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  1. #1
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    Disks vs V Brakes

    Currently, I am running XT V brakes on my RM Blizzard. I am looking to upgrade to a full suspension XC bike and want to know if disk brakes are really necessary for this type of riding. Personally, my thought is that if you can lock up the tires with one finger and XTR V brakes then how much more braking power do you need?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtscalgary
    Currently, I am running XT V brakes on my RM Blizzard. I am looking to upgrade to a full suspension XC bike and want to know if disk brakes are really necessary for this type of riding. Personally, my thought is that if you can lock up the tires with one finger and XTR V brakes then how much more braking power do you need?
    Good braking is more than just being able to lock a wheel. A stick in the spokes can do that. Read the disc brake FAQ.
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  3. #3
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    I just got my first disc brake bike a couple months ago. Avid Juicy 7s. They do a good job stopping, but occasionally make a tremendous noise. Not sure I am sold on disc. The thing that troubles me is one is taking something that is very simple and making it more complex than it has to be. I'll bet there have been lots more rides come to an early end because of a problem with a disc brake system than a V-brake.

  4. #4
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    I am checking out the FAQ asap...
    Last edited by gtscalgary; 05-28-2007 at 10:44 AM.

  5. #5
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    I'm melting.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingbob
    I just got my first disc brake bike a couple months ago. Avid Juicy 7s. They do a good job stopping, but occasionally make a tremendous noise. Not sure I am sold on disc. The thing that troubles me is one is taking something that is very simple and making it more complex than it has to be. I'll bet there have been lots more rides come to an early end because of a problem with a disc brake system than a V-brake.
    I bet you are wrong. These days reliability of either type is not a serious issue.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    I bet you are wrong. These days reliability of either type is not a serious issue.
    Don't get me wrong. I think disk brakes do a great job when they are working and they are great for big riders who ride when it is wet, but these things just aren't as simple as V-brakes. Take a look at the various post in this forum. You will see pistons leaking, air in system, pads dragging, truing rotors, oil on the pads, bad MC, got to have (and know how to us) bleed kits. Sounds to me like a lot of stuff to get between the rider and the ride.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtscalgary
    Currently, I am running XT V brakes on my RM Blizzard. I am looking to upgrade to a full suspension XC bike and want to know if disk brakes are really necessary for this type of riding. Personally, my thought is that if you can lock up the tires with one finger and XTR V brakes then how much more braking power do you need?
    IMO discs are not really needed for XC appilcations. I am going to get a FS bike in the near future and am forced into discs, because the marketing guys say so. Try to find a '07 FS frame with side pull bosses on the stays.

  9. #9
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    I've only ever needed/wanted disc brakes once in all my years of riding and that was on an extended downhill with lots of rocks everywhere so you were riding your brakes a bit for almost all of it. While my v-brakes did fine my fingers did get a bit tired.

    I'm sticking with v-brakes myself. They work fine for me and are simpler and cheaper.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingbob
    Take a look at the various post in this forum. You will see pistons leaking, air in system, pads dragging, truing rotors, oil on the pads, bad MC, got to have (and know how to us) bleed kits. Sounds to me like a lot of stuff to get between the rider and the ride.
    I've had disc brakes about as long as anyone on this forum - since '99. I haven't had ONE of the problems you list. We don't post about our brakes when nothing is wrong with them. My current 4-yr old brakes - zeeeero problems. Nada. Zilch.

    If we who have brakes with no problems posted "I'm not having a problem with my xxx-brand disc brakes" you'd now be saying "Take a look at the various post in this forum. You will see no pistons leaking, no air in system, no pads dragging, no truing rotors, no oil on the pads, no bad MC, don't need to have (and know how to us [sic]) bleed kits. Sounds to me like a lot of stuff that doesn't get between the rider and the ride."
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingbob
    Don't get me wrong. I think disk brakes do a great job when they are working and they are great for big riders who ride when it is wet, but these things just aren't as simple as V-brakes. Take a look at the various post in this forum. You will see pistons leaking, air in system, pads dragging, truing rotors, oil on the pads, bad MC, got to have (and know how to us) bleed kits. Sounds to me like a lot of stuff to get between the rider and the ride.
    I have been using discs almost as long as Mike T (2000). No rides stopped because of disc brake issues (can not remember any with rim brakes either).
    No leaking pistons.
    Air in the system is a non-issue.
    No more pad drag than rim brakes. Probably less, and easier to fix.
    Never had oil on the pads.
    Do not know what MC is.
    Never bleed them.

    Of course I use Avid cable discs.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNPete
    IMO discs are not really needed for XC appilcations. I am going to get a FS bike in the near future and am forced into discs, because the marketing guys say so. Try to find a '07 FS frame with side pull bosses on the stays.
    I'm with you. It would be nice to have the option of V's or discs.

    I had my rear disc go inoperative due to a leak in the system. Made it back on the front brake. Thank goodness for redundancy and that it was the rear rather than the front that went out, as I was facing some serious downhill when it happened.

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    I get better control out of my LX discs than I did with my XT V's. They both provided lots of power but the XT V's grabbed hard so they were very sensitive and provided little modulation.

    The LX discs can have a nice soft feel (just like you can feather the brakes in your car - hydraulics work) and can grab hard when you need them too with less effort than the V's. Pretty much a no brainer to go disc at this point especially if you are buying a new bike. I've had these discs for 2 rides so far and I know I'm never going back to rim brakes.

    The caveat is, of course, that you need to get a decent set, not some low-end ones which will perform worse than decent V's.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    I have been using discs almost as long as Mike T (2000). No rides stopped because of disc brake issues
    To even the score and so that bikingbob doesn't get the wrong impression about disc brakes we have to start posting every time we don't have a problem with our brakes.

