Q. I'm considering buying an Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op drop barred touring bike. This bike has mechanical disc brakes front and rear. What is your opinion of disc brakes on this type of bike? What maintenance do disc brakes require, and do the discs/ pads need changing frequently? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
David Scott, Stirling
A. Mechanically operated disc brakes are very cost-effective and while they weigh more, they are a practical and clean-looking alternative to traditional cantis or V-brakes.
Disc brake pads act upon a steel disc or 'rotor' mounted on the hub, so they don't cover everything in the black aluminium oxide associated with rim-operated brakes.
The disc brake pads are easy to replace and will outlast traditional brake blocks many times over, so I strongly recommend them for touring and commuting.