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Do i buy disc brake road bike?

mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 1,489
edited January 2018 in Road buying advice
Im looking to change my current bike canyon aeroad cf slx. Having had a long time off the bike now slowly getting out again. Obviously disc bikes are now coming to the fore, whats everyones thoughts? A few people are selling saying they made the mistake of not buy the disc version?
I like the idea of the wheels we all know and love snd use and the normal calipers etc? The choice of disc aftermarket wheels is very limited?
Performance wise im nit that fussed i have disc on my 29er mtb obviously, but i like the idea you dont wear the wheels out with braking. Im unsure should i go disc brake version or not? I really fancy a biachi oltre xr4 so would be looking at tradional anyway.
Anyone got any thoughts?
Thanks
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Posts

  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 880
    I ride discs on a couple of Trek Domane's. I ride in north wales, weather can be bad, mountain passes and some bad roads. For me the wider tyres and more confident and consistent braking makes the disc brakes worthwhile. I also ride in Buckinghamshire where 99.9% of my rides I prefer my lighter rim braked bike.
    An advantage for disc brakes is that I can use my Domane with knobbly 33mm tyres and use it for gravel rides and bike packing.
    Out of curiosity how many wheels have you worn out? It certainly wouldn't be the overwhelming decision factor for me. There's a fair amount of choice for good aftermarket disc wheels, they're heavier and slightly more expensive than the rim version but they are available.
    It's all personal preference, if you're not interested in wider tyres or the performance aspects of disc brakes, why would you then buy a disc brake bike?
    Then again I'd also keep the Canyon Aeroad rather than the Bianche as well.
  • Personally I’m not a great fan of disc brakes but I’m not against them , if you want a replacement for an aeroad the Cervelo S3 Disc looks a brilliant bike. £3500 for this years model or around £3000 for 2017 model with slightly lower quality wheels.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,596
    Personally I ride both disc and rim brakes road bikes and only in the wet stuff does it make a big difference. Limiting factor for discs is rubber to road grip, it's very easy to lock up if your not careful or take your weight off the saddle. Only thing I would advise is only get hydraulic discs not cable.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • A few people are selling saying they made the mistake of not buy the disc version?

    A few people voted for a slogan on a bus
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 10,194
    oxoman wrote:
    Personally I ride both disc and rim brakes road bikes and only in the wet stuff does it make a big difference. Limiting factor for discs is rubber to road grip, it's very easy to lock up if your not careful or take your weight off the saddle. Only thing I would advise is only get hydraulic discs not cable.

    This echoes my own position, and opinion. Both have their place, especially if you run Mavic Exalith rims, they deliver stunning braking power.

    Still would not be without my hydro disc equipped bike though.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 1,489
    Thanks for the input guys, ive worn through a few sets of wheels with mountain riding in mallorca but im back in uk and doing a fraction of the mileage but that said ive already had enough if the uk and cant wait to move bck to spain one day in not too distant.

    Amazing how many people that voted for a slogan on a bus, like that was ever going to be true. Astounding and another reason my delay to spain thats another matter.

    Interesting saying keep the aeroad have to say im struggling to find anything i want to change it for? Just been down the specialized shop and all i was was a new tarmac s works that was nine grand and i can think a lot better things to spend that ammount on.

    Cheers think i will stick with normal brakes

  • Amazing how many people that voted for a slogan on a bus, like that was ever going to be true. Astounding and another reason my delay to spain thats another matter.

    We have problems in the UK alright but there may not be a ‘Spain’ to move back to soon :shock:
  • bristolpetebristolpete Posts: 2,255
    Jeff,

    I have spent the last few years despising disk brakes on road bikes. A naysayer if you will. I felt not needed, not required and over kill. Yet, I bought a Giant Tough road bike 10 days ago and have ridden it to and from work all week including a 'gravel' ride in Devon via the lanes and have to say I am a convert over the last 100 miles on dreadful weather and road conditions. Now I realise that I am running a 40c tyre, not 23, 25 or even 28 but I have found it superb and very enjoyable with SRAM apex hydro. Everything I forgot what a disk brake can offer having given up MTB riding in 2010.

    Personally, if I could sell my Dogma F8 and my TCR ADV SL for good money ( which I am thinking about ) I would buy a disk brake bike but I would chose an appropriate machine such as the new Dura Ace Synapse, Defy SL or something like this. In reality no slower than my current bikes.

