Cycling is an important part of our lives. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t care what type of brakes to put on our bikes let alone know that several options exist. Since you found your way to this article, I think it’s safe to assume that you are trying to decide on the best brakes for your roadbike.
Disc brakes vs rim brakes, which one should you choose? The only way to answer this question is to take a microscopic look at each option and lay out the pros and cons.
This type of brake was first established in the early 1900s. They have changed quite a bit since then. Today, disc brakes come in two types, mechanical and hydraulic.
These types of disc brakes use similar housing and cables used on V-brakes and cantilevers. The use of cables has its benefits like being easier to install, light weight, and maintenance that isn’t too convoluted. On the flip side, the cable can stretch, which leaves the brakes feeling spongy.
A closed system of reservoirs and hoses make up these disc brake systems They contain hydraulic fluid, which is essential for the brake’s operation. The rider activates the lever and the fluid moves through the system and the brakes are applied.
Water, dirt, and debris can’t hurt these types of brakes because they function via a closed system of hoses. Yet, they do need to withhold high pressure and a small air bubble can compromise their quality.
Our lives depend on our brakes at times, and if we don’t take great care of them then they can’t do their job, which is saving us before we bike into the middle of a busy intersection or hit a tree.
When inspecting and cleaning the rotors you need to keep an eye for dirt, cracks, or damage to the equipment. These things can cause a great deal of loss in power, which is not something you want to introduce. So, it is important to continually keep your brakes maintained.
Some signs of brake issues include squeaking or loss of power.
Several issues with disc brakes can be avoided. For mechanical brakes, all problems can be evaded simply by keeping up on the maintenance of your brakes. For hydraulic brakes you should also inspect them frequently for air bubbles or leaks. These can cause your brakes to lose power or stop working all together.
This type of brake also has subcategories. There are caliper brakes, cantilever brakes, U brakes, and Roller-cam brake. They are broken down below.
Described as a “self-contained mechanism” this type of rim brake is fastened to the bike above the tire by one bolt. When the brake is applied, arm like devices reach around the tire to stop it. These extensions might pivot for a better grip.
This type of rim brake has arms as well, but they are affixed separately. Both of the parts comes with it’s own brake shoe and cable attachment, which are on the same side of the pivot.
U Brakes and Roller-Cam Brakes
These are frame-mounted as well and come with brake shoes and cable attachments but they are positioned on opposite sides of the pivot.
To keep these working well you need to do the following things.
- Use an alcohol based product to clean the pads and rims
- Make sure your pads have full contact with the rim
- Make sure the brakes are centered and one pad isn’t closer to the rim than the other
How To Choose Which Is Best For You?
As with anything else in life, the answer to any question like this all depends on what you need. If you are going to be riding in wet atmospheres you might want to go with disc brakes because they are the best for riding in temperamental weather.
If you are a novice when it comes to riding then rim brakes might be the way to go. They are less expensive and simpler. Of course, if you live in an area that tends to have wet roads then you should go for safety first and stick with the disc brakes.
No matter where you are in your riding life, beginner or advanced, brakes are important because they stop us from hurting ourselves by stopping our bikes. Getting the best option out there for your safety is probably a higher priority than expense, at least it is for me. If you have a question about disc and/or rim brakes then ask in the comments section below.
Just remember, safety first because, no matter how much money you save on brakes, it won’t matter when they don’t work.