In comparison to rim brakes, disc brakes offer various advantages: The generally fully hydraulic bicycle brakes provide you with a particularly high braking force. Even during rainy weather their breaking force is impeccable. Furthermore, they prevent the rims from wear and tear or overheating. With the help of adapters, the brake caliper of a disc brake can be fixed on every bicycle fork and rear triangle. However, a cycle must be prepared for the usage of disk brakes. The brake disc has to be directly fixed on the hub, where it can fully unfold its breaking effects.
Construction and mechanism
A disk brake consists of a brake lever, brake line, brake caliper, and brake disc. The brake lever is fixed to the handlebar. Because of the high level of braking force, the rider generally uses the disc brakes with one or two fingers. The hydraulic or mechanical brake line connects the brake lever with the brake caliper. The brake disc rotates through the slit of the caliper. If the rider presses the brake lever, he makes the pistons push the brake pads towards the disc on both sides. This position of the pistons is responsible for slowing down the bike.
Different designs for various purposes
Depending on the type of construction, two or four pistons work inside the brake caliper. Four brake pistons offer greater effect than two, however they are much heavier as well. Above all, downhill-oriented mountain bikes for alpine terrain rely on four pistons, since they require extraordinary brake power. The manufacturer BrakeForceOne does something special: Their innovative design works with hydraulic transmission ratios, which function as brake booster. For road bikes and Cyclocross bikes, sometimes low-maintenance, mechanical disc brakes with bowden cables are used. Furthermore, the size of the disc influences the breaking effect. Usually, bigger discs are used on the front wheel, since a more effective brake force is needed there. Brake discs with a diameter of 140 millimeters are suitable for road or trekking bikes while 160-180 mm discs brakes are used in cyclocross, trekking and mountain bikes. Enduro-MTBs, Freerider and Downhill bikes either rely on a combination of 180 / 200 mm (front / back) or 200 / 200 mm. Heavy riders also prefer larger brake discs, as they are less likely to overheat. Furthermore, you can choose between sintered and organic brake pads.
The right care leads to perfect breaks
For an optimum performance, the rider needs to clean and service the disk brakes on a regular basis. There are special cleaning kits for this. Since brakes are of utmost importance for the safety, their correct setup and service should be performed by experts exclusively. Disc brakes unfold strong brake forces and can be operated without much effort. If adjusted correctly and checked, as well as maintainedregularly, they are much more powerful than classic rim brakes. Depending on the design, they are suitable for all kinds of bicycles.