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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I am old school and love the simplicity of a rim brake especially on a road bike. But anyone who felt this way here when they actually rode a disc roadie thought this is best thing since sliced bread?

I am in no hurry to hang up my current bike which still performs well, but in the next two years I can see finally needing a new ride possibly. Problem is, seems all manufacturers are going solely disc.
 

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Maturity Challenged
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I prefer rim brakes. They are lighter, cheaper and don't stress the wheel/spokes as much.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I feel the same. And easily adjusted on the road while midst a ride. I am just a dinosaur and readily admit it.
 

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Two skinny J's
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If I lived anywhere with any hills I'd ride Disc...but I can't see a need where I live. I looked a year or so ago and didn't like the height or feel of the reservoir
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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A few disc issues/aspects---bust a spoke and you have brakes. I used to do a ton of loaded commuting and every now and then I'd hit something immobile and unjumpable. Slamming a loaded rear wheel into a curb or the edge of a new pothole has expectable results .... and I don't care how much you fiddle with spoke tension, at some point you are going to have to accept that you need to open the brakes and be glad the tire isn't hitting the frame. With discs, you don't even need to try to true the tire (I'd suggest it though .... )

Also ... how many of us kept careful calculations and took precise measurements of the stresses on spokes, hubs, brake bridges, chain stays, fork blades .... No One Cared. The only reason people mention these things today is because they don't like discs.

Discs weigh more? The Only time a few grams rally matters is if you are racing someone in a situation where bike weight is unregulated .... what? Outlaw Street racing for pink slips on Bikes? otherwise, ... pretty much every single one of us (except LongJohn) could lose a few grams in body weight .... or use Tubolite tubes ( ONLY $40 each---a Bargain at a quarter of the price.)

Not saying weight doesn't matter. After five flats, I had to ride my lightweight CF bike to a job meeting, and I can tell you, even being a quarter-ton overweight, I could feel the 10 pounds less bike weight on that final hill. But how many people wonder about how much better we'd ride without all that heavy paint weighing us down?

Simplicity? For sure. In fact, my work bike has mechanical discs (All the Weight, No Better Stopping Power) because if I am out on the road, I can fix a cable but not a broken brake line or leaking fixture. But my MTB has hydro discs and has never let me down. I mean, if simplicity were all that, we'd all ride single-speed. We accept weight and complexity in return for performance, comfort, utility.

Anyone who rides a lot of fast descents would probably like hydro discs (if they would be honest enough to admit it) because of the ease of one-finger modulation and basically fade-free performance. Someone who rides in the pacific Northwest might enjoy knowing that that half-second of sphincter-clenching while you wait for the rim brakes to squeegee away enough water to make that life-saving panic stop is a thing of the past now (that was my specific motivation.)

Shoot, particularly in the wet, I can lock up my wheels with rim brakes (and I have done it in the dry too) so a huge boost in braking power isn't the issue. And, obviously I was never killed while waiting for the brakes to grab (came pretty close a couple times.) So, as far as absolute engineering, disc brakes are unnecessary.

The next question is ... are they a deal breaker? As I see it, they are as reliable and as effective as any other type of brakes, and they are taking over the industry ... so either lay out the money for custom, buy a bunch of frames now and save them, (better get some spare bottom brackets ... ) or just go with it. I don't see the very lightest bikes from major manufacturers weighing a lot more ... weight isn't an issue because the bikes can be lightened in other areas anyway ... and I don't hear about all these disc-brake bike failures (only the same deluded whatevers talking about how they break three frames a year with their Awesome Watts, of how the fork failed --- a hundred miles after they crashed head-on into a wall flat-out (but it Looked fine) .....

So, it would be a matter of personal choice except the industry is moving away from rim brakes ... so what?

A one-piece Ashtabula crank is simpler, but I didn't refuse to buy bikes with three-piece cranks, or cotterless cranks, or press-fit (though I convert all of mine to threaded.)

Not worth the headaches, to me. I buy what is being sold. I find the closest thing to what i want at as close as possible to the money I want to spend and do whatever seems right.

Seriously, though .... people who Will Not have disc brakes don't have to. Just be smart and buy ahead.

I expect my CF bikes to last as long as I do, and my steel bike or my Al bikes with CF forks .... almost eternal. I have long wanted a Ti bike, and again, I see no reason why i couldn't ride one for the rest of my life and sell it after I died to someone who could ride it another fifty years---there are bikes from the '20s and 30's on C&V sites. Just load up on parts now.

