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  1. #1
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    Why don't MTB riders care about disc brakes?

    That other disc brake thread is so in the weeds I'm surprised it hasn't been locked yet. But, a question was raised that I hoped we could discuss without the surprising amount of vitriol that has contaminated that other thread.

    Why in the world does mention of disc brakes generate a very heated multi-page thread on RBR when the MTB crowd happily controls their bikes with discs without a second thought?

    More succinctly, what do roadies have against disc brakes?

    Seriously, many of us MTB riders are scratching our heads over this.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    That other disc brake thread is so in the weeds I'm surprised it hasn't been locked yet. But, a question was raised that I hoped we could discuss without the surprising amount of vitriol that has contaminated that other thread.

    Why in the world does mention of disc brakes generate a very heated multi-page thread on RBR when the MTB crowd happily controls their bikes with discs without a second thought?

    More succinctly, what do roadies have against disc brakes?

    Seriously, many of us MTB riders are scratching our heads over this.
    Because many believe disc brakes to be less necessary or relevant on the road in pristine riding conditions with narrow tired road bikes. The vitriol is based upon disdain over something perceived as superfluous. Non value added even though there is a case for specific riding conditions like in the mountains whereby disc brakes 'may' perform better. But disc brakes are generally perceived as heavier, less aero and more of nuisance to maintain. Many like myself feel the opposite off road. Discs are made for off road riding and believe most believe this as well.

    Whimsically, you mentioned heat and contamination. That is funny. Your allegorical references are 'bubbling up' from your subconscious. Find a good shrink to address that.

  3. #3
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    What 11spd said, and you could add to that mountain bike riders have more of an association w/ things 'moto' and dirt bikes have had discs for a loooong time.
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  4. #4
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    Yep. My MTBs all have nice, powerful, easy hydraulic discs. My road bike has rim brakes. Why? I might brake 4 times on an average road ride around here, and I use the brakes so much on my MTB that water will steam off of the rotors.

    Speaking of them being heavier - I impulse purchased some 685/785 hydraulic discs for my drop bar 29er project. I got the box today, and it felt awfully hefty. The brake/shifters alone weigh 1/2 lb more than the 6800s on there now. It's obvious why they need to weigh more, but man.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah2000 View Post
    Yep. My MTBs all have nice, powerful, easy hydraulic discs. My road bike has rim brakes. Why? I might brake 4 times on an average road ride around here, and I use the brakes so much on my MTB that water will steam off of the rotors.

    Speaking of them being heavier - I impulse purchased some 685/785 hydraulic discs for my drop bar 29er project. I got the box today, and it felt awfully hefty. The brake/shifters alone weigh 1/2 lb more than the 6800s on there now. It's obvious why they need to weigh more, but man.
    The non-grouped hydro brifters weren't light. OTOH they could take a beating, and were a fair bit bigger (different in shape too).

    R8000 OTOH:
    Mechanical/rim-438g
    Mechanical/disc-558g
    Di2/rim-295g
    Di2/disc-360g
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  6. #6
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    Oh my, a troll who doesn't know the difference between your and you're. What will they think of next?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    That other disc brake thread is so in the weeds I'm surprised it hasn't been locked yet. But, a question was raised that I hoped we could discuss without the surprising amount of vitriol that has contaminated that other thread.

    Why in the world does mention of disc brakes generate a very heated multi-page thread on RBR when the MTB crowd happily controls their bikes with discs without a second thought?

    More succinctly, what do roadies have against disc brakes?

    Seriously, many of us MTB riders are scratching our heads over this.
    I suspect that you may not have been around when disc discussions were a hot topic in mountain biking. The arguments today are nearly identical.

    In fairness to mountain bikers, there was little or no actual data to depend on to form an educated opinion. There was also few with an understanding of why a small contaminated ported disc with high pressure braking provides better and more consistent braking than a big contaminated rim with low pressure braking and no ports.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I was one of the vocal opponents. I was tricked into riding a disc mtb on a technical trail by a friend/riding partner who feigned needing advice on a shifting problem. While his were mechanical discs, I was riding v-brakes and the superiority was still very apparent.

