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Disc brakes are now the default on road bikes – and no one cares

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Disc brakes are now the default on road bikes – and no one cares

Old 02-20-20, 12:20 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Disc brakes are now the default on road bikes – and no one cares

Disc brakes are now the default on road bikes – and no one cares
Pure climbers are winning on disc brake bikes and no one cares, so has the argument been settled?

Last weekend, Nairo Quintana blazed up the notorious 10km climb to Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux, to win stage three of the Tour de la Provence and take the overall race lead.

After the stage, chatter across the cycling media was focused almost entirely on the return to form of a rider whose star has waned slightly in recent years. What didn’t warrant a mention, however, was that Quintana rode a bike equipped with disc brakes.

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Old 02-20-20, 12:43 PM
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If I was shopping for a new road bike it would have discs. They are just better.
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Old 02-20-20, 12:51 PM
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I made the switch to disc brakes on my road bike a few months ago and am kicking myself for not doing it sooner. I can slam on the brakes and not wonder how much longer my expensive rims are going to tolerate it.
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Old 02-20-20, 12:54 PM
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Not really life altering in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 02-20-20, 12:56 PM
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I care.
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Old 02-20-20, 01:51 PM
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It has become the standard in the industry. It's just bettah! Admit it!

Similar to drum brakes that have almost disappeared on cars.
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Old 02-20-20, 01:54 PM
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Lots and lots of hype right now. Disc brakes promote sales of carbon rims, which are driving a lot of business right now. We'll see where it really lands in five years.
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Old 02-20-20, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Lots and lots of hype right now. Disc brakes promote sales of carbon rims, which are driving a lot of business right now. We'll see where it really lands in five years.
The industry certainly won't go back to an outdated technology I'm just entertaining this thread.
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Old 02-20-20, 02:18 PM
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I can list a ton of bike industry component changes that were STUPID. Often, they were marketing-driven or cost-of-manufacture driven and they ended up being truly awful for the consumer. Like what? Like press fit bottom brackets; over-the-top cockpit integration and wire/cable concealment; concealed seatpost clamps; etc.; etc.; etc. None of these provided meaningful performance or convenience benefits for the average rider. Indeed, they all increased the hassle of bicycle ownership, maintenance, and repair.

On the other hand . . . hydraulic disc brakes. They offer multiple real performance advantages that most riders can experience. It is little wonder they were accepted so quickly.
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Old 02-20-20, 02:23 PM
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Does this mean rim brake and cable actuated components will become cheaper in the coming years due to reduced demand, stay the same because one somehow demand doesnt influence the price in cycling components, or become more expensive due to scarcity?
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Old 02-20-20, 02:26 PM
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I think if my bike didn't have discs, I would care the first time I squeezed on the levers and grabbed air. If I survived, I would have to reset the pistons, so I hope it would at least be a clean kill.
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Old 02-20-20, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Lots and lots of hype right now. Disc brakes promote sales of carbon rims, which are driving a lot of business right now. We'll see where it really lands in five years.
For what it's worth, people were using carbon rims long before disc brake road bikes were available. Carbon rims are more common now for a lot of reasons, one is that a lot of people didn't want to spend $$$ on a rim back in the day when those were wear items.
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Old 02-20-20, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Lots and lots of hype right now. Disc brakes promote sales of carbon rims, which are driving a lot of business right now. We'll see where it really lands in five years.
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
For what it's worth, people were using carbon rims long before disc brake road bikes were available. Carbon rims are more common now for a lot of reasons, one is that a lot of people didn't want to spend $$$ on a rim back in the day when those were wear items.
Exactly - I don't see it as disc brakes promoting carbon rims, I saw it as rim brakes impairing the sales of carbon rims; that was certainly the case for me, at least.
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Old 02-20-20, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I can list a ton of bike industry component changes that were STUPID. Often, they were marketing-driven or cost-of-manufacture driven and they ended up being truly awful for the consumer. Like what? Like press fit bottom brackets; over-the-top cockpit integration and wire/cable concealment; concealed seatpost clamps; etc.; etc.; etc. None of these provided meaningful performance or convenience benefits for the average rider. Indeed, they all increased the hassle of bicycle ownership, maintenance, and repair.

On the other hand . . . hydraulic disc brakes. They offer multiple real performance advantages that most riders can experience. It is little wonder they were accepted so quickly.
And, uh, anyone could quite easily make the argument that hydraulic disc brakes will “increase the hassle of bicycle ownership, maintenance and repair.” I completely disagree that internally routed cables have done any of those things to bicycles. In fact, I would suggest that internally routed cables have increased their service lives due to less exposure to corrosives and wet conditions.

