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  • Andy B

    I actually find the stopping power of discs harder to flip over the bars..

    • James Huang

      As always when this sort of discussion pops up, the key distinction is power vs. modulation. Either way, yes, I agree that it is harder to lock up a wheel with disc brakes than rim brakes in most situations. Seeing as how this is all speculative, I can’t say for certain exactly what happened here so I need to leave all plausible options on the table.

      • Ragtag

        It does seem that Kittel suddenly falls over and flips over. Suggests with a big margin for error of course that he brakes too hard.

        • DaveRides

          Or that his front wheel got turned sideways.

    • ebbe

      Yes, from a mechanics point that makes complete sense: Rim brakes apply a moment on the wheel axle using a much bigger “lever” (the radius of a wheel versus the radius of a rotor). So WHEN they block the wheel, they block the wheel HARD

      With disc brakes, the smaller lever is “compensated” by a much more efficient application of force from friction of the pads to the braking surface. Which explains the better “modulation”

  • Don_A

    There was a disc brake equipped bike on the grassy knoll just to left.

    • Roger That

      It was Lee Harvey Shimano Oswald.

  • Nitro

    I find it interesting that every time there’s an incident in a race where someone’s on disc brakes there’s an IMMEDIATE “It was the disc brake’s fault” cry…

    Inanimate objects clearly aren’t subject to the “Innocent until proven guilty” rule….

    Pretty sure we can blame the fact that Trump got elected on disc brakes…

  • Michael Sproul

    Kittel wasn’t riding my winter bike so the chances of him leaving a dirty great rust stain on the shoe seem slim.

    This argument/trial is fiercely boring now, seems like 99.7% of pros hate them and 80% of wannabe racers hate them even moar. Can’t we can’t just have race bikes (no discs) and race lookeylikey bikes (discs), everyone’s happy then. Non racers get discs and racers get cheaper bikes that crash better which will in theory (Lolz) keep the sport more accessible.

    I’ve said this a few times but this has put me off a new bike purchase for a few years in a row now.

    • James Huang

      I’ve held the opinion for several years now that the lack of stability in equipment is a major deterrent to new bike purchases — even more so on the mountain bike side, where things are far more fluid.

      And believe me, I’m perhaps more tired than anyone of this disc issue. While I’m personally a fan of the technology and wholehearted embrace it on my own bikes, I think the way it has been implemented into the racing scene could hardly have been more poorly handled.

      • Michael Sproul

        Please don’t even get me started on mountain biking haha, I’m caught between constantly swapping standards from all sides and it’s painful!

      • RayG

        At least with mountain bikes you don’t have to worry that the UCI won’t allow, or will later ban, your new toy, just that it will become obsolete/out of fashion tomorrow.

        • Ed Baddour

          I think 26 inch wheels will go obsolete before road disc brakes!

      • Callum Dwyer

        Totally agree with your first sentence.

    • Nitro

      Happy to also be counted as a consumer that is consciously withholding new bike purchase until this gets sorted out.

      Am I a groupie that dresses up in pro kit to ride beach road? No

      Do I think its reasonable to want to avoid making a significant investment in technology that may be seen as outdated “relatively” soon after?

      As the man who bought 10 speed the year before 11 speed came out – Yes….

      • HamishM

        The safety concerns of the pro peleton aren’t the same safety concerns of us amateurs. Disc brakes aren’t going away for us.

        • James Fifield

          I agree, but I think Nitro’s concern is more that disc brakes and the associated standards are adapted/changed in response to feedback from the professional ranks, and that this feeds back into the equipment on our own bikes. An example would be the shift to 12mm thru axles at the front this season versus 15mm a few seasons ago.

