so that the engineer will see his headlight in the mirror, think he's about to collide with another train, and stop."

Marshall (who was killed in the 1980's, having been hit by a car while riding his bike) also owned a folding bike that he brought in a bag with him whenever he traveled. He told us (and Trillin, too, evidently) that, whenever he was challenged when boarding a plane with his bike bag, he would say (solemnly, no doubt), "This is my grandmother's wheelchair."

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Old 02-15-24, 08:10 AM
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I have rim brakes on my commuter and road bike and they suit me fine but I only use disc brakes on mountain bikes. I mean at this point you are hard pressed to find anything but disc brakes but they make a world of difference on that terrain.
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Old 02-15-24, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It was more about Taylor Swift at the start and the thread title had no mention of "football".
HA! Okay, if that’s all you got.
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Old 02-15-24, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
HA! Okay, if that’s all you got.
It’s more than you’ve got on disc brakes.
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Old 02-15-24, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
He told us (and Trillin, too, evidently) that, whenever he was challenged when boarding a plane with his bike bag, he would say (solemnly, no doubt), "This is my grandmother's wheelchair."
I assume if his bag was overweight, he would tell the staff, "That's my grandmother in there, don't insult her."
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Old 02-15-24, 01:38 PM
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This whole thing ... people arguing, "The Sun is hot," and others arguing, "Heat is relative, 'Hot' has no objective meaning" and everyone argues until they get sunburned, which has nothing to do with heat ....
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Old 02-15-24, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Superior modulation = more like a dimmer switch than an on/off switch. I'm a rim-brake fan, but those Shimano XTRs (with the longer levers, which were hard to find) have a motorcycle-like, broader range of feel to them. If you squeeze the lever 44.9%, you get 44.9% braking force. The OEM Tektros were more like an on/off switch.
Thank you for defining what you think is modulations but, frankly, I’ve never experienced any brake that acts like an on/off switch other than a set of OEM Avid Juicy 5s from around 2003. Those, of course, were said to have “superior modulation” over rim brakes. I’ve done a lot of mountain biking since I got my first one in 1984…roughly 50,000 miles…on brakes from cantilevers to linear to hydraulic disc to mechanical disc and I’ve never once felt that the brakes were hard to use nor they couldn’t be used to control speed easily. Put in 44.9% of squeeze on the lever and get out 44.9% braking force with the exception of those stupid Juicy 5s. They were grabby and impossible to put in 5.4% or 10.2% or anything kind of input that was needed for actual control of speed. They were off or the bike was skidding to a stop. Nothing in between.

And to be clear, while not all of that 50,000 miles was hardcore, steep terrain mountain biking, the vast majority of that riding was and still is relatively rugged mountain bike rides. Many of the mountain bike rides done by lots of people today, I did on a rigid bike with cantilevers.

​​​​​​Edit: If you're diligent, rim brakes can feel like this; just have to periodically clean the rims with rubbing alcohol (without getting it on the tires,) and lightly scuff the brake pads with fine-grit sandpaper. Ain't nobody got time for dat.
Not in my experience. I don’t do any kind of cleaning of rims and my rim brake equipped bikes can stop exactly where I want to them to stop…even the ones with close to 50% more weight than my ample carcass already has.

One thing I have noticed about rim brakes is that most people set them up wrong. A whole lot of people set up rim brakes so that the pad doesn’t even hit the wheel until half travel of the lever. That results in a lot of the issues that people have with rim brakes. Lever travel should be much more than the lever travel you feel on disc brakes and, in fact, if mechanical discs are set to the “half travel of the lever”, the brakes will be just awful. If the lever is just squeezing air, it’s not doing anything to control the bike.

Set the levers so that the rim brake engages early in the throw and the lever travel is such that the bike is at a full stop when the levers are half way to the bar and the brakes feel a whole lot better while providing that “modulation” everyone goes on about but doesn’t really understand.
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Old 02-15-24, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
I have found an error in Dave's logic. AMEX platinum cards are made of stainless steel instead of plastic, making them incredibly heavy by comparison. No self respecting cyclist would ever dare carry such an boat anchor on rides. You'd lose several seconds on even short climbs and you'd be left to watch as your powerful, dedicated, handsome riding buddies disappear over the next crest never to be seen again.
Brilliantly funny! Inserted just as some of the guys were getting worked up and defensive.
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Old 02-15-24, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Its better modulation when compared to other setups they have used.
Seems pretty easy to define. You wont like how it is defined or used though because it is feel driven and not data driven. Subjectivity seems to be your kryptonite.
It’s also something that I’ve never experienced. As stated above, I have a bike that has a disc and a rim brake. I can’t tell the difference in performance between them.

