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November 18, 2017
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  • Kevin H

    If sportives also ban disc brake bikes from taking part (like in France) it becomes much more of a problem for the bike manufacturers. As people are unlikely to purchase 2 bikes of similar spec but with different braking systems

    • ebbe

      So this whole so called claim by Ventoso is actually one big conspiracy by the big bike brands to get us silly consumers to buy more than one bike. One for commuting, one for training on (public) paved roads, one for gravel roads, one for sportives where discs are allowed, one for sportives where they are not allowed, etc etc etc ;-)

      (Just kidding, of course)

      • Eat More Lard

        Don’t worry, if the NSW government has its way, you won’t be allowed to ride on the public road anyway so that’s at least one less bike required :0

  • Mike Williams

    I think Giant may want to look for a new Product Marketing Manager if he thinks customers only buy what they see the pros ride. I personally couldn’t care less … I used to check out the peleton tech but there is such a divergence nowadays that it is not worth the effort. I just did an audit of my $6000 bike and at most there are 2 components that could possibly be used by the pros my DuraAce chain and my DuraAce BB (do the pros use external any more?)

  • roddders

    A rider wasn’t killed by a race motorbike.

    • Stompin

      … he was run over and killed by a motorbike, your point?

      • roddders

        My point is that he wasn’t. Check your facts.

        • Vlaamse Dunny Bowl

          I thought he was?

          • roddders

            Have a look at the articles on cyclingnews, the enquiry is still ongoing but as far as I was aware, his death wasn’t caused by the motorbike collision.

            • Vlaamse Dunny Bowl

              I guess it was sorta inferred in all the discussion
              I’ll jump back from that conclusion & stay tuned

        • boalio

          Nope. It hasn’t been determined whether the motorbike killed him or not. That doesn’t mean that the motorbike DIDN’T kill him.

          • roddders

            I thought the report stated he was dead before the motorbike hit HIM.

    • Dave

      Neither were any riders injured by brake discs at Paris-Roubaix.

      • roddders

        Apart from ventoso obviously.

        • There is no evidence at all that he was injured by a disc brake rotor, besides his claim and the gory photos. He himself does not recall how he got injured.

  • Ghisallo

    It’s hard to sympathize with the major bike brands since they were, by all appearances, the ones pushing disc brakes on the pro peloton. The peloton as a group never asked for them, that’s for sure.

    • De Mac

      I tend to agree – plenty of road-disc bikes were being built and sold PRIOR to any indication they would be permitted. Cart leading the horse, or vice versa; bicycle manufacturers will ALWAYS be able to sell their products to non-racing cyclists, so their ‘concerns’ only centre around their desired implementation of a more streamlined product range (disc-only) – which is their motivation alone, not the UCI’s.

  • Stephen J Schilling

    Safety is a concern. The marketing BS is more of a concern. We were told that the 6w of aero drag loss on road discs is inconsequential. We were then told a 6w savings from rolling resistance on tires would save us chunks of time. Not to mention they are heavier and require the frame weight to be heavier. So apparently the past 15 years of “lighter, more aero is the key” no longer is important. I won’t need better stopping power if i can’t get up to speed int he first place.

  • transalpen

    What a fiasco. All this and is seems highly unlikely that either of the PRB riders’ injuries were actually caused by a disc brake rotor.

    • ebbe

      Don’t forget the claim we had a few months ago: Haas (and others) claiming Cardoso was sliced by a disc. At a quite “unfortunate” location on his body by the way. Talk about a near miss.

      Turned out there were no disc bikes around — Not even in that entire race I believe, but I’m not sure about that particular detail.

      Turned out Cardoso was hit by… a chainring of course!

      • Samuel Clemens

        They really should ban chainrings. I’ve seen terrible injuries from those things, especially on the calves of beginners.

        • Stompin

          … they should ban cars, they kill.

