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Regarding mechanical disc brakes, is it preferable to have a caliper with pads removable from the top side? Shimano BR-RS305-F calipers use pads removable from the top; Shimano BR-R317 uses pads removable from the bottom side. I'm not certain about Avid BB7 calipers; they look like the pads are removable from the bottom but the pad spring is inserted from the top side. I'm also considering the TRP Spyre mechanical caliper but can't tell how pads are inserted/removed. Any wisdom here? Am I wasting my time? Thanks to all.


Swifty, you're right on. I neglected to say I'm riding an ebike with a Rohloff hub, and as such, removing and re-installing the rear wheel is harder than a standard bike; that's why caliper design is important to me. Anyway, as far as I can tell, the Avid BB7, the TRP Spyre, and the Shimano BR-RS317 calipers all load from the bottom. The Shimano BR-R305 loads from the top to the best of my observations.

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    Personally, the most useful feature is whether or not they use a boot to seal the outer cable from the environment. With most bikes running full length cable housings, the caliper becomes main entry point for contamination. The BB7 uses two boots and does a really good job of keeping contamination out of the cabling. – Rider_X Feb 21 '19 at 21:24
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I would say if it’s relatively simple to take your wheels out then it’s trivial which you go for, ie make decisions on other factors. You won’t be swapping pads out all that often (or if you know you will do, then you might already know which you want).

If however, it isn’t so easy to get the wheels out, because of a rack or dynamo or hub gear, or hub-drive electric bike, (belt-drive etc etc) then you might well prefer to insert the pads from the top. (Not that I’ve fact-checked whether those model(s) do indeed load from the top.) if you ride in all conditions, commuting for example and will wear pads down quickly then that might be a factor but the decider for me would be how easy it is or isn’t, to get the wheels out of the way.

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  • My front wheel is a dynamo and I've got enough slack in the cable to swap pads without disconnecting it (but not enough slack to change a tyre and I've been unlucky with punctures recently - disconnecting and reconnecting isn't too bad) – Chris H Feb 21 '19 at 22:06

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