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  • Phillip Mercer

    But most importantly how will it perform in marketing?

    • Larry @CycleItalia

      I’m sure the bike makers are salivating at the prospect of suddenly making all the current bikes obsolete as the punters line up to get the latest “exact same bike as your hero rides”. I laughed at the part where Trek had to select a rider to fit their bike – used to be the other way round, but now you spend $10K and get to choose S, M or L (too small, too big or close enough) thanks to the folks at Giant who pioneered that awful idea.
      As to the press release vs a real review, this is enthusiast journalism..not Consumer Reports. As much as the enthusiast journos love to crow about how advertising and editorial are separated by barbed wire, it’s pretty obvious they all know if they really tested and reported the results from the awful stuff as much as the great stuff and paid no attention to marketing baloney, they’d be just like Consumer Reports – dependent solely on paid subscriptions for their existence.

  • Derek Maher

    Okay Markel Irizar was excited,So where did he place on the stages he used the disc system and how did he find climbing with the extra weight on the bike ?.

    • thomasrdotorg

      You’re assuming they didn’t remove some ballast?

      • scottmanning

        Possible the total mass of the bike was the same, but rotating mass would have been increased and that is where it counts.

        • Chris

          Those are custom rims, not the standard Aeolus rim. I’ll put money on them being ridiculously light for their size. the Disc rotor is too small to affect rotating mass. unless the bike is doing 200km/h.

    • Chris

      I can answer one question- the Domane 6-series frame, xXx everything, Dura-ace and Aeolus 5’s is 150g under the UCI limit. Faboo’s bike is 6.9kg as he uses alloy bars, a mile of stem and a few other knick knacks like SRM. The disc bike as pictured would not have any ballast and would be, at best, 7.1kg. I doubt he even felt it and if he did he was imagining it.

      • AC

        7.63 kg as weighed on GCN’s video. Doesn’t appear to have a power meter either, at least not their sponsored SRM. Seems like enough of a penalty to notice for now.

  • Ross

    They are *disc* brakes, not disk.

    • Anthony Little

      Different nomenclatures for different geographic regions – e.g. color vs. colour.

  • CLS

    disc or disk? Author writes “disk” but the Trek ad has it as “disc”

    • inopinatus

      Disc/disk are interesting heterographs in that correctness is contextual. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelling_of_disc for a potted discussion of how some disciplines use both terms to mean distinctly different things.

      As always, language emerges by consensus and it seems to me the preference for brakes is disc.

  • inopinatus

    New product hailed as great step forward by … product vendor’s sponsored team.

    If there’s one thing that bugs me about the CT editorial policy, it’s not holding corporate feet closer to the fire when it comes to product stories.

    • Hi @inopinatus:disqus, thanks for the feedback. I’m not sure what you mean by “not holding corporate feet closer to the fire when it comes to product stories.” Can you elaborate so I can take it on board?

      • Roeland

        well, I remember an article where you asked a manufacturer about the longevity of carbon fibre frames and they were all “you’ll be fine! Trust us!” without backing that up with one iota of data. Anecdotes, sure, but no data.

        • If you were shown the data, would you believe it anyway? Sadly you and many others seem extremely skeptical of people working within the cycling industry and that they’re all out to screw us over.

          • Roeland

            I also commented more in-depth on the carbon frame lifespan article why I’m not convinced by the anecdotes in that article. I think it is poor form to state that would not believe the data even if they showed it. They haven’t shown data so it doesn’t matter what would happen if they did. It is also poor form to say that I’m extremely skeptical and think the bicycling industry wants to screw us over. I do not think that, nor have I stated that anywhere.

          • Gabriel Constantin

            Expect the worst, be glad to be proven wrong.

          • Phillip Mercer

            I wouldn’t say they’re out to screw us over but it is in their interest for products to have a limited usable life in order to be able to sell more of the same.

      • Justme

        Hi Wade, I thought it was a very balanced and authentic article. @inopiatus’ comment means that he believes your writer did not put the hard questions to the TFR spokesperson and challenge him on his claims. I don’t have a pre-conceived bias either against or towards corporations and so can say with some level of objectivity that this article seems very well balanced. To be contrasted, in fact, with the reprinted press releases that I see on some other bike review sites from time to time.

        I was thinking when I read the article that it was one of the most relevant and balanced I have come across on a topic I’m very interested in – ie real pro racing experience, pros and cons, rather than speculation.

      • inopinatus

        Ok, I’ll elaborate. Some opinionated words follow. Whether it is actionable feedback is up to you. My expectations may be wildly incongruous with those of the CT target market!

        CyclingTips is still tops when it comes to content quality. Along with INRNG it is my preferred destination for almost all cycling news.

