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I have an old Haro mountain bike I love. One feature request I have for a new bike is disk brakes. Is it possible to install disk brakes on an old bike? Is it worth it?

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It isn't wise to install disc brakes on a frame and fork that weren't designed to withstand the unique forces that disc brakes generate, and you'll just damage your bike in the process.

If your Haro does have disc brake mount tabs, then you can install them but likely only with smaller disc rotors. Remember that you'll have to get new wheels too, which increases your total cost.

Disc brakes are great for many riders, but then again so are rim brakes. Do you really need to switch?

  • My biggest problem with rim breaks is, under the right conditions, hitting the breaks hard was causing the rim to slide on the tire and end up popping the tube at the valve stem. That was fixed when I got a new tire but I have a feeling if I ride in cold weather it could happen again. – tooshel Nov 23 '11 at 3:25
  • I doubt I have disc brake mount tabs . . . I need to look that up to see what they look like. But it's a really old bike so I doubt it's disc brake ready. I think I got it in 1994 . . most people are amazed to see a Haro that's not the "BMX" style that looks like a kids bike. – tooshel Nov 23 '11 at 3:28
  • Why smaller rotors? Don't smaller rotors require more braking force for the same amount of stopping power? – Random832 Nov 23 '11 at 6:54
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    @tooshel - that's not a problem with the brakes. That's a problem with the tire. Getting disks won't help you one bit with that one. – Mike Baranczak Nov 23 '11 at 7:13
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    @Dave larger than rim brakes? Isn't the rim basically the largest rotor possible? – Random832 Nov 23 '11 at 14:40
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Whatever you do, don't attempt to install disk brakes on a bike that wasn't wasn't built for that.

Even if your frame supports disc brakes, I'm guessing it wouldn't be cost effective: You'd need new hubs, the brakes themselves, and possibly new brake levers and shifters.

But yes, disc brakes perform beautifully regardless of the weather.

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Is it worth it? Hell yeah. Especially for wet or muddy conditions.

Is it possible on your bike? Probably not. Unless you get new wheels, a new frame and a new fork. In which case you might as well buy a new bike.

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