Why have disc brakes become so popular?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
busb
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby busb » 15 Aug 2018, 8:53pm

Brucey wrote:
busb wrote: . They did suggest drops were better for longer rides due to having 3 potential hand positions -.


i'd agree with that, and add that the number of positions is way more than three. I'd also add that if you have interrupter levers on the top of the drops, riding on the tops isn't much different from riding narrow flats.

BTW it isn't just the handlebar width that alters the speed of the bike; it is a lot to do with body position; drops can enable you to 'get doon' and get aero a bit better, without being wildly uncomfortable.

cheers


Indeed. The reason I changed to straight bars was neck pain that thankfully hasn't returned - I used to adopt an aero position either by just ducking down from the hoods or from the drops though they weren't so deep. What interested me was when I rode regularly with CTC about 15 or so yrs ago. A few riders were very dismissive of my suggestion of trying straight bars - citing the differing hand positions as a reason. On my return ride a year ago, the majority of bikes were straight-barred and recognised many of the riders. Drops are great for going fast - that's why I've had so much fun recently.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 15 Aug 2018, 9:18pm

@Cugel: Testing the fixers -- good idea but does assume some knowledge on your part. Which brings us back to my point that people do use machines they don't fully understand, because otherwise our lives would be restricted. Numerous examples from the inessential through the useful to those we really depend on. I'd suggest the ways of "testing the fixers" most people use are recommendation from friends and relatives, and judging by results -- how does the thing work when the fixer has finished? Find someone who's good based on these criteria and stick with them.

Four basic categories of reason for not fixing an item yourself: physical ability, mental complexity, circumstances (time/space/tools), lack of interest. Perhaps the last is less "acceptable" but then a lot of machines are not intrinsically interesting - we're not all engineers!

To make this at least tangentially relevant to disc brakes: I have them on one bike and I change the pads, adjust the pistons, etc, myself. These are cable discs - in the past I've bled hydraulic brakes on motorbikes and it's a pain, (fifth reason for getting others to fix things; to avoid nasty substances!), which would disincline me to use hydraulics, but if I had them... well, I'd have to see. Meanwhile, my friend N has a disc-braked recumbent trike with electric assist. She needs the electric assist due to mobility problems, and the weight of the battery (and it being an inherently heavy recumbent trike) probably make disc brakes a good idea - anyway, that's what it comes with (can't remember off hand if they're cable or hydraulic). Those same mobility problems (or rather, other associated disabilities) mean she physically can't fix the thing herself - she doesn't have the manual dexterity.

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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 15 Aug 2018, 9:25pm

@Brucey: Yes, all those bikes, including one without tyres, are functioning - according to their riders' criteria. Which is quite a good reason for machines with greater destructive potential when things go wrong (like planes) to be checked at fixed intervals, even if nothing seems to be wrong. And yes, they all benefit from simplicity, if well made (which most of those Indian roadsters aren't). Though that doesn't quite account for lack of tyres - that's taking simplicity too far!

Brucey
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Brucey » 15 Aug 2018, 9:49pm

busb wrote: .... What interested me was when I rode regularly with CTC about 15 or so yrs ago. A few riders were very dismissive of my suggestion of trying straight bars - citing the differing hand positions as a reason. On my return ride a year ago, the majority of bikes were straight-barred and recognised many of the riders. Drops are great for going fast - that's why I've had so much fun recently.


far be it for me to generalise but many folk buy a new bike for commuting and hacking about on and I have noticed that price is a major factor in their decision, CTC groups being no exception. Since there is no great speed involved in most CTC rides aero benefits are fairly moot. A plus point for flat barred bikes is simply that they are very often cheaper for a given spec, because the shifters/levers and bars are cheaper. The British concept of a touring bike (with dropped bars) is an oddball one (by global standards) and you pay twice over for crummy STIs and for it being a niche product if you buy a traditional touring bike. By comparison a hybrid/trekking style bike can be about half the cost.
Last time i went out with a CTC group ( a couple of years ago) it was about 50-50 mix of flats and drops.

cheers
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skelo
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby skelo » 18 Aug 2018, 10:09pm

last summeren route to Italy I rode my trike with hydraulic discs on the two rear wheels, alongside me was a hybrid with calipers. after 900km (in Lugano) we had to stop at a bike shop for new blocks on the hybrid. no such problems with the discs. overall I have done about 4000km including some very brake-heavy descents still haven't needed any new pads or hydraulic top-up.

So I guess discs are more reliable and efficient as well as stopping you quicker.

