What is the advantage of the disc brake

Disc vs. rim brakes

Fundamental to this question

The answer to the question of whether rim or disc brakes are the better choice depends on various factors. Above all, the intended use of the bicycle plays a role. If larger loads are often to be expected, either through luggage transport or due to demanding off-road journeys, reliability is the greatest factor. Disc brakes are preferable here. If, on the other hand, the lightest possible, minimally equipped bike is in the foreground, then rim brakes are recommended.

This article is intended to point out a few considerations when making a decision. To this end, he wants to clarify a few fundamental differences between the two systems.

The difference between rim and disc brakes

With rim brakes, the brake shoes are pressed onto the rims. This leads to wear on both the brake shoes and the rims. The wear and tear of the rims and their need for renewal is often used as an argument against rim brakes.

With disc brakes, the brake shoes press on discs that are mounted on the wheel hub. The brake shoes in particular are worn out here. The distance between the brake shoes and the disc must be very precise, otherwise braking force will be lost. The difficult repair or replacement of disc brakes is often cited as an argument against disc brakes.

What reduces the braking power of rim brakes?

Rim brakes lose their braking power when the rims get wet or dirty. Both can happen relatively easily when you are out and about in the rain or, for example, driving along a forest path.

How do rims react to constant braking?

Rims are actually intended to serve as supports for the tires. They also work as a braking surface, but wear out in the process. Constant braking therefore reduces a component that should primarily perform a different function - the rolling of the bicycle itself.

If a rim has lost too much material due to braking, there is a risk of it tearing open. If this happens while driving, it can lead to a fall. Rims with special markings can help. If these marks have disappeared, the rim has become too thin. A quick exchange is advisable.

Another approach is to use slightly more expensive rims that are coated with ceramic at the crucial points. These rims do not wear out as much and so stay in service longer.

If you brake continuously while driving downhill, the rim brakes and the rims can overheat. This can cause the hose to burst. It is therefore advisable to only brake carefully on such journeys and to take breaks from time to time.