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Disc brakes are now the default on road bikes – and no one cares

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Disc brakes are now the default on road bikes – and no one cares

Old 02-24-20, 08:29 PM
  #226  
tomato coupe
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
What "better " seems to mean to people who like their "modern" dual pivots is only that less force is needed at the lever. I don't subscribe to the idea that those with no hand strength at all should even be attempting to ride down the mountain. Strength is needed to control every other part of the bike. If you ain't got it you should not be there. Or at least you should ride slow.
I think this is the downhill equivalent of "If you can't climb 15% hills with 53/39 rings and a 12-23 cassette, you need to get stronger."

Last time there was a change in brakes that made a difference was 1953.
No difference in 67 years! That's incredible!
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Old 02-24-20, 08:46 PM
  #227  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
What "better " seems to mean to people who like their "modern" dual pivots is only that less force is needed at the lever. I don't subscribe to the idea that those with no hand strength at all should even be attempting to ride down the mountain. Strength is needed to control every other part of the bike. If you ain't got it you should not be there. Or at least you should ride slow.

Better materials than the forged arms of a Mafac brake? They last forever, do not wear out. Older Weinmanns the same, they just do not wear out. Yes, you can set them up so as to sabotage them and get very poor performance. Failure rate on these archaic dual pivot brakes is essentially zero. Anyone ever see one broken? Millions and millions of calipers made and they all work. Proven track record of these parts is stunning. No one, no one at all is going to be using any current production bike part 60 or 70 years from now. All of it landfill in progress.
None of these Mafac or Weinmann parts are in a landfill? How often do we see them on group rides? Never see them and I ride with different clubs. The second part of that paragraph is just ridiculous. You can't predict what parts are going to be around in the future. You just come off as a retrogrouch.
Some people like having new stuff, bikes, cars, whatever.

As to your argument about hand strength, I know people who have had injuries or surgeries and don't have lots of hand strength. I've also ridden with 2 amputees who ride with one arm. I have hands that are pretty big and strong and there are times when they get tired and ache from long braking efforts. I've done a century in the mountains during a rainstorm when my hands felt like they might give up. Discs would have been great that day.
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Old 02-24-20, 08:58 PM
  #228  
Russ Roth
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Obviously there is no "modern style" brake that is 90 years old. What kind of question is that? There are two pivot cantis at least from 1929. Two pivots is two pivots. In the "modern style" the arms move inexorably to center and simply crucify the rim. Then rapid rim wear becomes a reason for using discs. Only works well when the rim and frame are more perfect than can reasonably be expected. Needs every part of system in perfect alignment and needs every part to remain in perfect alignment. Bikes aren't like that.
You refute your own argument and then match it with pure BS. Some antiquated brake with 2 pivots is in no way related to a modern dual pivot 90 years later just because they happen to each have two pivots. An apple and an orange aren't the same thing just because they both happen to be round fruit. Modern calipers also don't require anything to be truly perfect to function perfectly fine. They have adjustments that can compensate for minor errors.
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
What "better " seems to mean to people who like their "modern" dual pivots is only that less force is needed at the lever. I don't subscribe to the idea that those with no hand strength at all should even be attempting to ride down the mountain. Strength is needed to control every other part of the bike. If you ain't got it you should not be there. Or at least you should ride slow.
Actually better means not keeping the lever squeezed all the way to the handlebar while the bike and its canti/single pivots/center pull brakes get around to deciding if it feels like stopping because they weren't designed to stop as well as a modern V-brake/dual pivot no matter how well they're set up. Nothing about setup will change the fact that old designs are just that; old, outdated, under engineered designs. Refusing to see that these are new, better, properly working designs is just being ignoring the truth before you.
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Better materials than the forged arms of a Mafac brake? They last forever, do not wear out. Older Weinmanns the same, they just do not wear out. Yes, you can set them up so as to sabotage them and get very poor performance. Failure rate on these archaic dual pivot brakes is essentially zero. Anyone ever see one broken? Millions and millions of calipers made and they all work. Proven track record of these parts is stunning. No one, no one at all is going to be using any current production bike part 60 or 70 years from now. All of it landfill in progress.
You realize how many millions of the parts you named already fill the landfills or have been converted to scrap? Sure there's lots still running around but not that many when you consider how many were built during the boom years of the 70s. Plenty have failed, you just choose not to see it.
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
On mountain descents where the pavement remains same as it was there is no change in how long it takes to get from peak to valley for 65 years now. If you want to like a brake because it feels good to you, fine, you don't need any more reason than that. That there is a night and day difference in function is rubbish. What the rider does is in every case far more important than what brake is on the bike. Last time there was a change in brakes that made a difference was 1953. Since then the best brakes of the day have all been more than good enough. The rider rides the bike. The kit does not operate the bike.
Riiigght
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Old 02-24-20, 09:39 PM
  #229  
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Originally Posted by Tom B. View Post
No denying that discs have advantages to rim brakes, primarily in the wet...and no wear on your trims. BUT, I have at least 6 pair of different wheels that I like to switch out for different reasons between my different bikes--but you can't do that unless all your wheels are discs.
I have 7 wheelsets that are 5-6 speed.

