Hydraulic Disc Brakes – why consider them
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?
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:
- Power – with hydraulic disc brakes, a light single-fingertip pull is all that’s required in the wettest conditions on the steepest downhills.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Disc brake pads are harder so they last longer than traditional ‘rubber’ brake blocks for rim brakes.
- 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.
- Your wheel rims should also last much longer now that they are no longer worn down by the brake pads.
- 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.
- Disc brakes don’t compromise clearance for fitting mudguards as rim brakes can.
- 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.