Disc or Rim

Whats everyones preference for stopping and why? :slight_smile:

Disks have no place on a road bike.



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Discs since about 2011 with those really heavy cables (sadly not hydraulic) on the Specialized whatsitcalled.

I alway knew that discs would evolve onto road bikes and was always sniffing, gagging to find the first few models. Has always given me far more confidence and allowed me to brake at the last moment (placebo?). As others have said, still have that same bit of rubber desperately trying to grip the tarmac.

Now moved onto super lightweight Biachi with lovely hydraulics, so smooth and so lightweight. Perfect for those of us choosing to live in super hilly areas, and really saves changing the blocks every few months.

Can’t believe I ever did the 3PX a few times with frog legs and white knuckles especially coming off Pen-y-ghent.


Disc brakes. Massively improved my downhill riding simply through the increased confidence that the brakes give. Single best upgrade I have seen on my Tarmac from my old 2013 model to my new 2019 model.

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I got my first disc brake bike a couple of winters ago and now wish I’d got discs on my summer bike. If and when I upgrade I will, especially now that there are some better wheel options. Hunt especially seem to cover pretty much every wheel option at a decent price.

We have some very nasty descents around here (NE Wales) - narrow, twisty, green stuff, badly damaged road surfaces. So, you learn to ride carefully anyway but having discs gives more confidence.
Having said that, I probably make use of their better stopping power more when pedestrians walk out in front of me :smirk:

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Both will stop your bike, in pretty much the same distance.

Disc brakes give you far more modulation, and respond instantly and consistently. Also on a big descent, disc brakes cause far less tiredness in your arms - Cycling a big descent in the Alps with rim brakes, but the bottom my forearms are screaming. You wear out your disc not your rim, so your nice carbon rims will last longer with Disc brakes. Last year a friend of mine overheated his Vision Carbon rim and it completely delaminated. For a long time I thought that this was a myth, but having seen it, I can confirm that it can happen (He is 82kg and has a terrible descending technique)

On the downside, Disc brakes are mainly maintenance free, but are a PITA to bleed. On a rim brake you can see when the pads are getting low, much more difficult to see when pads need to be changed on a disc. Disc brakes can also be really noisy, which can be embarrasing. Disc brakes can also get a little sticky, especially when hot, this leads to very slight brake rub which lasts a few seconds (and drives me mad)

Positives for Rim brakes, they are lighter, a rim brake setup is around 500g less than a disc brake setup. In my view rim brakes still look better. Rim brakes are easier to fine tune.

The big negative for rim brakes, especially with carbon rims is performance in the wet. When you hit the brakes, there is a delay as the pads clear water from the rim, then suddenly the brakes begin to work… and its a lottery how hard they will come on, this leads to initial panic due to no braking followed by locking rear wheel, as a result descending in the wet tends to be very cautious, while on a disc brake you can be much more confident


oh Controversial, tell me more! Why do you have this opinion, it seems to go against the grain with the other comments :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

The bike i ride now has disc brakes and i must admit they do give me extra confidence in their stopping ability!

I think Matthew just gave a much more detailed and nuanced (and correct) answer than I did. I still think it is the same answer overall.

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until I got discs i was why, but have them now and i don’t know how i lived without them. They do squeal a bit at times but what @Matthew_Spooner says really. I only went with discs last summer as I was buying a “bike for a decade” so it needed to be pretty much future proof.

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I’m just waiting for GrahamO to recommend them too; tail between his legs :rofl:

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Nope - rims.

99% of riders here simply don’t need them.

Out of interest why would you say that? What type of rider is the 1% that need disc brakes in your opinion?

I’m not opening that can of worms again - its worse then tubs vs clinchers.

Buy whatever you want, if you do 4,000ft descents regularly, then you might just need them.

On a roll today Graham. Here’s GrahamO’s latest bike for riding around the mountains of the UAE…

Yeah, like I said,only 1% actually need them. We have mountains here with 4,000ft descents and 60mph+ speeds.

The Uk doesnt have that, so it makes sense to those who arent suffering from being Jorgan.

Jorgan just has a bug up his ar*e because apparently there is a real rash of mass crashes for those on rim brakes and its been a problem for decades before disc brakes came along. Except it hasnt and he’s got no answer.

No I just prefer them, as they provide better braking. I’m not bothered what other people do as long as they are content. We get a lot of rain in the UK, and braking on wet rims is not as good as discs; particularly carbon rims, which is why a lot of people prefer them. So, if only 1% of riders experience rain, mountains, steep gradients or tight bends in the road, then you would be right Graham.

I do actually wonder what you’d be like in real life; or whether you are actually just a behavioural concept rather than a real person. That would make sense. Either way, it would be fascinating to meet you in person.

But if you really want to open up the discussions again, then fair enough but there is no evidence in the slightest of a problem in UK road cycling which requires disc brakes to be solved. No accident statistics to support the need, no evidence of mass crashes or problems - just a marketing spin to sell more expensive gear to people who never go fast enough on the flat, or in wet enough conditions to actually need any more than rim brakes.

Maybe there’s a strange German expression which doesnt translate well but I’m not sure what you mean by a behavioural concept, but no doubt its another pointless dig at me as all I ever do is ask you to prove the need.

If you want rims, then fine thats okay - but its not a need borne out by any facts at all.

In summary
If riding in crap roads, disc brakes are better
If riding regularly in wet conditions, disc brakes are better
If riding long descents, with lots of corners, disc brakes are better
If you have a “best” bike, which comes out in good weather, and you ride on nice tarmac, I would choose a rim brake

I have just built a rim brake bike (as best bike) - couldn’t choose a better time, no one wants rim brake parts, so they are much cheaper used, shifters, wheels, calipers and frames have plumeted in value. So if you are looking for VFM and know what you are doing it’s a consideration



If riding in crap roads, disc brakes are unnecessary
If riding regularly in wet conditions, disk brakes are unnecessary
If riding long descents, with lots of corners, outside the of the Uk then yes, choose disk brakes. In the UK disc brakes are pretty much always unnecessary, which is whay I saod only about 1% actually need them because they do huge hills every day.