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Road bike disc brakes: everything you need to know

Road bike disc brakes: everything you need to know

Russell Burton / Our Media It’s only a few years since disc brakes were anathema to many road riders. Pro riders were especially vociferous in…

Friday, Dec 15

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Russell Burton / Our Media It’s only a few years since disc brakes were anathema to many road riders. Pro riders were especially vociferous in expressing their disapproval – or, at worst, hatred – of the new braking technology.

Step forward to 2024 and all WorldTour bikes will be kitted out with discs.

Bike makers have switched their output almost exclusively to disc brakes. Even teams, such as UAE Team Emirates who swapped between rims and discs as recently as 2022, now only ride disc brakes.

That switch away from rim brakes isn’t confined to premium models and has trickled down to budget road bikes too. They may have cable disc brakes rather than hydraulic systems, but you’ll find plenty of road bikes under £1,000 kitted out with disc brake rotors .

So what exactly are road disc brakes and why all the fuss? Are they really any different from other recent advancements in bike technology? And which braking system comes out on top when comparing disc brakes and rim brakes? What are road bike disc brakes?

Disc brakes are the standard stopping system on modern road bikes. – Russell Burton / Our Media The most fundamental difference between traditional rim brakes and disc brakes is where the braking forces are applied.

As the name suggests – and just as it’s been done for decades – rim brakes clamp directly on to the sides of the wheel rim itself. In this way, the rim serves as a main structural component of the wheel, the […]

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