    I still get sh!t from him about it. I respond by explaining that I only converted to show sensitivity to his feelings.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    The non-grouped hydro brifters weren't light. OTOH they could take a beating, and were a fair bit bigger (different in shape too).

    R8000 OTOH:
    Mechanical/rim-438g
    Mechanical/disc-558g
    Di2/rim-295g
    Di2/disc-360g
    That's quite a difference, and yeah, they are noticeably more chunky to hold. On this bike, weight doesn't really matter... I mean, it has a 1,000g steel tapered thru-axle fork. I still may just use the Spyres that are on there now. We'll see.

  9. #9
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    Anyone that has ridden through wet conditions or steep descents, either mtb or road (aluminum but especially carbon) knows that strong and consistent braking outweighs the small weight penalty.
    In reference to the Assault on Mt Mitchell...
    Quote Originally Posted by merckx56
    The easier solution is to find a biker bar in Spartanburg the night before, go in and pick a fight. The ass-whipping you'll get will be far less painful than the one Mitchell will give you the next day!

  10. #10
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    When asking the question of disc, you must keep in mind that there are several crowds of road cyclists.

    1. The racer oriented type. I'm talking about the guys who actually care about going fast, about saving watts. These guys tend not want disc due to aero drag. Also, these guys tend to be good overall bike handlers in all sort of conditions so they also don't tend to want a need for disc at the cost of additional aero drag.

    2. There is the traditionalist type of guys. These guys DO SEE the benefits disc in certain situations, like using CARBON wheels in the RAIN (of course the value of using aero carbon wheels in the rain also begs its own question). Another potential value in disc is riding in the moutains with CARBON wheels, but again the value of why would you want to use carbon aero wheels in the mountains is also its own question. If we'd stay with aluminum wheels, then braking would be almost a non issue in the mountains or in the wet (as we have done for literally decades before disc ever came to cycling). These traditionalists argue that there is very little value for disc, while at the same time are also arguing that changing to disc also pretty much make the rest of the rim bikes sort of obsolete from a manufacturing point of view. Manufacturers will slowly stop produce top components for rim brake frames, etc.

    3. Then there is an ever growing "gravel" crowds (whatever gravel means). These guys want disc for the dirt. It's a no brainer. Then again, I was an mtb'er before I became a roadie, and I'm always wondering to myself, why would I want to buy a gravel bike when my hartail 29er with skinnies will do the same job.

    4. Then there is the road cyclists who just want disc because they straight up lack skills in bike handling. These guys often use the reason "better braking power and modulation" as the basis of their argument. These guys are the most vocal of the disc crowds. The fact is, they lack skills, and they would get beaten down any mountain by a person on a rim brake bike with skills. But hey, false sense of security is a strong enough reason.

    For the record, I ride mtb with hydro discs (for ~12 years and going), a high performance 600cc moto racer replica with hydro discs, a dirt jumper with disc, and I do not want disc anywhere near my road bike. Because when I'm on my road bike, I care about going fast while using the least amount of wattage as possible. I do not ride my bicycle on the mountains when the road is wet, and I don't know anyone who ride the mountains when it's wet either, not even on my motorcycle, but some people on RBR make it sound like everyone is riding the mountains in the wet on a regular basis??

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    When asking the question of disc, you must keep in mind that there are several crowds of road cyclists.

    1. The racer oriented type. I'm talking about the guys who actually care about going fast, about saving watts. These guys tend not want disc due to aero drag. Also, these guys tend to be good overall bike handlers in all sort of conditions so they also don't tend to want a need for disc at the cost of additional aero drag.