Me, I will go with the flow. I can believe that a person would not enjoy riding a bike because it has disc brakes--but I am not that person. Put me on a bike and I am smiling.

But then ... I shave with the lowest-cost plastic store-brand budget razors I can find at the supermarket. Some folks got Standards .... I get it. :D
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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The biggest down side of rim brakes in my experience was that one time I popped a tube riding at a ski resort during the summer. I was on a steep, winding dirt road and ended up heating the rear tire enough to induce tube failure. I believe. Prior to that, I had been trying to alternate front and rear brake usage and even stopped once to let air out of the tires to reduce pressure. I've since read that this type of failure is virtually impossible to trigger due to the fact that tire pressure rises slowly relative to rim brake induced heat.

Assuming the science is correct, the only explanation which makes sense to me is that I was running Slime in my tires and managed to heat the rims enough to cause something in the Slime to boil. Having a liquid turn to gas within a sealed environment can only result in a dramatic increase in pressure, with predictable results. There was no loud 'bang', but the tube failed all at once and my life became more interesting than I like it to be for a few minutes while I tried to get stopped without road rash. I'd also been braking heavily for a couple of miles beforehand. The road was steep, winding, and heavily graveled. It's also possible that it was just an old tube and happened to let go on the day's biggest descent.

When riding in snow, I found that my brake calipers tended to accumulate snow from the tires, which eventually reduced brake function to nearly zero. I believe swapping to better brake pads would have resolved that problem, but never tested it: my touring bike came with rim brakes but was set up to accept discs. I converted that spring and never looked back. Discs are more likely to be noisy, especially when wet, but they go on working even when soaked in freezing water and/or slush.

I've experienced brake fade with my discs, but only once and had to really work at it: first time descending 1200ft over 9mi on a winding road with multiple 10 and 15mph switchbacks, I learned that taking curves fast on 4 wheels is a whole different world than doing it on 2 wheels :rolleyes:. Duh. I gave the brakes a heck of a workout and toward the bottom, could feel them fading when I squeezed. Bad sensation, but they kept working. Just not as well. I've since ridden the same descent more than once without trouble.

Knowing what I know now, I'd do that descent on a bike with rim brakes, but would be concerned about getting stuck behind a car as I've found myself riding my discs pretty hard to stay off someone's rear bumper. Let's just say a properly handled bike can manage the descent much faster than a poorly driven automobile. I'm no pro, but I've learned a lot since that first attempt 😎.

In the final analysis, use what works for you. I swore by disc brakes for years, but have since ended up with a couple of great bikes which use rim brakes and have had excellent luck with them, barring 'that one time'.
 

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German,

What follows is an old post of mine from several years ago.
You might want to use the search feature and look for discs. There are quite a few threads on this subject. Many with answers from people much better equipped with knowledge than myself.

Good luck in your quest for knowledge.


I have had hydraulic disc brakes on my MTB (Carbondale Jekyll) since, I believe I purchased it in 1998 or 1999.
Although I've only piddled around on it in recent years, it saw nearly daily use prior to that.
I have never....ever had to do anything to these. Still running the original pads and a recent whole bike tuneup found the pads are still good to go. No leaks. No chaining fluid.
However, I do have one complaint that is easily fixed on pad brakes on not so much on disc. That would be the all too occasional pad rub and resulting noise.

My last road bike had pad brakes. My replacement (last bike broke in brake related crash ) bike has hydraulic disk.

My thought (no research here) is, as a rubber pad is initially engaged, it is cool and harder. However, as you continue to brake, the pad becomes warm......then hot thus resulting in a rapidly changing and increasing internal friction coefficient. Meaning they get soft & grippier as they get hotter.
My theory is:
With constant pressure, the bike will slow at a faster rate as the pads warm up...... to the point of locking up when they become extremely hot, soft and pliable possibly causing the wheel to lock.
While applying my theory to disc brakes works similar indeed, it would take an exponentially longer distance at the same pressure applied, to bring the same results.
Therefore, I purchased a road bike with disc brakes and I hope it helps me to be a better & safer (to my partially broken body) rider.
Now, if anyone can tell me how to stop that pesky, occasional disc rub noise, I'll be very happy.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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None of my disc brakes, hydraulic or mechanical, make any noise while just rolling along. Have to go with recenter/adjust them. I'm OCD about them being perfectly aligned, centered & correct lever pull. Mechanical ones usually have adjustment for inner and outer pad clearance as well as the barrel adjuster on caliper and lever that makes them a bit easier to get just right with no rotor deflection, centered in caliper and preferred lever pull amount IMO. Hydro does not have that much adjustment capability.
 