    I think endurance bikes suit disk. The issue I have is writing off Zipp 303 with Chris King hubs and so on but hey ho, only a set of wheels and a good second hand market out there.

    I can see how and why the road bike market is changing but each to their own as ever.
  • markyonemarkyone Posts: 1,093
    I have a winter disc bike for crappy roads etc as pete says,but for me i still like caliper brakes for dry sunny days imo they just look better
    Fwiw ive just ordered a steal colnago master so no disc brakes :D
    Colnago c60 Eps super record 11
    Pinarello F8 with sram etap
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Well now BC allow disc brakes for racing there is no longer an excuse not to do buy one except for overall cost. The lock up issue when braking can be solved with the right tyres and they dont have to be 40mm wide.

    Race bikes can work well with disc brakes. I intend to build one later this year. I wont be getting rid of the rim brake bikes though. I like them all.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,337
    oxoman wrote:
    Limiting factor [for discs] is rubber to road grip, it's very easy to lock up if your not careful or take your weight off the saddle.

    I’ve mostly stopped posting but this statement is simply wrong (regardless of what brakes you are using). Brake progressively with just the front wheel in anything but the worst grip conditions (wet leaves, ice, mud etc). Your limiting factor will then be not going over the bars. Progressive braking (ie not snatching) builds load on the front tyre and you won’t lose grip. Watch some Moto GP if you want to see this done beautifully - but the physics is essentially identical.

    But the point is, in maximum braking on a clean (wet or dry) road surface, your rear brake is useless. Weight transfer when you brake to the max means the rear tyre is doing nothing.

    This isn’t true on loose surfaces - but the question is about road bikes.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • bristolpetebristolpete Posts: 2,255
    oxoman wrote:
    Limiting factor [for discs] is rubber to road grip, it's very easy to lock up if your not careful or take your weight off the saddle.

    I’ve mostly stopped posting but this statement is simply wrong (regardless of what brakes you are using). Brake progressively with just the front wheel in anything but the worst grip conditions (wet leaves, ice, mud etc). Your limiting factor will then be not going over the bars. Progressive braking (ie not snatching) builds load on the front tyre and you won’t lose grip. Watch some Moto GP if you want to see this done beautifully - but the physics is essentially identical.

    But the point is, in maximum braking on a clean (wet or dry) road surface, your rear brake is useless. Weight transfer when you brake to the max means the rear tyre is doing nothing.

    This isn’t true on loose surfaces - but the question is about road bikes.

    Nice post.

    Is this not what the whole argument is. Modulate the brake, feather it with minimal fuss. Control. Not on and off like a caliper ?
  • bristolpetebristolpete Posts: 2,255
    Well now BC allow disc brakes for racing there is no longer an excuse not to do buy one except for overall cost. The lock up issue when braking can be solved with the right tyres and they dont have to be 40mm wide.

    Race bikes can work well with disc brakes. I intend to build one later this year. I wont be getting rid of the rim brake bikes though. I like them all.

    25mm, 28mm ?
  • I bought a Aeroad CF SLX 8.0 Disc in September. Up until then i have had normal rim brakes and the not only does this bike hand better than anything else I've own in the 6 years I've been riding it out brakes anything else by at least 30-40% I think.

    My other/ old bike is a Jamis Zenith Comp Pro with 50mm carbon rims and I thought the rim brake on that were fairly good with Swiss Stop Black Prince it took me about 100 miles to get used to braking a lot later on the Canyon.

    If you can afford it go for the new Aeroad Disc, it's the best bike ever, but then again I don't need to tell you that really.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    oxoman wrote:
    Limiting factor [for discs] is rubber to road grip, it's very easy to lock up if your not careful or take your weight off the saddle.

    I’ve mostly stopped posting but this statement is simply wrong (regardless of what brakes you are using). Brake progressively with just the front wheel in anything but the worst grip conditions (wet leaves, ice, mud etc). Your limiting factor will then be not going over the bars. Progressive braking (ie not snatching) builds load on the front tyre and you won’t lose grip. Watch some Moto GP if you want to see this done beautifully - but the physics is essentially identical.

    But the point is, in maximum braking on a clean (wet or dry) road surface, your rear brake is useless. Weight transfer when you brake to the max means the rear tyre is doing nothing.

    This isn’t true on loose surfaces - but the question is about road bikes.

    Nice post.