    • Maryljohnson

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  • ebbe

    I like this article! ;-)

    • Kit Lam

      Good point. This just explain qhy these day CX event became more and more popular

  • srcrozier

    Very interesting information, great article, thanks Neal. I find it super troubling that there is such a rush to conclusions based on two possible and most certainly not verified injuries from disc brakes. I would love to have a disc road bike but since this happened the Domane SLR pro fit disc I was hoping for almost certainly won’t see the light of day. It is really silly that these decisions are made which have wide reaching financial consequences based on information that is at the very least suspect (Ventoso’s account) and not confirmed.

    Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that quick changes are made in regards to this but still no massive changes to the number of cars and motorcycles in the caravan, which are a much bigger risk to rider safety.

    • Dave

      The second of the two injuries has indeed been verified – but verified as NOT having anything to do with a brake disc! Etixx-QuickStep confirmed that Maes’ injury was, contrary to Ventoso’s story about a crash which he knew nothing about, nothing to do with a brake disc as there were no Lampre-Merida or Direct Energie riders involved.

      I can understand the UCI temporarily banning disc brakes (though the Rompoort team should have been exempted for Amstel Gold, as the only team to be using exclusively disc brakes this year) as I’m sure they are all very busy dealing with the race vehicle issue which is a much higher priority. Once the race vehicles are dealt with, even a brief look at the facts should result in disc brakes being certified as safe again.

  • Derek Maher

    One can understand the marketing lobby being pissed off and no doubt they will be putting the pressure on the UCI.
    Regarding the racing riders both pro and amateur most of them are probably okay with the callipers and used to them.
    Anyway its not so much the bike you ride but strength skill and determination of the rider that counts.
    The consumers if new ones probably don’t care. The longer term rider who likes the latest kit may be annoyed that his favourite pro team are not using disk brakes. The Poser will dump the disks as naff and return to top of the line callipers in line with his pro team idols.

    • Larry Theobald

      Anyone remember SPINACI handlebars? You just HAD to have these (until they were banned) and suddenly – you didn’t. All the advantages touted by those who bought them didn’t seem to matter once their heroes weren’t using them. The bike industry is freaking out with inventory/sales issues on products that might not be so desirable now and worse, their marketing idea that YOU need what their sponsored pro teams use (and that it somehow makes a difference) could be taking a big, big hit.
      But on the other hand, don’t forget the punters were riding derailleur-equipped bicycles long before the pros were allowed to use them, so who can predict what will happen long-term?

  • Cormac O’B

    Bike companies aren’t stupid or ignorant, they always knew that discs weren’t suited to road racing, but they tried to bully it on to everyone to sustain high profits and now they’ve even got pros actively working against them, serves them right.

    “Cycling…more unusual…amateurs…have access to equipment that performs better than what the biggest stars can officially use…”
    The section is redundant, the article even mentions the 6.8kg rule…

    Riders who want callipers won’t be limited to a few hundred pros…Amateurs racers are going to want them too…

  • Jason Mitchell

    Looks like the bike industry will have to employ more consumer testing groups to vet new products that aren’t intended to be used in racing. Caliper brakes are great in many ways and disc brakes are great in other ways. I say that as I just got back to my desk from a ride that included a 1000+ ft. descent and I thoroughly enjoyed the power and modulation of my disc brakes.

    Just like the auto industry tests most of their consumer products on test tracks and real-world roads, the bike industry will need to do the same. And, consumer-based testing may just be cheaper than sponsoring a WorldTour team to be guinea pigs. That could cause even more ripples downstream.

  • Grant Headley

    Those of us amateurs who are in mass start elite races and do have risk of pileups are concerned with what the pros ride and what circumstances happen to the most skilled racers, who also have cart blanche medical care. If it is not safe for the pros it is not safe for my local and regional bunch races either.

    • OverIt

      True, but I think the number of people who “race” a “racing” bike is much smaller than those who “ride” a “racing” bike for other reasons. You the racer will always have the choice to ride what you like, and I hope the UCI and racing bodies decide on your safety over commercial pressure. I’ve always said discs need covers for races and arguably mass start sportive events, and this to me is an oh so easy solution.

