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Are disk brakes that much better

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Are disk brakes that much better

Old 03-24-08, 10:40 AM
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cjn
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Are disk brakes that much better

I am looking to get a new bike that I will commute on and eventually touring. Are disk brakes that much better that I should look to get them or just stay with what I know? Carrying spare pads is easy, what about for disk brakes? I know this is a matter of personal preference but was looking for some in put. I have never used disk brakes before and I'm a little leery of new fads. Thanks
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Old 03-24-08, 11:17 AM
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Do a search on this forum, there are tons and tons of threads discussing exactly this
It all comes down to personal preference, I believe that they are
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Old 03-24-08, 11:25 AM
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Disc brakes are not a fad and have established themselves pretty well as they do provide the best stopping power in all conditions but they can also be temperamental and could be problematic if you were a few hundred miles from nowhere and needed to service them.

I prefer cantis for touring bikes as they are simple, effective, and damn near bombproof.

For commuting / high mileage riding they can really extend your wheel life as there is no wear on the rims.
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Old 03-24-08, 12:23 PM
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Yes they are better (all things being equal -i.e. good quality discs versus good quality cantis, both well set up). However -and here's the catch -the real question is are they that much better to merit the costs involved over other more traditional braking systems?

The answer to me (who uses disc brakes for touring) is no, they are not. Unless you have deep pockets or are really set on disc brakes, don't bother. Invest in some good quality cantis with Koolstop pads that are well setup on a quality built wheelset. Though I do love my disc brakes and won't give them up -now I've got them -in my opinion they are not worth the difference in price given the performance advantages. If I was building a touring bike up again, I'd go with cantis.

Another aspect to consider as well: if you are touring off the beaten path (and I mean really off the beaten path) there might -and I mean *might* -be merit to the fact that if a disc brake breaks, then it's harder to repair, though I'd say it would be similar for any brake system myself (e.g. if a canti arm breaks, or an arm gets wrenched out of the mount I'm not sure how easily you could repair that as well, and I'd think it's probably about as likely to happen as a good quality disc brake failing). Given that discs have their bicycle heritage with off road/downhill bikes, I certainly think good quality discs have passed the muster in terms of durability and reliability.

As a previous poster mentioned, this topic has been discussed before; just be careful to read between the lines to sort out fact from fiction and reality from theory, especially with respect to posters who actually use discs versus those who do not.

You pays your money, you takes your choice!
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Old 03-24-08, 01:27 PM
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Disks work better in wet/muddy conditions. Mechanical disks have fewer issues than hydraulic.
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Old 03-25-08, 12:14 AM
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I feel that having disc brakes gives me the confidence to be able to ride a heavily loaded bicycle downhill. They really stop well!

I have a custom touring bike, designed for me. It is equipped with braze-ons so that if I am in Katmandu or Timbiktu, and my disc brakes get damaged or bent, I can set up something else.

Howard
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Old 03-25-08, 03:15 AM
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Get an Avid BB7 disc brake. Takes a few minutes to install and a few seconds to set up. After that, it gives you excellent stopping power with fantastic modulation in all weather conditions until the pads wear down. As long as the fork has disc brake tabs, every future bike of mine will have a front disc brake!
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Old 03-25-08, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by metzenberg View Post
I feel that having disc brakes gives me the confidence to be able to ride a heavily loaded bicycle downhill. They really stop well!
This was my reasoning for disc brakes. I am over 200# and with a 30 # bike and 40# + of gear I wanted the ability to stop on a downhill. I had the opportunity when my map flew off at 40mph. The discs brought me to a fast controlled stop. I also believe one needs at least 36 spoke wheels, as there is a lot more stress near the hub with disc brakes. My bike came with 32 spoke and I had spokes breaking every 500 miles or less after I had reached 1200 initial miles. I now have a custom 36 spoke rear wheel, with the front wheel to be replaced before my next tour.
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Old 03-25-08, 06:06 AM
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Just be aware there are two types of Avid BB7 disc brakes: the regular "off road" version and the road specific version based on cable pull lengths. Canti/centre pull/dual/single pivot brakes operate with a much lesser cable pull. V-brakes and most cable disc brakes operate with a longer cable pull.

This means if you have long pull brake levers (e.g. v-brake levers), then use the regular "off road" brake version. If you have short pull brake levers (e.g. levers used with cantis) or wish to use drop handlebars (e.g. with Shimano brake levers/STI) then you need the Avid road specific discs.

There are doo dads/travel agents that can be used with shorter pull brake levers to use with brakes designed for long pull, but I can't vouch for them nor do I know if you can use them with disc brakes anyway, and I know one of my friends who used them didn't like them at all. Likewise if you search these boards for the DiaCompe V787 V287 which are long pull road levers -can't remember which -you'll find that some people don't like those. I've never used them, and based on how much they cost, I'd say you're probably better off buying the correct levers in the first place.

If you aren't going to use road bars, then I'd say get the regular Avid brakes and some good quality levers. If you are going to use road bars, then I'd say get the road Avid brakes -this will give you more choice of brake levers. I've used both types, and both are excellent. I use off road Avid cable discs on my off road bike, and road specific Avid discs on my tourer.

Originally Posted by CdCf View Post
Get an Avid BB7 disc brake. Takes a few minutes to install and a few seconds to set up. After that, it gives you excellent stopping power with fantastic modulation in all weather conditions until the pads wear down. As long as the fork has disc brake tabs, every future bike of mine will have a front disc brake!
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