Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 40
  1. #1
    What the what???
    Reputation: Opus51569's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    7,583

    Disc brake review...not debate

    I'm not looking to start another debate about disc versus caliper.

    I'm simply asking those early adopters who have had the opportunity to use disc brakes on their road bikes for a while, whether or not they're satisfied with the switch.

    Any issues someone considering making the plunge should know?
    If you had it to do again, would you still go disc?

    For me, I'm looking at a mostly commuter/sometimes gravel/sometimes light-tourer. It's increasingly difficult to find one of those without discs so I'm curious about first-hand experiences.
    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - MLK

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    2,871
    I'm not an "early" adopter but have had disc brakes on my gravel bike for a year now. Clearly the technology works. One minor annoyance is a metallic sound when riding in wet conditions. I would probably not go disc again. The bike weighs more and costs more and my experience is that it wasn't worth it as I didn't really believe I had braking issues with the caliper set-up. It does stop the bike better in some wet conditions

  3. #3
    Schuylkill Trail Bum
    Reputation: SPlKE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,332
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek_5200 View Post
    I'm not an "early" adopter but have had disc brakes on my gravel bike for a year now. Clearly the technology works. One minor annoyance is a metallic sound when riding in wet conditions. I would probably not go disc again. The bike weighs more and costs more and my experience is that it wasn't worth it as I didn't really believe I had braking issues with the caliper set-up. It does stop the bike better in some wet conditions
    Code:
    < debate >

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    1,829
    They should install covers on the disks to avoid the cutting edge. Even rounded, a 1/16" wide metallic disk can penetrate skin with force.
    BANNED

  5. #5
    Adorable Furry Hombre
    Reputation: Marc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    22,986
    Mechanical versus Hydraulic. What are you after? Two very different things with two very different sets of different Pros/Cons.

    For example:
    -Mechanical discs are not self adjusting as the pads wear down, so you'll need to manually barrel adjuster them. But they'll work in any weather.
    -Hydraulic brakes are self-adjusting for wear...however in the Siberia-like temps of the US Great Plains Winter, you'll need to pump your brakes early because brake fluids used don't like those temps (and the rotors/calipers are designed to sink heat too well)
    -Both make noise, unless/until you bed the pads well.

    PS-get a thru-axle frameset. Many bike brands still sell QR disc brake bikes, which is just lazy product development and planned obsolescence.


    Also note that cheap disc brakes are about as bad as cheap rim-brakes.
    "What is Aleppo?"-Gary Johnson September 2016

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Srode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,382
    I've had mechanical on a Synapse and now have Hydraulic on my gravel bike (which I use as a road bike when bad weather is likely, and in the Winter when there's salt on the roads)- The hydraulic is definitely worth the extra money, there's no comparison.

    For a dry weather road bike, there's no real advantage of disc over well set up rim brakes in my experience. Perhaps if you do long steep descents with carbon rims, discs have the advantage not overheating the rims. Even with good metalic pads, discs will heat up and start to fade if you aren't careful alternating front to back on long braking runs to keep them cooler.
    Nothing succeeds like excess

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    473
    I bought a Salsa w/Avid BB7 (mechanical) in October 2013. I'm quite happy with the operation and would not hesitate to purchase again. I ride gravel/dirt roads in the mountains of Central PA and find the brakes quite "useful" when bombing down the hills. The control with the discs is reassuring.

    I also have a Giant Defy with Shimano R785 Hyd Discs that I bought in August 2015. I've put over 6,000 miles on it and have never done more then periodic cleaning and checking. I'd guess this may be a bit more work then rim brakes. My prior road bike had Ultegra rim brakes and I can't say that I notice a big difference with the new bike although when I do get to ride in more mountainous terrain (Western NC) I find them very dependable and predictable.

    edit to add,

    I'm around 175 lbs and love to go fast downhill...on a bike or on skis

  8. #8
    What the what???
    Reputation: Opus51569's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    7,583
    Thanks, all, for the first-hand feedback.
    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - MLK

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    46
    I have DOT fluid disc brakes on both my now retired Ritchey winter commuter and my current Lynskey Ridgeline winter commuter. Before that I had a ancient Univega with cantilever brakes.