      As for the rest of us racing bike riders, I for one will never go back to rim brakes for an all weather bike. I still have my rim brake bike and love it in the dry, but after using discs for a long time on the road they a much better solution, for a do it all machine.

    • Superpilot

      Yeah, with all due respect, you are the super minority of even event participants. What are the elite fields, 1%-5% of a fondo? Its what the 95% remaining ride, and even then there are many times more people that don’t enter events that still ride a road bike to commute, weekend rides or bunchies. You’re not the bread and butter of the bike companies, and you’re not the bread and butter of the events either. Its the people that aren’t elite that provide the majority of bike purchases, as well as mass start amateur race entries. So yep, it sure does matter for you in Cat 1/Elite and your safety, but it’s the Cat 3-5 and the non-racers that “pay the bills yo”, and much less likely to have a pileup, more likely a solo accident. So I think it’s right, the pros will go caliper, the public will go disk, except for top level amateur racers.

  • alexvalentine

    What’s the competitive advantage for disc brakes on the road? The only scenario I could see where I would really want road disc brakes is a mountain descent in the rain. That’s a really obscure scenario for most consumers. Most people don’t bother riding when it rains and will avoid treacherous descents in bad weather. So why would a consumer want to pay more money for something that adds more weight, increases drag, and only provides a competitive advantage in obscure scenarios?

    • Superpilot

      Not everyone competes that rides a road bike, so competition doesn’t matter. Commuters and bunch riders sell far more bikes than strict competitors, and they will follow the fashion, or perceived functionality. I know I’d prefer a disk roady for my winter and commute bike, but I admit I may be a minority to ride in the rain. Although it is surprising how often you can ride on a wet road with poor rim braking, but never have a drop of rain fall on you.

      • alexvalentine

        Bunch riders and weekend warrior are competing. Disc brakes for commuter bikes? Sure, that makes a slot of sense. For performance road bikes it doesn’t make a lot sense.

    • ebbe

      Use discs …
      If you’re heavier. Pros tend to not weigh more than 85kg (and that’s only guys like Vanmarcke). The general consumer can be twice that ;-)
      If you have less handling skills (or more fear) than the average pro
      If you ride in the rain (not necessarily on descents, any rain will do) often
      If you ride in busy traffic on open roads often
      If you want more consistency
      If you want less blocking of your wheel and therefore better braking performance (see the GCN test)
      If you ride bad roads (with lots of pot holes) and still want to get home if your wheel is whacked out of true
      If you want to ride wider tires for comfort and enhanced traction
      If you don’t want to buy new rims every X years
      If you don’t want your carbon clincher wheels to delaminate from rim-braking in hot weather or on long descents
      If you like clean lines on your fork crowns front and rear
      If you’ve ever got your fingers stuck in the spokes as you were trying to realign the rim brake horse shoe while riding
      If your own and fellow road users’ safety is more important to you than the added drag and weight

      Don’t use discs
      If NONE of the above applies to you ;-)

      • alexvalentine

        Disc brakes improve stopping power, but this list is just hyperbole. They are not going to make you a better, safer, or faster rider. Most riders replace wheels long before the brake track is worn and aluminum rims are ridiculously cheap.

      • Sorry, but this is all bs…

    • Sean parker

      There’s plenty of riders out there with poorly maintained rim brakes. Discs require less recalibration as the pads wear. And hydraulic hoses don’t stretch.
      moreover, you don’t have to be descending mountains in the wet to see their benefit. Being doored by a parked car in the wet is an exciting way to measure the time it takes for rim brakes to work.
      Discs are much more consistent and safe. Which is an argument for their use by mug punters whether the pros use them or not.

  • Tomas Varsavsky

    Why is no one talking about designing the problem away? For example, de-tuning the rotor edges so they’re not sharp or some kind of protective strip on the rotors.

