Can You Convert A Mountain Bike To Disc Brakes? (Explained)

Can You Convert a Mountain Bike to Disc Brakes

The brake is a major bike component because it aids control, balance, and safety.

Conspicuously, disc brakes have become more popular in the cycling industry as cyclists adapt. And most mountain bikes now come equipped with these disc brakes.

Sometimes you want to convert your V-brake bike to a disc brake instead of buying a new one. Thus, can you convert a mountain bike to a disc brake?

Yes, you can convert a mountain bike to disc brakes, but the conversion depends on your bike’s frames, wheels, and forks. The frame and fork must have suitable mounting for disc calipers and be compatible with fitting hubs for the disc rotor. However, disc brake conversion can cost you up to $250.

This article has more information about disc brakes conversion. And I will explain how possible converting your mountain bike to a disc brake is and how much it will cost.

Lastly, you’ll know if a disc brake conversion is worth it. And what a disc brake conversion kit is and what it contains. 

Is It Possible to Convert a Mountain Bike to Disc Brakes?

Can You Convert a Mountain Bike to Disc Brakes

Yes, converting your mountain bike to disc brakes is possible, but it depends on the type of mountain bike. In other words, the disc conversion depends on the frame, fork, and wheel type.

The frame design must accept the attachment of a disc brake system on the wheel(s). And the forks and wheels must be compatible. 

So you must first ensure that;

  • Your bike frame and fork have a disc brake IS(international standard)  tab/mount compatibility.
  • Both front and rear wheels have suitable rotor mount hubs. 
  • Have rotors, cables, levers, and calipers.
  • You have the right disc plate and disc pad.

Notwithstanding, most mountain and road bikes are suitable for disc brake conversion.

Equally important, you must have the required tools, which include a good torque wrench. Also, to do the converting job yourself, you must have the technical know-how on bike components.

Most mountain bikes nowadays use a disc braking system for efficiency. The disc braking system gives your bike more responsive and powerful braking.

Also, disc brakes give you good control over your riding and make you go fast.

The wheel system also changes when you change your braking system to a disc plate. So,  converting your mountain bike to a disc plate also requires being able to change your wheel.

So to know how to change your wheel based on the brake type, you need to know what type of disc brake it is.

Disc brakes have two types, namely; 

  • mechanical disc brake system.
  • Hydraulic disc brake system.

The mechanical disc brakes operate by a cable like the rim brakes. Removing a wheel with a mechanical disc brake system involves quickly opening the quick-release.

While the hydraulic system uses fluid for force transfer from the lever to the caliper. So removing a wheel requires care to avoid damaging the brake lever. 

The hydraulic disc brake has an auto-adjusting caliper and no quick-release mechanism. 

To loosen the wheel of such a braking system, check for the nuts and the bolt. Next, slack the bolts by fixing the wrench on the bolt and rotating the nut clockwise.

When the nut is loose, carefully remove the wheel and avoid squeezing the brake lever.

How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Mountain Bike to Disc Brakes?

Converting a bike with an existing rim brake system to a disc brake will cost at least $30 and $250 or more.

It depends on the type of disc brake you want to install(mechanical or hydraulic system).

However, Mechanical disc brakes are usually cheaper than hydraulic versions.

For Instance, mechanical disc brakes are around $25-$60. And most Hydraulic disc brakes cost will range from  $50-$150.

For example, you can get a mechanical disc brake like the DEYING Zoom MTB for $55 on Amazon. And a hydraulic disc brake like the Cyclon Shimano MT200 for $73.

Also, if a repair person is fixing it for you, it will add to the cost and some materials/tools. So aside from the required tools for the conversion job, it will cost you up to $100. 

So, to avoid mistakes, or extra expenses converting to a disc brake, you can purchase a disc brake mountain bike instead.

But, of course, it’s better to get a new disc-brake mountain bike if you can afford it.

What Is in a Mountain Bike Disc-Brake Conversion Kit?

A mountain bike disc-brake conversion kit is a complete set that contains all the necessary items for disc brake conversion.

The conversion kit includes components such as; Disc brake calipers, Hubs, brake pads, and other components for the conversion. 

A conversion kit has all the components for a disc brake system to change your rim brake bike to a disc brake bike.

Also, you will need some tools to help you convert your mountain bike to a disc plate.

The required tools for mountain bike disc-brake conversion will include the following;

  • Torque wrench (to torque disc calipers and bolts). 
  • Torx drivers set ( to attach rotor disc bolts).
  • Allen driver set ( for attaching disc bolts and calipers).
  • Screwdriver (for attaching levers to the handlebar).
  • Ringlock socket ( for installing rotors).
  • Thread locker (lock rotor bolts). 
  • A bike stand.

Are Disc Brake Conversions Worth It? 

Disc brakes are worth it; they are the best braking system for any bike. They enable great stopping power with less applied force.

Brakes are vital in many situations, like an unexpected obstruction, a stop light, traffic, etc.; they help slow down wheels and bring you to a full or gradual stop.

So it’s ideal for getting a brake that guarantees your safety. And a disc brake gives you the efficiency you’d expect a brake to have.

Also, disc brakes influence your speed because of their strong braking power. With a disc brake, you can apply your brakes at any distance, allowing you to cover more distance while riding.

Again, the disc brake is high off the ground, which makes it convenient for better braking with a mountain bike. 

In the table below, let’s see the major advantages and disadvantages of converting your rim brake bike to disc brakes.

They allow you to ride faster.They are more expensive than the rim brakes.
They allow wider tire width on your bike, which is a good choice for mountain bikes.They easily overheat due to friction when the pads rub against the rotors.
It requires lesser application of lever force for more stable braking control.It causes stress to the forks, which causes them to fail quickly.
They are more reliable in weather conditions, such as wet and muddy surfaces. They are difficult to repair and maintain.
They have better modulations on wheels.The wheels can easily misalign.
They are more powerful than v brakes and rim brakes in general.They are less comfortable as they need to absorb vibrations and shocks more.

On the other hand, a disc brake is not worth it because it will cost you a lot to convert it. But if the cost is not a concern, then you can as well enjoy the benefits of a disc brake.

Besides, if you ask experienced riders if disc brake conversion is worth it, the answer will point to a thing of choice. A good V brake is alright with its advantages too.

Also, you’ll get a good number of cyclists that will prefer the rim brakes over the advanced disc brakes. 

However, the disc brakes conversation is worth the try. Also, good care and maintenance will last longer for you. 

Both types of disc brakes are easy to maintain. But a hydraulic disc brake requires less maintenance as its deal is with its hydraulic fluid.

Josh Matthews

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