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Currently I am plannign a number of bike packing trips to Sumatra and North Vietnam with my Giant TCR advanced. I will be riding through rather steep mountainous terrain, not always very good roads and the possibility of getting caught in the rain while descending  is always there. My dilemma is wether the ultegra 6800 rim brakes would do the job or should I invest and go for disk brakes. Does anyone have experience in similar terrain with rim brakes? I would appreciate any advice regarding this matter. 

43 comments

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barongreenback [111 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Can't offer any experience of the terrain but what I would say is that based on my experience of cable discs vs. rim brakes, unless you're likely to be riding through lots of mud, I don't think you'll find much difference.  My hydraulic discs are a different matter but I guess on a bike packing trip, you don't want the hassle of potential maintenance issues?

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Sultan_Penang [7 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
barongreenback wrote:

Can't offer any experience of the terrain but what I would say is that based on my experience of cable discs vs. rim brakes, unless you're likely to be riding through lots of mud, I don't think you'll find much difference.  My hydraulic discs are a different matter but I guess on a bike packing trip, you don't want the hassle of potential maintenance issues?

 

Thanks. No, won't ride through mud. I will try to stay all the time on the asphalt (maybe I need to get through a few km of gravel, but hope the 28mm tires will do the job) and will have only about 5-6kg luggage in an Apidura saddle pack. The maintenance issue is a good point. I can't imagine that they could repair a disc break in Indonesia outside of the big cities. 

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Rod Marton [96 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I've toured over most of the mountain ranges in Europe on rim brakes, only problem I had was melting a block on a long descent in the Tirol (it was a very hot day). As you aren't carrying too much weight the Ultegras should be fine, I don't think there will be any great performance advantage to discs unless you go to hydraulic - and discs are more prone to overheating. On a bikepacking trip you shouldn't be pushing to the limit, just ride sensibly, take note of the conditions, and you won't have a problem.

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Sultan_Penang [7 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Rod Marton wrote:

I've toured over most of the mountain ranges in Europe on rim brakes, only problem I had was melting a block on a long descent in the Tirol (it was a very hot day). As you aren't carrying too much weight the Ultegras should be fine, I don't think there will be any great performance advantage to discs unless you go to hydraulic - and discs are more prone to overheating. On a bikepacking trip you shouldn't be pushing to the limit, just ride sensibly, take note of the conditions, and you won't have a problem.

 

Is there a way I could iprove the performance in the rain in case I have no chance to wait till it stops? Perhpas some very good brake pads would help? To be honest when I was ridig a few times in rainy days through some hilly, but not mountainous areas the ultegra brakes were OK, although their performance somewhat decreased. 

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simonmb [541 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Generations of cyclists rode successfully down mountains in the rain using rim brakes. What's changed? The rain or the mountains?

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Miller [53 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Do you have a good handle on the quality of roads you'll be riding on? I wonder if a full-on race bike is the best choice of machine. I may be displaying my ignorance here but I wouldn't be expecting continuous asphalt in those regions. I'd be looking at a gravel bike, myself.

I wouldn't worry about disk brake maintenance, once set up they're very reliable. 

 

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Rod Marton [96 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Sultan_Penang wrote:

Is there a way I could iprove the performance in the rain in case I have no chance to wait till it stops?

Yes. Brake early to clear the water off the rims. All brakes have poorer performance when wet - disc brakes are only better because they don't get wet so quickly.

Pads are a major influence on brake performance, but everyone has their own favorites. I find the top-end Shimano ones work pretty well, but I know that many people recommend SwissStop. Use a make you are confident of and have experience with: there's nothing worse than applying brakes and finding they don't work as you expect.

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Sultan_Penang [7 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Miller wrote:

Do you have a good handle on the quality of roads you'll be riding on? I wonder if a full-on race bike is the best choice of machine. I may be displaying my ignorance here but I wouldn't be expecting continuous asphalt in those regions. I'd be looking at a gravel bike, myself.

I wouldn't worry about disk brake maintenance, once set up they're very reliable. 

 

 

The places where I want to go are connected with asphalt. My experience with Indonesia is that roads can be often new and smooth, but also old and bumpy with potholes. I will put on 28mm tires. A gravel bike might be a better option, but I like fast, multi-day, minimalist road bike trips. Also, I am not sure if I want to buy a second bike, and I don't want to sell my TCR. 