Things change, we move on.
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Old 02-24-20, 09:40 PM
  #230  
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Wow, I'd never trust a Mafac or Weinmann brake these days, not when my Campy Chorus rim brake on my road bike or XT on my commuter will stop so much faster with a lot less pressure. You know what, I've lost strength in my hands over the years and don't want to be holding on for dear life to the levers going down a hill. My XT brakes need one finger, although I usually use two and stop in NYC traffic when needed.

But what I was going to say is that I rented a Roubaix when I was in San Fran a few months ago and it had disc brakes and I wouldn't want anything else in SF with those hills. It just felt secure to ride with them. It was my first and only time with discs, and between that and the shock stem I started looking at them as my next bike, that was until my wife reminded my I have 8 bikes at the moment.
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Old 02-24-20, 10:17 PM
  #231  
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Originally Posted by Johnk3 View Post
The frame for a disc bike does not weigh much more than a rim bike frame, but according to road.cc the rotors, fluid, calipers etc. can add up to a pound more than a rim brake bike for the whole disc bike.
Somebody posted an example in this thread of a race bike that's 200 grams heavier with disc brakes. I think it was Scott Foil?
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Old 02-24-20, 11:09 PM
  #232  
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Originally Posted by Johnk3 View Post
Stronger and heavier does not necessarily mean larger. But I am a steel guy and believe that one reason for the tour bikes being large diameter carbon is the increase in advertising space for their name.
No. It's engineering.
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Old 02-24-20, 11:35 PM
  #233  
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Wow, I'd never trust a Mafac or Weinmann brake these days, not when my Campy Chorus rim brake on my road bike or XT on my commuter will stop so much faster with a lot less pressure. You know what, I've lost strength in my hands over the years and don't want to be holding on for dear life to the levers going down a hill. My XT brakes need one finger, although I usually use two and stop in NYC traffic when needed.

But what I was going to say is that I rented a Roubaix when I was in San Fran a few months ago and it had disc brakes and I wouldn't want anything else in SF with those hills. It just felt secure to ride with them. It was my first and only time with discs, and between that and the shock stem I started looking at them as my next bike, that was until my wife reminded my I have 8 bikes at the moment.
Can you point out how much healthier your need for a bike is, and how many fewer you have then she does purses, shoes, something? It is an awful thing when wives use logic that you can't refute.
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Old 02-25-20, 12:22 AM
  #234  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
The pessimist in me says that the bike makers are making the rim brake versions heavier than they need to be, just so they can make these kinds of claims. But I'm partially insane.
Part of it is that they almost certainly use the same fork and frame minus the caliper mounts, built for discs and just overbuilt for rim brakes. That way they can just shuttle off a few standard frames to get rim brakes before the mounts are put on. (I wonder if this is part of why reducing road vibration is such a big concern now. The forks we used to use are neither stiff enough or strong enough for disc brake use. Stiffer means more road shock. I had my Mooney built with a fork that was stiff enough to be a good touring fork. Never liked the ride and it was too stiff to handle well on bumpy descents. Had a second fork built of smaller diameter tubing. Made a real difference in handling and comfort (with old school not very wide sewups). Sweet ride after the switch but totally unsuitable for discs.

If my guess is true, now you can buy rim braked bikes with the weight and (reduced) comfort of a disc bike. Lose-lose. "You can have your rim brakes but cannot have the advantages."

