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August 18, 2017
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  • Will

    Bummer. But what about totally exposed greasy, toothy chainrings?

    • santiagobenites

      Chainrings are an absolute necessity on a road racing bike (at this point). Disc brakes are absolutely not.

      • tedder42

        How many grisly injuries have there been from chainrings? I assume hundreds per year if they are as terrible as Ventoso says discs are.

        Not talking “necessity”, just wondering why we don’t hear about those injuries or anyone who has had their jugular cut by one.


        • Leo Volz

          Here’s my grisly chainring injury.

          • tedder42

            We must ban chainrings immediately.

      • Will

        I guess my point was that there are plenty of dangers involved with bikes and bike racing. Not to mention getting hit or run over by cars or motorcycles (for pro races and casual riders alike). I don’t disagree that disc brakes are potentially dangerous, but so are a lot of things with bike racing. Riding on ancient cobblestone roads for example…

        Ultimately, I’m not a pro, and I never will be. I don’t care if the pros ride discs or not, they’re amazing to watch regardless what kind of brakes they’ve got.

      • ebbe

        So when are chainrings and cassettes going to be covered? ;-)

        • reKroot

          Big chainrings are always covered. It’s called a chain :P. Any crash at reasonable speed, chain on big ring. Now if the chain comes off, which happens frequently enough…

          • ebbe

            I’m sure you realised that was a joke ;-) with some small truth in it by the way

            • reKroot

              Conveniently mine was also a joke with some truth!

              • ebbe

                ;-) Now all we need is a truth with some joke in it!

    • Alex

      Chain rings are a necessity and in a different part of the bike where the rider is less likely to hit as he goes down. Also, they don’t get scorching hot.

      • ebbe

        I’ve tried (full day climbing and descending in 35ºC in Italy) but couldn’t get them past a nice comfy “warm” at best. I’ve also tried to cut my finger on a spinning disc. Didn’t work either, barely a dent in my finger which disappeared after a few minutes. The same happens if you push down on say a spoke. I have a video on twitter, but the site won’t let me post it here. Just do a twitter search.

        Arm chair keyboard warrior trolls would like to tell you all kinds of nonsense, but don’t believe any of it until you’ve tried it yourself.

        • Did you not read the article? The guy is a pro cyclist, he’s just given you two very clear examples of why discs are dangerous. What’s hard to understand about this? You couldn’t get your discs past a ‘nice comfy warm’? And that proves what? That you’re not a very fast descender? Talk about a keyboard troll!

          • ebbe

            It proves that I’ll believe it when I see it. No evidence = no believe

            • Then you’re blind. What I saw was a guy with over 13 staples in his leg. A guy who got that way by having his leg sliced open by a disc. In a pro race.

              Tell us – what did you see?

              • ebbe

                An injury that could have resulted.from basically any part of a bike hitting his leg, or his leg hitting the part. Or his leg hitting a sharp cobble

                Wheres your video showing what you said you saw? And how do you explain that I can’t even get a small scratch from a spinning disc if I tried, with actual video evidence?

                • I’m sorry, I’m actually scoffing at your comment.

                  If forced to pick between the OPINION of an armchair warrior or the guy who was actually there, actually had the accident and actually has the injury, I’m going to go with the guy who was there. Not you.

                  Seems more than reasonable to me. But you, you don’t seem reasonable at all. You seem really, really bias. I wonder why that is?

                  • ebbe

                    Did you even look at my video? No? Why not? Biased? I wonder why that is? ;-)

                    • It would appear that I’m not the only one who is ‘bias’ (from you, I’ll take that word to mean ‘reasonable’): https://cyclingtips.com/2016/04/uci-suspends-usage-of-disc-brakes-after-ventosos-roubaix-injury/

                    • ebbe

                      A sad day when UCI takes decisions based on fishy statements (though sadly not unusual). First: Ventoso claims Maes was “also” injured by a disc, “one of those 32”. However, if you look at the photos of Maes’ crash, there is no disc brake equipped bike even around (no Merida or Direct Energie even in sight). Secondly: We’ve yet to see proof that Ventoso’s injury was caused by a disc. The photos do not prove this, and he even admits he did not a the brake disc go into his leg. If it happend the way he describes (and why would we doubt him right?): A crash happend in front of them, both Ventoso and the Direct Energie rider managed to stay upright but had to swerve, Ventoso rode into the back of the other rider: “it was only my leg touching the back of his bike”. If this is factual, then Ventoso should swerved to the left of the Direct Energie bike (where the disc is) and should have injured his right leg. It is in no way physically possible to inure your left leg on another rider’s disc, if both riders stayed upright and facing to the front (of the race). Yet, he in fact clearly injured his left leg, as we can all see on the photos. Either his account of events is incomplete (or plain wrong) or he did not cut his leg on a disc but (eg) on a cassette or spoke. This is clearly fishy enough to at least investigate.

                      On a different note: Again a crash involving a moto happend, caught on camera. Again no action by UCI.

                    • jules

                      disagree it’s impossible that it happened in that way. if you run into the back of someone you can unclip and stuff overlaps. saying the disc and leg were on the wrong side is oversimplifying the mess that is crashing into someone else.

                      it is worth asking the question though. Ventoso doesn’t provide very clear info.

                    • ebbe

                      In fact, that “mess” is always quite simple when you can see it in a quality video or photo. The thing complicating this is that we have no videos or photos. That’s why I said his accounts of events could also be incomplete. More reasons this warrants an investigation.

