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Mechanical disc vs rim brake for crit racing?

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View Poll Results: What is better for Crit racing
Mechanical disc is better
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Rim brake is better
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Mechanical disc vs rim brake for crit racing?

Old 03-22-23, 06:53 AM
  #76  
RJC1811
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First, I don’t race so my opinion is just on mech disc in general. When I bought my Giant Defy 1 Disc in 2016 I wasn’t looking for a disc brake bike. I had narrowed my selection down to a few bikes and then Giant began a sale dropping the price $200+. I grabbed the bike and have loved riding it.

The disc brakes give me no problem but no advantage really. Well they can be a little fiddley getting them lined up perfectly. I live in a hilly area and being old and slow the only real speed I see in on the descents. I was a bit disappointed in the disc performance at the end of a long descent. Many of the routes I take have a long fast descent that ends with a stop sign where it joins the road that runs along the lake. I’ll hit 40mph+ and there is no flat at the bottom, the grade continues (and on some of the roads hits the steepest grade) right to the stop sign. My rim brake bike struggled with this as well. I wouldn’t make the change based on my experience.
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Old 03-22-23, 06:55 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Realistically, it's also makes very little difference in amateur road racing. Most races don't have wheel support, so you're effectively out of the race if you get a flat. Even if there is wheel support, it's going to be slow, and it's going to be pretty difficult getting back to the peloton.

every road race I’ve ever done had a wheel truck. Admittedly it’s very hard to catch back on. ( drafting the wheel truck until you’re in sight of the official helps.).

Because it’s difficult to get back on without a line of team cars, and team support , every second counts.
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Old 03-22-23, 07:02 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
every road race Iíve ever done had a wheel truck. Admittedly itís very hard to catch back on. ( drafting the wheel truck until youíre in sight of the official helps.).

Because itís difficult to get back on without a line of team cars, and team support , every second counts.
I think I can just about still see the OPs original question on the horizon - at least from the top of a hill.
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Old 03-22-23, 08:54 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
every road race Iíve ever done had a wheel truck.
Different experience here. With multiple categories racing at the same time, itís rare for a race to offer wheel support for more than the P12 groups.
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Old 03-22-23, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Have you actually raced crits? Iíll admit my last crit was a few years ago but pretty much every serious crit racer puts wheels in the wheel pit. Itís not just flats; itís also crashes.
Iíve raced quite a few crits, but rarely bothered to put wheels in the wheel pit because I hardly ever needed them.
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Old 03-22-23, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Maybe it's just me then, but I don't find it significantly slower changing disc wheels. In some ways I actually prefer changing disc wheels. But what the pro mechanic said in the article I linked earlier seems about right i.e.:-

"Thereís more time to be gained or lost in the skill of the mechanic than in the type of axle and brake used by the rider."
I bet I could swap 5 QR rim brake wheels(3 front 2 rear) in the time it takes me to swap 2 wheels on my thru axle disc gravel bike.

No idea how that translates to crit racing, odds of needing to swap, etc.
Just chimed in with a personal example of the two.
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Old 03-22-23, 10:02 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I bet I could swap 5 QR rim brake wheels(3 front 2 rear) in the time it takes me to swap 2 wheels on my thru axle disc gravel bike.

No idea how that translates to crit racing, odds of needing to swap, etc.
Just chimed in with a personal example of the two.
Are those thru' axles with Allen key or QR lever? That would make quite a big difference to the time.
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Old 03-22-23, 05:13 PM
  #83  
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Forgive me if you already do this, but continuing to pedal while braking is the best way for modulation. It takes a bit more energy but it makes you smoother and look pro to the other riders (wow this guy isn't jerky at all wow)

also screw mechanical disk brakes they always rub or stop working.
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Old 03-22-23, 05:23 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
every road race Iíve ever done had a wheel truck. Admittedly itís very hard to catch back on. ( drafting the wheel truck until youíre in sight of the official helps.).

