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TECH NEWS

Disc brake-equipped bikes enter professional peloton

Team Roompot is the first to use disc brakes in pro road racing

Team Roompot is using disc brake-equipped road bikes in the Eneco Tour that’s currently taking place in the Netherlands and Belgium. This is the first time that disc brakes have been used by professional road racers.

The Dutch Pro Continental team Tweeted this photo (above) earlier today. It’s not the best picture but they’re SRAM’s hydraulic disc brakes fitted to Roompot’s Isaac bikes.

World cycle sport’s governing body the UCI confirmed back in April that hydraulic disc brakes would make their first appearance in the professional peloton this year under an experimental programme ahead of an anticipated full roll-out in 2017.

"The aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling," said the UCI and the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industries (WFSGI).

They announced that the process would start during August and September when all teams would be able to use bikes with disc brakes during two events.

That time has now arrived and it’ll be interesting to see how things develop from here. Although Team Roompot and Isaac appear to have jumped at the opportunity to use disc brakes in pro road racing, Trek didn’t seem particularly eager to provide their Trek Factory Racing riders with this technology when we visited them back in June. In fact, they seemed to be decidedly lukewarm on the subject.

Time will tell. We’ll keep our eyes open for more developments.

What do you reckon? Are disc brakes a welcome addition to road racing? Let us know what you think.

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 road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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 over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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44 comments

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hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
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I think it's good news simply because widespread adoption will force manufacturers to settle on axle/dropout standards.

Currently there is a mish mash of quick releases, front thru-axle/rear qr, dual thru-axle and different thru-axle designs.

Standardisation will benefit consumers, bike shops and neutral technical support at races.

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Leodis | 8 years ago
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I think Campagnolo are playing it well, why rush into untested tech i.e. SRAM who have lost a lot of confidence in their product. Shimano already have been producing hydr disc and just adapted known tech. Though the one thing about Campagnolo is that like EPS it will be overly expensive to the point it becomes elite.

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bendertherobot replied to Leodis | 8 years ago
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Leodis wrote:

I think Campagnolo are playing it well, why rush into untested tech i.e. SRAM who have lost a lot of confidence in their product. Shimano already have been producing hydr disc and just adapted known tech. Though the one thing about Campagnolo is that like EPS it will be overly expensive to the point it becomes elite.

SRAM's tech is fine. They recalled the first gen because there was a slight risk. The second gen works well and compares very well to Shimano. It's been out there on people's bikes for ages now. Loads of CX'ers on it. Both SRAM and Shimano had the technical know how, they just had to adapt it to a road setting. Campag don't have much apart from a bit of history. Brembo is quite a good partner to have mind.........

There's another issue here. Campag is really the Rapha of tech. The people that buy Campag may not be that interested in that product.

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700c replied to bendertherobot | 8 years ago
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bendertherobot wrote:

SRAM's tech is fine. They recalled the first gen because there was a slight risk.

well, the FAQ's on their website still state they're working on the problem and they don't know when it will be sorted. Perhaps the second generation is fixed, but that still leaves a problem for those with the original equipment. Which should last more than 12 months, in my book.

As for 'slight risk', I'd rather not take a risk, however slight, of (and I quote) 'an abrupt loss of brake power, and an inability to stop the bike'.

bendertherobot wrote:

Campag don't have much apart from a bit of history.

Well they make their own wheels, for a start, which is more than can be said for Shimano. Sure, they don't sponsor as many teams as Shimano do - but perhaps they don't feel the need with the loyal following they have. And as for repairability and backward compatibility, I believe it outperforms Shimano in that regard too.

bendertherobot wrote:

Campag is really the Rapha of tech. The people that buy Campag may not be that interested in that product.

I don't know what that means as I don't know your objections to Rapha, but assuming it's about being overpriced - well, my Veloce groupset, which has been functional on my bike since 2010, having survived various frame changes, is cheaper than the 105 equivalent.

