V Brakes vs Disc Brakes: Which Brake is Better for Your Cycle?

by | Sep 29, 2023 | Tips & Guide

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The types and brands of bicycles that you may purchase are virtually limitless. After determining the type of bicycle that best suits your riding needs, you would next choose which model from the many on the market would be ideal for you. The brakes are only one of the numerous elements you would encounter in the specifications and features of any bicycle.

We frequently find it difficult to choose the finest product when taking performance and safety into account. You may find yourself contrasting disc brakes with V-brakes for your bicycle’s braking demands. Which is superior to the other?

Most newly manufactured bicycles in India come with disc brakes as standard equipment. Many are drawn to this unique feature and choose to buy a bike with disc brakes instead of v-brakes without realizing the differences. Who among them are you?

When it comes to types of bicycle brakes, Disc brakes, and V brakes are not as well understood. After reading this article, you’ll have a thorough understanding of the differences between bicycle V brakes vs Disc brakes.

What is the difference between disc brakes vs V-brakes for bicycles, and which is more appropriate for the riding discipline? In addition, you should be familiar with the differences between the brakes used on mountain bikes and those found on standard bicycles.

In order to help you select the bike with the best brake for your unique riding requirements, let’s talk about the two most often-used brakes and their similarities and differences.

Let’s take a quick look at the two types of brakes before moving on to their mechanisms.

What is the Function of a Bicycle Brake?

Caliper Brakes

One of a bicycle’s most crucial parts is the brake, which is primarily used to either gradually decrease the wheel’s speed or to stop it abruptly and controllably when riding.

Regardless of whether it is a disc brake or v brake, using a bicycle brake is rather simple. With a cable or wire connecting them to the braking system (calliper and brake pads), brake levers are mounted at the handlebar. To slow down or stop the wheels, press the brake pads once you engage the brake levers.

On bicycles, Disc brakes, and V brakes are the most often used types of brakes. Disc brakes are unquestionably superior to V brakes, but this isn’t always the case due to how differently they operate on different kinds of bikes. Okay now, Let’s examine this in more depth.

Disc brakes vs V-brakes on a Bicycle: A Comprehensive Comparison

Indian bikes mostly employ disc brakes and v brakes, also known as rim brakes, which are the two most common forms of braking on bicycles. What makes up each brake, how effective it is, how it works, etc., should be examined.

1. The Anatomy of the V-Brakes: Advantages and Disadvantages


The linear-pull brake or direct-pull cantilever are other names for the V-brake. it’s a specific kind of rim brake, a common kind of bicycle braking technology.

To stop movement, brake pads are fitted to the wheel rim and fastened to the frame. The controls for these brakes are located on the handlebars.

Rim brakes come in a variety of forms and vary greatly in appearance, but they always apply braking force to the rim of the wheel.

Unlike typical caliper brakes, which have two arms attached to a single bolt, cantilever brakes are distinguished by their two distinct arms. While cantilevers are the industry standard for off-road bike use, rim braking systems are often designed for road bikes.

Because the V brake didn’t have a permanent cable on the frame, it swiftly replaced the cantilever in most mountain bikes. This was a big design difference.

As a consequence, one of the main issues with cantilevers that frequently caused hazardous collisions was resolved.

Do conventional braking systems still work well on bikes, or are disc brakes a better option? Although the usage of V brakes on bicycles has decreased with the invention of disc brakes, they’re nevertheless still a common option for touring and hybrid bikes.

This is due to the fact that these kinds are more widely available while traveling and have greater adaptability.

Related Article: What are component of a bicycle and how it works

How do V-brakes on Bicycles Operate?

When you apply force by pushing on the brake lever, which is attached to the handlebar, the cable is dragged through the casing. Thanks to this straightforward system, resulting in friction causes the bike to come to a smooth stop when the brake pads press on the rims.

Brake adjustments for the front may be found next to the head tube, while those for the back can be found near the seat stays. View the image above.

Benefits and Drawbacks of V-Brakes

Advantages of V-Brakes:

Parts Availability

Having a bicycle with a V brake is quite advantageous because parts of it are readily available all over the world. In the event of wear and tear, they are inexpensive to repair and maintain.

Simple to maintain

Even when driving, V brake maintenance is relatively simple. Because the parts are simpler than those in a disc braking system that are operated by mechanical or hydraulic components, they may be readily changed in the event of a malfunction.

No stress on spokes or hubs:

V brakes do not put as much stress on the hubs as they do on the spokes, in contrast to disc brakes, which heat up fast and transfer heat to the hubs and spokes. Bicycles with V brakes often have spokes and hubs that last longer since the wheel and its parts do not heat up.

Not in the way of other elements:

Bicycle V brakes do not interfere with the positioning of a kickstand since they are positioned on the top part of the frame, in contrast to disc brakes that are installed close to the hubs.

Drawbacks of V brakes: (Disc brakes on bicycles versus V-brakes)
  • Because of the continuous heat transfer and friction, V brakes wear down the rims.
  • Water and mud can cause bicycle V brakes to malfunction.
  • The brake shoe will need to be changed and cleaned more frequently.
  • Road bikes feature an extremely powerful braking mechanism, hence they cannot be utilized with V brakes.

