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Are disc brakes the new clipless?

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Are disc brakes the new clipless?

Old 04-01-15, 10:16 AM
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Are disc brakes the new clipless?

A few years back, when I was an active member of the 50+ forum, I remember innumerable posts about whether to go clips, how to go clips, proper technique when falling while clipless, etc. I learned a lot and loved the discussions.

Now, as I reenter the of cycling, I see a lot of posts about disc brakes. Sure, they were around back then, but I don't remember them being a "hot topic" as they appear to be now.

My understanding is that disc brakes are terrific if one is riding in inclement weather, such as rain, snow, or when out on mountain trails crossing streams, etc. If one is riding almost exclusively in dry weather, it would seem to me that disc brakes are simply added weight and probably not worth it.

Am I missing something? And have disc brakes become a lot better than five, six years ago? Does it make sense to get the disc brake model of a given bike like the Sirrus or the Trek 7.x series or the Giant Eclipse for normal riding conditions?
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Old 04-01-15, 10:53 AM
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Weight wise? I have no Idea but I don't think they are that much different.

I'M on my 3rd bike with them, 1st is a recumbent high racer I still have and 2nd was a 29er that got stolen. When looking for a replacement for the 29er one of the requirements was disk brakes. The day I got the new 29er I ended up having to do an emergency stop. I hit the brake and the rear wheel came off the ground. The girl that ran the stop sign had eyes as big as dinner plates. Hopefully next time she will use her neck as a swivel and not a phone holder. I have never had a rear wheel come off the ground while riding using rim brakes. I'm a clyde and have been since the age of 13.

I don't think I would get a bike with/out disk brakes ever again.

Then again I'm sure there are people who swear at them just as much as I swear by them.
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Old 04-01-15, 10:57 AM
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I don't mountain bike anymore, I don't ride in the snow, and I won't start a ride if it's raining. As such, I don't have anything against disc brakes but I'm not all "gaga" over them either. If you tend to remove your front wheel when carrying your bike in your car, mechanical disc brakes are a little quicker and easier. Hydraulic discs are also easier so long as you avoid accidentally pressing the brake lever with no disc in the caliper. If I were buying a new bike for myself today the brake style would be a non-factor. Whatever came on the bike I liked best otherwise would be fine with me.

Then again, I'm a retro grouch and a non-repentant one at that.
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Old 04-01-15, 11:03 AM
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Newer products are offered all the time .. the mountain bike Hydraulics from companies like Magura And Hope are pretty unlikely to show up on US bikes

Because the companies source bikes made in Asia.. which both brands mentioned , are .. then the parts fitted will also be from there ..

Of recent Intrest the new TRP products a Hydraulic/Cable hybrid HyRd, and double action mechanicals Spyre and Spyke.


The "worth-It" Thing is for you and your wallet to decide ..


Ive been quite happy with the Rim Braked Bike I've owned over the decades , Cantilever and side pull ..

and that includes a German Magura Hydraulic Rim brake , now in their 20th year of production.

I bought a Bike Friday It came with a Disc dyno-hub and a disc IGH in it's front and rear wheels ..

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Old 04-01-15, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Then again, I'm a retro grouch and a non-repentant one at that.
Thank God! That's part of your charm!
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Old 04-01-15, 11:13 AM
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Knock yourself out.
Do all disc brakes rub?

BTW, I love disc brakes. Hyd are the better for it.
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Old 04-01-15, 11:44 AM
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I will probably avoid discs for the time being because I don't ride hard, or in the rain. Plus, for new bikes equipped equally, the one with discs will typically cost more, and I am on a tight budget.

My rear wheel doesn't lift when I brake with V-brakes, but then again, that is because I shift my 300+ pounds back when I brake hard... I do typically skid the back under hard braking since it is almost at the point of lifting, so I think I have the ideal setup for a fast stop now. This could well be because I can squeeze pretty hard.

After more bikes with discs hit the used market, maybe I will have to learn how to determine which brakes are better than others and try a set. Until then, assuming I never gravitate toward riding in slop, I am happy with what I have.

