Benefits of front disc brake only (with v-brake rear)?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Benefits of front disc brake only (with v-brake rear)?

    I've seen a bunch of setups with a disc brake in the front and a rear v-brake (because of lack of rear disc-tabs, etc.). What is the benefit of a front disc only setup? Is it worth the expense? Any downsides (like feel difference between the brakes)?

    BTW, I ride a steel hardtail, almost always XC, in sometimes muddy Virginia conditions.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawhoo
    I've seen a bunch of setups with a disc brake in the front and a rear v-brake (because of lack of rear disc-tabs, etc.). What is the benefit of a front disc only setup? Is it worth the expense? Any downsides (like feel difference between the brakes)?

    BTW, I ride a steel hardtail, almost always XC, in sometimes muddy Virginia conditions.

    Thanks.
    Well, disc brakes are always better in the mud. You do not wear out your rims, and they are farther from the ground so they stay drier and stop significantly better than a wet rim brake.

    It is a personal decision if it is worth it, but do you think you would enjoy riding more if you could stop better? Would you ride more often? Do you go through a lot of rims?

    There will be a difference in feel, but you would get used to it fairly quickly. Most people brake with significantly more force on the front, as that is the most effective way to stop, so I don't think it will be a problem.

  3. #3
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    90% of ones "true" braking is from the front. Its ones most powerful tool. This is why one gets the most benefit from a front disc brake, if at all. Modulation is key here, and this...a side from the better wet riding performance, is THE main benefit of disc brakes in the 1st place. The rear can still be locked up while wet and muddy...(a side from the all the bad thats happening all the while of course, ie. grinding of the rims, noise, etc). I feel this ONE single upgrade is one of the most cost effective that one can make, if like you describe, one freqents wet trails.

    My "parts" bike. Just take one Avid brake kit, and a disc wheel. Presto...the bikes much more fun(read:effective)to ride.


  4. #4
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawhoo
    I've seen a bunch of setups with a disc brake in the front and a rear v-brake (because of lack of rear disc-tabs, etc.). What is the benefit of a front disc only setup? Is it worth the expense? Any downsides (like feel difference between the brakes)?

    BTW, I ride a steel hardtail, almost always XC, in sometimes muddy Virginia conditions.

    Thanks.
    Main benefit is that you get disc power for stopping. THe front brake does like 80-90% of the braking anyway, so going to a rear V doesn't mean totally crappy braking, but you do loose the benefits of not needing the rim in true, resistance to wet and mud, etc, but it will work fine. Secondary benefits include that it is way cheaper, and still lighter than running discs front and rear.

  5. #5
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    Did the front only disk for a while. Got to admit it would have been cheaper just to do both at once. You will be a convert in no time.

    Disks did more for my ride in speed , controll and fun than FS did.
    Yeah I gotta question. You got any excuses tonight Roy ? -Antonio Tarver

    There is room for it all, just ride what you like to on what you like to...that's freeriding. -rbn14



  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the replies. One more questioin. What discs could I use with my XT shift/lever combo? Are they as good as hydraulics?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawhoo
    Thanks for all the replies. One more questioin. What discs could I use with my XT shift/lever combo? Are they as good as hydraulics?
    Avids and XT levers are fine. Yes they are that good. Short break in period. EBC Red pads make big difference.
    Yeah I gotta question. You got any excuses tonight Roy ? -Antonio Tarver

    There is room for it all, just ride what you like to on what you like to...that's freeriding. -rbn14



  8. #8
    I love Pisgah
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    The bike pic's above uses XT combo's. Works fine.

    I still like hydros much better, but...thats not practical in this instance.

  9. #9
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    i have the front disc/rear rim on one mtb (others are f&r disc) b/c of no rear tabs... started out w/ hydro front, xt v-brake in the rear. felt weird--the hydro was much smoother. a friend was going from rim to disc, and he had magura rim brakes, so i bought the rear brake+lever from his bike... now both feel about the same.
    Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawhoo
    I've seen a bunch of setups with a disc brake in the front and a rear v-brake (because of lack of rear disc-tabs, etc.). What is the benefit of a front disc only setup? Is it worth the expense? Any downsides (like feel difference between the brakes)?

    BTW, I ride a steel hardtail, almost always XC, in sometimes muddy Virginia conditions.

    Thanks.
    Rode this combo (Avid disc/V) for a few years and wouldn't hesitate to go back to it in my mainly dry but sometimes steep riding. Biggest disadvantage for me was continued rim wear, which is the sole reason I justified going to f & r discs when my new frame allowed me to.

    If I rode in more wet & mud I'd see more advangages in the rear disc.

    But in the areas of cost savings, weight savings, and moderate-climate control & stopping ability, a front-only disc setup is a perfectly valid way to go.

  11. #11
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    Lighter weight, only have to maintain one disc brake, rear is easy to lock up with even a pretty crappy brake, once it's locked up you can't get any more braking power regardless of the power of your brakes. Advantage to rear disc is easier rear brake lockup and better for wet, muddy, snowy conditions. For me, the front disc is so strong and the rear locks up fine with v-brakes and I ride in dry conditions, so it's a perfect setup to only have disc on front - same amount of power, lighter weight and less expense than going all disc.

  12. #12
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillbillyBiker
    only have to maintain one disc brake
    One of these days I might have to do this disc brake maintainence that non-disc uses talk about....lol...

