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  • ebbe

    Some proper investigating! Albeit aided by your sources… still well done James ;-)

  • Stephen Connor

    The UCI finally saw sense and got a qualified professional to investigate Ventoso’s supposed disc related injury which revealed what most rational people already knew. That the injury was most likely not caused by a disc rotor and other hidden agenda’s lead to this story being generated.. Chamfering “rounding” the edge of the disc rotor is a good idea if it increased riders safety.

    • b sloma

      It’s kind of strange that nobody considered taking off the sharp edges of rotors in the first place, at least for road racing.

      • James Huang
        • Stephen Connor

          James, it would be interesting to see how many pro’s have actually used bikes with disc brakes and what their experience’s have been?
          I get the feeling from what I have read in the media and online that many pros haven’t yet tried them or are unwilling to try them because of the so called dangers. I can remember Haimar Zubeldia being very complementary after using discs at the Vuelta. The Roompot Oranje team seemed to overwhelmingly positive about the use of discs having actually being using the on a widespread basis. Movistar are totally against discs, anything to do with Campag being behind in the development curve???

          • James Huang

            Hard to say, and perhaps even harder to get frank answers what with sponsorship obligations and all. It’s something we’re looking into, though.

            • Stephen Connor

              Will be interesting if you get straight answers?
              I’m a complete convert to discs, I converted my old aluminum giant defy to mechanical discs over the winter (new later disc model fork and a2z dm uni adaptor rear) and find myself on the old aluminium bike more than on my higher spec carbon race bike. The braking is just better in all conditions, more control across the brake lever travel.

              • Dave

                Just wait til you get hydraulic brakes, it gets even better!

          • Dave

            I don’t think there really is an anti-disc position at Movistar – other than the now discredited outburst from Ventoso which only served to embarrass the team.

            When Campagnolo made the public announcement of their road disc brakes in March (which their teams would have known about well in advance) they confirmed that Movistar would be participating in the trial later this year. We can presume that they will be using the new Aeroad Disc bike which Kristoff accidentally outed last week, or an as yet unseen disc version of the Ultimate.

            Etixx appear to support disc brakes, despite having an interest in any delay while they are still working with their transitional arrangement of purchasing Shimano stuff (i.e. not a sponsor-supplier arrangement) ahead of an eventual switch to the FSA groupset.

            • Stephen Connor

              Will be interesting to see what full sponsor-supplied teams (sky, bmc, giant alpecin, katusha) and the the campag teams, as well to a lesser extent, react if the said sponsors (shimano and sram) and to a lesser extent the frame mfgs start to pressurise the teams into using their latest tech. I would imagine that some of the teams do not have the finances to object to this gentle persuasion from sponsors which may result in loss of sponsor-supplier contract thus forcing teams to buy groupsets and components.

              • ebbe

                I know individual riders from Sky, Giant and Katusha have been testing disc brakes in training, and generally are positive about the performance. Same at Trek, Lotto Jumbo and Etixx. BMC I’m not sure about. Of course these tests in training have likely been done by riders who did not have a negative mindset towards discs to begin with, so it might be quite different to switch the *whole team* to *racing* them.

      • Stephen Connor

        Disc rotors aren’t particularly sharp at present but when spinning quickly there is a possibility that their momentum may give them the capability to slice but there are video online of mechanics spinning wheels up to a reasonable and then pressing their hands on to the disc rotors thus stopping the wheel dead. This action did not cause any sort cut or laceration.

        • b sloma

          Can’t say I’ve checked that many, but by coincidence I ran my finger across one of my rotors just today. Not blade sharp, but it would cut flesh, with some force. As has been pointed out, spinning is not really the point. I would hazard a guess rotors are stamped out of sheets and minimally surfaced at best. The stamping is going to leave an edge.

          • Dave

            Contrast that to a chain ring, which has 50+ rotating teeth, each with a point skinnier than a brake disc.

            Or aero spokes, which are essentially hacksaw blades with the teeth smoothed off and spinning through the air with a cutting motion.