      • David

        Currently in the same juxtaposition, having been burnt – not by a disc rotor mind you – a few times with ‘latest technologies’

      • Geoff

        What concerns me is the degree of commercial drive behind the push to disk brakes from manufacturers – i.e to get people to upgrade. There is also the factor that disk brake components are less interchangeable between manufacturers than is the case for rim brakes.
        For my commuting bike, disk brakes are a no-brainer – braking in the wet (I have one creek crossing that is regularly flooded, and winter rain makes for messy wet roads), clearance for mudguards and the fact that I chew through rims like nobody’s business make them a very easy choice.
        For the weekend roadie, I am not as concerned. Rim brakes work well enough, and my view of carbon rims is that you need to be winning lots of prize money to justify the cost.

    • scottmanning

      Many of the top bikes are already available in a disc option. Should a punter want one, they are there on display at your local shop.

  • Mark

    Even if in this situation it was not a Disc that cut Owain’s shoe it is very understandable it’s the conclusion he and his team mates would have come to only noticing the cut back at the team bus/cars having not noticed it at the incident.

    • ebbe

      Yes. It’s completely possible that they’ve reached that assumption by pure deduction. Without actual proof or certainty. As Ventoso himself admitted to doing in his letter.

      But is it “right” to – after they’ve made that assumption, which is no more than an assumption – then publish that on Twitter as a given? I’d say: Absolutely not.

  • Il_falcone

    It’s so obvious that this cut could not have been caused by the rotor just by looking at the shoe. With the additional information of the video I disagree, James, saying that it can be 100% excluded. Most probably it was the foot of one of those barriers that flipped over because Doull fell into it. Those are steel tubes they are made of and even though they are zink-coated the surface of the foot where it touches the road is inevitably rusty. a) because the zink is abrased quickly and b) because it often stands on some wet roads. And the edges of that tube are not chamfered or rounded as the rotors are just because they are not supposed to be dangerous when the barrier stands upright.
    The whole discussion about disc brakes in pro road racing was silly right from the beginning IMHO, but now it has reached the intellectual level of a dispute between kindergarden childs.
    And I honestly did not expect any other pro to be so dumb trying to do another Ventoso. But here we go, they’re supposed to ride their bikes fast. That obviously doesn’t mean they’re bright. Can’t wait for this to be over and in 3, 4, 5 (?) years time no one will be ready to admit that he opposed their introduction with those fallacious arguments.

    • George Darroch

      How long did they oppose helmets? They had a riders strike against the UCI in 1991, and it took until 2003 for them to be made compulsory.

      • Wily_Quixote

        Im pretty sure that the strike was in the late 90s at paris nice.
        But yes- it took years to convince riders and i think that it was the prospect of race organisers being sued that probably did it.

        • George Darroch

          1991 Paris Nice. To be fair, the early helmets were probably hot uncomfortable monstrosities, but better ones were already in development then.


          • Wily_Quixote

            You’re right – I was thinking of the festina ‘sit down on the road because I don’t want to be drug tested’ protest…

  • gregg boyer

    The makers can design a totally new brake system . Yet they can’t or won’t develop, nor will UCi mandate . A shroud to cover the rotor, the PROS are asking for . To coin a phrase from the anti helmet motorcycling community years ago . “Let those who ride decide “.

  • George Darroch

    Racers are tired of crashing. I get that.

    But their anger needs to be directed at the parts of the sport that make crashing more likely and severe. This has gone beyond ridiculous.

    • Nitro


      That tarmac stuff seems to make crashing more painful than it needs to be.

      Suggest we all ride on inflatable roads based on bouncy castle technology. When the inevitable happens – to both us and the pros – it’ll be entertaining as opposed to painful.

  • Legstrong

    Those screenshots are definite proofs just how Trump-esque Doull’s statement was. Just a reminder how quickly new-tech-resistance peloton jumped into conclusion without proofs. Could it be also a dirty agenda by Pinarello to stop the disc brake movement? #AlternativeFacts

    • George Darroch

      Nah, pro cyclists are just scared of crashing (that shit f***s you up) though they don’t like to admit it. When you get scared you get stupid.