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tall old member
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I prefer rim brakes. They are lighter, cheaper and don't stress the wheel/spokes as much.
A guy riding the Pittsburgh to DC trail this past weekend had a rim failure from brake wear right at the Eastern Continental Divide. The bike shops were closed. Some Good Samaritan that lived in the area loaned him a bike to finish his adventure.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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I prefer rim brakes. They are lighter, cheaper and don't stress the wheel/spokes as much.
Lighter? sometimes but not always..........
Cheaper? sometimes but not always..........
Stressing spokes? maybe theoretically but I have never experienced that on road or mtb.
Effective in all conditions? Rim not as effective as discs except maybe in clean/dry places.......
Preference?..........yep, got me on that one. Your preference is your preference.

I have cantilever, V, mech disc, hydro disc & coaster. They all have their place but mech discs win in my world due to simplicity, adjustability, durability & effectiveness in all conditions and surfaces.
 

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Obviously the type of brake you prefer depends on the type of riding you do and the landscape of the areas you ride. I typically ride in the flatlands with 10-65mph winds or river trails with deep sugar sand. I rarely need to apply the brake to slow down.
I have never worn out a set of brake pads. They always get hard and make a terrible noise before they wear thin. I have a set of wheels I built over 40-years ago (well over 100,000 miles on them) that still have anodizing in the brake contact area.
 

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That’s a great point @FRISKY.

Many roads where i ride allow for relatively high speeds, lots of curves and the risk of wildlife.

I’ve commented to a group I’ve ridden with a handful of times over the last two years, that i use my brakes far more during these group rides than i ever do riding solo.

So, my solo ride likely finds more brake use than your flat, sandy rides and group rides likely even more than my solo rides.
However, braking on my solo rides, while less than group rides, is much harder when i do brake.

Geesh. Did i really just say that.
I need a beer, or maybe a whisky.
 

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I know I am old school and love the simplicity of a rim brake especially on a road bike. But anyone who felt this way here when they actually rode a disc roadie thought this is best thing since sliced bread?

I am in no hurry to hang up my current bike which still performs well, but in the next two years I can see finally needing a new ride possibly. Problem is, seems all manufacturers are going solely disc.
If you ride big hills in the rain disc are a huge imrovement for braking but I've done 1000 mi tours, fully loaded with rim brakes going down mountains and done just fine in spite of the fact that you absolutely do have to start applying the brakes earlier. Disc are superior for braking in those wet situations but they absolutely have downsides too. In particular, they can (not always...) be really quite finicky, especially the lower end brakes that only adjust on one side of the brake pad. They are much more complicated and hydraulic ones (the only kind I'd consider) do require some care and can need bleeding, should not be turned upside down, and god forbid you grab the brake when the wheel is not in place. Hit the rotor wrong and send it out of whack and listen to the chirp chirp on every rotation. Then get them dirty and listen to the squeal like a stuck pig. I want them on my mtn bike but not on my road bike. However, as you say, most bikes are coming with them whether you want them or not. I'm sure my next road bike will have them and I will pay to ensure they are really top of the line brakes when I do have to get disc on my road bike....but I'd prefer not to....but won't let that be a deciding factor. Good disc, when properly setup, can be worry free for a long time; it's just that when they aren't...they are a pain.
 

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Two skinny J's
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If you ride big hills in the rain disc are a huge imrovement for braking but I've done 1000 mi tours, fully loaded with rim brakes going down mountains and done just fine in spite of the fact that you absolutely do have to start applying the brakes earlier. Disc are superior for braking in those wet situations but they absolutely have downsides too. In particular, they can (not always...) be really quite finicky, especially the lower end brakes that only adjust on one side of the brake pad. They are much more complicated and hydraulic ones (the only kind I'd consider) do require some care and can need bleeding, should not be turned upside down, and god forbid you grab the brake when the wheel is not in place. Hit the rotor wrong and send it out of whack and listen to the chirp chirp on every rotation. Then get them dirty and listen to the squeal like a stuck pig. I want them on my mtn bike but not on my road bike. However, as you say, most bikes are coming with them whether you want them or not. I'm sure my next road bike will have them and I will pay to ensure they are really top of the line brakes when I do have to get disc on my road bike....but I'd prefer not to....but won't let that be a deciding factor. Good disc, when properly setup, can be worry free for a long time; it's just that when they aren't...they are a pain.
HEY! Good to see you back!
 
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