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Cugel
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Cugel » 20 Aug 2018, 2:08pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:@Cugel: Testing the fixers -- good idea but does assume some knowledge on your part. Which brings us back to my point that people do use machines they don't fully understand, because otherwise our lives would be restricted. Numerous examples from the inessential through the useful to those we really depend on. I'd suggest the ways of "testing the fixers" most people use are recommendation from friends and relatives, and judging by results -- how does the thing work when the fixer has finished? Find someone who's good based on these criteria and stick with them.

Four basic categories of reason for not fixing an item yourself: physical ability, mental complexity, circumstances (time/space/tools), lack of interest. Perhaps the last is less "acceptable" but then a lot of machines are not intrinsically interesting - we're not all engineers!

To make this at least tangentially relevant to disc brakes: I have them on one bike and I change the pads, adjust the pistons, etc, myself. These are cable discs - in the past I've bled hydraulic brakes on motorbikes and it's a pain, (fifth reason for getting others to fix things; to avoid nasty substances!), which would disincline me to use hydraulics, but if I had them... well, I'd have to see. Meanwhile, my friend N has a disc-braked recumbent trike with electric assist. She needs the electric assist due to mobility problems, and the weight of the battery (and it being an inherently heavy recumbent trike) probably make disc brakes a good idea - anyway, that's what it comes with (can't remember off hand if they're cable or hydraulic). Those same mobility problems (or rather, other associated disabilities) mean she physically can't fix the thing herself - she doesn't have the manual dexterity.


You're right to note that all of us (including me) have become reliant on technologies we don't understand well enough to be able to fix ourselves. A modern car is one example and an electronic camera is another. Although I was once the car maintainer (from oil change to crankshaft renewal) this seems impossible with a modern car for we ordinary folk. Several electronic gubbins are black-box and inherently unfixable anyway, even by an expert.

One response is to do without these items. I would like to do without a car and perhaps will do before much longer. Already I go days and days without driving it. I would be reluctant to give up a digital camera, though, even if photos are not essential to life. On the other hand, I've never had a mobile phone or several of the many bike gizmos and never will have.

The other response, as you mention, is to evolve better tests for discovering and testing competence in expert maintainer-fixers of things we may want to use but can't fix ourselves. The basic mechanism is "reputation" but this is very hard to discover. Every good and service seems, these days, wrapped in layers & layers of hyperbolic advert lies and pseudo reviews). The only way to test a fixer is to use one and observe the result - which, if no good, has still cost you a wodge.

However, I use the reverse reputation test: one convincing and evidenced bad review means the good or service is crossed off my list of potential providers. It might mean I miss a good one but if it means I avoid ten potential bad ones ......

If there are 99 good reviews and only 1 bad one, I employ the law of probability and don't cross off the potential supplier. But even that's a gamble. More and more I go for the "I don't really need or even want one" solution. Also, I learn new skills, such as how to bleed hydraulic disk brakes properly. Some things do remain self-maintainable. Why remain incompetent at doing it yourself? That would be like getting someone else to watch a play for you then give you a summary. Or like having a servant to dress you, cook your dinner and weed the garden. Personally I have always abhorred the aristocratic mode of life. :-)

Lataxe

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 20 Aug 2018, 3:15pm

I'm annoyed about this; I wrote a reply and then lost it to a flaky internet connection. Might be some sort of lesson in there! Basically, I wanted to say that it's wise to be suspicious of reviews from unknown sources, for all sorts of reasons. Opinions I would trust would be those from people I know (friends, family) and also from online sources who can reasonably be identified as real people with no interest in advancing or doing down the object or service in question; reviews on a forum such as this one might, mostly, be an example.

And doing with things; yes, we all have too much stuff.

brynpoeth
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Aug 2018, 3:51pm

It is good to do as much as possible oneself
If one cannae/willnae it, it is still worth trying to understand
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
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Brucey
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Brucey » 20 Aug 2018, 7:14pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:I'm annoyed about this; I wrote a reply and then lost it to a flaky internet connection. Might be some sort of lesson in there!....


it isn't a bad idea to 'select all' and then 'copy' the text in a reply before you post it. The way this forum works on most computers is such that going 'back' in the browser also refreshes the page, so unless you 'copy' your text, you have lost it if it doesn't load to the forum for some reason. Reasons for it not doing so include a flakey internet connection but also the page you are typing into can 'time out', too.

cheers
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busb
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby busb » 20 Aug 2018, 10:36pm

brynpoeth wrote:It is good to do as much as possible oneself
If one cannae/willnae it, it is still worth trying to understand

Not doing something oneself doesn't imply inability. I'm able to do many servicing tasks on bikes but sometimes choose to let someone else do it - especially when it's free as is a yearly free service as part of the purchase agreement. What some mechanical savvy allows is to spot mistakes & judge the worth or otherwise.
Not everyone has mechanical skills - I fixed a kitchen ceiling light for my GF's parents - her dad did try himself but gave up. Does this make me feel superior? No, he's a retired consultant surgeon!