So, yeah... disc brakes are awesome compared to caveman-tech rim clamps. Not everyone will love them, want them, or need them.
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Old 02-20-20, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster View Post
And, uh, anyone could quite easily make the argument that hydraulic disc brakes will “increase the hassle of bicycle ownership, maintenance and repair.”
Yeah, anyone that hasn't owned them.
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Old 02-20-20, 04:03 PM
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with e bikes and speed and weight the need for hydraulic brakes are a real world need.. my magura brakes made for e bikes are seriously powerful 2 fingers are enough to do the job the pads are super easy to change too just remove a screw and they come out push the pistons in and drop the new ones in. no adjusting your manual disc brakes every month or less.
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Old 02-20-20, 05:11 PM
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The UCI's 6.9kg weight requirement is antiquated. Rim brake bikes are forced to add on weight?
They need to lower this limit down to 5.5 kg. Then we'll revisit this debate again?
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Old 02-20-20, 05:19 PM
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If I were buying a new race bike this weekend it would have hydraulic disks, but would still rather have a drum or coaster brake on my commuter and rim brakes on my randonneuring, touring and travel bikes, so no hydraulic disks do not dominate every other type of brake in every use case.
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Old 02-20-20, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Lots and lots of hype right now. Disc brakes promote sales of carbon rims, which are driving a lot of business right now. We'll see where it really lands in five years.
HHAHAHAHAHhahaaaaa... carbon wheels aren't driving a lot of business right now. Trust me. Just about everyone in the wheel business is level or down.
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Old 02-20-20, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
It is little wonder they were accepted so quickly.
- quickly? the first time i road disc brakes was on a friends borrowed SEVEN about 15 years ago.That seems like a long time ago to me
Anyway - I only have rim brakes at the moment. Probably it'll remain that way for a good long while.

As far as disc brakes go I'm some where on the spectrum between Jan Heine and Grant Peterson.
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Old 02-20-20, 07:57 PM
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Disc is disc. 75% not needed at all in road and only carried over because the industry pushed it. I will stand my ground on the retro movement we will see in the future to go back to rim brakes as the "cool thing" to do.

We have gone over this. From a shop perspective I love and hate them. Love them because almost everyone is a complete idiot when it comes to working on, adjusting, or servicing them so I make a ton off of service that I just quite simply never got from rim brakes. Love them because when you have the tools they're disgustingly simple to troubleshoot and fix. Hate them because so many of them are prone to so many issues. One of my fastest trending videos is the one I did on how to free up sticking pistons and master cylinders in SRAM road levers. Number of times I have had to call to warranty a rim brake - 0.

Hate them because instead of stocking a great alloy and a great carbon pad sets and possibly the same in a Campy shoe....There is now roughly 100 different shapes, compounds, variants, manufacturers, etc of pads. 4 skus->28 skus. That's $$ sitting on the shelf just so the next "Kyle" who walks in because he sprayed his loud brakes down with WD40 can get serviced without me having to wait for parts.

Bikes with rim brakes are lighter, look so much better and sleeker it's not even close. Disc brakes - even nice one - make something that is supposed to resemble a supercar look more like a monster truck.



BUT...

None of this matters. The industry moved along a long time ago without any of our input. I am now having a harder time finding newer rims to build with as rim brakes. Hubs availability is dropping as they don't move as much so people aren't stocking them. Used rim brake wheels have flooded the market. If you can't find a set of Zipp clinchers in rim brake for $500 or less then you aren't looking. I have piles of tubular carbon rim brake rims that I can not give away. I sell a new wheelset at something like $499 and I sell maybe one a year. NOS so they just sit.

I can't hate them because then I would hate my job and I don't hate my job. It's just a change.

Let me use a computer analogy: "Let's say the world is PCs. A large group of enthusiasts that are all artists keep telling everyone that Apple is much better. The computer industry doesn't really care but sees they can make more money making and selling Apple. They are less prone to being hacked (because less people have them but I digress), etc. Some people know that unilaterally shoving them into every place a computer is used isn't a great idea but no one cares. The shovening will happen. So you start to just accept the new overlord. You lament about how you feel the old job was easier. You now have to spend all day helping people with their iCloud accounts when that wasn't even a thing before so no one ever had a problem with it. You just move on. But every now and then you have to run to the shipping department and there is still a PC sitting there running a old OS. It just works. It's sleek, does exactly everything you want it to do when you need it to be done. You shake your head thinking about all those artists who couldn't see that there's value in all things. Then it it's forced into a restart because windows is forcing another update and you have to wait for 15 minutes so you throw it through the wall.... now where was I?
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Old 02-20-20, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
The UCI's 6.9kg weight requirement is antiquated. Rim brake bikes are forced to add on weight?
They need to lower this limit down to 5.5 kg. Then we'll revisit this debate again?
Why? Every UCI rider has to adhere to the same weight. What would it help to lower it? The technology to make lighter stuff is already happening.
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Old 02-20-20, 08:13 PM
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Pro riders are often required to ride whatever equipment their sponsor requires. Many of those sponsors only sell prebuilt bikes with disc brakes, so they equip the pro riders with the same, to encourage the sale of more expensive frames, wheels and groupsets.

Many carbon rimmed disc wheelsets cost 3 to 10 times the price of quality aluminum rimmed wheels, yet weigh as much or more and have more spokes than a campy zonda wheel's 16/21. Some are sold with rims that have no deep profile to improve aerodynamics, so they are merely over priced wheels with no performance advantage.

With the current 6.8kg weight limit, most brands have a top of the line frame that can meet that weight, even with 4-500 grams of additional weight from disc brakes. If not, then the riders suffer a small weight disadvantage.
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Old 02-20-20, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Disc is disc. 75% not needed at all in road ...
Does that mean 25% of the time they are needed ?
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Old 02-20-20, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Does that mean 25% of the time they are needed ?
You're full of worthless commentary. Ever come up with any valuable advice, like discs are better in the wet, or better for heavy riders who might find rim brakes inadequate for steep, winding descents? They have advantages for some, but not all riders and probably not the majority. They mainly contribute to more dealer profit.
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