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Astana wades into pro peloton disc brake debate

Shock! Slowing down wheels by putting your hand on the tyres won't maim you for life

This whole disc brake versus rim brake in the peloton safety issue has now got even more ridiculous with Astana demonstrating that you’ll suffer no injuries if you stop a wheel by putting your hand on the tyre… as if anyone thought that you would!

This is a riposte to the Team Katusha Alpecin’s communications manager Philippe Maertens showing on Twitter yesterday that you can stop a fast-spinning disc brake rotor by putting your hand on it gently – which everyone with even a vague interest in the subject knew already, didn’t they? 

We linked to this video demonstrating the fact on 27 February 2017, for example.

Astana Proteam said on Twitter, somewhat sarcastically: “@philmaertens Experiment of the year! Are the rim brakes so dangerous? Let’s try!”


As we reported nearly a year ago, Movistar’s Fran Ventoso claimed that he was injured by a disc brake rotor in the 2016 Paris-Roubaix race, and Team Sky’s Owain Doull recently said that a disc brake rotor “cut straight though” his shoe

Fran Ventoso.jpg

However, the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) commissioned a report into the Ventoso incident that involved an accident reconstruction. Its ‘expert’s report’, dated 12 May 2016, concluded that Ventoso’s injuries could not have been caused by a disc brake rotor.

Check out our story: Have disc brakes really led to injuries in peloton? 

The WFSGI also says that the recent Owain Doull incident wasn't related to disc brakes. 

The debate between the WFSGI, the UCI and the CPS (Cyclistes Professionnel Associés, the organisation that represents professional cyclists and is often termed the 'riders' union’, centres on whether or not the introduction of disc brakes in their current form creates a new hazard for riders over and above those that already exist.

The CPA has said that it is very concerned that the disc brake trial has resumed “before some appropriate test were conducted on the risks to which the riders are exposed in the event of accidental contact with the discs.”​

Have the Katusha Alpecin and Astana Twitter videos moved that debate forward? You decide!

A year into this debate, how about the UCI undertakes a series of accident reconstructions with bikes fitted with rim brakes and with bikes fitted with disc brakes, maybe a worst case scenario, using forces associated with crashing? Then we can have some actual facts and everyone can calm down. Just an idea!

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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