3rd June 2016

Why you should consider a bike with high quality hydraulic disc brakes

Rear Elixir CR hydraulic disc brakes

Rear Elixir CR hydraulic disc brakes

Have you ever ridden a steep downhill in the rain and not felt completely confident in the bike’s brake power?

Have you ever reached the bottom of the hill with your biceps and forearms fatigued, or even aching, from the effort of pulling fistfuls of brake lever?

“A bicycle’s hydraulic disc brakes often require zero maintenance between annual services.”

You’re a candidate for hydraulic disc brakes.

Famed for their all-weather performance matched with light fingertip action, hydraulic disc brakes are generally acknowledged as the best and the most widely adopted improvement in bicycle technology of the past 15 years. Here’s why:

  1. Power – with hydraulic disc brakes, a light single-fingertip pull is all that’s required in the wettest conditions on the steepest downhills.
  2. Modulation – hydraulic braking is controlled and modulated so you quickly get a feel for how much lever pull is required, depending on whether you want to lightly scrub your speed or come to an emergency stop.
  3. Hydraulic hoses, unlike cables, are not prone to fraying, rusting, kinking and breaking. This fundamental difference helps explain why hydraulic brakes require far less maintenance and adjustment than cable-operated brakes.
  4. Moving the brakes from the mud and rain-attracting wheel rims to the relatively clean hubs make for an improvement in the brakes’ all-weather all-conditions performance.
  5. Disc brake pads are harder so they last longer than traditional ‘rubber’ brake blocks for rim brakes.
  6. Automatic pad adjustment – even when the pads do wear down, they maintain an optimal distance from the brake rotor so brake performance isn’t compromised.
  7. Your wheel rims should also last much longer now that they are no longer worn down by the brake pads.
  8. If you’re unlucky enough to buckle a wheel, brake performance isn’t compromised and the rim won’t rub on the brake pads as will happen with rim brakes.
  9. Disc brakes don’t compromise clearance for fitting mudguards as rim brakes can.
  10. Just like a car’s disc brakes, a bicycle’s hydraulic disc brakes often require zero maintenance between annual services apart from, perhaps, the occasional change of pads.

Need new disc brake pads? Check out our selection

Or book in for a bike service

5 comments on “Why you should consider a bike with high quality hydraulic disc brakes

  1. Matt Hodges on

    Hydraulic discs may be good but I have had no end of trouble with those on a recumbent trike. Yes they stop me fine but after the first set of pads wore out and were replaced by the correct makers pads the brakes kept touching lightly. They weren’t backing off properly and despite repeated servicing the problem has persisted. So much so that when I recently got another trike I choose Stermy Archer hub brakes.
    Meanwhile on my upright solo I use Rigida Andra Tungsten Carbide rims. These have now done 28,287 miles riding winter and summer in filthy conditions. The front V brake pads are still the original pair of hard pads recommended for these rims though the rear pads have been replaced with ordinary Fibrax pads which are easily replaced when necessary and last me about 6 thousand miles. They are easy to maintain, work well in the wet and I don’t have to take my bike into a professional shop every year as I would with hydraulic discs.

  2. Matt Hodges on

    Oh! And for all weather use my Rohloff hub gear is still the original working well after 33,000 miles but I have had to change the single rear sprocket once and the single chainring once. I change the oil in the hub once a year and the chain after about 8,000 miles.

  3. A Scott on

    The ones on my Genesis Borough absolutely howl and squeal when I pull them on especially at low speeds and the pads have been replaced twice. I’d seriously consider not getting disc brakes again. I’m always getting looks from pedestrians and comments from other cyclists.

    • Web Master on

      Hi Andrew,

      Sorry to hear about your problem with brake squeal. It’s difficult to diagnose without seeing it, but this can sometimes be solved by hosing the rotors and pads with water. However when the problem persists after replacing pads as you described it’s most likely that the rotors are contaminated. When you fit new pads they will get contaminated too, so the problem isn’t solved. The best solution is to clean both with https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/muc-off-disc-brake-cleaner.html.

      Alternatively, if you can pop the bike into any of our shops, we’re confident our mechanics will be able to offer a solution.




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