                      I’d still say that if he managed to unclip and stick his leg around the Direct Energie bike rear wheel, he could only have a cut running along his tibia (almost straight up/down) not across as is clear from the photos. And Ventoso would have to possess the longest femurs in the world to stay on his own bike, reach around the wheel of a different bike to his left and reach the discs. I’ve just tried this on my own bike: It is quite possible to stand over a rear wheel and put your knee (slightly below the knee in this case) against the disc, but not to then twist your leg enough to get a knife cut across the tibia. It’s clearly near impossible to do so while you’re yourself still on another bike. Enough question marks to start an investigation.

                      The Maes thing is clearly untrue though. No disc bikes even around when he crashed.

                      Edit: And finally, this is not really an argument against Ventoso, but relevant none the less: A team mate of Ventoso has flat out lied about disc injuries before, when he falsely presented a chain ring injury on a Cannondale riders as a disc injury. This does not prove anything against Ventoso (that a team mate lied does not prove he lied as well), but is relevant to the overall case for or against discs.

                    • jules

                      I agree it bears further investigation. he comes across as having been waiting for an opportunity to put a stop to using disc brakes

                    • ebbe

                      Agreed, that’s how it does come across… Which I can even understand in a way: I also don’t really see a big need for disc brakes in the pro peloton. Some advantaqes (mainly for non experienced tourists, not so much for pros) and some disadvantages (which are real for pros, not so much for tourists). Having said that, there are also plenty reports of pros that are loving the disc brakes.

                    • You’re a nutter. Enough said.

                  • Aaron

                    How does ones left leg come into contact with the left side of the bike where the disc is located? This looks more like the rear cassette doing the damage.

                • Chris Drew

                  You are either a troll, blind or working for a manufacture. The evidence is pretty clear. have you hit the disc with your hand going at 50km/h or with the force of a 60kg rider behind it? You may find you get a very difference result.

                  • ebbe

                    At that speed, anything can cut you. Such as: one of the 24 bladed spinning spokes, which are sharper than a disc. Ventoso was lucky these 24 spinning knifes were partially covered by a disc, he could have ended up with a much worse injury. Just do a Google image search for “bicycle spokes injury”

                    • Chris Drew

                      Sure there are lots of different types of injuries that is why we have bar end pugs. However we need spokes and it is not a smaller issue if you look at the number accidents vs the number of spoke injuries. You argument is absurd, you are arguing that putting a snake in the baby pen is ok because the bars are already a choking hazard so there is nothing to see.

                    • ebbe


                      1. Spokes are sharper than discs. Unlike bars, which are safer than snakes
                      2. Disc cover the spokes. Unlike snakes who take no danger away at all
                      3. Many many many accidents have happend with spokes. Several people have lots fingers, mechanics and riders. For the general public : each year there’s 2 million euros in hospital bills in my country from bicycle spokes injuries alone
                      4. See the math in another comment: adding discs actually decreases the total length of sharp edges accessible to rider flesh in case of a crash. Your false logic fails to acknowledge this simple fact and only assumes an increase in total length of sharp edges

                    • You’re one to accuse someone of false logic! But then, you’re not actually using logic, so I guess it can’t be false. You bang on about spoke injuries and how there’s so many of them blah blah blah – they’ve only just started using discs in the pro peloton, would that not have something to do with the infrequency of disc accidents??? You’re an expert at false correlation and a definite troll.

                    • ebbe

                      If you would have paid attention to what I wrote, instead of getting your panties in a bunch over what you think I wrote, you would have noticed that I referred to the *severity* and *costs* of spoke injuries, not the amount. You’re not really good at this whole new fangled “reading” thing, are you Kim? ;-)

              • ebbe

                Or look it at a different way: say the disc was not there and his knee went straight into the spinning spokes… Now do a Google image search for “bicycle spokes injury”. You’ll see people with half chopped off feet, fingers, etc. Is that preferable?

                • Seriously, who reads the crap you write? Why bother? You’re a hater buddy, a keyboard warrior. I’ve zero time for your crap. You think you’ll change my mind, make me a less reasonable person through sheer weight of verbiage?

                  When a person writes, they say things by inference, not just directly. And you for sure inferred the quantity of spoke related accidents. Don’t fall back on that old ‘ah, but I never actually, explicitly *said* that’ argument, it won’t work because EVERYBODY infers, nobody is always literal. Well, that’s not quite true – pedants always claim to be literal. And I guess you fit the description for a true pedant don’t you?

                  Not very good at this argument thing are you? But you are a moderately accomplished troll. Not the best I’ve seen, but probably a 6.5 out of 10.

                  Kudos for being a little above mediocre.

                  • ebbe

                    Sour grapes for finding out you’ve attacking based on nothing but assumptions, Kim? ;-) That’s OK, I won’t hold it against you. Take some time to relax and we’ll have a cup of kool aid to wash the dirty taste out of your mouth. If you’re nice, I might even teach you how to read, in stead of infer and assume merely to attack. Because we all know, when you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME ;-)

                    To close off, here’s an ancient Chinese wisdom that might help you on your path to enlightenment

                  • ebbe

                    Still want to argue about the danger of getting caught in spokes, Kim?

                    Felline out of today’s race with a broken face after getting his hand caught in the spokes. If his hand is not at least also broken I’d be very surprised. Look up the video yourself, it’s all over the internet everywhere.

