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Bike Choice - to disc or not to disc

TiesetrotterTiesetrotter Posts: 432
edited August 2016 in Road buying advice
Got a welcome but tough ask on my hands, the insurance company wants to completely replace my old bike, so I have a £2100 budget. Which is whole chunk more than I thought I would get!

But the choice is to disc or not to disc. I can get a bike with full Athena rim brake or Ultegra/Rival disc. The real choices they have are really Merida, Cannodale, Deedachi, Specialised, Felt or Cube

I was dead set on a disc bike as I have built up a lovely summer/race bike. But having road tested an Ultegra clad bike for the first ever time, Ultegra is a big compromise for me from Athena/Super Record (going to try out SRAM, effing annoying Campag are anti-modern era).

However this is to be my winter bike (bloody good one!). So I am wondering whether the compromise of Ultegra is out weighed by the benefits of using discs in the poo weather which is to come. I do about 200km a week including commutes, club rides and chains so go through plenty of rims.
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  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    I'm still not bought into the whole disc brake thing for road bikes. May be if I were having one bike for all year round use then I might go for discs, but rim brakes serve me well in all weathers and I haven't seen that much wear in my rims (may be due to having multiple bikes so wear is distributed across them).

    I'm also a Campag guy, so that would sway my preference too. Although my CX bike is SRAM with disc brakes, for tow paths and really censored weather.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I'm not convinced by discs - but if you are going through a lot of rims then it seems to be a no brainer to go for them on this one ?

    Ultegra shouldnt be a compromise for you - what was wrong with it ?
  • blu3catblu3cat Posts: 1,016
    I found in reality, the stopping power of a decent set of rim brakes is the same as disc brakes on the roads as you are limited by the grip of the tyre. I do like the modulation of discs, seems to be more nuanced than rim brakes and the lack of the noise of your rims being ground away during a dirty, wet, winter ride is a definite plus.

    But as said if your not going through rims and you are set on Campy......
    "Bed is for sleepy people.
    Let's get a kebab and go to a disco."

    FCN = 3 - 5
    Colnago World Cup 2
  • Hood design is very clunky as are the levers, manual was a slight improvement. The change mechanism on Ultegra is no where near as precise, and changing three gears on the campag is a tiny flick of one finger making changing effortless.

    I understand the reasons for most people buying Shimano, Campagnolo pricing is astronomic and the availability of bike choice is poor.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,751
    Hood design is very clunky as are the levers, manual was a slight improvement. The change mechanism on Ultegra is no where near as precise,

    What do you mean? They cocked the calculations when they designed the derailleur to match the pull ratio of the lever? I really don't get what you are trying to say
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    My daily commute has discs and my weekend toy has rim brakes

    I like both and want one of each, going on that if you already have a Rim bike, then make this a disc
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    The only thing with that is that if you bust a spoke or something on the commuting bike - you can't swap in your weekend wheel. That's part of the reason I've stayed with rim brakes on all my fleet.
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    Personally speaking, I have 3 road bikes with rim brakes, and I had one with discs. I really couldn't get on with the disc brakes, they were so different in feel and performance ( particularly in the wet ) that I nearly 'hedged' the bike on more than one occasion. I also forgot to brace the calipers when I fixed a puncture. This was bad, I therefore decided that the disc braked road bike had to go. To be fair, I'd rather take the compromises of a rim brake set up, it's just easier to live with ( for me ).
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,751
    Fenix wrote:
    The only thing with that is that if you bust a spoke or something on the commuting bike - you can't swap in your weekend wheel. That's part of the reason I've stayed with rim brakes on all my fleet.

