We've compiled a list of our most asked questions below.
If you have a question that isn't answered here, please give us a call, email or stop by the shop to chat with us!
Believe it or not, most bikes are stolen because they weren't locked! So, your first defense against theft is purchasing a quality lock and using it whenever you leave your ride unattended (even when it's hidden in your back yard or inside your garage). Thieves usually ignore protected two wheelers because so many freebies are readily available.
But, don't just slap on the lock any old which way. Thieves will get all or part of your machine if you're not diligent about securing it.
For example, most bicycles are equipped with quick-release wheels, which make it easy for crooks to make off with a very expensive chunk of your machine if you forget to lock the wheel (or the rest of the bike, if you only secure one wheel!). Likewise, if you wrap a cable around a parking meter, the thief can just lift the bike over the post's top, toss your pride and joy in their truck and take it home where they can break off the lock at their leisure.
Avoid the misery of bike theft by following our seven safety rules:
1. Tell us how and where how you'll lock your bike and we'll recommend the best models and demonstrate their use.
2. Ask us where the high-risk areas are in Toronto so you won't make the mistake of parking there.
3. At home, store your bicycles inside. If kept in a garage, keep the door closed and store your two wheelers out of sight and locked. You never know who might cruise your neighborhood looking for valuables.
4. When stopped, if you can't take your bike inside, always lock it.
5. Always lock your bike to an unbreakable and immovable object being certain to secure the frame and both wheels.
6. Take with you any easily removed accessories and components such as pumps, computers, lights, seat bags, quick-release seats and seatposts, etc.
7. To reduce the risk of becoming a target, never tempt thieves by leaving your bike locked for long periods such as overnight, or securing it in a predictable fashion, such as putting it in the same bike rack or on your front porch every day.
If you can tell us how and where you'll ride at night, we can recommend the perfect light or system. For example, for occasional evening rides or commuting on good roads lit by streetlights, most people do fine with a clip-on front headlight combined with a rear flasher. This simple and inexpensive solution provides adequate road illumination while also making you visible to motorists. Rechargeable lights are more common these days, so you won't have to toss out batteries when they fade.
On the other end of the lighting spectrum are rechargeable systems that provide so much brightness and battery life that you could easily tackle a 3-hour singletrack at midnight with no moonlight. Of course, these systems can cost considerably more than simpler models, but they're the best choices if you ride regularly for an hour or more on and/or off road in low-light conditions (the worse the road and trail conditions and the faster your pace, the more you'll appreciate additional brightness).
Most are easily mounted and removed, come with several power settings so you can manage battery life by selecting the most appropriate brightness for the lighting conditions, and are rugged enough to withstand heavy use. Visit our store to discuss your needs and try out some of our excellent lighting solutions. You'll be impressed.
Bells, horns and other noisemakers can be mounted to any bicycle, but whether or not you should put one on yours, depends on how and where you ride and how you like to warn others while riding. Some cyclists prefer to simply use their voices to caution walkers and motorists when necessary. The thinking here is that the human voice is adjustable from a whisper to a shout so you can adjust it to get the desired effect, speaking softly to joggers so you don't startle them, or torturing your tonsils screaming "stop!" to alert an asleep-at-the-wheel driver.
Bells have their advocates, though. They're inexpensive, easily mounted, don't weigh much, are simple to use and they make a friendly chime that walkers instantly recognize as a bicyclist about to pass. Which is also why dingers work well for trail use. Bell people usually ring to say hello to other bikers, too, which is a nice tradition. And, because even the loudest ding, may go unheard inside a car, if you need to make a louder warning, you can always shout.
Although there are some battery-powered and pneumatic designs intended for enthusiasts, most bicycle horns are the squeeze type usually of interest to young children (who shouldn't be riding in traffic situations) who want something mostly for fun.
Feel free to come in and make a racket trying out our selection of noisemakers to find one right for you.
We suggest coming in and looking at a few. We've got great bike models for every type of cycling and we can explain the differences and even arrange a test ride if you want, so you can feel the different rides.
In making a selection, it helps if you can tell us how you'll use the bike, where you'd like to ride and approximately how much you want to spend. If you're not sure, consider where you live and what the roads, paths and trails are like. Talk to friends who bike to find out what types they prefer, where they ride and what they recommend. (If you plan to ride with these friends, you'll probably want to get the same type of bike that they ride.)
Also, think about other purchases you make: are you a get-the-best, cost-is-no-object shopper or do you think of yourself as frugal? Do you like the latest high-tech gadgets or prefer simpler, more traditional designs. If you can answer some of these questions, it makes choosing a bicycle easier.
Keep in mind that cycling is a sport that grows on you. Many riders start with one bike and end up with a bunch, each ideal for its intended purpose. For example, an enthusiast will have an off-road bike for hitting dirt trails and a road bike for cruising on blacktop. If she's married, she might also have a tandem so her husband can join the fun. Or perhaps a city bike equipped with a basket for running errands around town.
Obviously, we're not suggesting that you start off by purchasing a garage-load of two wheelers. But, it takes some pressure off the decision process when you realize that no one bike is going to do it all. It's best to start with the bike type that seems best for how you'll ride now. And then, as your riding interests expand, there are plenty of other models you can consider.
We find the name as confusing as you do. And so do the bike manufacturers, which is why so many of them mark their hybrids with anything besides that term. Still, it's an important bike type and the term is used enough that you should understand it.
A little history will help. In the seventies, the groovy bike was the ten-speed with its skinny tires, drop handlebars and narrow seat. A decade later, the to-die-for machine was the mountain bike, with its fat tires, indestructible components, super-low gearing and ultra-comfortable wide, flat handlebars. Both these bike types sold like crazy in their heyday and continue to sell well today. Why? Because they're each perfectly suited for their intended purpose: on- and off-road riding.
But what if you enjoy riding both dirt roads and pavement? What if you want a responsive bike that's more rugged than a lightweight road model? What if you're looking for the comfort and convenience of flat bars but want to ride at a good clip and for long distances? What if you want low gears and carrying capacity? If that's you, a hybrid is likely your best bike choice.
Hybrids combine the best of the two most popular bike types. What's interesting is that after millions of ten-speeds were sold in the seventies and mountain bikes in the eighties, a great many were ridden a few times and then permanently parked because it wasn't the right bike for that person. Lots of people bought mountain bikes looking for something more comfortable than the ten-speed they had. But, they were disappointed when they felt how much more effort was required to pedal the bike down the road. Likewise, hoards of people were miserable sitting all hunched over trying to reach the drop bars on a racing bike.;
On a hybrid, you get the comfort of the flat handlebars with the zippiness of lightweight wheels. But, the bike is durable enough that you can take it off road (though hybrids are best for smooth groomed paths and dirt roads, not rugged trails and technical singletrack) and carry plenty of gear for commuting or touring. Many hybrids include suspension for additional comfort. And they come equipped with low gearing for easy hill climbing and tough tires that resist punctures.
We've got an excellent selection of hybrids and you're welcome to come in and check a few.
We'll leave this question for the scientists to debate. What you need to decide is which one is best for you.
Each material has specific characteristics and outstanding bikes are built out of all of them. So what really matters is finding a bicycle that fits, rides and handles the way you like and one that suits your needs and budget. What the frame material is should almost be an afterthought.
Still, the buzz about steel, aluminum, and carbon may leave you wondering if it isn't worth it to go after one or the other. To help, we list the features of the different frame materials below. You'll see that they're strikingly similar in some ways and that they're all ideal for use in bicycles. This means that you'll get a great bike regardless of what material you pick. (If you narrow your new-bike choices down to a few different models and can't decide, test ride both and pick the one that feels best!)
Steel: Classic look, lively ride, durable and easily repaired, fairly light, affordable, can rust if abused.
Aluminum: Modern look, lively ride, durable, corrosion resistant, lightweight, affordable.
Carbon: High-tech look, lively ride, durable, corrosion free, lightweight, usually a little more expensive than steel and aluminum.
The correct tire pressure will allow you to roll quickly & smoothly and prevent flats. If your pressure is too high, you will sacrifice comfort by bumping off every pebble and crack in the road. Too low, and you risk "pinching" the tube inside the tire if you hit a pothole.
Narrow tires need more pressure than wider ones. Skinny road tires typically require 80-110 PSI, mountain bike tires require 25-35 PSI, and hybrid bike tyres typically need 60-80 PSI. You can see what the recommended pressure for your tire is printed on the side of the tire itself.
The air pressure in your tires will naturally decrease over time, so be sure to check them at least weekly by pumping them up. A floor pump with a pressure gauge is your best option.
Keeping your chain clean and lubricataed will greatly increase the lifetime of all the moving parts that make your bike move! To quickly clean the chain while it's on a bike, wipe it down with a dampened old rag. Apply a small amount of lubricating oil to the middle of the chain links (not the outside of the chain). You can gently wipe off any excess oil as that will actually attract dirt and clog up the drive system.
If you want to get really clean, use an old toothbrush or hard bristle brush to get all the gunk out of the chain.
Certinaly bring everything you need to fix a flat tire: Hand pump, tire levers, spare tube and a multi-tool (allen key set, etc.). You can bring a patch kit for an extra back-up option.
For longer rides you will probably want something to eat and drink. An energy bar is a great portable option, and one or two water bottles with an electrolyte mix will keep you hydrated.
A phone, credit card, photo ID and health card are also important to have if you really get into a pickle or have any true emergencies on the road.
The easiest way to check your chain's condition is by measuring it with a ruler. Rest the ruler alongside the bottom length of chain (beneath the frame) and see if you can measure exactly 12 inches between 2 pins.
If the chain is still in good shape, you'll be able to do this. If you try this and the measurement is 12 1/8 inches or more, it means your chain is worn out and should be replaced.
Worn chains shift poorly and will wear your cogs and chainrings out faster. By replacing the chain when you notice significant wear, you'll ensure you get maximum mileage out of your other drivetrain components (which will save you money in the long run).
While some modern chains are installed with a special connecting link that comes with the chain, most models require a special bicycle tool not surprisingly called a "chain tool," for removal and installation. We know how all the special links work and are equipped with the right chain tools for every type of chain so you may want to bring your bike in for us to replace the chain. It's a quick job for us in most cases.
Derailleurs are the small mechanisms mounted to the frame that shift the chain between the chainrings (front derailleur) and cogs (rear derailleur) when you operate the shift levers. Unless you crash, drop or abuse your bicycle, derailleurs last a long time. In fact, they can last as long as your bike with only minor maintenance, such as occasional lubrication (any time they look dry or after riding in the rain).
Rear derailleurs are more frequently damaged than fronts because they protrude from the bicycle. This means that if someone knocks over your bike, the derailleur or the part of the frame it's attached to, can get bent. When this happens, the derailleur will not shift properly. It will hesitate shifting onto the smallest cog and may overshift throwing the chain off the largest cog. Worse, if it's bent badly enough, on some bikes it might even get hooked on a spoke, pulled into the wheel and end up mangled.
To ensure this never happens, always carefully inspect your bike anytime it falls over or anytime the rear derailleur isn't shifting correctly. To tell if it's been bent, stand behind the bike and see if an imaginary straight line bisecting the cogs will also bisect both derailleur pulleys. It should. If the derailleur looks canted inward, bring the bike in for us to have a look and realign the derailleur and/or frame with our special tools.
Reasons you might want to install a new derailleur include upgrading to save a little weight or to try the latest technology. In order to provide a derailleur that will work with your drivetrain, we'd like to see your original derailleur so we can match its capacity.
Brake pads are the rubber or composite blocks on your brakes that rub against the rims to stop the bicycle. In the case of disc brakes, these pads are inside the brake calipers and clamp against the disc rotors when you apply the brakes.
All brake pads wear from use and should be inspected regularly so that you never end up riding with unsafe brakes. Rubber and composite pads can also harden with age, something that happens to a bicycle stored for several years. In this case, you'll notice a serious loss of braking power, which will be restored once you replace the old pads with new ones.
For conventional rim brakes, such as sidepull, linear-pull and centerpull designs, brake pads usually feature grooves in them that act as wear gauges. When these grooves are almost worn out, it's time for new pads.
For disc brakes, when the pads are worn, braking power drops off. Weak braking can be caused by other brake problems, too, so if you're not sure, just ask and we'll help. pads should also be replaced if they're contaminated by lubricants, which ruins them.
When it comes time to replace pads, we need to know the brand, model and type of brakes they came off. The easiest brake pad to replace is the cartridge style (see photo, above), which means the pad slips into the brake shoe (the part that holds the pad) on the brake. This means there's usually no need to make any pad placement adjustments during replacement. Cartridge pads are on most linear-pull brakes, found on many mountain bikes, hybrids and tandems. They're also found on high-quality road bikes.
For these brake types, you can remove one brake pad and bring it in for us to use in finding the proper replacements. Then, replacing the pads is as easy as removing the old ones and installing the new ones (being sure to match direction).
For other rim-brake types, it's more difficult to replace the pads because you must remove the entire pad and holder, which usually means realigning the brake shoes. Because there's a real risk of compromising your braking power, we recommend you let us replace the pads on these models. If you're handy with tools and understand how to correctly align the brake shoe to ensure optimum braking and no squeaking, it's not a difficult job. Install one pad at a time so you can refer to its partner to see how the new one should be adjusted.
Disc-brake pads (photo, right) are usually popped out and replaced by hand, however, this varies according to the design. please ask us for advice when you pick up the pads, check your owner's manual or visit the brake-manufacturer's website for complete information.
If you have any questions at all, just ask and we'll be happy to help!
You should get the bike size that allows an optimum fit for your body and your preferred type of riding. That means different things for different people. The best approach is to come in to our shop. We'll have you stand over and sit on a few bicycles so we can have a look and make recommendations. We'll determine what bike size is right by checking for these things:
Keep in mind that most quality bikes come in a variety of frame sizes but there are often sizing differences from bike brand to brand, the same way shoe and clothing fit varies. Our goal is to find the frame that fits your lower and upper body to a T. Once we've determined the correct size for you, we can fine tune the fit as needed by adjusting the seat and handlebars.
Riding with your seat too high or low can cause knee pain, saddle sores, lower back ache and reduce your pedaling efficiency. That's why seat height is one of the most important bike adjustments. We're experts at fitting bicycles and we can find the best seat height and position for you. We're also happy to help you make the adjustment on your own. Here's an easy method (all you need is a helper) and a video with tips.
put on cycling clothes (including the shoes you ride in) and start adjusting by leveling the seat and centering its rails in the seat post clamp so that your knee is over the pedal when the pedal is at 3 o'clock. Now, to find the right height, place the bike in a doorway or on a stationary trainer so you can hold yourself up. Have your buddy stand behind you where he can watch your legs and hips (if you can't find a helper, shoot a video of yourself to refer to).
Next, get on the bike, place your heels on the tops of the pedals and pedal backwards. The seat height is perfect when your legs are completely extended when the pedals reach the bottom of the pedal stroke with your heels on the pedals. If your hips rock, the seat is too high. If there's any bend in the knees, the seat is too low.
With the seat at this height, you'll have a slight bend in your knees when you're riding with the balls of your feet over the pedals (where they belong), which should be the most comfortable, efficient and injury-free saddle height.
Now that you've found the best seat height, it's a great idea to mark the setting by wrapping a bit of tape around the seatpost just above the frame. That way, if you box the bike for shipping or change the seat height for a friend to use the bike, you can quickly return it to the right spot for you. If you have any questions or need help adjusting your seat height, give us a call and we'll be happy to help.
The bars should be adjusted so that you're comfortable. But, before you do anything, keep in mind that it's not always easy to raise or lower bicycle handlebars, especially if you want a significant change. Depending on the bike, special tools and parts may be required. So, your first step should be to come by or call us to explain what you'd like to do. We can then tell you what's involved to make the adjustment and help you with it.
As for what height is correct, don't assume that the higher the bars are, the more comfortable you'll be, because that's usually not the case. In fact, if the handlebars are too high, most of your body weight gets shifted to the seat, which usually causes saddle soreness. Worse, high bars can spur lower-back pain because jolts from bumps come up through the rear wheel and pound your posterior and back.
Ideally, the correct handlebar height results in a comfortable riding position that balances pressure on the body's contact points so no one part suffers. Your hands, arms, shoulders, back and neck should feel relaxed and natural when you're riding. What's right for you also depends on the bike and how you ride.
To evaluate handlebar height, lean your bike against a wall and place a yardstick on the seat (if the seat's not level, make sure the yardstick is) so that the end of the ruler extends over the bars. You can then see how high the handlebars are in relationship to the seat height, which is a good way to judge bar position.
Most cyclists prefer a bar position that is about the same height or slightly higher than the seat. But, folks who ride more, maintain a faster pace, and are more flexible, generally like having their handlebars below the height of the seat.
Mountain, hybrid and comfort bikes are often equipped with upright handlebars, sometimes called "riser bars" or "risers" because they offer some built-in height. They're usually wider than flat and dropped handlebars, too. These design differences mean that it's unlikely you'll need to raise these types of handlebars.
If you'd like us to advise you, don't hesitate to bring your bike in and we'll take a look.
All the helmets we carry, from the most affordable, to models with all the latest features, meet or exceed the highest and most-current safety standards as required by the United States Consumer product Safety Commission. Each helmet is tested by the manufacturer and CpSC to meet stringent specifications so that it'll provide optimum protection in an accident.
An important part of the safety equation is getting a helmet that fits perfectly. We're experts in this and we can help with selecting the correct size, model and also with adjusting the straps so the helmet sits on your head right when you're riding.
It helps in selecting a helmet to consider how you'll use it. For example, if you ride a bike with flat handlebars, you'll probably appreciate a helmet that includes a visor, which is a nice thing to have come sundown when old Sol can be in just the right place to blind you with glare. You'll find the visor is a perfect shield. Contrarily, if you're a roadie who has the lightest bike and likes to ride fast, you'll probably prefer the most aero, ventilated and sleek lid you can find... and a visor may not interest you (visors offer sun protection for your nose and face, on and off the road).
One fact many people don't realize about helmets is that while they seemingly last forever, they won't provide proper protection forever. Manufacturers who study these things, recommend replacing helmets at least every five years to ensure safety when you need it. This is because over time, the materials inside the helmet that absorb shock in a crash, break down slightly and stop doing their job as well. Also, consider that a helmet takes a beating in its life. Things such as leaving it in a warm car, accidentally dropping it and traveling with it, gradually wear out a helmet's ability to protect.
If you haven't checked out bicycle helmets in a while, we think you'll be amazed at how light, adjustable, good-looking, affordable and comfortable our new models are.
If you're just coasting around the neighborhood, any old pair of cutoffs might work just fine. But, once you hit the trail or road for an hour-long spin or more, cycling shorts can make a significant difference in comfort.
It's the construction of these pedaling pants that works the magic. Your everyday trousers and shorts - even ones designed for exercise, are held together by seams that usually come together in the crotch area forming a bump right where it can hurt you most when you're sitting on a bicycle seat. Also, the fabrics used are for all-round fashion and comfort. They can't provide the moisture transfer and relief from friction that's so important when you're spinning the pedals.
Inside cycling shorts you'll find a generous pad that, combined with the seam-free crotch construction, helps cushion shock and prevent friction that can cause chafing and discomfort. It's important to note that regular underwear is not worn beneath cycling shorts because the seams in the underwear cause the exact problem the shorts are designed to avoid. There is however, special seam-free cycling underwear available and it will add to the comfort of cycling shorts.
And don't worry about having to wear skin-tight shorts. We have loose-fitting cycling shorts that resemble the most stylish outdoor clothing. In these baggies, you'll be super comfy while riding, and when you stop to shop or relax, you'll look and feel great.
Come in and try on some cycling shorts today. You'll really appreciate the difference.
What to wear to be warm and dry on rainy days varies depending on the nature of your rides. For example, professional racers, who sometimes have to compete all day in the rain, get by with the skimpiest of outfits, often a thin waterproof jacket over a long-sleeve top with no leg protection other than shorts. But, they can get by with this gear because they're generating so much body heat from pushing themselves so hard.
Chances are, you'll need a more practical approach. A big key to remaining comfortable when Mother Nature's doing her best to make you miserable, is dressing in layers. Start with a wicking fabric close to the skin. This moves the sweat away so you don't get wet from the inside, which is as bad as what the rain does to you. And, you can vary the thickness of this first layer according to the temperature or put on a couple of thin layers. Next put on a warm cycling jersey, one with long sleeves if it's chilly. If it's cold, put a thermal layer over the jersey. Then, on top, wear a rain jacket designed for cycling.
There are other types of jackets designed for the wet stuff, but ones made for cycling will provide coverage for your lower back (important because you bend over to reach the handlebars) and include ventilation to let heat escape and help prevent overheating and excess sweating. Also, cycling-specific jackets (and jerseys) almost always feature rear pockets, which are perfect for stashing layers removed if you get lucky and the sun comes out.
What you wear on your legs is a matter of personal preference. Some riders swear by water-resistant rain pants over their cycling shorts (or tights when it's cold). But other cyclists dislike pedaling in these rain pants because they catch the wind and bunch a bit. So instead, they just put up with getting wet. It's worth experimenting to find what's right for you. Most important is keeping your knees warm to maintain blood circulation and prevent injury.
Besides leggings and tops, consider booties (shoe covers) to keep your toes warm and protect your cycling shoes. And, we recommend adding fenders to your bike. These are easily installed and removed and they work wonders in the wet by stopping the spray that otherwise shoots off the wheels drenching your feet, face and back. Similarly, fenders keep a lot of the water off your bicycle and components too, which means less maintenance and bike cleaning.
If you're interested in actually enjoying your next rainy-day ride, come on in and check out our stock of water-resistant clothing and accessories.
If clipless pedals are adjusted correctly and you know how to use them, you'll love them. The reason you hear they're dangerous is because a lot of people start using clipless pedals before they've had enough practice with them. And often, the pedals aren't adjusted correctly for the user. These mistakes increase the chances of not being able to get your feet out and tipping over at stops.
When we sell pedals, if you tell us that it's your first time on clipless, we'll explain how to set-up these pedals correctly (bring your shoes in and we can help with this) and the best ways to practice clipping in and out before you head out on a ride with them. That's very important because it takes a few attempts to learn the entry and exit motions.
Ironically, the first clipless pedals were designed for increased safety. Before clipless, cyclists used only toe clips and straps to keep their feet in place on the pedals. These are still available and they work. But, you might find that straps can cause numb toes if you tighten them for optimum pedaling efficiency. And strapped clips can be a little tricky to enter and exit. Also, when you're riding on the bottoms of the pedals, the clips hang down and can scrape or snag on things, which can be dangerous riding off road.
Clipless pedals are modeled after ski bindings that release and free your feet in an emergency. There are two parts to a clipless pedal system, the pedal and the cleat. The cleat is attached to the shoe sole and when you step on the pedal, jaws in the pedal grab the cleat and hold your foot in place. To enter the pedal, you simply step down until you feel and hear the click. To exit, you swing your heel laterally and the pedal releases, allowing you to quickly step off the bike. It does take some practice to get used to, but once you've got it down, you can get in and out instantly, so you are indeed safer.
An additional benefit of clipless systems is being fully connected to the pedal. This provides optimum pedaling efficiency and makes it easier to perform maneuvers such as lifting the wheels to clear potholes. Because no strap is encircling your foot, you won't suffer pain or numbness. The pedals can be adjusted to modify the effort required to get your feet out, which is a crucial step in setting up the clipless system.
We'll be happy to show you different models, discuss your needs and help set up a system for you.
Seat comfort determines whether or not you enjoy cycling, so it's crucial to get a seat you like. Fortunately, you couldn't ask for a better time to be shopping. Because recently, there have been impressive advances in seat design and we carry an excellent selection of these great new saddles. We've got models for men and women, for every type of cycling and budget.
We can recommend a seat based upon how you ride. But, your anatomy has a lot to do with which saddle feels best, so trying a new model is often helpful. In some cases, you might need to try several seats to find one that fits comfortably. Before you start swapping saddles however, be certain that the adjustment is correct. The seat's top should be level and the height and fore-and-aft positioning must be right because if these settings are wrong, even a super seat will feel bad. We can advise you on these important adjustments.
It also helps a lot to wear cycling shorts, which are padded and seamless in the crotch area. (Seams create bumps that can irritate and cause numbness.) These special shorts also fit comfortably and wick moisture away from the skin so there's less friction and zero chafing while pedaling.
Once you're riding in your cycling shorts on a seat that's correctly adjusted, you can assess how comfortable it is. Ideally, the saddle will support you and feel natural. If anything is digging in or hurting you or if you start to get numb or develop pain, that one is probably designed wrong for your body and you should try another. We have an excellent selection and we'll find one that works great. And, once you've found a sweet seat that you really like, you won't need to go through the selection process again for other bikes you might already own or want to get.
Disc brakes have trickled down from motorcycle and automobiles to bicycles because mountain bikers who were riding in demanding technical conditions found that regular rim brakes weren't working as well as they wanted. With rim brakes, you squeeze your levers and pads rub on the rims to slow and stop you. This works great in dry conditions. But, as the trails get sloppy with water and mud, the pads slip on the rims, weakening braking.
Also, the dirt in the mud wears the pads quickly, in some instances completely, which creates a dangerous no-brakes condition. Sand and muck aren't good for the rims either and over time, the rims can and will wear out forcing an expensive wheel repair. Another brake compromiser is rim damage. If you warp or bend your rim on a ride by hitting a hole or rock, it'll hamper and might even ruin your braking.
So, mountain-bike designers started looking for solutions to these problems and settled on disc brakes, which are common on motorized vehicles. On these brakes, discs are attached to the wheel hubs and calipers are attached to the frame. When you operate the levers, pads inside the calipers squeeze against the discs and stop the bike. Because the discs and pads are designed specifically for braking, they can stop as well, or better than rim brakes and do so in all conditions. What's more, all rim damage associated with braking becomes a non issue. And, rims can be designed differently (and improved) because they no longer are part of the brake system. When you've got discs, should you damage a rim while riding, it has no effect on the brakes.
While it's possible to add disc brake systems to most bicycles, depending on what you need, it can cost quite a bit to upgrade. So, it's best to bring your bike in so we can show you what's needed for your situation and make recommendations. It may make more sense to buy a new bike that comes stock with disc brakes. You'll spend more, but you'll also get all new equipment designed from the factory for disc braking so everything on the machine, from the frame and components to the wheels, will be just right. And, you can even consider selling your used bike to cover the difference.