  • Jim
  • MMaster

    Not saying either came into play in this case…but, Two things that can cut like a scalpel… carbon fiber shards (ie broken frame/fork)… and poorly trimmed Zip-Ties (often used to attach banners on fencing) The latter sliced my calf at an event a few years back, so I can vouch for it’s effectiveness…12 stitches worth…

    • Avuncular

      PMU hands given out at the TdF and waved too close by fans at riders can also cut like a scalpel. Remember Thor Hushovd at 2006 Tour lying on the ground covered in blood with a badly cut upper arm.

    • H.E. Pennypacker

      This man speaks the truth of zip-tie ends cut at an angle. I know of what I speak…

  • Cam

    It’s irrelevant whether the disc caused the damage or not, the reality is that the vast majority of pro riders don’t want them in the peloton so why not remove them?

    It has nothing to do with what works better or the technology people outside of pro cycling choose to use on there own bikes.

    • Mark Blackwell

      Reason is pretty simple, IMHO: bike manufacturers want them. Given the product development life-cycle, Giant, Specialized, Trek etc started developing disc-equipped road bikes several years ago (before the brouhaha) and have brought them to market on the expectation that by now they’d be allowed in races. UCI regulations are the only thing stopping them from removing rim-brake bikes completely… and enjoying sales from upgrading amateur racers. Not peddling a conspiracy, it’s just good business.

    • ebbe

      Well, riders didn’t want helmets either. They used all sorts of (made up) “facts” to back up their false claims that helmets were actually mortally dangerous. They even went on strike to block helmet regulations. Now, some 15 years after the definite introduction of helmets, no pro would even consider showing up at a race without a helmet, and several admit that a helmet has saved their lives on occasion.

      Also, people outside of pro cycling are in fact affected by the disc brake trial. Remember when the French and Spanish organisations/federations all of a sudden wouldn’t allow disc brake bikes in sportives last year? I’ve also heard several stories from parents who bought their young kids new (disc equipped) bikes, only to be turned away at the club. And spoke to a US youth trainer who’s pupils had similar issues. If the pros really want to throw their weight around to block the introduction of disc brakes in the pro peloton, fine. But then they have a responsibility to simultaneously throw that same weight around to help non-pros enjoy the benefits of disc brakes. Currently, they’re really just being selfish about it, and forgetting that ultimately we’re the ones paying their salaries, not the other way around.

    • Wily_Quixote

      We shouldn’t care what pro-riders want. Their opinions are immaterial to the topic.
      pro riders ought to do as they’re told and use disc brakes because it is better technology for the other 99.99% of cyclists who ride performance cycles – and who inevitably buy what the pros use, for vanity, and for what the UCI demands, for racing.
      Riders who have the one bike for training and racing and train on roads where, at the bottom of a hill, a truck can pull out in front of them in the wet.
      try stopping for that shit on your ‘pro-preferred’ carbon rims and caliper brakes.

  • Cody Leuck


  • Dave

    a pretty good video from VeloNews where they test this theory out. Seems pretty implausible that a disc brake would go through a shoe after watching this. https://youtu.be/PpsGxKdBwS0

    • David

      Oh we love this! Team Sky, are you watching? Pinarello, are you watching? UCI, are you… No, they won’t be watching, they’re never that diligent.

    • Stian Pollestad

      Kick your leg into it and see if it cuts.

      • Dave

        Hey, not denying that it couldn’t cut a leg, just saying it probably didn’t cut a shoe based on this evidence.

      • ebbe

        If you kick hard enough, anything will cut you. Kick your leg into a chainring or spoke and see if it cuts. Kick your shin into a pedal or derailer and see if it cuts. Slam your hand onto the sharp edge of a number plate and see if it cuts. Touch a spinning tire with your fingertip and see if it burns. Slam a handlebar into your spleen at 60kph, and you might even die.