                    Don’t know if he was fiddling with his rim brakes, but it’s not unlikely since that exact thing has happend time and time before.

                    • I didn’t want to argue with you about anything., at any point. You’re a troll who has nothing better to do than argue. I’ve a life, and very little time for trolls.

                      Incidentally, I didn’t say spokes weren’t dangerous. My point was two-fold: 1. Cycling is already dangerous, why make it more so (demonstrably more so) without exceptionally good reason (which the addition of discs to the pro ranks simply does not provide).

                      2. You’re making claims you have no ability to support – YOU WETE NOT THERR. I’m more than happy to support the riders.

                      It’s a shame you are not.

                    • ebbe

                      Ah, the good old “I never said that” that you accuse other people of doing ;-)

                      You should really pay better attention Kim. The person who is making unsupported claims (admitted to by himself) is Ventoso. Hé did not see what happend to either himself or Maes. I’m calling out that piece of assumption as 1) assumption and 2) unlikely. Decisions should not be based on unlikely assumptions, that’s why I’ve argued for a proper investigation several times. If you prefer to burry the facts and Base everything on hysteria, that says more about you than it does about me

                    • GoRixter

                      That accident looks SOOOO painful. Not only the faceplant onto concrete, but could’ve torn his hand off (figuratively at least). OUCH!
                      (That’s a great close up shot. I looked at the footage over and over again but couldn’t determine what caused the carnage)

            • GoRixter

              You obviously didn’t try hard enough. I’ve seen an 8″ rotor burn through a gardening glove in an experiment, not to mention that DOT fluid and mineral oil in the brake hoses can reach boiling point. I’ve had my son have DOT fluid in his face as a result of a freeride mtb accident which severed his brake line.

              Sure there’s lots of risk in road racing, but the whole disc movement is being pushed by the bike manufacturers, not the pro cyclists. If they don’t see the need, why should they be subjected to the risk?

              • ebbe

                Did you even bother to have a look at the video, or are you just blabbing?

                You obviously didn’t try to put your left leg on somebody else’s left side of the bike, while both upright and facing the same direction

                The issue here isn’t “what pros want”, it’s “did ventoso’s and maes’ injury result from a disc”. Maes’ certainly didn’t, ventoso’s probably didn’t, and he himself admits he doesn’t even know.

                • GoRixter

                  @Ebbe you’re right, after looking at Maes video, I believe his injury is entirely related to hitting the pave. I had a similar injury trail running when I hit the deck at a much slower speed. I’m can’t speak to Ventoso’s injury. Perhaps it was a disc, perhaps not, I take him at face value and assume he’s being honest.

                  I do stand by my statements that discs and brake fluid can be extremely dangerous when they get hot, and they do heat up.

                  I’ve got several bikes, with both disc and rim brakes and have nothing against disc brakes. Personally though, I feel the push for disc brakes in the Pro Peloton is being driven by the bike industry, not the pros, nor the teams themselves.

                  • ebbe

                    ;-) Whether to use them in pro races is a different question I’d say. Related, but different. I see pros and cons. I see some pros fearing discs (not hating them per se, but fearing them – notably a few guys from Cannondale and Movistar), I see some pros absolutely loving discs (The entire Roompot, Merida and Direct Energie teams love them, a couple of guys from Etixx, Trek, Sky, have said they really liked them in out of competition tests) and others don’t really have a strong voice. We tend to forget that “pros” is not one person, but a large group, with lots of different opinions.

                    I do think the way this situation is currently handled is just… amateurish. This whole fact free hysteric framing via the media is utterly useless. I’d say: Organise a vote with all pros under contract at a road team (all pro levels). If a majority say “not yet” don’t introduce them. However: This does include the risk of sponsors reducing their contributions, which could mean pay cuts for riders. This is simply a fact of life and should be made very clear up front. If a majority says “yes”, just make them mandatory for everybody next season. In this case, the industry should understand very clearly that they need to be 100% ready next season (including putting as large a radius on the discs as possible)… Maybe a third option could be: Keep them optional for now.

                    Repeat the vote in 2 or 3 years from now.

                    Use on the (a) pro peloton is (for me) a completely separate discussion from the performance (and safety) of disc brakes… for consumers. Discs are vastly superior for consumers. And not as sharp as people are made to believe by all these media hysterics: See my little experiment at twitter . com / ebbenieuweboer / status / 720012986371477506 (remove the spaces)

                    Yes, similar to people who have never tried them and are blabbing nonsense, I’m a bit biased towards the other end of the spectrum: My “new” bike has disc brakes (officially it’s a CX bike, but I use it as a road bike a lot, and for light MTB work as well). I’m perfectly happy with them and never want to go back. I also don’t mind being ahead of the pros with a UCI illegal bike. As with the weight limit, I actually kind of love the fact that consumers can have better bikes than pros ;-)

                    • It’s not a different question – it’s the entire point of the article. See, this is what happens when you conflate – you lose sight of the original point and start arguing for the conflation.

                      And what do people usually chose as their conflation argument? Something that’s either a vested interest or a personal interest.

                      And that’s what you’re doing here.

                      The article and the subsequent conversation is about the use of discs in the pro peloton AND about an accident that demonstrates the riders’ desire not to have them and why. That’s what it was about. Until you hijacked it and made it about one riders story. And that’s how industry Shills argue their agenda – by breaking an issue down to incident level and casting doubt or aspersions.

