The Disc Brake Saga Continues

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How about this.  The Association of Professional Cyclist (CPA) is planning  to send a letter to the UCI asking them to reconsider their ruling of allowing disc brakes in all UCI road events for the 2016 season.  How about that for a twist?  This is just after the UCI announced, a couple days ago, that they were going to allow disc brakes in both the men’s and women’s pro pelotons, for “testing”, during the whole 2016 season.

In this article over at, CPA president Gianni Bugno says that having different styles of brakes on the bikes in the professional peloton will be dangerous for the riders, and thus, is against it.  Wow.  I didn’t see that coming.

I don’t really agree with his views, but agree with his sentiment.

Right now, there are lots of different abilities to stop in a bicycle race.  At different speeds.  It would nearly be the same as saying that you can’t have guys in a bike race riding aluminum rims because they stop more consistently than carbon, especially in the rain.  I very much doubt that guys with regular rim brakes would be smashing into the back of riders that are riding disc brakes.  As soon as you can lock up your wheels, your brakes are strong enough.  Rim brakes do this in most situations.

And I, personally, have never been burnt by a disc rotor.  Or cut either.  And I’ve never met anyone that has.  I’m more worried about the “rotors” on the crankset that has sharp, pointy teeth.  Now those have gotten a piece of me quite a few times.

But I do agree with the service/wheel chance argument.  Having so many different types of wheels, especially with neutral support, is going to be a nightmare.  This is so much more true because I really don’t see how a fast wheel change occurs with disc brakes.

I have enough trouble getting my pads not rubbing on my MTB and I am using the best disc brakes in the business, XTR.  There isn’t much room for movement here.  I’ve stated this before, I don’t really see how a rider or a team is going to have all their wheels so perfect that the brake calipers don’t need to be adjusted to accommodate a different wheel.   I don’t think the industry has this addressed yet.  And until they do so, I don’t think that the brakes should be allowed in racing.

The Trek team is not taking disc brake bikes to the Tour Down Under, even though they raced them some at the Tour of Spain.  Man, what a hassle for the mechanics?  Trying to protect the rotors of all those wheels.

Anyway, the saga continues with the Pro rider’s union voting no, after the fact.  What do you think are the chances that the disc brake rule stays in place for the 2016 season?

Kent Eriksen is already making disc brake road bikes, mainly for cross and gravel racing, so I'm covered just in case the rule goes through. Like it applies to me.

Kent Eriksen is already making disc brake road bikes, mainly for cross and gravel racing, so I’m covered, just in case the rule goes through. (Like it applies to me.)


62 thoughts on “The Disc Brake Saga Continues

  1. Josh

    Maybe the industry will develop a way to easily adjust the pads instead of having to move the caliper around to get it perfect. Hopefully the pro road usage will drive a better easier to adjust disc system.

  2. Marek Jasinski

    Steve, I will assume that a wheel change will become a complete bike change at that point to avoid any loss of time or embarrassment of being seeing as a fumbling fool on camera not being able to get the correct wheels installed asap. But this means keeping the right bike with the right riders in the peloton. I see both sides of the argument here and me thinks that the push for discs was created by the manufacturers.

  3. Hunter Grove

    The industry is working to standardize a spacing so that the rotor will line up everytime. The trend will be disc brake bikes with thru axels because the wheel will be always be straight if the axel is in.

  4. Eric

    If the regular dual pivot calipers on any road bike don’t slow you down enough, you’re doing something wrong or they’re not working properly. Disc brakes are sweet but on a road bike, I think it’s overkill. The contact patch of a road tire is so small more power will just make it break loose faster.

  5. A person

    Now if they’d just get rid of the ancient derailleur technology, it would about be perfect.

  6. The Dude

    it’s the dumbest thing to hit the pro road ranks.. it’s not fixing a problem.. only creating one.

  7. Bill K

    I can’t wait for the day when somebody shows up for a industrial Park Crit on a bike with disc brakes.
    My guess is that after all the Cat 6 riders have either full carbon wheels, or disc brake bikes, the wheel manufactures will come out with a carbon rim that has a thin aluminum braking surface on it, along with rotor mounts, so that all these people will run out and buy them.
    Yes, I know that going down a mountain in the rain on carbon wheels can get hairy, but why not use wheels with aluminum braking surfaces on those days?

