Can lock either wheel at will - so power's not an option.
I've yet to really struggle with clogging
I'm all for progress but I just cannot see it.
Am I alone?
Have you ridden many properly muddy races? Many XC racers were saying the same thing when discs came onto the MTB scene.
No rim wear. This means you can use potentially lighter rims that dont allow for loss of section. carbon pads reduce damage to carbon rims on the road, but they dont stop mud from eating away at carbon wheels.
No pad wear. (virtually)
Potentially better modulation, at least my non-road type cable disc brakes feel pretty similar to hydraulic brakes on my MTB.
Reduces judder on the front fork.
They have more power. whether or not one can lock their wheel up rolling along, its when youre hammering it into a corner that it matters. More power means you can brake later.
I would really question whether you can get the same power from frogleggs than from discs in the wet.
There are downsides (obviouls)
but If you really dont believe all this try someones disc equipped cross bike.
Interesting responses so far.
The judder is a fair point.
Hope others throw their thoughts into the ring.
This one will run and run....... I was a former disc sceptic but I've had the chance to use a purpose built disc only crossbike, the On One Dirty Disco. Here are my thoughts. Disclaimer: I'm a convert.
Power - yes it's more, yes it's available at will but tire traction will always limit what you can do. Late braking is useful but only relevant in really dry conditions where speeds are high.
Wear and tear - not to be underestimated. Constant adjusting of canti pads, rim wear, brake dust/dirt are all a thing of the past. More on that in a bit.
Clearance - if the frame is designed well, discs lead to less clogging. Period. This cannot be ignored, even if people try and factor in extra weight penalties. With several pounds of mud and vegetation on the bike, a few extra grams from the disc setup become a bit meaningless anyway.
Extra weight - I'm not clear how much this is a factor. Rotors and calipers i guess weigh a little more than cantis. The cabling surely doesn't add much. At elite level, I understand this may be a factor. At keen amateur level, how many of us could do to lose the half pound extra that discs bring?
Tub users - unexpected one this. The lack of brake dust and dirt off the road and organic material on the rim/tire interface means the delicate sidewalls of Dugast and FMB tubs seem to be lasting longer, and staying cleaner. This is my own purely anecdotal observation but I think nothing of training on my FMBs and carbon rims on a regular basis - they still look like new after several months.l
Ease of use - forget extra power, less wear and tear, tub preservation, even better clearance. This is where discs win hands down. Braking when bouncing around, grabbing the brakes for descents, straining to slow a bike on a drop off in muddy conditions etc etc Discs (even cable, which I believe are more than adequate) give you one finger operation at all times. This means you are not expending extra energy or tension to control the bike, and put simply, you can flow much more easily through bumps, technical sections, downhills etc as you simply don't have to wrestle the bike in the same way. Point and forget braking, easier on upper body and easier for the mind as they simply do what you want them to do with minimal effort and fuss.
Can you ride cross with cantis? Of course - there are some brilliant brakes out there. Are discs the panacea to cure all ills? No. They do however bring a different dimension to braking, and in my opinion, even a simple cable BB-7 type set up is more than adequate in bringing that different feel and physical advantage to riding cross, when compared to cantis.
And now to convert road bikes to disc....... a recent ride on the Dirty Disco with road slicks, in pouring rain was more than enough to convince me of the value of discs for road bikes in the wet. Full stopping power, when even the best caliper brakes and pads would have struggled. And no pad wear at the end..... not to be sniffed at.
If you're NW based Steve, collar me at the next few NW League races - look for the PX/On One strip, Failing that, me and Dave Haygarth will be at Shrewsbury Trophy. Come and have a chat.....
Great topic this one.
First of all I haven't road discs on a cyclo cross bike, but have on a mountain bike. Although I have had a feel of the lever on a cross specific disk brake bike with a cable to hydro system on it, my initial feeling when pulling the leaver was that it had a very spongy feel to it, something that would put me off, but to be honest in my opinion you wouldn't need anything more than a cable operated disc, if set up correctly they can work very well on mtb's so why not on cross bikes.
Without haven ridden discs, I just can't see that there is a benefit to having them, I can see where people are coming from about the clogging, BUT when I used to ride my mtb in deep mud etc, the discs used to make a horrible grinding noise, which can't be good resistance wise?
After watching the senior race at bradford on sunday, from what I saw riders on disks where changing just as much as riders not on discs, so where's the advantage, when your adding weight to the bike,? Fair enough discs are more powerful, but I honestly can't remember braking very much at Bradford apart from a couple of times to brush off speed.
Rim wear is a good reason to ride disc I agree, especially if you only have the one bike and aren't lucky enough to have a big stash of wheels, I'd much rather change a disc than a rim, so If I had the one bike, and also did a commute etc on it, I'd certainly ride discs.
So to round of, I'm staying put as I can't see the benefit to justify spending my own money to change everything, when i've built up a supply of wheels etc running on canti's, but if I was starting out from scratch, then maybe I'd consider them. And of course I'd be more than happy if my sponsor wanted me to ride discs :)
PS alan, I think most people would stay clear of training on tubs as they wouldn't want to risk puncturing them ;)
Looking at the race in Belgium today, lots of mud and not a sign of a disc bike in sight
does not seem to have caught on with the top guys...