I actually do know what modulation is but I wanted to hear what other people’s definitions is. Lots and lots of people go throwing around “superior modulation” because they read it in ad copy but really don’t know what it is. I know it is subjective but, frankly, rim brakes do not perform in an on/off manner. No one with a rim brake actually experiences zero braking and suddenly find themselves in a nose wheelie because the bike suddenly decided to stop the front wheel. Again, the only time I’ve experienced that was with the “superior modulating” hydraulic brakes I had. My daughter had the same brake and noticed exactly the same thing.

And, as I said above, I have a fleet of bikes with cantilevers, linear brakes and discs. I don’t ride nor brake any differently depending on which bike I happen to be riding. I squeeze the levers of the cantilever brakes a little and the bike slows down. I squeeze the lever of the disc brake a little and the bike slows down. I squeeze either one a lot and the bike stops. I honestly don’t notice which bikes I’m using.
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Old 02-15-24, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Thank you for defining what you think is modulations but, frankly, I’ve never experienced any brake that acts like an on/off switch other than a set of OEM Avid Juicy 5s from around 2003. Those, of course, were said to have “superior modulation” over rim brakes. I’ve done a lot of mountain biking since I got my first one in 1984…roughly 50,000 miles…on brakes from cantilevers to linear to hydraulic disc to mechanical disc and I’ve never once felt that the brakes were hard to use nor they couldn’t be used to control speed easily. Put in 44.9% of squeeze on the lever and get out 44.9% braking force with the exception of those stupid Juicy 5s. They were grabby and impossible to put in 5.4% or 10.2% or anything kind of input that was needed for actual control of speed. They were off or the bike was skidding to a stop. Nothing in between.
if your only proper experience with hydros was with juicies I'm not surprised you're not a fan. I had elixirs years ago and while they were an improvement over juicies, they were not great. Very much in the "gets the job done but not much else" -category. I actually swapped them for BB7's.

But of course juicy released when hydro brakes for bicycles were still in their infancy. There were some superb brakes even then (Magura Gustav) but many were just pretty bad.

These days however almost all shimano brakes are excellent (though not all), maguras are just complete powerhouses and I've been told that even Avid/Sram has gotten their excrement in on spot meaning their hydros no longer completely suck. Times clearly have moved on and the tech has matured to a really good state.

I mean comparing GRX or my Shigura setup to juicies or elixirs isn't even a discussion. It'd be like comparing a tractor plow system to a garden trowel.
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Old 02-15-24, 03:00 PM
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I have or had the same mix of braking systems as cyccommute and the same experiences. The brakes just work equivalently and well.

I have learned in things bicycle as well as other areas such as wine (taste) and guitars (tone), that there are cases when I don't have the same degree of sensation as others seem to have. So I don't disagree with their assessments if they seem to sense things that are "better" or different than mine. But unlike some of those folks I try not to claim as fact things that are subjective or simply personal opinions.
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Old 02-15-24, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It’s more than you’ve got on disc brakes.
Another good one! What exactly should I “have” on disc brakes?
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Old 02-15-24, 03:55 PM
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One of the main reasons tho is the fact they dont wear out or scab up expensive rims.
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Old 02-15-24, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
It’s also something that I’ve never experienced. As stated above, I have a bike that has a disc and a rim brake. I can’t tell the difference in performance between them.

I actually do know what modulation is but I wanted to hear what other people’s definitions is. Lots and lots of people go throwing around “superior modulation” because they read it in ad copy but really don’t know what it is. I know it is subjective but, frankly, rim brakes do not perform in an on/off manner. No one with a rim brake actually experiences zero braking and suddenly find themselves in a nose wheelie because the bike suddenly decided to stop the front wheel. Again, the only time I’ve experienced that was with the “superior modulating” hydraulic brakes I had. My daughter had the same brake and noticed exactly the same thing.

And, as I said above, I have a fleet of bikes with cantilevers, linear brakes and discs. I don’t ride nor brake any differently depending on which bike I happen to be riding. I squeeze the levers of the cantilever brakes a little and the bike slows down. I squeeze the lever of the disc brake a little and the bike slows down. I squeeze either one a lot and the bike stops. I honestly don’t notice which bikes I’m using.
Of course you know what modulation is. And of course you were going to disagree with the reality that it is subjective. You clearly werent going to like any serious response that identified it as subjective as you want your experience to be what has merit in this conversation(and really any conversation where subjectivity is involved).

