Disc brakes use rotors instead of the rim of the wheel to brake. They also use non-compressible fluid and hose to operate as opposed to the cables used by conventional rim braking systems. But mechanical differences aside, the performance benefits of disc brakes on road bikes are what’s got everyone talking.
More stopping power
With disc brakes, you’ll enjoy much sharper braking with more power while not having to put as much force on the brake lever. The stopping power is also customisable, depending on your disc size. Bigger discs will provide more stopping power while smaller ones will save weight, still giving you more braking force than rim brakes.
You have more control over how much the brakes clamp down when you pull the brake lever. This gives you more room to meter out the braking force without locking the wheel up as easily as on rim brake bikes.
Performance, come rain or shine
Disc brakes will provide consistent stopping power in a variety of weather conditions, from warm and sunny to rainy and gritty. The difference is especially stark when compared to carbon rim brakes, which often slip in wet weather and heat up in dry weather. You won’t have these struggles with disc brakes.
You won’t need to replace your disc brakes as much as conventional rim brake pads and callipers. All you’ll need to do is give them an annual bleed with new brake fluid to keep them running well. Of course, the way you ride might mean you’ll have to get new discs sooner than other riders.
Drawbacks of disc brakes
While disc brakes have a lot going for them, it would be disingenuous of us not to have a look at some of the drawbacks of disc brakes with the current technology.
Compatible setup required
To enjoy the performance benefits of disc brakes on the road, you’re going to need a disc compatible frame and fork as well as a six bolt centre lock.
While rim brakes enable you to easily mix and match brands, disc brake setups are not as open. You’ll have to stick to the same brand for your hydraulic disc brake callipers as the one you have for your levers, for instance.
Heavier than rim brake system
As it stands at the moment, disc brake setups are slightly heavier than rim brake ones of the same class. This may change in the future as manufacturers invest more in lightweight road disc brake solutions.
Complicated to repair
While rim brake parts are widely available and easy to repair, disc brakes are more select and although they don’t wear or break as easily, when they do you’ll most likely need professional assistance to repair them. But we’ve got your back when it comes to repairs.
Whether you’re riding with disc or rim brakes, a custom fitting will help you ride more often, have more fun and perform better.