British Cycling made the decision this week that they will allow the use disc brakes in all road competitions from 2018. The move has been trialed by the UCI at the highest level. It’s a step that has been hotly debated among road racers and elite cyclists.
But for your average punter cyclist, going to the shops, spinning round the park, whatever, what can disc brakes do for you? Let’s have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of disc brakes.
Increased braking power
Taking the brake away from the rim wouldn’t on the face of it offer more braking power, I mean a big wide rim, compared to a wee disc brake rotor, surely the rim would offer more leverage? Wrong.
Disc brake pads are made of sintered metal, grabbing onto a metal disc, the disc brake offers infinitely better power. Disc brakes also offer mechanical or hydraulic options, with hydraulic systems offering braking power comparable to that of motorbikes.
With increased braking power, comes increased reliability. When it comes to unpredictable weather conditions, disc brakes win the day every time. Better at repelling water and dirt than their rim placed cousins, there is a much smaller area for such nasties to get in and get stuck up in the system.
Furthermore the metal on metal contact does miles better at gripping than the common rim brake rubber and metal combination.
It seems a strange one, however, as the brake doesn’t cause any erosion to the rim of your wheel. By only having to replace the disc in the middle of your rim, it causes less waste. You wont wear out your rim in the same way that rim brakes cause.
For those that are money conscious this is good news, save some cash in the long run by considering disc brakes.
For the weight weenies out there, disc brakes throw up a bit of an issue. Adding all that extra hardware to your bike comes with as bit of a weight penalty.
The addition of a system full of fluid, plus chunkier levers and a disc rotor to your wheels adds a bit of extra meat to your bike.
Tougher to fix
With the influx of disc brakes across all disciplines, the repair businesses of the world are rubbing their hands together. It’s clear that disc brakes are tougher to work with than some other braking systems, particularly hydraulic systems.The amateur mechanic might not have access to the equipment and expertise required.
So, if you’re considering a change to the world of disc brakes, there is a list of things to consider. If you need any more advice, feel free to visit us at CamGlen Bike Town.