I also really dont care too much about the brake system I use- I get along fine with caliper rim, vbrake, hydraulic disc, and was fine for years and years on cantis too. But that doesnt mean others who notice differences and place value on those differences are categorically wrong or their valuation is worthless.
Maybe their other setups have all been terrible and if they only had a great mechanic like you, their experiences with other brake setups would have been much better. Yeah, how about you go with that? It paints you as awesome and excuses their preferences. Perfect- issue solved.
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Old 02-15-24, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
These days however almost all shimano brakes are excellent (though not all), maguras are just complete powerhouses and I've been told that even Avid/Sram has gotten their excrement in on spot meaning their hydros no longer completely suck. Times clearly have moved on and the tech has matured to a really good state.
Thank you for saying what we were all thinking. The Shimano XTRs in 2012 I got had the longer levers, which I found on Dutch/Euro Ebay, because they weren't available anywhere in the States. Had them on my dogbike. I'm no Razgatliagthu, but I was able to perform controlled stoppies on the bike. (Though never with the dog aboard.)


Since using the term "superior modulation" automatically makes me a corporate shill in the eyes of some, perhaps you'd prefer "a broader spectrum of braking force and feel"? And yes, cleaning your rims and lightly scuffing your (Dura Ace, at least in my experience) pads makes a difference in widening the spectrum.

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Old 02-15-24, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
if your only proper experience with hydros was with juicies I'm not surprised you're not a fan. I had elixirs years ago and while they were an improvement over juicies, they were not great. Very much in the "gets the job done but not much else" -category. I actually swapped them for BB7's.

But of course juicy released when hydro brakes for bicycles were still in their infancy. There were some superb brakes even then (Magura Gustav) but many were just pretty bad.
But the claims made then are the same claims made now. They were no more true then than they are now.

These days however almost all shimano brakes are excellent (though not all), maguras are just complete powerhouses and I've been told that even Avid/Sram has gotten their excrement in on spot meaning their hydros no longer completely suck. Times clearly have moved on and the tech has matured to a really good state.

I mean comparing GRX or my Shigura setup to juicies or elixirs isn't even a discussion. It'd be like comparing a tractor plow system to a garden trowel.
I have ridden some other hydraulics since then. I don’t own any but I’ve ridden them. They, like mechanical discs (which someone will be along shortly to tell us how bad those are), perform no better nor worse than a rim brake although they are better than the old Juicys.
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Old 02-15-24, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Another good one! What exactly should I “have” on disc brakes?
A disc brake conspiracy theory.
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Old 02-16-24, 01:13 AM
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[QUOTE=cyccommute;23157942]But the claims made then are the same claims made now. They were no more true then than they are now.

And the statements would have been valid when comparing against say, cantilevers. But we're at a point where modern hydraulics are vastly better than the ones made in the advent of hydraulic bicycle disc brakes.

My first "real" bike had Hayes mechanic disc brakes which were still one of my favorite brakes ever. Mainly because they made this low brrrr sound every time you braked. Super cool. My second bike had cantilevers which frankly sucked so much. No amount of adjusting or diffrent pads could make them work as well as the discs I had on my first bike. My third bike had the elixirs aaand well, they didn't stay on for long. So there is variance.

Hayes really did make the best mechanic disc brakes. Shame they've been discontinued. My wife's Trek 520 has them and I'm quite envious since my Disc Trucker has Spyres which again aren't that great.

I have ridden some other hydraulics since then. I don’t own any but I’ve ridden them. They, like mechanical discs (which someone will be along shortly to tell us how bad those are), perform no better nor worse than a rim brake although they are better than the old Juicys.
I think you don't get the same experience if the brakes aren't on your bike. You don't get the hours in to get used to them.

But the brakes I do have and adore are powerful enough and accurate enough that I can use a different technique for braking than I can with brakes that aren't as good.

I'll use an instrument example. For example in a bass guitar if the strings are too high off the fretboard, you need to squeeze the string with your fretting finger and neck with your thumb to push the string against a fret. It gets tiring after a while and there's not much accuracy in your playing. If the strings are low enough and the setup is otherwise correct, you can just lay a finger on a string and ever so slightly pull (not squeeze) a finger against it. Much faster, much more accurate.

The GRX on my road bike is kinda the same especially when riding from the hoods. I don't need to squeeze the lever, I just slide the ring finger and pinky down against the curve of the lever blade and twist my wrist a little and I get almost all of my braking needs done with that. With every other prior brake (and the Spyres on my disc trucker) I'd have to actively squeeze my hand to achieve sufficient braking.

