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Disk Brakes? Yay or Nay!!

cbjohnson02cbjohnson02 Posts: 3
edited September 2013 in Road buying advice
Looking at buying my second road bike. Really liking the Specialized Secteur Sport Disc Compact 2013 however i've seen a lot of bad press about disc breaks on road bikes.

I'm wanting my bike to be a big investment and last me a good few years so i want something that will still be up-to-date in a few years time.

Just wanting to know if anyone has had any bad experiences with them of if anyone has any advice?

Cheers.

Chris
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Posts

  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    The bad press usually comes from the purists who believe it shouldn't be seen on a road bike. Shimano have been using disk brakes for years on MTB and know what they are doing. SRAM also to a lesser degree. I think its only a matter of time before they are seen on the pro tour. Think of the positives of better braking and no worries about rim wear. Pads are cheap as chips and easy to replace. You are not a pro rider so get them if you want them.
  • Cheers Steve
  • andyk19andyk19 Posts: 170
    Only real reason not to get a bike with discs would be if you want to race, as they are not allowed in races.

    If you're just riding sportives, club runs and probably even club TTs then it's not an issue.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Discs are go shimano are realising the M785 disc system for road. Still the only issue with that bike is that it is a low spec and will be heavier than the standard spec. Still it might be a good buy. I would fit a 160mm rotors on the rear and sintered pads to avoid brake fade. rotors with a alumium carrier are a good idea as well. This bike has none of these and these are the changes I would make.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 15,262
    they're excellent in bad weather, ideal for commuting, your rims don't get worn out, i had them on a bike but it was stolen, the one i replaced it with had rim brakes, every time it rains i miss the disks!

    on long twisty descents you don't have to worry about overheating rims (but cooking the brakes is still possible)

    for people with small hands or physical problems they need much less lever force than traditional rim brakes

    otherwise for general road use i'm not convinced, wheel choice is limited, heavier wheels seem typical, and if you're riding in a group a potentially large difference in braking performance has it's own dangers
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Tb2121Tb2121 Posts: 73
    I have to agree regards wet conditions- they are good but I found commuting over a period of time actually brought issues that I didn't expect- from oil sprayed up off road or rear mech etc over time led to poorer brake performance and then with one mis spray of the wd40 I ruined the braking of the rear disc for months and no amount of cleaning fluids brought that back- so I went back to normal rim brakes. But if you like the look of them and keep them clean then they work well.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Yay, although only marginally & it depends on what you want. Especailly good for off road & winter training on rural roads I think.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • I personally don't see the point of them. Standard rim brakes if set up correctly will lock up, so why the need for extra power?. Discs and 23mm tyres just don't make sense to me. Yes you get extra power in the wet, yet again they will lock up. Having a mtb with hydraulics, yes they are great.. But then again the tyres are wider and can take the extra power.

    CX or mtb make sense. Road bike not soo much so.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    No bike of today will be up to date in a few years. Things change.

    I'm not really convinced by disk brakes for road bikes. My normal brakes can lock the wheel up just fine and I can cope with some rim wear.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,711
    RIm brkes are OK, but then you want carbon wheels and your 500-1000 pounds rims will be shredded and delaminated by the pads... hance you wish you had disc brakes, so you can enjoy the carbon rims for longer.
    I have them on my Croxi de Fer and the Next road bike will have disc brakes, that's for sure. I am not going back to rim brakes... I don't see the point for the sake of saving 300 grams or so for a product that is not suitable for winter use, it is inferior in every possible way and results in much higher maintenance costs
  • mikeneticmikenetic Posts: 486
    Anyone used Shimano's RB-R515 calipers with the x700 generation road levers? Be interested to know how much lever travel you get. I tried BB7s a while back but felt there was a lot of movement in the levers before they bit.
  • Lycra-BykaLycra-Byka Posts: 292
    Hopefully when disk brakes become the norm we will see wheel rim weights fall and some rim profile changes.

    It will happen. Disk brakes and tubular tyres. Of course there will be a few traditionalists around.
  • patrickfpatrickf Posts: 536
    I personally don't see the point of them. Standard rim brakes if set up correctly will lock up, so why the need for extra power?. Discs and 23mm tyres just don't make sense to me. Yes you get extra power in the wet, yet again they will lock up. Having a mtb with hydraulics, yes they are great.. But then again the tyres are wider and can take the extra power.

    CX or mtb make sense. Road bike not soo much so.
    The biggest point for me is: winter commuting. It's incredibly easy to destroy a set of rims in one season without discs.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Limtied choice wheels currently but not for long. Next year will see a more option I think. Already there is the velocity A23 non machined side wall and the black archetype rim. this morning I had a brain wave while thinking about a disc bike build as my wifes christmas present. Ryde MC21 29er rim's. Talking with the distributor they should be fine with a road tyre at 90 psi and given the width 28mm tyres might as well be fitted. The advanatage of these rims is that they 320g light and available now. Granted they have a 75kg weight limtied but as this is meant as an XC race rim, using them on the road will not batter them as much so that limit may prove to be conservative. I will find out.