Ben
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Old 02-25-20, 01:25 AM
  #235  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Somebody posted an example in this thread of a race bike that's 200 grams heavier with disc brakes. I think it was Scott Foil?
With the right frame and wheels, you can get the weight penalty down to approximately the weight of the rotors, which is about 200g.
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Old 02-25-20, 01:34 AM
  #236  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Part of it is that they almost certainly use the same fork and frame minus the caliper mounts, built for discs and just overbuilt for rim brakes. That way they can just shuttle off a few standard frames to get rim brakes before the mounts are put on. (I wonder if this is part of why reducing road vibration is such a big concern now. The forks we used to use are neither stiff enough or strong enough for disc brake use. Stiffer means more road shock. I had my Mooney built with a fork that was stiff enough to be a good touring fork. Never liked the ride and it was too stiff to handle well on bumpy descents. Had a second fork built of smaller diameter tubing. Made a real difference in handling and comfort (with old school not very wide sewups). Sweet ride after the switch but totally unsuitable for discs.

If my guess is true, now you can buy rim braked bikes with the weight and (reduced) comfort of a disc bike. Lose-lose. "You can have your rim brakes but cannot have the advantages."
No, they don't use the same forks. For example, from the Factor website:

"The disc version of the Svelte fork largely follows the shape and size of the rim brake fork, but with a slightly asymmetric design and specific layup to withstand the disc braking forces."
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Old 02-25-20, 02:41 AM
  #237  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
No, they don't use the same forks.
No, but the closing between rim and disc models of a bike has seemingly been driven in part by rim-brake models getting heavier.

For example, a 2020 Emonda ALR 5 disc is less than half a pound heavier than the 2020 Emonda ALR 5 rim, but the 2020 Emonda ALR 5 rim is nearly a pound heavier than my Emonda ALR 5 from 2015. And that's not because the Emonda ALR 5 has been getting cheaper: its pricing has nearly tracked inflation over the last several years, while it's gradually increased in weight. There have just been subtle downgrades: for instance, the 2015 rim version and the 2020 disc version both have carbon steering tubes, while the 2020 rim-brake version was sneakily swapped to an aluminum steering tube.

Here's another random fun tidbit: if I went down to the R&E shop in Seattle tomorrow, I could buy an off-the-peg steel-framed road bike that clocks in at over 200g lighter than the lightest disc-brake carbon road bike that Trek currently offers, and for a slightly lower cost.

It's actually a sensible marketing maneuver. When rim brakes first started getting phased out, the manufacturers told everyone that the brake types would coexist just fine. It was fairly obvious even at the time that this was nonsense (there's no way that they ever intended to eat the cost of a bunch of duplicated SKUs in a contracting road market!!!), but I guess some people believed it. But a rapid phase-out cannot be denied for very long, and when you can no longer deny something, the next step in a good marketing plan is to claim that it doesn't matter even if it's true. By de-prioritizing the quality tier of rim-brake models in line with their phase-out, that opportunity arises naturally: you can just tell people that the rim versions have lost most of their advantage over the disc version.
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Old 02-25-20, 06:46 AM
  #238  
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Choices. We have them in abundance. It's a great thing.

If you like hydraulic disc brakes, well, there's the justification. You got 'em.

Definitely some very strange retrogrouchiness going on here. Implying that if one chooses a lighter lever feel then they have no hand strength is illogical. Again, choices.

I run rim brakes. I've got old and new, and like them all. Also have strong enough hands. Mafac racers are actually nearly on par with many modern dual pivots, but the key is to use modern cables, housings, and shoes. This is true for all old brake designs. Consumables = modern is vastly superior.

If I get a disc bike one day, then I do. If not, I don't. I'll grin while a fly back into the valley either way.
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Old 02-25-20, 07:32 AM
  #239  
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Originally Posted by yukiinu View Post
Hydraulic disc brakes/ what can go wrong will go wrong. Also, the concept destroy the "elegant symplicity" of the bicycle made up of simple frame, balanced spoke forces supporting over a hundred pounds on 2 inches of easily collapseble rim, propelled by human effort and stopped by "elegant sympicity" of pulling on the brake cable and squeezing easily replaced super low cost rubber brake pads (available everywhere in drugstores ) on the wheel rim.
I appreciate the Murphy's Law quote, but it does also apply to rim brakes as well as basically anything on this beautiful planet.

