Brucey wrote:Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:....The article states he was an Engineer so surely changing disc brake pads shouldn't have been a problem for him....
clearly it was (for some reason), else he would have got on and done it?
One can only assume that at least part of the reason why he didn't get on and fix his brakes was that he didn't feel able to do so; it is not for everyone. Cable operated rim brakes have a much more obvious function and folk find it easier to repair/adjust them vs hydraulic brakes. You can buy new brake blocks that will fit most rim brakes in any bike shop and lots of other non specialist shops (eg supermarkets, wilko etc) too. Disc pads exist in mind-bending variety (for no good reason that I can see) and most bike shops only stock a few of the many possible types.
There appear to have been several issues:
* possibly unusual brakes such as are fitted on cheaper e-bikes which could be more difficult to change the pads in for some reason
* bleeding is not possible without special kit and fluid (some of which is highly toxic)
'No brakes because of no maintenance' is a common feature on bikes of all types. A lot of rim brakes end up without brakes through simple action of being parked with other bikes and getting tangled up. I think this is less likely with hydraulic brakes?
Also you end up with brakes that are missing noodles, where the cable has come out of the barrel, or where the cable has come out of the frame, and for this reason there is no braking force. Quick release mechanisms might be open, and numerous other faults.
Centering rim brakes is not easier than fitting disc pads, but there would certainly be an advantage for cyclists who have familiarity with cable systems in that they might be familiar with that.
My wife has taken a (rather nasty 7-speed hybrid) bike into "word corrected to Halfords" and they demanded £120 and a full change of everything - they refused to fix the rim brake. Since she has no idea how to do even basic maintenance she had only one brake. I fixed it myself for a new noodle or something like that, but in general almost any brake is impossibly complicated for many people, who will take it to the shop for a very minor issue, so it's difficult to distinguish them on this ground, except perhaps that 'zero maintenance' sealed systems may not offer sufficient braking force on such descents, so won't be great there either.
I don't believe that it's common or routine to advise on basic tasks such as removing wheels and fitting brake pads, which for disc brakes are IMO easier than many rim brakes, but perhaps it should be.
I'm not really convinced that a system that has run dry of fluid is much different from a cable system where the cables are not working for whatever reason. It all comes down to maintenance which many bicycle owners don't do any of....
It is possible in THIS case, that the cyclist was capable of maintaining some older system (ignoring that Shimano had hydraulic brakes in the late 1960s, they weren't common), but not this one, but we certainly don't know it for sure, and it doesn't really help the millions who want nothing to do with internal cables, housing stops, ferrules and all the rest of it, any more than they want to deal with hydraulic lines.