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Sultan_Penang [7 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Rod Marton wrote:
Sultan_Penang wrote:

Is there a way I could iprove the performance in the rain in case I have no chance to wait till it stops?

Yes. Brake early to clear the water off the rims. All brakes have poorer performance when wet - disc brakes are only better because they don't get wet so quickly.

Pads are a major influence on brake performance, but everyone has their own favorites. I find the top-end Shimano ones work pretty well, but I know that many people recommend SwissStop. Use a make you are confident of and have experience with: there's nothing worse than applying brakes and finding they don't work as you expect.

 

Thanks, this is a good suggestion. I'll try out the SwissStop. I rode with the current Shimano ones over 5000 km, they are pretty worn off, so time to replace. 

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madcarew [458 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I have cycle toured many thousands of kilometres fully laden (bike and panniers > 30kg) on road bikes (with somewhat less effective brakes than ultegra) and MTB with V brakes in Australasia, Africa and Europe Both held up fine. They stop you slower than will disc brakes, and in the wet your braking distance is massively increased (probably 6x standard) but they will work. For peace of mind, I'd go discs, but they are by no means esssential. As a minimalist tourer your overall weight is probably only increased by 7-8 kg, so the effect on braking will be minimal (probably less than 10% in dry conditions)

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cyclisto [306 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

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dottigirl [808 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Kool Stop Salmon brake pads, plus new cables before you go and cleaning your rims regularly. You may also want to take a file or decent quality sandpaper to clean any glaze off the pads, though I find Kool Stop are much better than other brands in that respect.

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barongreenback [111 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes
simonmb wrote:

Generations of cyclists rode successfully down mountains in the rain using rim brakes. What's changed? The rain or the mountains?

 

Generations of farmers successfully ploughed their fields using a horse rather than a tractor.  What's changed?  The field or the mud?  3

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BehindTheBikesheds [856 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
cyclisto wrote:

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

In August I serviced/supported my friends who did the RAID Alpine, this involved climbing over 58,000ft in 6 days and even more descending, a lot of it high speed with loads of chicanes, off the col de L'iseran it was snowing on the way up and over the top, sleeted then rain for the rest of the way. 3000ft down, they all had rim brakes and only one of them fubar'd their brakes (on another day) but wasn't due to burning all the way through them.

 

 

 

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cyclisto [306 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

@behindbikesheds
Well you did more than twice my elevation gains on your trip and no worn pads under continuous rain? I am surprised! On that particular descent I didn't finish my brake pads but I am quite sure I consumed 1-2 mm of brake pad, as my rear nearly ended making me using only the front for the rest of the trip to avoid fully ending the rear and therefore damaging the rim.

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Rapha Nadal [637 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

cyclisto wrote:

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

In August I serviced/supported my friends who did the RAID Alpine, this involved climbing over 58,000ft in 6 days and even more descending, a lot of it high speed with loads of chicanes, off the col de L'iseran it was snowing on the way up and over the top, sleeted then rain for the rest of the way. 3000ft down, they all had rim brakes and only one of them fubar'd their brakes (on another day) but wasn't due to burning all the way through them.

Let's file this under the "never happened" stories section.

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Sultan_Penang [7 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Folks, thanks very much for the suggestions and advices. I could not find the Kool Stop brake pads in Singapore, but will get the Swiss Stop, which is available. I'll head to Sumatra in two weeks. Let's see how the pads and the TCR function. 

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Miller [53 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Be sure to take plenty of puncture repair stuff and you'll be fine and have a great time. Maybe pop a note back here afterwards to tell everyone how you got on.

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Sultan_Penang [7 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Miller wrote:

Be sure to take plenty of puncture repair stuff and you'll be fine and have a great time. Maybe pop a note back here afterwards to tell everyone how you got on.

 

Thanks! I just bought a few inner tubes and new CO2 cannisters. Definitely, once back from the ride I will write a note here.  

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TypeVertigo [415 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

28 mm tires should be fine for a bit of gravel. You will want to change your cornering technique a little on that surface - better to take the turn as upright as you can, and lean the bike over as little as possible.

Take care and enjoy your trip.

