Trial over: UCI authorises disc brake usage in road racing

by Dave Rome


The UCI has ruled that, from July 1 2018, the use of disc brakes in road racing (and BMX) is authorised. This announcement comes after nearly three years spent trialling the use of disc brakes in professional racing, a period which included a number of stumbling blocks.

Disc brake trials began in late 2015, and continued into 2016. Things derailed suddenly at the 2016 Paris-Roubaix, where Movistar rider Fran Ventoso claimed to have been cut by a disc rotor in a crash, a widely published event that led to the disc brake trial coming to an abrupt halt. Following much speculation of an earlier return, the UCI reinstated the trial of discs for the 2017 season, albeit with the requirement that rotors would feature smooth and chamfered edges.

The latest announcement came in a press release from the UCI, alongside the ban of tramadol.

“Following nearly three years of tests, and in agreement with various stakeholders – teams, riders, mechanics, fans, commissaires, and the bicycle industry via the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFGSGI) – the decision has been taken to authorise disc brakes for road and BMX Racing, as of 1st July this year. Point 1.3.025 of the UCI Regulations will be amended to this effect, to allow the use of disc brakes during training and competitions for road and BMX Racing, as is already the case for cyclo-cross, mountain bike, trials and mass participation events.”

It’s worth noting that while the use of disc brakes in professional racing (and all other forms of amateur road racing) is now authorised, the use of the technology is not mandated. And as a result, the professional peloton will continue to feature a mix of disc and rim brakes for the foreseeable future.

The timing of this announcement coincides with the 2018 Tour de France, where it’s expected a number of brands will reveal new 2019 disc-equipped road bikes. With (unconfirmed) rumours circling that a few large teams will exclusively commit to the use of disc brakes in 2019, the UCI’s announcement should come with little surprise.

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