    I have ridden with all 3 at temperatures as low as -30F. The Ritchey has Avid. The Lynskey has Hope. I put 160 mm rotors F/R on the Ritchey. The Lynskey got 180 mm / 160 mm F/R

    Only the cantilever brakes have given me any trouble. I park outside at work, and on those pesky days where the temperature starts above freezing and then goes down to close to 0F I have had both the cables freeze and the rims ice over. Double plus UN-FUN, but the hydraulic disk brakes work in that as well.

    I will never put cable brakes on a winter commuter here in Fargo.

    I have Hope on my Ritchey tandem with 203 mm floating rotors F/R. The only time we have had trouble with them was coming down a 10% hill on Shetland with a 40 MPH tail wind and us going 40+ MPH as well.

    When I rounded a corner and there was a construction zone ahead and I had to stop. I had smoke pouring off both F/R.

    I need to point out that we were a fully loaded touring tandem that weighs in at 50 lbs for the bike, racks, panniers and tool bag. Add our stuff and the two of us and you have an all up weight of around 500 lbs.

    I have an old set of Mafac cantilever brakes on the shelf. Does anyone think they would have stopped us? I didn't think so.

    I have never been cut by a disk. I have never been cut by a disk on my motocross motor cycles of years gone by. I am not saying it can't happen, just that I have never had it happen to me.

    And when I was an EMT I never saw a person cut by a brake disk either (our dirt bike crashes were a whole lot worse than cuts). I have been cut by the ice spikes on my current winter tires.

    So, for a winter commuter or a heavyweight touring bike, my vote is for disc. I will keep putting Hope brakes on them mostly because I don't have to carry any special tools to bleed them (which I have never had to do on a trip).

    I have Dura-Ace 7800 on my summer ride. They are fine. I have thought about getting a new summer bike to replace my 35 Y/O ride, but the new bikes I have ridden don't have as good a feel. I am a recreational rider; 100-250 miles a week. I don't feel a need for anything newer.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,378
    I made the switch from a TCR to a TCR disc and absolutely love it! Better in every way, wet or dry, as far as I am concerned. I do a lot of technical descending which is why I wanted it and the brake feel alone was worth it. I find the real benefit is that the braking stays consistent even as the brakes heat up as you get down a technical mountain descent. Wheel changes are easier, and so far the maintenance has been easier too (i.e non existent). The bike is only about a half a pound heavier than my friends identically set up rim brake TCR.
    Aside from the initial cost, the only issue I have found is that they are very noisy when they get do get wet, but that goes away pretty quick. Also I had to buy adaptors for roof racks and fork mount repair stand but that was not a big deal.
    I won't be buying another rim brake bike if I can help it


    .

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7,264
    I'm into my fourth season on shimano hydraulic discs and would never consider going back (I mostly climb and descend in the mountains). I have never bled the brakes or replaced the fluid and they still work perfectly.

    You will go through a few more brake pads but they are much faster/easier to replace and require no alignment adjustment.

    I have mechanical discs on my mountain bike and they are not even in the same league as hydraulic discs.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    I'm simply asking those early adopters who have had the opportunity to use disc brakes on their road bikes for a while, whether or not they're satisfied with the switch.

    Any issues someone considering making the plunge should know?
    If you had it to do again, would you still go disc?
    I've been asked the same question when I'm on my cross bike with the road wheelsets I bought for winter/bad weather riding. I've always replied with something similar to "I'm going to be VERY sad if the majority of road bikes sold in 5-7 years don't have hydraulic disc brakes."

    I love riding my CruX regardless of the surface. On the road I feel absolutely comfortable braking on long descents, or the sudden stops at a light, etc... Furthermore, the hand fatigue from braking hard and long mostly disappears. Hydraulic disc brakes are the way to go if you have the option right now, as well as thru-axle frame designs.

    Right now I'm eyeballing the new Dura Ace R9170 shifters to replace my R785 shifters so that I have a more similar handling when swapping between my Tarmac Di2 with rim brakes and my CruX Di2 with the overly large R785 shifters. Do I need to? No, assuredly not. However, I REALLY want to because that's how much I enjoy hydraulic disc braking.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    1,542
    Avid mechanical disc brakes on my commuter / winter bike. It's on the cheaper bottom half of disc brakes. It requires less cleaning than rim brakes. However, it makes more noise than older model I've had on my MTB 8 years ago. I tried the so called quieter organic compound pads but only helped little bit.

