Most riders have a challenge choosing between bicycle disc brakes and rim brakes. It actually depends on what you prefer and what your needs are. If you want better and more consistent braking performance in any riding or weather conditions, not really concerned if it weighs and costs a tad more, then go with disc brakes. But if you want a lighter bike, are more concerned about speed, and willing to settle with not the optimum brake performance, or if you’re really concerned about the price, then choose rim brakes.
BICYCLE RIM BRAKES
Going into more details, mountain rim brakes have gone through a number of design changes over the years. The original cantilever brakes were the first one to come out, then came the U-brake (now known as V-brakes, which work well in most riding conditions).
However, rim brakes always require straight and undamaged rims in order to perform their best; and they perform poorly in muddy or wet conditions. Over time, these brakes can wear off right through the side of the rim, literally causing the rim’s side to blow off.
BICYCLE DISC BRAKES
Disc brakes have been used in cars for many years, but were not seriously used on bicycles until the middle of the 90’s. This is because, there were some issues with some of the early models of disc brakes. But today’s disc brakes, cable actuated or hydraulic, perform well.
Disc brakes’ performance is better than that of rim brakes’, especially in muddy or wet conditions. Also, they usually require just a little force to apply and are not affected by the condition of the wheel and/or rim.
But disc brakes give added weight on bicycles, this is why they’re less suitable for road bikes. They also cost a tad more than other types of bicycle brakes as they have the strongest stopping power.
To change from one braking system to the other, you would most likely not only have to get a new set of brakes but also a new wheelset. Usually, disc rims can’t be used with rim brakes and vice versa. The trend nowadays is certainly towards bicycle disc brakes, considering that the technology is improving year after year.