Upgrading from Rim to Disc Brakes: What You Need to Know

If you’re an avid cyclist, you may have considered upgrading your bike’s braking system from rim brakes to disc brakes. Disc brakes offer several advantages over rim brakes, including increased stopping power, better performance in wet conditions, and less wear on your wheel rims.

However, upgrading Rim to Disc Brakes can be a significant investment and may require some modifications to your bike. In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about upgrading from rim to disc brakes, including the benefits and drawbacks, the types of disc brakes available, and the steps involved in making the switch.

What are the benefits of disc brakes?

Disc brakes offer several benefits over rim brakes, including:

Increased stopping power

Brakes provide more stopping power than rim brakes, which can be especially important when riding downhill or in wet conditions.

Better performance in wet conditions

Disc brakes are more effective than rim brakes in wet conditions because they operate independently of the wheel rims, which can become slippery when wet.

Less wear on wheel rims

Rim brakes can cause significant wear on your wheel rims over time, leading to costly replacements. With disc brakes, the braking force is applied to a separate rotor, reducing wear on the wheel rims.

Consistent performance

Disc brakes provide more consistent and predictable braking performance, as they are less affected by factors such as rim wear, tire pressure, and road conditions.

Lower maintenance

Brakes generally require less maintenance than rim brakes, as they do not require frequent adjustments and are less prone to issues such as rim warping or brake pad wear.

Are there any drawbacks to disc brakes?

While disc brakes offer many advantages over rim brakes, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:


Upgrading from Rim to Disc Brakes can be a significant investment, as it requires replacing several components, including the wheel hubs, brake calipers, and brake levers.


Disc brakes can be slightly heavier than rim brakes, which may not be noticeable to all riders, but can be a concern for those seeking to minimize the weight of their bike.


Brakes require specific wheel hubs that are designed to work with the rotors and calipers. This means that not all bikes are compatible with disc brakes, and some may require additional modifications, such as a new fork or frame.


While brakes generally require less maintenance than rim brakes, they do require periodic maintenance, such as adjusting the brake pads and replacing the brake fluid.


Some riders may experience brake noise with disc brakes, particularly when they are wet or contaminated with dirt or oil.

How do I know if my bike is compatible with disc brakes?

Determining whether your rim to disc brakes is compatible with disc brakes requires checking a few key components:

Frame and Fork

Your bike frame and fork must have the appropriate mounts for disc brake calipers. This may be in the form of post mounts or flat mounts, which are specific types of mounting brackets that allow the calipers to be attached to the frame and fork.


Your bike’s wheels must be compatible with  brakes, which means they must have hubs that are designed to work with  brake rotors. Some older wheels may not be compatible with disc brakes and may require replacement.

Brake Levers

Your bike’s brake levers must be compatible with  brakes. This typically means using brake levers that are designed specifically for use with disc brakes, which will have a different cable pull ratio than those designed for rim brakes.

Brake Rotors and Calipers

Your bike will require a set of brake rotors and calipers that are compatible with your bike’s frame and fork, as well as the type of brake lever you are using.

Upgrade your bike to disc brakes

Upgrading your bike from rim to disc brakes involves several steps:

Determine compatibility

Check whether your bike frame, fork, and wheels are compatible with disc brakes, as outlined in the previous answer.

Purchase components

Purchase the necessary components for your upgrade, including new disc brake calipers, rotors, brake levers, and possibly new wheel hubs. Make sure to choose components that are compatible with your bike’s frame, fork, and wheels.

Remove old brake components

Remove the old rim brake calipers, brake levers, and brake cables from your bike.

Install new brake components

Install the new  brake calipers, rotors, brake levers, and brake cables onto your bike, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve mounting the calipers to the frame and fork, attaching the brake levers to the handlebars, and routing the brake cables through the frame.

Adjust brakes

Adjust the position of the brake calipers and brake pads so that they are properly aligned with the rotor. Make sure that the brake pads are making even contact with the rotor and that the brake lever has a comfortable feel.

Test ride and fine-tune

Take your rim to disc brakes for a test ride and make any necessary adjustments to the brake system, such as adjusting the brake pad position or cable tension.

 Rim to Disc Brakes

Type of disc brake

When choosing a brake for your bike, there are two main types to consider: hydraulic and mechanical.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Hydraulic  brakes use hydraulic fluid to activate the brake calipers, which provides a smooth and consistent braking feel. They offer better modulation and more stopping power than mechanical disc brakes. They require less maintenance than mechanical brakes and are generally easier to set up correctly.

Mechanical Disc Brakes

Mechanical  brakes use a cable to activate the rim to disc brakes calipers, which can feel less smooth than hydraulic brakes. They offer less stopping power and modulation than hydraulic disc brakes, but they are usually less expensive and easier to service.


Upgrading your bike from rim brakes to disc brakes can offer many benefits, including improved stopping power, better modulation, and increased durability. However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks, such as cost, weight, compatibility, and maintenance requirements. When upgrading, make sure to choose components that are compatible with your bike’s frame, fork, and wheels, and consider your riding style and budget when choosing between hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes.

Upgrade your bike’s braking performance by switching from rim brakes to disc brakes. Visit our website and let our expert mechanics guide you through the process!