  8. Mech9

    Teams all use standardized wheelsets provided by their sponsor. When you have the same hubs with the same rotors on the same bikes you don’t have issues doing wheel swaps on disc. You wont get rubbing because everything is the same. It’s when you start using 6 bolt vs. CenterLock you start to get rub issues on swap, but even then its so minimal that it should not affect a rider of your caliber. I freelance around as a mechanic for different race teams and personally don’t understand all the silly concerns. Have you guys actually done wheel swaps with the exact same wheelset (ie. dt swiss centerlock hubs)? You can do it spot on and just as fast as a v brake wheelset. Matter of fact in practice i am faster on the disc set because all i look to do is line up the disc with the caliper on the swap and everything else falls into place. On v brakes In a rush wheel change I tend to hit the brake pads when going up with the wheel and fumble with that more than lining up the caliper in disc.

    Beyond that with the transition to thru axles is just one more failsafe to make sure things line up correct.

    Being a domestic only mech I don’t see this being an issue as for most races i’ve worked, when our rider flats, he’s lost contact and it’s pretty much a done deal at that point unless they were way off the front. I think Gila is the only race i’ve worked where that was not true.

    In the pro world for now I believe the trend is really doing bike swaps instead of wheel swaps. It just seems faster, but i understand this doesn’t cover neutral support.

    I wish I could find the video of Nino Schurters last 2 flat tire changes at the world cups. His mechanic changes a rear thru axle on his scott mountain bike so ridiculously fast it’s retarded. Faster than most people could even change their front wheel. You need to watch this because you know his Mechanic practiced this about 1000x’s. We are talking about clutch rear derailleurs too. It’s like one motion. He disables the clutch, spins the thru axle off faster than I could with a drill, and gets the new wheel swapped back on and re-enables the clutch and off Nino Goes to regain 1st place and win another WC. IT’s on somewhere. If you watched this guy I think some of you haters would ease back on the whole wheel change thing.

    Disc are coming and I welcome it. Both as a mechanic and as a rider. Steve you of all people should be a fan knowing that you’ve rode both. I swapped over to disc cx last year and it’s night and day. I can’t wait for it to become standard in the road world. They work better in all conditions period end of story. The single funniest argument I’ve heard against Disc is this one “it’s going to cause wrecks in crits because people with disc will be able to stop better or slow better than people with v-brakes”. That cracks me up.. So your argument is blatantly saying that Disc brakes work better than v brakes, but some how you say “i don’t need disc brakes, my v brakes work just fine”? Manual windows in cars work great, but i’d be damned if I bought a car these days that didn’t have electric windows. Better is Better.

    Consumers drive the market, not the conspiracy that manufactures are implementing this to sell more bikes. As a Mechanic I don’t make much money. I am fine with that, but I can tell you from being around cycling for a long time (not near as long as old man steve here) that regardless of any technology you guys are always going to be chasing marginal gains and will spend insane amounts of money year after year chasing these gains. So there’s not an issue with people buying bikes/equipment, that all the sudden some marketing exec at giant is like “we should bring disc brakes to bikes. That will force everyone to upgrade”. Nope. It’s a result of consumer demand.

  9. Craig


    I find the pro-group argument interesting in the debate. All other types of vehicles have disc’s, can’t stop progress, more stopping power, …

    None of these holds up (except progress but look at baseball and their wooden bats – smartest thing to ensure the game stayed playable). I agree that in shit conditions modulation is better on hydraulic discs … no question. That is it. Not sure I understand the more powerful… I can endo my road bike and my cross bike. Yeah I have to grab a fistful of lever and exert lots of pressure versus doing the same on my mountain bike with a couple of fingers … so? The contact patch on a road bike is small enough that power has NEVER been an issue. As for braking later into turns … huh? If I can lock up either wheel on my current bike with its 700C rotor how does a disc help me brake later? And in shit conditions the pad wear on a road disc is brutal. Same on my rim brakes but you have gobs of pad to play with.

    Now, as for comparing to other sports, name one where you have to do high speed wheel changes that require the removal of the rotor? Do I hear a pin drop? Bueller?? So the solution here is to migrate to one sided forks (think Lefty) where the wheel is attached to a carrier that holds the rotor. Until that happens we are actually going backwards in technology, not forwards. This is being driven by the manufacturers and not innovation.

    Rim brakes are NOT drum brakes – that is a stupid analogy. They are a special type of disc brake. Better braking surfaces and hydraulic calipers would offer 95% of the “advantage” of disc’s without the downsides. Disc’s are the shit for mountain biking but that is a different animal.