Peter W
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Peter W » 21 Aug 2018, 8:24am

The title of this thread should have been, 'Why shouldn't disc brakes have become so popular?'

Given that properly designed and constructed ( not always a given) disc brakes can offer advantages over rim brakes, the objections, in my opinion, appear to be twofold. 1) Rim brakes work, are adequate enough (except in the wet), and are easy and simple to understand and fix for 'ordinary' people. Who NEEDS anything better? 2) Rim brakes LOOK far more appropriate to a bicycle. I suspect THAT is uppermost in many minds!

Adding perceived complication ties in with the fact that many things nowadays are too complex for 'ordinary' users to understand or repair themselves. (Love the reference to digital cameras when it was the same old resistance to them when they first appeared, but does anybody still think film was the superior medium?)

I don't see any way of holding back the relentless march of technology which is seemingly unstoppable! Disc brakes are one of the happier outcomes for many of us.

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Cugel
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Cugel » 21 Aug 2018, 10:43am

Peter W wrote:The title of this thread should have been, 'Why shouldn't disc brakes have become so popular?'

Given that properly designed and constructed ( not always a given) disc brakes can offer advantages over rim brakes, the objections, in my opinion, appear to be twofold. 1) Rim brakes work, are adequate enough (except in the wet), and are easy and simple to understand and fix for 'ordinary' people. Who NEEDS anything better? 2) Rim brakes LOOK far more appropriate to a bicycle. I suspect THAT is uppermost in many minds!

Adding perceived complication ties in with the fact that many things nowadays are too complex for 'ordinary' users to understand or repair themselves. (Love the reference to digital cameras when it was the same old resistance to them when they first appeared, but does anybody still think film was the superior medium?)

I don't see any way of holding back the relentless march of technology which is seemingly unstoppable! Disc brakes are one of the happier outcomes for many of us.


Although it's foolish to attempt prediction of the future, I'll play the fool here - disc brakes will be the norm on 99% of bikes in 10 years time, with the same proportion of users able to fix them as today can fix calliper brakes.

Well, maybe a few less will be able to fix the disc brakes, as the general trend in the population is towards being an inept, stupid and ignorant consumer of things that are full of planned obsolescence so never get considered for fixing. Of course, I too am forced into the "inept, stupid and ignorant consumer" category by the ever-increasing amount of blackbox items with large amounts of planned obsolescence. After all, such goods and services are the life-blood of rabid economic "growth" that gets those CEOs their Big Wodges so it would be foolish of them to offer alternatives that are inherently long-lasting, fixable and functional rather than merely fashionable.

Fashion. Cuh!

'Scuse my rant. :-)

Cugeldamus

PS Another possibility is that we'll all be dead of Trump or Putin in 10 years time.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 21 Aug 2018, 4:22pm

Peter W wrote:2) Rim brakes LOOK far more appropriate to a bicycle. I suspect THAT is uppermost in many minds!

This is important to my mind. But it's also highly subjective - both in what people think looks good (or appropriate) and in how important those looks are. I happen to think disc brakes look good and appropriate on most bikes, and so do most rim brakes - I like the looks of dual pivots, side pulls, cantilevers, I'm ambivalent about centre pulls and I dislike the looks of V-brakes. However, I have owned two bikes with V-brakes. Drum brakes can also look good but I don't like the looks of Magura hydraulic rim brakes. Spoon brakes and rod brakes look appropriate on suitably old fashioned cycles. I'm sure there are some I've forgotten.

Peter W
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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Peter W » 21 Aug 2018, 4:30pm

I would agree Cugal that any keen cyclist would adapt to servicing and mending their own disc brakes (many MTB riders service their own quite complicated tele. forks), provided the Japanese don't deliberately go down the route of making them non serviceable for the owners, by only supplying spares and special tools to the workshops of accredited dealers.

I've a sneaking suspicion that many dealers would welcome such a move in that it would guarantee them lucrative repair work, and secure their survival!

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Re: Why have disc brakes become so popular?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 21 Aug 2018, 4:41pm

Or the Italians and the Americans? We even have British manufacturers of various cycle components, including disc brakes; well, when I say Britain, I mean Yorkshire...