The two most common types of bike brakes are rim and disc. Rim brakes slow you down by squeezing brake pads against the wheel rims. On the other hand, disc brakes work with a rotor attached to the wheel hub. Of course, there’s more to it. And that’s what this guide is for! To thoroughly explain these brake systems and help you decide what to bike with.

Rim brakes are cheaper and easier to maintain.

In rim brake systems, there’s a brake pad on each side of the wheel. When you squeeze the brake lever, a cable pulls the pads towards the rim. This creates friction to slow down or stop the wheel. These brakes work for casual riding in fair weather. They’re cheaper than disc brakes with easier and less expensive maintenance.

But rim brakes can overheat, which leads to “brake fade,” aka diminished stopping power. There are a few solutions, like letting the brakes cool or adjusting the cable tension. Rim brake pads also wear out faster because of the necessary brake friction.

Disc brakes have superior stopping power.

Mechanical disc brakes have a cable that transmits brake force, while hydraulic disc brakes use hydraulic fluid. But they both use a rotor attached to the wheels hub. When the brakes are applied, the caliper clamps down on the motor. Then the pads within the caliper make contact with the rotor’s surface to slow down or stop the wheel. Disc brakes give you smoother and more consistent stopping power in all conditions. You can use them for everything from aggressive trail riding to city commuting.

They’re positioned further from water and muck to keep the wheels from getting stuck. It’s also easier to fix a flat tire because you don’t have to disengage the calipers to take off the wheel. On the other hand, these brakes are more expensive and require more intricate maintenance. You have to bleed the lines regularly to get rid of air bubbles. In addition to replacing worn pads.

Switching to disc brakes is a complex process.

It’s possible to switch from rim to disc brakes if your bike has the right features. But It’s best to stick with what you have. Or buy a new bike with the brakes you want. If you’re really interested in converting, leave it to the professionals.

Get Your Brakes Serviced at Airpark Bike Co

Learn more about rim and disc brakes or get your brakes serviced here at our shop. We can clean them, replace the pads, adjust the cable tension…whatever’s needed to get you back to safe travels. You can buy a full bike from us, too. See what models we have in stock from Yeti, Santa Cruz, Diamondback and more, right here on our site. Or see them in person to know exactly what to buy! We’re right off Loop 101 in North Scottsdale.