    Before you toss me aside as a Luddite … I have discs on my mountain bike and had them on my cross/gravel bike. I think they are a good solution for gravel but I couldn’t afford multiple wheelsets since I already have some. They are not an answer on cross bikes IMHO … however, they are more of an answer there then for road racing.

    Rant done ….

  10. Craig

    Won’t work. Through axles help with many things and they will with alignment. The manufacturing tolerances needed to ensure all wheels are perfect is a crazy solution

  11. Craig

    So the Mavic neutral support will go around to every pro tour team before each stage and setup all of their calipers to work with all of the neutral support wheels …

  12. Krakatoa East of Java

    This issue is a great example of how corporate money (and lobbying) screws us all. The bike companies want to legitimize (and grow) disc brakes. So they go to bodies like the UCI and lean-on / muscle them into doing it. Bugno is right. There needs to be a standard for this.

  13. Krakatoa East of Java

    If the teams aren’t using discs yet, how is it you’ve got some much experience swapping wheels as a freelance mechanic?

  14. channel_zero

    I’ve made this argument on other sites and have been heavily modded down and criticized for it.

    Thanks for posting.

  15. Krakatoa East of Java

    “Anyway, the saga continues with the Pro rider’s union voting no, after the fact. What do you think are the chances that the disc brake rule stays in place for the 2016 season?”

    100%, as the UCI doesn’t give two shits about the riders. Never has. Never will.

  16. channel_zero

    Craig, the UCI could produce a “gold standard” jig that mechanics would use to set the calipers. If you’ve worked on disc equipped mountain bikes you know that is not a perfect solution. The mechanic could get really close though.

    I’m not a fan either, but, they can easily explain it away to viewers/consumers with more money than brains.

  17. channel_zero

    Because carbon. And who rides in the rain?

    Stop trying to apply logic and reason to the situation and spend, spend, spend!

  18. Mech9


    Reading comprehension is not your strong suit huh?

    “Matter of fact in practice i am faster on the disc set because all i look to do is line up the disc with the caliper on the swap and everything else falls into place.”

    Key word in that sentence is “PRACTICE”. I.E. non race situations. I’ve done plenty of v brake swaps in real race situations. On different teams amongst other Mechanics/Riders/Sponsors this subject has come up. You don’t think we’ve tested the whole wheel change issue ourselves? We are the ones that are going to have to deal with it. We are the ones that should probably practice it. I’ve practiced on my own CX bike with thru axles, I work at a specialized shop and practiced/demonstrated how fast it could be done on a disc tarmac with QR, and I own a few Mountain bikes. Just because we are mechanics doesn’t mean we aren’t curious.
    Hope that answers your question

  19. Pingback: UCI standards on disc brakes and axel specifications for road competition 2017 and on - Page 3

  20. Jmal

    Some good points Mech9. However, even with standardized hubs, frames, and calipers, pad and rotor wear can significantly affect how well a wheel slides into place. If a rider has pads and rotors that have been worn from braking heavily the pistons will have adjusted to the wear. Putting a wheel in with a new rotor can often require resetting the Pistons or else there will be rubbing. Half a millimeter can make a difference. Add to that any other variation and the wheel is not going in. Add to this that Steve is not even talking about team wheels, but rather neutral support wheels. There is no way these will fit without rubbing.

  21. Mech9

    lookie there, found it. 17sec rear thru axle wheel change with a clutch derailleur during a world cup (without a drill). Talk about stress because this is your only rider. You don’t have a team to cover anything or help them back.

    Now this is where all your haters come back with “i’ve seen it done in the tdf in 12 seconds” or something of that sort. You guys are splitting hairs. Here’s a few examples of road changes that are not any faster than the thru axle disc.


    Remember this is talking about the pro peloton, not amateurs. EVERYTHING is pretty much replaced after each stage. Their pads are not going to spoil in 1 stage and have you ever seen how much gear is in the back of their rigs? I freaking drool when the do tours of tdf team mechanic setups. We are talking drawers and drawers of Dura Ace cassettes. 1000’s of dollars worth. You don’t think that a shimano sponsored team is going to have about 100 CenterLock Rotors on standby to swap nightly regardless of condition? Being CenterLock they go on correct and even every time (yes i am biased, CL is better than 6bolt). Again bike swaps seem to be the trend in the pro world, vs. wheelswaps. Heck they are doing bike swaps before a climb these days even when their bikes are perfectly fine.

