Author Topic: Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?  (Read 4401 times)

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Offline Bigonabianchi

Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?
« on: October 13, 2017, 05:08:08 pm »
I'm moving from rim brakes to disc brakes on a new bike for the trans am. It has disc brake wheels/forks....so I have to choose between hydraulic or cable disc brakes. I've never ridden disc brakes before. I have been told that cable disc brakes are fixable by the rider much easier than hydraulic brakes. Also small 'outback' bike stores often have no parts or experience of hydraulic disc brakes on road bikes on the trans am route...is that true? One local bike store here says run hydraulics, the other says run cable dis brakes. The ionternet is full of different opinions mostly from riders not doing more than local loops. I'm heavy at 105 kilos on a 15 kilo loaded bike. I know how to fix anything rim brake...but discs have me baffled as to how I'd fix them out near muddy gap for example!
Any thoughts?

Offline Figaro

Re: Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 08:29:31 pm »
I am no expert, but I bought a Trek 520 with disc breaks in August...my first disc break bike. I've put about 600 miles on it thus far including a 70 mile ride last weekend in mountains in eastern KY. I love the disc breaks (cable). I have no experience with hydraulic, but the cable system is simple and I would feel far more comfortable fixing problems with this system than a hydraulic system. I will be doing Trans Am next year on this bike...so far I am very pleased with it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2017, 06:47:42 am »
My experience with hydraulic disc brakes is that they are pretty maintenance free.  I'd say the odds of problems are very low.

Offline Bigonabianchi

Re: Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 07:15:19 am »
Thanks guys :)

Offline Dullboot

Re: Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2017, 01:59:53 pm »
Thanks guys :)
I have owned bikes with either cables or discs for the last few years. I have not had any problems with cable brakes that were not readily fixable.  Hydraulic brakes work well, but when you have problems they are difficult to resolve. You may have to bleed hydraulic fluid out to stop them dragging, for example. I will only buy bikes with cables now if I intend to use the bike for touring. Perhaps also look into how easy it is to remove and replace the pads and availability of replacement pads. YouTube is a good source of info for this.


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Offline jamesfullerton

Re: Hydraulic or cable disc brakes for the Trans Am?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2017, 10:12:37 pm »
Understandably the thought of hydraulic brakes on your cross country touring bicycle and something catastrophic happening is a worse case nightmare scenario. While not impossible to store a spare set of cables in a pannier, the lines are not made to be wound up to any degree, if at all. And the repair process is a tricky for even a sometimes-mechanic.

That said, if you check the performance longevity of bicycle hydraulic brake use online over that last 5-years it is stellar. You'd be hard pressed to find a bad review. Catastrophic events happen rarely.

For the past two years, I have been riding a Trek 920 with hydraulic brakes and I highly recommend them for worry-free use in all sorts of weather and trail/road conditions. This past season they hardly even noticed the pounding they received from riding the GAP and especially the C&O Trail from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. in full panniers. The responsive feel from the levers is immediate - zero delay.

With over 2000-miles, the original brake pads are still working just fine - although I'll be replacing them this coming season.

With disk brakes becoming ubiquitous across all cycling categories, I can see cables becoming a harder to find item in the future.