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July 28, 2017
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  • Billy

    Can’t wait to see riders start getting sliced by the discs in crashes. Oh well, if they want the risk on their heads be it.

    • em biz

      By that logic one would expect riders to have fingers chopped off by spokes. Oh wait yeah that never happens.

      • Neil

        2013- I spent 3 months in a splint from a lacerated tendon in my index finger, another friend cut by big chain ring did the same to his wrist flexors and artery this year… These joints will never be properly healed… It does happen! With two more cutting surfaces, it will happen more frequently. i know two other cyclists off the top of my head who have lost parts of their fingers to spokes.

      • Pete23

        Didn’t chris anker sorensen (or someone) almost do that exact thing in the TDF (maybe 2012) I remember seeing photos of his white bar tape turned blood red by the end of the stage

      • Billy

        Does it not? Then why are wheels with a small number of spokes actually illegal in pro cycling? Because you might get your hand caught in one in a crash. Think before speaking clown!

        • T E

          Anyone that partakes in sports assumes their own risk. You probably shouldn’t ride or walk around because you might fall sometime, get hurt. Probably should stay out of motor vehicles as well because you could get into a crash.

    • Il_falcone

      You can’t wait? Really? Shame on you. But I’m afraid for you since it won’t happen.

    • Prestachuck

      It’s proven to be safe in mountain biking. I’ve seen some gnarly pileups in xc, been sliced by rocks and chainrings, but I have never been cut by a rotor. In fact, After three decades, I still have never even heard of it happening to anybody!

      • rct

        Already happened in Geoff Thomas’ TdF charity ride this year. If the old spinergy wheels were banned on safety grounds how can we allow uncovered rotors in fast moving pelotons with closely bunched riders, unlike off road events.

        • Patrick Choi

          So why is this worse exactly? Crashes are gonna result in injuries. A rider got a skull fracture even after wearing a helmet. These things happen.

          • rct

            Because you’re adding an extra cause of injury. The one in te link would have resulted in a severe bruise at best if the exposed rotor was not there.

      • Billy

        Maybe follow the tweets of riders in the pro peleton then. A number of riders mentioned the very problem I addressed in my original comment when this idea was first put forward.

        • Nick

          Not sure riders who aren’t allowed to use discs yet are the experts in their use.

    • Rodrigo Diaz

      All those chopped down people by chainsaws disguised as chainrings! (and yeah, one of my mates fell into mine on a crash. Not pretty, but not that frequent either).

      • rct

        Difficult to get rid of the chain ring at present, but it is a different surface, teeth, normally covered by the chain, as opposed to long sharp edge which can be hot.

        • Rodrigo Diaz

          If it was really that dramatic, it would be trivial (and mandatory) to put a bashguard on them. I think this is just normal resistance to change. I ride on both on disc and rim brakes. We had a major pileup at the start of a CX race last week (I was at the bottom). No one was sliced despite 10+ bikes involved having discs.

          • rct

            You answered byour own question, Start of a cross race, so despite the effort speed would have been low and the rotors not hot. Bash guards / covers should be mandatory for them to be allowed in road races.

            • Rodrigo Diaz

              bash guards on the chainrings as well? I didn’t answer my own question – I am not asking anything. I am merely positing that the incremental risk from disc brakes is well within the normalcy for bicycle riding.

            • Dave

              Most road cycling crashes with large groups coming down occur during sprints when (according to Phil) even thinking about using the brakes will cost you 30 places, so the rotors will not be hot.

              The edge of a disc rotor is significantly thicker than spokes are, so long as they aren’t hot they won’t be a problem.

          • Tim Rowe

            The idea of a cover on discs sounds good, but unfortunately that would stop them from getting air, necessary for cooling. It is a good idea that could be viable, but it’s not as simple as you might initially think.

        • Roger That

          Not when you spend most of your life in the small chainring.

          • Tim Rowe

            I just have small and smaller ;)

    • Stompin

      Billy, Billy, Billy… you are more likely to get your head caved in by a car, just sayin’.