                      So. Tell us, who do you work for?

                    • ebbe

                      Look at the title of the article. So… Now this article is not about one rider’s injury and call for action? Oh ok . Keep dreaming Kim ;-)

                  • Il_falcone

                    GoRixter, you’re right: The driving force behind the introduction of disc brakes TO THE PRO PELOTON is the industry. But what’s so bad about this? They are the ones who spend hundreds of millions each year to equip the pro peloton. If they have “invented” something new it’s only natural that they want the pros to use it. After all that is their business. Where would the professional side of that sport be if each and every team had to buy their whole equipment because they only go after what their riders want to use? Mind you it never was like that. The equipment being used in professional cycling was always about which manufacturer has the deepest pockets.
                    Still the pro riders should have a strong vote in that discussion and they obviously have. Some came public and uttered their concerns during the past months. But nonetheless the trial period for disc brakes was started. Now it’s April, we’re three months into the racing season but so far only one team, who’s not in the WT, has fully committed to using disc brakes. The rest of the peloton is not using them. Lampre and Direct Energy did but only for the cobbled classic where bicycle weight doesn’t matter. Even without the incidents at P-R, disc brake related or not, I expected them to go back to rim brakes for the rest of the season. If that isn’t already a strong vote against disc brake use what is it?
                    If the trial had run till the end of the year as intended we would then have come to the conclusion that they can be allowed but nearly nobody uses them. And that would have been the strongest imaginable vote. The UCI could have decided to allow them or ban them without making any difference to the outcome of races and to the severity of injuries riders sustain.
                    MAYBE if someone in some future season won an important race like Il Lombardia in the rain because he had disc brakes and rode away from the rest in the last descent we would have seen a small development towards disc brakes in the peloton. But that’s a big MAYBE.
                    At the end of the day it would have been the riders who would have shown what their take on disc brakes is and those customers whose buying decisions are really influenced by what the pros ride would have taken notice and not bought road bikes with disc brakes because the pros wouldn’t ride them. So, the push of the industry to introduce disc brakes to the pro peloton would have backfired only and solely because of the pro riders’ opinion although everyone who has ever really tried them will confirm that they are superior and advantageous for a racer. Even Erik Zabel recently said that after trying a road bike with disc brakes. Yes, he’s working for a bike company right now, but Canyon doesn’t have a competitive disc brake road bike so far, so from his employer’s point of view it was a bad moment to say that he thinks that they are an advantage.
                    And that’s why the UCI should have continued the trial period as intended and not stopped it right after the first claimed relatively minor injury caused by a rotor.

                • Ever been in an accident? Shit gets into incredible positions.

                  Of course I’ve viewed the video. And I don’t babble, I leave that to the experts, like yourself.

          • Holby City

            We do need footage Kim but it doesn’t look like there is any. How can he get his left leg sliced by touching the back of a bike with discs on the right hand side unless that bike was travelling in the opposite direction? He said he didn’t even know it had happened immediately so how can he know that a disc sliced his leg? If I saw a disc slice my leg I’d look at it straight away. I can understand that if he believes the disc caused the injury he would be angry.

            If they are indeed the cause of slices then surely they could be blunted. I’m just a rider, don’t work for a manufacturer, don’t own discs, who would be very disappointed if a knee-jerk reaction stifled innovation. Don’t ban them indefinitely, suspend them and do some research. The plural of anecdote is not data. The UCI should not ban discs because one rider says they caused an injury. They need proper data. If they are in fact dangerous then they shouldn’t be used in races.

        • zosim

          TBH on the heating the brakes, it’s absolutely possible if you drag. I rode in the alps a few years ago and on a 25 minute descent there was a section I dragged the brakes a bit. Boiled the fluid and heated the discs so much that they went a lovely shade of purple. That said I didn’t try to touch them when I crashed (I rode up the side of the road rather than going down the valley) after pulling the lever right back to the bars so maybe they’d have cooled quickly enough not to burn me but I couldn’t say.

          • ebbe

            GCN showed the same. The point is: don’t drag your brakes! ;-) why would you. Pros wouldn’t

            Also, I’ve never seen a pile up in a race in a descent.

          • enio

            Drag your brakes on a rim and your rim and wheel will explode resulting in a catastrophic crash that would be much more severe!

      • Will

        Actually, they’re not. There are shaft drive bikes with no exposed gears, belt drive bikes, unicycles (ok, not a bike), and other methods of propelling oneself forwards (including the old “velocipede” where you just kick yourself along). Chainrings are themselves a technological development, as are discs.
        Just saying, you can ride/race a bike without chainrings if you really wanted to.
        Being argumentative for the sake of trying to illustrate that there are plenty of dangerous/unnecessary bits on bikes, discs are just the latest.
        I wonder if riders worried about getting arms chopped off back when Spinergy wheels were around…

      • Chris Drew

        I agree. Disc are on the front and back of the bike in very exposed positions. They are one of the first things that are going to be slide past a rider in a crash. Chain rings by comparison are in the middle and relatively protect often by the chain. The discs are also likely to be spinning quickly where as the chain rings will be moving slowly at best unless there are legs attached which actually provide some protection.

        So now we have some actual data and it seems to confirm what many had feared. But what would I know I am just a grumpy old man, now if the pros were complaining that would be different. That hasn’t happened yet has it!