    • Matthew McArdle

      Exactly. Solid rotors. No “spider” arms. And a smooth rounded edge profile. PROBLEM SOLVED. Once again road cycling makes everything 100 times more complicated than it needs to be.

      • Dave

        The arms are not the problem, at least not if the ‘internal’ edges are properly chamfered as well as the outside edge – a change which should only add a few cents to the manufacturing cost of brake discs if they are already CNC machined.

        The shape of the outside edge needs to be completely round too, not 8 or 12 sides with corners, and the thickness increased to at least as much as a spoke. Once this is done, the discs move from being a safety-neutral option to being a safety feature, as a smoothly rounded disc will be covering up some of the spokes which carry both the movement of the bike and the slicing movement due to the wheel’s rotation.

      • Turk

        I believe they’re too thin, knife like, to allow for full round discs . Hence the wavy edge design to dissipate heat without warping . They already weigh more than any other system, “solid disc, mount etc ?” That will add how much more weight ?
        The bike industry is adapt at this sales model .
        Marketing usually works top down, pros accept it, bikes fly out the door . Ever year has some bikes left in the shop at seasons end .
        Last couple years are worse than previously .
        The bikes are for sure sitting, over production ? poor economy ? prices ? constant “NEW” changes, like gravel bikes, etc etc . Dude you need one !!!!! Most likely it is not the brake system slowing sales . The ban likely won’t effect the sales up or down .

    • This.

  • dcaspira

    ASO… it’s all about timing.

  • Robert

    For the FFC to ban discs in Sportives is bizarre. Sure some of the starts can be a bit like a race, but mostly they are not race conditions. For something like Etape du Tour, which is normally in the Alps or Pyrenees, the biggest risk to participants is descending and would be where most accidents occur. Having disc brakes could actually decrease a riders chance of serious injury, especially as it is not unusual for these events to get a bit of rain. Allowing use of discs in Sportives would at least give riders the choice of using them, or accepting that if it is wet they have to put up with the inferior performance of rim brakes on long descents.

    • Neal Rogers

      You’re right, Robert. That’s the mind-boggling thing about all of this. The danger of being sliced by a rotor in a mass pile-up could well be outweighed by the number of crashes prevented by their increased stopping power. Impossible to know, but certainly an argument could be made that discs make road riding safer, not more dangerous.

      • ebbe

        What absolutely amazes me about the decision of this sportive organisation is this: Ventoso has clearly said in his letter that he supports disc brakes for (CX pros and) sportive riders. His one and only objection is against them in the pro road peloton. Bobbie Traksel (who you have mentioned in your piece) also does commentary on Eurosport (NL/BE) and has made some comments about this whole case on air. One of the things he clearly said is, that after testing a road bike with disc brakes himself for a year now, he also agrees they are far superior for your average consumer riding on open roads, traffic and/or in the occasional sportive. So that’s two “authorities” (or “experts” if you will), who were both heavily involved in the decision to ban, and have both said disc brakes are great for sportive riders. This organisation takes the word of these exact two people who were heavily involved in the decision to ban, and goes 180º AGAINST it. This boggles the mind.

    • Geoff

      It’s a difficult call. Some sportives can be very competitive. If you think of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, for instance – you have over 30000 riders, starting in groups of 500. With the seeding system used, the front groups are very competitive (or should I say “combative”), with the first crashes often happening in the first few km. Whether discs really are a safety issue in these circumstances is something that probably should not be evaluated based on knee-jerk reactions.

      • Robert

        Yes, as I said the starts of sportives and gran-fondo’s can be downright scary, but they tend to sort themselves out after a while. Although having ridden the Cape Town ride it’s probably the least dangerous one I’ve entered due to the limited size start groups and the super wide road they take you out of the city on. The lead bunch normally has pretty good bike handling skills, but it’s the “aspirational” riders that more often come to grief, and often on descents. My point was I suppose that if a rider feels safer riding discs (particularly in wet conditions) then I can’t see how banning them from using discs is looking after rider safety. BTW – I don’t use discs but like most people who only have rim brakes can tell you there are times such as barreling down a descent in the wet that I would love to have had them.