    It only makes sense if you have two of everything... including spares for those parts you cannot swap
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 25,282 Lives Here
    Personally, I'd go disc. But then I already have, I'm used to discs from mountain bikes anyway. I don't find them any hassle at all. I don't get this thing about the brakes being too good, I don't find that a problem. I like being able to brake hard without too much effort, it's quite easy to control. With regard to not bracing the caliper when fixing a puncture, I'm not too sure what is meant. I've never done anything like that. I take the wheel out, fix the hole and put the wheel back in. The only thing to remember is not to pull the brake, but there is no reason to do that.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,751
    Veronese68 wrote:
    I don't get this thing about the brakes being too good, I don't find that a problem.

    I was descending the south "face" of Newlands Hause with both wheels locked... kind of a 25% gradient with the usual Great British tarmac, quite an interesting experience... luckily it didn't last long... meaning I regained some grip eventually
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    In mountain biking discs have been in use for decades and are widely used. In road biking which tends to be resistant to change they are a relatively new thing.

    If you are a light weight rider and only ride in the dry rim brakes work fine. As soon as you introduce more rider weight, the wet and looser surfaces disk brakes work a lot better. The reason for this is they are more powerful with more feel / modulation and are not affected by the wet. This means you can brake harder without locking the wheel up, especially if using hydraulic discs.

    To give you a comparison on Strava my downhill times are a lot faster on my road bike disc brakes as I can brake harder / later and maintain speed better as I know the brakes work well. My rim braked road bike in comparison borderline dangerous in the wet.

    Maintenance on disc brakes is easy and infrequent.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Disc brake obviously epsecially if you dont race as you can't as yet race on a disc brake equipped bike.

    There is not downside if your budget is big enough. The downsides mentioned above are not downsides they are nit picking.

    I commute on a disc brake bike and use my 29er alot and if you ride in all weathers then like me you will find disc brakes nice. The shimano systems work very well. You can have campag with Tektro hy/rd for example. I will be switching back to the hyrd calipers as the spyres are just not the same. I use campag record 10 speed on the commutor.

    I do around 500km a week during autumn winter and spring so rim brakes would last about 3 months for me.

    You could buy a 29er and fit dirt drop bars (like the Nitto RM-3 otherwise known as Lauter Wasser bars) with the R785 sti's and a XT M8010 di2 rear mech or a the R685 STI's and M8000 XT mechanical rear mech and a J tek shiftmate to make the shifters and mech talk to each other. then you could have 1x11 and wolf tooth do larger chainring now o a 44T is available with a 11-40T rear cassette. Build it rigid and use cross tyres or 2.0" and you have a capable bike for the road (buy the right frame and you can have a road position) but have something that can be ridden quickly off road (better than a cross bike). That is how I use my 29er even do club runs on it during the winter. Go to the dark side the force is powerful there.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Kajjal wrote:

    To give you a comparison on Strava my downhill times are a lot faster on my road bike disc brakes as I can brake harder / later and maintain speed better as I know the brakes work well. My rim braked road bike in comparison borderline dangerous in the wet.

    I saw a guy last week drafting a car about 2 feet away, we were both doing 25mph+ and it wasn't until I got closer I realised he was using discs.

    So drafting close to vehicles, no rim wear and downhill strava segments look ideal for disc users.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • Can you take the money and wait?

    "There is no definite public release date for any of Campagnolo’s disc brake technology yet, but the brand seems upbeat about it being sooner rather than later"

    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/arti ... ook-46640/

    you'd be gutted if you went ahead and then Campagnolo released their disc brake bikes the month after...
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Fenix wrote:
    The only thing with that is that if you bust a spoke or something on the commuting bike - you can't swap in your weekend wheel. That's part of the reason I've stayed with rim brakes on all my fleet.

    It only makes sense if you have two of everything... including spares for those parts you cannot swap

    The most common problem I have is the occasional flat tyre. A few times I've gone to the garage to find the tyres gone soft since the last ride. Swap a wheel and you're off.
    Anything more serious than that is incredibly rare.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 4,182
    I've ridden just over 4K on a disc bike.

    The biggest limiter to the effectiveness of discs are the tyres and road surface but I based my purchasing decision on a number of pre made decisions. I wanted carbon wheels for their weight benefits but without the degraded performance in wet weather braking which meant discs. I love the clean lines of a disc specific bike which was the final clincher.

