I'm considering adding a disc fork to my surly cross check and using some avid bb7 road brakes for the front. I've got tektro road levers on drop bars (outfitted with retroshift shifters) I've got all the gear, so cost is negligible. The frame is not built for disc brakes, so I would leave my cantilever brakes on the rear.

I know the modulation and grab will be different for the brakes. Should I be concerned about having different types of brakes on this bike?

  • What are you using for a fork?
    – WTHarper
    Commented Jun 12, 2013 at 14:43
  • I have an aluminium disc cross fork hanging around that I got from a friend of mine. I don't remember the brand, but it's not going to change the geometry of the bike. The rake and length are almost spot on with the existing fork.
    – Benzo
    Commented Jun 12, 2013 at 14:48
  • That sounds awesome! I don't know exactly what to expect, but as with any change it'll take some getting used to. I remember before disc brakes were ubiquitous many bikes were fitted for a disc in the front only and presumably everyone got on fine. Until Surly makes a Disk-Check, one ought to work.
    – WTHarper
    Commented Jun 12, 2013 at 15:01
  • Surly now makes a disc-equipped CX bike: surlybikes.com/bikes/straggler !
    – WTHarper
    Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 20:48
  • 1
    I did add a disc fork to the cross check. It works great with the mini-v for rear braking! It was a great upgrade for my winter bike. It's a lot more predictable in wet / snowy conditions.
    – Benzo
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 19:08

4 Answers 4


Quick answer: Don't worry.

Front and rear are already "functionally different" on two-wheeled vehicles, to the point that we have different tread patterns and even wheel sizes (at least in motorcycles this is common-practice).

So, having brakes with different "feels" is not a problem by itself, unless this bothers you, or makes you over/underestimate breaking power due to a possibly stark difference.

Hope this helps!

  • Clarification: Do you mean "TRead patterns" in the tire rubber? Or "THRead patterns" in some screw/bolt dimensions?
    – PositiveK
    Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 18:18
  • @user29020 I refer to tire rubber... My mistake, I'm correcting it, thanks! Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 13:54
  • The Mullet setup works great. It's not the same as two disc brakes, but it's a great improvement with repsect to modulation on the front wheel.
    – Benzo
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 2:42

My older MTB that I ride to work on, has hydraulic disk Deore in front and Tektro V-Brakes for the rear, and it's totally OK. Anyway, your brain will have no issues to adapt to such negliable changes, like the power you need to apply with each hand. After a few rides you'll be OK.


A bunch of people have done "disc-checks" usually using something like a Kona Project 2 disc fork or Dimension fork or something similar (Example: http://forums.mtbr.com/surly/steel-disc-fork-crosscheck-572029.html)

So, you can do it provided the geometry and fork quality is OK (Alternatively, you can upgrade to the new Surly Straggler :3)

On some bikes, you can also install a bolt on conversion kit, such as http://2btherapy.com/bikes/brake-therapy-conversion-kit


It's a great idea:

  • Front brakes are often used. You will enjoy the strength and control of disc brake.
  • Also, I believe, disc brake pads wear slower then rubber pads - another win
  • You will suffer weight penalty (as disc brakes are heavier), but the good news is that it will be small - you will retain the light rarely used rear brake.

Go for it!

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