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  1. #1
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    Disc for a commuter?

    Hi all,
    I am looking for a new commuter bike (road) and was thinking about going with disc.
    Does any one have any experience with them (good and bad)? i live in Seattle and commute year round 1-4 days a week, 20 miles each way.

  2. #2
    dirtbag
    Reputation: ranier's Avatar
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    Disc brakes are great, specially in the wet. Get the Avid BB7s for road bikes and you can use em with road bike brake levers. I've been thinking of building myself a 700c disc brake commuter for some time, but happy with my mt bike conversion (with disc brakes). Dunno know why all bikes (to include road bikes) don't come with discs.
    Amolan

  3. #3
    Off the back...
    Reputation: pinkrobe's Avatar
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    I went with a DIY approach. I took a mountain bike frame with disc mounts at the back [Trek 8500], put on a CX fork with disc mounts on it [Winwood], then threw on some road bars and the BB7 road discs with appropriate levers. For the wheels I just built up regular mtn bike disc hubs with road rims [Hope Pro II and Woodman]. There's loads of room for fenders, even with 38C tires. I'm into my second year on the bike [commute 5 days/week all year long] and I'm very pleased with the setup.

    If you want a pre-built model, a lot of people have good things to say about the Trek Portland. You might still be able to find 2008 models for cheap.

  4. #4
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    I've been commuting on a disc-equipped hybrid ever since my rim side-wall exploded coming down a steep hill 4 yrs ago. I run Shimano hydraulic discs and am super-happy with them. They work great in wet or dry conditions are and far easier to modulate than V-brakes. I will always have discs on my commuter-bike.

    -Don

  5. #5
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    I dont really have any experience to add. I just added a BB7 front brake to my D440, so I should have some riding impressions over the next few months. I always found rim brakes (linear pull) to work fine until I got into some REAL nasty slop recently and they were all but useless.
    -Jeremy
    08 Redline D440
    Nashbar 'cross frankenbike
    11 Scott CR1

  6. #6
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    I just bought a Redline Conquest which has disc tabs. I wanted drop bars and road geometry because I have a long highway commute. I also do a lot of rain riding which makes the discs a very nice feature.

    The BB7 Road is what I am running. Be sure you get the road version because they have a shorter pull than the MTB version. This is important if you are running drop bars and brifters (brake/shifter levers). You won't have enough lever travel if you use the MTB version of the BB7s. I have found the brakes to be very good though modulation is not as good as hydraulics or even well set up cantilevers. That said, they are not as fiddly as cantis which I found often squealed badly and chewed my rims severely when they got grit on them. Also, the discs ALWAYS WORK! No more having to anticipate when you are going to brake so you can clear the excess water off the rim by braking early.

    Disc brakes are not all wine and roses though. The potential exists on the road for several mile long downhill runs at high speeds with substantial loads (ie: touring). I really wonder if discs will hold up under this abuse. Heating and fading may become an issue.

    These kinds of things may get worked out eventually since from what I'm told by the bike shop guys...more and more tandems are switching to discs. Tandems move faster and carry twice the weight of a standard bike so heating related issues should be evident soon. If people want to keep discs, they'll have to find a solution.

    But, for me right now...discs are perfect. I have a relatively flat commute and I like the idea of my rims lasting more than a year.

  7. #7
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    +1 for BB7...either road or MTB...great stopping power, modulation, durability, etc. My commuter has BB7 MTB version with Avid Ti levers..Adjustable modulation. Once you go Disc, you'll never go back. My roadboke/Friday commuter/racer has standard brakes...liveable for what it is, but not as sure and comfortable as my Disc brake commuter.

  8. #8
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    front disc dimension steel fork + Avid mechanical road version disc brake + 700c disc wheel = doing it cheap to add to your current bike if you like. score it all on ebay even.

    it's what i've done - works very well, is cheap, and the majority of the braking you need is up front anyhow.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  9. #9
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    I have used discs on several bikes for awhile now and the long descent heating/fading issue is nonexistant on cable actuated discs and on hydraulic brakes it takes a lot of heavy braking/dragging to heat the fluid enough to fade. Which do you think would take more abuse, rubber on alloy, or steel on metallic pads?

  10. #10
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    I have discs on my La Cruz and love'em. Great in snow, wet, mud. They do need a few miles to wear in a little though. At first I had some trouble finding the sweet spot for not rubbing, but once it wears in a little it's golden.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilbetty
    Hi all,
    I am looking for a new commuter bike (road) and was thinking about going with disc.
    Does any one have any experience with them (good and bad)? i live in Seattle and commute year round 1-4 days a week, 20 miles each way.
    If ure thinking bout discs, do it!