If you like to squeeze your expensive CF rims sidewalls with rubber brake pads, that's your choice!
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Old 02-25-20, 07:44 AM
  #240  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
No, but the closing between rim and disc models of a bike has seemingly been driven in part by rim-brake models getting heavier.

For example, a 2020 Emonda ALR 5 disc is less than half a pound heavier than the 2020 Emonda ALR 5 rim, but the 2020 Emonda ALR 5 rim is nearly a pound heavier than my Emonda ALR 5 from 2015. And that's not because the Emonda ALR 5 has been getting cheaper: its pricing has nearly tracked inflation over the last several years, while it's gradually increased in weight. There have just been subtle downgrades: for instance, the 2015 rim version and the 2020 disc version both have carbon steering tubes, while the 2020 rim-brake version was sneakily swapped to an aluminum steering tube.
...

By de-prioritizing the quality tier of rim-brake models in line with their phase-out, that opportunity arises naturally: you can just tell people that the rim versions have lost most of their advantage over the disc version.
Sounds pretty nefarious, but there's a lot of moving parts in your comparisons, so I wouldn't rush to judgement when it comes to attributing intent. First, the ALR was introduced in 2016 model year, not 2015, so maybe you're referencing that. Also, the revision a couple years later introduced direct mount brakes, so I wouldn't assume that everything else was the same and they just snuck in an alloy steerer to screw over the rim brakers. And, FWIW, I don't see an rim brake 2020 ALR 5 being offered in the US, but the frameset does have a full carbon fork/steerer, as does the disc frameset.
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Old 02-25-20, 07:48 AM
  #241  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post

Here's another random fun tidbit: if I went down to the R&E shop in Seattle tomorrow, I could buy an off-the-peg steel-framed road bike that clocks in at over 200g lighter than the lightest disc-brake carbon road bike that Trek currently offers, and for a slightly lower cost.
Are you sure about that? I'd like that to be true but I highly doubt the weight of the disc brake system is more than the weight differential of the steel vs. carbon even for the lightest steel.

I'll be in Seattle in a few weeks and I'll check it out myself! Are they still on University? That's where they were when I lived there in the 1980s.

Well, they're still there for one, and as for their weight claim, they seem pretty certain about it.

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Old 02-25-20, 08:37 AM
  #242  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
You refute your own argument and then match it with pure BS. Some antiquated brake with 2 pivots is in no way related to a modern dual pivot 90 years later just because they happen to each have two pivots. An apple and an orange aren't the same thing just because they both happen to be round fruit. Modern calipers also don't require anything to be truly perfect to function perfectly fine. They have adjustments that can compensate for minor errors.

Actually better means not keeping the lever squeezed all the way to the handlebar while the bike and its canti/single pivots/center pull brakes get around to deciding if it feels like stopping because they weren't designed to stop as well as a modern V-brake/dual pivot no matter how well they're set up. Nothing about setup will change the fact that old designs are just that; old, outdated, under engineered designs. Refusing to see that these are new, better, properly working designs is just being ignoring the truth before you.

You realize how many millions of the parts you named already fill the landfills or have been converted to scrap? Sure there's lots still running around but not that many when you consider how many were built during the boom years of the 70s. Plenty have failed, you just choose not to see it.

Riiigght
Any bicycle built before 2019 is a DEATHTRAP. Attempting to ride any bike more than six months old means you certainly WILL DIE. Crazy people who rode bikes in the distant past of 2018 were CAVEMEN. Don't be like those NEANDERTHALS. Just don't get on the road without a brand new 2020 bicycle. Be sure to replace it at least twice before season is over.

Not even going to keep track of who replied to what here --- if your old horrible nasty pre-disc brake levers bottomed out on the handlebar you just told me your brakes were not maintained at all. There was nothing wrong with the brake. There was something wrong with you for being out on the road with a bike that did not work.

