The Reason for V-Brake Rarely on Road Bikes

Posted by tan xiao yan on

V-brakes, also called the linear pull brakes, are lightweight and easy to use on bikes. On the mechanical aspect, they made up of a lever, a cable and a brake caliper. The system is similar to the cantilever brake, but it adds a spring enhances and increases braking power and progressiveness. In addition, the cost of these brakes is quite low and much lower than the disc brake system.

However, it is usually seen that some of the road bikes use the disc brake system instead of a V-brake. Disc brakes are popular on road bikes, even racing road bikes in the professional peloton. So why don’t use the v-brake on the road bikes and is there any difference from the disc and V brake? The following are several reasons for this question.

Wet weather

The V-brake system is less effective in rain or mud. Although it can decrease the frequency, it may result in clogging sometimes. When mud gets stuck between the frame and the brakes, the stones can scratch your rims.

But the disc brakes are more powerful and progressive than any other system. The quality of your braking is not impacted by bad weather condition like rain or mud any longer because it is not exposed in the water and mud during wet weather, which means that it can work with nearly the same efficiency as it would in normal weather condition. It is a great advantage for all cyclists who live in the area with mud or rainy weather.

Stopping power

A v-brake has too much stopping power and less modulation for a road bike. It requires more contact patch to maintain traction in the braking operation, which refers that the rubber area of the tire is in contact with the road at any given time. If you try to adjust the brake to work at all, it might cause the bike to skid immediately when the brakes were applied because of a v-brake with too much power and too little control of its power.

In contrast, a disc brake has decent braking power and more control for less effort. And the power is easy to modulate, which means it is easier to control how much brake you need at any given time. Usually, it doesn’t need more than one finger to stop the bike in a reasonable distance.

Service life

V-brakes need to separate tensioned springs on the left side and right side of the brake. If one side’s spring gets weaker with the increasing of age, the other side’s spring will pull the whole brake out of alignment with the wheel, which will forces you to tighten the springs on the weak side and lead the springs to getting weaker even faster until there is no room on the brake to adjust. In this case, the whole brake needs to be replaced.

However, a disc brake has a large surface area instead of using two independently adjusted springs to control the brake, which means that you never have a case that one side ends up being stronger than the other side.

Chance of flat tires

For a v-brake, it will generate a great deal of heat in hot and sunny climates. You can touch the rims immediately after a long braking, which can cause tires to blowout because of the overheating of the rims. What’s more, it will lead to the rubber in the tires to weaken.

But for a disc brake, it can be connected to the rim in any way. The disc may generate hear but it will not affect the rim, which can reduce the chances of overheating and tire blowouts in hot climates or during extreme cycling conditions.

Mounting hardware

Typically, v-brake requires the mounting lugs relatively low on the fork, or a separate piece of metal on the position where the actual brake arms are mounted. Most of the road bikes use the carbon forks and it makes it difficult to mount lugs.

In addition, the road brakes are relatively easy to lock both wheels up in dry conditions and plenty of stopping is possible in wet conditions, except in oily conditions. The v-brakes can’t handle those any better. But disc brakes will not encounter this problem because they are the only brake type that can handle oily condition well.


The traditional lever on the road bikes uses a different ratio of lever throw to cable pull at 1:1. But a v-brake uses a 2:1 ratio. Then the lever would have to travel twice as far for the brake to touch the rim, which means the road brake lever would have to be redesigned.

The traditional lever on the road bikes uses a different ratio of lever throw to cable pull at 1:1. But a v-brake uses a 2:1 ratio. Then the lever would have to travel twice as far for the brake to touch the rim, which means the road brake lever would have to be redesigned.

One of the biggest advantages to the disc brake is that the brake pad doesn’t need to depend on the size of the rim. You can replace your wheel with different size depending on the conditions you want to ride without changing the size of the disc brake calipers.


In summary, everything for mounting every type of brakes should be concerned for safety in any different condition. Although the above choose the disc brakes as the examples to compare with v-brake, there are some people consider that the road bikes should not use the disc brake in road racing. Because if a rider’s leg contacts a disc rotor when he’s riding his bike at a fast speed, the rotor will cause a serious injury as it is spinning fast and pretty thin and cuts flesh easily.

After you have handled all safe problems, the quality and convenience can be the factors that you can consider. But the different bicycle is fit different kinds of brakes, just like the v-brake is not proper for a road bike.