    2. There is the traditionalist type of guys. These guys DO SEE the benefits disc in certain situations, like using CARBON wheels in the RAIN (of course the value of using aero carbon wheels in the rain also begs its own question). Another potential value in disc is riding in the moutains with CARBON wheels, but again the value of why would you want to use carbon aero wheels in the mountains is also its own question. If we'd stay with aluminum wheels, then braking would be almost a non issue in the mountains or in the wet (as we have done for literally decades before disc ever came to cycling). These traditionalists argue that there is very little value for disc, while at the same time are also arguing that changing to disc also pretty much make the rest of the rim bikes sort of obsolete from a manufacturing point of view. Manufacturers will slowly stop produce top components for rim brake frames, etc.

    3. Then there is an ever growing "gravel" crowds (whatever gravel means). These guys want disc for the dirt. It's a no brainer. Then again, I was an mtb'er before I became a roadie, and I'm always wondering to myself, why would I want to buy a gravel bike when my hartail 29er with skinnies will do the same job.

    4. Then there is the road cyclists who just want disc because they straight up lack skills in bike handling. These guys often use the reason "better braking power and modulation" as the basis of their argument. These guys are the most vocal of the disc crowds. The fact is, they lack skills, and they would get beaten down any mountain by a person on a rim brake bike with skills. But hey, false sense of security is a strong enough reason.

    For the record, I ride mtb with hydro discs (for ~12 years and going), a high performance 600cc moto racer replica with hydro discs, a dirt jumper with disc, and I do not want disc anywhere near my road bike. Because when I'm on my road bike, I care about going fast while using the least amount of wattage as possible. I do not ride my bicycle on the mountains when the road is wet, and I don't know anyone who ride the mountains when it's wet either, not even on my motorcycle, but some people on RBR make it sound like everyone is riding the mountains in the wet on a regular basis??

    Yep, nobody rides in the rain--just ask climbers who ride in Washington's Cascade's

    Snow melt with sanding grit and or thunderstorms are a fact of life in mountains until mid July. Sometime, watch the Giro or the Tour and you'll get an idea what it's like and at least you'll know the names of people who ride in the rain.

    With some bike handling skills you'd find mountains extremely pleasant.

  12. #12
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    We don't care about discs just like we didn't care about cantis when V brakes started showing up. Better braking and easier maintenance. The best tool for the job. I'm perfectly happy if a rider decides the perfect brake for their road bike is disc, or not, your bike, your roads, you decide.

  13. #13
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    Cavitation, boiling, and compressible fluids.


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  14. #14
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    we have 6 months here where the roads are wet non stop. Don't have to ride the mountains but 16% grades are common all over, as is gravel on the road and deer around every corner (not exaggeration) and bottom of steep hill stop signs, and narrow and twisty. If I lived in the midwest still I'd not even think of disc brakes, nor would I wear a helmet most rides, nor ride in January there either. For that matter hydro disc brakes were and still are not needed for mtn biking back where I lived in the midwest, lol, unlike here where it would be like going back to pennyfarthings to give up disc brakes on mtn bikes.

    but I ride both rim/disc on them all year on road and gravel. the discs are better in wet of course, an inherently better choice here. But i really like my rim brake road bike and not wanting to spend a bunch more to make my disc brake bike just as nice yet (heavy wheels, issues with the brakes of all things, and the fit is not quite right yet on that bike).
    Faith is pretending to know things you don't know

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    Why in the world does mention of disc brakes generate a very heated multi-page thread on RBR when the MTB crowd happily controls their bikes with discs without a second thought?

    More succinctly, what do roadies have against disc brakes?
    -Because mountain biking isn't road biking. Different horses for different courses. Camel backs and shocks work great too. Doesn't mean a particular road rider wants them or feels they can benefit.

    -Did you seriously miss the first million times some road rider has said what they have against them?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    What 11spd said, and you could add to that mountain bike riders have more of an association w/ things 'moto' and dirt bikes have had discs for a loooong time.
    ...and so have road bikes. My VFR had two HUGE discs up front and one in the back.

