PostHeaderIcon Which Brakes Should I Choose for My Mountain Bike – Disc or Rim

This is a very important decision if you are in the market to buy a mountain bike.

 Mountain Biking There have been many design changes related to mountain bike brakes over the years. They started out with the original cantilever brakes. Then they went to the U Brake for many years, and lately the V Brakes have been the standard. In most conditions, the V Brakes seem to work well. The newest and greatest in many people’s minds are the disc brakes.

So is the newest and greatest the right choice for you? There are actually two answers to the question of disc brakes or rim brakes.

Rim Brakes
Rim brakes, and today that means V-brakes, are a tried-and-true type of brakes used on a great number of mountain bikes.  Mountain Biking They essentially have two arms attached to the rear chain stays of a mountain bike with a cable connecting them and the brake lever. When you pull on the brake lever, the brakes are actuated, squeezing the brake pads against the rim of the wheel. The pads create friction on the rim and are the main stopping mechanism of the brakes. Because of this friction they become worn over time or can become damaged and must be replaced. They are termed V-brakes because they make a distinctive “V” when they are put into action.

The problem is in wet or muddy conditions, rim brakes will perform poorly. They can also with a lot of use wear right through the side of your rim, causing the side of the rim to blow right off.

But if you want the lightest set up you can have and you are willing to accept small variances in brake performance, or you want the lowest price possible, rim brakes are what you should be choosing.

 Mountain Biking Disc Brakes
Disc brakes on the other hand although they have been around for a long time in cars only started being used on bikes in the late 1990’s. There were some issues in the earlier models, although the cable actuated or hydraulic brakes of today seem to work quite well.

In terms of performance, disc brakes seem to work better than rim brakes. This is especially true in wet or muddy conditions. Disc brakes usually require less force to apply and aren’t affected by the rim or wheel condition.

One of the disadvantages of disc brakes is the cost. Disc brake systems tend to be more expensive than rim brakes. Mechanical or cable actuated Disc brakes are closer in price, although they will still cost more than rim brakes. Hydraulic brakes on the other hand cost a lot more. Another disadvantage is weight. So if you’re riding cross country they may not be what you’re looking for.

Disc brakes provide maximum braking power for mountain bikes. Cable actuated disc brakes offer great value for money. Hydraulic disc brakes offer a closed, friction free braking system.

So if you are looking for more consistent brake performance in all conditions, disc brakes are what you should be choosing.

So the answer is either could be the right choice for you. Properly set up discs and v’s will both lock the wheel with one finger on any terrain. Mountain bike brakes reached the point where power is irrelevant with the advent of the v-brake.

To help you make your choice weigh out the above information. The reality is it’s a matter of opinion some riders prefer disc brakes, while others prefer rim brakes.

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