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Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes

  • Know your Bicycle
Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes

In my experience in the world of cycling, one of the biggest areas of confusion and misinformation is in the braking department, where it is assumed that one brake is hands-down better than the other, and the opinion on which one that is varies from person to person. Read on to find out more about disc brakes and rim brakes.


In the last year or two, the market has seen a rapid rise in the number of disc brake equipped bicycles that have been made available for purchase, starting from entry-level MTBs and Hybrids. This widespread availability of disc brake-equipped bicycles has made choosing a bicycle, especially for a beginner, a lot more work. To simplify this, here are the advantages and disadvantages of disc brakes: 

Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes-1
Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes-2


Advantages of Disc Brakes:

  • They are unaffected by weather extremities like rain and snow.
  • Disc Brakes do not damage the rims of the tires.
  • They are easy to install and configure.
  • Removing the tires off of bikes with disc brakes is relatively easier.
  • The conditions of the rims (wet, dry etc) does not affect the brakes and braking performance.    

Disadvantages of Disc Brakes:

  • Given their structure, disc brakes tend to be heavier than rim brakes.  Disc Brakes tend to be expensive.
  • The fork of the bicycle needs to be disc brake compatible.
  • Disc Brakes can complicate the mounting of a rear kick stand. 
  • Disc Brakes can add stress on the spokes of the wheel.   


Before the advent of disc brakes for bicycles, bicycles were equipped with V-Brakes. Many bicycles still use rim brakes, and these bicycles, too, are doing well in the market. Some have the notion that V-Brakes aren’t as good as disc brakes and to clear this notion up, here are the advantages and disadvantages when it comes to V brakes.  

Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes-3
Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes-4


Advantages of V-Brakes:

  • V-Brakes are a lot less expensive than disc brakes.
  • They are easy to maintain and replace, even on the go.
  • V-Brakes add no strain on the hubs or spokes.
  • They do not hinder the mounting of a rear kick stand.
  • Spare brake shoes and braking components are easily available in the market.    

Disadvantages of V-Brakes:

  • Can cause wear on the rims.
  • The braking performance is affected by water and mud.
  • The brake shoes need to be regularly replaced.     


In conclusion, Disc Brakes and V-Brakes have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. While there is no obvious indicator that one kind of braking mechanism is superior to the other, the notion that there is exists. So you should really be thinking of what you're willing to compromise on and what you think is priority. In the end, it is really a personal preference and priorities that should be considered when making a decision regarding the kind of braking mechanism required for your bicycle.


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