    Mavic will have wheels for shimano disc and I guess probably sram, but really think about it guys. Have you ever seen anyone on a mavic neutral bike or even use a neutral support wheel in the PRO Peloton? I think the last time that happened was Jens 2010. Typically if you do it’s literally a last option and the rider is already hosed anyway. The mavic car is really there as more of like marketing, but they do have the following to take care of riders. 10sp/11spd wheels of all depths, cassette types, every kind of pedal you can think of (including clips!). Tools to do everything on the bike. Regardless Neutral support mechanics typically defer issues to that teams mechanic. Mavic will be ready with disc wheels. As they become more popular, they will obviously replace whats less popular with them.

    One more thing about issues in the PRO Peloton , in big races like the tdf the mavic car will typically have special bikes for the top 3 GC riders fit their their exact sizes and measurements.

    Everything is going to be just fine. The fears about disc brakes in any application is just hilarious. The worst thing I can think of about road moving to disc brakes is cost to Freds. However, remember my statement about everyone chasing marginal gains. $$$$ does not seem to be an object for the common Fred.

  22. Thomas

    Here is my comment on a web forum regarding that particular issue (rotor rubs) :

    People tend to approach the issue of neutral support backwards.

    The fact that not everything is completely compatible right now doesn’t mean the teams and neutral support won’t adapt. The UCI disc brake commission already stated a few recommendations regarding rotor size and axles. Rotor rubbing ? The team technical sponsors, i.e. the manufacturers providing bikes to the team, may settle on a precise spec on rotor lateral position and eventually on the rotor width.

    Another option is floating calipers. I once did that by mistake. I was building a new bike and did not completely screw the calipers bolts before doing the first test spin around the block (late night wrenching). I realized the caliper auto centered itself and the pads didn’t rub after the first braking. For sure I don’t recommend anyone to do it but there is surely a way to improve the technology and secure the caliper while allowing for a bit of play to let it self center. This approach has never been tried and tested simply because the need did not exist in the MTB world.

    The thing is currently there is no incentive to provide compatibility for a neutral support because there aren’t any races allowing disc brakes and offering neutral support. The industry will never spend money or r&d time in resolving potential issues if they do not exist yet. By allowing races to be run with disc brakes, the UCI provides this incentive to solve these interrogations.

  23. Thomas

    I’ll add that neutral support is the last option in a flat tire situation.

    For a leader :
    1. teammate
    2. team car if available
    3. neutral support

    For a domestique:
    1. team car
    2. neutral support

    Even if it happened, it wouldn’t change a lot if neutral support disappeared. As I said, teams would adapt. More sturdy tires ? Tubeless ? Spare tires/tubes ? There are lots of options.

  24. Gabriel Byrne

    I don’t understand all the freaking out about this. How many of the commenters are pro-tour riders or even pro-anything riders? It’s not like Bike Homeland Security is going to come kicking in your door to pry your beloved rim brakes from hands, drag you at gunpoint to the most expensive retailer, and force you to buy discs.
    Like all the other new gear: Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. You can still dig up rim brake mountain wheels, NOS seven speed stuff, etc. “Single rings are stupid!”, great, stick with double or triple then.
    When I get on my road bike after riding my disc equipped cross bike there’s a second there where I think, “what the hell is wrong with my brakes?” Yeah, the rim brakes stop just fine, but the modulation and light effort of a disc is sweet. Who wants to grab a fist-full of brake when a finger will do with greater refinement?
    As for the different speeds in the peleton argument. ONE: If disc brakes don’t work any better due to contact patch size blah, blah, blah… then this shouldn’t be an issue, right? Unless of course they do work better. And, TWO : Anyone tried comparing the rim brakes from a well known Japanese component maker known for engineering to a storied Italian supplier? Talk about different braking power in the field, it already already exists.

  25. ChrisC

    You’ve been down-voted and criticized because the argument in favor of disc brakes has NEVER been nor ever will be about additional braking power. It’s about superior modulation of that power and more consistent braking performance in all conditions.

  26. Steve Tilford Post author

    Mech9 – Thanks for the insightful comments. Lots of what you say is the truth. But there are lots of issues to resolved. I think the “jump” is premature.

    I’m absolutely positive that Nino’s mechanic switched his wheels lightning fast. But the key word in that sentence is his. As a racer, if I could always get my wheels, then it would most likely be a wash compared to quick releases and rim braking. But I hardly ever get my wheels. I get a team mates or a neutral wheel.

