Friday Group Ride #203

Friday Group Ride #203

I was on the phone with some folks at a bike shop today, and they asked what I thought would happen with disc brakes for road bikes. This happens to be a sore subject for me, and not because I dislike disc brakes, although I do. So many people at the shop level are trying to figure out what’s going to happen, whether the trend is going to take hold and birth a new sub-category.

Here’s my problem. I don’t know anyone who has experienced brake fade on a long road descent. I don’t know anyone who has blown out a tire from an over-heated rim. I understand that these things have happened, but that I don’t know anyone who has experienced them suggests that any statistically significant shift in the number of disc brakes on the road is an over-reaction to the few incidences of these things happening.

Yes, I have disc brakes on my mountain bike. Yes, I think a winter commuter is a good candidate for disc brakes, because snow and ice are real problems for those kinds of bikes. Discs are good, but are they good everywhere?

Someone smarter than I am told me he thought, in 5 years, half of all road bikes would be disc-equipped. Let’s not even get into the maybe-not-ready-for-primetime-ness of the current component options. Let’s just think about how much weight we’re adding to the machine at the end of a cycle of carbonification (my word) that drove grams out of the average bike like they were rats in a place called Hamelin. Now we’re going to pack them back on for a small percentage gain in braking power?

OK. I’m a Luddite. More often than not, I don’t see the point of the next technological leap. And there are consequences to each of the these “steps forward” for compatibility, upgradeability and long-term usefulness. I could go on and on, but I already did that on the phone this afternoon.

But it’s not for me to tell you what to ride, so this week’s Group Ride asks, do you want disc brakes on your road bike? Do you see the benefit for your riding? Do you plan to upgrade in the next year? Or are you just curious to see what they’re like? Am I crazy? You would tell me, right?

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49 comments

  1. Brian G

    don’t see a need for disc brakes on my road bike or my cx bike for that matter. What I currently have does a great job. Had one friend blow a tube from the braking but that’s because he was following a poor descender too close.

  2. Patrick O'Brien

    I agree with what you have written, and I have owned a road bike with disc brakes, a Trek Portland equipped with Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes. I can understand why riders might want them on a heavily loaded touring bike or tandem for the increased braking power.

  3. Rich

    I’m with you John, I don’t really need them on my road bike, but I can see a use for them on a Winter /Wet weather bike. I don’t really understand why manufacturers are pushing so hard at the top end.

  4. RPD

    They really don’t do anything for me. I understand the idea and like you, I’ve never experienced brake fade or anything other than my own stupidity with any relatively modern brakeset. Although, maybe around 1880 I’d have jumped up and said “give me disk brakes or give me death!” Or maybe after fighting with a set of Campy Deltas (still the most beautiful brakeset ever built by man). But with the advent of dual pivot calipers, it’s almost like an answer to a question no one asked.

  5. jorgensen

    I intend to build up a bike with at least a front disc. Better Modulation is the desired goal. It could well make a descent faster by later braking before a turn and shorter ultimate panic stopping distances. I am also hoping for less hand effort. I do think that they will make for lighter rims. Also, more trips for service to the bike shop for repair for many. If I owned a bike shop I would be hoping they become standard. It could also signify the end of the quick release, an elegant solution made much less useful by the requirement of “lawyer lips”.
    Mixing Disc road bikes and caliper road bikes together in the same riding group will be interesting.

  6. John

    As an avid Mtn Biker I am a complete novice at all of this road biking but extremely enthusiastic. I equally can see the perks for a dirty ride. I would only add that first we had clunky, heavy steal bikes and then the technology progressed so that you can lift an entire bike by a finger and the engagement on the road and performance is markedly increased. Equally disc brakes are new and may well be quite clunky compared to years of canti technology BUT… always a but isn’t there… BUT, as the disc brakes evolve so will the weight added and the performance value. I am no technological fortune teller or I would be much richer than i am now. Still I think great things are coming for disc.

  7. Michael

    In about 1980, a guy came down to race in the Santa Cruz cyclocross races – on a mountain bike! He got creamed, that weekend. We laughed. A few weekends later, the course was perfect for a mountain bike (we had no clue what was or wasn’t perfect for a mountain bike back then) and he won. By a lot. You never know what technology might come along and change how you look at riding. On a cross bike today, I think I’d go for disc brakes (although i am in no rush to trade my current cross ride in), although the weight is a consideration. I am beginning to plot my retirement bike – a long-distance tourer with couplers and —- discs! But I cannot imagine trading in my current road rides for the added weight and the only-slight gain in braking on the road. What I have works great already, for the road, and unless the weight comes way down, the negatives outweigh the positives for a standard road bike.

  8. LesB

    Disk brikes, si!
    I agree with Jorgensen. I recently got equipped with the Shimano 9000 brakes, and they are part of the way to disc performance, in that they have more “power” than previous iterations. One thing that gains me is that I can do the Fernwood Pacific Rd descent without my hands getting sore from applying brakes.

    But much more significant, what it gains for me is FINER control of the braking function. Which gives me more confidence and better control in descents.

    Sram has a new twist on braking, pneumatic coupling for rim brakes. They claim these are above and beyond any cable-rim brakes. Again, part of the way to discs.

    Would love to see a review of those in these pages some day.