        Many of us have become allergic to the press-release reprints that characterise much online cycling content. You’re not guilty of that particular crime, although some product reviews do appear to requote claims about stiffness, aerodynamics etc without making any serious effort to debunk or contextualise them. The article above is a sailing close to the wind – a series of one-sided vendor quotes of second-hand information from a third-rate experiment*. It has the whiff of press release about it. I’d want to hear from another manufacturer, another team, or a disc brake naysayer (if you can find one).

        I also just took a quick skim through recent product reviews. It appears the rating system only ranges from 8 to 10. I have just completed a university course where any mark over 80% is considered first class honours. Either every product reviewed is sensationally marvellous, or ‘8’ is actually normalised to mean ‘very ordinary’. There’s also a tendency to place manufacturer claims first, and then the test of them afterwards. I’m actually much more interested in seeing your test & opinions first and foremost.

        Heck, I’d rather see you testing a product without having even been briefed on what was supposed to be great about it, to eliminate bias (yes I know that’d be hard to arrange – not impossible though).

        HTH. I’m not stopping reading CT any time soon. And these remarks are, I’m keenly aware, from a sample size of one :)

        – Josh

        * in product development terms, a test with a sample size of one, where the test subject is strongly biased toward the product already, is not statistically meaningful. It’s not even a good verification test, so we can conclude it was primarily for marketing/lobbying purposes.

        • Thanks for the detailed feedback Josh.

          With regards to this article in particular, there was only one team (Trek) who tried disc brakes at the Vuelta and we simply wanted to hear their impressions. We’re well aware that the industry is probably not going to say anything negative about using discs, but we’ve certainly asked mechanics and others who might give us an opposite opinion. We simply haven’t found anyone who doesn’t speak positively about them. I made sure that the through-axel questions were asked because this is the one thing I dislike about disc brakes.

          Product reviews are a tough one. Many manufacturers don’t release any data on their claims and all we have to rely on is our impressions versus the marketing claims. We don’t believe that us doing much empirical testing (test jigs, aero testing, etc) does anything anyway, because it all comes down to the individual rider preferences. We hope that we’ve maintained enough credibility with you so that you trust our opinions and can put that into context with your own wants and needs.

          There’s lots more I can say here, but thank you again for the feedback. It’s very valuable.

          • inopinatus

            You’re welcome. Thanks for founding and sustaining CyclingTips!

            One other thing. The Ella newsletter signup box looks like a cigarette. As a fanatical ex-smoker, I see it *every time*

            • roklando

              great, now I’ll see it every time too…….

          • Bertilak

            Hi Wade,

            I would just like to chime in to say that I’ve felt similarly about the product reviews.

            There is considerable skepticism from consumers for the bike industry and many of the recent tech developments. You see it everywhere, comments, forums, etc. Unfortunately, that does not seem to make its way into many cycling related publications, print or online. Why is that?

            It’s more than just a lack of criticism or objective evaluation of products. It’s a lack of deeper questioning about what is truly effective and necessary for the amateur bike rider/racer, and about whether the choices the industry is making really serve our needs as riders, rather than their needs as businesses.

            For example, consider this advice by Cosmo: http://cyclocosm.tumblr.com/post/86470112622/if-you-were-going-to-spend-3000-on-a-road-bike. Doesn’t that sound far more reasonable and thoughtful than “X wheelset feels so stiff and fast, you should get it”? Another example is In the Know Cycling (http://intheknowcycling.com/), at least from what I’ve seen, the advice and reviews are far more thoughtful, and there’s constant reminder of cost-benefit analysis. You’ve done things like this, before (https://cyclingtips.com.au/2010/04/biggest-bang-for-your-buck-in-time-trial-equipment/) but recently it does seem like the “big picture” has been getting lost.

            If you (or everyone) had to race on a steel bike with alloy rims, would you stop racing? Is the experience that dependent on the tech? For the vast majority of us (amateur riders and racers), the recent advancements are irrelevant — they don’t add or detract to the experience, they are not necessary, and people should not feel pressed / manipulated to put their money there.

            A few other points:

            I have a few friends who would like to get into riding and racing, but for them the cost of even an adequate bike is too high. I wanted to start riding and racing years ago, but as a student, I did not have access to the market. I would trade all the disc brakes and carbon in the world to get more people riding with us.

            A million press fit bottom brackets, they all creak. Carbon rims which don’t brake well in the wet. Hidden housing which makes maintenance a PITA. Disc brakes (to fix the carbon rim problems) which add weight and introduce serious safety risks. Among many other things. Have these developments really been beneficial for amateurs and everyday riders? Have they really added value to the sport? Have they improved safety? Have they lowered the cost of entry to the sport?

            This is without even getting into the social, environmental, and psychological costs of materialism.

