pauley
I'm considering a bike with disc brakes- which all gravel bikes seem to have now.
I like to remove the front wheel on my bike and put the bike in the back of the car for "remote" starts on rides. How much of a pain is it to do this with disc brakes/ thru axles and not mess up the calipers and rotar (which I guess can be delicate too with the wheel off.) My friend just got a bike with hydraulic brakes and it seems like you can't even look at the brake levers without them moving the calipers once the wheel is removed.
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Nubster
I have three bikes with TA forks and discs and never have had an issue with removing the front wheel and messing up the caliper. At least the bikes I have...once the axle is removed, the wheel drops out pretty much like a QR front wheel would do. 
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knl2stl
I have never had an issue with transporting a bike with disc brakes.  With hydros, once the wheel is off, you should not pull the brake lever, since the pistons might go out farther/come closer together than they should.  It is often a good idea with hydros to insert a bleed block between the pads when transporting without a rotor in there.  Note how the skewer/TA is clamped and just get it back where and the way it was when putting the wheel back on to avoid rotor/pad rub.  
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Nebo
I have bikes with Shimano XT and Avid Elixir brakes. Both came with little plastic shipping spacers you can use to keep the pads apart. Your local bike shop could probably help.
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bobknh
My $.02: First, I'm an old roadie, and a bit of a retro-grouch lately. Just spent the entire season riding a Haanjo Comp with TPR Spyre mech. disks. Wheel changes are no big deal --- in fact, in some cases, even easier than with rim brakes which have to be opened and sometimes get knocked out of adjustment when you remove or install your wheels. That being said, my newest ride - a Ritchie Swiss Cross Canti - has Pauls Minimoto linear pull brakes, which I love. I too lament the demise of rim brakes; but I do see the advantages of disks - especially in rim design which don't require machined brake surfaces and better clearance for wider tires.
PS: My biggest complaint about wheel changes is the damn "lawyer" tabs on the front forks, which turn "quick" releases into slow releases. But, even the pro peloton has to use them now. Maybe a non-issue with through axle designs though.
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pauley
Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like the pad spacers every time is the way to go. I too am an old roadie. And some might call me a retro grouch as I do like to stay with the tried and true and must admit a hesitance in adapting myself to disc brakes. But canti brakes are themselves awfully fussy things to deal with. So when I get a new bike guess I'll take the plunge into the brave new world. Must admit the attributes of riding with discs on hilly dirt roads sounds great. There have been situations where my canti brakes are dangerously weak such as approaching an intersection on a steep downhill that I'm not familiar with. There have been a couple times when I literally couldn't stop in time, and maybe the only reason I'm here to tell the tale is that I was just lucky no cars were coming. OK maybe a little dramatic but certainly not far from the truth.
But I digress...
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Nubster
Disc brakes on bikes have certainly been around long enough to be tried and true.
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bobknh
pauley wrote:
Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like the pad spacers every time is the way to go. I too am an old roadie. And some might call me a retro grouch as I do like to stay with the tried and true and must admit a hesitance in adapting myself to disc brakes. But canti brakes are themselves awfully fussy things to deal with. So when I get a new bike guess I'll take the plunge into the brave new world. Must admit the attributes of riding with discs on hilly dirt roads sounds great. There have been situations where my canti brakes are dangerously weak such as approaching an intersection on a steep downhill that I'm not familiar with. There have been a couple times when I literally couldn't stop in time, and maybe the only reason I'm here to tell the tale is that I was just lucky no cars were coming. OK maybe a little dramatic but certainly not far from the truth.
But I digress...

I agree with your comments about canti's. But linear pull (AKA V brakes) are much better technically than canti's. The main problem with linear pull brakes are that they require more cable pull than road levers can deliver. There are work around's like the Travel Agent pulleys that replace the noodle in a V brake. They work well - I've been using them for years on my tandem; but they are a hard to install and set up. But Pauls Components solved the problem with their Minimoto brakes which are V brakes compatible with road levers. Great design -- but a bit expensive. None the less, if you want a new gravel bike -- your only choice will be disks.
PS: Several top Euro-pro CX racers resisted disks for as long as they could. But bike manufacturers tell them what to ride. Money talks and BS walks! Even the Pro road peloton will try disks again next year -- despite some bad experiences this year with riders cut by disks in crashes. Sad to say, disks are the future.
PPS: For many disks - especially hydraulic - I don't think that you'll need the spacers for travel. Besides, once you've done it, re-centering the pads is no big deal.
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pauley
Nubster wrote:
Disc brakes on bikes have certainly been around long enough to be tried and true.