          • ebbe

            Some are stamped, but not all. Eg, some are laser cut.

            Stamping does leave an edge, which is micro-serrated and can be very(!) sharp indeed. But it only leaves that sharp edge one-sided. The opposing edge is “rounded” automatically (albeit with a very small radius). As long as the edgy side is faced inward towards the spokes, there is no “knife sharp” edge that another rider could touch in a crash.

      • donncha

        Seems like the manufacturers didn’t want to do it as it would cost more to manufacture. Now they’ve been forced into it.

        • jules

          if I were a disc brake rotor manufacturer, I’d be worried about how adding a radius would affect the price competitiveness of my product, given that some manufacturers will continue not to.

          because pro bikes are homologated – i.e. you race only what you sell to the mass market – the risk is that suppliers are forced to add a feature that only benefits a small proportion of customers (pro peloton), but incur the cost across your entire product line.

          I suppose it would benefit amateur bunch riders/racers too..

          • Velt

            Just ship em with regular discs and if they needed the rounded ones because they’re required for racing then they have to buy them and change them. Win win for everyone except the racer who has to buy another set of discs.

    • Vlaamse Dunny Bowl

      Can’t believe you think Ventoso is a LIAR!
      You are so attached to your own version of how a crash happens!!
      So certain you know.

      Such post I’m responding to was either done by:
      A person who has never ridden or crashed a bike and has some difficulty with processing random unpredictable data outside of your own direct experience
      They are defending something primal… Ego?
      The right to consume tech?
      Their latest purchase that set them apart & above?

      Ps – I have bikes with & without disc stoppers. Pros & cons

      • Arfy

        I think most people concluded at the time that Ventoso definitely thought he was cut by a disc, but maybe it wasn’t actually the case and he just thought it must have been because of the type of cut it was. But to me that’s not really the point. I don’t think Ventoso needs to justify himself to anyone, nor does anyone (like the WFSGI-sponsored expert) need to try and call him out. The fact that there is a widely held perception within the peleton that disc brakes are unsafe is enough to justify a proper investigation into their safety which (finally) the UCI is requiring. As CT said in a previous article, you wonder why the manufacturers never did anything about this before the disc brake trial.

      • Sean parker

        Stephen Connor did not call ventoso a liar. Stephen wrote: ‘…this action (spinning wheels)… did not cause any sort cut or laceration”

        which means that the spinning disc did not cause the cut, but, of course, landing on the edge (whether stationary or spinning) may have. Stephen did not deny the possibility of the latter.

        or, Ventoso is mistaken – not the first person to mis-attribute agency in an accident.

        • deepairdiver

          I’ll call Ventoso a liar !

      • Neil

        Vlaamse, any commentary of yours detracts from the quality of this site. Pull your head in or take your scorn and trolling elsewhere. No one wants to hear it.

      • jules

        I have difficulty with processing random unpredictable data but I changed my diet and it’s all good now

      • Stephen Connor

        Vlaamse Dunny Bowl I didn’t state that Ventoso was a liar. I said his version of events was not very clear and had some facts that did not add up.
        Regarding having not ridden or crashed, I have been riding bikes in bunch situation for five or six years and have been involved in several accidents. Indeed I’m also a motorcyclist have seen the inside of several ambulances following several road traffic accidents. I can safely say that in an accident situation when the adrenaline is flowing through you Its difficult to recall and piece together the events that have taken place. That’s why the police and insurance companies investigate accidents because injured parties often don’t have the right answer regarding the correct passage of events. In this case the forensic investigation doctor has stated that injury appears to be more likely caused buy a chain ring.

  • What I find interesting is how quickly the UCI responded on the DISC injury (better safe than sorry) whilst there has really been NO reaction yet in regards to motos.

    • Dave

      The attempt to distract us all with the confected disc brake issue WAS their response to the moto issue!

    • Saeba R.

      Yes it’s the exact same issue and they should have banned motor bikes. Great idea. I can’t see why that wouldn’t work. Thanks for the insightful contribution.

      • I’m sorry my point flew over your head. Not sure if further elaboration would help.