    • Scott Davidson

      I believe most crashes are at high speed at which point u are generally in the big ring which would then negate the teeth in a crash unless of course chains come off..However something to consider thinking about??

    • Simon Bird

      A fair point, but I’d guess there are subtle differences that make a bigger impact, such as a chainring is spinning at 100rpm or so, and stops spinning pretty quickly, whereas the disc can be going multiple times faster. Additionally the chainring is in the middle of the bike, somewhat shielded by cranks, chainstays and legs, whereas the discs are at the extremities. I’d imagine the most risky part would be overlapping riders while slowing, rather than falling onto a static bike.

    • Dave

      Or the rapidly spinning hacksaw-like spokes.

    • Engelking3

      I’ve been amazed for years that nobody is putting a carbon outer guard on road chainrings. There may even be an aero advantage to doing so.

      • Ji?í Vorobel

        Non-structural fairings of any kind have been banned since the 70s. And even if they were legal, chainguards and front derailers don’t mix well.

    • Nathan_HiberDive

      The big difference with chainrings is they tend to stop spinning when you unclip and thus rotational damage is not a factor. By contrast wheels spin much faster than pedals on downhill/flats so those curved bits on the outside of the rotor become a bit like a circular saw.

    • David Tilley

      Chainrings don’t have a sharp edge to cut like that.

  • santiagobenites

    For a while now, people have discussed the possible dangers of using disc brakes in mass start events. Now, we have concrete evidence, and it isn’t pretty. While we should always open to new technologies and materials, I still can’t help but think that this particular one has been pushed into pro road racing by the industry looking for a new product to sell, without enough consideration for the inherent dangers that it may pose. It would be great to hear an unbiased opinion of what all pros think on the matter, but I’m not sure if that is even possible for fears of upsetting sponsors.

    • Andy Skeen

      That’s not concrete evidence of anything other than his body made contact with another surface. Chainrings can and regularly do cut people.

      • If you have another method of propelling a bicycle forward that doesn’t require chainrings, let’s hear it. There is however another way of stopping a bicycle – rim brakes. The point is to minimise the dangers while maximising the technological advantages – adding discs to the pro peloton doesn’t maximise the technological advantages adequately in comparison to the quite clear (and quite clearly demonstrated) risks.

        • ebbe

          Shaft drive, belt drive

          • santiagobenites

            Why do you think that don’t we don’t see shaft drives and belt drives on bicycles in the pro peloton?

          • I should have known to whom I was speaking and made it a little simpler for you – I should have said ‘viable’ method of propelling a bicycle forward. Wheel changes with a belt drive would prove immensely long, shaft drive is simply too heavy.

            But, given your intensely argumentative nature, I’m sure you’ll have some sort of illogical or irrational response to that too. I don’t really care. At this point you’re adding nothing to the conversation; anything further you have to say on this is trolling pure and simple (and that means: don’t expect a response).

            • ebbe

              And what do you think would happen if disc brakes are covered with a carbon cover? That would not impact wheel chances at all?

    • jason Keefer

      Strange we haven’t seen these issues in mountain bike racing.

      • You don’t get these kind of pile ups in mountain bike racing.

        • double A

          oh really…….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRJPyd9gyn8
          the music makes it even better.

          • Hurtin’ Albertan

            A mass start DH race on snow and rock while everyone is wearing armour is not what is being discussed. It’s not like this is what DH riders or XC riders see in the circuit during a regular season.

  • StevieTopSiders

    Seems to be a lot less dangerous than mountain roads and press motorcycles.

  • H.E. Pennypacker

    I’m not doubting his story at all, and I think rider safety is paramount, but am I the only one who doesn’t think that looks like a wound caused by a disc brake? It’s essentially two vertical inward cuts in a single horseshoe shaped arc. I’m having trouble imagining the circumstance that created it with a disc brake.

    • ebbe

      Agreed. Nor is it on the most logical leg: Right leg would have made much more sense.

      We’ve had this before: A (Cannondale) rider showed a photo of his injured leg on instagram some months ago, and everybody jumped on the discs band wagon, without proof. It looked much more like a chainring injury, but nobody cared about facts, as usual.

  • ebbe

    If you think this is bad, do a Google image search for “bicycle spoke injury”. But be warned: Only do so if you have a strong stomach.

    I for one am quite happy with the cover that covers at least part of those 48 deathly spinning radial razor blades in my wheels. I think they call these covers “discs”…

  • ebbe

    Has anybody pointed out the conspiracy theory that Ventoso works for Movistar, who ride Canyon, which is the only big bike brand that does not have a high end disc race bike on offer yet?

  • Frank

    I am somewhat surprised by the general drift of the comments above. The power of marketing really knows no bounds.

    • Agreed. The entire disc brake fiasco is nothing more than a marketer’s wet dream.

      • Sean parker

        Unless you use them i suppose, then they become a better way of stopping a bike.

        Who cares if pros use them and get cut up, or don’t use them and stay on obsolete technology?

        real world riders will adopt discs because they are better at stopping bikes.
        the racing crowd will follow what the pros do – even if it means not being able to stop in the wet when someone opens their car door…

        • Shame then that this article is specifically about their use in the pro peloton then eh?

          Anyway, a brake can’t stop you faster than the tyres grip will allow – last I checked, a rim brake was plenty strong enough to overcome the traction break point of a tyre.