    What about criteriums with neutral support. I race these all the time. Is the Sram and Shimano neutral support going to be a thing of the past? I think it would be nearly impossible, with the equipment selection that we have now, for neutral support being viable. At professional or at big regional races.

    Frankie Andreau asked me at Joe Martin why I’m riding a titanium road frame. I told him that I don’t ever have a guy in a car following me around with a spare bike, so if I fall, I would like to get up and continue the event.

    The same with flatting. If I flat, I would like to be able to continue the race. I don’t see a viable method for anyone to be able to do this. That is unless you are a professional, riding in a professional race, with a very long caravan that you plan to be riding in for a long time.

    This rule is a nightmare for Elite teams, or even D3 teams, that don’t all ride the same equipment. The beauty of the interchangability of equipment between team members is unique to the sport of cycling. That would be a thing of the past. That would be unfortunate.

    Another great thing about cycling, as an equipment oriented sport, is that the average Joe, can, is usually is, riding the same equipment as the Pros. It’s not like Formula 1, Supercross, or other sports where the Pros are going faster/better, because of equipment that isn’t available to the consumer yet. This rule is not good for any level of racing below professional for sure.

    Like I said, I can’t argue with most you write. But you have to admit, there are big hurdles that haven’t been addressed by the manufactures yet for it to be viable sport wide.

  27. Krakatoa East of Java

    Just because I’m not a ProTour rider, I’m not allowed to trust their own judgment and side with them?

  28. Jmal

    As Steve points out, we are not just talking about Pro Tour riders in the TdF. There are others who depend on neutral wheels that do not have the level of support that the top four riders have. And while they have quite a bit of gear, not everyone gets new gear each day. I’ve heard of more than one pro having to make do with sketchy gear. Also, for argument’s sake, I have burned through disc pads in a single ride. Wet conditions with heavy braking can destroy pads quickly, particularly resin pads. I agree that disc brakes will not be the end of the world for road racing. I also agree that there is a little more work to be done before they are a better option than standard calipers. I like the floating caliper idea mentioned elsewhere.

  29. Terry

    My non-scientific assessment of the Campy ’15 brakes… with a shamal wheelset is that they work phenomenally, even in rain. I honestly can’t imagine better stopping capability. I would only add a quick cable adjustment lever due to the different rim diameters out there now.

  30. 53x11

    I have multiple sets of identical wheels for my CX bikes, all thru-axle front and rear. There is always some rub when swapping wheels, and I am doing it in controlled conditions, not under pressure of a flat-swap.

    The minor brake rub is not that critical at the less-than 20 mph speeds on a CX course. But if I were having the same rub while at 25 – 35 mph during a road race, I would ditch that set up immediately.

    The disc-brake tolerances are not quite ready-for-primetime, but this UCI rule change may help push that along.

  31. Craig


    Clever. Never thought of that …

    But that would then require all of the wheels in use to be “fixed” to work as well. Seems like an insane solution (having to come up with a standard).

    In a later response I note that the only reason this is an issue is that disc brakes on bikes are the only disc brake solution that requires the disc to be removed to change a wheel … fix that and then most of the argument, at least from me, goes away. Now we are just robbing Peter to pay Paul …

  32. The Cyclist

    I remember days when riders had to carry spare tubs and a pump to put the air in. This could and should be applied to all who choose to use disc brakes in a race. Service should only be available for those who ride rim brakes. Problem solved.

  33. Bolas Azules

    I agree with the development coming from the manufacturers and the real issue with it will be the variations any support will have to deal with on the road.

    But couching it as having “different styles of brakes on the bikes in the professional peloton will be dangerous for the riders” is hilarious. The same peloton that has 6’4″ riders mucking it up on tiny 52cm carbon fiber frames with handle bar ‘drops’ three feet lower than the saddle height….dangerous? Ya think? Gianni Bugno spare me the concern.

  34. VC Slim

    The magic spanner will fix everything.

    I look forward to many years of buying and riding perfectly good obsolete non disc wheels.

