Disc Brakes On Road Bikes – Are They Worth It?

The trend of disc brakes on road bikes is beginning to snowball, but will they make a difference to your riding, and are they worth it? Simon Richardson gives us his take.
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More and more bike manufacturers are beginning to devote models and ranges to be disc specific, but there remains a great deal of scepticism around whether or not we will really benefit from the advent of discs?

Simon’s been eagerly awaiting hydraulic discs for some time, despite harbouring a deep seated love of classic road bikes, and so is well placed to give us his opinion on whether it’s worth while.

Tackling the issues of power, modulation, quick releases and aesthetics among other things, will your next bike be with discs? Watch and find out.

Music: Ficci – Hurricane ft Laura Hahn (instrumental) http://gcn.eu/1oHQnmw
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Leave us a comment below!


David Martin says:

Wouldn’t buy a new bike without disks, have them on my Grapel 20 and on my synapse, no brainier.

lokoako chan says:

fuck off your voice

Peter XYZ says:

I’m looking for a replacement 700c fork with disc mounting. (100% aluminium prefer) Ill settle on having front disc and calliper rear, instead of replacing the entire bike, for the moment.

Durlesteanu says:

Can someone educate me? I don’t really get it. I have rim brakes, I push the levers – my wheels get blocked – I stop. What is different with disk brakes? You push levers and what? If it blocks the wheels and stops the bike then where is the difference? Only the fact that it performs better in wet conditions? Anything else?

Yoda on DMT says:

As a car nut but a cycling noob, I’ve tried to get everything as close to what I expect to get in a car so hydraulic disc brakes were an absolute must for me.

Something gripping the wheel itself via a cable just seemed wrong and a recipe for disaster.

JM AF says:

That front cable is pretty ugly

Wilson Gib says:

Any facebook for website??I want to learn more about road bike..I just have a fixies gear only..but I more kind of love about road bike.

Malcolm X says:

I’m not a cyclist but that bike looks really good, everything looks better in matte black

Jay J says:

Pointless on a road bike in a reasonable climate ….outlawed by the pros because they are dangerous on the road and as you said not more powerful per se …heavier less aerodynamic ….ill pass

Cristopher Montero says:

Can u put brakes and gears to ur fixed gear road bike?

long vu says:

what type of bike is the red bike ?

Rafael Moraes says:

Global Cycling Network, I ride in a place with lots of steep descents, sometimes with -34%, and I feel a lot os stress and pain in cuffs while doing those descents. I really have to squeeze the levers. By the way, I already made my bike fit and keep feeling this. Do you think disc brakes will help me?

Phil Anderson says:

I agree with everything in this review. Except you don’t really want to live in Southern California. Well, most of it anyway. It’s just cement, asphalt, desert, smog and roads with high traffic.

ITS TRUE says:

tits on a bull

Samuel Sheeran says:

i love discbrakes

Old.Artist says:

maybe is just me but i don’t like to use disk on my roadbike. i prefer the old vbrake for many reason such as:
-vbrakes are more lightweight
-vbrakes make me feel more secure becouse we know on the disk the air bubbles or the termic problem n’ stuff.
-also the maintenence is very low, on my roadbike i made more than 20km and they are still works fine,but on my mtb (i use it on road too) in less than 2k i broke one and i have no idea how many maintenence i made on it.

but those are just my impression. sorry fir my english and have a good fun on any bike.

MoolahNasreddin says:

If you’re buying a new bike with CHEAP disc brakes… it’s a PAIN in your ASS! It will be trippled if a mechanic that tuned your bike will be half-competent about this theme. So mine cheap disc brake (on the 2nd bike) started to give me presents very soon! Constant irritating squeeching sounds while braking is just a background 🙂 Other mechanic did just looked at my brakes and said “these are bent”.
So the real problem for this kind of brakes: you need to be a good mechanic to tune it. And cheap disc brakes behave good rarely. Another problem: you’ll spend a lot of time to fix it in outdoor conditions if something will happen. V-brakes usually need just a quick clean-up.

