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Opinions Wanted on Disc Brakes

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Opinions Wanted on Disc Brakes

Old 10-14-19, 10:09 PM
  #1  
Sportdog
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Opinions Wanted on Disc Brakes

Looking to maybe get a modern/new road bike and would like to hear thoughts and knowledge about disc brakes. Effective? Required Maintenance, Longevity of parts vs conventional caliper/pads?

Or just anything else about these brake systems that I need to choose wisely. 😊
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Old 10-14-19, 11:45 PM
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colnago62
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Do a search. Lots of information on them in previous wars on the subject.
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Old 10-15-19, 04:27 AM
  #3  
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Three years of using disc brakes on two different road bikes. Short answer: Love the performance, love the disc brakes enabling me to use wider tires. Cost of ownership is a little higher than rim brakes.

I weigh 230 lbs and on turns (or even stop signs) at the bottom on hills, some rim brakes were marginal - now just routine with the disc brakes. I don't ride a lot in the rain, but have been caught in some heavy rain and braking is way better with the disc brakes.

The brake pads don't last as long as my rim brake pads did and they cost more to replace. My main road bike has about 8,000 miles on it - had to replace the pads once, rotors are still fine. Replacing the pads is easy, I did have to clean the front brake cylinder areas - took a bit of YouTube video watching but pretty easy. When the fluid needs replacing or the systems needs bleeding, I'll leave that to my LBS.

About the same about of regular fiddling with disc brakes that I had with rim brakes.

I'm paying a weight and wind resistance cost for the disc brakes but since I'm not a racer and given my weight and width, that is in the noise.

To me it is kinda like when I went from SPD to SPD-SL cleats and shoes - I like the performance improvement, but cost of ownership did go up.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:19 AM
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If you are buying a new road bike now, you may as well get disc brakes. It's the direction the industry is going.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:35 AM
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I have 3 road bikes with rim brakes and a cross bike with mechanical discs. Rim brakes are fine. Disc brakes are better. Braking with discs is more progressive and modulation is easier. Just my opinion.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:46 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
If you are buying a new road bike now, you may as well get disc brakes. It's the direction the industry is going.
QFT. Non-rim brake wheels also look better.

In terms of absolute performance, rim vs. disc is a wash for 90% of riders. Nevertheless, disc is the present and the future.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:47 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Sportdog View Post
Looking to maybe get a modern/new road bike and would like to hear thoughts and knowledge about disc brakes. Effective? Required Maintenance, Longevity of parts vs conventional caliper/pads?

Or just anything else about these brake systems that I need to choose wisely. ��
For road bikes...
Quality rim brakes that are properly adjusted will stop you just as well as quality disc brakes that are properly adjusted.
Quality rim brakes that are properly adjusted will stop you better than quality disc brakes that are improperly adjusted.
Quality rim brakes that are properly adjusted will stop you better than cheap disc brakes that are properly adjusted.
Quality rim brakes that are properly adjusted will stop you better than cheap disc brakes that are improperly adjusted.
Quality rim brakes that are improperly adjusted will stop you worse than quality disc brakes that are properly adjusted.
Cheap rim brakes that are properly adjusted will stop you worse than quality disc brakes that are properly adjusted.
Cheap rim brakes that are improperly adjusted will stop you worse than quality disc brakes that are properly adjusted.


Both rim brakes and disc brakes require maintenance. In general, both require infrequent maintenance and the maintenance is relatively easy if you have learned what to do.
How long components last shouldnt matter since they are brakes and are the definition of consumable products. Some brake pads last longer than others so it depends on what you buy.



Here is some more free advice- accept that both systems work fine, exit this thread now instead of later, and buy your bike based on comfort then look.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:55 AM
  #8  
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In the dry, both are fine. In the wet, there's better bite and better modulation on discs.

After a long descent, I kind of prefer rim brakes due to them being much quieter - rotors tend to "swish" the pads a bit if they've been heated up. Nothing permanent, but noticeable.

