Disc Brake vs. Rim Brake: What’s the Difference

Projections show that the global industrial brakes market will have a value of $1.816 billion by 2028. With such a strong market full of brands and designs, it’s no wonder you’re considering your brake options.

Brakes come in all different styles and sizes, with two of the most common being disc and rim brakes. If you want to compare disc brake vs. rim brake systems, you first need to know what they are and their advantages.

Disc Brake vs. Rim Brake

Disc brakes and rim brakes have a clear difference in appearance, but more importantly, they differ in how they function. This comes down to where the braking force is applied.

Rim brakes apply a stopping force to the outer edge of the rim using brake calipers.

Disc brakes are a bit more complicated. Instead of a rotor mounted on the hub, the caliper is attached to a fork close to the axle.

Disc brakes are closer to the design seen on motorcycles and are also commonly used on mountain and cyclocross bikes. This is because they’re ideal for muddy terrain. On the other hand, disc brakes are less susceptible to clogging.

These two braking systems also use different methods of actuating. Rim brakes have a cable system that controls the caliper. Disc brakes have a hydraulic system; pressure builds when the brake lever is pulled, moving the caliper.

Both of these types of brakes use friction to generate stopping power.

Advantages of Rim Brakes

While disc brakes are often seen as the superior brake design, rim brakes still offer several advantages.

A rim brake system weighs less than a disc brake system. They also tend to offer better aerodynamics. This makes it easier to reach higher speeds.

Rim brakes also cost less to manufacture, and they’re easier to repair. These cost benefits make them the standard choice for budget bicycles.

Advantages of Disc Brakes

Many older bike frames aren’t made to support disc brakes, but that’s changed since they appeared on Peloton exercise bikes. In terms of functionality, disc brakes are generally considered better than rim brakes for several reasons.

Disc brakes generate greater stopping power, which is the primary purpose of brakes. This is ideal for long descents. The braking is also more precise, which helps prevent wheel lockup.

On long descents, rim brakes will heat the rim, which can cause the tire to blow out. There is no risk of this with disc brakes, and they perform better when wet.

Rim brakes don’t offer much customizability, but with disc brakes, you can change the size of the rotor to adjust the braking power. They’re also better suited if you want to use wider tires.

The design of disc brakes has led to the technology being used outside the bicycle sector. For example, you might find industrial disc brakes in ski lifts, elevators, amusement rides, and aerospace products.

Which Brake Is Best for You?

When comparing disc brake vs. rim brake systems, you must consider your needs and budget.

Advancements in technology make disc brakes more popular, but it will be cheaper and easier to stick with the rim brakes if you’re already using them. However, if you’re looking for industrial brakes to serve your industrial business, disc brakes are something you should consider.

Kor-Pak is a leading supplier of various types of brakes. Contact us today if you have questions about our products or need help making the best choice,

Posted in Industrial Brakes and Clutches.