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Hydraulic disc vs mechanical disc brakes?

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Hydraulic disc vs mechanical disc brakes?

Old 05-13-19, 07:54 AM
  #1  
dkyser
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Hydraulic disc vs mechanical disc brakes?

I am going to be purchasing a steel frame bike and leaning towards the All City Cosmic Stallion but not sure about post mount mechanical brakes.
I will use this mostly on road but will do some gravel.

I know flat mount hydraulic is the future but for the price, I like the frame ed coating and reputation of the All City.

Thanks
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Old 05-13-19, 08:00 AM
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Old 05-13-19, 08:41 AM
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I've got hydraulic flat mount. They work fine. I have a friend who has mechanical discs that I've tried; they work equally fine, though they seem a bit more finicky in terms of rubbing and noise, etc.

Both work about the same as the cantilever brakes on my touring bike, unless it's raining.
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Old 05-13-19, 08:52 AM
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In addition to full hydro master, (Hand lever ) & slave (at the wheel )

there is the cable operated hydraulic caliper,

cable actuating arm pushes master piston, which pushes fluid to 2 slave pistons within the caliper.

in the case of the TRP Hy Rd , as with full hydros, the pad wear is automatically compensated for,

but mechanical discs you are the pad wear adjuster .. its a user task.



...
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Old 05-13-19, 08:52 AM
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I have hydraulic post mount(because that's what my frame uses, and couldn't be happier with their performance.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:10 AM
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Seattle Forrest
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My ride came with hydraulic post mount brakes.

I've used mech in another life, it was long ago. My memory of them is they stopped great, but squealed sometimes, and could shutter when I'd brake hard. I took that bike on dirt and gravel trails.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:16 AM
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In my experience, the Ultegra hydro brakes on one of my bikes are much better than my TRP Spyre mechs on the other. After buying new rotors and pads and multiple cleaning attempts, I've given up on making the mech brakes better and bought a TRP HY/RD and compressionless housing to upgrade the front brake on the latter bike, though I haven't gotten around to installing it.

One thing I can do much better with hydros is modulate braking. I'm on the lighter side so it's extremely easy to unweight the rear of the bike if I'm descending and grab slightly too much front brake even when shifting my weight backwards. I don't even think of using the rear brake anymore.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:21 AM
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Hydraulic. No question.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dkyser View Post
I am going to be purchasing a steel frame bike and leaning towards the All City Cosmic Stallion but not sure about post mount mechanical brakes.
I will use this mostly on road but will do some gravel.

I know flat mount hydraulic is the future but for the price, I like the frame ed coating and reputation of the All City.

Thanks
ED coating is done by most any large(and medium) brand with steel frames made in Taiwan. Its nearly universal. Just something to keep in mind here as its nice to have, sure, but not unique to AC.

As for brakes- post mount stop you just fine, as will flat mount. Cable discs will stop you just fine too, as will hydraulic discs.

Flat mount brakes are smaller and fit in a more traditional rear triangle. Post mount brakes require more room due to the size and placement within the triangle.
Flat mount also allows racks and fenders to attach in a more traditional way.

Thats really it in terms of differences. Pick whichever you want- they will both be around for the foreseeable future.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:37 AM
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Hydros are nicer to use, but I would not let hydro vs BB7s change my decision to buy a bike that I liked. If you like the Cosmic Stallion, get it.

It also makes a difference how good you are at setting up mechs and keeping them adjusted. After using BB7s on mtbs since 2002, I am pretty good at it. And on a road/gravel bike, you don't need to adjust very often. Whereas on the MTB I needed to twiddle the red pad adjusters ever couple/few rides, I go probably ten or so rides on the road/gravel bike between adjustments. In my experience from MTB, one stubborn air bubble in a caliper is more work to get out then several years worth of pad adjustments.

Now sit back and watch how many people tell me I am wrong about all this.
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Old 05-13-19, 11:25 AM
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A mechanical cable alternative is TRP Spyre.. more successful than ones in the past (Gusset/IRD comes to mind)

double moving pads , like hydros, because the actuating arm is U shaped .. so works both at same time ..

where most mechanicals use just a moving outside pad, BB7 an example of that
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Old 05-13-19, 11:28 AM
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I think soon mechanical will go the way of the dodo and you be sorry you didnt go for hydro right away. Sure mechanical is OK (I have TRP) but hydro is nicer. Btw Tiagra was just updated with new hydro levers and calipers and the new GRX gravel line is hydro only.
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Old 05-13-19, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
I think soon mechanical will go the way of the dodo and you be sorry you didnt go for hydro right away. Sure mechanical is OK (I have TRP) but hydro is nicer. Btw Tiagra was just updated with new hydro levers and calipers and the new GRX gravel line is hydro only.
Hydros came out for mountain bikes over two decades ago, yet mechanicals are still around. They are not going to go extinct any time in the foreseeable future.