With any mechanical setup, having fresh, low friction cables help with feel, modulation, and power. Just got new cables on my rim brake bike (after never touching them), and braking was like night and day. Not much of an issue with hydraulics, though hydraulics will likely have to be bled at some point (haven't gotten there yet with the disc bike).
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Old 10-15-19, 08:38 AM
  #9  
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No worries, the BF Brake Experts are coming. With that comes regret that you asked.

:
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Old 10-15-19, 09:05 AM
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Don't get a bike with disc brakes. As Ralphie's mom might have said, "You'll chop your limbs off!"
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Old 10-15-19, 09:05 AM
  #11  
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I have both. For MTB and winter road bike riding I prefer disc. For summer and dry riding I prefer the simplicity of rim brakes.

Disc brakes require more attention and often squeal which may or may not be an issue for you.
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Old 10-15-19, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Quality rim brakes that are properly adjusted will stop you just as well as quality disc brakes that are properly adjusted.
I will have to disagree.

My previous road bike had direct mount Ultegra brakes, arguably the best rim brakes out there. My hydraulic disc brakes (Ultegra on the road bike, 105 on the gravel bike) are better at stopping overall, in all conditions (everyone touts discs for wet braking performance, they are better in the dry as well), and are also much better for modulation when maintaining speed on fast descents. Even emergency braking is better, I can get on the brakes harder and stop quicker without skidding with hyd discs, then I could with rim brakes. Maybe that's just technique, but I have yet to skid during a quick/emergency stop with discs, when it happened almost every time I had to jam on the brakes with rim brakes.

My caveat is that I'm a "bigger" guy, 185lbs, prob 210ish with bike/water/etc., and do a lot of elevation, so controlling a 40+mph descent on a long steep grade with winding switchbacks is much, much better on discs.

Yes, rim brakes get the job done, but discs do it better. As always, ride what you want, but I will be sticking with disc brakes (except for probably a TT bike, only because there's minimal braking anyway).
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Old 10-15-19, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Sportdog View Post
Looking to maybe get a modern/new road bike and would like to hear thoughts and knowledge about disc brakes. Effective? Required Maintenance, Longevity of parts vs conventional caliper/pads?

Or just anything else about these brake systems that I need to choose wisely. 😊
If you intend to get nice wheels, go disc, they last a lot longer because there is no brake track to wear out.
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Old 10-16-19, 12:02 AM
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I am very impressed with hydraulic disc brakes. Not so impressed with the mechanical disc brakes I've tried. There is definitely an advantage of running larger tires; found that 35mm tires on the road are pretty nice. You can even run different sized wheels (650b, for instance). My disc bike started with mechanical disks. I wasn't impressed, so changed to hy/rd TRP brakes, which are cable actuated hydraulics (full hydraulic was too expensive, since the shifters would have to change).

If you are comparing mechanical discs with rim brakes, I can't see an advantage unless you are doing the large tire thing. They are hard to adjust, squeal horrendously, and don't have good modulation or stopping power. Basically, mechanical disc brakes are a waste unless you are enabling large tires. There are probably some mechanicals which are better than others, but I've not tried any, including spyres, which impressed me at all.

Hydraulic discs: definitely better than any rim brake I've tried, ever. Easier to brake easy (good modulation); easy to brake hard (good stopping power). Easy to adjust and the pads self adjust for wear so the lever pull never changes. No disadvantages at all. If you are using hy/rds, there isn't even the whole bleeding brake line maintenance thing to deal with, since they are completely self contained.
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Old 10-16-19, 12:24 AM
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Disc brakes work better, allow better aerodynamics, and lighter rims, but the problem is every now and then the rotors fly off the wheel for no reason and kill someone.
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Old 10-16-19, 06:09 AM
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Caliper rim brakes, hydraulic disc, and mechanical disc all stop you just fine. Each has their idiosyncrasies. Buy the bike for the features like being aerodynamic, has wide tire clearance, lightweight climber, etc. the appropriate brake will be included. The brake system itself won’t dictate weather the bike is right for you.
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Old 10-16-19, 06:55 AM
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Frame manufacturer's have worked for years to develop the lightest possible carbon frames that can cost twice as much as a little heavier frame, then put disc brakes on, adding all that saved weight back on. A low level carbon frame with cheaper components, including rim brakes may be lighter than a bike that costs twice as much.