  35. Old Fart

    There is something else that the Disc Brake proponents do not mention concerning road bikes. Brake steer (created from the off center, left side mounting ) and the force’s that it imparts on your fork,wheel and tires. Try descending at 40+ MPH and then do a hard brake application watch and feel what happens with your fork wheel and tires. It will scare the crap out of you. The shudder and vibrations are severe enough to cause a rider to loose control.
    The technical issues are to numerous (Aerodynamics,Weight, Serviceability,Bike Handling, ) for disc brakes to ever completely replace rim brakes in the Peloton or anywhere else. That said I do think that Disc Brakes will have a place as a fowl weather or road conditions bike for the wealthier teams that can afford it . In poor weather conditions disc brake would improve braking and handling and allow for an increase in speed ( on Pavement) through allowing wider tires with tread to channel away water .
    As it stands now Disc Brakes on road type bicycles are just not as compelling as they were with Mountain Bikes. That said I have been riding Disc Brake equipped road bikes since 2007 . have owned over 10 . I currently have 3 , all touring types, all disc brake, I own no Car, reside in the SF Bay area and ride 15K plus a year, 24/7 ,365 days a year in all weather. And I love my disc brake equipped bicycles ,in my application of Steep Hills, High riding weights and at times lots of wet weather. They work for me plus I can deal with the huge increase in maintenance required since I have the tools and knowledge and I love working on my bikes anyway and had the money to experiment with before finding a disc brake system that worked and required as little maintenance as possible . Plus before I am attacked by the Marketing Douche Bags like “Mech9”. F U! all . You are a Idiot “Mech9” attacking your customers is just plain stupid.
    Steve, you really love stirring up the Marketing Douche Bags don’t you ? but that is what I love about reading your blog. Keep it up. There i am thru ranting. Thanks for the opportunity Steve

  36. Spinner

    Reminds me of the old multiple threading standards for bottom brackets. We had French, Italian, English, and one or two others if I’m recalling correctly. Had the same mess with the old stem and fork tube system too.

    Standardized disk brake standards are probably 2-5 years away…….

  37. Brandon Cavnar

    The bike industry is cramming this road disc thing down our throats. Yes, they stop well but they always rub at some point. If you ride 1,000 miles per year they’ll be easy to maintain but I’m not convinced that would be the case when you ride 10,000+ miles per week. They aren’t worth the hassle. Maybe the UCI feels pressure from the industry, I don’t know. Who here is honestly anxious to sell their caliper bike and buy a disc bike? Very few I’m betting.

  38. Larry T.

    Interesting arguments, especially the one about bent rotors. No more just throwing the spare wheels in the back seat or luggage compartment unless you want the rotors to get bent and really catch hell from your riders. I have a tough time buying the “consumers demand it” argument for disky brakes unless you’re talking about some new customers drawn in by technology – the “point and shoot” generation, etc. Sadly when this “improvement” (brought about mostly because of the poor braking of carbon wheels, though of course those were seen as “improvement” too) gets fully developed, racing will require the use of some sort of Frankenbike with a “Lefty” style fork and rear end so discs can stay in place and wheels swapped F1 style.
    Meanwhile, I’d hate like hell to be a neutral support provider – “Excuse me, Mr. Racer. Front or rear wheel? Standard Q/R or through axle? 140 or 160 rotor? What type of brake pads? Sorry, I need to go back to the car since I can only carry 1 pair of wheels and I guessed wrong. OK, here you go. Brakes rub? Sorry, there’s nothing I can do except some “adjustments” while hanging out of the car (oh wait, they won’t let us do that anymore) to get you back in the group, you’re on your own with that dragging brake after that. Your team mechanics can sort things out for tomorrow’s race. Have a nice day!”

  39. mark - Bici Italia Cycling Tours

    Spot on. Seems like most of the push back is from racers discussing wheel change speed and/or mechanics that have a new thing to keep working on a lot of bikes, backup bikes, etc. From a pure performance standpoint, there is no argument really. Disks on road bikes work exactly like disk on mtb bikes and who would ever want to go back to riding off road with rim brakes. I have one rim-brake road bike and one with disks. After riding disks on the road , I have to remind myself when I get on my rim-brake bike that I need way more distance to slow down. And that is on a dry day. Descending with rim brakes in the wet is a disaster waiting to happen unless you just don’t ride that day or your disk brake buddies don’t mind waiting for you at the bottom of every hill. Now of course if you just don’t ride hills then you don’t have to worry about that. The argument that disks have too much power for skinny road tires doesn’t hold up either. I was initially concerned with that but in reality it hasnt been an issue, even on wet roads, due to the modulation. That was an initial concern with disks on slippery cross courses that was quickly dismissed.

