- Mech 101
- What is the difference between a vented and solid brake disc or rotor?
What is the difference between a vented and solid brake disc?
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Solid and vented discs are common terms seen when you're looking at replacing your brake discs (or are simply researching which bikes or cars have which type). Solid discs look as you would expect:
One slightly tarnished, solid disc of metal. Vented discs, on the other hand:
...are more like two discs of metal with ribs inbetween, allowing air to flow through and provide a cooling effect. These are consequently generally much thicker than solid discs.
Both will be able to have the same amount of braking force applied to them, but the vented discs are able to shed the heat build-up more quickly than solid discs which leads to a longer period of time before brake fade becomes an issue and more consistent braking accordingly.
Many vehicles simply don't allow for easy swapping between solid and vented discs due to the thickness difference; if you do have the choice, though, there's no disadvantage to the vented type for road vehicles - so unless there's a significant price difference that should be a fairly straight-forward choice. Both types of disc can be machined if there is a build-up of brake pad material on them, and both can be cross-drilled if that's your style.
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