    As for the braking efficiency, it's adequate for what I need (all flat where I am).

  14. #14
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    9,275
    I built up a cross bike as a winter road bike that multitasks as a gravel bike, cross bike, & rain bike with di2 hydraulic disc. I've had it 2yrs now and absolutely love it. Very low maintenance and never have to mess with cables. If I had to do it over, I'd built it exactly the same.

    My main bike is a Cannondale SuperSix w/ rim brakes. And I absolutely love it too. For only riding in fair weather, I would probably stick with rim brakes. I have no issues with them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    For me, I'm looking at a mostly commuter/sometimes gravel/sometimes light-tourer.
    Hydraulic disc. You won't regret it.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    1,542
    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    My main bike is a Cannondale SuperSix w/ rim brakes. And I absolutely love it too. For only riding in fair weather, I would probably stick with rim brakes. I have no issues with them.
    Name:  redcard.gif
Views: 700
Size:  4.0 KB Breach of rule! Disc only please.

  16. #16
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    9,275
    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Name:  redcard.gif
Views: 700
Size:  4.0 KB Breach of rule! Disc only please.
    Weird that you would parse that out of everything I wrote.
    Also weird you didn't parse it out of the others who mentioned rim brakes.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: mtrac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    690
    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    For me, I'm looking at a mostly commuter/sometimes gravel/sometimes light-tourer.
    Commuting and light touring? Hydro. Also make sure there's a nice, low granny gear.

    My main commuter came with BB5s, entry-level mechanical disks. They worked well but needed frequent adjustment, which takes about five minutes using two cheap tools and a business card. Problem is I didn't want to spend five minutes when I'm trying to get to work. Another RBR member talked me into hydros instead of better mechanicals. I made that swap last fall and I've never looked back.

    BTW, if you think rim brakes will serve your purpose then bikes like this are still available.
    It ain't bragging if you can do it.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Wookiebiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    5,326
    Disc brakes are well worth the money (Cable or Hydraulic) in bad weather ... however, not worth it in dry weather.

    I'm on my 4th year of riding discs in the winter (Pacific NW), where we get a "LOT" of rain, and discs just work better when it's wet out. I started out with Avid cables and moved to TRP Spyre (Shimano pads) and they work well. I'd guess that Hydraulic would work even better.

    However, if you live in a dry climate ... I'd take regular rim brakes any day as they are lighter and just easier to deal with in the end. Simple and effective generally wins in my opinion.
    Bikes:
    • 2017 Giant TCR Advanced Disc
    • 2017 Fuji Norcom Straight 2.1

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,378
    Quote Originally Posted by Wookiebiker View Post

    However, if you live in a dry climate ... I'd take regular rim brakes any day as they are lighter and just easier to deal with in the end. Simple and effective generally wins in my opinion.

    In my experience hydro disc are easier to deal with and work better than rim brakes in the dry too.




    .

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Srode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,382
    Quote Originally Posted by MoPho View Post
    In my experience hydro disc are easier to deal with and work better than rim brakes in the dry too.
    .
    Interesting, I would say they have better modulation perhaps but wouldn't say the brake better - and I would say they are more fiddly, and make it a little more cumbersome putting a wheel back on after changing a flat.
    Nothing succeeds like excess

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Wookiebiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    5,326
    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Interesting, I would say they have better modulation perhaps but wouldn't say the brake better - and I would say they are more fiddly, and make it a little more cumbersome putting a wheel back on after changing a flat.
    I would agree ... changing wheels with disc brakes has proven to be painfully slow compared to bikes with rim brakes. Aligning the disc, getting the axel in the drop outs, etc. takes way longer than just dropping the wheel back in on a rim brake bike.

    Then, add in the pain of changing out brake fluid (yes, I know it doesn't need it often), compared to a cable ... and rim brakes are just easier. In a dry climate or for a summer bike, discs are just not needed and are much more of a pain than rim brakes.

    Now add in water, lots and lots of water ... and I'll take disc brakes every day.
    Bikes:
    • 2017 Giant TCR Advanced Disc
    • 2017 Fuji Norcom Straight 2.1

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7,264
    With 21st century disc brakes/drop outs, nearly anyone can get their front disc wheel on within 1/2 second on any recreational rim brake guy.