            I would love to see CyclingTips focus more on “The Beauty of Cycling” — which are the roads and environments we ride in, the people we ride with, the experience of riding and racing. Bicycles are part of that beauty, sure, but it’s just a means to an end. Many of us have the feeling that the industry is turning things upside down, and that we’re advancing the tech at the cost of many of the reasons we really ride.

            /end rant

            Thank you for your time and for your work.

            • Ragtag

              Agree. It is amazing how the cost of bikes is sky rocketing every year.

            • Andrew Cowley

              So basically all good. The sky didn’t fall in.

            • Thanks for your views Bertilak. I do like Cosmo’s advice, however that doesn’t help people who are looking to spend money on a bike or accessories.

              When we write our reviews, we try to focus on what it’s like to live with a product and the associated practicalities rather than the tech specs and regurgitating the marketing spin.

              I agree with many of your points, but it’s a topic I could write pages on (and have in the past!).

              Thanks for reading and leaving your feedback.

      • Ragtag

        I think what he is trying to say is that ask them the tough questions. If you ask a product vendor’s sponsored team about the product then people believe they have an incentive to not highlight the negatives. So that is what he means I guess. But to be honest even if it were true (which I am not implying here), you are not alone. I see many magazines under that ‘pressure’. The whole Specialized Venge marketing was a leading example of magazines trying to sell us bull of saving 5 minutes. I think the way the journalists covered that story was an eye opener. If they are willing to sell that story down the throats of readers then we know where the loyalties lie.

    • dllm

      CT never review bad product. That’s why you see all things positive. I always look for sponsorship disclaimer in CT reviews.

      anyway, I like CT articles. the photos worth trillion words, and adhere to their slogan of The Beauty of Cycling. good job!

  • Andy B

    The fact is on steep descents, poor road surfaces or wet days would I prefer disc brakes?? Certainly would.. every time
    The change is coming, embrace it ;)

    My only gripes with disc brakes are the slight rub that seems to occur eventually (not as quick to fix as calipers) and sticky pads
    With Fulltime mechanics looking after the bikes each day I cant imagine pros will ever have those problems

    • Chris

      This isn’t a problem with the 2nd generation of Shimano disc brakes- they are floating twin-piston calipers. They self-center. All early generation discs for road were only one piston and relied on flexing the disc, and always rubbed.

  • Cam

    The performance advantage is clear in his results!

    • Andy B

      Perhaps avoiding that crash was the difference between finishing the grand tour and abandoning?

    • scottmanning

      So the guy behind him crashed into him… so? I’ve stopped short of
      running over someone in a bunch crash with my rim brakes, only to have
      someone run into me from behind and land ontop of me. Proves nothing.

  • SteveAck

    We will know that we will all be on discs before long.


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  • velocite

    Interesting to read about progress on the disc ‘experiment’. But do you get points for thinking up objections? I’m amazed at the prevalence of a sort of doomsday approach to new stuff. I expect that in a few years rim brakes will be history – and top groupsets will be wireless. And I’m looking forward to my next bike, which will have both.

    • Superpilot

      Wireless disk brakes could be cool ;)

  • Adam Fuller

    I’m not sure I understand the requirement for through axles. Yes, they make the front end stiffer but my old mtb has a standard quick release skewer with hydraulic discs and it’s fine. I only have one concern with road discs, squealing. If your pads or discs get contaminated the noise is quite horrific. Rule 65 cops a thrashing.

    • Andy B

      I have wondered why I have bush turkeys following me on my mountain bike rides!


    • ZigaK

      I’m another one that doesn’t understand the need for through axles. I’m on qr mtb with discs and have no issues.
      I understand the need for through axle on suspension fork but for a rigid one it’s unnecessary. I found a comparison between rigid mtb fork with qr vs. ta and the conclusion was there’s no difference in stiffness – http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-gear/rigid-fork-shootout-qr-open-dropout-vs-thru-axle/ – The ride and feel of each fork was very, very similar.
      The rear wheel on a road bike is supported by chain stays and seat stays so there’s even less reason to put through the axle there. They introduced through axle tech in mtb xco a couple of years ago, so you could argue it’s an established tech, but … take a look at any wc xco race – the change of rear wheel is painstakingly long, totally unacceptable in my opinion, and it costs a racer at least 20 seconds versus the qr change. I guess in road racing this isn’t such a big deal, but I can see reasonable scenarios that could cost a rider a win.

      • geoff.tewierik

        Was wondering the same thing. Thru axles on a road bike don’t need to be, when QR’s and discs have lived together in the MTB world for years and they’ve had a much harsher time in the MTB world than road bikes can ever throw at them.