          Consumers – meh. Buy what you want, I couldn’t care less – you want discs, buy them. Personally, I have no need for disc brakes. Pro peloton – they’re a hazard without justification.

          • Sean parker

            1. I was replying to the article, which is why I commented on the pro peleton. I added a comment about applicability to punters; which is completely valid – given that bike manufacturers use professional racing to sell bikes to you and me. Ever wondered why you had an expensive bike when a cheaper one would do? it’s because you are subject to the ‘marketers wet dream’ that you apparently lament..
            2. The purpose of disc brakes is not to stop you faster than the tyre will allow. it is to start stopping you earlier – in the wet where rim brakes are inefficient.

  • jason Keefer

    Explain how his left leg was cut by something on the left side of another person’s bike?

    Then explain how the injury looks nothing like a blade injury?

    • Sean Doyle

      Because it was either the cassette or the top of the chainring as he fell forward a little.

  • Andy

    Anyone who has worked in a bike shop since disc brakes became popular knows how dangerous they can be. I’ve seen a fellow employee nearly cut the his fingertip off from a spinning disc rotor and I’ve been cut by them a couple times myself. They are extremely sharp, so sharp in fact that each ones comes with a sticker on it warning about just how sharp they are. They also get very hot during descending. I’m not sure what that one commenters is talking about “comfy warm”. A friend of mine looks like he was branded with a Shimano rotor on his calf from pressing his leg against a hot rotor while changing a flat. They are an unnecessary danger in an already dangerous sport, that are being pushed by sales not by reason. In mountain bike racing they work because there are much fewer racers and they don’t typically pile up the way road racers do a handful of times every race.

  • ebbe

    FYI: Latest rumors are disc brakes in the pro peloton are going to be discontinued immediately

    • nycebo

      Unreal. People are such sheep. The handlebars could “stab” one to death. The spinning spokes at HIGH speed are serious risks. Hell, I have a cut in my calf from impact with the pedals. People like to make such issues out of nothing. Disk brakes are VASTLY superior. Anyone who disagrees has NEVER ridden one, especially down mountains and in the rain. I chuckle. Same sort of putzes were against ABS in cars when it first came along.

      • ebbe

        The “sharp edge” of a 170mm disc is about 533mm (circumference, one-sided). This disc partially covers 12 “sharp bladed spokes” on the left side of the wheel, at about 75mm covered per spoke = 900mm. Overall DECREASE in sharp spinning edges when using discs: 366mm per wheel, equals 732mm per bike. I’ll stay on discs.

        • Stompin

          Well, someone is on the payroll… bahahaha!

          • ebbe

            I know you’re kidding. But you’re not really helping by ad hominem attacks, even if they’re meant to be funny. Anybody with some middle school maths education can do this calculation, without ever having worked on anybody’s payroll. Feel free to validate the maths and logic behind it yourself.

            I case you’re not kidding, I eagerly await your evidence. Look up my LinkedIn profile for instance?

  • Craig Hoskin

    The strange thing in all this is … its his left leg. For him to have a gash like that, I presume from the rear wheel of a bike in front, he must have liteally mounted the rear wheel. Not saying its impossible, but there are far easier places to get a gash on the shin like that than from the rotor on a wheel.

    • velocite

      Indeed. Based on Ventoso’s description of the event I cannot visualize it. Until I see a reconstruction I’m a non-believer.

      • Dave

        Looks more like he hit the back of someone’s chainring or cassette, you can see the teeth marks.

        I expect the temporary suspension to be lifted as soon as there’s a basic fact check.

        • velocite

          He obviously hit something – or did something hit him? What if his leg got raked by the buckle on the leading rider’s right shoe, as it ascended? This seems more likely to me.

          • Dave

            Especially since he himself says he had an upright collision with a rider in front who was also trying to avoid the crash.

            Even if he was in shock afterwards, I would have expected him to remember that he got caught up in such a high energy crash that bikes were flying all around including at least one rotating 180+ degrees in one axis and 90+ degrees in another.

            The story simply doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.

  • Neil

    This thread of comments is the worst I’ve read since I started coming to Cycling Tips.
    The guy sliced his leg open on a disk. He saw someone else’s leg sliced open by a disk. He wants disks gone: they are in a trial phase after all. Sounds pretty fair to me.
    Instead, we have clowns saying, ‘but look at my YouTube video’ or ‘Canyon don’t have a disk bike yet so it must be a conspiracy theory.’
    I’d say the fact that there is clearly major risk in having disks in mass start professional races is a good reason to get rid of them. The fact that only two teams out of 20 chose to ride disks make me think they are also unwanted and unnecessary.
    So the teams don’t want them, the riders don’t want them and they are dangerous. Clearly a conspiracy.

    • zosim

      Except for the Etixx guy, nobody except Ventoso has said it was done by a disc and witnesses to the crash (read road.cc) say there were no Lampre or Direct Energie riders involved in his crash so it’d be hard for one of them to have caused the cut.

  • Nick Squillari

    I’m going to put my reply on a YouTube video. Please Google it ?a?n?d? ?r?a?c?k? ?u?p? ?h?i?t?s? ?o?n? ?t?h?e? ?v?i?d? ?f?o?r? ?m?e? so I can legitimately impart on opinion…

  • MushieG

    I think most people commenting here have only read the headline. The quote in the article is
    “I didn’t actually fall down: it was only my leg touching the back of his bike…..”
    I would like to see how this is possible without crashing in to a bike. I know the pros are good bike handlers, but seriously.