    Is this not what the whole argument is. Modulate the brake, feather it with minimal fuss. Control. Not on and off like a caliper ?

    You get plenty of modulation with decent discs. Mountain bikers ride on loose surfaces all the time. If brakes were on or off, so too would the riders.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • bristolpetebristolpete Posts: 2,255
    cooldad wrote:
    oxoman wrote:
    Limiting factor [for discs] is rubber to road grip, it's very easy to lock up if your not careful or take your weight off the saddle.

    I’ve mostly stopped posting but this statement is simply wrong (regardless of what brakes you are using). Brake progressively with just the front wheel in anything but the worst grip conditions (wet leaves, ice, mud etc). Your limiting factor will then be not going over the bars. Progressive braking (ie not snatching) builds load on the front tyre and you won’t lose grip. Watch some Moto GP if you want to see this done beautifully - but the physics is essentially identical.

    But the point is, in maximum braking on a clean (wet or dry) road surface, your rear brake is useless. Weight transfer when you brake to the max means the rear tyre is doing nothing.

    This isn’t true on loose surfaces - but the question is about road bikes.

    Nice post.

    Is this not what the whole argument is. Modulate the brake, feather it with minimal fuss. Control. Not on and off like a caliper ?

    You get plenty of modulation with decent discs. Mountain bikers ride on loose surfaces all the time. If brakes were on or off, so too would the riders.

    Yes, I was agreeing with the previous post.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    I bought a Felt cx bike in 2014 to use as a winter bike. Fitted 28mm tyres with cable operated disc brakes. Put on a full set of guards and I am still riding it now. Absolutely fantastic compared to rim brakes in winter conditions. The cable discs are actually pretty rubbish, but even then, when correctly adjusted they stop brilliantly.

    In 2016 I sold my Pinarello with record rim brakes and built a Colnago C60 disc with Dura Ace, di2. At the time Shimano did not do a Dura Ace, di2 hydraulic lever/ caliper, so I fitted ST-785 levers and calipers.

    The bike is superb and the braking out of this world. The biggest benefit is adjustments for reach and biting point on the levers. The modulation is superb and I can get maximum braking force with one finger, even from the hoods. Coupled to hand built deep section carbon rims I think they are a match made in heaven.

    After an insurance payout I am now lucky enough to be able to build another bike and I have stayed with Colnago, this time a Concept with Dura Ace 9170. The decision on disc/ rim brakes was a no brainer. I am a complete convert and have gone for disc again with hand built wheels.

    Are discs necessary? No. Are they better than rim brakes? In the wet definitely, in the dry on carbon rims downhill I personally think yes again - I can brake later and harder, however good rim brakes can be pretty much as good, but they do need a more powerful pull compared to a hydraulic disc to brake hard. The adjustments available at the lever for reach and biting point are brilliant and once set up they self adjust for pad wear. You only really need to keep an eye on the pad wear, swap when they reach the wear limit (which is simplicity itself and takes under 2 mins) and occasionally change the fluid with a quick re-bleed. Very simple.

    I’ve not had any issues with calipers sticking, squealing, needing re-adjusting etc etc. Rim brakes don’t self adjust and are a bit fiddly to set up with toe in and to get the pad properly aligned especially with a narrow brake track, compared to a disc caliper which merely needs two bolts tightening whilst held in the right position. Rim brake blocks needed constant checking for embedded debris, especially with aluminium rims and of course they do wear your rims down over time.

    Some will argue that disc set ups are heavier. Well yes, but I’m no weight weenie and I have more dieting work to do before I have to worry about the weight of my brakes! Unless you are racing up hills I can’t see that the slight weight difference is going to be an issue. It certainly doesn’t cause me any issues when riding with my mates.

    I’m very lucky that I can go for very expensive bikes/ groupsets, but much cheaper versions are available and are as efficient. I can see a di2/ hydraulic disc Shimano 105 group coming at some point in the not too distant future. Could well be based around my old ST-785 or ST-685 models, so that opens the market up at a whole new lower price point. Some of the current road disc levers at the lower end of the market are butt ugly due to the reservoir size. But things are moving quickly, as they are with disc specific wheel sets. The choice is getting bigger and bigger every year.