If it's a belief that Campag is about form over function, I'm happy to report the stuff looks good and works well too (see above).

There's nothing wrong with Shimano either, by the way - my experience with 105 and some of their own brand wheels is that they work very well.

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Toro Toro | 8 years ago
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Well, the difference would be in differential braking distances, particularly in the wet. If a peloton are all taking tight corners together, or if someone's following someone else's line on a descent, there are potential safety implications; it remains to be seen how serious they are, hence the testing period.

But there's no analogous worry regarding electronic shifting, merely some riders' kit potentially giving them a small extra advantage.

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Flying Scot | 8 years ago
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Actually on the electronic, campaign were there first (in recent years, obviously mavic zap was the real pioneer) weren't happy with it, kept developing it, meantime shimano came out with di2, Campag reckoned that if that was good enough for the market then theirs was indeed ready for launch hence it followed on so fast with EPS.

On the discs, Campag and Shimano reckoned they were no use for road racing a few years ago, I feel there hand has been forced.

It's no secret who Campags partner is on this, it's the same one that kept overheating the prototypes 10 years ago!

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Airzound | 8 years ago
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Yebbut, no Di2 on that bike, still on prehistoric trad cabling.

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Paul J | 8 years ago
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I wonder how the pro-discers will take it if/when many pros choose to stick with rim caliper brakes, for weight and heel-clearance/geometry reasons.

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EddyBerckx replied to Paul J | 8 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

I wonder how the pro-discers will take it if/when many pros choose to stick with rim caliper brakes, for weight and heel-clearance/geometry reasons.

I will be devasted and will probably do some kind of massacre somewhere....possibly involving cakes.

Though it'd be near impossible on a disc braked bike with them heel clearance issues you mentioned.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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dodgy replied to Paul J | 8 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

I wonder how the pro-discers will take it if/when many pros choose to stick with rim caliper brakes, for weight and heel-clearance/geometry reasons.

//dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8667340/alanshrug.gif)

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TeamExtreme replied to dodgy | 8 years ago
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dodgy wrote:
Paul J wrote:

I wonder how the pro-discers will take it if/when many pros choose to stick with rim caliper brakes, for weight and heel-clearance/geometry reasons.

//dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8667340/alanshrug.gif)

This is definitely post of the day!

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Chuffy | 8 years ago
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Seems odd that they're not being phased in with all teams using them at once. Splitting the peloton seems to be inviting problems with neutral service, some riders being able to outbrake others etc. Still, it's about time this finally happened.

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bendertherobot replied to Chuffy | 8 years ago
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Chuffy wrote:

Seems odd that they're not being phased in with all teams using them at once. Splitting the peloton seems to be inviting problems with neutral service, some riders being able to outbrake others etc. Still, it's about time this finally happened.

Well, Campagnolo aren't ready. So not everyone can start using them. It's no different, in any event, to electric. Shimano got in first. Campag caught up. SRAM have yet to respond.

Oddly SRAM are now well positioned with Wifi and Hydraulic......

Avatar
Chuffy replied to bendertherobot | 8 years ago
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bendertherobot wrote:
Chuffy wrote:

Seems odd that they're not being phased in with all teams using them at once. Splitting the peloton seems to be inviting problems with neutral service, some riders being able to outbrake others etc. Still, it's about time this finally happened.

Well, Campagnolo aren't ready. So not everyone can start using them. It's no different, in any event, to electric. Shimano got in first. Campag caught up. SRAM have yet to respond.

Oddly SRAM are now well positioned with Wifi and Hydraulic......

If Campag aren't ready that's their problem - it's not as if discs are brand new tech that no-one has ever tried before. Holding back tech because Historically Important Supplier A is stuck in the dark ages isn't a good reason for the sport hang about twiddling its thumbs. The comparison with electric doesn't really hold - it has no impact on how the peloton rides or on neutral service. Discs do.

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