        • Saeba R.

          What point? Love to see you elaborate… Haha

    • Arfy

      It’s to do with the Pro Cycling foodchain:
      Race Organisers >> UCI >> Pro Teams >> Equipment Suppliers >> Riders & Public
      The UCI can control those downstream of the foodchain, so the disc brake ban was easy for them. But the Race Organisers control the motorcades with TV rights deals, VIP cars, alternative moto routes etc. If the UCI doesn’t want to get eaten they have to enact diplomacy.

      • Dave

        Swap the industry and UCI and you’d be a bit closer to the true situation. Normally the industry stays in the background but when push comes to shove they won’t be easily intimidated by empty shirts like the Cookson regime at the UCI.

        I predicted over two weeks ago that the big players would force the UCI to back down in advance of the Giro starting, and I was right.

        We can kiss goodbye to any future reforms to eliminate the use of power meters during races and make the riders know their own bodies instead, the industry will flex its muscles again if that was attempted.

        The real story will be the implications for the UCI’s upcoming negotiations with ASO and other race organisers over the future of the WorldTour. Learning from past experience is not a strong point for the UCI, so they could have a major problem on their hands next year.

        • Arfy

          TBH the agreement is in line with the Tour, not the Giro. Too many marketing dollars involved in the Tour to miss the opportunity to show the world their latest wares, it will be interesting to see how many teams will be *required* to ride discs by their equipment sponsors. I’m sure the marketing coup will be having Ventoso riding them, he could make some money out of this yet :)

  • H.E. Pennypacker

    Upon receiving the news that it was unlikely the injury was caused by a disc brake, “neither Ventoso nor the team “had any interest” in continuing the discussion about his crash.” This mindset baffles and maddens me to no end. I don’t know whether disc brakes are a good idea in the peloton or not, and I’ve said as much more than once. They have plenty to offer consumers, but maybe the very unique world of pro racing isn’t the right place for them. That’s fine. But to be confronted with science potentially disruptive to your narrative and respond with what amounts to covering your ears and shouting, “I don’t want to hear it,” makes Ventoso look foolish and childish.

    • Dave

      I can understand why the team wouldn’t want it discussed further, they would be deeply embarrassed by the whole issue considering they will be due to trial the Campagnolo road discs later this year when they get the new bikes from Canyon.

      They would be well advised to put Ventoso in front of a bunch of microphones at some point (not wearing a team shirt or cap) and let him explain himself.

    • Vlaamse Dunny Bowl

      “Upon receiving the news”….???

      Or was it this forum??

      I’d be pretty pissed if I were Ventoso and web nerds were getting up enough conjecture that my integrity be questioned

      • James Huang

        Here’s a quote from the article above:

        “The UCI Equipment Commission held a private conference call last week with key cycling industry members of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) — essentially an industry lobbying group for Olympic sports — during which several key findings were shared. CyclingTips has obtained notes taken during that call.

        Perhaps the most impactful finding is that a forensic medical doctor — albeit one commissioned by the WFSGI — has concluded that Ventoso’s gruesome injury was most likely caused by a chainring, not a disc brake rotor. CyclingTips has not obtained a copy of the forensic report.”

        • Utah72

          As a former litigator, I’m quite sure an expert can be hired to say whatever it is you want said.

          • James Huang

            Hence the mention in the article of who commissioned the doctor.

      • Sean parker

        It is quite possible that ventoso is wrong. Not lying, just mistaken.

        he would not be the first person to be mistaken about the detail of an accident and would not be the first person that would be a victim of confirmation bias.

        • ebbe

          Yep, agree with that 100%! Confirmation bias is a bitch

          However… to add one thing: Technically, it’s impossible that he “lied”. If you scrutinize his letter sentence by sentence, he has never explicitly claimed that he was cut by the disc, or that he even assumes he was. He has just put in various anecdotes, opinions and speculation, in such an order that readers automatically reach their conclusions.

