A return to rim brakes and surprised how poor they are

Ridgeway

Über Member
Not ridden on rim brakes for around 5yrs or so, since then all my bikes have been disc, 1 cable and 2 hydraulic. Certainly have had some disc brake challenges and overall they can at times be a pain but overall i've been happy with then on my road and CX bikes. However i've just rebuilt an insurance salvaged rim brake road bike and have ridden it quite a few times now and i'm shocked at how poor the brakes are vs the discs i've become accustomed to:
  • Brakes need much more pressure to be applied on the callipers
  • In the dry my stopping distance (same speed, same conditions, same road) increases by about 25-35%
  • In the wet they much more affected
They are very quiet, easy to take wheels on and off and are less sensitive to the "buggeration" factor, but as far as do they stop me they are less effective vs discs, no two ways about it.

These are good brakes (Campag Super Record) that are well adjusted and with good and well worn in brake pads being used on alloy wheels so no carbon shenanigans going on.

I guess i'll have to get used to pulling the brakes on earlier and as this is going to be my summer climbing bike it needs descent brakes as what goes up, must come down, preferably in a controlled way:ohmy:

I have some new carbon hoops arriving for the bike any day so i can only see things getting worse, but hopefully as they are supposed to have a good brake track and paired up with some Swisstop pads i do hope they'll "work"

So far i can only say that's like jumping in a car with crap brakes when you're used to driving your own with good brakes, you adapt but you always know that your braking is poor.

This is just my experience but i thought it worth noting as i hear so many people defending rim brake over discs saying that as long as they can lock up your back wheel then they can stop you as well as discs and rim brakes look nicer (i agree) plus discs can be a pain (i agree). But can they stop you as well, in this recent experience for me = no.
 

gzoom

Senior Member
I have no issues with dual pivot Ultegra rim brakes on my road bike. In the dry they are as good as the hydraulic disc brakes on my eBike.

In the wet disc brakes in my eBike are much better.
 

HMS_Dave

Grand Old Lady
Location
Midlands
I have disc brakes on my fat bike. 160mm ones. It was second hand and they needed a lot of truing to stop them catching the pads. But since then I've had little issues with them other than occasional normal caliper adjustment...
 
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Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
My only experience with disc brakes has been on a recumbent trike. When I went back to two wheels and caliper brakes I was surprised just how poor they felt, taking more effort to bring the 9Kg machine to a halt than was required by the discs to stop the trike which weighed twice as much. I never had to use more than two fingers on the levers for the disc which led to much better feel and control.

I have no idea how discs would compare with direct mount calipers (Which do look like they transmit power more easily), but whatever the problems with disc brakes they will surely be ironed out in time and be as little fuss as they are on their motorised cousins.
 
OP
Ridgeway

Ridgeway

Über Member
My only experience with disc brakes has been on a recumbent trike. When I went back to two wheels and caliper brakes I was surprised just how poor they felt, taking more effort to bring the 9Kg machine to a halt than was required by the discs to stop the trike which weighed twice as much. I never had to use more than two fingers on the levers for the disc which led to much better feel and control.

I have no idea how discs would compare with direct mount calipers (Which do look like they transmit power more easily), but whatever the problems with disc brakes they will surely be ironed out in time and the as little fuss as they are on their motorised cousins,
This was also my comparison ie light 2 finger braking = full stoppage with discs that i'd used where as the rim brakes didn't stop me in as short a distance and that was with a full hand (4 fingers) applying much more pressure.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
Learn to set them up properly. I can endo on my road bike on rim brakes, and they haul me up very smartly in all conditions, and I'm a very heavy rider.

Sure, not terribly refined, wear problems, all the rest of it, but in terms of actual grunt they can be extremely effective. None of my hydro disc bikes can pull me up as hard.

Lets face it, there are plenty of sheet discs systems out there, even hydro ones. Theres a spectrum, and while hydro disc systems tend to be towards the upper end they don't have a monopoly and don't exclusively occupy those rarified heights of performance.
 
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Learn to set them up properly. I can endo on my road bike on rim brakes, and they haul me up very smartly in all conditions, and I'm a very heaby rider.