      • Dave

        Especially if Shimano are running the neutral service!

  • Matt Long

    So it’s optional. More wrecks to come since breaking distances will vary depending on if you are running disc.

    • Il_falcone

      That might happen on rainy days, right. Until every one is on discs. Which will then happen rather quickly. Only if the UCI simultaneously lowers the weight limit these two developments might interfere with each other.

    • Tim Barnes

      Here are a few more factors to add to your braking distance variations:

      Rim material. i.e. Carbon vs. Aluminium rims.
      Leverages of rim brakes.
      Brake lever position and shape.
      Rim brake pad compound.
      Tyre pressures.
      Tyre compounds.
      Rider weight.
      Rider skill.

      • tim

        all these are behind:
        gravity, which is stronger as you get closer to the sun on the mountain top finishes

    • Choddo

      braking. And I do think you’re right, in the wet.

      • Matt Long

        Braking . Lol

    • scottmanning

      Ignoring all other variables, braking distances already vary greatly. Between crap carbon rims, through good ones, and onto alloy rims, the min breaking distances vary by several meters.

      Just for the record, I don’t like the discs, but so long as I get to run my rim brakes I am happy. If they start to trot out this braking distances thing and force everyone onto discs I will be very pissed off. Not least of which is the advantage – in my experience/opinion – of discs is trivial.

    • Superpilot

      You guys haven’t thought this through. There is an optimal speed for any corner, wet or dry. A disk bike might be able to get into the corner quicker and brake later, particularly in the wet, or will be at least as capable as a rim braked bike. But, if the rim brake bike behind enters at the same speed, they will overshoot the corner. That is the fault of the rider of the rim brake bike taking account of their equipment, not the fault of disk brake having more power than the rim brake.
      If both ride the corner at the optimal speed for their brake system, the disk bike will get a gap ahead, or be able to slow up behind a rim brake bike. No issue.
      The only time I can see there being an issue, is a panic brake situation. A disk bike in front brakes hard, with a rim brake bike coming in behind. In the dry, the limitation is the grip of the tyre. This will be the same for both. No issue. In the wet, the rim brake will have to shed water before working effectively. In this instance I can see an issue, but it is likely this type of accident would happen anyway if all bikes were on rim brakes. Owing to the concertina effect in pelotons, this happens as the rim braked bikes in front are able to brake for slightly longer than those coming in behind. Just see the footage from the Tour this year of the amount of crashes on wet and dry roads from the bikes at the rear braking too late.
      I’m about to do a sportive in the pouring rain. It won’t matter what type of bike my fellow riders are on, I’ll be watching all of them like a hawk anyway!

  • Interesting that this “debate” both alienates and enthuses, depending on which side of the fence, you occupy.
    For me personally, as a manufacturer, I can’t say I’m enthusiastic of disc brake systems, on road bikes – I’m not “anti technology” I’m just crusty!

    Personally, I hold Wade, directly responsible for this.
    I also blame him for this “cyclist’s with beard epidemic” that’s just sprung up, over last few years. (yes, I know Wade, has no beard, but it’s still his fault) & as for scrawny coffee swilling hipsters who wear skinny jeans” that’s probably his fault too !

    • I take full responsibility!

      • Peter

        Geez, Wade, with this sort of influence in the industry, you should be submitting your own set of WorldTour reforms to the UCI.

        • I propose we go back to V-Brakes to remind people how bad brakes can be!

          • MMaster

            No…cantilevers…proving they aren’t brakes…only speed modification devices

          • Dave

            I propose that every rider should be allowed to use only Campagnolo Delta brakes in time trials.

            • Lyrebird_Cycles

              I assume you’ve never ridden with Deltas. They are great brakes when set up correctly; mine are in a box until I build a new frame for them but they’ll be back on the road soon.

      • Peter

        Geez, Wade, with this sort of influence in the industry, you should be submitting your own set of WorldTour reforms to the UCI.

  • rct

    Have the national bodies informed their insurance companies?

  • Sean

    They are already allowed at USAC amateur races (US).

