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Brakes: they're the only safety feature you use every time you drive. Most vehicles on the road today use disc brake systems, which consist of brake pads, rotors, and calipers which are connected with smaller pieces commonly referred to as hardware. Together, these parts create friction to turn energy into heat and stop your vehicle.
It’s no longer odd to see disc-brake bikes on a ride—from hardcore roadie world-championship training grinds, to the weekly shop ride, to the townie bar crawl—the brakes that were once only ...
The disc brake is a lot like the brakes on a bicycle. Bicycle brakes have a caliper, which squeezes the brake pads against the wheel. In a disc brake, the brake pads squeeze the rotor instead of the wheel, and the force is transmitted hydraulically instead of through a cable. Friction between the pads and the disc slows the disc down.
The biggest downside to disc brakes is the added weight. By the time you add everything in, including front and rear brakes and the added weight of the disc specific hubs, you end up with around 150 to 350 grams additional weight to the whole bike. This weight number greatly depends on the wheels, rims, hubs, and disc brake system you choose.
Like it or not, disc brakes are coming to road bikes. But if you're not quite up to speed with the disc brake revolution, here's all the info you'll need.
Find disc brake kits from the leaders in stopping performance, including Wilwood Disc Brakes, SSBC, Right Stuff Detailing, Ford Racing, Baer Disc Brake Systems, Strange, Aerospace Components, and more! Get disc brake conversion kits for both the front and rear of your vehicle from the top names in braking systems. Order yours today!
Close-up of a disc brake on a car A disc brake is a type of brake that uses calipers to squeeze pairs of pads against a disc or "rotor" to create friction. This action retards the rotation of a shaft, such as a vehicle axle, either to reduce its rotational speed or to hold it stationary. The energy of motion is converted into waste heat which must be dispersed. Hydraulically actuated disc brakes are the most commonly used form of brake for motor vehicles, but the principles of a disc brake are applicable to almost any rotating shaft.
A schematic illustrating the major components of a hydraulic disc brake system. A hydraulic brake is an arrangement of braking mechanism which uses brake fluid, typically containing glycol ethers or diethylene glycol, to transfer pressure from the controlling mechanism to the braking mechanism.
Animation of a single pivot side-pull caliper brake for the rear wheel of a steel framed road bike. A bicycle brake reduces the speed of a bicycle or prevents it from moving. The three main types are: rim brakes, disc brakes, and drum brakes. There have been various types of brakes used throughout history, and several are still in use today. Most bicycle brake systems consist of three main components: a mechanism for the rider to apply the brakes, such as brake levers or pedals; a mechanism for transmitting that signal, such as Bowden cables, hydraulic hoses, rods, or the bicycle chain; and the brake mechanism itself, a caliper or drum, to press two or more surfaces together in order to convert, via friction, kinetic energy of the bike and rider into thermal energy to be dissipated.