Sure, not terribly refined, wear problems, all the rest of it, but in terms of actual grunt they can be extremely effective. None of my hydro disc bikes can pull me up as hard.
yeah sub 6kg bike with brakes like that need very careful modulation although I’ve swapped out the groupset for R8000 ultegra
 

Kajjal

Veteran
Location
Wheely World
My other mountain bike a 1996 Orange c16r stored with relatives abroad has xt v brakes and 3 x 8 gearing. Taking it into the mountains nearby the gearing means it will climb up walls. The brakes take a little adjustment to compared to good quality disc brakes but are perfectly rideable. The most obvious difference is the reduction in braking power and control. As a 100KG bronzed, ripped Adonis of mountain biking only real brakes will stop me properly as I power through the trails :whistle:

It is the same on my gravel bike, good quality hydraulic disc brakes stop me faster with more control compared to the previous bikes ultegra on or off road. In the end just use what suits you and get out on the road or trails. And think yourself lucky you don’t have very early 1990’s mountain bike brakes which had little effect on steep, Rocky downhills :ohmy:
 

Eziemnaik

Über Member
It has been a long time since the last rim vs hrd thread. List of things I am looking forward to seeing here:
-riding without discs is guaranteed highway to hell
-riding with cable discs is guaranteed highway to hell
-HRD discs are overkill for road bikes
-discs are just a way for greedy companies to suck our money away
-back in my days I used to stop my bike with two fingers, while carrying me Grama and weekly shopping
-my rim brake wheels were continuosly exploding untill I changed to disc
-ever since the purchase of the disc brake bike neighbors' dog stopped chasing me, I got a payrise, my sexlife has never been so good and I lost 17kg
 
OP
Ridgeway

Ridgeway

Über Member
Dual pivot campag super record brakes have more stopping power than my discs in fact too much so that I did an endo on a descent a few years back, that’s not something I’d recommend
I think that's a good example, the endo is the front wheel equivalent to a rear wheel lock up and my point is that from the experience i've had the discs would have done the same but about 20-25m earlier, perhaps more.
 

chris-suffolk

Well-Known Member
Not ridden on rim brakes for around 5yrs or so, since then all my bikes have been disc, 1 cable and 2 hydraulic. Certainly have had some disc brake challenges and overall they can at times be a pain but overall i've been happy with then on my road and CX bikes. However i've just rebuilt an insurance salvaged rim brake road bike and have ridden it quite a few times now and i'm shocked at how poor the brakes are vs the discs i've become accustomed to:
  • Brakes need much more pressure to be applied on the callipers
  • In the dry my stopping distance (same speed, same conditions, same road) increases by about 25-35%
  • In the wet they much more affected
They are very quiet, easy to take wheels on and off and are less sensitive to the "buggeration" factor, but as far as do they stop me they are less effective vs discs, no two ways about it.

These are good brakes (Campag Super Record) that are well adjusted and with good and well worn in brake pads being used on alloy wheels so no carbon shenanigans going on.

I guess i'll have to get used to pulling the brakes on earlier and as this is going to be my summer climbing bike it needs descent brakes as what goes up, must come down, preferably in a controlled way:ohmy:

I have some new carbon hoops arriving for the bike any day so i can only see things getting worse, but hopefully as they are supposed to have a good brake track and paired up with some Swisstop pads i do hope they'll "work"

So far i can only say that's like jumping in a car with crap brakes when you're used to driving your own with good brakes, you adapt but you always know that your braking is poor.

This is just my experience but i thought it worth noting as i hear so many people defending rim brake over discs saying that as long as they can lock up your back wheel then they can stop you as well as discs and rim brakes look nicer (i agree) plus discs can be a pain (i agree). But can they stop you as well, in this recent experience for me = no.
What pads are you using? Some are a lot better than others wet or dry!
 
OP
Ridgeway

Ridgeway

Über Member
Learn to set them up properly. I can endo on my road bike on rim brakes, and they haul me up very smartly in all conditions, and I'm a very heavy rider.

Sure, not terribly refined, wear problems, all the rest of it, but in terms of actual grunt they can be extremely effective. None of my hydro disc bikes can pull me up as hard.

Lets face it, there are plenty of sheet discs systems out there, even hydro ones. Theres a spectrum, and while hydro disc systems tend to be towards the upper end they don't have a monopoly and don't exclusively occupy those rarified heights of performance.
I believe they are correctly set up:
  • Pads used (not new) and are only say 25% worn, decent set of SRAM pads
  • Callipers well centred
  • Wheels are alloy, super true and have good brake tracks
  • Cables are new on both front and rear
I'll try to compare to them to a ride buddy once the club kicks off again, maybe there is something not right and that they could indeed stop as well as discs but i have something set up wrong :okay:
 
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