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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    disc vs v-brakes

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    hi, I apologize if this has been discussed before (and I'm positive it has!) but I don't have the time to wade through the posts...

    After riding my cyclocross as a commuter for 15+ years and it needing a major overhaul, I finally admitted it's time for a new bike.

    I've looked at a few hybrids, and I'm still in the narrowing down process, but can anyone sway me in one way or the other whether disc brakes are worth the money, or V-brakes are okay for what I need, which is 95% urban commuting, and 5% urban leisure. I will not be doing any trail rides, but I do live in Vancouver where it rains a lot and the roads sometimes contain a lot of grit and gunk (like today with A LOT of salt).

    Since this isn't my main mode of transport and purely for commuting and sometimes market-cruising, I don't want to sink a lot of money into it. My budget ceiling is $800, so that does eliminate a lot of disc options. However, I wanted to know what the advantages/disadvantages for both were.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Love, love, LOVE disc brakes - especially for wet weather. That was the attraction for me and it was the one thing I regretting not putting on my beloved Gunnar. I am sure others will have more to say about it though, as you said, your budget will help in your decision.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Hi badger. Guess it depends how frequently per wk. you ride that bike.

    I have disc brakes on my folding bike which I do love. I just haven't gotten around to investing disc brakes for my 10 yr. oldcommuter hybrid bike in Calgary...which the weather can be quite demanding on bikes in the winter. In Dec. I brought my bike in at a bike store and learned from the mechanic that year round winter riders in Calgary sometimes replace their drivetrain and chain annually. Now, these are truly hardy, tough cyclists in snow several times per wk. But still, the "cost" is cheaper long term for bike vs. frequent use of car that you own, having a fitness membership.

    However I haven't been riding as often in past few weeks.

    My partner has disc brakes and rides a lot in Vancouver year round. He loves them. The maintenance on these brakes are less frequent and for Vancouver compared to Calgary, there's just less snow and salt. Disc brakes work well for Vancouver's weather year round.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Buffalo, NY
    I always find that rim brake pads get trashed pretty quick in rain and snow. I love the mechanical discs on my fancy tourer, but that's way too fancy for bad weather riding. Personally my usual bad-weather bikes are fixed gear beaters- stops well and reliably, you know quicker when you're slipping, very little to maintain/wear out. This year is going to be interesting because I got an old single speed hardtail mountain bike with a disc in the front and a v-brake in back that I'm also changing to fixed (I used to have to deal with skinny slick tires because I had 650c. It's doable, just a little more difficult).

    Commuting and market-cruising is pretty important transportation. You know your own budget, but I'd give it a little more credit. I recently helped my cousin find a new commuting bike- he commutes 4-5 days every week, all year in a place that snows, and his attitude was still "I don't want to spend too much on a toy". It's how you get to work most of the time! It's not a toy anymore, it's one of your main vehicles! Once you start to add up how expensive it is to operate your car, time spent digging it out and paying for parking, maybe the cost of the odd fender bender from sliding around a 2 ton speeding box on ice, you'll probably more than make up the cost of a decent, reliable bike.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    thinking surly sells a disc brake front fork with fender/rack mounts…..can it be an old friend thing with your cyclocross?
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    My climate is so different from yours that my experiences aren't that relevant.

    But I'm curious what bikes you have in mind?

    And which disc brakes? Any plans to upgrade them? If so, I have TRP Spykes on my mountain bike, they are mechanicals, and the price isn't bad. They make the Spyre model for non-mountain bikes.
    I don't have a bike with disc brakes but from what I've heard, climate isn't the only consideration. If you ride in a hilly area, especially with steep or long down hills, disc brakes can be easier on your hands than rim brakes.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Dallas metro
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I don't have a bike with disc brakes but from what I've heard, climate isn't the only consideration. If you ride in a hilly area, especially with steep or long down hills, disc brakes can be easier on your hands than rim brakes.

    And easier on your rims! I had to replace the wheels (well only the rims needed replacing, but I did the entire wheel, easier) after using rim brakes in the mountains in CO for a few years. The bike shop guys said that can happen if you ride the brakes a lot. (rims were starting to collapse inward)
    Specialized Oura or Romin Evo Saddles

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    I didn't look around a whole lot, and after some guidance from a mechanic, this is what I settled on. I pick it up tomorrow. http://www.brodiebikes.com/2016/bikes/energy.php I like that it's a local company. (I haven't gone to forums to post things so I forgot how to embed the links!)


    I didn't want to spend a whole lot because I'm not into competing or riding around excessive amounts of miles, but I DO ride my bike often enough, so why cheap out?? My bike was expensive when I got it almost 20 years ago, so why should this time around be any different (I'm actually spending less on this new one, so taking inflation into consideration, I guess I'm cheapening out! lol). At the end of the day, I just want to be able to enjoy riding a bike again because mine is so uncomfortable.

    I'll update again once I've ridden around the new one for a while. Thanks for the inputs!
    Last edited by badger; 01-17-2016 at 09:35 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    pacific NW
    One more vote for disc brakes! I wasn't too impressed with sora components when I had them, though. To be fair, I was a newbie at the time and I may have been too rough on the drive train.

    Rodriguez Adventure
    Bacchetta Bellandare
    HPV Gekko fx
    Custom Rodriguez Tandem
    2009 Specialized Tricross
    2012 Trek Mamba

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    Bringing this thread back-
    I didn't plan to buy a bike with disc brakes but when I replaced my stolen Ruby I ended up with them. I rarely ride in the rain in Tucson, although I do think they will be nice to have for coming down Mt. Lemmon.

    I didn't thing there was that much of a difference until I got off my road bike and got on to my Surly LHT to get groceries. WOW- what a huge difference! Maybe they were already less responsive, but it took noticeably more effort to stop on the Surly (with rim brakes). And that was riding the Surly unloaded!

    I'm sure I'd appreciate them even more if I was riding in wet weather.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143



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