Disc Vs. Rim Brakes | Are Disc Brakes Faster?

Published on January 28th 2018


The humble rim brake calliper has been with us for generations. But as bike designs change, and rules change within triathlon and cycling, we're seeing an emergence of disc brake road and triathlon bikes. We're told time and time again that disc brakes are more powerful, they're better in the wet, and their general feel is better. And if you're like me, you may well have just taken everyone's word for it. But honestly, how good are disc brakes? Well we think it's time we took a look. Subscribe to GTN: http://gtn.io/SubscribetoGTN Check out the GTN Shop: http://gtn.io/6z In association with Shimano. To do this, I've got two bikes with me. One with rim brakes, whilst the other has disc brakes. I've got the BMC Teammachine, which has Shimano Ultegra disc brakes, with a mechanical groupset. And I have the Cervelo S5, which has Shimano Dura Ace rim brakes, and also a mechanical groupset. This isn't a true science test, but I am stood at the top of this lovely climb in Lanzarote, so it seems a shame not to give them both a good run. But to help level things out, I have opted for the same tyres, with identical tyre pressure in both. I have almost identical bike position and setup from bike to bike. And conveniently, they're very similar in their weight too. This is Tabayesco. It's one of the most famous climbs here in Lanzarote. It's 9.5 kilometres to the bottom, where there are a number of good switchbacks, perfect for testing out these brakes. So, for this descent, I'm using our partner Shimano's disc brakes and rim brakes. But there are other brands available, and I'm not testing or reviewing the brakes. What I'm going to do is demonstrate the key differences between the brake types. We're also going to do a brake test. So quite simply, I am going approach a line at 30 kilometres an hour with both bikes, and stop as quickly as possible. One test in the dry, and another in the wet. Which set of brakes do you think will come out on top? Let us know your predictions in the comments below 👇 If you'd like to contribute captions and video info in your language, here's the link 👍 http://gtn.io/6A Music: Epidemic Sound Bermuda - Henrik Olsson Genesis - Ooyy Kodiak - Christian Nanzell Playground - Yomoti We're Dynamite (Instrumental Version) - Thomas Karlsson Watch more on GTN... 📹 How To Cycle Like A Pro - http://gtn.io/BikePro 📹 A Game Of LOSER With Will Clarke - http://gtn.io/GameofLOSER