New MTB'er – Should I buy a bike with v-brakes ?
When I bought my first ‘proper’ mountain bike a few years ago, I thought I’d save a few quid and get one with v brakes. However within a few months I wanted discs. This meant new wheels as well as brakes. Even if you do get one with cheapy mechanical discs, it will be much cheaper just to get hydraulic brakes later, rather than needing wheels as well. V brakes just don’t cut it when the going gets wet, muddy and steep.Posted 4 years agothebeesMember
Hi all,Posted 4 years ago
I’m on the verge of buying a new mountain bike and have pretty much decided on a Commencal El Camino with 29″ wheels. The 2013 models are being sold off cheap, but I don’t know wether to buy the bottom of the range one with v-brakes at £325, or to spend around a hundred quid more to get a disc brake version instead ? I’ve had a bike with v-brakes before and found them to have great stopping power, but a search round the net has lead me to believe that they’re not much cop when wet. This would seem to be a major disadvantage for trail riding through the winter. Any help welcomed, Ta.CoyoteSubscriber
Discs if you can. However my SS has V-brakes, Avid Single Digit, and they will stop me whenever I need it.
rims lasting 6 months
Really? Really, really?
as you wont need to change the pads after every ride
Buy what you can afford to get you riding. It’s all good. As others have said, try and make sure that the hubs are disc compatible for the future. They are better but they are not the be all and end all.Posted 4 years agojambalayaSubscriber
When I first wanted to get into mtb-ing I bought a cheap bike with v brakes. Within 3 months it was clear that was a mistake as on wet muddy winter rides on reasonably steep descents I had limited stopping power, occasionally zero as all the brakes did was scrape the mud off the rims !
If you’re riding on fairly flat ground the v’s will be adequate. That bike above is still going strong, it’s been a loner to mates wanting an occasional ride and is now a commuter for my son in law. No one has died riding it although I did scare myself a few times.
Adding £100 to a £325 budget is a big difference 30%. If you look around on classifieds here you will find a good bike for £400, much better value than buying new. If its your first bike I’d be tempted to say ignore 26 vs 29 and jut buy something decent, plenty of advice on here if your unsure of a particular bike for sale.Posted 4 years ago6079smithwMember
No mountain bikers survived the 90s on their cantis and V brakes.
Anyone into mountain biking now got started after the turn of the century 🙄
TBF the specs if they’re what I saw are Commencal own brand V’s compared to Tektro hydraulic discs. I would go with the disc model in that case.
Good V brakes are better than bad disc brakes, as my ‘mate’ will testify after having a brief go on one (his disc brakes sucked)Posted 4 years ago
OK, thanks for all the advice.Posted 4 years ago
So I’m now thinking that I need to invest in a bike with discs. However I do have an old Kona Lava Dome (with v-brakes) at the back of the garage which, with some work, could be a good starting point to get into off-road riding. Then in a few months I could trade up to a decent disc braked bike.
For me, it is a descsion based on what i’m going to use the bike for.
For just general pootling around, not on steep or gnarly stuff, cheap rim brakes will be better than cheap (cable operated) disc brakes (because the braking surface is at a larger radius, the clamp force can be a lot less, and as such, things like high friction in the cables/calipers/levers etc has less effect).
If you think at any point you might want to do some ‘proper’ mountain biking, i.e muddy, steep, rocky etc, where you need repeatable braking and control, then at the very least a bike with disc/caliper mounts would be a good idea as other have mentioned.
Even for a cheap (and hence heavy frame) some sensible second hand sourced upgrades to a better fork and hydraulic discs can release a lot of intrinsic capability for little extra cost!Posted 4 years agosunnriderMember
I´d recommend going for a 2nd hand one with disc brakes.
A quick look through Ebay and you should find something like a Rockhopper Comp with decent spec and under your spend.
The cheaper bikes on CRC don´t seem to be much good.Posted 4 years agocrankboyMember
I think they were good quality fir rims and I kept the blocks free of grit . The rear did go catastrophicly when it finally wore through. The front is now badly grooved . The front highlights the other issues with v brakes , v’s become useless or very annoying if the wheel goes out of true or develops flat spots as the blocks catch on the tyres or the rims.Posted 4 years agoiamroughriderMember
v’s are ok if you have no choice ie second hand etc. Fine if the bikes used for commuting. Get the disk version if you can though even if the brakes are rubbish cable jobs ( which tbh are usually much better with a pair of aftermarket superstar, A2Z, Aztec etc pads) These will be ok and will allow easy an easy upgrade to proper disk brakes at some stage. I’d say worth it really as otherwise you’d need a new wheel set if you decide to upgrade, providing the frame has disk mounts too. Deore brakes are imo are excellent value. Also saves on pads and no rim wear. In some places mud and wet equals grinding paste. V’s are however ok. Also depends where it’s going to ridden really.Posted 4 years agotomasoSubscriber
If you look at The last but one issue of StW they review an Islabke with Vs and thought it not bad. If its all you can afford it will get you out on the trails. Most disc brakes are better than Vs but some are barely any better.
I did the Ported du Soliel on a disc front and v rear braked bike in 2000 and survived. I also survived the entire MTB era before V brakes. But ask me to forego disc brakes now and I’d tell you to go take a leapPosted 4 years ago
The topic ‘New MTB'er – Should I buy a bike with v-brakes ?’ is closed to new replies.