Why disc brakes?
Discs are better in almost every regard with a few exceptions. Mostly, disc brakes offer consistent stopping performance regardless of the conditions. Rain, sleet, snow, mud, dust, whatever, when you grab your brake lever on a disc brake you know it will work. Then there’s the whole part about removing the braking surface from the rim itself. This is important in so many ways. By no longer braking on the rim, you no longer have to worry about heat buildup on long descents causing your tire to blow, or tubular to roll off, especially on carbon rims.
Also, it eliminates the need for a brake track on the rim, opening up the design to me more aero, wider, and lighter since you don’t have to withstand the clamping forces of a brake caliper. Then, on the frame it opens up the use of wider tires since you don’t have to worry about squeezing them through narrow brakes, as well as the use of full fenders even with a 28mm tire.
And we could go on – easier braking from the hoods (more confidence), cleaner, etc…. Bottom line is that there is a reason almost every modern vehicle has adopted the use of disc brakes. We may be pioneers in disc brake road bikes, but you can expect to see a lot more brands adopt in the near future. You heard it here first.
A few benefits:
1. Consistent braking under all conditions: The braking force is consistent so speed control is more predictable even in wet and muddy conditions.
2. Better safety and control: You can modulate or have greater range of control since the stopping force is even with no sudden grabbing and locking of wheels.
3. Better stopping power: Apply more force so you can stop sooner.
4. Less hand fatigue: More stopping power means you don’t have to squeeze your brakes as hard which is a problem on longer descents and cold rides.
5. No black gunk all over the frame: Don’t you hate wet riding knowing you'll have to clean the black stuff from your brake track when you're done?
6. Less maintenance and economical: Since the pad wear is minimal, no need to constantly adjust the cable and pad position. Less wear means less cost to maintain.
7. Easy to adjust: No tools required to adjust brake pad clearance.
8. Discs don't heat up the rim like rim brakes do. Carbon rim: No heat damage to your expensive carbon rims. Also, no longer have the possibility of blowing tires/tubes or rolling tubulars from overheating rims on long descents or from “riding” the brakes.
9. Brake even with broken wheels: Disk brakes are not affected by the conditions of the spokes or rims; so even if you break a spoke, you don’t lose braking.
10. Wider range of tire sizes: Your range of tires is no longer hampered by clearing narrow brake calipers. No more deflating your tire to get it in and out of the brake.
11. Ride with fenders: No tire clearance issues to worry about without the rim brake calipers.
12. Easier to repair flats: No need to open calipers and adjust pads every time you have a flat.
13. Peace of mind: You have enough things to worry about when going for a ride - your brakes should not be one of them.