Fair enough. I suppose I just meant that they haven't been tried and trued by me just yet.[smile] But that could easily change.
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pauley
bobknh wrote:

I agree with your comments about canti's. But linear pull (AKA V brakes) are much better technically than canti's. The main problem with linear pull brakes are that they require more cable pull than road levers can deliver. There are work around's like the Travel Agent pulleys that replace the noodle in a V brake. They work well - I've been using them for years on my tandem; but they are a hard to install and set up. But Pauls Components solved the problem with their Minimoto brakes which are V brakes compatible with road levers. Great design -- but a bit expensive. None the less, if you want a new gravel bike -- your only choice will be disks.
PS: Several top Euro-pro CX racers resisted disks for as long as they could. But bike manufacturers tell them what to ride. Money talks and BS walks! Even the Pro road peloton will try disks again next year -- despite some bad experiences this year with riders cut by disks in crashes. Sad to say, disks are the future.
PPS: For many disks - especially hydraulic - I don't think that you'll need the spacers for travel. Besides, once you've done it, re-centering the pads is no big deal.


Some good points, (though I'll probably get spacers just because they are cheap and would make things a little easier).
I have nothing against discs. But as you imply, I just don't like the way they are more or less forced on the buyers of the bikes we are talking about. The V brakes you mention, or even a higher quality of cantis than the ones I've got might do just fine.For that reason, I have considered something like the Gunnar Crosshairs where I could have a choice. But the Jamis Renegade Exploit looks nice too, and I think I could get used to the disc brakes.
BTW- congrats on your Richey. That is a nice build on a beautiful frame.

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RunsWithScissors
No need to be intimidated by discs.  They work great.  Your friend with the fussy brakes probably has either loose caliper mounting bolts, or he's just really bad about pulling the levers with rotors out. Calipers and pads generally don't move at all when installing and removing wheels unless you happen to squeeze the levers or the bolts are loose.  Disc brakes aren't THAT horribly touchy.  As far as pad spacers go, if you don't squeeze the levers with the rotors out you don't need 'em.  If you just REALLY wanna be sure about this stuff you COULD buy pad spacers, or you could just fold a thin piece of cardboard in half and stick that in between the pads.  Works just the same as a pad spacer, but costs you nothing.

Rotors ARE bendable, but not so bendy that you have to worry about them constantly.  They're also springy and want to stay straight as long as you don't bend them past the steel's yield point.

The road/gravel/CX crowd in general seems intimidated by disc brakes and it really makes no sense.  If they were THAT fussy and prone to failure or slicing off a leg then they never would have become the standard in mountainbiking, which is a MUCH more dangerous sport involving MANY more crashes than roadies typically see.

Relax. Buy the disc equipped bike.  You'll love it.[smile]
Support your local wheel builder.  Run REALLY LOW tire pressures!
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bobknh
RunsWithScissors wrote:
No need to be intimidated by discs.  They work great.  Your friend with the fussy brakes probably has either loose caliper mounting bolts, or he's just really bad about pulling the levers with rotors out. Calipers and pads generally don't move at all when installing and removing wheels unless you happen to squeeze the levers or the bolts are loose.  Disc brakes aren't THAT horribly touchy.  As far as pad spacers go, if you don't squeeze the levers with the rotors out you don't need 'em.  If you just REALLY wanna be sure about this stuff you COULD buy pad spacers, or you could just fold a thin piece of cardboard in half and stick that in between the pads.  Works just the same as a pad spacer, but costs you nothing.

Rotors ARE bendable, but not so bendy that you have to worry about them constantly.  They're also springy and want to stay straight as long as you don't bend them past the steel's yield point.