          The best example is the final sentence “Disks produce cuts. This time it was me; tomorrow, it can be more serious and happen to others.”
          – “Disks produce cuts.” = Can be true under the right circumstances, as it is equally true for many other parts on a bike
          – “This time it was me” = Does not explicitly say “This time it was me who got cut by a disc”. You could interpret this as “This time it was me who produced a cut” or “This time it was me who was cut by *something*”. Which are both true.
          – “tomorrow, it can be more serious and happen to others” = speculation and therefore cannot be debunked as a lie.

          The letter does claim explicitly that Maes was cut by a disc, but that’s pure hearsay “in good faith”, or even “lost in translation”, so this again would not stand up to the “liar” test.

          Of course we all know what (we think) Ventoso meant… And depending on our own attitudes we then start throwing big words such as “spinning knives” or “liar” around. Internet hysteria over intelligent reasoning. The angry internet mobs’ very own personal confirmation bias.

          But I have to admit: When reading the letter in full, I was very surprised that this letter, in which Ventoso never actually explicitly said he was cut by a disc, lead to such a knee jerk reaction from the UCI. I had to re-read it to make sure I did not miss anything essential.

          Quite possibly Dave is right: The UCI needed a public gesture to distract from other issues, so they grabbed hold of this opportunity with both hands.

  • Legstrong

    At the end of the day, the pros must realize that some of the sponsorship money comes from bike/equipment manufacturers. Not a lot but quite significant. When the manufacturers don’t see more potential revenue streams, they would end up cutting sponsorship. The pros that had voiced their complaints on the disc brake would start complaining about no sponsorship, except Sky and other big budget teams who could buy the equipment on their own.

  • Mike Jacoubowsky

    I don’t think the UCI had a choice but to back off on the disc issue. Where do you draw the line? If you ban discs, what happens when you finally start collecting data and discover that chainrings are more dangerous? Do we end up with enclosed drivetrains? With good data, we’ll find the low-lying fruit where small efforts yield significant improvements in safety.

  • velocite

    Have there been any reports at all of discs causing injury, either in races or not? Rounding the edges doesn’t sound like it will add a lot to the cost of a disc, but it may be money badly spent. But I assume the cutouts are to improve performance, so until it is established that discs are more dangerous than chainrings the UCI should not get in the way.

  • Andy

    If only the Mythbusters were still going. Surely with some ballistics gel and a power drill we could have a difinitive yay or nay regarding this whole situation. Only problem is there’s no explosions….

    • JBS

      I’m sure Mythbusters could’ve loaded some C4 inside the balistics gel to see if a spark would set it off.

  • Conscience_of_a_conservative

    Is the UCI talking to the cyclists and their union or is this the result of industry pressure? Why no joint announcement with the cyclist
    union. who wasn’t on the call . The peleton and the cyclists should be working together. It certainly doesn’t feel that way when race officials leak such an announcement.

  • Arfy

    Since the WFSGI’s forensic medical expert has determined the cut was caused by a chainring, then the logical conclusion is that all chainrings and clusters must also have perfectly round and chamfered edges just like the discs.

  • Chris Ku

    Motorcycles are crashing into riders, racers are installing motors in their bicycles and the UCI is spending time and resources trying to fix something that already works perfectly, only to appease market forces created by the bike industry. Racing has been so good in recent years, and the sport doesn’t need more technology.

    How long before ABS brakes and traction control are the latest fads on showroom floors, creating disconnections between rider and the road? It’s annoying that so many cyclists are more excited about buying or talking about buying ‘better’ gear than working at riding better.

    Safety in cycling is dependent primarily on the skill and attention of the rider, not on their equipment. If a motorcyclist in a race or motorist on the road jeopardises my safety, it is unlikely that the brake type will protect me from injury. Spending time and resources fixing these external hazards will do much more for rider safety and the improvement of the sport at all levels.

    The obsession with new technologies causes problems at the other end of the sport. What about the 13-year-old who feels disadvantaged because some other teenager has a bike that weighs less than a PlayStation and costs as much as a year of private school fees?