    • Mike

      I thought it was just me. Where did all this bullshit about the necessity of through-axles suddenly come from? My guess is the manufacturers are at it again, leading us up the garden path towards a brighter day!

      • Superpilot

        I’m inclined to agree, because they love to introduce different standards, because it divides up the pie, and commits customers to their brand/offering.

    • Paul Aston

      I agree totally. The QR on the back end of my Anthem has never been a problem. The wheels themselves need regular attention however. Also I ‘ve done about 600km on the new Defy now (hydraulic disc and QR) and haven’t had the slightest problem. That includes descending razorback to give them a bit of a work out. I suppose that doesn’t prove that 6000km would be trouble free, but I would be very surprised if any crops up from that source. And don’t worry about the noise, at least we always know where you are out on the trails. ;-)

  • VK

    I am seeing more and more anecdotal evidences in Cyclingtips pieces these days… When was the last incident within the pro peloton that a tubular rolled off the wheel because of an overheated rim? Can someone please enlighten me?

    • Rod

      Not sure, these are not the type of things that teams like to disclose. See Movistar’s secrecy with the allegedly damaged frame.

      For what is worth, multiple tubulars failed on the desert races early in the year. Oman, specifically – probably a combination of high temperatures, technology limitations of specific equipment (all same team, Bardiani) and non-diligent mechanical support (if you test the things to the limit, your mechanic knows the sponsored materiel is not going to cut it at 40 C – you use off-brand stuff).

      There was even a rider sit-out for the next stage and Merckx had a fit.

    • I’m not quite sure what evidence you’re after in an article like this. We were simply asking for insight on how the trial went with disc brakes in the pro peloton. Can you elaborate?

  • Martin English

    I am currently riding SRAM Red Disc on my Roubaix. Standard quick release skewers. Would like to see this explored in future articles as there is no difference in fitment than standard wheels.

    The “findings” would take anyone 2 minutes to conclude. On flat hot days, I ride my Tarmac with standard rim brakes on carbon rims. The bike is lighter and definitely faster. I’d love to compare it to a Tarmac disc.

    When it comes to steep descents, wet bunch rides or cold days, however, discs win hands down. One finger braking from the hoods with numb fingers is a plus!!

    The only disadvantage is have is weight compared to standard calliper setups, and the occasional brake pad rub. I’m sure this will improve.

    • mt

      I have the New Tarmac (52) with disc brakes and still ride my Tarmac SL4 with rim brakes ( Black Prince Evo pads for carbon wheels) and carbon wheels. The Tarmac SL4 has SRAM Red and is lighter that The New Tarmac with Di2, discs and qr wheels. I ride in bunches ( never on the front) – so I stop at the same rate as the guy in front of me. It’s the braking into corners on descents that the discs come into their own… The new Tarmac just wants to ‘Go’ and is silky smooth. The braking is like going from a car without power steering to one with it; smooth, confident and so responsive. GCN did a review on the heat/ danger of disc brakes engaged deliberately on a long European col descent- couldn’t cut the salami ( token fingers/ flesh) very well with the disc or the spokes when they tried. Would alloy rim wheels/ metal spokes/ metal calipers/ pedals in the sun also cause skin burn concerns on contact due to heat radiation? With ongoing development, I hope that the weight differences will quickly dissipate

      • Martin English

        good feedback. Must have the same SL4! I love it but also can’t ride on the front for the same reasons. Next one will definitely have discs, maybe eTap too.

  • Tim

    I’m not sure why riders think they’ll get burnt by hot discs. They only get hot (I’ve been using discs on mtb’s for 15 years and have ridden crap ones and great ones) after prolonged heavy use in a short space of time. Wouldn’t this only happen at the bottom of a large mountain descent? I can’t remember the last time I saw a multi-rider crash at the end of a large descent (if ever).

    It’s also important to remember that we don’t need to have thru axles with discs. We will have thru axles because it creates a stiffer front and rear end. The top mechanics will change a wheel only fractionally slower once they’ve practiced as we see in World Cup mountain biking.

    I think we’ll also see improved rim design in the future. There are lots of benefits of discs and I can’t think of a real reason not to have them. My next bike will certainly have them!

  • scottmanning

    A cover? Ok, I am the first to put function before form but give me a break. The thing is hideous enough without putting a cover over it!

  • scottmanning

    You lot can do what you like. For me, I don’t really care but the day I turn up to a race and get told I cannot because I am running rim brakes I will be pissed. I think I finally understand the older guys I know who only ride vintage steel. They scoff and can’t believe I ride that “carbon crap”. I think I’m destined to be like them, scoffing at disc brakes!

  • Michael Sproul

    The only thing I like more than my disc brakes on my winter bike is all the frothing it causes! Can’t wait to get discs on my race bike.


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