        The question is: Are disc brake rotors really giant spinning knives/saw blades? Or are they roughly as dangerous as say…

        …a chainring: http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13874/Karsten-Kroon-out-for-three-months-with-Qatar-crash-injuries.aspx
        …a chainring: http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/this-is-why-we-dont-need-disc-brakes-208497
        … spokes: http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/racing/watch-fabio-felline-forced-abandon-amstel-gold-race-neutral-zone-crash-221347

        • Greg

          I feel like you’re making no distinction between cutting (incision) and other types of injury, like laceration, abrasion, etc.

          • ebbe

            Kroon (first example) has a 6 inch gash in his leg, requiring stitches and sidelining him for months. Make no mistake, that’s a real deep cut, from a chainring. Felline (third example) was also sidelined with all sorts of severe cuts, bruises and fractures. Cardoso (second example) came off pretty lucky… But a few inches higher and his hopes of ever having children might have been broken.

            A spoke is 30% thinner than a rotor, is actually sharp (because aero), moves at 3x the speed of a rotor (tangential velocity), and there are 48 of them on each bike, all accessible from both sides. If you have a strong stomach, do a google image search for “bicycle spoke injury”. But only do so if you can handle a fair amount of gore.

            I’ve even heard there’s a couple of mechanics who have lost fingers when adjusting brakes mid-race, while hanging out of the car (as we’ve all seen them do), and getting caught in spokes

            And finally: Doulls (shoe) injury, if even caused by a rotor, does not fall under the category “cut” either. So if we’re applying strict categorisation in severity of injuries, we can quickly forget this was ever a case to begin with

    • armstrongcycles

      Just to clarify … I’m a supporter of disc brakes after years of MTB’ing and more recently a pile of expensive worn out road rims … but, discs can and do cut so the risk is there.

      There was footage of the Pioneer race last year where Steve Gurney (a very experienced rider) cut his arm open … on his own disc. Dick of the week award certainly …


  • Daniel

    Did Kittel get a replacement bike? Im struggling to see discs rotors on the bike he rode off on after the crash.

    • ebbe

      Yes. he was riding his disc-bike before, and during, the crash

  • Sean

    This madness needs to stop before someone loses a leg.

  • rg255

    Just looking at the overhead shots in the video, isn’t the whole crash caused by Kittel shoving Doull with his elbow?

    • James Huang

      I noticed that as well, but it seemed to me that Doull was already in the process of going down and Kittel was trying to keep himself upright.

  • Andy B

    I just spent 5 minutes trying to cut my shoe with my discs

    Couldn’t do it

  • velocite

    I wonder if it might be a good idea to ask the Australian Government’s ‘Wind Farms and Human Health Reference Group’ if they have time to have a look into this issue?

  • H.E. Pennypacker

    “Did a disc rotor slice Owain Doull’s shoe at Abu Dhabi Tour? Almost certainly not. But undaunted riders continue to uphold proud luddite tradition of opposing change despite facts.”
    (Fixed that headline for you.)

    As for Chad Haga’s tweet, I’m sorry to say his reasoning is just…awful. Like, blindingly asinine. Replace discs with some antiquated absurd concept that was generally accepted at some time and you’ll see what I mean: e.g., “Regardless of whether the earth is flat, that nobody denies its plausibility means it’s a legitimate risk and must be addressed;” or “Regardless of whether giant gorillas will carry off our women to the jungle, that nobody denies its plausibility means it’s a legitimate risk and must be addressed.”
    The viability of a threat is in no way, shape, or form related to whether anyone denies its plausibility. At all. Whatsoever.

  • BTD

    So well written!

    I’m curious what you think would be a good method to re-create this? How fast should the wheel be spinning? Set up a rig to ‘kick’ the rotor with a shoe? What angle? I have a pair of Sidi’s close to retirement and plenty of rotors. What rotor was Kittel using? It looks close to the RT99, but the amount of vent holes doesn’t match up. I have such a hard time believe something that dull could make a cut that clean. I really would rather Mr. Doull had not been injured and I wish him a quick and full recovery.

