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Why You Should Give Disc Brakes a Chance

Once upon a time you could buy a serious mountain bike that only had rim brakes; trying to find any serious mountain bike without disc brakes these days is all but impossible. And there is a good reason for that, with more stopping power, lighter lever feel and the elimination of wear at the rim, disc brakes have a whole lot going for them. They are a better technical solution and that translates into a better riding experience for everyone. The benefits far outweigh the tiny weight increase that disc brakes bring and that's why rim brakes are set to go the way of the Dodo. With the pace of development in road cycling pushing the technological boundaries of disc brakes,  and the UCI beginning to test disc equipped bikes in races it’s certain that road cycling is heading the same way as mountain biking. Disc brakes on road bikes might still seem alien to most people, and we don’t blame you for thinking that, but once you try them you'll be converted! If that doesn't change your mind we’ve listed some of the benefits of moving to discs below for your due consideration.

 

Planet X RTD-90 Elite Disc Edition 

One of the many benefits of disc brakes is the control they offer, disc brakes have the ability to stop much faster than normal calliper brakes and also offer better modulation. Good modulation is the ability to control the amount of braking effort, meaning you can change the speed of your bike easily without the need to pull full lock on your brake just to cut a bit of speed off your bike. For road bikes this is particularly good when descending as it will allow the rider to take more technical lines when cornering, due to the greater control of the bike speed. The sharper, more responsive, braking offered by disc brakes also makes cycling in busy traffic and large groups of other cyclists much safer. Disc brakes also offer much more consistency in variable weather conditions, in comparison to calliper brakes, which really struggle in wetter conditions. Again on long decents and fast flat roads the ability to brake fast when the weather turns is really important to any cyclist.

 

Conventional wheels designed for calliper rim brakes have to be created to be very strong around the edge of the rim to withstand the forces put against the wheel during breaking. With disc brakes this problem no longer exists, allowing wheel manufactuers to concentrate on making lighter wheels with a more aerodynamic profile. Currently there are also many concerns regarding rim wear and overheating, this is a particular problem with full carbon clinchers and even with the use of carbon specific brake blocks braking is still poor. Disc brakes take away the excess forces that rim brakes create, which often cause damage to the wheel. With the problems of rim brakes removed you are left with a more versatile wheel, which, as mentioned before can be lighter and also stronger, giving you added performance in all weather conditions and varying terrain.

Other benefits of disc brakes come down to more trivial but equally important aspects of owning and riding a bike. For instance that black gunk that coats your wheels, forks and seat stays is no longer a problem with discs. And through the winter you’ll find you won’t be burning through brake pads like there is no tomorrow, the life span of a disc pad is much longer. With the removal of brake callipers frame designs can also be much more versatile offering greater tyre clearances without drastic changes to frame geometry.

Vision Metron 40 Disc Carbon Clincher Wheelset

Currently the downside of discs is that they are still heavier than calliper brakes, but the added weight is nominal compared with to the gains in speed and performance that can be made to your wheels, bike and overall braking. If you are looking for more versatility from your bike and safer riding in all weather conditions and terrain then there has never been a better time to buy a disc road bike.