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Bicycle Rim Brakes vs Disc Brakes

Bicycle Rim Brakes vs Disc Brakes

Posted by Kitty on


Few components on a bike are as important as the brakes. As Newton's first law of motion states, an object in motion will stay in motion. Unless there's some external force present, you will continue traveling forward. Brakes, however, act as an external force to slow you down. So bike brakes are important- so let's try to answer what's better for you: Bicycle rim brakes vs disc brakes?

Rim Brakes

The majority of bikes use rim brakes to decelerate and stop. Rim brakes consist of friction pads which are pressed against the rims of the wheel, much like the disc brakes on a car or truck. When you squeeze the brake handlebar lever, it compresses the friction pad against the rim; thus, causing the wheel to spin more slowly (or not at all).

Rim brakes remain the "go to" choice for many seasoned cyclists simply because they are compatible with the majority of bikes on the market. Granted, disc brakes are slowly gaining popularity among cyclists, but it's going be a while before they surpass rim brakes in terms of usage.

Furthermore, rim brakes do not place stress on the spokes -- something that cannot be said for disc brakes. If you have a bike with damaged or otherwise weak spokes, you may want to stick with rim brakes for this very reason.

Disc Brakes

On the other side of the fence are disc brakes, which are most commonly used with mountain bikes and recumbent bikes. They consist of pads which act on a hub-attached rotor to slow down the bike.

In terms of stopping power, disc brakes are the undisputed winner. They are capable of delivering an exceptional level of stopping power, regardless of the weather conditions. And because they are easily modulated, cyclists will have greater control over how much braking is applied. Using just a single finger, cyclists can often stop their bikes with disc brakes.

As a side benefit, disc brakes are not affected by warped rims in the same manner as rim brakes. If your bike has warped rims, you can rest assured knowing that it's not going to interfere in your ability to stop, assuming you have disc brakes.


Bicycle Rim Brakes vs Disc Brakes

Both disc brakes and rim brakes are designed to perform the same basic function. As you can see however, there are some key differences between them. Disc brakes have more stopping power, whereas rim brakes are easier to maintain, do not stress the spokes, and have greater compatibility with more bikes.

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