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Rim Brakes vs. Disc Brakes - Pros & Cons

The Rim Brake vs. Disc Brake discussion is often subjective. It's important to understand that while there are undeniable pros and cons associated with each style of braking, the reality is, manufacturers are phasing out rim brakes whether we like it or not.

Disc Brakes are here to stay and manufactures have slowly began phasing them out. While Rim Brakes have their advantages over Disc Brakes, it's hard to make the argument that Rim Brakes are better 'overall'. 

Some of the main benefits of Disc Brakes over Rim Brakes are the fact that Disc Brakes provide better braking performance in every aspect;

  • Wet / Poor Weather Conditions
  • Descending / heat build up
  • Braking Lever Modulation 
  • Braking Predictability 

My favorite thing about Disc Brake Wheelsets are that you can now train and race on the same set of wheels without fear of wearing out your rims. With traditional Rim Brake Wheelsets, riders would usually have training wheels and race wheels. This was because with Rim Brakes, the stopping power comes from the friction of pads 'biting' the outside edges on the rim to slow you down. With discs, the energy / stopping power is moved towards the hubs where a disc is attached via a rotor and the pads come in contact with the rotor instead of the rim itself. It's a much better design and ensures your high-end / expensive carbon wheels don't become damaged from friction wearing them down over time.

Another major benefit is that Disc Brakes are much stiffer than Rim Brakes because of the increase sized thru axles. The increased width means the wheels flex less, especially under load / stress when sprinting.