    • Tim Rowe

      If we know this rule is coming, there is no reason to delay introducing it in to the 2016 Australian Tech Regs just because the UCI haven’t done so yet. The wording of this article needs checking – I haven’t checked the draft UCI regs yet – but by ‘Amateur’ races do they mean UCI events listed on the international calender, such as National Championship events and Continental Championships?

  • Ross

    Riders have been using disc brakes in sportives like ATBIAD and Fitz’s Challenge for a while now with no reported catasrophes.

  • Mike

    If I had just been unshipped from my bike at 30+ mph and was heading for the tarmac the last bloody thing on my mind would be, “Oh sweet mother, I really must try not to stick my finger in the brake rotor.”
    I’m amazed some of this site’s contributors don’t still ride on wooden tyres and wear nothing but tweed. What’s that? They do?

  • James

    I don’t know why anyone would want them on a road bike except in limited conditions. I wouldn’t give up SRAM hydros on my cx/adventure bike but on the road they’re more trouble than they’re worth. There’s nothing more annoying than rubbing and noise mid-ride — dirt, water, heat induced rotor warp — and having to carry a mini-tool to deal with it.

    • Michael Bland

      interesting point , another noise to mess with me .

    • Peter

      I’ve ridden mountain bikes for a long time and I don’t get rotor rubbing and noise mid-ride. Sure singletrack riding will hide any noise ‘cos of the dirt crunching of your tyres, but I ride a lot of tarmac/dirt roads too and I’ve never had any problems with rotor noise or rubbing. The only time that might conceivably become a problem is in cyclocross or singletrack with all of the mud and sand you encounter, but road bikes racing on tarmac? I don’t think rotor noise will ever be a problem for them.

      • Adam Fuller

        The brakes on my Trance squeal like a banshee. If my road bike did the same if would be vastly more annoying. I’m happy to deal with the additional hassle of discs on the mtb because I get the benefits. I really can’t see the benefits on the road except in the wet. I actually see these benefiting the pros more as they will ride in more variable conditions than the average cyclist.

      • James

        Don’t underestimate how dirty road spray is! Ting-ting-ting all the way up Donna a couple of weeks ago — there were muddy rivers flowing across the road. Coming down Bald Spur, near Kinglake, I warped the front rotor (BTW I don’t drag my brakes even descending Baw Baw). SRAM hydro road callipers have minimal disc clearance and the take-up point is not adjustable. Mechanical discs you can dial out the pads, but require much higher hand pressure to operate — TRP Spyres at any rate.

        I have two sets of wheels. Shimming the hubs/rotors was a tedious process. 0.1mm either way was enough to rub.

        Don’t get me wrong — I wouldn’t give up discs on my adventure/Cx and want to move to a disc-brake commuter — but expect to keep to calipers on my road bikes.

  • RayG

    Get off my lawn!

  • ceedee

    Disc brakes see to be overkill on road bike, at least for club cyclist such as myself. Am I wrong?

    • Stompin

      Yes, you are wrong. But that’s ok.

      • ceedee

        How so?

        • Stompin

          Any system that is better than the previous can’t necessarily be seen as overkill – just because it’s different. I would say better control of braking at club level is even more crucial – judging from the amount of crashes I’ve seen at my local crits.

          • ceedee

            For crits, yes disc would be good. But in country where I live there is no crits generally. Road racing are on flat course with very little braking.

            • Andy B

              whats good for the goose..

    • Tim Rowe

      You might see it as overkill now, but riders will adapt their rider style, and courses will adapt based on what is available.

      Look at 29 inch wheels in mountain bikes, for example. Going together with this we now are seeing a lot of 780mm handlebars being standard. Trails built 10 years ago were quickly found as very tight and difficult to negotiate on 29ers, and narrow trees caused all kinds of issues. These factors were unforeseen prior to 29ers becoming common. We now build trails which accommodate for these changes in norms, so corners tend to have slightly wider radiuses, and trees are cleared further back. Both technology and the events, sport, and trails evolve to support each other as an ecosystem.

