MTB Disc Brakes on Road Bikes: What You Need to Know

No, you cannot use mtb disc brake on a road bike due to compatibility issues. Mtb disc brakes have a wider rotor and require different hardware than road bike disc brakes.

It is important to use the correct equipment for each bike to ensure safety and proper function.

MTB Disc Brakes on Road Bikes: What You Need to Know


What Are Mtb Disc Brakes?

Mtb (mountain bike) disc brakes are a popular feature of most mountain bikes, but can you use them on a road bike? In this section of the blog post, we will explore what mtb disc brakes are, how they work and the advantages and disadvantages they offer.

Definition Of Mtb Disc Brakes

Mtb disc brakes are a type of braking system. Unlike traditional rim brakes, disc brakes utilise a rotor attached to the wheel hub and calipers that grip the rotor to slow or stop the wheel. They consist of a metal rotor that rotates with the wheel and a caliper that is mounted to the frame of the bike.

How Do They Work?

When the rider applies the brake lever, the calipers on either side of the rotor clamp down, creating friction between the pads and the rotor. This friction slows down or stops the wheel depending on the intensity of the applied force.

Unlike traditional rim brakes, the stopping power of disc brakes is not dependent on the weather conditions, making them more reliable and consistent.

Differences Between Mtb Disc Brakes And Rim Brakes

Mtb disc brakes and rim brakes differ in several ways. Here are some notable points:

  • Mtb disc brakes have a higher stopping power than rim brakes as they have a larger braking surface area and consistent stopping power regardless of weather conditions.
  • Disc brakes are less affected by wheel bending as it does not create uneven surfaces between the pad and the rim, unlike rim brakes.
  • Disc brakes are more expensive, complicated to install and require regular maintenance compared to rim brakes.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Mtb Disc Brakes

Mtb disc brakes offer specific advantages and disadvantages. Here are some notable points for each:


  • Consistent and reliable stopping power, regardless of weather conditions
  • They can be more powerful than traditional rim brakes, especially for steep descents
  • They tend to last longer than rim brakes
  • Reduced wear and tear on wheels as they don’t rely on the rim to slow down the bike


  • They are more expensive than rim brakes
  • They can be difficult to install, and regular maintenance is required
  • They are heavier than rim brakes and may affect the overall weight of the bike.

Mtb disc brakes are efficient brakes that offer consistent and reliable stopping power. While not suitable for all bikes, they are a great option for road bikes and have unique advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional rim brakes.

Why Use Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes?

Benefits Of Using Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes

Switching from traditional road bike brakes to mtb disc brakes comes with several benefits, including:

  • Increased stopping power: Mtb disc brakes offer more stopping power, which can be particularly useful in wet or muddy road conditions or during steep descents.
  • Better heat dissipation: The disc brakes dissipate heat more evenly, reducing the risk of overheating the rims and leading to better braking performance.
  • Enhanced durability: Mtb disc brakes are generally more resistant to wear and tear, making them a more long-lasting and reliable option than traditional road bike brakes.

Comparison With Traditional Road Bike Brakes

In terms of braking mechanisms, mtb disc brakes function differently from traditional road bike brakes. While road bike brakes operate by squeezing the rims, mtb disc brakes function by gripping a rotor attached to the wheel hub. This design provides more stopping power, better modulation, and heat dissipation, making it a superior option for riders who frequently ride in challenging environments.

Safety Considerations When Using Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes

While mtb disc brakes offer plenty of advantages over traditional road bike brakes, it’s essential to consider the following safety precautions:

  • Avoid using mtb disc brakes on carbon fiber rims, as the high heat produced during braking could cause the rims to delaminate or melt.
  • Make sure to regularly inspect and maintain your disc brake system, especially if you frequently ride in adverse conditions.
  • Take into account the handling characteristics of your bike, as the use of disc brakes can alter the weight distribution and center of gravity.

Choosing The Right Mtb Disc Brakes For Your Road Bike

When selecting mtb disc brakes for your road bike, keep in mind the following factors:

  • Compatibility: Make sure the disc brakes you choose are compatible with your bike’s frame and fork, as well as the wheel hubs and disc rotors.
  • Size: Disc brakes come in different sizes, so ensure you pick the right size for your bike.
  • Performance: Consider the quality of the braking system and select the option that offers optimal performance for your needs and budget.

Installing Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes

Are you thinking of upgrading your road bike’s braking performance by switching to mtb disc brakes? Disc brakes are a great choice for cyclists looking for more stopping power, better control, and improved reliability. However, installing mtb disc brakes on a road bike requires some know-how.

Luckily, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide that will help you through the process.

Tools Required For The Installation

Before we begin with the installation process, ensure that you have the following tools –

  • Allen wrenches (3-6mm)
  • Torque wrench
  • Brake caliper adapter
  • Brake pads
  • Mtb disc brakes
  • Disc brake rotors
  • Bleed kit (for hydraulic disc brakes)

Step-By-Step Guide For Installing Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes

Follow these simple steps to install mtb disc brakes on your road bike –

  • Remove your old brakes: Start by removing the old brake calipers, levers, and cables from the bike.
  • Install the brake caliper adapter: The adapter allows you to mount the mtb disc brake caliper on your road bike. Use the appropriate bolts and torque wrench for your bike.
  • Install the rotors: Remove the old brake rotors and replace them with the new mtb rotors.
  • Mount the brake calipers: The mtb disc brake calipers should be mounted on the brake caliper adapters using the bolts. Make sure to tighten them to the correct torque settings.
  • Install the brake levers: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the brake levers and connect them to the brake calipers.
  • Install brake pads: Install the new brake pads into the calipers, and adjust them as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Cable routing: Make sure your cables are routed correctly and adjusted for your braking preference.
  • Bleed the hydraulic disc brakes (if applicable): If you have hydraulic disc brakes, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to bleed the brakes according to the specified torque settings.