While that doesn't nearly as much of a difference on dry tarmac (other than the feel of low friction efficient brakes is really nice. Esoteric stuff. Like the feel of light wheels), it does make a real difference when traction is compromized. My fatbike has gone through a few iterations of brakes from really bad (Sram Guide 4 piston) to incredible (Shigura 4 piston). With the avids I had a hard time controlling traction of the rear tire even on summer single track when speeds got high enough. That meant I'd ride a lot slower than I would have liked. Also my arms would be killing me after a days of riding at the bike park, where there's just constant fast downhill. With the Shigura's I can feather myself down a frozen cliffside (obviously I have studs) that I would have walked down in the past.

If you ever get a chance to try out Magura MT5's or MT7's with 203mm rotors or even better Trickstuff Maxima, give them a spin. I think you'd be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 02-16-24, 02:34 AM
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As long as we're all a bunch of old dudes wagging our tongues, one thing that makes hydraulic disk brakes seem abrupt is the light weight of bycycles. I've done stoppies (reverse wheelies) on motorcycles and bicycles. Not to show-off, just in emergencies and practice for emergencies.
A bicycle is much lighter weight, without the cushion of squishy tires and suspension, and so exceeding the over-the-bars limit can hit you much more abruptly. Doing the same thing on a 400 pound motorcycle somehow seems softer and more gradual (thanks, old brake-checking POS in Ramona, CA).

I still love and prefer the elegance and simplicity of rim brakes, but those Shimano XTRs with the longer levers... there's no question they provide better feel.
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Old 02-16-24, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
As long as we're all a bunch of old dudes wagging our tongues, one thing that makes hydraulic disk brakes seem abrupt is the light weight of bycycles. I've done stoppies (reverse wheelies) on motorcycles and bicycles. Not to show-off, just in emergencies and practice for emergencies.
A bicycle is much lighter weight, without the cushion of squishy tires and suspension, and so exceeding the over-the-bars limit can hit you much more abruptly. Doing the same thing on a 400 pound motorcycle somehow seems softer and more gradual (thanks, old brake-checking POS in Ramona, CA).

I still love and prefer the elegance and simplicity of rim brakes, but those Shimano XTRs with the longer levers... there's no question they provide better feel.
oof that one cut right at the soul... I'm not even 40 yet...
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Old 02-16-24, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
And to be clear, while not all of that 50,000 miles was hardcore, steep terrain mountain biking, the vast majority of that riding was and still is relatively rugged mountain bike rides. Many of the mountain bike rides done by lots of people today, I did on a rigid bike with cantilevers.
Uphill both ways?
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Old 02-16-24, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
oof that one cut right at the soul... I'm not even 40 yet...
Rejoice, O young man in thy youth. -Ecclesiastes
Relish what you have left. It's later than you think.
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Old 02-16-24, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I actually do know what modulation is but I wanted to hear what other people’s definitions is.
Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Of course you know what modulation is. And of course you were going to disagree with the reality that it is subjective. You clearly werent going to like any serious response that identified it as subjective as you want your experience to be what has merit in this conversation(and really any conversation where subjectivity is involved).
What tipped you off? Was it his constant need to play the “appeal to authority” fallacy by giving his super impressive cycling résumé in every post, telling us how many tens of thousands of miles he’s ridden on every type of bike and in every type of terrain… Or was it his claim to not understand the idea of “superior modulation,” and then — after the absurdity of that statement is pointed out – come back and tell us that he actually does understand it, but just wanted to see what the rest of us rubes might say about it?
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Old 02-16-24, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
What tipped you off? Was it his constant need to play the “appeal to authority” fallacy by giving his super impressive cycling résumé in every post, telling us how many tens of thousands of miles he’s ridden on every type of bike and in every type of terrain… Or was it his claim to not understand the idea of “superior modulation,” and then — after the absurdity of that statement is pointed out – come back and tell us that he actually does understand it, but just wanted to see what the rest of us rubes might say about it?
...that's not, strictly speaking, an accurate description of Argument from authority. Which is described in many sources.

appeal to authority, or argumentum ad verecundiam, is a form of argument in which the opinion of an influential figure is used as evidence to support an argument.[1]
However, there is a related ad hominem argument contained in your post.

​​​​​​​It is also a fallacious ad hominem argument to argue that a person presenting statements lacks authority and thus their arguments do not need to be considered.
I guess with the number of straw man arguments you've presented me over the years, I should have known something was up. But I really thought better of you.
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