    I didn't have any problems this evening even while riding on fifty degree slopes. Uhhh but then I was riding track and my track bike doesn't have any brakes.
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  15. #15
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    Rim brakes are fine but I think setting them up and keeping them working is way more pain compared to discs. I've had umpteen years of experience with rim brakes of various types - caliper, roller cam, cantilever and V. They work great when first installed correctly but if you ride aggressively they need re-adjusting fairly quickly. I've also had to retire a number of rims due to the brake surface wearing out. Anyway, I think rim brakes are fine but I've spent a lot less time tinkering with my brakes since I switched to discs. I'm using Martas by the way.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Do not know what MC is.
    Master Cylinder?
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by grawbass
    Master Cylinder?
    Could be. I do not have any of those either.
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  18. #18
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    I had Mountain Cycle Pro Stop discs on my 1992 San Andreas, and even though they were prone to being finicky and needed to be bled every few months, they still kicked the crap out of the canti's of the day (9" front rotor and 8" rear).

    My very last set of V-brakes came off to be replaced by discs just last month, even Dremeled out the brake cable guides on the frame to accept a hose. I now have bikes with a couple of sets of Avid BB-7's, 3 sets of Magura Marta's, one set of Formula K24's, one set of Hope Mono Minis and one set of Juicy5's. And they're all no more work to maintain than V-brakes. And in the mud/crud/wet and snow they are unbeatable. Even bleeding a hydro brake can be done darn near as quick as a pad change on V-brakes.

    Discs don't chew up your expensive rims, they don't need constant readjustment to maintain toe in, and they don't sound like a grist mill in the mud. Sure, discs can emit sounds that will make small dogs and mosquitoes explode, or match a mating call of a giant prehistoric goose (Juicy 5's), but I just think of that as an advantage in not needing a bear bell or an additional pedestrian warning device.

    I live on the side of a mountain and it rains a lot, discs are divine.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    To even the score and so that bikingbob doesn't get the wrong impression about disc brakes we have to start posting every time we don't have a problem with our brakes.
    Sorry if I stepped on a tender spot. Since my new bike has disc brakes, I hope you are right.

  20. #20
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    As a recent convert to disc brakes, I notice nobody mentioned the ease in which you can remove the wheels on a disc bike over a V-brake bike.

    V-brakes have to be squeezed together, remove the noodle, undo the QR then remove the wheel...etc.

    Disc brakes you just undo the QR and remove the wheel.

    Another nicety of discs is that if you happen to tweak a wheel and it still passes through the frame or fork without rubbing, you can ride yourself out of the trail with brakes that work correctly. Tweak a wheel with V brakes and you may just have to undo them and ride with one less brake.

    I'm sold.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genom
    As a recent convert to disc brakes, I notice nobody mentioned the ease in which you can remove the wheels on a disc bike over a V-brake bike.

    V-brakes have to be squeezed together, remove the noodle, undo the QR then remove the wheel...etc.

    Disc brakes you just undo the QR and remove the wheel.

    Another nicety of discs is that if you happen to tweak a wheel and it still passes through the frame or fork without rubbing, you can ride yourself out of the trail with brakes that work correctly. Tweak a wheel with V brakes and you may just have to undo them and ride with one less brake.

    I'm sold.
    Hmmm. I consider it trickier to get the rear wheel in with discs because you have to make sure the rotor goes into a tight fitting caliper. Also, tweak a rotor and you've got problems too.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingbob
    Sorry if I stepped on a tender spot. Since my new bike has disc brakes, I hope you are right.
    Bob, some of us here are unwavering in our drive to help others with their brakes. (check the instigator/editor/owner of those two links) We become a wee bit despondent when someone gives 'em a bad wrap when, collectively, disc brakes don't deserve it. So we tend to reply back in a defensive tone. We don't get angry as we're aware that most of the disc brake knocking is done out of assumption, rumor and innuendo and not from personal knowledge. So we defend the brakes because, based on our personal knowledge, we know we're right.

    Stick around Bob and join in the fun. If you do have legitimate problems you will find this is the world's best site for help. A couple of N.Am distributors hang out here too and they're only to willing to assist in any way.
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  23. #23
    All day long
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDee
    ...Also, tweak a rotor and you've got problems too.
    Very good point and an oversight on my part.

    This must have happened to someone early in the season at my favorite trail as I saw a mangled Avid Clean Sweep rotor hanging from a tree along the trail. the rider must have unbolted it and kept going with one brake. Must have been an interesting ride as this was maybe 7 miles into a 20 mile trail.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genom
    As a recent convert to disc brakes, I notice nobody mentioned the ease in which you can remove the wheels on a disc bike over a V-brake bike...
    Yeah, but now we've got 20mm thru-axles to make up for it!
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  25. #25
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    As a XC racer I prefer vbrakes. No matter what, vbrakes save at least pound of weight on my FS bike.

    Never have I had a problem being able to stop my bike or modulate my braking with vbrakes. And nothing irritates me more than listening to someones disc brakes grinding and squealing during a race. If you have ceramic rims you can brake in all conditions.

    Heres the way I look at it, races are won by going fast, not by riding around with your brakes on. Look at it this way, road pros fly down mountain passes at 60+ mph using nothing more than rim brakes. Most of them using cork pads on carbon rims to boot. Dont see any of them flying off the side of the mountain because they cant stop.

    That being said, disc brakes do have the upper hand in sloppy conditions and long mountain descents. Disc vs vbrake is nearly as contentious as Democrat vs Republican. Use whatever you like.
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