Besides, what difference does it make if they do stop making them? Is there a concern that if you get mechanicals now they will be lonely in the future?
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Old 05-13-19, 12:14 PM
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If we include the most basic and budget bikes, then sure, but only because its cheaper. Not better or even equally good. Cant imagine any half decent road or gravel bike with mechanical discs in a few years, just like hydro have replaced mechanical in mtbs.
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Old 05-13-19, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
If we include the most basic and budget bikes, then sure, but only because its cheaper. Not better or even equally good. Cant imagine any half decent road or gravel bike with mechanical discs in a few years, just like hydro have replaced mechanical in mtbs.
Not really interested in beating the dead hydro-vs-mech horse. I am specifically referring to the assertion that they are no longer going to be available in the future (I assume that is what you meant by "going the way of the Dodo", since that means extinct)

Regarding MTB... On stock bikes your point is generally (but not always) true. However, you can still find them on mid to high end custom builds, as well as fat bikes. And it is not just because they are cheaper. Some people prefer to run them. There are a boatload of threads arguing why, but suffice to say that enough people prefer them that they are not going to stop making them as you suggest.

And so what if they are used simply due to cost? Is there some reason to believe that in the future we will no longer need less expensive bike parts?

Fwiw, my 2019 Surly Wednesday came with mechs.

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Old 05-13-19, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
If we include the most basic and budget bikes, then sure, but only because its cheaper. Not better or even equally good. Cant imagine any half decent road or gravel bike with mechanical discs in a few years, just like hydro have replaced mechanical in mtbs.
Chuckled at this because I just rode my cantilever gravel bike for 30mi over the weekend in damp post rain conditions without issue.

I consider it to be better than 'half decent' as its heat treated double butted size specific tubing and outfitted to what I wanted since I built up the frame.
But I understand others would look at it and think they will die because it doesnt have discs.

....for what it's worth, I am planning on a disc frame soon for gravel.
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Old 05-13-19, 01:35 PM
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Mechanical discs, even cheap mechanical discs, have come a very long way. I just test drove a rad rover fat bike with entry level mechanical discs. They stop well. And this is a near 70 lbs bike we're talking about.

My faves though are Shimano xt hydraulics. They're like buttah! A little less hand effort is required and modulation is so smooth and effortless.

A lot of people complain about Guide R brakes, but in reality, they work pretty well also. I'd say they're intermediate in effectiveness between xt hydraulics and mechanical discs.

Are they necessary on a road bike? They've become standard equipment so the question is largely irrelevant if you're buying new.
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Old 05-13-19, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
ED coating is done by most any large(and medium) brand with steel frames made in Taiwan. Its nearly universal. Just something to keep in mind here as its nice to have, sure, but not unique to AC.
.
Wonder if my Sequoia was treated?
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Old 05-14-19, 04:00 AM
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also checkout Juin Tech F1, works great with my red 22 lever, I was able to go down 20% loose dirt road with it no problem, they also recently released a 4 piston GT-F but kind of expansive $200+ for the pair


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Old 05-14-19, 07:27 AM
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I have a cheap Bikes Direct mountain bike, and an expensive Giant gravel bike that both have mechanical disc brakes that work better in every respect except perhaps weight, than any of my other bikes including several with Ultegra 6800. I've never used hydraulic, though, except on motorcycles.
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Old 05-14-19, 08:03 AM
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Get the Stallion, ditch the BB7s and replace them with Spyres with good pads and two piece discs. Spyres from Aliexpress and the TR-033 discs from wherever is cheaper. Ditch the pads that come with the calipers and get some good ones. Worthwhile rebuilding them straight away with a sparing amount of high temp brake caliper grease, they'll then work pretty well for years. https://singletrackworld.com/forum/t...rebuild-guide/
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Old 05-14-19, 09:42 AM
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I have been perfectly happy with the BB7s on my Fog Cutter. Ride them for a while and see what you think. If you really don't like them, you can replace them with Spyres. I thought I might end up doing that, but ended up liking these just fine.

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Old 05-14-19, 09:52 AM
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Psimet's latest podcast is worth a listen.

Road Is Dead: Disc Brakes on Road: Why? Seriously why?
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Old 05-15-19, 04:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for the info.
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Old 05-18-19, 03:33 PM
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Mechanical discs were a hassle, issues with noise, rubbing, etc.
My experience with hydraulic disc brakes has been far bar better.

No idea if they've improved mechanicals since then but I'd personally be hesitant to buy anything other than hydraulic for disc brakes myself.
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