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  1. #1
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    How much would it cost to put mechanical disc brakes on my bike?

    Sorry if this is sort of a gaper question, but I'm just getting back into mountain biking after living in a National Park for a couple of summers. I'm riding a 2003 Giant XTC with all the stock components. I would consider myself an advanced rider with the inclination to go for it on most downhills. Anyway, some of my friends have told me that upgrading to a disc brake setup would help my riding a bunch. So a few questions:
    What are the advantages, and how much better are they?
    How much would it cost to upgrade and what components would I need to replace?
    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
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    Well you would need a front wheel that is disc compatible as well as the brake.

    You might be able to do for under $200 if you go used.

    I wouldn't bother with the rear though. Most of your braking power is in the front.

  3. #3
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    The fork is disc compatible; how do i tell if the wheel is?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickstayner
    The fork is disc compatible; how do i tell if the wheel is?
    If it was it would already have a disc. It would have either six mounting studs for rotor bolts around the hub or threads for a Shimano centerlok rotor. The rim wouldn't have a braking surface either, since it would not be needed. You will need a new front and rear wheel (or at least new hubs), assuming you want discs on front and rear. You'd need rotors and calipers of your choice (Avid BB7 probably gets the best reviews but there's also BB5, Hayes and Tektro), cables and housing but you could use your existing levers. Does your frame have caliper mounts on the rear chain or seat stays? If not, no rear disc (although there is a bolt on adapter available, not real satisfactory IMHO).

  5. #5
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    Some advantages are, they are more powerful than V brakes, well...at least require a lot less force on the brake lever to get the same amount of power. They are generally immune to trail conditions. They will continue to work well in wet/muddy conditions. It takes a lot longer before they start fading on long descents. You don't have to keep your rim as much in true with disc brakes. Also if the rim gets bent on a ride, you can keep riding and still use your brake.

    About the only disadvantage is disc brakes are heavier.


    Here is what you need to convert:
    1) Frame and Fork that is disc compatible. Look for the mounts, if you don't have the mounts it's not worth messing with. I see you said the fork is disc compatible already.

    2) The hubs need to be disc compatible. On the non-drive side of the hubs, look for the holes to bolt in the rotor (or a centrelock mount). If you're hubs are not disc compatible, then the cheapest way to get it, is to just buy new wheels. A decent cheap set of wheels will cost around $150.

    3) You'll need a set of Mechanical disc brakes. The best bet is the Avid BB7. Those run about $50 per wheel, or Avid BB5 for about $35 per wheel. You can continue to use your V-Brake levers with the mechanical discs.

    Another option you may consider to save money, and will give you a lot of benefit especially if new hubs are required, would be to just upgrade the front brake to Disc. Most of your braking should be with the front brake any way. In this case you would only need to buy a front wheel if needed (about $70, and one BB7 brake $50).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickstayner
    How much would it cost to put mechanical disc brakes on my bike?
    Too much - as you're better buying hydraulic!

    Instead of buying front and rear mechanical discs, I would recommend buying a front hydraulic disc for the time being, and keeping the rear V.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with having non-matching brakes, and proportionally your front brake is much more effective at slowing you down that the rear, so it's important to have a good brake there.

    I would get a Shimano Deore or SLX front disc brake, the Avid mechanicals aren't bad, but they're not as good as a cheap Deore setup. The other posters gave excellent advice on checking if you're fork/frame/hubs are compatible.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    If it was it would already have a disc. It would have either six mounting studs for rotor bolts around the hub or threads for a Shimano centerlok rotor. The rim wouldn't have a braking surface either, since it would not be needed...
    Or not. Some bikes were sold with rim brakes and wheels with disc hubs for easy upgrades.
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  8. #8
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    Few and far between.

  9. #9
    No longer a hardtailkid.
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    Idea:

    Keep riding and saving up your money. Try to make yourself better and better at riding, then buy a bike on closeout or some kind of sale that already has disc brakes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardtailkid
    Idea:

    Keep riding and saving up your money. Try to make yourself better and better at riding, then buy a bike on closeout or some kind of sale that already has disc brakes.
    The right Idea, disc conversions are almost never worth it. For what you will drop on the conversion you could pick up a deal off craigslist or ebay for nicer bike that has disks.
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

  11. #11
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    Few and far between.
    I have a pair that came that way.

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