Best Disc Brake Road Bikes – 2020 Round-up

Bike's Terra is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Bikers all over the world want to have the most efficient accessories when it comes to their bikes. 

This is because they rely heavily on brakes while having adventures, so they have to be reliable and fully functional. 

Disc brakes are a refreshing difference from the earlier rim brakes. They provide much greater ease of use while minimizing the damage to your bike. Let’s have a look at some of our favorite disc brakes and see how they compare. 

Our Top Picks for Disc Brake Road Bikes

  • For professional riders
  • Suspension gives comfort
  • Alloy rims
View Latest Price →
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • Less fatigue
  • Quick acceleration
View Latest Price →
  • Mechanical disk brakes
  • Steel frame
  • Ideal for adventuring
View Latest Price →

Comparison of the Best Disc Brake Road Bikes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Designed for professional riders
  • Better suspension for more comfort
  • Durable alloy rims
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Strong aluminum alloy frame
  • Less fatigue during long rides
  • Impressively quick acceleration
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Equipped with mechanical disk brakes
  • Quality steel frame
  • Ideal for adventuring
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Steel Disc Brake Road Bike
  • 21-speed transmission
  • One year quality assurance
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Pros and Cons of Having Disc Brakes on a Road Bike

Having disc brakes in your bike can increase its efficiency by a long shot. But, there are some drawbacks as well. We have discussed both the advantages and disadvantages of disc brakes below to let you know if they are worth it. 

Pros

Here are the pros of choosing disc brakes.

Multi-terrain Usability

The best thing about disc brakes is that they remain functional on all kinds of terrain. Whether you are riding over paved roads or rocky pathways, they will work just fine. They will work even if you have to ride through muddy unpaved roads after rain. 

Lesser Damage to Tires

Another perk of getting disc brakes is that they do not cause friction on the tires. As there is no extra pressure on the tires, they will not get any wear and tear. This is why it is better to go for disc brakes so that you do not have to worry about getting tire repairs. 

Endurance

Disc brake pads have a greater surface area than rim brake pads. This allows them to transfer energy at a higher rate, which helps the bike cover more distance on lesser energy expenditure. This also helps in keeping the bike frame safe from unnecessary jolts and damage.  

Cons

You need to be aware of the cons of disc brakes as well. Some of these include:

Complexity

Disc brakes are more complex than rim brakes. This causes difficulty in figuring out their assembly and installation. So, you need to spend some time learning how to deal with them. 

How to Choose Disc Brakes For a Road Bike

Choosing the perfect disc brakes for a road bike needs some contemplation on your part. This is to make sure that your investment is safe and you get what you pay for. Here are some of the aspects that you need to keep in mind before making a purchase. 

Performance

The foremost concern regarding disc brakes should be efficiency and performance. The brakes should be able to work on all kinds of terrain that you need to ride on. They should also be sensitive and take less effort to slow down or stop your bike.

Rotor

The rotor of the disc brakes needs to be of the same size as the wheels of your bike. The diameter and width of a rotor make a huge difference when it comes to working accuracy. 

Size

The size of disc brakes is of significance as well since it affects their installation and working. If the disc brakes are too large, they will not fit into your wheels. On the other hand, there will be delayed braking if you use small-sized ones. 

Compatibility

Disc brakes need to have the highest possible compatibility with your road bike. This is to prevent any unnecessary hassle later on. 

Quick Take - Best Disc Brake Road Bikes

Skip the review - here's a snapshot of the best disc brake road bikes:

  1. Schwinn Vantage Hybrid Road Bike
  2. Diamondback Bicycles Century Road Bike
  3. Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike

Review of the Best Disc Brake Road Bikes

We have already gone through the specifications that you need to look for while buying new disc brakes. Now, let’s have a look at a review of the best ones for road bikes that you can opt for.

