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My thoughts were that my next bike would have disks. They stop well and the rims don't wear out. It seems that's not so compatible with drop bars or with tourers. I'd need a more rigid fork so losing some of the comfort perhaps, and they may interfere with the rack at the back. I've seen touring tandems with huge rear disks and ridden as a cycle responder on a mountain bike with lots of load, so is that a problem?

My current experience of Mini-V and Cantilever with drop bars isn't so good either. I hope that with better quality pads on them they'll stop me this winter, having found myself barely stopping on time when it rained a week or so ago. The cycle responder bikes can stop quickly, even very fully loaded.

So what's better for brakes on a tourer?

Thanks

- Richard

7 comments

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mattsccm [341 posts] 3 years ago
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You will find that discs will stop you more effectively. And with way less effort.

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jedrek [4 posts] 3 years ago
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Due to the changes in UCI regulations on discs, there are a lot more touring-friendly disc frames (Kona Rove, Specialized AWOL, Surly Disc Trucker, Surly Straggler, Jamis Aurora, etc, etc) than ever before. You can also find a lot of racks that are touring friendly.

Avid BB7s and BB5s are made in road pull versions for drop bars, they're what comes on the Surly Disc Trucker and most of the bikes I've mentioned.

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 3 years ago
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Sorry to answer a question with a question but what kind of touring are you planning to do? If you are riding with full front and rear panniers, bar bag etc then I would definitely go for discs given their stopping power.

If you are more of a credit card tourer with one or two panniers then decent quality long drop calliper brakes will be fine.

If you are worried about compatibility with drop bar STI's then the TRP Hy/Ry brakes look a good option:

http://road.cc/content/review/85499-trp-hyrd-mechanical-interface-hydrau...

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mrmo [2093 posts] 3 years ago
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I think it matters where you tour, discs are "better " but they are more complicated and harder to bodge. Can you get spare pads, what if you rip a hose out, etc.

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Mart [110 posts] 3 years ago
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Disc brakes are fantastic when they work. Some issues I have had with regards to MTB are:
A bleed plug coming out mid ride, no front brake for the rest of the day and brake fluid every where.
Squealing brakes, then fading of power. Ultimately only resolved by replacing the disc and pads (after various combinations).
Pad contamination causing lack of power.

I think the benefits can out weigh the negatives in many situations, however, I would ask your self a few questions.
What type of touring will you be doing?
Where will you be going? (Countries/Mountains).
Will you be able to get parts in a small LBS? There are many varieties of pads and disc's and they can not all be stocked.
Camp/Road side repairable? Nothing ever fails at a convenient time.

It's just my thoughts, I've not Road toured with disc's. Did to the SDW with kit over 2 days in winter with no issue.

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m0rjc [36 posts] 3 years ago
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Thanks. This is certainly something to look at and ask at bike shops.

If I put a disk brake on the front do I sacrifice some comfort in the fork?

Although I can't predict the future I'll be most likely visiting places like the Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire Moors - places fairly local to me. They're hilly. My company has a charity ride from Calais to its office in Sliedrecht, though it seems I can't make it this year.

We used to cycle-camp, initially with quite heavy kit (Vango Force 10, Trangia), though now we have something smaller and lighter when packed and larger when pitched. We'll hopefully do more of this as the kids (at least my son) grow old enough and I hope a bike I buy will last long enough for this to be relevant. We already have a Dawes Galaxy Twin tandem which has weak cantilever brakes and, thankfully, a drum brake. I expect future usage will be a mix of this and a personal bike.

At the moment my load carrying use is child seat, child trailer, commute, taking first aid kit and uniform to St John duties in my area, taking radio kit to RAYNET duties in my area. Commuting and short leisure rides make up most of my current mileage. Family take up most of my free time.

I rode a mountain bike yesterday. I liked the disks. It had suspension fork, but I wasn't thinking of this on a bike I want to be fairly lightweight for my unladen rides. I much prefer drop bars. Based on experience of both STI and bar end shifters my current preference is bar end shifters. It's clear to see or feel where they are, and I worry about the cost of repair for STI.

I'm looking at buying for next year, though I'm researching now. Maybe in that time more suppliers will be fitting disks. If I wait for next year's sales I'll be looking at this year's models, assuming I buy off the shelf.

Thanks

- Richard

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m0rjc [36 posts] 3 years ago
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I've found some interesting articles from Sheldon Brown, including how to set up cantilevers properly. I'll have a go at following his advice on my existing cross bike and the tandem to see what effect it has.

The cross bike's front brake works well. It's currently running a full size V brake (from a hybrid I had) on STI levers so it has to be fairly frequently adjusted. There's a fair amount of mechanical advantage there. It has the tandem's front wheel while its own front wheel awaits new cartridge bearings, an advantage of everything in the family having the same size wheel. The tandem wheel has a much wider rim than the wheel that came with the bike.

The rear brake is an Avid Shorty 6 so narrow profile. I was unsatisfied with the Mini-Vs that came with the bike so tried that as a cantilever based on reviews at the time. Based on Sheldon Brown's articles it seems I'd want to specify a wider profile and therefore a wider cantilever angle. I'll try his recommendations to increase the effective cantilever angle with what I have.