The Spokesmen 74 – Live from the DMV

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7 comments to The Spokesmen 74 – Live from the DMV

  • Martin

    -1 on disc brakes or at least this argument

    The issue isn’t are “disc brakes better a better braking system?” Yes they are. There is a reason that cars don’t have cantilever brakes. But more to the point there is a reason that mountain bike have discs. Before disc brakes were ever available there were times coming off the back of mountains in the rain which were probably 30% grades and steeper, no matter how much I grabbed the brakes my wheels would never stop. Add in various mud and the ability to steer the back end with brakes, and disc brakes make sense.

    Yes, disc brakes are better. or are they? In cross the issue isn’t brakes its traction. Even the Super Prestige and WC races only average slightly over 30km/h which is fast for turns, dismounts and sand but hardly in the relm of speeds where you can’t modulate or lock wheels on wet grass. i’m not convinced that braking is the issue in cross.

    So how about on the road. Well as David Bernstein put it, sometimes you want to descend slowly. Does anyone running modern dual pivot caliper brakes actually not have enough braking power at the rim? At 70km/h on a down hill on any road tire I guarantee that anyone can lock the wheels unless your brakes and pads are worn out and or wildly out of adjustment. Again the issue isn’t braking, it is traction. The reason I don’t descend faster than I do on every downhill I ride is not for want of brakes its for want of road, grade and gear-inches.

    So, Davis asked “what would you have your kids ride?” Well as a father of two, I would have them ride appropriate bikes that are in good repair with working brakes. Do I think that cantilever or dual pivot brakes are inadequate for a sub 100 or even 120 lb combined rider/equipment youth? I don’t.

    David Bernstein is an intelligent commentator but he often argues by appeal to emotion not reason. In typical fashion he attempts to strengthen his argument by applying a level of guilt to both the listeners and his fellow hosts. He provides no evidence that the brakes he currently uses are inadequate, only that since he is older he prefers to descend slower.

    Cycling is safe. The equipment widely available is safe and at the enthusiast to competitive levels it is extremely safe. Keep it in good repair and ride it as it is intended and you will enjoy tens of thousands of kilometres of relative safe riding pleasure and so will your children.

    Applying a technological solution to a problem that is either il-defined (ie braking vs traction) or non-existent (ie current brakes are inadequate) improves nothing. Thinking that cycling is less safe because we don’t add every new good idea to our bikes does not make it so.

    Further, the argument that I hear so often is that if you are concerned about the weight penalty of such-and-such you should just skip a portion of your breakfast or a bagel. What utter rubbish. Why not maintain an optimal body weight and take every last gram that you can afford off your bike? Skipping snacks or meals so you can add useless weight to a bike is counterproductive to why most of us ride the best equipment we can get our hands on.

  • Martin

    “disc brakes better a better braking system?” should read “disc brakes a better braking system?” whoops.

  • Drew

    I’m pretty sure David needs to try a cyclocross race, if he thinks it’s just “cross country light.”

  • @Drew: I’m surprised it took so long for someone to call me out on that. I mainly said it to bait Byron, but I think he was too distracted that day.

  • I had a head-first collision with a truck because my brakes didn’t stop me in time. Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet and I got off easy with just a cramp in the neck. I wish I had had disc brakes. My next bike had disc brakes. When I took my new disc brake bike out for my first long ride I nearly went over the handlebars when a car pulled out in front of me suddenly. I wasn’t used to my enhanced braking power. But I decide that I would rather go over the handlebars on to the hood of car than crash into the fender then hit the car. In stop-and-go traffic which I ride in every day the disc brakes are the bee’s knees. I am in the market for a new bike and I guarantee that it is going to have disc brakes.

  • OK guys… love the opinion and discussion, hate the extra noise… In this episode someone is at the DMV, another person sounds like they are cracking nuts next to the mic., it became unlistenable.

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