For general gravel/dirt riding as compared to serious racing, do you think disc brakes serve any purpose? The grip between the tire and the gravel would seem to be the important thing when it comes to braking and cantilever/V-brakes should be more than powerful enough. Add to that their simplicity, and ease of maintenance and I can't see myself going the disc route.
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I can see some plusses:
  • In wet weather your wheels and frame won't be covered with grey aluminum oxide paste.
  • In sub-freezing weather you can actually stop.
The minuses are:
  • The parts selection is just starting to get somewhere and we're still in the "customer R&D testing" phase.
  • In some weather combinations they may paradoxically be worse (based on reports from that horrorshow year at Trans Iowa).
  • They require a stiffer fork, which makes my hands hurt thinking about it.
It really will come down to where and when you ride. If your terrain is flat and you ride mostly straight section roads and it's above freezing when you ride, then you probably don't need them.

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Well , I DID SAY general riding ,and I bet thats what most riders do, which is usually done in relatively good weather so I agree with you and I'll stick with cantis. I am pretty sure that they have more stopping power between the brake shoe and the rim than the rubber does with the gravel/dirt even on a fairly steep grade.
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Keep in mind one of the primary benefits of disc brakes is superior modulation.

The ability to brake without losing traction is very important on gravel roads. While cantilever, linear-pull and road calipers work quite well, I've found that disc brakes provide a greater usable range of braking power.

All of the aforementioned minuses can be chalked up to road disc brakes being in their formative years. For better and often for worse, early adopters are almost always the beta testers in the cycling industry.

If you're satisfied with your current setup, hit the road. [smile]

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I recently sold my Bianchi Carbon Cross Concept with cantis and plan to replace it with a Niner RLT when it arrives this winter. I sold the Bianchi specifically because of the want for disc brakes. The writing is on the wall - discs will take over, and I do agree with Pattersnap that often the early adopters of new technology are the test mules. In this case the evolution should be fairly quick as the mountain bike world has already done the majority of the "testing". Since I was one of those "testers" back in the day with the AMP disc up front and a Paul's LP out back I "get" the idea. The evolution has come a long way since the early '90s. Yes, discs will have better modulation but to me it is the fact that a disc is bringing your speed down from the inertia point at the hub. It's not that V's and cantis aren't powerful, it's that under some conditions their leverage from the ground to the brake is too much and locks the wheel up. If you're sliding your control is compromised. The disc will be more consistent regardless of conditions and will offer a better "feel" for bringing you down from speed. I recently road a 2014 Giant Revolt with the new Sram HRD700's and was impressed with their smooth and consistent feel. Didn't do any long braking descents but had to laugh at how little actual braking is done on a "normal" dirt ride. Obviously different routes require different amounts of braking but when I was focused on how the brakes were working I noticed how little I used them. I am going to use the TRP HY/RD on the Niner so that I can run my current Campy shifters, sort of a stop gap until the industry catches up!
Sun Summit South @ crankandcarve.com
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I recently switched from mini-v's to disc and couldn't be happier. I'm using the new TRP Spires and really like them over the BB7's I've used. Seem to be less grabby with better modulation. I've yet to find the down side of the switch. With the move towards wider rims, this seems like a no brainer, as you can stuff any 29er disc wheelset in there. So one nice race wheelset takes care of your gravel bike and XC bike. I dig em, and find it's the number one request of my customers when designing a new frame.
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