Are disc brakes on your road bikes qualified to live up to your requirements?

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Among several types of biking ways, there exists a cool and popular one, which is called road biking. Road Bikes are bikes for riding long distances on good roads fast, especially for competition or exercise. In general, it’s apparent to see road bikes are distinguished as being light-weight and with high saddles, while there is a moderate amount of gears built of light materials on each of them. In the light of road bikes’ structures and functions, you’d better consider a set of brakes of high quality to ensure your safety, for instance, disc brakes are prevalent and useful. But to tell the truth, are you 100% sure of your disc brakes appropriate in your road bikes? Now I’d like to make an explanation about something you may puzzle about that.

What is a disc brake?

A disc brake is a type of brake that uses calipers to squeeze pairs of pads against a disc in order to create friction that retards the rotation of a shaft, such as a vehicle axle, either to reduce its rotational speed or to hold it stably. The energy of motion is converted into waste heat which must be dispersed. Among various kinds of disc brakes, Hydraulic disc brakes are the most widespread form of brakes for motor vehicles, while at the same time, its working principle also makes sense in many other rotating shafts.

What’s the difference between rim brakes and disc brakes?

In general, one universal principle you should know is that all cycle brakes work by applying a brake pad against a surface on a wheel. In this sense, the difference between rim brakes and disc brakes is where that braking force is applied. With rim brake, the braking is on the outer edge of the wheel, while on the contrary, disc brake applies force on a rotor towards the middle of the wheel.

What is the difference between hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes?

Before purchasing disc brakes, you may have some questions about 2 popular types, which are hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes. As a matter of fact, both types have pistons that push brake pads onto a rotor. The difference is how the force applied on the brake levers is transferred to the brake rotor. Mechanical disc brakes function in a similar way to rim brakes because they use a steel cable to move the pistons. Hydraulic disc brakes, on the other hand, use a fluid-filled system so that when the braking lever is depressed, a plunger pushes fluid into the caliper, which will push brake pads onto rotors to stop the moving bikes.

How about pros and cons on disc brakes?

Better braking power –Generally speaking, in most cases, Disc brakes generate much more braking power than standard rim brakes. That also means many cyclists will benefit a lot from them. Imagine you are in the process of a long distance road biking trip, with disc brakes on your bike, it’s not necessary for you to apply too much pressure on the brake levels. Besides, it does work to reduce your muscle tiredness, especially when you have to check your speed on long descents.
Quick response— As smart and sensible as disc brakes system is, when you are riding on the roads, you are able to do braking actions of high frequency with a guaranteed safety, which conforms to ABC system’s requirements.
Well heat dissipation—Compared with drum brakes, the commonplace ones, disc brakes are better in dispersing heat when you are riding. Based on this function, when you are riding on the roads, one good news is that you don’t have to worry whether your braking works or not when you pedal consistently.
Easy to repair—Due to its simple component and structure, it appears easier to get it repaired, which can save your money and time.
Reliability in wet weather – In comparison with a rim brake, a disc brake performs much better in wet weather. Most of you may feel frustrated when wet weather arrives, your bike’s braking doesn’t work as efficiently as before in sunny days, do you? In fact, as for rim brakes in wet days, the process of displacing water from the rim biting on the surface takes more than disc brakes do. To tell the truth, according to disc brakes’ self-contained advantage, even when you are riding on wet days, you’ll still feel cozy because of their special position on your bike, which ensures their good performances. In addition, what deserves mentioning here is each disc brake’s well ability of drainage, which plays an important role in declining the bad effect resulting from water and sands.

Weigh more – In general, road bikes are designed for faster speed. Attaching disc brakes to your bikes will increase a burden to your bikes, which might be against the main purpose of road bikes. Disc brakes, especially hydraulic disc brake systems, are generally heavier than rim brakes.
Cost more – With respect to disc brakes’ initial purchase and maintenance, you’ll spend more money on them. Compared with rim pads, although disc brakes last longer, they will cost you almost 3 times more expensive than rim pads.
Replace frequently— In most cases, it’s difficult for disc brakes to stand wear and tear, which will bring some troubles to you. Thus in order to lessen discomforts, it’s necessary for you to replace them more frequently, that is to say, they will cost you more.
Not transferable - You couldn’t just transfer disc brakes onto your road bike that has previously been set up for rim brakes and vice versa. In effect, the frame and wheels are incapable of adapting to both types. In order to make good use of disc brakes, you’d better prepare a different wheel hub than on standard rim brake wheels.
So what kinds of brakes should you choose?

To be honest, the choices of picking brakes depend on your personal tastes. If some of you prefer having fun purely to racing, then disc brakes are more suitable for you. Besides, for commuters or the winter riders, disc brakes will play an important role in ensuring your security in wet days. In reference to rim brakes, as usual, they are more than capable of offering you the braking you desire. In addition, you’ll find it satisfactory when there is no extra weight handicap that comes with disc brakes because of their lightweight. Anyway, as every coin has its two sides, no matter which type you choose, enjoying yourself when you are riding on the roads deserves most.

All in all, it’s apparent to see disc brakes are gradually becoming more and more popular, while the same time, improvements will also follow and they are on the way of meeting most riders’ requirements. Riding on the roads is a relaxing and joyful experience, especially when you attach brakes of high quality to your road bikes. For the maximum security and relaxation of your riding, you’d better take into consideration of your braking’s choice. For disc brakes, you may as well have a try.