    Technological conservatism keeps the focus on the strength, skill and personality of the riders. Cycling should be about what you do, not what you have.

    • Sean parker

      “Safety in cycling is dependent primarily on the skill and attention of the rider, not on their equipment…”

      An absurd statement. if this was the case experienced, skilled and attentive cyclists would not get killed and injured. daily.

      Skill and attention are small factors when intrinsic forces play so much in cycling safety. equipment is there as an engineering solution to manage risk and is a vital component in cycling safety.

      Your statement is true only for those events under cyclists’ control or that can be reasonably predicted by the cyclist. The chaotic world is not predictable; moreover, as the aviation and automobile industry has discovered, skill and attention are influenced by human factors that makes even experts fallible.

      When a car pulls out on a wet night disc brakes offer far more control and stopping distance than rim brakes. It is an engineering solution to a real world problem.

      You should be complaining about carbon bars or wheels if you want to have a whinge about unnecessary cycling trinkets. Disc brakes are a natural evolution in bike safety.

      i take it that you no longer ride a penny farthing? Why would that be?

  • roddders

    Just a month to go until they’ll be able to stop properly.

    Or not.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    Seems the “World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) — essentially an industry lobbying group for Olympic sports” will eventually have its way. :-(

  • Berne Shaw

    As a research person let us stop speculating and do a double blind study to se IF discs cause injury under amateur and pro conditions and also IF They are substantially safer and if so in what ways.

    They could be not dangerous. They could be safe but not actually better in accident prevention for racers despite differences in modulation application of force and total force. They could be safe and markedly better in preventing accidents. We might need to adopt them but cover them. The point is we do not know

    It is essential we know the facts. Otherwise this is just prejudice a lot of heat no light and commercial hopes and profits.

    • Sean parker

      double blind study?
      how would you blind the riders and researchers to the presence of disc brakes on the bike?

  • Todd Singleton

    This is the UCI caving to industry pressure. Just like the pros who are forced to ride them in their sponsorship contracts. The majority have no interest in discs but manufacturers need them to be “pro” so people will feel the need to drop $2500+ on a disc rig. Because you know… moving the granny to the back (11 spd) and electronic shifting is making Average Joe so much faster…. in their minds… as they drive their car rocking out to daydreams of being photographed at the center of the front group. The pressure of reality$$$.

    • Sean parker

      I don’t recall STI making me a hell of a lot faster when I fitted them. Nor do I recall clipless pedals making me faster, either.
      When I spent $2500 on a good bike it didn’t make me appreciably faster either; subsumed as it was by variations in age and training intensity.

      Nevertheless, all these purchases made cycling easier, better and safer for me.

      Its lovely that you ride a penny farthing and are happy with it but not every innovation in cycling is a risible exercise in consumerism. I’d look at carbon wheels and carbon bars as unnecessary wannabe trinkets before I whinged about disc bakes (which make bikes heavier and slower, by the way.)

      Personally, I think the UCI ought to insist on pros riding disc braked bikes so that the technology trickles down to punters to make cycling safer for all riders. And, anyway, who gives a shit what the pros think? They are test riders for our bikes, that’s what they are paid for – as well as being mobile billboards. Didn’t you realise this?

    • James Huang

      Yes, of course the UCI is under industry pressure to legalize disc brakes. I’m not sure anyone could be convinced otherwise given the fact that, no, this most definitely is not something pro riders have explicitly asked for.

      That said, I’m not completely sure the industry is explicitly *forcing* sponsored riders to use disc-equipped bikes, either. Ultimately, the user group that benefits most from discs are everyday riders, not WorldTour racers. However, bicycle development being what it is, it’s critical for manufacturers that discs are allowed in UCI-sanctioned events.

      Also note that I say *allowed* and not *required*. Last I checked, bike companies care more about their teams and riders winning, period. What specific models they’re actually riding is somewhat secondary, especially as the rift between what the pros ride and what regular people ride continues to grow.

  • deepairdiver

    Surely if its found that Ventoso is, or was, lying about his ill gotten injury there will be some form of formal retribution….


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