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I'm new to road cyling and I purchased this bike over a Cannondale Synapse (w/o disc brakes) only due to the fact that it felt more comfortable as I was going back and forth on the bikes. I'm glad I did because the brakes are fantastic. I've put a couple of hundred miles on the bike and I love it. It handles very well, and the wider tires provide good traction in the wet and/or dirty roads. It comes w/ Sora shifters which shift smooth and are good enough for me as I use it to exercise not compete. From my experience of riding motorcycles, I can tell you the brake discs are fantastic! They respond quick and stop on a dime. I believe that with them I can stop in shorter distance and they work excellent in the rain as well. I don't think I would get to another bike w/o them. My only complaint about the bike is that it's noticeably heavier than a Cannondale frame in the same category (both price & alumninum frame w/ carbon fiber forks). You'll mainly notice the weight difference when carrying it (up/down stairs), and to the fact a few waterbottles. While riding, I don't think for an average person this would affect them much. Overall, for a beginner looking to get a road bike with disc brakes, I would recommend it for the price, look, and brakes, you can't go wrong.