    If ure looking for a bike that salsa la cruz looks good to me. steel, takes fat tires. discs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Carbon is a fad.
    Quote Originally Posted by robicycle
    Just lube your ass with asscream and ride for how long you want.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehawk
    I have used discs on several bikes for awhile now and the long descent heating/fading issue is nonexistant on cable actuated discs and on hydraulic brakes it takes a lot of heavy braking/dragging to heat the fluid enough to fade. Which do you think would take more abuse, rubber on alloy, or steel on metallic pads?
    One of these days I'm going to have to ride my road bike (with discs) to the top of the local mountain which is about 3000 feet of drop to the valley floor. There is a lot of up and down so there's a lot more than that in actual downhill riding. That ride is notorious for reducing rim brake pads to nothing.

    FWIW...I've never experienced brake fade myself so I wasn't sure if it was a function of fluid heating or pad heating. I know that motorcycle disc brakes will fade but only under extreme (ie: race) conditions and the fluid that is being used is highly resistant to boiling or temperature related effects. I was shocked to learn that some brakes use mineral oil. Why not just use DOT 4 brake fluid? It's cheap and plentiful.

    Anyway, if I ever do a serious test on the mountain (and live to tell about it) I'll report back here.

  13. #13
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    Sorry for not getting pics up. I took some today, but was busy all day running around. Will attempt to get them posted tomorrow.


    I also want to add that the La Cruz is an AWESOME bike!

  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    Thanks

    Thanks all,
    Traitor cycles has a nice bike also (Ruben) road frame with disc, just no tabs for a rear rack. I have heard the next production run will have them. the Salsa is a nice ride, just dont know about that color. there is always Krylon.

  15. #15
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    The Specialized Sirrus from '04 and '05 have versions with disc brakes standard.

  16. #16
    jrm
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    Its amazing

    Quote Originally Posted by evilbetty
    Hi all,
    I am looking for a new commuter bike (road) and was thinking about going with disc.
    Does any one have any experience with them (good and bad)? i live in Seattle and commute year round 1-4 days a week, 20 miles each way.
    how fast you can scrub speed off using 30c tires and disc brakes. One thing though, you may not be albe to use fenders due to the caliper being mounted on the seat stay. there maybe a mcguyver fix though for sure

  17. #17
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    You're not going to get a lot of people opposed to disc brakes on a mtb forum...

    I run shimano hydros on my kona dr dew, they modulate really well and are great for all season riding. However I never use nor need the full power they can provide. Unless you're carrying a lot of additional weight (ie. clydesdale, panniers), ride really aggressive or know drivers with a vendetta against you I think they're overkill.

  18. #18
    local trails rider
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    I've mainly been doing fine with V brakes for commuting... BUT then there are moments when I wish I had discs. The worst this winter was the morning with a lot of snow. That day the consistency of the snow was such that I lost all braking power for several seconds. Almost hit a car at a red light because I had not expected to lose the brakes.

    The wheels on that bike are getting a bit ragged. Time for new wheels and brakes.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    I've mainly been doing fine with V brakes for commuting... BUT then there are moments when I wish I had discs. The worst this winter was the morning with a lot of snow. That day the consistency of the snow was such that I lost all braking power for several seconds. Almost hit a car at a red light because I had not expected to lose the brakes.

    The wheels on that bike are getting a bit ragged. Time for new wheels and brakes.
    if your commuter is all seasons (and you'll ride it all seasons, dry, wet, or snow) it's a worthwhile investment with mech disc brakes being so cheap and effective.

    My commuter is only good 3 seasons of the year as 700x32c do not cut it during wintertime in ottawa. In the 4th I go to battle the elements with my ss 29er :3

  20. #20
    local trails rider
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    Hydros aren't necessarily all that expensive either.

    I am not aware of hydro levers that work with drop bars, though. (My current bikes have MTB riser bars)

  21. #21
    clueless
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    +1 for bb7 road. great brake, super easy to set up and lots of power.
    but keep in mind that they won't work very well with normal v-brake cable housing. try to get the original avid housing or use jagwire ripcord brake cable kit.



    ciao
    flo

  22. #22
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I have BB7's on my Nashbar X cyclocross frame/carbon fork. It's the way to go in the rain/slop of winter. I live on a dirt road. I used to tear rims up with the muck of the dirt road in winter. Mechanical disks are simple, and you can use any lever you want. I had true road bars with Tektro levers before, now I'm rocking bullhorn bars and Cane Creek 200TT levers.

    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  23. #23
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    soma double cross dc too i just got mine built as a trainer/commuter and it can use discs or cantis. saving for some bb7s. ive heard lots of bad things about the winter use of shimano hydros. nice idea with the reflect tape on the spokes commuter boy,that would make a good addition to my hi vis ankle straps and blinkie led

  24. #24
    I Ride for Donuts
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    Thanks. Not my idea though. Got 'em at http://www.lightweights.org
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  25. #25
    i like to bicycle
    Reputation: mwills's Avatar
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    doing disk...

    ...on my new commuter. more of a way to have alot of flexibililty with switching wheels around with my other bikes.

    i have worn thru a rim sidewall with a rim break before tho.

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