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macrophotofly [288 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

One important note on changing rim brake pads - new ones always feel amazingly good compared to the old glazed-over ones. Before drawing any conclusions on brand I suggest either buying a set of each new to try  Or  taking some sandpaper to your old ones, getting them roughed up, then set them up correctly on your rim and bed in a little - then see how much difference there is to the new Swiss Stop ones.

My personal experience is that Swiss Stop pads are relatively better in damp weather providing a little more initial bite (thus my choice in the UK) but on long descents nothing beats the Shimano Ult/D-A pads which is why I always went back to them in Japan where the descents are much longer

 

 

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BehindTheBikesheds [856 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Rapha Nadal wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

cyclisto wrote:

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

In August I serviced/supported my friends who did the RAID Alpine, this involved climbing over 58,000ft in 6 days and even more descending, a lot of it high speed with loads of chicanes, off the col de L'iseran it was snowing on the way up and over the top, sleeted then rain for the rest of the way. 3000ft down, they all had rim brakes and only one of them fubar'd their brakes (on another day) but wasn't due to burning all the way through them.

Let's file this under the "never happened" stories section.

You're so full of shit, so you're saying I'm lying and that my friends are lying and either didn't do the raid alpine or you're saying they went through loads of brake pads and I didn't notice once whilst packing their bikes, wheeling them into various conference rooms, out-houses and whilst helping to make sure they were up to spec each day. I'd even suggested in our pre-tour discussions to bring spare pads in case they were needed.

But yeah, you must have being there too so that you can assure us of your fantasy that it "never happened"

The pic below on the 12th August also never happened.

Do one twat!

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drosco [398 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Helmets!???

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fenix [799 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Sultan_Penang wrote:
Miller wrote:

Do you have a good handle on the quality of roads you'll be riding on? I wonder if a full-on race bike is the best choice of machine. I may be displaying my ignorance here but I wouldn't be expecting continuous asphalt in those regions. I'd be looking at a gravel bike, myself.

I wouldn't worry about disk brake maintenance, once set up they're very reliable. 

 

 

The places where I want to go are connected with asphalt. My experience with Indonesia is that roads can be often new and smooth, but also old and bumpy with potholes. I will put on 28mm tires. A gravel bike might be a better option, but I like fast, multi-day, minimalist road bike trips. Also, I am not sure if I want to buy a second bike, and I don't want to sell my TCR. 

So why are you asking about disc brakes ?

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [637 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Rapha Nadal wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

cyclisto wrote:

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

In August I serviced/supported my friends who did the RAID Alpine, this involved climbing over 58,000ft in 6 days and even more descending, a lot of it high speed with loads of chicanes, off the col de L'iseran it was snowing on the way up and over the top, sleeted then rain for the rest of the way. 3000ft down, they all had rim brakes and only one of them fubar'd their brakes (on another day) but wasn't due to burning all the way through them.

Let's file this under the "never happened" stories section.

You're so full of shit, so you're saying I'm lying and that my friends are lying and either didn't do the raid alpine or you're saying they went through loads of brake pads and I didn't notice once whilst packing their bikes, wheeling them into various conference rooms, out-houses and whilst helping to make sure they were up to spec each day. I'd even suggested in our pre-tour discussions to bring spare pads in case they were needed.

But yeah, you must have being there too so that you can assure us of your fantasy that it "never happened"

The pic below on the 12th August also never happened.

Do one twat!

In all fairness, you're so obsessed with your own blinkered & narrow minded view of the world that it's highly likely that you missed the worn out brake blocks. You fucking fifth rate troll.

Avatar
fenix [799 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Rapha Nadal wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Rapha Nadal wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

cyclisto wrote:

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

In August I serviced/supported my friends who did the RAID Alpine, this involved climbing over 58,000ft in 6 days and even more descending, a lot of it high speed with loads of chicanes, off the col de L'iseran it was snowing on the way up and over the top, sleeted then rain for the rest of the way. 3000ft down, they all had rim brakes and only one of them fubar'd their brakes (on another day) but wasn't due to burning all the way through them.

Let's file this under the "never happened" stories section.

You're so full of shit, so you're saying I'm lying and that my friends are lying and either didn't do the raid alpine or you're saying they went through loads of brake pads and I didn't notice once whilst packing their bikes, wheeling them into various conference rooms, out-houses and whilst helping to make sure they were up to spec each day. I'd even suggested in our pre-tour discussions to bring spare pads in case they were needed.

