disc brakes

Michael86

Active Member
Hi, I'm in the process of buying a new bike. And I just wanted to know if disc brakes are worth it, not just performance wise. I do about 3000 miles a year. I want to know how often I probably would I have to change them and would their performance justify them. I am looking at mechanical disc brakes, I also ride all year around.
 

Onyer

Senior Member
I went for a test ride yesterday on a Bianchi Infinito CV that had disc brakes. That was the first time I had tried them and it was an interesting experience. On my bike I have the new Ultegra 6800 brakes with dual pivot and the modulation on them is just as good as the discs. So for me it would not be worth the change. However I was looking for a summer bike and I can see the advantages of discs being used in the wet during winter months.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
I also don't find the advantage to be huge out on the tarmac. I commute with dual pivots running Shimano pads and wet weather braking is perfectly useable, even fora porky old lump like me.

That said, were I buying a new commuter or tourer I'd seriously consider discs because they eliminate the rim wear problem.
 
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PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
Some years ago I was able to spec and acquire what amounted to my dream bike. It's had a few tweaks since then, new wheels, handlebars, different cassette etc.and still serves me very well. If I were going through the process again for my kind of riding I would be looking for discs.
 

BenM

Senior Member
Location
Guildford
Go for disc brakes...

tl;dr version:-
I have "grown up" through most brake technologies, steel rims, alloy rims, side pulls, cantilevers, centre pull, cable discs, hydraulic discs... The biggest problem with rim action brakes these days is that they use the rim as a braking component which wears out.
This can get very expensive if you use your brakes - especially if you have a hub gear (which my 'bent does)! I am currently running Hydraulic discs on the DF and cable BB7s on the 'bent - those were retrofitted. Wouldn't have anything else to be honest; the only PITA with the discs is that things can get caught up in the excitement and cause all sorts of odd noises also you have to get your wheel back in the right place should you remove it (sometimes inexplicably harder than it should be).
 

HorTs

Über Member
Location
Portsmouth
I have disc brakes on my ATR and have done on my previous 2 bikes too.

If you have the option I would choose hydraulic, if only for the self-adjustment feature. Consider TRP HyRd if you have drop bars where the hydraulic options are limited.

I like not having to worry and slight buckles in my wheel impacting the braking.

At 3000 miles a year you wouldn't need to worry about them too much, I've done just over 4000 on this set of pads and they've got a lot of life left. As you the rotors - I've never had to change one...yet.
 

ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
I have been riding (mechanical) disc brake bikes on my SE London commute for 3 years now. I would not go back to rim brakes. For the stop and start of a daily commute, especially in wet weather they can't be beat.

My disc brakes are Avid BB7's, the pads (£5.00 a pair) last up to 3000 miles and above, (dependent on conditions) before they need replacing.
 
I have been riding (mechanical) disc brake bikes on my SE London commute for 3 years now. I would not go back to rim brakes. For the stop and start of a daily commute, especially in wet weather they can't be beat.

My disc brakes are Avid BB7's, the pads (£5.00 a pair) last up to 3000 miles and above, (dependent on conditions) before they need replacing.
Same here. It was the scary fact of yet another heart in mouth moment of trying to brake suddenly in very wet conditions and wondering "Am I going to hit that", that prompted me to get a replacement commuter bike with disc brakes. In the wet, you can stop so much faster than on a rim braked bike.
 

HorTs

Über Member
Location
Portsmouth
I had BB7s on my last bike, I liked them too.
 

biking_fox

Veteran
Location
Manchester
Same here. It was the scary fact of yet another heart in mouth moment of trying to brake suddenly in very wet conditions and wondering "Am I going to hit that", that prompted me to get a replacement commuter bike with disc brakes. In the wet, you can stop so much faster than on a rim braked bike.
Really? Surely the limiting factor is tyre/road friction rather than brake efficiency? I'll grant it's probably complicated, with the initial braking being pad/rim friction, but fractions of a second later when you've scraped the water off the tyre/road must predominate?
 

Moodyman

Guru
My 1998 MTB has front discs and rear V brakes. Just replaced the rear rim for third time. Front is on original disc and rim.
 

BenM

Senior Member
Location
Guildford
Really? Surely the limiting factor is tyre/road friction rather than brake efficiency? I'll grant it's probably complicated, with the initial braking being pad/rim friction, but fractions of a second later when you've scraped the water off the tyre/road must predominate?
In my experience, given ideal stopping conditions, disc brakes do stop you much more quickly than rim brakes however I have both wheel skidded the DF because I grabbed the brakes and the tyres lost traction. Skidding on a recumbent bike is not pleasant as you have less leverage over your CoG - however drifting a trike would probably be fun :biggrin:
 

die_aufopferung

Active Member
Location
Derbyshire
I only swapped to a disc brake equipped bike a few months ago, so can't really advise as far as longevity goes - theoretically (and as others have testified above) the lack of rim wear should give them an advantage over rim brakes.

Performance-wise, however, there is a marked difference in wet conditions. In the dry not so much, but the fact is that in the wet rim brakes need to scrub the water off the rims before they bite whereas discs have an immediate response - very handy when knocking down a hill at 35+mph and needing to stop for a junction at the bottom in the wet as you can leave off the braking until the bottom instead of starting to brake halfway down, also the quicker response makes them clearly safer for unexpected emergency stops.
 
Really? Surely the limiting factor is tyre/road friction rather than brake efficiency? I'll grant it's probably complicated, with the initial braking being pad/rim friction, but fractions of a second later when you've scraped the water off the tyre/road must predominate?
having fallen off by braking in the wet, slight delay, nothing much happens, bit more, brake a bit harder - oh f**ck , on my arse !
As you've said, the limit is the tyres, but the problem with rim brakes is the delay in coming on in the wet - and if you then grab a handful as nothing's happening and they suddenly come on, then you're off.

That said, I've never used discs, so don't know if the delay effect is still there - certainly used to be on motorcycles ! And I don't know about the amount of faffage with discs either. Certainly motorcycle hydraulically operated discs are far from trouble free when used all year round.. Allegedly discs do work better in the wet. I'm not so bothered about rim wear to be honest, as rim life is adequate for my purposes anyway.

Conclusion - dunno - but might be tempted. And if I went bespoke, I guess I could get fittings for both types are change back if needs be.
 

andyfraser

Über Member
Location
Bristol
The hydraulic disc brakes on my hybrid haven't given me any trouble yet. I replaced the brake pads in December 2013 and they're still ok although I've probably only done 1,500 miles with them. The braking is a lot better with them than the rim brakes on my road bike. I have to start braking a lot earlier on my road bike, especially in the wet.
 
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