      • Superpilot

        So let the front groups ride calipers, and allow the others to ride disks? The ‘front groups’ suggest less than 1000 or 3% of riders in that situation, which is 29000 other bikes to sell to people that might want disks. The industry can’t avoid that.

    • ebbe

      I’ve heard that at last year’s Etappe du Tour, many (at least 50 is what I heard!) carbon rims delaminated on the descents. It’s actually a “common” issue caused by excessive heat being introduced into the carbon by… the rim brake. It does not happen to the pros, si ce they brake less and have tubular tires which have a different construction, but it does happen to consumers a lot.

      One note though: Do take this with one grain of salt. I’ve only heard this and not seem proof. I did however see this exact thing happen on a alu rim of a friend: The side walls just tore off while braking. Granted, that rim was clearly worn out and should have been replaced already, but as an illustration of what happens in such a case: This was bloody scary, and this was on a nice flat road in a ±20 man group!

      However, we can all imagine that even only one of these accidents can have fatal consequences. We can also say with great certainty that rim delamination would not happen on disc brakes.

  • Saeba R.

    Are non-racers using those ugly aero road helmets?

    • superdx

      Yes, I see them on weekends all the time on cycling paths. On rental steel bikes, folding bikes, and even mountain bikes.

      Maybe they were on sale?

  • jon

    There are few things I can’t seem to make sense when it comes to rejecting road disc:

    1) When asked about road disc, several pros quoted saying that it has to be a universal implementation, meaning every riders, every teams; so if all are on disc, then it’s safer?

    2) Chain-rings, to me is more dangerous than a disc, and I have gotten severe lacerations on my legs from my big chain-ring when I was riding a disc CX bike.

    3) Disciplines like short track XC and CX have multiple riders take the track at the same time, and crashes do happen, yet, you don’t hear much complaints about disc brakes.

    4) Last but not least, how do we know Ventoso really was hurt by disc? Or was he just pissed because he crashed?

  • donncha

    This is a total media shitfight.

    A few points to remember:
    1. Disc brakes were on TRIAL in the pro peloton
    2. The TRIAL is suspended

    Manufacturers carrying on like “oh, we can never have disc brakes, our model planning is ruined” is ridiculous. Has UCI explicitly said that disc brakes are banned for ever? All that’s required is for manufacturers to have a bit of a think and design a guard around the actual rotor and I’m sure they can be trialled again.

    Second, rather than pushing the UCI to allow them in races, why not encourage all their sponsored WT riders to use them in training and get familiar with then FIRST, and then push for their use in races. You know, get the people who will have to use them onside first?

    Novel idea?

    • OverIt

      You’re right. OEM Marketing bosses and business stakeholders basing decisions that are worth or could cost millions, based on the not so predictable UCI is stupid.

      • donncha

        Making multi-million dollar decisions based on a TRIAL, when there was never any guarantee that it would all go smoothly, is risky, especially when the vast majority of the riders were not onside.

        Blaming the UCI is just trying to divert attention from that fact.

        The UCI did exactly what they should have done. They allowed the trial to go ahead and when a potential safety issue cropped up, they suspended the trial until the issue can be dealt with, either by proving it wasn’t a disc in the first place, or, if it was a disc, designing some sort of guard for the rotor.

  • donncha

    Interestingly, here’s an SBS show from the weekend (probably geo-blocked outside Aus) documenting this year’s inaugural Pioneer MTB Race in NZ. About 23:00 into it there’s a piece where some rider trips at a feed station and gets his arm sliced open by a disc rotor…


    • mouse

      Wait. How do we know that he wasn’t lying about it??? I think ebbe has a YouTube video that explains it all!