    So, some are traditionalists that just hate the idea of disc brakes on road bikes; well, good luck to them, they can continue to ride their rim brake bikes, there is room in the market for all tastes and the market is now starting to cater for both. Some prefer one over the other; that is fine too. We should all ride what we feel gives us the best experience. Given the choice I now choose discs for the reasons I have stated. If you have not tried a disc road bike, seriously, give one a go and see what you think before making your decision.

    PP
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    smith931 wrote:
    They may not be quite as fast...
    Absolutely irrelevant to 99.9% of cyclists and completely imperceptible.

    PP
  • ZMC888ZMC888 Posts: 292
    I have nothing really against disk brakes especially for touring and commuting but I worry that it's going to open up a Pandora's Box of axle standards like 15x100, 12x100, 12x110, 12x120, boost, boost plus etc etc. So we can all get 12, 13, 14 speed, eliminate front derailleurs etc.

    If disk brakes were really the way to go they'd only bother with one on the front and have a regular rim brake on the back and save some weight especially for climbing bike type bikes. The rear brake really does very little in hard braking situations.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 25,362 Lives Here
    ZMC888 wrote:
    I worry that it's going to open up a Pandora's Box of axle standards like 15x100, 12x100, 12x110, 12x120, boost, boost plus etc etc. So we can all get 12, 13, 14 speed, eliminate front derailleurs etc.
    Different axles are not that much of an issue if you have the right hubs. I bought Novatec hubs as I can swap between QR on my CX bike and 15mm on my 29er using interchangeable end caps. I can get different caps again if I want to go to 12mm in future. Boost would create issues but would that become a thing on road bikes?
  • bristolpetebristolpete Posts: 2,255
    I think personally it is about introspection. I *think* I was wrong to write off disks and that was based on lack of use. However, my mind was changed by my Toughroad. This allowed to admit to myself, perhaps I am wrong and disk is OK. The usual internet hyperbole has a role to play here as a lot of people repeat what they read, a bit like "my mate down the pub said" scenario regarding performance, brake fade, tyre width, weight and so on.

    If I had the funds in place I would buy a Synapse disc tomorrow and move the rim brake bikes on but it is chicken and the egg in I need to sell to buy. In reality I know I will be no slower and paradoxically likely descend better / enjoy it more. 28mm tyre and disks ? Spot on.
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,337
    I'd be interested to know what percentage of new road bikes that came out last year were disc equipped, as opposed to rim. And then compare that to the previous year, and then the year before that. I suspect the percentage is increasing, which could mean the industry is going down the road of phasing rim brakes out, little by little.
    I do hope not, but I wouldn't be surprised. I have both a rim brake bike (summer custom steel beauty) and a hydro disc Genesis Equilibrium for the winter/wet weather. The discs are better, yes, but for my needs rim brakes on the summer bike are fine - but if I were to only have one bike ( :( ) then it would have to be disc, given the performance in the wet.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 25,362 Lives Here
    The discs are better, yes, but for my needs rim brakes on the summer bike are fine - but if I were to only have one bike ( :( ) then it would have to be disc, given the performance in the wet.
    That's what it all boils down to. If I only had one bike it would be my CX, it can handle light off road if I want to and it's fast enough on road with a change of tyres that for a rider of my ability it makes no difference. Rim brakes are fine in the dry, prefer discs in the wet. I don't think I would change bike just to go to discs from rim, but if I was changing bike anyway then I would be looking for discs.
    I don't think rim brakes will disappear completely for a long time yet. In the more distant future it may become difficult to get high end rim brake stuff, but I don't think that will happen for a while yet.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    I think personally it is about introspection. I *think* I was wrong to write off disks and that was based on lack of use. However, my mind was changed by my Toughroad. This allowed to admit to myself, perhaps I am wrong and disk is OK. The usual internet hyperbole has a role to play here as a lot of people repeat what they read, a bit like "my mate down the pub said" scenario regarding performance, brake fade, tyre width, weight and so on.

    If I had the funds in place I would buy a Synapse disc tomorrow and move the rim brake bikes on but it is chicken and the egg in I need to sell to buy. In reality I know I will be no slower and paradoxically likely descend better / enjoy it more. 28mm tyre and disks ? Spot on.

    I applaud your open mindedness and character to admit you changed your mind. :wink: Your final paragraph adds a very relevant perspective - if someone needs to sell, in order to buy, then making the move to discs is not as straightforward and would need planning, for sure.