    My analysis on this angle is the arguments for and against on a road bicycle is because they are relatively new. Give this topic 5-10 years and it will be over. Also, having been a mountain biker far longer than I have been a road biker, road bikers *tend* to have more of a personality for drama.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    Anyone that has ridden through wet conditions or steep descents, either mtb or road (aluminum but especially carbon) knows that strong and consistent braking outweighs the small weight penalty.
    You have to understand the irrelevancy of your post. For many the small weight penalty doesn't matter. Aerodynamics is fractional as well. But cost isn't and maintenance diff isn't. Some have owned disc bikes that howled and they aren't mechanical and can't stand the noise.
    If you don't need the braking, most agree, that disc's suck comparatively. If you need the braking then yes, disc brakes make sense.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vic bastige View Post
    ...and so have road bikes. My VFR had two HUGE discs up front and one in the back.

    My analysis on this angle is the arguments for and against on a road bicycle is because they are relatively new. Give this topic 5-10 years and it will be over. Also, having been a mountain biker far longer than I have been a road biker, road bikers *tend* to have more of a personality for drama.
    Certainly not in 5 years it will be over. Same arguments are waged over Di2. Di2 many will agree is easier to shift, can be programmed to mitigate cross chaining, easier to tune etc. Doesn't stop many from riding mechanical groupsets. I don't ride Di2 even though I have tried it for example.

    I don't see rim brakes going away. They won't for me because I don't need discs where I live. I never think about braking. I don't use my brakes much on my rides. In fact in aggressive group rides, hard braking is generally not looked favorably upon for the simple reason is this causes the paceline to crash and many hate going to the hospital.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    -Because mountain biking isn't road biking. Different horses for different courses. Camel backs and shocks work great too. Doesn't mean a particular road rider wants them or feels they can benefit.

    -Did you seriously miss the first million times some road rider has said what they have against them?
    In bold...exactly right. Different machine for a different job. Same argument could be made in reverse. Why doesn't a road bike have a rear shock on it?...or knobby tires?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11spd View Post
    Why doesn't a road bike have a rear shock on it?
    Um:



    It's the Next Big Thing.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    Yep, nobody rides in the rain--just ask climbers who ride in Washington's Cascade's

    Snow melt with sanding grit and or thunderstorms are a fact of life in mountains until mid July. Sometime, watch the Giro or the Tour and you'll get an idea what it's like and at least you'll know the names of people who ride in the rain.

    With some bike handling skills you'd find mountains extremely pleasant.
    you're the same one who said to watch the Giro and Tour last year and see the dominant of disc. I guess it must be a little downer that no guy with disc were out braking the guys on rim brakes huh? Believe me, I know more about disc brakes then you can ever imagine. But it's funny that pros are the ones who don't want disc in the mountains, yet you used them as an example for disc. lol

  22. #22
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    You can't even buy a new mountain bike with rim brakes, so what is there to discuss? That's probably what's going to happen to road bikes and is a big part of the reason that people have been so vocal about their preference for rim braked bikes.

    I've got a mountain bike with V brakes and another with disc brakes. The V brake one has more braking power. I'm currently going to bigger rotors on the hydraulic disc braked one. I don't like having to bleed them once a year either and have had annoying pad squealing problems as well which I more or less finally resolved. I ride in dry conditions.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    I suspect that you may not have been around when disc discussions were a hot topic in mountain biking. The arguments today are nearly identical. .
    I was actually an LBS employee when that happened and I just don't remember any controversy at all - maybe because I rode in the wet northeast and we embraced them right away.

    I ran Magura rim brakes (red ones) until getting a disc-ready frame. CX's moto-association seems logical. Plus, my riding buddies and I were pretty well in our prime back then so a weight penalty meant next to nothing - ah, the good 'ol days.

  24. #24
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    I'd rather go with this.
    Maybe even a SID up front.
    And drop bars.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    More succinctly, what do roadies have against disc brakes?
    Road bikes are typically light, fair weather toys where rim brakes suffice.

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