      • ebbe

        Video seems to be geoblocked indeed, however…

        I can imagine very well that people can hurt themselves on discs if they crashed into of fell on them. Nobody ever claimed it is impossible to hurt yourself. What I tried to show in my little experiment is that discs are no “more sharp” than many other parts on a bike. They’re not the “flying razor blades of spinning death from a million paper cuts” people make then out to be. Actually, aero spokes are thinner and sharper and spin faster (yes they do spin faster, that’s simple physics). Spokes don’t even need to cut you to send you to a hospital, ask Fabio Felline.

        Getting cut when hitting a disc is about a likely as getting cut when hitting a chainring, spoke, cable, front or rear derailler, pedal, shoe buckle, cassette, etc: They all have about equally “sharp” edges, they all revolve or move, and the degree of injury mostly depends on HOW exactly you smash into it, not on the part itself. You can even hurt yourself immensely on a top tube, as most men learn at a young age (you know what I’m talking about). This does not prove top tubes are inherently dangerous, nor should they be banned out of pure hysteria.

        Now, I’ve already heard the next argument: Should we be adding more edgy parts to a bike? But that discounts the fact that we’re at the same time removing parts from thst bike: Horse shoe brake calipers can also hurt a person, if they land on you just wrong, your hand gets stuck in them just wrong, or if they just fail to perform. And they have hurt people before and they do fail to perform sometimes. Discs actually offer a small bonus in that they cover (a small part) of the dangerous spokes on the left hand side of each wheel. This actually reduces the amount of sharp edges accessible to human flesh by almost 3/4 of a meter.

        What you’re trying to do here is a classic “reducto ad absurdum”. You’re reducing a very wide unspecific question (disc brakes are unsafe) influenced by many variables to one single argument that you ridicule by taking it out of context, exaggerating it into something completely different, and then attacking that exaggerated argument as being untrue in one specific situation you can think of. That’s poor sportsmanship at least.

  • Darren Yearsley

    Can they not just make the disk a bit thicker and round off the leading edges?

    • I’ll leave James Huang to elaborate on this, but he did speak to people within manufacturing and this is definitely being investigated. There is more cost involved, but nothing compared to what might be at stake.

      • Dave

        It shouldn’t be hard. The discs on my sadly deceased former commuter bike from 2009-12 had a round profile outer edge and were significantly thicker than bladed spokes. Round off the cross-section of the outer edge and you’ve got your solution.

        They weren’t as good at dissipating heat as the modern road discs (which only get pleasantly warm) so the holes probably needed to be a different shape. However, having a more solid disc with ‘poor’ heat dissipation might not be a bad thing for races in very cold weather (e.g. Giro mountain stages) where the modern road discs would cool too quickly and not retain enough heat to work as effectively.

      • Sorry for the double post (I posted this photo a bit higher up, but above the “fold”), but this is not difficult. Here is our example of a floating rotor disc brake with edges removed. Does not cost us much more to make.

  • Dave

    No, it won’t hurt the manufacturers.

    As soon as the UCI gets around to looking at the facts (I understand the temporary suspension and delay is purely because they are busy dealing with the issue of cars and motos which is quite rightly a higher priority) they will lift the suspension and announce that disc brakes are safe.

    A couple of weeks of poor sales (poor sales to the sheep at least, not of the more discerning buyers) is a small price to pay for the hay they can make when the UCI’s review ratifies that disc brakes are safe. They could start putting ‘UCI WorldTour Approved’ labels on the brakes or forks.

  • Nathan

    Several times in the article, it is mentioned that a ban on disc only affects Pro riders…. perhaps in the States this is true, but in Australia if you are racing in a CA sanctioned event the same tech regs apply. That means everyone who wants to race must do so on a bike with traditional brakes up until such time that a change is made to the regs. I really don’t see what the manufacturers are concerned about. Given the vast majority of riders are not racing at all, surely they just need to change their marketing approach and stop tying everything they do the the Pro teams. And racers shouldnt be concerned either….. disc brakes provide a marginal improvement only. Sure, any improvement is awesome, but we can also make do with what has worked for many many years without going into hysterics. Or can we?

