Newbie Question: Brake Pad Comparison
A bit of a newbie question here, so bear with me. I don't run discs, I run cantis, and I have used v's before, but am considering switching to discs once I'm on the market for a new wheelset. From what I've seen, in terms of power, discs>v-brakes>cantis (not trying to start a flame war here!). What I'm more concerned about is brake *pad* life - meaning how long a set of pads will last on a given type of brake.
With my v-brakes and cantis, I easily manage multiple (3-5) thousands of kms in dry weather, over a thousand in wet. How do disk brakes compare to this? How much fuss is it to replace a set? And finally, how much is an average/cheap set of pads? We are talking mechanical brakes here, stuff like BB5s, since I've got drop bars.
Since there are a lot of variables with this kinda question, there isn't one straight answer. So - maybe give your opinions and results for the type of conditions (trail/road, snow/rain/dry/dust) that you usually ride in!
Originally Posted by NastyButler
First off a bit of advice, go with the BB7 road calipers. While the BB5s are less expensive, they are also of a lower quality and less adjustable than the BB7. They do run about $30 more per set, but well worth it IMHO.
As for price on pads, they'll average about $20 a set. I've seen pads for as little as $10, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for in the case of brake pads and brakes are not the place to scrimp. Whit "cheap" pads there may be compromises in either durability, performance, or both.
As for pad durability, I'm a "fair weather rider", I don't ride trails when they're wet/muddy, I'll wait for them to dry out a bit after a rain. And I commute pretty much in fair weather as well, I don't like being soaked and around here it's simply too dangerous to commute in snowy or icy conditions, and I'm getting old I just don't tolerate the cold as well anymore. Anyway, on the trail with good metalic pads I can easily get around 2 seasons out of them. That's on tacky damp trails to dry and dusty. No overly long descents, mostly relatively fast and flowy trails. Commuting I can usually get around 2500 to 3000 miles out of a set of pads. My commute is 5 miles one way so 10 miles a day, and I average around 1000 to 1200 miles a year on the commuter. So about 2 to 2 1/2 seasons on the pads on the commuter. You're results may vary by quite a bit though. As you noted, there are a lot of variables involved, riding style, road/trail conditions, mileage, weather, braking technique, etc., can all work to shorten pad life. But that's not the point of disc brakes really, it's the added performance over the average rim brake in adverse conditions that make them desirable.
And finally to replacing pads. Pad replacement for most disc brakes isn't any more fuss than rim brakes initially. And once you've done it a few times it's even easier. The only thing you have to do that you don't with rim brakes is remove the wheel. And most brakes do come with instructions for this procedure as well. Just follow them and it's usually pretty easy.
"I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"
Thanks, Squash! Very helpful. I know switching over to disks isn't going to be cheap initially, I just thought maybe I'd catch a brake (get it?) with cheapish-priced pads. $20 ain't too bad over about 2000 kms, so that won't be too hard. I generally am a fair-weather rider too, not too many long descents in my area either. I was hearing from some folks that they were Iiterally burning through pads - durability in the mere coupla hundred km area - that kind of life wouldn't be acceptable for me. Thanks for putting those fears (mostly) to rest.