What kind of bicycle is a V-brakes appropriate?

The greatest benefit of V-brakes is their simplicity in terms of upkeep and repair, as well as their accessibility to components no matter where you are in the globe. In addition, this kind is less expensive than the more specialized disc system.

However, the fact that a V brake is a well-proven device may be the strongest justification for selecting one over the other. It is straightforward and has been supported by many years of use.

Road bikes and normal gear cycles are the ideal vehicles for rim brakes or v brakes since they are lightweight and provide strong braking. For MTBs, V brakes were a terrific option in the past, but disc brakes are currently ideal. In addition to hybrid bikes, city bikes are the ideal fit for the V-Brakes. The following bicycles have v-brakes:

2. The Anatomy of the Disc Brakes: Advantages and Disadvantages

Disc Brakes

Disc brakes are a distinct mechanism in which the pad is applied to a disc rather than the rim of the wheel. Bicycle disc brakes are distinct from conventional braking systems due to this feature, which frequently prompts people to question the differences between the two types of brakes.

Disc brakes consist of two calipers that hold the brake pads and a disc or rotor that is bolted or locked into place at the hub of the wheel.

Pulling the brake lever causes these calipers to clamp onto the disc, stopping the wheel.

Disc brakes have become the standard for professional mountain biking because of their unmatched stopping capability. But this design has a unique set of issues.

Friction heats it very easily, which can lead to disc deformation and drops in braking effectiveness. Specialized designs are made with the intention of minimizing this issue.

For instance, the hydraulic disc brake uses a hydraulic fluid to reduce friction. In addition to offering a quicker reaction, it is more costly than the conventional disc brake and comes with its own share of issues.

Most bicycle frames are also incompatible with hydraulic brakes.

There are two types of disc systems: hydraulic and cable-operated. The hydraulic varieties require more specialized bleeding maintenance, but they take less effort overall.

Its superior performance is thought to be a good trade-off for the specialist expertise needed.

Larger disc brake cycle rotors and more pistons for hydraulic kinds are needed when greater braking force is needed. Frequently, they are required when cycling downhill.

Since disc brakes have become more and more popular in cycling, you may find them on a lot of modern hybrids as well as commuter bikes these days.

Disc brake components include:

The callipers, pads, and metal discs, sometimes referred to as rotors, are the fundamental parts of a disc braking system. In addition, a piston, shin, mounting bracket, a few mounting pins, and a seal are included to hold the components together.

Types of Disc brake:

1. Hydraulic disc brakes: The metal disc rotor has pistons on both sides of it. It is quite easy to understand how a hydraulic disc brake operates. When you press down on the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure is created and delivered to the brake fluids, which then force the brakes’ piston and bring the bike to a halt.

2. Mechanical disc brakes: These brakes are just as strong as hydraulic disc brakes, with the only distinction being that the former generates friction via a cable and the latter by use of a fluid. Because of this, it is less expensive and simpler to maintain than a bicycle’s hydraulic disc brakes.

Also Read: Hydraulic Vs Mechanical Bicycle Disc Brakes: Which Brake Is Better?

Benefits and Drawbacks of Disc brakes on bicycles

Benefits of Disc brakes Include:

Braking power

For Disk brakes, it is an unavoidable fact, that makes it possible to stop quickly over small distances, especially in an emergency. It also offers steadiness.

Wet weather/Snow braking

Disc brakes can perform at their best even in the rain or snow, in contrast to V brakes. Both V and rim brakes can malfunction when riding downhill and have a tendency to screech when they come into touch with water. For this reason, experts advise against using disc brakes because they are less likely to malfunction and are slick even in wet weather.

Wheel Size

There are restrictions on tire diameters for bicycles with caliper or V brakes. When it comes to tire size, disc brakes are not limited; caliper brakes are limited to a minimum of 28mm. This enables manufacturers of bicycle frames to create bikes that are completely capable of fitting larger tires. It has the potential to greatly improve traction and rider comfort.

See Also: An Introduction To Purchasing A Cycle In India

Donning Rims

Both V brakes and rim brakes have a tendency to wear down rapidly onto the rim, which shortens the brakes’ stopping power and the rims’ overall lifespan. Although aluminum wheels are highly durable, they also have a tendency to deteriorate with repeated braking. Also, the heat produced by the V brakes causes the carbon rims to deteriorate more quickly. Conversely, disc brakes eliminate all of the heat produced on the rim. When using a disc brake configuration, the sturdy rotors bear the brunt of the heat and friction rather than the rims.

Drawbacks of Disc brakes  include:
  • In general, disc brakes are more costly and heavier than rim or V brakes.
  •  A bicycle’s fork must be disc brake compatible in order for disc brakes to be installed.
  • If disc brakes are applied often, as when touring, they may put stress on the spokes of the bicycle wheel.
  • Disc brakes, as opposed to V brakes, require routine maintenance and might be difficult to place a rear kickstand because of its wiring and other components.
  • The installation of disc brakes requires wires and cabling, which interferes with your bike’s reading stand.
  • Because of the disc brakes’ extended breaking mechanism, the bike’s spokes sustain damage.