    Would I go back? That depends on the deal for my next bike and as a comparison I had Di2 on my last bike and was quite happy to go back to mechanical shifting. Why? I was unhappy with the longevity of the position of the battery (under the bottom bracket) and was having trouble with the fittings. Ok there were remedies but it was reactive rather than great design pre emting failure. It never let me down but ensuring the battery was charged became a pain and to a degree against the simplistic purity cycling evokes.

    Back to the question, if the wet weather braking was sorted then I'd be more open to the idea but I see the manufacturers pushing discs braked bikes hard. As it stands, light weight wheels and discs each add an improvements over the previous options and when you combine the two together the benefits are much more distinct.

    IMG_5035.jpg

    IMG_5030.jpg

    IMG_5033.jpg
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • Many thanks, that is some advice!

    Still got some thinking to do. Looks like a Deedachi Athena or a Caad12 Ultegra Disc! (there is an Orbea M20i as well!). I am never going to do 500km a week.
    Disc brake obviously epsecially if you dont race as you can't as yet race on a disc brake equipped bike.

    There is not downside if your budget is big enough. The downsides mentioned above are not downsides they are nit picking.

    I commute on a disc brake bike and use my 29er alot and if you ride in all weathers then like me you will find disc brakes nice. The shimano systems work very well. You can have campag with Tektro hy/rd for example. I will be switching back to the hyrd calipers as the spyres are just not the same. I use campag record 10 speed on the commutor.

    I do around 500km a week during autumn winter and spring so rim brakes would last about 3 months for me.

    You could buy a 29er and fit dirt drop bars (like the Nitto RM-3 otherwise known as Lauter Wasser bars) with the R785 sti's and a XT M8010 di2 rear mech or a the R685 STI's and M8000 XT mechanical rear mech and a J tek shiftmate to make the shifters and mech talk to each other. then you could have 1x11 and wolf tooth do larger chainring now o a 44T is available with a 11-40T rear cassette. Build it rigid and use cross tyres or 2.0" and you have a capable bike for the road (buy the right frame and you can have a road position) but have something that can be ridden quickly off road (better than a cross bike). That is how I use my 29er even do club runs on it during the winter. Go to the dark side the force is powerful there.
  • PTestTeamPTestTeam Posts: 395
    Got a welcome but tough ask on my hands, the insurance company wants to completely replace my old bike, so I have a £2100 budget. Which is whole chunk more than I thought I would get!

    But the choice is to disc or not to disc. I can get a bike with full Athena rim brake or Ultegra/Rival disc. The real choices they have are really Merida, Cannodale, Deedachi, Specialised, Felt or Cube

    I was dead set on a disc bike as I have built up a lovely summer/race bike. But having road tested an Ultegra clad bike for the first ever time, Ultegra is a big compromise for me from Athena/Super Record (going to try out SRAM, effing annoying Campag are anti-modern era).

    However this is to be my winter bike (bloody good one!). So I am wondering whether the compromise of Ultegra is out weighed by the benefits of using discs in the poo weather which is to come. I do about 200km a week including commutes, club rides and chains so go through plenty of rims.

    Left field idea here. As you're going for a specific winter bike, why not get a steel or alu frame made for you, with mudguard braze ons and clearance. Fit mudguards, and use rim brakes and stick to Campag (11spd if poss). This way if you have any problems in future on both bikes, you can swap wheels around, cassettes etc. I can't understand why anyone would mix different groupsets on their bikes?
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Slowmart wrote:
    I've ridden just over 4K on a disc bike.

    The biggest limiter to the effectiveness of discs are the tyres and road surface but I based my purchasing decision on a number of pre made decisions. I wanted carbon wheels for their weight benefits but without the degraded performance in wet weather braking which meant discs. I love the clean lines of a disc specific bike which was the final clincher.