Common Installation Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

While installing mtb disc brakes on your road bike is a great idea, there are some common mistakes that cyclists make. Here are a few tips to help you avoid them –

  • Ensure that your brake caliper adapter and rotor are compatible with your bike.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and torque settings for your bike’s components.
  • Double-check the cable routing and make sure it’s correct.
  • Bleed hydraulic disc brakes correctly to avoid any air in the system.

Maintenance Tips For Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes

To ensure proper functioning and longevity of your new mtb disc brakes, consider the following maintenance tips –

  • Check brake pads regularly for wear and replace as necessary.
  • Clean rotors with alcohol or brake cleaner to avoid contamination.
  • Bleed hydraulic disc brakes every six months to maintain consistent performance.
  • Avoid dragging your brakes, as this can overheat the rotor and pad material.

We hope this guide helps you install mtb disc brakes on your road bike, giving you a safer and more enjoyable experience. Remember, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and if in doubt, consult a professional bicycle mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes

Mountain bike (mtb) disc brakes are powerful stoppers that work well in all weather conditions. This has left a lot of road bikers wondering if they can use mtb disc brakes on their road bikes. Let’s explore some frequently asked questions about this topic.

How To Maintain Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes?

Maintaining mtb disc brakes on road bikes is quite similar to maintaining them on mtbs. Here are some quick tips to keep your mtb disc brakes on your road bike functioning smoothly:

  • Keep the rotors clean.
  • Use mineral oil or brake fluid to lubricate the brake calipers.
  • Replace worn-out brake pads.
  • Ensure that the brake hoses are tight and do not have any kinks or leaks.
  • Bleed the brakes periodically to maintain good braking power.

Are Mtb Disc Brakes Suitable For All Types Of Road Bikes?

Mtb disc brakes work well on most types of road bikes, including gravel bikes, cyclocross bikes, and endurance road bikes. However, using them on a lightweight racing road bike may not be ideal due to extra weight and potential compatibility issues.

It’s always best to check with your bike manufacturer or a qualified bike mechanic before making any changes.

What Is The Cost Of Installing Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes?

The cost of installing mtb disc brakes on a road bike can vary depending on the type of bike, the components used, and the complexity of the installation. It can range from $100 to $500. It’s always best to get an estimate from your local bike shop or a qualified bike mechanic.

Are There Any Safety Issues Associated With Using Mtb Disc Brakes On Road Bikes?

Mtb disc brakes are generally considered safe on road bikes. However, there are concerns about compatibility issues, extra weight, and potential wheel damage due to rotor size. It’s best to consult a qualified bike mechanic to ensure that the installation is done correctly and safely.

How To Choose The Best Mtb Disc Brakes For Your Road Bike?

When choosing mtb disc brakes for your road bike, you should consider the following:

  • Rotor size: Ensure that the rotor size matches your bike’s frame and fork specifications. 160mm and 180mm are common rotor sizes for road bikes.
  • Brake compatibility: Check if your bike’s frame and fork are compatible with mtb disc brakes.
  • Brake type: Choose between hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes based on your preference and budget.
  • Brand reputation and reviews: Research and choose a reputable brand with positive reviews.

Using mtb disc brakes on your road bike is possible, but it’s essential to ensure compatibility and proper installation. Always consult a qualified bike mechanic before making any changes.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Can I Use Mtb Disc Brake On Road Bike?

Can I Put Mtb Disc Brakes On My Road Bike?

Yes, but you need to make sure the rotor size and caliper mounting are compatible with your road bike frame.

What Is The Difference Between Road And Mtb Disc Brakes?

Mtb disc brakes are typically more powerful, have larger rotors, and are designed to handle rougher terrain while road disc brakes are optimized for speed and consistent braking performance on paved roads.

Why Would Someone Want To Use Mtb Disc Brakes On A Road Bike?

Mtb disc brakes may be preferred for riders who want more braking power, or who plan on using their road bike for other outdoor activities such as gravel riding or touring.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Mtb Disc Brakes On A Road Bike?

Mtb disc brakes may add weight to the bike, require different brake levers, may not be as aerodynamic, and may create clearance issues with certain road bike frames.


As we conclude, the issue of whether it’s possible to use an mtb disc brake on a road bike can be overwhelming. However, we’ve just seen that it can be done. The most important thing is to ensure compatibility of the rotor size, caliper mounting, and the brake lever pull ratio, among other key factors.

It’s also important to consider the technical skill and experience of the rider during the installation process. Overall, using an mtb disc brake on a road bike requires careful analysis, and while it may be possible, it’s not always recommended.

It’s always best to stick to a bike’s recommended specifications to avoid safety hazards and ensure a smooth cycling experience. We hope this guide has been helpful as you make an informed decision on whether to use an mtb disc brake on a road bike.

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