    Secondly, starting 4th season with no bleeding of brakes or changing fluid--they still work perfectly. I would have changed my cables, housings, and bar tape at least once and possible twice by now with rim brakes.

    Finally, anyone with any experience can change hydraulic disc brake pads in 10% of the time it takes to replace and align rim brake pads.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wookiebiker View Post
    I would agree ... changing wheels with disc brakes has proven to be painfully slow compared to bikes with rim brakes. Aligning the disc, getting the axel in the drop outs, etc. takes way longer than just dropping the wheel back in on a rim brake bike.

    Then, add in the pain of changing out brake fluid (yes, I know it doesn't need it often), compared to a cable ... and rim brakes are just easier. In a dry climate or for a summer bike, discs are just not needed and are much more of a pain than rim brakes.

    Now add in water, lots and lots of water ... and I'll take disc brakes every day.

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,378
    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Interesting, I would say they have better modulation perhaps but wouldn't say the brake better - and I would say they are more fiddly, and make it a little more cumbersome putting a wheel back on after changing a flat.

    Better modulation, control and feel means you can brake better. On long technical descents, they remain consistent and the lower effort means less hand fatigue, that also allows you to brake better. Not having your tire pressure change from the heat means you can brake better.
    Better braking is not only measured in stopping distance.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wookiebiker View Post
    I would agree ... changing wheels with disc brakes has proven to be painfully slow compared to bikes with rim brakes. Aligning the disc, getting the axel in the drop outs, etc. takes way longer than just dropping the wheel back in on a rim brake bike.

    Then, add in the pain of changing out brake fluid (yes, I know it doesn't need it often), compared to a cable ... and rim brakes are just easier. In a dry climate or for a summer bike, discs are just not needed and are much more of a pain than rim brakes.

    Now add in water, lots and lots of water ... and I'll take disc brakes every day.

    If changing disc brake wheels is painfully slow, then you are doing it wrong. I find changing a front wheel with disc and thru-axles to be faster than dealing with a QR rim brake and lawyer tabs. Yes, the rear takes a little more coordination, but it takes all of a second or two longer (if that), end of the world stuff I know.
    There is also no wheel misalignment issues of QR or creaking from QR not being tight enough or dirt in between.

    Changing fluid is not much harder than threading a cable through a frame and very rarely needs to be done any way, so non issue. The only thing that possibly takes more maintenance is pads might wear faster, but they are really easy to change and not that expensive.

    To add, changing between wheels is easier too. On my rim brake bike I needed to change the brake pads (for carbon wheels), then adjust calipers to allow for the different pad wear, then I would have to mess with the pad toe so they don't make noise, then do it all over again when I switched back. On my disc bike, I just swap in the wheel and away I go, no fiddling with anything, doesn't matter how wide the rim is either. In fact the other day I came out to find a flat tire on the bike, and rather than fix it and be late, I swapped the wheel and rode off in 30s.


    Now I get that some people are not willing to just get rid of what they have a lot invested in, it can be expensive to switch and rim brakes are obviously good enough, but if you are buying a whole new bike there is no reason not to consider disc brakes

  24. #24
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Srode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,382
    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    I would have changed my cables, housings, and bar tape at least once and possible twice by now with rim brakes.
    Can't say I've ever had to touch my brake cables even on my high mileage bike with about 15,000 miles on it. Where were yours wearing out?
    Nothing succeeds like excess

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7,264
    It's not a matter of wearing out but rather of increased friction. I ride in the mountains where road sanding during the winter snow turns into fine grit that degrades cable housings and braking power noticeably over two seasons.
    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Can't say I've ever had to touch my brake cables even on my high mileage bike with about 15,000 miles on it. Where were yours wearing out?

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Disc Front Brake / Rim Caliper Rear Brake Experiment
    By mrwirey in forum General Cycling Discussion
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 02-20-2016, 03:08 AM
  2. disc brake to caliper brake conversion?
    By cyclisme! in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 09-24-2015, 10:01 AM
  3. The great disc debate
    By Rashadabd in forum Cyclocross
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 11-10-2012, 01:25 PM
  4. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-28-2010, 10:45 AM
  5. Veep debate review
    By PdxMark in forum Politics Only
    Replies: 54
    Last Post: 10-06-2004, 07:11 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •