Bolt-On Disc Brakes…You Might Be Surprised

WHAT: Brake Therapy Disc Brake Conversion Kit

WHERE: 765-528-2138,

HOW MUCH: $149.00

A bolt-on disc brake mount? It looks…well, it looks kinda hokey. Isn't it a pain in the ass to set up? Will my rotor rub? Will it flat-out fall apart? All those questions were rolling around my own head when I bolted the Brake Therapy onto my hardtail three years ago. Then I went for a ride and promptly forgot all about the device…for a couple seasons. That's saying a lot.

In all that time, I encountered no choppy braking, no loose bolts—no problems whatsoever. The kit worked well in all conditions and maintenance merely amounted to periodically checking to see that the bolts were tight.

I paired the conversion kit with Avid discs (international standard mounting) and Mavic CrossRoc UST wheels. Installation took 15 minutes and was limited to bolting one end of the torque rod to the left brake post, swapping out the stock axle spacer for one supplied in the kit, sliding the caliper bracket over the new axle spacer and securing the whole thing with a keeper pin. That's it. Well, that sounds kinda complicated, but trust me, a developmentally-challenged chimpanzee could perform the task and cook an omelet at the same time. Seriously, it's pretty easy.

I was initially concerned by the fact that I could grab the caliper and wiggle it back and forth a bit, but there is very little rubbing or chatter while you’re actually riding. A few years ago, this device was only compatible with Hayes and DT components. Nowadays, the company offers kits that'll fit just about every popular hub and brakeset (just be clear about the parts you're using if ordering a kit).

I know there are people out there who might pooh-pooh this product on principle alone; arguing, in essence, that just about every decent bike comes equipped with disc brake mounts these days. Well, there are still a surprising number of hardtails being cranked out minus disc brake mounts and there are even more great bikes that aren't ready to be sacrificed on the altar of Rampant Consumerism just because they lack a rear disc mount.

This is a great product. True, it’s a bit of an ugly duckling. It’s simply not an elegant fix. Then again, I've beaten the shit out of mine for years and it still works as well today as it did the day I took it out of the shrink wrap. Yeah, one hundred and fifty bucks ain't cheap, but it's a bargain if you're thinking about tossing out your old frame just because it isn't equipped with disc brake mounts.