Schwinn Vantage Rx 2 Mens/Womens Sport Hybrid Bike, 21-Speed Drivetrain, 51cm/Large Aluminum Frame, Flat Bar, Disc Brakes, Smooth Riide Technology, Charcoal

pros

  • Increased durability with alloy rims
  • Aluminum frame fights off any corrosion
  • Smooth ride with carbon supporting fork
  • Extensive gear range and sensitive shifting
  • High performance for intermediate to pro bikers

cons

  • Create metal shavings

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers experienced a sudden boost in their bike’s performance with these disc brakes. They like its aluminum frame the most, which does not rust easily. Buyers also found its overall design and the carvings in the disc quite helpful in keeping it lightweight.

Why It Stands Out to Us

It has made it to our list as the best overall set with its higher sensitivity. It helps in applying brakes within no time, which prevents many accidents. The brakes also have extensive gear range, which ensures a smooth riding experience even on bumpy roads.

Moreover, the alloy rims in this set increase the durability of discs since they withstand major jolts. The carbon support fork is also great, as it does not damage easily.

Lastly, it has reliable construction which serves intermediate to expert bikers real well.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on this one is that it comes loaded with features that improve the braking system on road bikes. It has high-quality construction with all the elements in the right places. So, there is hardly anything in this pair that does not make you want to get it.

Diamondback Bicycles Century 3, Road Bike, 50CM

pros

  • Geometric design to prevent fatigue
  • Vibration damping helps in staying on track
  • Quicker acceleration with C2+ disc wheelset
  • Greater precision with 142 x 12 mm thru-axle
  • Better steering accuracy with a tapered head tube

cons

  • Carbon fork needs more strength

What Recent Buyers Report

People who bought these disc brakes lately gave very positive feedback about their usage. They loved the safety features that actively keep accidents at bay. They also liked these for their durability and design quality.

Why It Stands Out to Us

These disc brakes stand out to us with the 142 x 12 mm thru-axle, which keeps braking at an optimal level of precision. The size of the thru-axle is just perfect for all moderately-sized bikes.

In addition, they have a geometric construction which makes riding comfortable for bikers. The design needs lesser effort from bikers, so they do not feel any fatigue.

Moreover, the discs have a vibration damping mechanism; thus, there is no damage to the frame. This way, you will not feel any jerks on uneven roads while you are riding on them.

Bottom Line

To conclude, this is a nice pair of disc brakes that have better steering and vibration control. The C2+ disc wheelset in them helps in accelerating the bike to the desired level without much effort. Hence, this is a safe and reliable option for your road bike.

Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike, 700c Small

pros

  • Chromoly steel frame and fork
  • Available in three different sizes
  • Double-wall alloy rim construction
  • 16-speed drivetrain for smooth rides
  • Mechanical disc brakes do not frequent bleeding

cons

  • Calipers are flimsy
  • Cable tightening is hard

What Recent Buyers Report

Users are quite fond of these disc brakes because of their steel construction. Both the fork and frame are made of Chromoly steel that stays safe from most damage-inducing elements. Buyers also found it useful in terms of size. They could easily choose the disc brakes that work for the height and the size of their bike.

Why It Stands Out to Us

We think that this product has distinguished itself from us with the Chromoly steel material used in its basic frame and major components. The double-wall rim has alloy material, which is sure to give many years of hassle-free usage.

Furthermore, there are 16-speed drivetrains in the disc brake system. They bring more diversity to the range of speeds and riding experiences that you will have.

Also, as these disc brakes have mechanical discs, they do not involve any fluid dynamics. Hence, they do not need any bleeding or other arduous tasks.

Bottom Line

In our opinion, these disc brakes are well-priced and have amazing qualities as well. The availability of different sizes helps many people choose the right set for themselves. So, if you want to keep your performance high, these disc brakes can be your best bid.

