New bike decisions/wobble

Ok, so is this a wobble, or… common sense?

So, having elected to spend quite a lot of money in the new year on a rim brake, custom steel, mechanical geared bike, (see thread elsewhere) I’m having a bit of a ‘oh, erm, hang on, are you sure?’ moment. I was very clear in my thought process – simple, easy to maintain, durable, attractive, quick enough – and that still stands. But having looked at the total bill, and what else is out there for the same money, I’m having second thoughts.

There is a little gremlin on my shoulder whispering ‘disc is future proof’ on my shoulder. In other moments, he murmurs ‘get Di2’. He has started saying ‘get an Aethos for the same money’.

But jokes aside, what I’m asking, ladies and gents of the forum, is this: is this an outbreak of common sense/head over heart, or more just the general wobbly moment a few of us may have when we’re on the verge of committing a lot of money on something?

My use case still stands - ride quality, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, needs to be quick enough but I’m not racing - and I still love the aesthetics on the Rourke.

So is this a wobble, or… common sense? Thoughts welcome.

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Honestly, I’d be hard-pressed to spend that kind of money for a rim brake bike. The future is all disc, so you are immediately limiting future options with what should be a very long lifespan frame.

There will always be parts for it, but you will increasingly find yourself having to resort to used parts as the years go by.

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You have plenty of lead time. Can you ask for disc tabs/mounts to be added? I see plenty of MTBs built with capacity for both, and you only really need the rear: a new fork could be part of any future upgrade.

Get mechanical now. You have until forever to switch to electronic, but mech may not exist at Chorus level if you want to revert in 5 years time. And same for rim, come to think of it.

If you wanted an Aethos, you would have ordered an Aethos. Specialized will be making it, or its equivalent, for many years to come. And you won’t be able to revert to mechanical/rim even if you get the Aethos Comp.

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Yes, that would absolutely be viable at this stage, and I actually suspect this is my most likely course of action.

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It seems the most sensible approach if you’re in any way concerned. Small penalty (if any) for future security.

Hell, I’ve seen Oldshovel YouTube videos where he welds disc tabs onto 1980s frames. I think you’ll be fine.

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As long as the bike is drilled for it….if he is going external cabling, switching to electronic (at least Shimano) in the future could be problematic.

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Disc brake tabs wouldn’t fit aesthetically, imo, which is what a steel bike really has going for it.

The way I see it, people keep fifty year old bikes on the road still, although it’s obviously a bit of effort to source some parts and a labour of love. Rim brake wheels will always be out there, as a somewhat niche product and you will just have less choice, but it’s not a bike for chasing performance.

“Always” is for me, let’s hope for fifty years, before it outlasts me.

Whether it’s worth it to spend a lot of cash to buy such a bike, that’s… well, a tough and ultimately personal question. I flirted with the idea just for the style and aesthetics of it, but decided it would be silly for me.

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…I never have, that isn’t a thing!

Pick one and go all in I say. And you don’t either have to go caliper+mechanical or disc+electric, caliper+electric would make total sense now that ultegra is dead. Where do you ride, do you need discs? Or would you be better saving the weight and having calaipers? Be honest about what you’ll use it for (do you ride in the rain, is it mountainous where you ride) and go with a decision that makes sense for you. Enjoy either way!

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Maybe not now, but it certainly was back in the day as discs were first coming out. Late 90’s and early 00’s, it was very common (if not standard).

Sure it is. There are plenty of bikes out there even now, at a certain price point, MTBs and hybrids, where the manufacturer includes cantilever and disc mounts. Both on the frame and on forks. My in-laws have on in the garage right now.

For multiple reasons, it’s obviously a lot more rare to see a road bike with disc mounts and a caliper bridge between the seat stays, but it’s clearly do-able.

I don’t foresee a time when it will be impossible to get the consumables for a mechanical rim brake bicycle. If you are worried about some specific parts, buy some extras with the bicycle…like chain rings, cassettes, etc.

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I think you just need to be honest with yourself. If you are one to hold on to a bike for 10 years, I say go for it, get what you want. If you are like me, and after a few years get the itch to try something new, I wouldn’t drop that type of money on a bike that you are going to take a huge resale hit on.

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If I were getting cold feet about an upcoming major expenditure, I would apply the brakes now–stop, pause, and rethink–get out before it is too late. Go through the whole thought process again, and start over.

Many here and in other threads have spouted pontifically on the efficacy of a hand built frame over a mass-produced one. While nice, you are putting all your cards in the hands of the builder, you are assuming his creation will be better than anything else available out there in the marketplace–but, he is building based on his experiences, not yours–I have found some builders want to shorten stems, lengthen top tubes, raise saddles, and so forth, resulting in momentary pleasure, but long term discomfort. Personally, I know my own strengths and weaknesses, dos and don’ts, likes and dislikes better than anyone else, including the best pro builder in the business, and can put together a perfect setup, for me, based on existing components in the marketplace, at likely half the cost of a pro build–that’s the route I would take.