The rider makes the bike work. The equipment does not ride the bike.
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Old 02-25-20, 09:54 AM
  #243  
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Disc brakes are just plain ugly. Rim brakes can be just as good or even better in performance, for example, Campagnolo Chorus to Super Record.
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Old 02-25-20, 10:17 AM
  #244  
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Originally Posted by sloman View Post
There is really no downside to disc.(except grams) , but I still prefer rim brakes for looks. But I'm an old guy. Now get off my lawn
Don't know how i missed this before but you literally summed up the whole argument in the best way possible.

Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Any bicycle built before 2019 is a DEATHTRAP. Attempting to ride any bike more than six months old means you certainly WILL DIE. Crazy people who rode bikes in the distant past of 2018 were CAVEMEN. Don't be like those NEANDERTHALS. Just don't get on the road without a brand new 2020 bicycle. Be sure to replace it at least twice before season is over.

Not even going to keep track of who replied to what here --- if your old horrible nasty pre-disc brake levers bottomed out on the handlebar you just told me your brakes were not maintained at all. There was nothing wrong with the brake. There was something wrong with you for being out on the road with a bike that did not work.

The rider makes the bike work. The equipment does not ride the bike.
I keep my bikes well maintained, its what I did for a living and it paid for my first house; adjustment has nothing to do with the older stuff being inferior. When V-brakes came out suddenly so did braces because they could apply enough leverage to a rim that the frames would flex, not an issue with cantis because they weren't capable of that much stopping power, none of them were. Of course new MTBs came with stronger rear stays to compensate with a slight weight penalty or new shapes to keep the weight down and the stiffness there. The very act of having that much additional leverage means they could do a better job stopping because they could apply more resistance to the rim, particularly once things stiffened up. You can't adjust a canti to match that no matter how much you try, the result is better braking. Hence why I dumped my adequate mafac cantis for v-brakes and a frame stiffener on the tandem. And funny enough it stops better, who'd have guessed. Similarly there isn't much to adjusting a single pivot, get the cable run smooth, the brake centered, the wheel true and straight and keep the bolts at the least amount of resistance and they'll work as well as they can with the best pads. When dual pivot came I tossed the singles on ebay and put on shimano 600s and they worked better, who'd have guessed? I like my older bikes though brakes are the first thing to go when I make any changes to them. Sure the old ones stopped fine in their time and might have been the best then, but no, I don't still live back then and so as needed things get upgraded. I can't upgrade the old bikes any better so they'll be fine as is but moving forward any new bikes will come disc equipped. It's a better stopping design and sometimes the difference in accidents happening or their severity is simple inches and how fast you can stop. Why would I want to compromise on that when I don't have to?
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Old 02-25-20, 10:17 AM
  #245  
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
... the key is to use modern cables, housings, and shoes. This is true for all old brake designs. Consumables = modern is vastly superior.
Nothing to add, this just demanded to be repeated.
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Old 02-25-20, 10:23 AM
  #246  
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Originally Posted by edscott. View Post
Disc brakes are just plain ugly. Rim brakes can be just as good or even better in performance.
Apparently you've never tried disc brakes.

All rim brakes are ugly, with the exception of Campagnolo C-Record.

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Old 02-25-20, 10:26 AM
  #247  
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
the key is to use modern cables, housings, and shoes. This is true for all old brake designs. Consumables = modern is vastly superior.
Hadn't thought of this. My bikes are a ~2010 and 2014 model. I don't notice any issues with the cables/housing in any of the components. Have they changed enough, in your opinion, in this time frame to warrant looking at replacing brake and/or shifter cables?
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Old 02-25-20, 10:31 AM
  #248  
big john
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Apparently you've never tried disc brakes.

All rim brakes are ugly, with the exception of Campagnolo C-Record.
And those have been described in the magazines as "ornamental, rather than an actual wheel slowing device".
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Old 02-25-20, 10:39 AM
  #249  
noodle soup
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
And those have been described in the magazines as "ornamental, rather than an actual wheel slowing device".
Looks are most important according to edscott.

Many people that say that in magazines and forums, have never even tried them. When properly adjusted, they aren't awful

Last edited by noodle soup; 02-25-20 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 02-25-20, 10:55 AM
  #250  
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Originally Posted by LeftyS7 View Post
I'm still trying to decide if Center pull or Side pull brakes are better. I'm hoping to enter the 21st Century soon.
Don't rush. The 21st Century is overrated.
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