Disc Brakes Or Rim Brakes

This can be a very important decision when you are buying a mountain bike. There are actually two answers to the question of disc brakes or rim brakes.

If you want better, more consistent brake performance in all conditions, disc brakes are what you should be choosing. On the other hand, if you want the lightest set up you can have and you are willing to accept small variances in brake performance, or you want the lowest price possible, rim brakes are what you should be choosing.

Over the years, mountain bikes have gone through many design changes. They started out with the original cantilever brakes, then went through the U Brake years, and are now with V Brakes. In most conditions, the V Brakes seem to work well.

In wet or muddy conditions, rim brakes will perform poorly. Over time, they can wear right through the side of your rim, causing the side of the rim to blow right off.

Disc brakes on the other hand have been around for a long time in cars but weren't used on bikes much until the late 1990's. There were some issues in the earlier models, although the cable actuated or hydraulic brakes of today seem to work quite well.

In terms of performance, disc brakes seem to work better than rim brakes, especially in wet or muddy areas. Disc brakes normally require less force to apply and aren't effected by the rim or wheel condition.

Cost is an issue, as disk brake systems tend to be more expensive than rim brakes. Mechanical or cable actuated brakes are a closer match, although they will still cost more. Hydraulic brakes on the other hand cost a lot more.

When you make that final choice, weight out the above options then make your decision. Some riders prefer disc brakes, while others prefer rim brakes - making it a matter of opinion.

Wheel Truing

Wheel truing is actually something that is very easy to do. Even if you have no experience with mountain biking or truing a wheel, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to accomplish it.

The first thing to do is make sure that none of your spokes are loose. To check, grab each spoke in turn and try to shake it back and forth. If the spoke wobbles, or makes pinging and grating noises, it's loose. If it's loose, add tension to the spoke by turning the spokey anti-clockwise with your finger and thumb pressure.

Keep turning and shaking until the noise is gone and the spoke doesn't wobble or move. Move on to the next spoke until you've gone all the way around the wheel and checked them all.

Now, it's time to see just how true the wheel actually is. Turn your bike upside down then spin the wheel to see where it comes closest to rubbing on the brake.

You may need to rotate the wheel backwards then forwards to locate the middle of the bulge on the wheel. Tighten the spokes which run on to the other side of the rim. If those spokes are already tight, you'll need to loosen a few of the spokes which run to the bulge side of the hub.

Truing a wheel is easier than you may think, although it can be a little tough with some wheels. If you need to loosen spokes, be very careful that you don't break them. They can be very tough to loosen on older mountain bikes.

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