    Would I go back? That depends on the deal for my next bike and as a comparison I had Di2 on my last bike and was quite happy to go back to mechanical shifting. Why? I was unhappy with the longevity of the position of the battery (under the bottom bracket) and was having trouble with the fittings. Ok there were remedies but it was reactive rather than great design pre emting failure. It never let me down but ensuring the battery was charged became a pain and to a degree against the simplistic purity cycling evokes.

    Back to the question, if the wet weather braking was sorted then I'd be more open to the idea but I see the manufacturers pushing discs braked bikes hard. As it stands, light weight wheels and discs each add an improvements over the previous options and when you combine the two together the benefits are much more distinct.

    IMG_5035.jpg

    IMG_5030.jpg

    IMG_5033.jpg

    It sure is priddy Mr
  • TiesetrotterTiesetrotter Posts: 432
    edited August 2016
    I have to go through a specific supplier.

    So it is a Deedachi build for Campag Athena or an off the peg bike. If I go disc then it rules out Campag from the supplier. I may even buy an off the peg bike and then swap the Ultegra for a Camapag group later. Having ridden for the first time Ultegra I much much prefer my Campagnolo change set up and the ergo feel of the hoods. I just love the fact that I hit that thumb change on the hood and I am 1 - 3 gears up ...... even when I am cruising with my hands on the bars I can change gears by just moving my little finger a cm or two.

    But for a censored weather commuter I can get over this for discs if discs save me on rims and make braking easier in London.

    That's the dilemma. Also as the above picture demonstrates those discs are not exactly obtrusive.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I ride rim brakes all year through the winter on lowly 105 with stock pads without issue. If you are worried then just make sure you have the best pads you can get and the best calipers.
  • PTestTeamPTestTeam Posts: 395
    IMO disc brakes are a solution to a non-existent problem on road bikes
  • mugensimugensi Posts: 559
    I would say your choice should be dependent on how much braking you do on your winter bike and how often you ride in the wet/rain.

    My winter bike is exclusively for winter and wet weather (which is practically all year round) In winter I stick to back country roads and hills and therefore I'm reliant on good brakes. I have completely wore out the brake track on a set of Zondas in less than 2 yrs as I take my winter/wet bike when I'm training on hills/climbs and where the brakes get heavy use. I'm changing my winter bike in January and going for a disc brake bike, most likely a 2017 Felt VR30 (Shimano 5800 with hydraulic brakes)
  • I'd say I probably have to replace 3 (not sets) rims a year on my alloy wheels. Just replaced bearings and rims on both, £170. So there is a problem there. Admittedly my carbon rims which are not used in such conditions last a lot longer.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    3 rims a year is a lot! Sounds like discs might be for you then.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    I had to ride a mate's bike the other day, with rim brakes. Crikey, I'd forgotten how poor they were. I went disc three years ago. It's not even close, really.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I am with you there about disc brakes and rim wear. It is a non existant problem if you dont brake or ride in censored . You might just have to slum it with fishing gear.


    Rotor have an interesting disc brake group, maybe that is an option.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • PTestTeamPTestTeam Posts: 395
    I'd say I probably have to replace 3 (not sets) rims a year on my alloy wheels. Just replaced bearings and rims on both, £170. So there is a problem there. Admittedly my carbon rims which are not used in such conditions last a lot longer.

    That is a lot of rims. Are there lot's of traffic lights and steep hills on your commute and training rides? Do you wash down your rims after every ride and check and clean the blocks once a week? Grit and shards of aluminium can embed in the blocks causing more abrasion on your rims. If your more vigilant with your post ride maintenance then you should get longer life out of your rims

    I commute/train in urban areas and then ride in the back roads of the Yorkshire Dales at the weekend – around 160 miles a week. I use alu rim wheels with rim brakes and not gone through rims like you have.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 25,282 Lives Here
    PTestTeam wrote:
    IMO disc brakes are a solution to a non-existent problem on road bikes
    How did you eliminate rim wear?
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