If you weigh 200 or more, you're fat for a cyclist. It helps to weigh 140 or less. Disc brakes not needed.
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Old 10-16-19, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
If you weigh 200 or more, you're fat for a cyclist. It helps to weigh 140 or less. Disc brakes not needed.


I would have to be really, really sick to ever weigh 140lbs, and at that point I seriously doubt I would be physically able to ride. But that's ok, I have no problems keeping up with guys that weigh 40-50lbs less than me.
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Old 10-16-19, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post

If you weigh 200 or more, you're fat for a cyclist. It helps to weigh 140 or less. Disc brakes not needed. You will however, get sand kicked in your face when you go to the beach.
Fixed it for you.


Last edited by seypat; 10-16-19 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 10-16-19, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
For road bikes...
Quality rim brakes that are properly adjusted will stop you just as well as quality disc brakes that are properly adjusted.
Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
I will have to disagree.

Yes, rim brakes get the job done, but discs do it better. As always, ride what you want, but I will be sticking with disc brakes (except for probably a TT bike, only because there's minimal braking anyway).
+1

Hydraulic disc brakes work better in all conditions.

Rim brakes are cheaper, and weigh less.

Which is more important to you?
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Old 10-16-19, 09:11 AM
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I've worn out several high-end rims with rim brakes. It's an issue that wouldn't exist with disc brakes, and that alone is enough for me to switch. I also like the idea of a rim being engineered purely as a rim, and not having to also cope with brake forces. I think we'll see a few advances in aerodynamics, structural rigidity, and weight savings because of that.

The only thing preventing me from buying a new bike at this point is the fact that 11-speed is on its way out. I don't want to plop cash down on a zooty bike only to have the drivetrain be outdated in a year. I'm still on 10-speed Dura-ace (on the road bike) and parts are becoming pretty dang scarce. I don't want to be in the same position 5 years from now with 11-speed.
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Old 10-16-19, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sportdog View Post
Looking to maybe get a modern/new road bike and would like to hear thoughts and knowledge about disc brakes. Effective? Required Maintenance, Longevity of parts vs conventional caliper/pads?

Or just anything else about these brake systems that I need to choose wisely. ��

To simplify this, disc brakes is the future in cycling. You can expect a rim brake extinction. The ''more maintenance'' argument is just irrelevant IMO. Lots of threads here about this.

Last edited by eduskator; 10-16-19 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 10-16-19, 09:22 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post


I would have to be really, really sick to ever weigh 140lbs, and at that point I seriously doubt I would be physically able to ride. But that's ok, I have no problems keeping up with guys that weigh 40-50lbs less than me.
IKR. I am 6' 2" with a large bone structure. The least I ever weighed at that height was 173 lbs. At that weight I had an underdeveloped muscle structure. Couldn't climb a real hill to save my life.
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Old 10-16-19, 09:22 AM
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And who wants to tru rims anymore. Just an observation...
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Old 10-16-19, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
IKR. I am 6' 2" with a large bone structure. The least I ever weighed at that height was 173 lbs. At that weight I had an underdeveloped muscle structure. Couldn't climb a real hill to save my life.
What % of body fat? That's skinny! I am 6'1'' and my average weight was 190-200 in the last 5 years. I was at the gym 3-4 days a week. This year I got serious into cycling and dropped close to 180lbs (lost a mix of water, fat & muscle tone), which was my weight when I was 20. My ego took a hit.
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