bike - brakes

The old reliable rim brakes edge out disc brakes for travelling in remote regions.

Why? Rack attachment. Read on.

Standard cantilever brakes will pull you up when you spot those deep ruts or corrugations at the bottom of a dip. If you spot them.

For long rides through the mountains with a full touring load rim brakes can become an issue. With continual brake use on extended downhills cantilever brakes cause the soft aluminium wheel rim walls to wear out more rapidly.

Also if the brakes are used constantly rims can massively heat up with the rim tape then wandering around with the possible consequence of multiple punctures caused by sharp edges of the spoke holes. Not good to have a flat front tyre as you career wildly down a steep slope at pace.

Disk brakes avoid that problem. And they look great.

But outside the Great Dividing Range, (along the east coast), and a few other bumpy locations, Tasmania and south west Western Australia, the Australian landscape is undulating rather than hilly.

Stopping power then may not be the over-riding issue for brakes.

Disc brakes have some negatives though.

On a wheel with disc brakes the disc rotor needs to be accommodated somewhere on the axle. The spokes are shifted over and this dishing weakens the wheel a little. A front wheel with disc brakes becomes asymmetrical to accommodate the rotor. Unlike rim brakes where the brake applies equal force to each side of the large diameter rim, with disc brakes the force is applied to only one side of a much smaller disc rotor. This applies a strong torsional force to the wheel.

Then again discs require specialised rack fixings which can be much weaker than the type used with rim brakes. The bottom attachment points on the racks are the weak point. Why? The racks need to clear the disks and have a different and weaker attachment system. These type of racks can break more readily when the weight of the panniers is jumping up and down on many kilometres of rough roads.

Hydraulic brakes? Make sure you know how to service them yourself and have all the spares you may need. You can guarantee no one else will.

Remember to grab a few spare brake pads of whatever persuasion you require before you head off. You won’t find them outside the main town bike shops.

Does strength and reliability matter in remote area travel?

You betcha.