But yeah, you must have being there too so that you can assure us of your fantasy that it "never happened"

The pic below on the 12th August also never happened.

Do one twat!

In all fairness, you're so obsessed with your own blinkered & narrow minded view of the world that it's highly likely that you missed the worn out brake blocks. You fucking fifth rate troll.

Someone's not been out for a ride....

To me it sound perfectly feasible that people have got through the Alps without needing to change their blocks. I've spent long weekends over there and never used up all my blocks or even had to replace them shortly after. You do know different types of block wear differently ? And laden down bikes would be harsher than ligheer road bikes ? And braking techniques help too.

Avatar
fenix [799 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Rapha Nadal wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Rapha Nadal wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

cyclisto wrote:

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

In August I serviced/supported my friends who did the RAID Alpine, this involved climbing over 58,000ft in 6 days and even more descending, a lot of it high speed with loads of chicanes, off the col de L'iseran it was snowing on the way up and over the top, sleeted then rain for the rest of the way. 3000ft down, they all had rim brakes and only one of them fubar'd their brakes (on another day) but wasn't due to burning all the way through them.

Let's file this under the "never happened" stories section.

You're so full of shit, so you're saying I'm lying and that my friends are lying and either didn't do the raid alpine or you're saying they went through loads of brake pads and I didn't notice once whilst packing their bikes, wheeling them into various conference rooms, out-houses and whilst helping to make sure they were up to spec each day. I'd even suggested in our pre-tour discussions to bring spare pads in case they were needed.

But yeah, you must have being there too so that you can assure us of your fantasy that it "never happened"

The pic below on the 12th August also never happened.

Do one twat!

In all fairness, you're so obsessed with your own blinkered & narrow minded view of the world that it's highly likely that you missed the worn out brake blocks. You fucking fifth rate troll.

Someone's not been out for a ride....

To me it sound perfectly feasible that people have got through the Alps without needing to change their blocks. I've spent long weekends over there and never used up all my blocks or even had to replace them shortly after. You do know different types of block wear differently ? And laden down bikes would be harsher than ligheer road bikes ? And braking techniques help too.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [856 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Rapha Nadal wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Rapha Nadal wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

cyclisto wrote:

Once during touring, I descended a 1000m of steep downhill under heavy rain with rim brakes. When I reached the flats my brifters were stopping at my drop bars as there was excessive brake pad wear. I would definitely feel safer with disks but should you stick to rim brakes, don't forget to take enough replacement brake pads!

In August I serviced/supported my friends who did the RAID Alpine, this involved climbing over 58,000ft in 6 days and even more descending, a lot of it high speed with loads of chicanes, off the col de L'iseran it was snowing on the way up and over the top, sleeted then rain for the rest of the way. 3000ft down, they all had rim brakes and only one of them fubar'd their brakes (on another day) but wasn't due to burning all the way through them.

Let's file this under the "never happened" stories section.

You're so full of shit, so you're saying I'm lying and that my friends are lying and either didn't do the raid alpine or you're saying they went through loads of brake pads and I didn't notice once whilst packing their bikes, wheeling them into various conference rooms, out-houses and whilst helping to make sure they were up to spec each day. I'd even suggested in our pre-tour discussions to bring spare pads in case they were needed.

But yeah, you must have being there too so that you can assure us of your fantasy that it "never happened"

The pic below on the 12th August also never happened.

Do one twat!

In all fairness, you're so obsessed with your own blinkered & narrow minded view of the world that it's highly likely that you missed the worn out brake blocks. You fucking fifth rate troll.

Hahaha, it was YOU who called me out as a liar you fucking slimey pile of shit, and then I slammed the door shut on you.

But c'mon big man, if you want to get it on sowe can discuss the niceites of you calling me a liar, i'll fucking crush you like a grape loud mothed twat!

I'm on the CUK forum, you can message me there and let's get this sorted, any time, any place. But you won't because you're loud mothed cowardly cunt troll who accuses people of lying without a scrap of evidence then gets all keyboard warrior when outed as talking shite.

I'll be waiting for you twat!

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Helmut D. Bate [78 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

Good work, you two.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [856 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Helmut D. Bate wrote:

Good work, you two.

it's a private argument over some cretin calling me a liar, mind your own.

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