How Much Faster Can You Stop With Disc Brakes?

How Much Faster Can You Stop With Disc Brakes?


– [Dan] Disc brakes really divide opinion
amongst cyclists. What you’ll generally find is that people who’ve used them will
rave about them, whilst those that haven’t will simply say that they’re unnecessary.
Now, what we can say is that, given that we’ve ridden and raced
on rim brakes for many years, they’re certainly not essential. But how
do disc brakes compare to top-of-the-range rim brakes on a carbon wheel like this
one? Can we see a difference? – [Sy] Yeah. Very simply, can you
stop faster with disc brakes? Well, we’re going to find out.
We have two very similar setups here, except Dan is using Sram Red disc brakes
and I am using Sram Red rim brakes. Otherwise, the tires are the same
and our weight is broadly similar, give or take a pint of Stella and a pasty. – Yeah. So we’ve got almost identical
setups except for the brakes, and what Sy and I are going to do is ride
next to each other and brake as hard as we can on various roads
in different conditions, and then simply compare
the stopping distances. – I think we’re going to have to go
somewhere other than the south of France, Dan, to find different conditions. – Where would you suggest? Just go home? ♪ [music] ♪ – So as you can see, we have had to leave
the south of France in order to finish off this video. Anyway, in dry conditions, as
you might expect, the difference between the two different brakes are not actually
that great. Rim brakes have loads of power and loads of modulation, allowing us
to slow down really quickly. – Yeah. And discs do feel much better, but
it’s not the extra power and modulation which really makes that much
difference, even though it is better. Now, on poorer surfaces, that modulation
allows us to use more of the power. So even though there’s not that much
traction, we’re making the most of what we’ve actually got. Now, as we clearly
saw, in the worst conditions, disc brakes did simply allow us to slow down
a lot faster. And when it’s wet, they’re simply a lot better. – Yeah. These carbon wheels
do brake really, really well in the wet, but we can see that they’re still nowhere
near as effective as disc brakes. And one of the main reasons for that is
that the pads actually have to clear the water off the surface of the rim in order
for the brakes to become effective. And at the point at which they do start to
bite, well, that can sometimes lead to quite sketchy moments,
particularly on really slippery surfaces. – On the other hand, disc brakes work just
as they always do. So that’s not down to the amount of power, necessarily, but
probably more down to the modulation. So the amount of lever pull between the
points at which the brake pad meets the rotor and the rotor locks up is much
greater. And what that means is we’re getting more power to the tire without
causing it to break traction and skip. So, what does this mean for you and I
riding out on the roads on a day to day basis? Well, hopefully you won’t be having
to do too many emergency stops like we’ve been simulating for these tests.
You all right there, Sy? – Yeah, fine. Sorry about that. – But I certainly think that we can all
learn to love the consistency and predictability of disc brakes
within a matter of a few rides. – Yeah. You can get by without them,
of course, but why would you? Now, of course, having really
good brakes on your bike is one thing. Being able to use them properly
and get the most out of them is another. So why not check out our video on how to
brake like a pro? You can get through to it by clicking just up there. Or for
another video where we test whether disc brakes are ready for the pro peloton, or
actually, probably, is the pro peloton ready for discs? To get through to that,
you can click just down there. – Yeah, and if you’re not already a
subscriber to the Global Cycling Network, it is absolutely free and all you’ve got
to do is click anywhere on the screen which contains myself and Sy. I think most of them
have subscribed, haven’t they? There’s quite a few of you
who haven’t subscribed. – What are you waiting for? – And we can tell. No, we can’t tell. – No, we can’t. Just click on down there.
Come on. Just do it. Makes sense. – Right. Let’s do some braking.