    • ebbe

      The new UCI rules for this season mandate blunted (rounded) rotors. Strangely, I think I’ve seen recent photos where “last years” rotors are used by Quickstep. If that’s the case (just my observation at this point – I may be wrong), then Quickstep made a mistake – but that mistake does not reflect on the qualities of the newest rotors.

      I’d say that if you wanted to recreate this, a blunted rotor should be used. Preferably the latest Dura Ace one, since those will be most common. Only problem: They might not be available to the general public yet.

      Around the time of Ventoso-gate last year, I already did something a bit similar (see video below). It’s not a full real-world-conditions test slamming into it of course, but does show that rotors (non-blunted ones in this case!) are not the flying spinning knives of death they’re made out to be


      • BTD

        Hmm, looks like Velonews is already on it.

        • ebbe

          Only difference is, they didn’t “slam” the shoe/saddle into the rotating rotor. That will make some difference of course. How much? Don’t know. But I’m quite sure though that if they’d then slam the shoe/saddle into the rotating spokes, it’d be much worse off ;-)

  • dllm

    Happy disc brake user here giving no single fcuk to how the pros think about that. Cry how they like, I’m rewarding my hard earned climbs by bombing down hill with great single finger late brake into corner after coner, even in the rain, using carbon rims.

    • dllm

      Don’t get me wrong, modern rim brakes are great. I just prefer disc brake while I don’t think the pros preference is relevant to us amateurs.

    • Bärlach

      Well said!

  • Robin White

    *Note I haven’t been through all the comments so I might be treading on old ground but…

    how does his left foot get anywhere near the rotor of someone elses bike more liekly to be a chainring

    they have had disc brakes in mountain bike races and CX races for a while, there are plenty of crashes and there is no one screaming about disc brakes being killers there, yes the speeds are lower but chance of crashes seem to be higher.

    CX ran a mixed of disc and rim brakes and there was not scare mongering

    Surely you are more liekly to get injured by a large chainring

    I really don’t understand the peleton’s lack of interest in disc brakes, all their worries have been debunked but the moment someone falls in the pros they say it was a disc brake and all cry to the UCI.

    let us not forget I am sure it was this race a couple of years ago where the tubular tyres were de-gluing from the rim becasue the rim’s were getting too hot and there was no cry to ban tubulars or carbon wheels.

    The UCI will knee jerk once again and we are back to square one. Dear UCI allow discs in the pro-peleton if teams or riders don’t want it then they don’t run it. If disc brakes help people win stages over rim brakes then you can bet everyone will switch.


    • DaveRides

      The thinking is more along the lines of it being the foot of the barrier he knocked over, not a chain ring.

      Either way, certainly nowhere near being a disc.

  • Bärlach
  • Thiago Luz
  • Sascha

    I don’t care if discs take over…it will hopefully make a set EE brakes cheaper… :)

  • Superpilot

    Forget about the shoe and the discs, how can they have fences with such dangerous appendages on a race course where riders are going 50-70kmh? You might lose a finger or toe to a disc, you will lose your life if you pile drive one of those things! Sheesh!

  • Wily_Quixote

    ‘Bout time we got rid of those whirling blades between the hub and the rim. There’s no way i’d race a bike with spokes.

  • Superpilot

    Here is an interesting analysis showing Kittel never got near his left shoe. The Barriers are definately to the left however, or his own or others bikes. Bad crash! https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/293/32233858764_e3c16cd5f9_o.jpg

  • geoff Duke

    It interesting to me that whenever this happens there seems to be little consideration about what might have happened if the disc had not been there. Surely in this instance a set of spinning spokes could cause just as much damage, possibly to a different part of the body, but still…. We have all seen the damage that a chain-wheel can cause. Yes there are dangers, but any time you put your bike out on the road, even if your not racing you take a risk. I have been doing it for years. I have no intention of stopping and given the skill level of the guys in the pro peleton, I suspect that they are actually a lot safer with disc brakes than a bunch of C grade amateurs would be. Lets not be so risk averse


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