I have thought of putting a front disc on one of my bikes, but by the time I replace the fork, wheel and brake, I could buy a decent used bike...
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Old 04-01-15, 12:02 PM
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I was riding last week after work in modest traffic. A car pulled out of a garage from behind a line of cars backed up at a light. I wasn't going particularly fast but was caught unawares and hit the brakes (road disc). I abruptly pulled up short.

Sure any brakes can do the job. But disc brakes are available to stop without hesitation under any conditions. There's no split second of "wiping water off the rims" or "getting them to bite", they just work: reliably, progressively, and economically

My rides take place in any conditions and I look forward to the day when all my bikes have the option to be set up with discs.
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Old 04-01-15, 12:29 PM
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Love the discs on my winter bike. I rode rim brakes in winter snow, and they mostly worked, but I did get incidents of slush to ice build up under the shoes with the braking surface near to the road surface. My main bike has fittings for discs (older Novara Safari). I've toyed with getting them, but I'm not sure it's worth it for general use. Discs do seem to have a nice feel.
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Old 04-01-15, 03:10 PM
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I love the disc brakes on my son's mountain bike - they've been low maintenance for me and they really do work pretty well. Even so, I'm not looking for a disk-compatible fork for my road bike. I could take it or leave it.
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Old 04-01-15, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
I rode rim brakes in winter snow, and they mostly worked,
I remember a particular quite cold winter mountain bike ride in the snow. On one memorable downhill the heat from braking melted the snow on my rims which promptly refroze into ice. The only way to control my speed was to ride into a snow drift. I don't know how much better disc brakes would have worked, but they wouldn't have been any less effective.
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Old 04-01-15, 06:04 PM
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It's been quite a controversy for pros. More than half don't care. Some sorry about the danger of the disc cutting riders in a crash. Some feel it hurst aero wise. Many don't see the need unless it's a mountainess course with lots of long steep descents. The majority see advantages in wet conditions. Many only want them in races where everybody has them or no one.

So if a recreational rider doesn't ride steep descents and doesn't ride often in the rain, why get them?
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Old 04-01-15, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
It's been quite a controversy for pros. More than half don't care. Some sorry about the danger of the disc cutting riders in a crash. Some feel it hurst aero wise. Many don't see the need unless it's a mountainess course with lots of long steep descents. The majority see advantages in wet conditions. Many only want them in races where everybody has them or no one.

So if a recreational rider doesn't ride steep descents and doesn't ride often in the rain, why get them?
Agree, but if they're not going to ride steep descents or in the rain, should they be allowed to ride at all? Those are some pretty serious limitations than only nature can influence. I mean, I wouldn't want anyone that gets caught in a rain shower to get by without discs so it stands to reason that it makes more sense not to ride at all rather than risk what nature may bring.


AF
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Old 04-01-15, 06:32 PM
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I have a bike with hydro disc brakes and love them. I do not need them, I seldom ride when raining and hardly ever cross any water. I like them because they stop on a dime and take considerably less effort to do so, which my arthritic hands appreciate. The few times I've had to do a panic stop on my previous bike and had to grab a handful of brake I had sore hands for days, with the hydro discs I didn't. I also felt I could feather the braking more and maintain a bit more control on steep descents too, although in the Ozarks the descents I do are nothing like what other posters have cited.