Best Steel Disc Brake Road Bike:
Road Bike LZ-550

Road Bike LZ-550 Steel Bicycle disc Brake 21 Speed Road Bike Black/White

pros

  • Frame height of 49 mm
  • Works on spoke wheels too
  • Quality assurance of one year
  • Shimano speed level of 21 speeds
  • Black frame shows early signs of damage

cons

  • Slightly heavier than other disc brakes

What Recent Buyers Report

These disc brakes have won over customers with their superior construction. There are hardly any design flaws, so buyers recommend these brakes to everyone. They are also partial to this model because of how simple it is to install them.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Overall, these brakes have gained our approval with a frame height of 49 mm. It is perfect for all medium-sized bikes that average people ride. It can even work well with customized bikes as the frame height fits most bike sizes.

Also, it has an all-black frame that shows all the dents and other signs of damage. This way, it gets easier to repair the brakes in time and save all the money that would go for replacement.

Bottom Line

The final word on it is that it has high usability for most types of road bikes. They work and fit well on spoke wheels too, so there is hardly anything to worry about. So, you can safely choose this one without any hesitation.

Bavel Lightweight Road Bike Aluminum Frame and Fork 700C Disc Brake Bicycle (Black+Blue, 54cm)

pros

  • High affordability and quality
  • Strong braking effect of the brakes
  • Easy to change gears with A070 shifts
  • Aluminum road fork resists water damage
  • 500-meter riding test to ensure flawlessness

cons

  • All manual assembly

What Recent Buyers Report

The Bavel disc brakes have left their mark on people with their low price and high quality. They come with an aluminum road fork that does not let the disc brakes get damaged easily. So, they have impressed buyers with their frame strength too.

Why It Stands Out to Us

We have found these Bavel disc brakes remarkable because of their lightweight design. They provide a strong braking effect with their frame strength.

The A070 shifts in these disc brakes, making it easier for users to shift gears without extra effort.

Moreover, the company runs 500 meter riding tests on the brakes before shipping them.

Bottom Line

To wrap up, these are incredible disc brakes that have easy-to-change gears. The A070 shifts in them help in saving time and overcoming hurdles easily too. So, this is a great option for anyone who wants to update their disc brakes.

Comparison Overview

There are several kinds of brakes on the market for road bikes. Each of them serves the purpose of slowing down or stopping your bike. Here is a quick comparison of some of the most commonly used types. 

Disc Brakes vs. Rim Brakes For a Road Bike

Here is what makes disc and rim brakes similar to each other and what distinguishes them. 

Similarities

Let’s first go through the most prominent similarity:

Sensitivity

Both rim and disc brakes are quite sensitive. They just need a little force from riders to work and make the bike stop. They also work effectively for both new and old models of road bikes. 

Differences

Meanwhile, the differences between the two include:

Material

The major difference between disc and rim brakes is the construction material. Rim brakes use aluminum while disc brakes use different alloy materials. 

Ease of Adjustment

Another difference between disc and rim brakes is the ease of adjustment. The former is easy to install and adjust while the latter needs some particular techniques.

Hydraulic vs. Mechanical Disc Brakes For Road Bike

Both hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes are used in road bikes, but of them have their differences and similarities. Let’s have a look.

Similarities

Among the similarities, the most obvious one is:

Active Tension

Both hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes use the mechanism of activated tension. This helps them make sure that there is lesser exertion of force from the rider. 

Differences

On the other hand, one prominent difference between the two is:

Fluid

The major difference in these two is that there is fluid in hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes do not use any fluids to push the caliper towards the rotor.

Disc Brakes vs. Conventional Brakes For Road Bike

While most people now opt for disc brakes, some of them are partial to conventional brakes. Let’s see how these two compare to each other. 

Similarities

One similarity between the two is:

Functioning

Both disc and conventional brakes serve the same purpose. They stop the bike when any obstacle comes in the way. They also help in controlling the speed of the bike more actively. 

Differences

A prominent difference is:

Friction

The major difference is that disc brakes have a circular appearance while conventional brakes do not. The latter rubs on the surface of the tire, making them undergo more wear than the former. 