Because itís difficult to get back on without a line of team cars, and team support , every second counts.
I did one race with a wheel truck. I flatted within the first 5 miles on a 60+ mile race. I got my wheel from the truck, swapped it out, and rolled back to the start-finish with the flatted wheel in my hand. There was zero chance of catching back on to anything significant, and the thought of doing 50-something more miles solo, just to finish DFL, wasn't attractive at all.
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Old 03-22-23, 05:49 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I did one race with a wheel truck. I flatted within the first 5 miles on a 60+ mile race. I got my wheel from the truck, swapped it out, and rolled back to the start-finish with the flatted wheel in my hand. There was zero chance of catching back on to anything significant, and the thought of doing 50-something more miles solo, just to finish DFL, wasn't attractive at all.

Another soon to be archaic technology, tubulars, helps with this. Because you can ride them flat, you can time you trip to the wheel truck. Wait until thereís a lull in the race, signal to the wheel truck so they know you need a wheel, and go back at time where the race is a bit chill and the wheel guy is ready to help.
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Old 03-22-23, 06:00 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I did one race with a wheel truck. I flatted within the first 5 miles on a 60+ mile race. I got my wheel from the truck, swapped it out, and rolled back to the start-finish with the flatted wheel in my hand. There was zero chance of catching back on to anything significant, and the thought of doing 50-something more miles solo, just to finish DFL, wasn't attractive at all.
Yeah, that's the reality of racing for most amateurs. I eventually switched to road tubeless to try to mitigate the problem.

I was driving a wheel truck in a race where someone flatted during the neutral rollout and, despite doing everything I could to help him, he couldn't make it back to the peloton.
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Old 03-22-23, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Another soon to be archaic technology, tubulars, helps with this. Because you can ride them flat, you can time you trip to the wheel truck. Wait until thereís a lull in the race, signal to the wheel truck so they know you need a wheel, and go back at time where the race is a bit chill and the wheel guy is ready to help.
In that particular race, at that spot on the course, my day was done, regardless of what tire I was running. I wasnít going to get back to anything meaningful. I wasnít there to just finish.
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Old 03-22-23, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Yeah, that's the reality of racing for most amateurs. I eventually switched to road tubeless to try to mitigate the problem.

I was driving a wheel truck in a race where someone flatted during the neutral rollout and, despite doing everything I could to help him, he couldn't make it back to the peloton.
Damn. That sucks for that guy. I can see that just finding your wheel in the bed of a truck could take long enough to wreck your day.