  40. Fausto

    This will help shimano put the nail in the Campagnolo coffin. Zipp/Sram sell a million more wheels. Specilized/Trek/Cannondale/Scott/Giant(as big as they are) have a lot more money to retool and R&D and push the UCI into the direction they want versus the next level brands. Their bigger risk is constant change over of consumer product that is not selling as standards change and new improved happens much quicker. The high end market is already soft. Who gets screwed, the LBS of course. The web based retailers will be dumping old inventory at crazy prices for the Fred to snatch up only to find replacement parts a nightmare two years down the road. From a pro equimpent sponsorship deal it will make the next few years crazy expensive. Interesting how you never hear a rider complaining about shit breaks but they will have to have the lightest possible (to uci specs) and for some most aero. The top guys can change for the climbing bike to go up hill, the descending bike to go down and the aero bike for the flat run in. Too much.

  41. channel_zero

    This will help shimano put the nail in the Campagnolo coffin.

    I don’t think so. Tektro, or whomever makes “Tektro” product is already doing contract work for Campag.

    Campag will do the usual and wait a year or two to see what sells then do their version.

  42. Carlos F


    All my crits are about to become a lot safer. I’m sick of cat 3 and 4 riders with high zoot wheels who can’t brake for crap. Everyone riding carbon wheels should be forced to have disk brakes. Did tour of galena in the rain a couple of years ago and there were several fools in the peloton who couldn’t brake and caused a bunch of crashes – all on $2k+ wheelsets. One look at the weather forecast should have told them to break out the aluminum rims, but they had too much money invested in carbon and were obliged to use them. Lack of self-awareness meant that they were happy to blog about their ineptitude afterwards.

    The argument about chainrings vs rotors doesn’t hold. Yes, chainrings cause nasty scars in crashes but it’s always to yourself – not to other riders. In a crit pileup it’s your rotors that are exposed and will cut others but probably not yourself. Seen a few sliced calves and palms already in the compulsory weekly pileup at the first corner of my cx series.

    So yeah – make discs compulsory for carbon.

  43. Thomas

    Do you realize that some world tour riders have been training all year long on disc brake bikes already ? I know at least 2 of them in switzerland.

  44. Wildcat

    Krakatoa, for once you and I don’t agree. In some circles I’m sure I would be considered a Fred and I do not have money.

  45. Brandon Cavnar

    Yes, I know pros ride an assortment equipment us mortals typically don’t, discs included. They have mechanics and spare bikes too. I’m mainly stating the maintenance isn’t worth it. I can afford a disc bike but I’m not buying one anytime soon. I’m wondering sometimes if we as consumers adopt/adapt to technology a little too quickly without asking enough questions. That’s just my thought.

  46. Judas Brakes

    Looking at the big picture it doesn’t make sense to me the marginal gain in braking is worth engineering frame, forks, wheels, and all the other headaches involved. Combine that with the way the industry is trying shove this down everyone’s throats that really makes this look like a desperate gamble to keep putting gas in the team cars.

  47. mark

    Well said. “Racing” can tend to make people ride equipment that isn’t necessarily the best choice for the terrain or conditions. Its more about weight, aero, showing off $ stuff, ect. The smart racers in that rainy crit would have broke out the $300 Open Pro training wheels and not cared so much that their $3000 wheels got the day off. You dont see MTB or CX buys getting cut very often by rotors, but road racing has that very unique thing call the mass pileup. Big chainring’s have causes some injuries in the past but historically its very rare and it seems that a chain is still on the big ring during the initial stages of the pile up. worst case, Chain rings have some dull points but no sharp cutting edges like rotors do. Its inevitable that guys will get sliced up once 30 bikes and 30 riders are getting piled up at 30mph.

  48. Bolas Azules

    Mr. Old Fart – Please don’t mention ‘Bike Handling’ and the pro peleton together in the same sentence. In the best of races with the best of riders you can count the number of capable bike handlers on less than 10 fingers. Absolutely amazing what it has become. Between the ridiculous aero/wind tunnel bike set-ups to the bird skinny climbers who can barely hold it steady on the descents. . . . a sad development.

  49. Krakatoa (East of Java)

    Shame on Cookson for not inviting the riders union into the process. He’s turning out to be the McQuaid that not even Pat McQuaid could ever be.

  50. VCScribe

    Marek is probably right. But for riders who aren’t provided with spare bikes, it’s their own lookout. Disadvantages would seem to outweigh the advantages, so who cares?


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