The road/gravel/CX crowd in general seems intimidated by disc brakes and it really makes no sense.  If they were THAT fussy and prone to failure or slicing off a leg then they never would have become the standard in mountainbiking, which is a MUCH more dangerous sport involving MANY more crashes than roadies typically see.
.
Relax. Buy the disc equipped bike.  You'll love it.[smile]

While everything you say is correct; there is still some retrogrouch in me. And certainly from the bike industries point of view, obsolescence is a very good thing. No doubt, when I get the itch again for a new bike -- it will likely have disk brakes. In the meanwhile I'm hoping to enjoy my Swiss Cross Canti for a season or so.
BTW - I was already drooling over some of the neat new steel gravel bikes coming out. And there is a custom builder in my neighborhood that builds some gorgeous machines. Of course almost all of the new stuff is disk and through axle specific.
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pauley
bobknh wrote:

While everything you say is correct; there is still some retrogrouch in me. And certainly from the bike industries point of view, obsolescence is a very good thing. No doubt, when I get the itch again for a new bike -- it will likely have disk brakes. In the meanwhile I'm hoping to enjoy my Swiss Cross Canti for a season or so.
BTW - I was already drooling over some of the neat new steel gravel bikes coming out. And there is a custom builder in my neighborhood that builds some gorgeous machines. Of course almost all of the new stuff is disk and through axle specific.


I believe you've mentioned before that you live in NH, as your handle suggests. Is that correct? I'm in NH too. Curious who the builder is. I know of Independent Fab. Is that the one, or is there another you are referring too?
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bobknh
pauley wrote:


I believe you've mentioned before that you live in NH, as your handle suggests. Is that correct? I'm in NH too. Curious who the builder is. I know of Independent Fab. Is that the one, or is there another you are referring too?

Yes - I live in Greenfield NH, close to Lyndeborough NH, where Kris Henry has his shop  - 44 Bikes. Kris is a great guy and supporter of local cycling. Here is a link for more info: http://44 cycles lyndeboroug . His bikes are beautifully crafted works of art. They cost much more than factory bikes; but his prices are very competitive compared to other custom builders.
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Nubster
I've been lusting for a Huntsman for awhile. Custom just isn't in the budget right now. And it's kinda crappy he penalizes you for taking a frame only. If I'm ever in a position to spend $2000-2500 on a frame I'll probably go Ti anyways.
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pauley
bobknh wrote:

Yes - I live in Greenfield NH, close to Lyndeborough NH, where Kris Henry has his shop  - 44 Bikes. Kris is a great guy and supporter of local cycling. Here is a link for more info: http://44 cycles lyndeboroug . His bikes are beautifully crafted works of art. They cost much more than factory bikes; but his prices are very competitive compared to other custom builders.


That Huntsman looks amazing. I like the blend of traditional steel with the modern touches. I live in Lebanon, close to Enfield, NH where Dick Drummond builds some nice bikes too. http://drummondcycles.com/2013/11/drummond-dirtgravel-bike/
Though I'd want wider tires and need more than long reach road brakes, I'm pretty sure he could accommodate those needs. But I haven't asked the price of his custom builds.

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bobknh
pauley wrote:


That Huntsman looks amazing. I like the blend of traditional steel with the modern touches. I live in Lebanon, close to Enfield, NH where Dick Drummond builds some nice bikes too. http://drummondcycles.com/2013/11/drummond-dirtgravel-bike/
Though I'd want wider tires and need more than long reach road brakes, I'm pretty sure he could accommodate those needs. But I haven't asked the price of his custom builds.


The Drummond looks very clean - no nonsense. Very New Hampshire! Kris Henry builds from a mountain bike point of view. But one of his Huntsman builds I saw this year at a charity ride in May- the Tour de Francesown - was built with narrower clearance similar to Drummond's. Like you, I'd want something that could handle 40mm if required. Is a custom build worth the time effort and cost? I don't know. But, one of the best bikes I've ever owned was built by J. P. Weigle in CT. I wish I still had it. It took several 2 hour drives from my home in NY to get fitted and get the final design dialed in. Then a 9 month wait before the frame was finished and built. Don't know if I want to go through that process again. But at least the drive over to Henry's shop is only 5 min., 15 min. by bike.
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