My experience was many years before road tubeless was a thing that even existed.
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Old 03-23-23, 11:25 AM
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If there is an advantage in mechanical disc brakes, it is the confidence they inspire and maybe an ability to be a little later in braking when going into a corner. Stopping power is largely a non-issue. Most people have the necessary hand strength to lock their wheel up regardless of rim/disc or hydro/mechanical. A wise guy I know has opined that they are all disc brakes, it is simply a matter of where the braking surface is located and how energy is transformed from speed to heat. I've also heard him talk of (and whole heartedly agree with the idea) that there was a golden age of bicycle racing about 10+ years ago where you didn't have to worry about putting wheels in the pit. Everything was 10 speed, rim brake and the spacing on the cassettes were the same/close for all the manufacturers. Neutral support likely had what you needed. With rim brake, you don't have as big of a concern that the pads are rubbing because you could adjust the brakes without using tools - usually just a barrel adjustment. There was also no concern about quick release or thru axle and if thru axle was the correct standard. Shifting might not have been perfect, but you could quickly get back on course and finish the race. Neutral support has changed drastically and it is cost prohibitive to have all of the required combinations of disc/rim, qr/thru axle, 10/11/12/13 speed, Shimano/SRAM/Campy, mechanical/electronic combinations of wheels. Much more common to have a whole neutral bike that they switch your pedals to and adjust the seat height and then send you on your merry way. That is if your race is fortunate to have neutral support at all. I still race some crits, but my road bike is the only thing I have that is still rim brake. It is easier to work on in the heat of the moment and honestly, I don't think the rim brakes are a limiter.
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Old 03-23-23, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Orion12521 View Post
If there is an advantage in mechanical disc brakes, it is the confidence they inspire and maybe an ability to be a little later in braking when going into a corner. Stopping power is largely a non-issue. Most people have the necessary hand strength to lock their wheel up regardless of rim/disc or hydro/mechanical. A wise guy I know has opined that they are all disc brakes, it is simply a matter of where the braking surface is located and how energy is transformed from speed to heat. I've also heard him talk of (and whole heartedly agree with the idea) that there was a golden age of bicycle racing about 10+ years ago where you didn't have to worry about putting wheels in the pit. Everything was 10 speed, rim brake and the spacing on the cassettes were the same/close for all the manufacturers. Neutral support likely had what you needed. With rim brake, you don't have as big of a concern that the pads are rubbing because you could adjust the brakes without using tools - usually just a barrel adjustment. There was also no concern about quick release or thru axle and if thru axle was the correct standard. Shifting might not have been perfect, but you could quickly get back on course and finish the race. Neutral support has changed drastically and it is cost prohibitive to have all of the required combinations of disc/rim, qr/thru axle, 10/11/12/13 speed, Shimano/SRAM/Campy, mechanical/electronic combinations of wheels. Much more common to have a whole neutral bike that they switch your pedals to and adjust the seat height and then send you on your merry way. That is if your race is fortunate to have neutral support at all. I still race some crits, but my road bike is the only thing I have that is still rim brake. It is easier to work on in the heat of the moment and honestly, I don't think the rim brakes are a limiter.
What kind of racing are you talking about? It's not professional racing, because they're not running 10/11/12/13 speeds and a mix of mechanical and electronic in the pro peloton. And, it's not amateur racing, because no one is providing neutral support bikes in amateur racing.
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Old 03-23-23, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
What kind of racing are you talking about? It's not professional racing, because they're not running 10/11/12/13 speeds and a mix of mechanical and electronic in the pro peloton. And, it's not amateur racing, because no one is providing neutral support bikes in amateur racing.
In the immortal words of Botto, "Incorrect". I've since relocated, but I spent over a decade racing in the Chicagoland area for both road and cyclocross. Neutral support was largely the rule, rather than the exception, no doubt driven by one of the major components manufacturers being based in Chicago. I understand that dynamic has changed quite a bit over the past 5 years or so.
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Old 03-23-23, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Orion12521 View Post
If there is an advantage in mechanical disc brakes, it is the confidence they inspire and maybe an ability to be a little later in braking when going into a corner....
Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
also screw mechanical disk brakes they always rub or stop working.
Oh my, what to do....
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Old 03-23-23, 06:07 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by Orion12521 View Post
In the immortal words of Botto, "Incorrect". I've since relocated, but I spent over a decade racing in the Chicagoland area for both road and cyclocross. Neutral support was largely the rule, rather than the exception, no doubt driven by one of the major components manufacturers being based in Chicago. I understand that dynamic has changed quite a bit over the past 5 years or so.
But, you're claiming that amateur racing now has neutral support that provides bikes instead of wheels, because it's too expensive to provide wheels for the entire 10/11/12/13 mech/elect hodgepodge.
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Old 03-24-23, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Orion12521 View Post
A wise guy I know has opined that they are all disc brakes, it is simply a matter of where the braking surface is located and how energy is transformed from speed to heat. I've also heard him talk of (and whole heartedly agree with the idea) that there was a golden age of bicycle racing about 10+ years ago.....
That was enough reading for me in this wall of text.
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Old 03-24-23, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
But, you're claiming that amateur racing now has neutral support that provides bikes instead of wheels, because it's too expensive to provide wheels for the entire 10/11/12/13 mech/elect hodgepodge.
Sorry for not being clear. Seven or so years ago, it became more common for neutral support to have whole bikes instead of the unmanageable number of wheels that would be necessary to cover all the different brake, gearing and axle combinations that everyone has. Because of this, it was more likely that neutral support would have whole bikes. Was this at small, local races? No. I lived in the Chicagoland at the time and was fortunate to have events like Tour of America's Dairyland, Intelligentsia Cup, the Glencoe Grand Prix, Chicago CX Cup, Trek CX Cup & Jingle CX. These races are high enough profile and have professionals coming in from all over the world, the level of neutral support is admittedly far above what you'd find at most local races. SRAM was a large supporter of those events and would provide neutral support - in the form of phenomenal mechanics and for a time, whole bikes. Shimano also provided that level of supoort at some events. I now live in Iowa and can confirm that the level of neutral support doesn't rise to that level, here. SRAM has also pulled back their level of support for events in the Chicagoland, likely because they moved headquarters to Indianapolis and races in the Chicagoland aren't really "local" for them anymore. That level of support probably wasn't the norm everywhere in the country, but it was for the Chicagoland - for a time. I'm relating my experience in the Chicagoland, because that is what I know. Regretfully, that level of neutral support isn't the norm any more in the Chicagoland.
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Old 03-24-23, 01:00 PM
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Sounds like Orion12521 and I have raced in some of the same series. I can concur, SRAM used to provide professional level NRS for our local races, and would bring spare wheels and yes, entire spare bikes to events. I once saw a racer in the same field as me crash hard during a pre-ride lap and break their saddle. SRAM had a neutral service saddle available, and they were able to swap this onto the bike in a matter of minutes and got the racer to the start line. I don't know how it worked for road racing, but for CX and Crits they were always ready to assist if something went wrong.

