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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Disc Brakes vs Rim

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    I'm hoping for some input to help me decide between disc brake or rim brakes. I'm planning on purchasing my hubby Domane SL 5 for his 40th birthday, and can't decide whether to go for the disc brakes or not.

    Some background - we live in Alaska and are fair-weather bikers. We don't use bikes for commuting, just for fun, so unless we get caught in the rain while out on the ride, we won't be riding in the rain. My guess is for our purposes, rim brakes would be fine, and the disc brakes aren't worth the added expense (or weight).

    Hubby currently has a 12+ year old aluminum Trek that he likes because he able to ride a little more upright than other road bikes - so that's why I'm guessing he may like the Domane. Our LBS that really knows their stuff is a Trek dealer, so that's why I'm going with Trek. If anyone out here has any other bike model suggestions I am open to them as well. I know it's best for him to ride a bike to see the fit - but they'll let us exchange the bike once he gets it if the fit isn't right. He would never splurge for a carbon bike on his own, he just drools when he sees them in the store - so I can't really pick his brain to get his input without giving the surprise away.

    Can anyone chime in with their thoughts on types of brakes (or model of bike for that matter)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    north woods of Wisconsin
    I see no reason not to go Trek if you have a Trek dealer on hand to help you with fit. Trek makes every type of bike there is, so you should be able to find a good match. Not that other brands aren't worth exploring, but having bikes on hand to fit is a huge advantage. Being able to test ride before you buy is a no brainer. if you're dealer also handles other brands, check them out, too.

    I would highly recommend disc brakes, though. Disc brakes are not only more efficient in wet weather, they are more efficient in all kinds of weather. They do a better job of braking, period, no matter what the weather. That makes them the safer choice. They are especially valuable on long downhill runs compared to rim brakes because they don't overheat as much. Disc brakes work much better in dirt and gravel and sand and snow. (Ask me how I know.) That's why all mountain bikes have them, now.

    Disc brakes are also much more durable and need less attention. You do get wheel rim wear with rim brakes. You also have to keep the wheel rims clean on rim brakes. In order for smooth and proper braking with rim brakes, keeping the wheels trued is much more critical. With disc brakes, it's much easier to keep wheel rotors clean. In fact, I rarely, if ever, bother to clean the rotors on my disc brake bikes. If the rotors go bad on disc brake wheels, you just replace the rotors, not the entire wheels. Taking wheels on and off for maintenance or fixing flats is much easier with disc brake wheels. Disc brakes need a LOT less fussing to keep adjusted than rim brakes. Lot less fiddling around with disc brakes. Lastly, if you do go with a rim brake model, you won't be able to upgrade to disc brakes, later, because doing so would also mean changing to disc brake wheels, making the upgrade very expensive.

    You'll have a much, much better selection of bikes with disc brake bikes. Most road bikes are now disc. Not much left in the way of selection with rim brakes.

    I got rid of the last of my rim brake bikes, this year. Now ride only disc. Glad to see rim brakes go. Keeping them adjusted was a pain in the butt. Don't miss them at all, not even a little bit. You couldn't pay me to go back to rim brakes.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 07-14-2018 at 01:40 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    I've never had a bike with disc brakes and am generally content with rim brakes. I also ride for fun, not commuting. What is the terrain like where you ride? If I rode more often in areas with long downhills I would look into disc brakes.

    I generally don't have problems with maintenance or wear with rim brakes. Lately I have had issues with mystery noise and vibrations with the front wheel which may be brake related, but I think tire width is also a factor.

    - 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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Thanks for the input, all this info is helpful! I'm still undecided, but I think I am leaning more towards disc brakes now, as I know my hubby isn't likely to upgrade from this bike anytime within the next 15 years



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