So while I would heartily recommend them I would say if the bike you want don't come with them don't fret any over it, there are other things that offer more bang for the buck.
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Old 04-01-15, 06:33 PM
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Hydraulic disc brakes are absolutely essential on mountain bikes ridden fast on technical trails. Their power is important, but their controlability is far more important. There are some situations on roads where they may be superior to good caliper brakes. For my money, caliper brakes are completely fine for road riding in all Georgia weather (I can't speak from experience about snow) and conditions on paved and most dirt roads. For mountainous gravel roads, I can see where discs would be better, especially hydros. For most of the gravel riding I do, brakes are not a big deal. You just need to have some occasionally. The only advantage I see of discs on the gravel and dirt roads I ride is that they don't limit tire width at all. You can run whatever your frame and fork will take.
For performance riding on roads, the disc brakes of a few years from now will be vastly superior to the MTB based models on the market today. Also, standards for brake mounting and thru-axles are evolving. I plan to wait and see if I think I need them once things settle down.
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Old 04-01-15, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I remember a particular quite cold winter mountain bike ride in the snow. On one memorable downhill the heat from braking melted the snow on my rims which promptly refroze into ice. The only way to control my speed was to ride into a snow drift. I don't know how much better disc brakes would have worked, but they wouldn't have been any less effective.
When I lived in the mountains I had cantilever brakes on my mtb and the snow collects on top of the pads and melts onto the rims so they are constantly wet, along with gritty from the sand mixed in. Pads didn't last long, nor did rims, and stopping power sucked.
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Old 04-01-15, 11:28 PM
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Good in the rain weather.
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Old 04-01-15, 11:42 PM
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I rode down Alba Road near Santa Cruze in 1979 on Mafac cantilevers. Pouring rain. Rivers running across the road. Those brakes were 1950s technology. (Alba Road drops 2000' in 4 miles.) About half way down, I went from one finger on the levers to two. Now the road was steep enough that I had no interest in letting up on the brakes and going fast. And in the dead of winter, heat was not an issue. That bike and others (all caliper brakes) have been down Mt Diablo, Mt Ashland and other real and steep descents. I haven't raced so I haven't pushed things to the limit on descents (though I misjudged a turn badly descending from McKenzie Pass on my fix gear and braked very hard; the bike responded admirably with dual pivot brakes and V-brake levers).

I find good caliper brakes can have as much power as I need, that good ones work well in the rain and are capable of hard stops. Also that the increased distance due to wet rims can 1) be alleviated by dragging the shoes on the rim and 2) becomes just part of riding in the wet.

I like that negligence with rim brakes rarely causes big problems unless left ignores a while and that virtually all of the system is very visible. And getting them working better rarely involves fancy tools. Cheap and low tech has a very real place in these tools I count on so much every day.

And to answer the OP's question, yes, discs are the new clipless. And I will ease into them about the same rate. (First clipless - 2000. I still have 2 bikes with toe-clips and am in no huyrry to change.

Ben
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Old 04-01-15, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Also that the increased distance due to wet rims can 1) be alleviated by dragging the shoes on the rim and 2) becomes just part of riding in the wet.
So I shouldn't aspire to anything better than what you've got. Buck up and take my licks, so to speak.

Got it. Carry on...
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Old 04-02-15, 06:42 AM
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I'm 69 years old. Disc brakes are the future of bicycle brakes, and they are unbelievably awesome. Disc brakes have come a long, long, way in the last 40 years.

I WOULDN'T BUY ANOTHER BIKE WITHOUT DISC BRAKES. I even lust after one, a Sirrus Comp or Elite Disc.
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Old 04-02-15, 06:45 AM
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I don't love them but, the fact that they are showing up on showroom floors(especially here in VT) says that they are gaining momentum.
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Old 04-02-15, 06:52 AM
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They are the new clipless in that they give another option, which you don't have to use if you don't want to.
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Old 04-02-15, 06:53 AM
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IMO there have been 3 major advances in cycling in the last 40 years, click shifting, clipless pedals, and disc brakes.
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Old 04-02-15, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cale View Post
So I shouldn't aspire to anything better than what you've got. Buck up and take my licks, so to speak.

Got it. Carry on...

I don't believe 79pmooney said anything about what you should or should not aspire to. Read his post again, he was talking about his own preferences.
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Old 04-02-15, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
IMO there have been 3 major advances in cycling in the last 40 years, click shifting, clipless pedals, and disc brakes.
+1 And... that is so sadly true. I am perfectly happy (and safe) with regular old rim brakes, Down Tube friction shifters, and toe cages.

But the forth major advance of more gears and the compact crank.... does make cycling more pleasant... from my point of view. And I think improved braking would be nice as well.
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