SRAM still has an office in Chicago that (I think) serves as their global HQ and engineering. I'm not sure the exact reasoning for pulling their support on local racing, but I don't think it's specific to Chicago or related to anything happening in Indianapolis.
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Old 03-24-23, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Sounds like Orion12521 and I have raced in some of the same series. I can concur, SRAM used to provide professional level NRS for our local races, and would bring spare wheels and yes, entire spare bikes to events. I once saw a racer in the same field as me crash hard during a pre-ride lap and break their saddle. SRAM had a neutral service saddle available, and they were able to swap this onto the bike in a matter of minutes and got the racer to the start line. I don't know how it worked for road racing, but for CX and Crits they were always ready to assist if something went wrong.

SRAM still has an office in Chicago that (I think) serves as their global HQ and engineering. I'm not sure the exact reasoning for pulling their support on local racing, but I don't think it's specific to Chicago or related to anything happening in Indianapolis.
That was very cool of SRAM to do that, but it's not something that's common in amateur racing.
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Old 03-24-23, 09:06 PM
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I’ve seen neutral wheel support in NorCal, but not bikes. Even at Legion’s Lion’s Den, which had lots of SRAM support and branding.
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Old 03-25-23, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by maxants33 View Post
I was amazed how much more fun I was having when I used my hydraulic disc CX bike at crit training, since I could so much better feather the brakes and make small speed adjustments, which helped me to work on improving my cornering technique.
Since you are racing for fun .... it seems you have adequately answered your own question.
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Old 03-25-23, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Since you are racing for fun .... it seems you have adequately answered your own question.
Well, not really, because the question was about mechanical disks - which I'm not familiar with. But I did get some really helpful opinions regarding better rim calipers, compressionless outers and fresh pads. And the general opinion that mech disks just aren't any better (possibly inferior) to an optimised rim brake set-up. This was what I was looking for.

I actually have just fitted a pair of mechanical TRP spyres to an old gravel bike frame I'm assembling to sell. I'm going to take it out to bed in the brake pads tomorrow. I'm going to do some side by side comparison with my rim brake crit bike, and will post my feedback here shortly!

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