    BTW, you forgot modulation of rear brake as a benefit of having a disc in the rear.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawhoo
    I've seen a bunch of setups with a disc brake in the front and a rear v-brake (because of lack of rear disc-tabs, etc.). What is the benefit of a front disc only setup? Is it worth the expense? Any downsides (like feel difference between the brakes)?

    BTW, I ride a steel hardtail, almost always XC, in sometimes muddy Virginia conditions.

    Thanks.
    That's the setup I have, 'cause I've been too cheap to upgrade to a disc on the rear wheel as well. It works fine. Like others have mentioned, the rear brake is (or should be) used primarily for modulation, and the Vees are fine for that.

    When I eventually upgrade my wheelset I'll probably get a disc-only setup, so I'll have to get the rear brake then as well.

  14. #14
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    An improvement.

    The benefits of wet weather performance, reduced rim wear, finer modulation, and deeper hard braking have been described. I would never aim to create the set-up you propose as a final goal. If you are going to upgrade, doing both front and rear is more expensive but, in the end, it is less expensive to do it all at once.
    However, if you have the tabs on the front fork and none on the rear then I'd would do it in a minute. The greatest braking influence on your ride is in the front and it makes sense to have the finest braking facility there if you can only have it in one place.
    I use Avid Mechanicals and would never go back to v-brakes.

  15. #15

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    I do it because I ride a single speed and like having a flip-flop rear hub. I use avid SD7 levers with an avid mechanical front and avid ti rear. The levers are fully adjustable so the braking feel is remarkably similar for front and back.....well, except for when I go through a stream

  16. #16

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    I ride a SS as well with an Avid mech disc front XT V rear. I do it because my bike has horizontal rear dropouts and it's easier to set up the wheel with V's. My bike stops just fine with this setup and I like the V in back when I just want to scrub off some speed. The disc up front stops the bike. Hope this helps.

  17. #17
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    disk brake on front is good

    i have hydro disk brake on front on front only, a hope mini mono, on my steel Kona xc hardtail. i've heard avid mechanical disk brakes are good, so you can keep the rim brake lever. personally, i'd go with a hydro brake, even a shimano deore.

    my rear wheel is a dual ust tubeless or standard wheel, rim brake.

    i used to ride my bike a lot in the mud....
    while having rear disks would be better for riding rough mud i'd rather get my feet wet and just carry by bike across sticky mud, like in cyclo cross events.

    i've found that, over the years, the mud really eats up my XT & XTR drive trains (cassette, rings, deraillers, chain). also, i like tubeless rear wheel option for fast rocky descends so the priority for me is to avoid snake bite flats more than to cut through corrusive mud. it's easier to get rid of mud on my wet shoes than on my drive train...

    beside, running through the mud seems faster.
    Last edited by TrailNut; 10-18-2004 at 10:44 AM.

  18. #18
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    For a $70 would anyone get front wheel with disk and a hydro brake? I really like my 90s stumperjumper and it has no rear tabs for disc.

  19. #19
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    My old bike came equipped that way, but I upgraded the rear to a disc anyway. It was already disc ready so it was strictly a bolt on job.

  20. #20
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    Wow...what an old thread people are rehashing.
    RIP AL DAVIS

  21. #21
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    Rehashng an old thread is a great example of some one searching rather than just posting the same question over again.
    "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story."
    Mark Twain?

  22. #22
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    The new cool setup is disc brake in the rear, and v-brakes up front.

  23. #23
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    Actually, it's using disk brakes front and back with a pad only on the left side and V brakes front and back but with a pad only on the right side.

    A bit tricky to set up but well worth the trouble, gonna be the next big thing.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  24. #24
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    Benefits of front disc brake only (with v-brake rear)?-article-2225173-15c18b76000005dc-591_966x631.jpg

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cephalopod View Post
    I do it because I ride a single speed and like having a flip-flop rear hub. I use avid SD7 levers with an avid mechanical front and avid ti rear. The levers are fully adjustable so the braking feel is remarkably similar for front and back.....well, except for when I go through a stream
    Cephalapod, I feel the same way. I tend to keep old stuff and maintain it. My cross bike, two SS bikes, and a hard tail are all "Mullet" set ups... Business in the front, party in the back.

    It's this way because having a disc brake on the front is totally worth it, and I wasn't going to get rid of my dear old bikes. Now that 26" is passe i am a curmudgeon.

    Being able to flip the wheel is good on SSs .

    But someone pointed out that v brakes get in the way of wheel removal.

    I bought a lot of thick v brake pads of a certain compound which really grab in the wet and last. They are for the old ceramic coated rims. They work great on regular rims.

    Just don't drag the rear rim brake on long DH.

    One more thing...Rim brake systems are disc brakes. The entire wheel is a rotor and the cable actuated cantilevers are the calipers.

    So I am very happy with a v brake in the rear. The brakes are easy to work on. I have old XTR types with the parallelogram that makes the pad address the rim at the same angle no matter how much the pad is worn.

    However do lust for discs front and rear. I have a FS bike for that. I just love my old bikes too much to replace them.

    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk

  26. #26
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    Haha.

    I am sure you've been on rides where someone loses brake function front or rear.

    At that point, rim brakes for the win.

    Remember cantilevers? When descending steeps with the belly on the saddle because no seat dropper, you'd have to flare out your​ knees so that you wouldn't cut the inside of your thighs on the cantilevers?

    V brakes for the win!

    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk

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