The God Effect says:

I think these are a good idea for their desired application, wet weather or even constant descents, but like everything else in cycling industry now, this is getting a bit out of hand. Gravel bikes, cross, disc/rims, etc. So much marketing hype. And don ‘t get me started on BB “stiffness” : the stiffness in that area comes from the junction of the seat tube and down tube. I have ridden steel, ti, carbon etc and can tell you, the average person would not be able to tell the difference


check my caad 12 disc video on my page

lane says:

never thought i would, but actually really want to start riding with disks. giant defy advanced looks good

Bill W says:

I bought a 2016 Giant Defy Advanced 2. Love the disc brakes! The modulation/control is awesome. I was surprised that this bike doesn’t have through axles, but they do have a large surface area for the quick release faces. I have not had any disc ping/noise at any time so it works well. This bike was so nice to ride though, that I shrugged off this engineering change. and just enjoyed the ride and the stopping power of Shimano’s excellent RS685 disc brakes. I can compare this bike to my Cannondale Caadx, Norco CRR1 SL, and Jamis Eclipse road bikes. It’s a great endurance machine that makes long rides shorter! Love the bike and the brakes. Disc brakes are awesome!

Yute Hube says:

My Dura-Ace 7800 calipers were more powerful than BB7 mechanicals. I can’t even imagine what the 9000 calipers must be like because they are claimed to be 25% more powerful than the 7800’s. After using those 7800’s you wouldn’t want it any more powerful. I went from being careful to deliberately going fast because I knew the brakes were up to it. If you must have rim brakes I recommend the 7800’s. Get them used, they go for the price of new Ultegra’s.

robinheil says:

I would feel uncomfortable bringing my loaded touring bike down a >1,000 ft. hill on rim brakes, due to the very real risk of the rim overheating and damaging the tube and tire, or worse, buckling all togethe. Discs are better in mud, and also allow for wider tires. People often talk about braking power, but discs also offer greater modulation. Rim brakes seem perfect for lightweight road racing bikes, but then again every other wheeled vehicle uses discs. Sheldon Brown pointed something out that I didn’t know, which is that disc brakes put a lot of force on the front forks, requiring the manufacturer to make the fork beefier and heavier. This force also makes the front wheel want to come off, so some forks have safeguards put in place to prevent this, which explains why it’s so difficult to pull the front wheel off of my Trek 520.

jim b says:

only concern i have is my friends who aint to up on maintenance, i rock my old road bike and tune it up myself, my friends all ride and forget.

all that stopping power originating from the hub is gonna be deadly to someone that doesn’t check their spoke tension. especially considering my one friend just bought a nice used bike with disc and a broken spoke, keep telling him he needs to get that sucker replaced.

Alex DuBose says:


gurgeh nobody says:

Looking at buying a new road bike this year I feel unfairly pressured to go down the disc brake option, with the threat that rim brake quality will inevitably slide down the groupset hierarchy. Clearly disc brakes work – but are they a solution to a problem caused by misguided technology on bikes?
When carbon rims became common we found braking was useless in the wet, so disc brakes were introduced, and because the forks flex we now have through axles – with the threat that quality QR hubs will be harder to find. My goto bike for damp days has 9-speed mechanical gears, and rim brakes on alloy wheels. It has never missed a change and stops perfectly under control. Adjustment is a doddle and it can be maintained with an allen key.
I am in a minority in that I think electronic gears and hydraulic disc brakes are a step too far, and go against the essence of cycling, which for me is about simple elegant frame design and simple mechanics. Second only to punctures the most common road side mechanical I come across either has a broken 11-speed chain or the electronic gears have stopped – both being the result of people chasing the pro bike dream but without the time/inclination to do the extra maintenance.

Ronald Raegan says:

The torque is greater at the center. That would probably allow for them to wear off faster

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