TeamCBC Cycling Tip – Are Disc Brakes Really Better?

Why would anyone ask this question? It’s settled science, right?  The consensus among cyclists is that disc brakes are clearly better than rim brakes and you just have to run out and buy a new bike with disc brakes.  Of course most of us don’t need a reason to buy a new bike, but are disc brakes really that much better? Is it just marketing or an evil plot to make people with rim brakes feel bad?

From what I have read, the science of it shows that disc brakes are marginally better in the wet, while rim brakes are marginally better in the dry.

1. Disc cost more, but you can put on better carbon rims and wider tires on your bike.
2. Rim costs less and is more reliable and easier to maintain.

Neither seem to have a big performance gain, so you’re okay either way depending on what you want to do with your bike.  If you’re a fair weather rider, rim brakes are just fine. If you’re like me and like to ride in the mountains where it could (will) be raining in the next valley, disc brakes will help.

Here is a video by GCN which shows how they tested disc brakes versus rim brakes and you can decide for yourself.  Coincidentally it was filmed in the Dolomites where I flew down many passes similar to this one last May.

Quote of the week: Your bike cost how much? And it doesn’t even come with pedals?

Rick Bunnell
President, TeamCBC