  • Vlaamse Dunny Bowl

    Even with sportifs, many many more road bikes are sold than ever do an event,

  • Berne Shaw

    The industry rsponse is callous and hostile. Frankly I am disgusted. Pile ups matter. But single accidents are also a source of concern as are purist group rides for god sake. Does the phrase depraved indifference ring a bell industry people? Seriously!

    Look it. Cover the knife blades or ban them. Period. They are unacceptable as designed. They know it

    Furthermore some of the endless macho carping responses here are frankly although expected sickening and an insult to those injured and killed recently and to their families. Of course they will attack this response that is what happens here. But my point is save you energy for the callous bike industry who cares not a wit about you and who manipulates you.

    • Sorry Bernie, the response is not hostile, but surprised. There is insufficient evidence that Ventoso’s injury was caused by a disc brake rotor. Also describing rotors as spinning razor blades is very far from the truth.

      • Berne Shaw

        Actually it’s quite accurate Victor. They are super heated. Very thin and have sharp edges. With the forced at work they can be
        Lethal. I’m using that as a metaphor to make that point. And regardless of whether his injury is conclusive from a disc there is no good reason the industry should not produce a safe covered disc for 200 plus peloton

        It may feel cool and subversive to be macho and deny danger and thumb your nose at us who have raced professionally and who take necessary risks but who take a stand on these in thought out rushed to market for profit products but to do so only helps the industry be more callous

        • Actually no. They do not get super heated, but merely warm unless you are on a long descent and braking continuously. Also the edges are not sharp. The thinnest rotor is 1.75mm, and most are up to 2mm thick. This is far thicker than the edges of aero blade spokes, chainrings, cassette, even some types/brands of pedal cleats.

          Besides, rounding off the rotor edges is not a complicated procedure. There is no reason to cover the rotor except to give in to unfounded fears of “new” technology. What my suggestion to the UCI was is to indeed round off the edges, make all rotors circular, not wavy or otherwise decorated, and also to standardise on the through axle standards to again make neutral wheels possible.

          Regarding the last point, they have not been rushed to market. Rim brakes should have been phased out at the same time as rim brakes in the MTB world were phased out…. and sorry, I am from the industry and I am not callous. It irks me that you call me that. I at least want the best for everyone – best technology, safest products, all data and reason driven. Disc brakes are far superior to rim brakes in all circumstances. Being “pro” does not excuse anyone from the laws of physics. Stopping a viable superior braking technology from entering the mainstream and thus ushering an era of safe braking into the road bike market can be perceived as callous… non pros get injured and die due to rim brake failures. Countless carbon rims get melted, with sometimes tragic results too…

  • Josh Baltazar

    Wow.so much negativity in these comments, I’m wondering if anyone with a strong anti disc stance has actually ever used them before. Are they nesacerry in a race scenario? Not really, plus they could be dangerous in a bunch situation as all the extra power can make the stopping distances so short that it doesn’t give the rider behind enough time to respond,causing a pile up’s. Anyone who’s ridden a properly fettled in xtr setup on a mtb will know what I’m talking about, you can put yourself over the bars with one finger on the lever if you’re not careful.

    However if you don’t race there really is no reason not to be on discs other than weight (2-300 gramme penalty, it’s nothing…)Once set up they are pretty much maintence free, they stop you in the rain with no ill effects, they are miles more powerful than any rim brake, are easier and feel smoother to operate. Another key point is that those carbon rims you just spent thousands on are no longer a disposable component as there is no brake track to wear out. That last point alone should be enough to sell any serious rider on their merits.

    I really don’t understand why anyone’s decision on what personal bike they ride should be influenced by the f##king uci. It’s like following FIA restrictions for race legal cars in motorsport in order to decide what car to drive down to the shops in, it’s utterly nonsensical.

    • Sergio Romero Gomez

      In fact I agree with you.