Proceed to read the article “Bicycle Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes” to learn more about the braking mechanism.

What kind of bicycle is a disc brake appropriate?

Your typical road bikes cannot be used to model disc brakes. Other than that, mountain bikes can have disc brakes installed, but they need constant upkeep.

Disc brakes are used by mountain bikers for intense off-road racing and excursions due to their adaptability and braking capability. Disc brakes can also be used for recreational, non-competitive riding. The top bicycles with disc brakes are as follows:

Key Distinctions Between a Bicycle’s Disc Brake and V Brake

Bicycle V BrakesBicycle Disc Brakes
The outside edge of the rim is where bicycle V brakes are applied.Applying disc brakes to the metal disc has been done away from the rim.
To stop a bike, V brakes don’t need a permanent cable on the frame.A fixed braided steel cable is present on the bike’s frame when disc brakes are used.
Numerous motorcycles, including hybrid bikes, mountain bikes, conventional gear bikes, and many more, may be equipped with these brakes.Conversely, V brakes might be a simple substitute for disc brakes. When disc brakes are installed on mountain bikes, dirt and moisture will eventually cause the pads to wear out.
On top of being more affordable, bicycle V brakes are simpler to service.The cost of disc brakes is higher than that of V brakes.
Because of their reduced weight, the V Brakes barely increase the bike’s total weight.Compared to V brakes, disc brakes are heavier because they have more parts.

Which is preferable V brake or Disc brake?

V-Brakes vs Disc Brakes

The brakes you choose will depend on your demands. While V brakes provide adaptability and accessibility that excels in long-distance rides and tours, disc brakes give unparalleled performance in certain braking conditions.

Although many bikes utilize disc brakes, which may give the impression that there is a distinct benefit, a well-maintained v brake may still be competitive. Acquire a thorough understanding of your circumstances to select the appropriate instrument for the task.

Knowing how to operate and taking proper care of our equipment is ultimately what matters most. Usually, this produces positive outcomes.

When deciding between V brakes vs Disc brakes, you should take into account your intended use, the type of bike you want to ride, and the road conditions. V-brakes are the best option if you’re looking for a cost-effective, low-maintenance stopping system that nonetheless gets the job done.

However, disc brakes are the ideal option for your bike if you desire strong braking force, short-distance braking, and safety for your bicycle’s rims even when you brake rashly.

FAQ on V Brakes vs Disc Brakes on a Cycle

Q1. How strong are V brakes?

Well, One of the strongest rim brakes available for bicycles are v-brakes. For this reason, before disc brakes were invented, the majority of mountain bikes were fitted with v brakes. These days, v brakes are more common on inexpensive bikes than disc brakes since they are less expensive.

Q2. What makes disc brakes superior to V brakes?

Every brake is fine; it just depends on how disciplined you are as a rider. Nonetheless, disc brakes outperform v-brakes due to their increased effectiveness in wet weather, durability, and lack of impact on the bike’s rims.

Q3. Is it okay to use disc brakes on a road bike?

Not at all! Since disc brakes are among the strongest brakes and provide instantaneous wheel stopping, riding a road bike with them is not safe. When fitted and used on a road bike, it might cause the bike to lose control because these bikes are fast, have thin tires that don’t always give grip & lack suspension. Thus, MTBs and hybrid cycles are the only bikes that benefit from disc brakes. Find out more.

Q4. What is meant by the word “V brake”?

“Florian Wiessman,” a German, created the V brake. In the beginning, these brakes were referred known as “Wies-brakes” in German. Though this name is eerily similar to the English term “V-brakes,” this kind of rim brake is called “v-brakes” for no other reason than its V-shaped design!

Conclusion on Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes for Bicycles

To sum up, each type of brake system V brakes and disc brakes has pros and cons of its own. You will find it easier to choose between disc brakes vs V-brakes now that you have a better grasp of them and greater confidence in your decision. Select V-brakes for their adaptability and ease of repair and maintenance, or disc brakes for high-performance stopping requirements.

The idea exists even if there isn’t a clear sign that one type of braking system is better than another. Thus, you ought to be considering what you consider to be important and what you’re ready to give up on. When deciding what sort of braking system your bicycle needs, ultimately, it comes down to personal choice and personal preferences.

Selecting the ideal braking system for their bikes is a constant challenge for cyclists. To the best of our ability, we assessed every aspect that you have to take into account prior to installing a brake system. As much as every rider’s primary worry is the safety that a braking system provides, some riders are also bothered by another function of a braking system.

In the event that you are unsure about additional bicycle gear components:

Aside from that, it’s smart to get brakes that are both high-quality & compatible with your bike and riding preferences.

Moreover, if you’re searching for information on bike brakes in general. You may view some of our accumulated cycling advice and tactics here.

Kindly provide us with the type of brakes on your bicycle by leaving a comment below. Give this article a shout-out if it is helpful.

In your opinion, what constitutes a quality bicycle braking system? We would love to hear everything about it, so please share your story in the comments box below.

Always take safe rides!


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