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Disc brakes and ease of maintenance don’t go hand in hand. If you ride a lot and especially if you live in a hilly area, you will be constantly tinkering with your disc brakes. If you like to travel with your bike, either by plane or putting it your trunk, you will also have issues and will need to bring special tools like a bleed kit with you. Yes, the braking is slightly better than rim brakes, especially in the wet, but it comes with a lot of hassle. The new bike that I’m building has rim brakes as I’m done with disc brakes.

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If you have good idea of your ideal frame geometry and ride feel preferences, why not shop around for a less expensive custom builder.

If you are not racing, then you’ll always be able to find parts to keep the bike going. Heck, cantilever brakes are still produced. Worst case scenario is you’re using bar end shifters but I really do believe that there will always be a market for mechanical shifting and therefore will always be a company incentivized to make parts for that market. The same goes for rim brake hubs and rims.

Chances are however that the parts you have on the bike initially will last a very long time and you’re going to enjoy the heck out of that bike for a long time before any worries of replacing any part that has become rare to source.

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I’m sorry but i disagree with this. I live in a very hilly area (central europe) and i travel a lot with my bike (in car, on trains, and planes), and tinkering with my disc brakes is simply not a thing that is any more of a thing than my rim brake bikes.

I ride SRAM Red disc brakes with Swisstop pads and there has never been a time where i have travelled with a bleed kit. I have bled the brakes twice in 3 years, the last time was because I completely rebuilt the bike after having it painted.

The brakes work great. They’re quiet. They feel totally normal. I don’t have rotor rub, even after long descents where a bit of heat may have built up.

I think the issue some people have is that maintaining your bike requires care. I clean my brakes. I clean my rotors. I bed my brake pads in purposefully. The bike is well maintained on a regular basis and as a result, i don’t have issues.

To say that disc brakes = you need to travel with a bleed kit is wayyyy of an outlier.

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I’ve started praying that this thread doesn’t turn into yet another disc v rim one.

We all have our preferences, just enjoy riding your bike.

Rim brakes will be supported in the foreseeable future as there’s way too many rim brake bikes out there to just abandon them.

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I like custom built wheels, and it’s increasingly getting difficult to find nice rim brake rims out there.
There’s like 5 to 1 ratio when I built the last set, and it’s increasing getting difficult, especially you like the latest technologies.
Sure, the basic rims with rim brake support will be there for years, but anything nice is going to be much harder.

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This is more or less the same hypothetical argument I’ve been having with myself the past year or so, only difference is (maybe luckily) I haven’t had the money (bought a house, renovated it, two small children) to drop on a significant bike purchase.

I wouldn’t worry about parts availability, I don’t see rim brakes just disappearing from the industry in your next 5 years, too many ‘legacy’ bikes about. In terms of performance, my only hesitation has been custom steel vs carbon due to weight. I live in the north west of England, there’s barely a flat road within a couple of hours’ ride. I’m pretty trim, couldn’t lose more than a couple kilos from myself, so weight is a big factor. But I keep coming back to longevity - I want a new bike to last. I’ve had one crash, ever (touch wood) and I only race hill climbs (another weight consideration) so it’s not like I’m risking stacking it in a crit, but… I’m also not getting any younger, so something like a Synapse or an Endurace might be the way to go?

Good luck! As you can see, I’m no more decisive than you….

As the owner of a nice rim brake bike i feel your pain. But… have you seen the screaming bargains on ebay with people ditching rim brake stuff as they move to disc? I am quietly buying nice wheelsets when they come up and just keeping them in the cellar for rotation/ just incase. Whilst I have never broken a caliper brake I have a spare set and one the lookout for another just in a different colour- expect it to be around 50 quid so hardly a show stopper. Good brake pads can still be got- at 20 quid a go again I’m just pre emptively buying them. So all in all I’m pretty confident I can keep it going for a decent amount of time with little issue. At least with rim brake wheels the hub dimensions have remained constant for a decent amount of time- when I look how hub sizes and mounting has changed for disc brakes over the last few years I feel more confident in finding something usable for a rim brake bike than disc brake in a few years time. Similarly with the differeing disc brake caliper mounting options- all in all I am not sure going disc brake is that future proof just yet, and may well end up with having to do the pre emptive buying anyway. However in fairness, I am trying to find a decent canti straight 1 1/8 carbon fork for my cross bike and that is proving difficult!

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