  • Pete

    What about they mount a single round caliper to the wheel and solid mount the disc to the frame! That way the caliper protects the sharp bit…

  • Barry Havelok

    The road bike disc brake initiative is a complete marketing folly that is destined for long term failure due to the lack of actual benefit to the rider. The technical performance of braking a road bike is limited by the threshold tyre adhesion to the road surface not the rim/caliper brake retardation performance. The latest caliper brake and grooved wheel rim surface combinations (Mavic Exalith, Campy) provide braking retardation that exceeds the tyre/road grip levels wet or dry.

    There are four technical disadvantages to road disc brakes, the braking force is asymmetrical on the wheel hub, the braking force now must be transmitted from the hub through the spokes to the wheel/rim/tyre/road surface (caliber/rim brakes apply the braking force directly to the rim/tyre), greater rotating weight increasing acceleration inertia and overall bike weight. For decades cyclists have been seeking performance gains by reducing overall bike weight and especially reduced rotating weight.

    Disc brakes suit and work well on mountain bikes where overall bike weight, rotating weight, spoke strength and tyre grip are quite a different proposition.

    • Physics is not a marketing folly.

      Disc brakes offer no greater power than rim brakes, in ideal conditions. It is not about braking power Barry, but control and reliability.

      Regarding the technical “disadvantages” of disc brakes, they apply equally to motorbikes, cars, trucks, even trains (the final full stop stage after the eddy current brake has done its bit) and airplanes. Disc brakes are not new or exotic. The technology is very mature and well understood. There are no technical disadvantages, except for the higher overall weight if the wheels are taken out of the equation.

      Our disc brake specific rims are about 10-15% lighter than the same rims that we have to make a brake track for. Thus your argument about greater rotating weight (not empirically meaningful actually) goes against rim braked wheels as they have higher rotating mass than disc braked wheels.

      The benefits of disc brakes, specifically to road bikes (other vehicles need no additional reasons) are:

      1. Better modulation of braking power allowing the rider to match the braking to the level of tire grip on any given surface (try it, you need to feel it, not just think about it). This is what killed rim brakes in MTB and CX, not power. Nobody needs more power when trying to slow down in mud or wet rock gardens.
      2. Permits the use of carbon rim wheels in all conditions due to eliminating the risk of melting the rims.
      3. Not affected by weather conditions. They work as well in the dry as in the wet.
      4. No need to “invent” new brake tracks to fix the rim brake issues which are fundamentally unfixable (laws of physics). New and improved rim brake tracks are the actual “marketing” things you are thinking of, not the fact that industry claims that disc brakes are better.
      5. Lower cost and safer wheels become possible
      6. Lower maintenance

  • phil leschnik

    Discs are no more dangerous than bladed spokes and crank chain rings, get over the crap being spread by the haters, hitting the road or another bike in general at 30+ kmp/h will mess you up irrespective of the type of brakes people are running … at the moment the greater hazard are the motor bikes and support cars!

    • Sergio Romero Gomez

      Why to add one more danger?

  • Sergio Romero Gomez

    Discs are not avoiding any crash as caliper brakes are just as powerful as discs are, road bike is not MTB were stopping power is important and riders space is quite big, in the case of the peloton too much brake power can be a bad thing, but main part of American consumer does not know anything about road racing or even minimal bike handling, they want a new cool and different bike, so manufacturers have nothing to care about. How many people need clip bars ? Just check how many people has one and how many of them really use them.

    • 1. It is not about power. Nobody informed is saying that disc brakes have no power so using this to argue against disc brakes is invalid.

      2. You should try them. It does not sound like you have any direct experience with disc brakes.

      • Sergio Romero Gomez

        Dear Victor in no place I said discs brakes have no power, in fact I said discs brakes have too much power to be useful in road race and even in really fast road endurance as unlike MTB hard braking is not necessary or even desirable in road bike. And my commuter bike (Specialized crosstrail) indeed does have hydraulic discs brakes.
        Best regards.

        • …disc brakes are not more powerful and they are not weaker. It is not about power, but modulation and reliability in all conditions and the fact that they do not damage rims, especially carbon rims.

          It is good that you experienced hydraulic disc brakes.


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