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My new bike has disc brakes, and the front brake leaves something to be desired. I want to upgrade to a 180mm front rotor. Do I need to change any components besides the disc itself and an adapter for the caliper? Also, which adapter would I need? I currently have a 160mm 6-bolt disc installed, and the caliper is mounted on a 160mm post mount.

The fork in question:

  • Why? Mr. Jones next door has 180 mm discs on his bike? That looks like a fork from a hybrid or road bike. You don't need huge rotors except maybe on a MTB serious off-road downhill riding. What do you think you will achieve with an extra 20 mm that your brakes don't do now? – Kaz Aug 7 '16 at 15:09
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    Whats with the Bob the Builder lyric quoted on the inside of the fork leg? – Criggie Aug 7 '16 at 19:39
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    Looks like its from On One's Bish Bash Bosh gravel bike which ships with the SRAM Force/Rival/whatever HRD brakes. I'd hope they were pretty good to begin with. – Batman Aug 7 '16 at 19:44
  • Criggie, you can think of it as the British version of "bada bing, bada boom." – gman Aug 8 '16 at 2:35
  • Batman, you're right, it's from the On One Bish Bash Bosh. It came with SRAM Apex Hydraulics. – gman Aug 8 '16 at 2:37
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Answering the question: To upgrade to 180mm from 160 you need a Post-Post 180mm adapter and a new disc. The adapters are widely available as 180 is probably the most common sized front disc on MTB's.

I think the question that should have been asked is "My front disc is not working as well as I think it should, how can I make it better". As many say, its not size that counts.... (I could be wrong, maybe you just want to do the bicycle equivalent of stuffing a sock down the front of your pants, in which case, go for it, no need to read on)

A bigger disc is a cheap way to make cheap crap brakes work better, but they are still cheap brakes, so manufacturers have sold us the idea that you need big disks because its cheaper to make big discs than good brakes. They then go on to sell the idea that by spending more money, for the same weight you get better brakes.

If you have cheap crap brakes a better (although more expensive) option than a bigger disk is upgrade to better brakes. If you have good brakes then something is wrong if they are not performing well and you should address the performance problem (poor bedding in, contaminated pads etc).

  • Thanks Mat. The reason I asked about upgrading to a bigger rotor is because I think I've eliminated my other options. The brakes themselves should be good (SRAM Apex hydraulics), and there are no adjustments to speak of. The brake has been bedded in, too: several hard stops that even made the brake smoke a bit. The next logical step seems to be a larger rotor, especially since it seems like an inexpensive upgrade. – gman Aug 8 '16 at 2:32
  • Have you tried organic pads? – mattnz Aug 8 '16 at 4:10
  • I think SRAM brakes come with organic pads. – gman Aug 8 '16 at 14:28
  • I've "upgraded" from 160 to 180 (I've managed to bend my old rotor too bad to repair, so bought a new one). It's not much different from 160 rotor, but it seems to give a bit more control. Anyway - changing the brake is definitely a better idea – k102 Aug 8 '16 at 15:07
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AFAIK you only need a brake caliper adapter (more weight) and a larger rotor.

Your existing caliper should work fine, and the hub bolt pattern should be the same too.

You'll need to check that your fork is rated for a larger rotor, and that the rider load limits remain the same.

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    Regarding "rated for a larger rotor": bigger rotor might simply not fit and rub against inner leg surface. – Klaster_1 Aug 8 '16 at 2:42

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