    Hubs DT Swiss 240 hub can take a 11 speed shimano road freehub on a disc hub but the OLD will change slightly from 135mm. I have ask madison what it will change to they are goig to get back to me. As the frame is going to be steel I can get the OLD set to whatever I specifiy. I may be the case that the OLD will be so close to 135mm that there will be no issue. I have no intension of building with cross disc hubs as there is less choice for those and I see more comprimises. Alternatively I will have to look into if a 11 speed freehub from dura ace hub can be fitted to an XTR hub. I suspect not but worth looking into.

    M785 hydraulic disc brakes/caliper with ultegra 6870 di2 and the wheels I describe on a R853 frame and fork should make a christmas pressent for her (although it might be January unless I can get the brakes a bit eariler by sweet talking the rep). This is also an experiment to see what can be done.

    Options are not as limited as you think. It will have 160mm rotors front and rear sintered pads and perhaps I will splash out of Kettle cycle discs (SiN I think), there will be no cooking those puppies.

    As I have 8 bikes now I have to build her one and this will be it.

    Of course I will have to do one for myself with carbon tubular rims, my nod to tradition.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    The main advantage of disks over rims is in the wet when braking response is instant. With rims, there is always a rotation to clear the rims of water before the pads grip well. I usually feather the brakes in the wet to keep rims clear but still, braking is compromised.
    Manufacturers have still not matched disc calipers with brake levers and frames. With few exceptions, cable pulls don't match. The ideal brake position is the rear chainstay, to free up the rear eyelets for their intended (non-racing) use. The cable enters the brake at the wrong angle, resulting in excessive cable strain and a cable open to ingress of water.

    Once manufacturers admit that disc brakes for roadbikes are not for racing AND that lots of people don't race, then they may address these faults, but the cult of racing is holding back a useful winter option.
  • blinddrewblinddrew Posts: 317
    Moved to hydraulic discs on the MTB years ago and would never go back. Interestingly it's the racing end of the road market that seems to be driving the development of hydraulic road discs but that seems the area least likely to use them. In pro racing you need to be able to swap wheels in and out (including from the neutral support car) at speed. You're just not going to be able to do this with a disc.
    Outside of racing I can see loads of advantages for disc brakes, it's not about the power per se (as mentioned above, it's easy enough to lock up a wheel with calipers) but about the progressive feel, the performance in the wet and the preservation of the side wall of the rim.
    Tourers, hybrids, CX, cargo bikes etc, all of these seem pretty ripe for disc brakes really. Race bikes, not so much I think.
    Music, beer, sport, repeat...
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,711
    ... and the choice is expanding... up to last year Avid BB7 was pretty much the only decent disc brake for road bikes, but now Hayes has come out with the CX 5, which I have just fitted on my Croix de Fer, just need to go out and try it, I guess... :D
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I can see advanatge for sportive/event bikes as most folk are not good decender and we all have to decend on road with cars so discs brakes will make carbon rims suitable for long decents where as currently some enocunter the odd issue. Preseving rims is a big plus and the disc specific rims can be very light and this will offset the weight increase of the brakes themselves.

    TRP (tektro) have new offerrings too.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,711
    blinddrew wrote:
    Tourers, hybrids, CX, cargo bikes etc, all of these seem pretty ripe for disc brakes really. Race bikes, not so much I think.

    Race bikes for racing, yes, I do agree, race bikes for sunday rides, sportives and the likes, absolutely yes to disc brakes... and that's 90% + of the market
  • earthearth Posts: 934
    Lycra-Byka wrote:
    Hopefully when disk brakes become the norm we will see wheel rim weights fall and some rim profile changes.

    It will happen. Disk brakes and tubular tyres. Of course there will be a few traditionalists around.

    I don't think rim weight will necessarily fall by using disc brakes instead of rim brakes.

    Clincher wheels will always require a heavier rim because extra material is required to withstand the tire pressure. The weight is not caused by the braking surface. Take a look at carbon tubular's compared to the clincher variation. Tubular is always lighter but they both have a braking surface.
  • blinddrewblinddrew Posts: 317
    blinddrew wrote:
    Tourers, hybrids, CX, cargo bikes etc, all of these seem pretty ripe for disc brakes really. Race bikes, not so much I think.

    Race bikes for racing, yes, I do agree, race bikes for sunday rides, sportives and the likes, absolutely yes to disc brakes... and that's 90% + of the market

    That's what I meant, but really, are race bikes that large a sector of the road bike market? Would have thought hybrids and commuter bikes made up the bulk of sales?
    Music, beer, sport, repeat...
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,711
    blinddrew wrote:
    blinddrew wrote:
    Tourers, hybrids, CX, cargo bikes etc, all of these seem pretty ripe for disc brakes really. Race bikes, not so much I think.

    Race bikes for racing, yes, I do agree, race bikes for sunday rides, sportives and the likes, absolutely yes to disc brakes... and that's 90% + of the market

    That's what I meant, but really, are race bikes that large a sector of the road bike market? Would have thought hybrids and commuter bikes made up the bulk of sales?