How to Install Disc Brakes on a Road Bike

The working of disc brakes largely depends on how well you install them on your road bike. So, here is the complete procedure of installation to help you get the maximum performance:

  1. First of all, remove the screws on the center of the wheel.

  2. Then place the disc on the center, making sure the holes for screws are in line with the holes in the disc.

  3. Now, screw back all the bolts in their previous place with the disc over the central region.

  4. After this, fix and tighten the caliper line on the fork of your bike.

  5. Lastly, put the wheel back in its place on the road bike and connect the braking wires.

Here is a video demonstration of the installation to help you further. 

Conclusion

To sum it all up, disc brakes are a far better option than conventional rim brakes. They not only help in protecting your bike’s tires but also keep braking accurate. So, go through our list of the best disc brakes and buy one that suits your needs. 

People Also Ask

So far, we have discussed all the major components of disc brakes that you need to consider before buying them. We have also reviewed the best disc brake models. Now, here are some most commonly asked questions and their answers to eliminate any further confusion. 

Are Disc Brakes Worth It on a Road Bike?

Yes, disc brakes are worth it on all kinds of roads. Whether it is a paved road or an unpaved one, disc brakes work just fine. This applies to muddy roads and uneven rocky surfaces too. So, you can rely on them to work on any terrain that you want to. 

How to Bleed Road Bike Disc Brakes

Road bike disc brakes need bleeding to avoid a soft spongy texture. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Begin by removing the wheel of your road bike.

2. Now take out the brake pads and then fix in the piston spacer.

3. Next, drain the stuck liquid by attaching the fluid drain container and bleed your brakes.

4. Then attach the fresh fluid container and refill. 

5. In the end, reassemble the wheel and brakes, and you are good to go.

Do Pro Cyclists Use Disc Brakes?

Yes, professional cyclists are slowly but surely coming towards disc brakes too. They need to control the speed of their bike more actively, and disc brakes help them do it. Also, they make riding faster than traditional ones, so pro cyclists now prefer these.

Are Bikes With Disc Brakes Slower?

Disc brakes do not cause any obvious slowing down of the road bikes. There is a slowing down of three watts on average, and that does not count much even for pro cyclists. Some of the users have reported having faster braking with these. 

How Long Do Disc Brakes Last on a Bike?

These brakes last for quite a while if you take care of the brake pads. They usually remain functional for up to 1250 miles. You increase their life by replacing them whenever they seem to get affected by constant use.

Can You Retrofit Disc Brakes to a Road Bike?

Yes, you can retrofit disc brakes to a road bike. This makes a hybrid of the disc and rim brakes in the braking system. The front-wheel uses disc brakes while the rear one relies on traditional rim brakes.  

Are Disc Brakes Dangerous on a Road Bike?

No, disc brakes are not dangerous on a road bike. Rather, they are a safer braking option since they stop the bike promptly. They do not damage the tires too, so they help in avoiding any unforeseen accidents. 

Can You Race with Disc Brakes?

Yes, you can race with disc brakes as UCI has approved of them now. This means that they have undergone all possible scrutinizing that was needed to ensure their safety.

How Much Weight Do Disc Brakes Add to a Road Bike?

Disc brakes do not add much weight to your road bike. The added weight stays within the range of 200 to 500 grams, which is not a lot. So, you do not have to worry about any additional weight while installing these on your road bike.

How to Clean Road Bike Disc Brakes

Cleaning around bike disc brakes is no hard feat. It takes only a mild detergent and soft cloth to clean them thoroughly. If the brakes still have some pollutants left, you can use isopropyl alcohol to ensure better cleaning.

How to Tighten Disc Brakes on a Road Bike

To tighten the disc brakes on your road bike, you need to locate the barrel adjuster. It is usually at the front of the wires attached to the brakes. Now, rotate it clockwise to tighten the disc brakes to the desired level of tightness.