  • Stephen J Schilling

    There is no reason the manufacturers cannot make a bonded rotor that has a rubber/hard rubber/plastic coating around the outer edge, a completely round rotor, and then adapt to caliper to fit the modified rotor. Instead, they tried to force a design that does work in other applications onto a road bike without really thinking it through, and now we have the first seemingly damning evidence against their use. Should I even bring up the problem of the QR skewer overlap?

    I’ll be watching intently for reports from amateur races, especially crits, for when more of these injuries occur. And if I’m ever injured by one in any sort of group ride/training ride/race incident, I assure you my lawsuit will bankrupt that specific manufacturer. And only that manufacturer.

    They are a good (exceptional, even) technology but haphazardly implemented into this discipline.

    • jules

      I doubt it’s practical to use a polymer coating as a guard around the periphery of a disc. The Glass Transition Temp of polymers is too low – they won’t handle the heat.

      • Stephen J Schilling

        So then essentially you are confirming there is no practical and safe way to use disc rotors in the pro road peloton?

        And by extension, they should not be allowed in any form of mass start road racing?

        • ebbe

          Discs are at least 2mm thick. That allows for (for example) a 1,5mm radius on the outside end and a 0,5mm on the inside. Getting cut from a 1,5mm radius is nearly impossible. However: I’ve tried cutting myself on a current disc rotor, and that didn’t even work. Go to twitter and then add this to the URL /greencurryphoto/status/720630779533864960 – should bring up the video.

  • Callum Dwyer

    Just out of interest, can any one with a medical background can explain what are the blue cord type material coming of Ventoso leg in the photo above? Is it to drain off fluid?

    • Il_falcone

      Yes, it’s a drainage.

    • jules

      broadband connection

      • Dave

        That’s odd. I thought a Movistar rider would use mobile data.

        • jules

          they do but Ventoso didn’t like it so he asked for a broadband connection, apparently it’s common for pros to sneakily use non-sponsor products

          • Dave

            Especially at Paris-Roubaix!

  • Dave

    I would encourage the UCI to commission an independent review into the circumstances of the crash before making any emotionally-driven response.

    It looks more like a spoke cut to me. Wrong place and shape for a brake disc.

  • claude cat

    The UCI have suspended the use of disc brakes in road races. Pity they don’t act so fast on motos.

  • Il_falcone

    Guys, why do we even care? None of us is a pro, right? If they don’t want to use them that’s fine with me.
    I for one am happy to have discs on all of my bikes by now and I can only laugh about those clowns showing that they have no clue (and never ridden with discs) by uttering things like “the tire’s traction is the limiting factor” and “there’s no need for them”. The disc brakes on my road bike recently saved my life during a rainy training ride when a motorist in a VW van ignored my right of way at a crossing and passed in front of me when I was about to enter the crossing without even touching his brake. There was no way I could have avoided him with rim brakes on my wet aluminum rims. The disc brake allowed me to do an emergency stop on the wet road – yes, current tires like the Schwalbe ONE have that much traction even on wet tarmac, try it out – and see the van avoid my front wheel by maybe 3 meters.

  • JBS

    Everyone seems to be assuming that Ventoso cut himself on the rear disc, which is why they can’t picture how his left leg was cut. Anybody consider that the rider in front might not have been parallel to him after contact and that his left leg ended touching the front disc in the chaos.?

    • Craig Hoskin

      Yup … but if you have a bike with disc … just try it and see how hard it is to get your shin anywhere near a rotor to create the cut you see in the photo. The slice is in the coronal plane, and to do that with a disc is near impossible as your foot gets in the way … ie it hits the tyre/rim etc. The only way to possibly slice the leg is in the medial plane … ie the slice would be entirely vertical.

      • JBS

        I didn’t say it was easy to do, but think about all the “impossible” tangles you end up in when a peloton piles up.

        Of all the possibilities on a bike the front disc is the most likely in my opinion. The chainring would be harder to access if the other rider was still on their bike (if they were off the bike, the cut would be horizontal anyway); the crank, chain, derailleur and rider’s leg are all in the way. Plus Ventoso’s story is that he didn’t feel the cut. A chainring would cut like a saw, not a sharp knife, I reckon you’d feel it. Cassette? I find it hard to believe that a cassette would produce a single cut like that; there would be multiple gouges. Spokes? I can’t see how a non-moving wheel would cut that deep or at that angle. That only leaves the discs, which would be hot sharp knives. If a knife is sharp enough you don’t feel the cut until after the event.

        So tough angle or not, his story rings true to me and seems the most likely option.

    • Dave

      It’s not consistent though. He says he wasn’t in the crash itself, but bumped against another rider trying to avoid the crash. That simply cannot explain the injury he received – which for a disc to cause would have required a very high energy crash with bikes flying around and rotating in multiple axes, not a low-speed collision on the cobbles.

      It’s interesting that we haven’t heard from the Etixx rider yet. Maybe he recognised that his injury wasn’t caused by a brake disc, or was glad that the disc shielded him from the spokes which could have left him facing amputation.

      • Belinda Hoare

        Etixx management have already said they don’t know what caused Maes’ injury, but photos of the incident clearly show that he fell onto a Lotto-Jumbo bike. No disc brake involved. (See photo sequence at http://road.cc/content/news/186116-uci-reportedly-suspends-disc-brake-trial). Not that that minor detail has stopped the media from reporting Ventoso’s attempt to co-opt Maes into this version of events, as fact.