    In the UK they are a large chunk of the market, elsewhere not so. The Uk market has always been unrealistic in its expectations... look at convertible cars... biggest market in Europe with the least suitable climate... look at performance cars: lowest speed limits in Europe, yet largest market for sports cars... most likely the biggest market for outdoor garden furniture and BBQ equipment (as above), no surprise race bikes do well... :wink:
  • blinddrewblinddrew Posts: 317
    I'm now trying to think of a completely impractical, weather-based business to start in the UK, but most of them seem to be doing quite nicely already. ;¬)
    Music, beer, sport, repeat...
  • springtide9springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    earth wrote:
    Lycra-Byka wrote:
    Hopefully when disk brakes become the norm we will see wheel rim weights fall and some rim profile changes.

    It will happen. Disk brakes and tubular tyres. Of course there will be a few traditionalists around.

    I don't think rim weight will necessarily fall by using disc brakes instead of rim brakes.

    Clincher wheels will always require a heavier rim because extra material is required to withstand the tire pressure. The weight is not caused by the braking surface. Take a look at carbon tubular's compared to the clincher variation. Tubular is always lighter but they both have a braking surface.

    I think this point was that (as seen on MTB rims), that disk specific rims are lighter than the equiv rim with a breaking surface.

    It's not necessarily just the weight of the braking surface, but it's the extra material required to withstand the rim being 'crushed'. The weight difference isn't huge...

    XC 717 Disc 395 g vs XC 717 420g (25g per rim)
    http://www.mavic.com/en/product/rims/mo ... isc#128176
    http://www.mavic.com/en/product/rims/mo ... 717#128180

    What is very noticeable is the difference in design of the rim in terms of it's cross section. Disc specific rims are considered to be stronger (which seems to be the case from experience).

    I think what will be interesting on road bikes is what can be achieved using carbon, since the brake surface have always seem to have been an issue ( (e.g. heat and flaking issues)
    Simon
  • mikeneticmikenetic Posts: 486
    ... and the choice is expanding... up to last year Avid BB7 was pretty much the only decent disc brake for road bikes, but now Hayes has come out with the CX 5, which I have just fitted on my Croix de Fer, just need to go out and try it, I guess... :D

    Be interested to know what you think of them when you get chance to go for a spin.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,711
    mikenetic wrote:
    ... and the choice is expanding... up to last year Avid BB7 was pretty much the only decent disc brake for road bikes, but now Hayes has come out with the CX 5, which I have just fitted on my Croix de Fer, just need to go out and try it, I guess... :D

    Be interested to know what you think of them when you get chance to go for a spin.

    Been out for the maiden ride today... front only, the rear is my trusty BB7 for MTB. 90 miles, most of them under a persistent light rain. Initially the Hayes CX5 was pants, but after 20 miles or so the pads started to bed in and it became better... not as good as the BB7 MTB, but the advantage is more clearance for the pad, hence no rubbing. I'll give it another few rides to decide if it's good or not and maybe get some organic pads, instead of the sintered ones, the BB7 improved a lot when I fitted organic pads. SO far not totally convinced by the stopping power, while the brake action is very good, return is fast and no sponginess detected... modulation is average
  • Having originally come from MTB with hydraulic brakes, owned disc cross bikes and bikes with rim brakes, my preference is: rim brakes

    The braking is perfectly adequate, probably better than discs with decent calipers in dry conditions (the rim is after all one big disc) in the wet they aren't that bad either. Rim brakes are dead easy to set-up and maintain and are relatively cheap.

    The problem is that Carbon is an unsuitable rim material for regular brake calipers and the perception is that carbon wheels are cool and make you faster.

    The fact that disc brakes are less maintenance is also poppycock. Frankly thay are a total pain in the backside when they do need adjusting or bleeding, have a sticky piston or you want to refit your hydraulic brakes onto that new frame. That and the horrible sounds they make no matter how well adjusted they are. They weigh more, look ugly on a road bike and there will need to be a standard rotor size so wheels are interchangeable when racing. Oh and the rear drops generally need to be widened too, so possibly less aero and heel clearance. Cable discs are just a bit, pants. Wasn't really impressed with BB7.

    For cross bikes, MTB and touring, great. Otherwise, no.

    But the marketing machine will win eventually.
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    I disagree with pretty much everything in that last post.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • TOM14STOM14S Posts: 100
    Hmmm, maybe it's just me, as I've only ridden a couple of mtb that have disk brakes but I'm amazed no one's mentioned about brake feel / progressives. I find rim brakes have wbitmore feel to them, I.e. not just on off, the breaking force can be modulated better. Then there's disc warping, noise from the discs, regular pad changes, leaking cylinders, and the occasional bit of brake drag from disk brakes.

    Oh and who ever mentioned about getting WD40 on their brake disk and it not working properly for ages. It's not the disk that's the issue its the pads will have absorbed it a bit
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