Disc brakes

mark i

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

I am looking at a new commuter bike at some point in the next year. I do around 5000 miles per year and am wearing rims out. The obvious solution appears to be disc brakes, but I have no experience of these. How long to people find that their discs and pads last? It will allow me to do a comparison.

Also how well do these brakes perform compared to rims and pads on road?

Thanks in advance,

mark
 

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
Disc brakes offer far better stopping power on the road and don't fad in the wet, they are a much better option for commuting.
 

Moodyman

Guru
Do it - you'll never go back.

I began commuting on rim brakes and went through 4 pair of pads in my first winter. I live in a hilly area and had a few scary moments in the rain - applying the brake and nothing happened - ended up scraping my foot on the floor to stop.

Went to disc brakes and would never look back. Consistent and strong braking all the time. Brake pads about the same cost as rim brakes but one set of pads lasted me all winter and well into Spring before I changed it.

Discs & their calipers add a little extra weight, but unless you're racign this won't be an issue. Discs far better for commuting, expecially winter commuting in hilly areas.
 

skrx

Active Member
I checked my disc brake pads last week (after 2500 km, since 2nd January 2010), since I wasn't sure how long they're supposed to last. There's loads of pad left, I reckon they'll be fine for at least another 2500km. There's no noticeable wear on the discs.

Presumably they'd wear out quicker if they got muddy/gritty regularly.

I've not used good quality rim brakes before (only BSO ones), so I can't properly compare. They're a thousand times better than BSO rim brakes, anyway!
 

marcw

Well-Known Member
My next bike will have discs, is there much difference between hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes? Mechanical sound like they will be easier to maintain and fix on the road should anything go wrong.
 

bauldbairn

New Member
Location
Falkirk
I've had discs on my bike for three months(ish) now and much prefer them to rim brakes. :smile:
Although it's not really a fair comparison as rim brakes are a compromise and are more than adequate in most cases. It's a bit like the difference between drum brakes on old cars/motorbikes and disc brakes on all new cars/motorbikes. The old drums stopped you but the discs stop you smoothly and with less effort.
Discs come into their own in the wet or for brake feel and will last a lot longer on roads than they would off road(MTB's).
 

bauldbairn

New Member
Location
Falkirk
marcw said:
My next bike will have discs, is there much difference between hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes? Mechanical sound like they will be easier to maintain and fix on the road should anything go wrong.
Good question - I don't know personally but it would be interesting to hear what people with both cable operated and hydro brakes think? :bravo:

I believe "Greg Collins" on CC has a Revolution Explorer(Mech Discs) and a Boardman Pro MTB(Hydro Discs)? :smile: - :bravo:
 

RedBike

New Member
Location
Beside the road
How long to people find that their discs and pads last? It will allow me to do a comparison.
It all depends on the conditions you're riding in. I had a disc braked cyclo-x bike for a while (Planet-x uncle John). In the 6months I owned the bike I never had to replace the disc pads and I was doing well over 1000miles a month on it! Yet, on the MTB I've destroyed a set of disc pads in just one ride before now.

Generally speaking disc pads outlast v-brake pads a good 5-10x over so you should get a few months use out of a set.

Also how well do these brakes perform compared to rims and pads on road?
It completely depends upon which make/model of brake you've got.

As you go up in price not only do the brakes become stronger they have better modulation too.

Cheaper cable operated discs are stereotypically rubbish and should be avoided.

The more expensive cable discs (aka avid) work very well but are fiddly to set up.

The very cheap hydraulic disc brakes tend to be lacking in power or they have an on/off nature which makes it all too easy to lock the wheels.

By the time you get to the level of Shimano Deore hydraulic discs you can't really go too far wrong, they all work very well.




My next bike will have discs, is there much difference between hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes? Mechanical sound like they will be easier to maintain and fix on the road should anything go wrong.
Most hydraulic brakes are fit and forget and rarely go wrong. Apart from changing the pads every now and then you probably wont need to touch them. Cable discs tend to require 'tweaking' as the cable stretch/pads wear.


O/T Disc brakes do make the wheels of the bike heavier and the rotors are prone to rubbing. This means that bikes fitted with discs are often slower on the road than those with v-brakes.
Off-road, the advantage of being able to stop quickly and in all conditions more than compensates for the weight penalty and ideally if the brakes are correctly set-up the rotors shouldn't rub.
 

Jezston

Über Member
Location
London
Also don't do what I did and manage to get lube into the disc pads. Took about two weeks for the braking to return to normal.
 

Howard

Senior Member
Jezston said:
Also don't do what I did and manage to get lube into the disc pads. Took about two weeks for the braking to return to normal.
Just take the pads out and cook them on the hob for 30 seconds. Good as new.

For the OP:

Have ridden about 14K commuting miles on two hydraulic disc brake equipped bikes.

Shimano Deore, Shimano M475

Have replaced one set of pads and no rotors.

They are much better than the 105 calipers on my roadie.

If they are set up right they won't rub, squeak or annoy in any way.

Setting them up right is a case of making sure there is enough... but not too much oil in the system. It's messy but the shop should do it for you.

Have not used mechanical discs - I can imagine the stopping power is weaker (the cables stretch) and you are just as stuffed if these fail whilst out as you would be with hydraulics.

No brake system is fit and forget - with hydraulics you may need to bleed them if air or other gunk gets into the lines - Shimano recommend once a year. This is also messy and unpleasant.
 

Moodyman

Guru
My next bike will have discs, is there much difference between hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes? Mechanical sound like they will be easier to maintain and fix on the road should anything go wrong.

I have both on different bikes - both Shimano.

Both offer great stopping in all weathers - though hydraulics are a little sharper. For commuting both are more than adequate. You might prefer hydros for MTB ing though.

Mechanical:

Advantages - easier to maintain yourself, replace cable, pads, adjust breaking sharpness.

Disadvantages - frequently have to adjust the pads (bring them in closer to disc) when they wear out.

Hydraulics:

Advantages - sharp performance, self-adjusting when the pad wears in, long intervals between servicing

Disadvantages - Oil needs bleeding about once a year, sooner if you do high mileage. I understand that bleeding is a pain to do alone and you need to buy bleed kit. Not needed bleeding yet so can't confirm.

For commuting, I'd prefer mechanical as I can work on them myself.
 

Howard

Senior Member
Moodyman said:
Disadvantages - Oil needs bleeding about once a year, sooner if you do high mileage. I understand that bleeding is a pain to do alone and you need to buy bleed kit. Not needed bleeding yet so can't confirm.
You only need to bleed them if there is a noticable reduction in stopping power that can't be remedied by replacing pads and / or resetting the brakes.

The Deore hydraulics on my 2003 Specialised where bled twice in seven years (when the bike went in for a complete service). In those three years it did some serious mileage.

You can do it on your own, and yes, you do need the bleed kit (or buy some mineral oil and the correct diameter tube for the bleed valve). It is difficult and messy the first time, the next time it's better. Rather like se...:blush:
 

Moodyman

Guru
Also don't do what I did and manage to get lube into the disc pads. Took about two weeks for the braking to return to normal.

Jezza - I use the cheapest supermarket baby wipes - the ones that only have the alcohol and none of the scented moisturising stuff.

Cleans disk and pads really well.
 

Howard

Senior Member
Moodyman said:
Howard - still loving the Mixer.
Great! When it's upside down do not use the brakes or you'll need that bleed kit....

Mine's getting CX tiers this week for a spot of trailriding :blush:
 
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