    • scottmanning

      There are pros and amateurs alike that cannot brake to save themselves. I could show you video after video of pro races in the wet where there is a crash and for the next minute or so, rider after rider approaching the already crashed riders, over cooks the brakes, loses traction and crashes. Discs aren’t going to help those people.

  • Nitro

    Index shifting, Carbon frames, Deep dish carbon wheels, Di-2… This is just the next step…

    Give it a couple of years and everyone will have calmed down and accepted this as the “new normal”…

    The whole “Why do we need these” argument – doesn’t that apply to most technical advances in our sport… We only “need” carbon frames because everyone else has got one !

  • Hamish Moffatt

    So do the pros want this tech or is it about selling new bikes to the fans?

    • AP

      My personal feeling is that it’s about selling new bikes. That said, the braking is superior and by a large margin. It is the fans who will benefit the most.

      • Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no industry conspiracy going on to dupe everyone into buying new bikes. People have the choice to use whatever they want.

        • AP

          I didn’t mean to imply that there’s a conspiracy here. Or even a concerted path of planned obsolescence. Of course people can buy whatever they want. I meant more that the pros haven’t exactly been crying to the UCI to make them legal. Even in CX a lot of the pros still prefer cantis. Are discs the better system? IMO, yes they are. But if we’re being honest, the industry’s transition to disc is good for the industry, and the UCI just played a major role in making that happen for them.

  • Evan

    I just wonder how this will change neutral support in races. Obviously entire teams will have to change if they want to be able to do wheel swaps, as is very common, but neutral will have to double the number of spare wheels they carry to provide both rim and disc options.

    • Dave

      It didn’t seem to be an issue at the Vuelta when a few teams had just a couple of riders on discs.

    • Superpilot

      It would be possible to have disk hubs with rim brake rims on them. Granted, the teams would have to change up their bikes to a standardised fitting system (QR or through axle) and hub width. But I don’t see how they will agree, so you are probably right. This is the worst thing about it, the industry could really go for an across the board solution, but they won’t because they all want to pick their niche to hold onto income and be different. It’s like suspension linkages in MTB, everyone has the best solution, so there is no single solution, just locking consumers in one way or the other.

  • zurp

    I was in the anti-disc camp like most of you, until I got a disc equipped bike to see what the fuss is about. I was pretty indifferent at first since it felt pretty similar, but after a while i realized how much later I was braking and how much faster I could descend. I mean cmon, just stop and think about how stupid it is to be braking on the actual wheel, especially if you’re of the carbon persuasion. It seems so primitive to me now

  • geoff.tewierik

    What’s the UCI’s self determined width for rear hubs? 130mm or 135mm?

  • irideredthebike

    Plenty of disc brake equipped bikes at the Giro Della Donna. With mixed bunches and long descents this seems like a perfect test of all issues people have raised. I don’t think they were involved in the crashes I saw or read about.

  • scottmanning

    So long as they then don’t go an outlaw rim brakes then I don’t care one bit. Bring on the cheap (second hand) wheels! The day they a scrutineer tells me I cannot race without a disc is the day I get pissed.

  • scottmanning

    If only they weren’t so damed ugly!

    • Laurens

      In the days of bikes that are now retro (slim steel) I hated the pioneering Cannondale did with their oversized tubing. Couldn’t believe how ugly that was! But now I think the same of slim steel, being used to my beefy carbon steed.
      You work out what I’m trying to say here ;-)

      • scottmanning

        You’re trying to say you are not a man of your convictions? ;-)

        I love slim steel, I love OS carbon. I love down tube shifters, I love brifters, I love electronic shifting, I love manual shifting. I love single speed, I love multiple gears. Bar electronic shifting (can’t afford it ATM), I own all the above and love to ride each and everyone as they are individual and each a thing of beauty. See what I am trying to say? ;-)

        Let me help you out – truly good design/form is timeless. There will be no point in time when a large (no matter how small) shiny steel disc, a calliper with it’s fork/stay appendages are going to be good looking simply because they ruin the simple clean lines of the bike. They look fine on a mountain bike because the thing is already cluttered with wired frame shapes, shock absorber forks, fork stays, rear swing arms etc.

