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When I browse on-line bike shops disc brakes are listed as "front" or "rear" e.g. here. I have never noticed any difference between front and rear brakes - disc or V-brake, hydraulic or mechanic. Except the cable/tube length(but moat brakes are sold without attached cable/oil tube). So what is the difference between a front and rear disc brake, if any?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The length of the cable/hose and the braking lever - Left for front, Right for Rear. There really isn't any real difference. If you change out the cable/hose you can hook either up and they will work the same.

This is generally true for most brakes, the differences generally deal with bolt, spacer, and cable/hose length.

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When regrding shopping for disc brakes, some retailers drop in a few different caliper adaptors, needed to fit the caliper to the frame or fork, in some cases, if they say "front" or "rear" it is possible that only fork or only frame adaptors are included. Not all calipers need such adaptors for certain specific installations. – Jahaziel Jul 23 '13 at 18:08
"Left for front, Right for Rear." Although most common in the US, its not always the case. The opposite is true on other jurisdictions (Japan, Australasia particularly). I think is down to the side of the road you drive on, but its far from standard. – mattnz Jul 24 '13 at 3:43
Aussie style brakes...yep, I had included that and then took it out as it seemed a bit wordy and possibly confusing to some. – Ken Hiatt Jul 24 '13 at 4:55

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