  • Nathman

    I’m sure discs are great for commuting and road riding around hills/wet etc, as the rides does allot of stopping for roundabouts, red lights etc… But for the pro ROAD peloton where they seldom touch the brakes they’re no better than traditional brakes… This isn’t F1 racing where it’s about braking later than your rival to make up a position, this is bike racing where most corners (save for the final few km’s) are taken carefully and respectfully to avoid an accident… So all for discs (they feel great in the hands) but not under racing conditions.

  • Let’s not be hasty here. We need more randomised control trials involving cyclists and disc brakes, or giant knives, before drawing any sound conclusions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300808/

    • jules

      the luddites are going to come for you over this one. they just don’t understand the importance of rigorous, statistically robust conclusions in making any and all decisions.

      • I’m enjoying this thread. Uncommon events intertwined with two diametrically opposing belief systems surrounding disc brakes make for good conspiratorial stories.

        • jules

          the question of how to best manage low-probability, high-consequence risks is well studied. generally best practice is to focus on mitigating the hazard (the exposed disc here) but it’s difficult to determine the appropriate degree of mitigation. terrorism is a classic example

          • It’s pretty obvious here. Remove (or cover) said mitigation in this case.

            • jules

              I agree. sounds practical too

  • Luis_Gee

    Some comments in this thread looks more like they belong to a Youtube comment thread than to Cyclingtips. Seems like anything resembling a disc vs caliper break debate results in the same level of craziness than an Android vs Apple debate.

    According to some people’s logic you might as well tie a couple of hand grenades to each bike because pro cycling is already dangerous. It wouldn’t make a difference. Apparently, pro riders are just a bunch of pampered divas who irrationally refuse to take whatever risks the armchair experts around the world demand.

    And why do people even care the type of brakes pro riders prefer to use? Is it because some Freds already replaced all of their road frames with disc brake ones and they’re afraid they’ll look less pro when they stop at the cafe?

    • ebbe

      I, for one, absolutely couldn’t care less what pros ride or not. Most likely none of my bikes is UCI legal. I myself like the disc brakes for their superior performance on MTB, CX and (…yes…) road, but I’m not a pro: These guys are generally 10 cms shorter then me, weight at least 10kg less, drive on closed off roads, and if they ever wreck their bike they get a new one for free.

      I do care about facts however ;-) Some pros hate discs (true) and some love discs (also true) for use in road races? Fine, just take a vote and go with the majority. Repeat the vote in a few years and see how they feel then. But the public and media really should stop making up and/or confirming hysterical arguments and accusations that are questionable at best, but mostly plainly non-factual. At the core, that’s what this whole disc…ussion is about: Hysteria over verifiable facts.

      ps, I’m not talking about you of course! Your comment is spot on ;-)

  • ay

    How can he be so sure that it was a disk? He says he didn’t actually see it cut his leg. He didn’t fall. He only remembers touching something. The wound is on his left leg. Do they put the disks on the right sides of their bikes?

    • jules

      he crashed into the back of the bike in front. it’s conceivable his left leg struck the left rear disc. you can’t rule that out.

    • Aaron Heaysman

      I agree, it seems strange, and the injury is also on the left side of the leg. Seems like the only way that makes sense is if riding the other direction to the bike he hit.

  • Aaron Heaysman

    Is it just me or does the second image, the one showing the open wound, look like the shape of a chainring or cogs (up the top, it looks like the shape of 3 teeth)?

  • Jos

    If they just round the edges it will not cut! Very simple solution.

  • nolan

    Wait a second. How did his leg come in contact with the disc again?

    “it was only my leg touching the back of his bike.”

    Your left leg? While you were clipped in? On the left side of his bike?

  • Michael Hunt

    How did he get his left leg caught up in a rotor if he was “just riding along”? This seems potentially fishy…

  • Deryck Walker

    At the outset, I’ve been waiting on a final solid decision from UCI on disc and thru axle standards so I could buy and race a disc roadbike.

    This whole situation has given me serious pause for thought. I too was one of the ‘what about the chainring’ people, but with more thought there is more to it.

    Firstly, discs are rotating at a rate which generally far exceeds the rpm which a crankset will reach. Combining the heat with the rpm could make it like a cutting implement (not dissimilar dimension to an angle grinder blade). But outside of this, the bigger risk difference to a crank, is the discs are located on either end of the bike not in the middle where you could argue it’s harder to go to (or covered by a chain). In a big high speed bunch it’s not at all uncommon to be rear ended (in warnie 2016 I was rear ended during big bunch pile ups 3 times). Shoving a leg/shin into a rotating disc is likely going to cause serious damage. The same goes with a front disc running into the leg/Achilles/ankle of a rider who is in front.

    At this stage, this does turn me off wanting a disc bike for racing, and I feel sorry for the many companies who have probably invested 10s of millions in R&D which may amount to only minor sales due to these issues

  • David Tilley

    I think Ventoso is being a wee bit dramatic. The femoral artery is far to deep within the leg to be injured in such a way. However, I could see somebody’s neck being injured like that. I don’t see the need for disc brakes anyway. Rim brakes already have the ability to apply enough braking force to lock up a wheel or send you over the bars, even when descending Alpe D’Huez. What’s the problem with them? Disc brakes on road bikes seem to be a solution in search of a problem.


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