    The fact is, just because someone has a number of rim brakes bikes does not mean the swap to discs should be a no-no. Again, just needs thinking about. I had two rim brakes bikes (best road bike and my TT bike) when I bought my first winter bike with cable discs. So what that I had one bike that was odd that I couldn’t swap wheels with? In hindsight I have never felt the want or need to swap my wheels from best summer bike to winter hack, or vice versa.

    Equally, now I have a best summer bike with disc brakes I still have never felt the need to swap wheels between either of my disc brake bikes! Now I am building a third disc brake bike, which is another best bike, difference being it is an aero road bike, I have opted for some really deep section carbon rims to compliment that bike. Now, I could in theory swap them between my two best road bikes and use the bike with lower profile rims, but I can’t quite see why I would - if I was going on a hilly, or windy ride I would just take the other bike!

    I can see the possible benefit of buying an extra pair of very shallow rim wheels for mountainous holidays, but that’s just a luxury really as to be honest I am not really needing such a pair of wheels as I would be riding with mates, not racing, so eking out a marginal gain to wait at a lay-by is hardly a necessity!

    So as others have said, plan hub options wisely so that you can swap end caps and accommodate whatever axle standard takes your fancy and compatability ceases to be an issue.

    Not swapping to discs because of what you currently ride again is not really a valid excuse. If you are happy staying with rim brakes then it is not an issue, and there is no need to tell everyone that they are unnecessary, too heavy, ugly etc etc etc. If you try them and like/prefer them then you can easily swap one bike at a time over an extended period and sell off your current ‘stock’. But like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter if you do have a ‘mixed stable’ like I have, so what? I can only ride one bike at a time!

    PP
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 25,362 Lives Here
    Too many Petes in this thread, I got confused between Pilot Pete and Bristol Pete and thought he was answering his own post for a moment there.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    He he, don’t worry they are about to take me away due to me talking to myself....your problem is solved! :mrgreen:

    PP
  • bristolpetebristolpete Posts: 2,255
    I should be South Devon Pete now really.

    I used to say water, I now say waddeerrr.

    Left Bristol in 2013. Only thing I miss really is super fast broadband and the lap dancing clubs.
  • mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 1,489
    Thanks for all the input guys much appreciated. I took my aeroad out for a damp spin this morning and having been riding a carbon 29er of late with discs of course, jumping on the aeroad with carbon wheels which were pretty wet was hilarious, just pull them brakes and nothing seems to happen, just a very slight decrease in speed but clearly evident shoukd i need to actually stop sharpish its not going to happen. That said im still pondering what to buy maybe an f8 or f10 or colnago c60 but i think im going rim brakes, i just cant see the disc brake looking attractive on a road bike, but my god they must be usefull conpared to the censored im running at the moment when wet
    Thanks all

    (And yes there will always be a spain to go to, ive sold my house in mallorca last spring and buying one on the mainland soon just looking at where currently)

    Cheers
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    BE5_A2_DD2_32_D1_4_C7_D_A080_D6_BEE9_A578_E7.jpg

    It’s all a matter of opinion, but I don’t think it looks terrible. My new Concept will have the Freeza rotors which I think look better (as well as perform better). As I am sure you are aware Shimano have stuck with 140mm rotors (which I think look less obtrusive) and come up with the Freeza cooling fins to help dissipate the heat, whereas Sram have gone 160mm on the front for the greater surface area.
  • oxoman wrote:
    Limiting factor [for discs] is rubber to road grip, it's very easy to lock up if your not careful or take your weight off the saddle.

    I’ve mostly stopped posting but this statement is simply wrong (regardless of what brakes you are using). Brake progressively with just the front wheel in anything but the worst grip conditions (wet leaves, ice, mud etc). Your limiting factor will then be not going over the bars. Progressive braking (ie not snatching) builds load on the front tyre and you won’t lose grip. Watch some Moto GP if you want to see this done beautifully - but the physics is essentially identical.

    But the point is, in maximum braking on a clean (wet or dry) road surface, your rear brake is useless. Weight transfer when you brake to the max means the rear tyre is doing nothing.

    This isn’t true on loose surfaces - but the question is about road bikes.

    Everything you're saying is correct but you're making a different point. You're talking about maximizing the available friction between the ground and tires, and the brake pads and braking surface. Assuming you're maximizing that, the limiting factor is ultimately going to be either the friction between the brake components, or the tire and the ground. Most people don't maximize what they're using, so they assume they need better tires.
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