        • Laurens

          You’re trying to say you can’t make up your mind? ;-)

  • Cam

    The change was inevitable, the question is come January 2016 how many teams will actually use them.

  • Andy B

    We have seen the light and its beautiful!

  • RobertG

    Disk brakes are so much better in their stopping power, predictability & modulation. When it comes to slowing a bike, they are vastly superior to any style of rim brake out there. But I have never swapped over a set of wheels on a disk equipped mountain bike without have to readjust the brake calipers. I have owned many bikes & many wheelsets with identical hubs & perfect alignment just doesn’t happen. For me, this is their biggest drawback for pro racing. Probably not a real concern for the amateur who doesn’t mind tweaking the calipers when changing from race to training wheels.

    • Carytb

      Will the thru axles not sort the alignment problems out?

    • Will

      I’ve never found this in fact the exact opposite. Hydro calipers are self adjusting and centering, with a thru axle the wheel goes into the exact same poisition each time, this problem you say you encounter every time simply does not exist…

  • Keir

    I had someone come up to me on a ride on Sunday waxing lyrically about how good disc brakes were using terms such as modulation etc. Thats fine, I’m always up for a chat but please don’t come up and tell me how fast you can descend if you have rubbish tyres on your bike. In other words don’t tell me how good your Ferrari is after putting tyres from your Corolla on it. It should be interesting to watch how much quicker it makes the pros. By end of 2016 all the data and analysis will be out on display and we can make a real decision as to the gains or losses. For those of us on our velocipedes with rim brakes rejoice in the fact that most of us will run out of scrotum contents before running out of brakes on descents and it won’t be any different for the bulk of people on discs. In the meantime there’s going to be some sweet Christmas parties for the marketing departments from disc brake manufacturers this year. HO HO HO

  • Conscience_of_a_conservative

    Disc brakes will be a major advancement for the bike manufacturers, for the consumers not so much.

    • Dave

      Let me guess, you haven’t ridden with disc brakes yet?

  • Galen Kehler

    Why is no one talking about the reduction in crashes that has happened whenever disc brakes become standard. (MTB, Automotive!, etc)

  • Nick Tompkins

    Nobody has brought up the issue of changing a wheel in a hurry. Have you ever tried to get an MTB wheel on in a hurry lining up the disk with the caliper – even worse if someone inadvertently pulls the brake lever with the wheel out. You then have to manually push the pads back in.

    • Il_falcone

      That is not a much bigger problem than with rim brakes. It will maybe add 5 seconds to the process. Especially with thru-axle wheels you can concentrate on aligning the rotor with the slot in the caliper and once the rotor passes that bottleneck you will be able to put in the thru-axle quickly.
      The bigger problem will be to have the rotors on all wheels (at least within one team) at the exactly same axial position. A difference of 0.1 mm matters here. Otherwise the rotor will rub and there is no way for the mechanic to correct it swiftly from the back seat of the team car. With precision-made hubs running on cartridge bearings like e.g. DTs 240s that doesn’t seem to be an issue but with cup and cone bearing hubs like those made by Shimano the mechanics will face long sessions of fiddling with rotor shims to achieve real interchangeability.

  • Sean parker

    I cant believe that this is happening – disc brakes in pro cycling.
    The FIRST DAY I rode my bike with disc brakes I came around a corner and an old lady was.crossing the road. I slammed.on my brakes and the front disc, by itself, spun off the frame and carved its way through the old lady and into a school bus. I looked in horror as the disc spun from child to child wantonly sawing a sanguinous trail through these poor innocent children. Finally, when the brake, or spinning blade of death, as I like to call them, had finished dismembering its victiims it leapt into a stock truck carrying lambs and kittens to a childs cancer ward.
    And the UCI wants poor innocent pro riders, with their matchstick arms and decalcified bones ( from the EPO, you know) to be exposed to these DEATH BLADES.!!!!!
    Oh, the humanity…..


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