  9. brucew

    I’ve been riding disc brakes on my four-seasons, all-conditions commuter–a mix of CX and touring bike–for seven years now. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I like that the brakes just plain work, exactly the same, every time I squeeze the levers, no matter what the conditions. The fact that they don’t grind away at the rims in the wet, and grit, and salt, and slush, is a real benefit too.

    The rest of my bikes are road calipers. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I like that the wheels stay nice and light, and that I have tons and tons of choices in wheels. 7800s with KoolStops are just about perfect. The long-reach BR-650s with KoolStops on my other bike are nearly as good.

  10. Ambuclao Rider

    Hard to say since I don’t have any experience with disc brakes. But I like simplicity(read easy to maintain) on bicycles.

  11. Aar

    I too had never heard of anyone who had blown out a tire due to brake heat build-up – until this season. It was a relative newbie who was descending his first mountain. IMHO, his blowout was due to the culture change among cyclists that has us not teaching newbies important cycling skills anymore. That’s a topic for another group ride…

    For new riders, like the one just mentioned, I believe road discs will do a great job in improving the safety of the sport and dumbing it down for our current culture in which we don’t train our peers. I also believe discs are appropriate for commuters, cross, gravel grinders, tandems and similar bikes. Road is another case entirely.

    I believe road disc brakes are a marketing driven technology, especially at the racing level of the sport. The aerodynamics of discs alone argue against them at that level. That’s not to mention the challenges of having riders of varying braking power in the peloton. So, I look for manufacturers to force the UCI to adopt disc brakes on the World Tour all at once within three years – simply to drive prices higher. I’m sure every manufacturer in the peloton can build a disc brake equipped bike in size large that falls well under the weight limit. So, weight is not a concern for top level racers.

    I will not have discs in my road bike until the third to fifth generation of hydraulic road disc technology. I just don’t trust the technology in it’s current state of evolution. Hopefully, Campy will have road hydraulic discs by then! The reason I will adopt road discs is to convert to carbon rims. As a Clydesdale, I don’t trust carbon clincher rim brake technology for long descents enough to drop the required coin on them.

  12. r_mutt

    I see the need for discs for CX- a friend told me his hands sometimes get tired mid-race from all the squeezing- and for a rain/snow bike (who doesn’t hate cleaning the black brake residue from the rims?) but for road, I don’t see the need ATM. I do see an advantage for carbon clinchers- that might be an area where moving the heat from the rim to a separately mounted disc would have an advantage, but presently, weight is an issue and I really don’t see how they can drop the weight by much. You still need a caliper and a disc. Carbon is out of the question for road bike discs (correct me if I’m mistaken) but you need much more heat than a bike create can to get the disc to work effectively.

  13. revracer

    My CX has disc and my road bike has caliper and I frequently ride my CX on the road. I do find the braking performance differences to be akin to a car with 60s era drum brakes versus a modern 4 disc sports car (skip the ABS). Both brakes can lock up a wheel, but the mean-time to lockup seems much faster with disc and that helps me go into turns holding a higher speed just a little longer. On a descent, I can just tap the disc brakes momentarily to scrub off speed and with caliper, it just takes a little more time and room. How much this matters when carrying an extra pound is hard to tell.

    If we can get our cake and eat it too (15lb UCI minimum with disc brakes), I have to believe that the performance gains of disc will begin to shine.

  14. Kurti_sc

    You guys are right on with this. Disc brakes on the road are not technically needed and make sense in niche applications. Probably a good choice for cross and definitely a good choice for MTb.
    Unfortunately much of that DOESN’T MATTER! This is about marketing and sales so a larger consumer base (those without road discs) will have to buy new frames and gear to keep current. It sucks. Some parental figure needs to put this unruly child (road discs, to be clear) in the corner.
    That’s my unimpassioned plea.
    Thanks for the box. – Kurt

  15. paul

    While not for everyone, I can definitely see a benefit to road disc brakes. As a bigger (220 lbs.) rider, who also likes to have nice stuff (carbon hoops), I would love a road disc setup for some of my rides. I live in the northwest, so it is often wet, and I live at the foot of an 18 mile, 1 mile vertical climb, as well as many other shorter, steeper climbs. I know some might question if, as a recreational rider only, I really need carbon wheels, but I enjoy them, and that is good enough for me.
    Carbon road wheels seem like the best application for road disc, rider size notwithstanding. Removing the need for a braketrack seems to remove many of the disadvantages of carbon hoops.

  16. bottombracket.co.uk

    I know that on any of my road bikes, dual pivot rim brakes outperform the tyres – most of the time – in terms of stopping power.

    Disc brakes on road bikes may not *only* be about improved braking performance (a moot point except possibly in cruddy wet conditions).

    Don’t take my word for it. Scroll back to the top of the page and check that bike. It’s Ernesto Colnago’s C59 Italia.

    Let me paraphrase Ernestos’s take on this…
    A rim is compromised by having to include a braking surface.
    Removing the task of braking from the rim will allow some massive improvements in rim design and construction – a rim optimised for the job in hand.
    Performance improvements from this should outweigh any downside.

    BTW he’s also exploring how stresses are transferred to the fork under braking (I believe the drop-outs are angled further forward than the norm but it’s hard to see in the pic)

    So, it’s still early days. And at the moment the discussion is still focused on braking performance. Longer term, it could be a quantum leap for lightweight rims. Hooptastic!

    I’d certainly bolt one to the front of my tourer… I dropped my pump at just over 50mph while fully loaded (while getting into an aero-tuck). Took over a half mile to stop!

  17. MCH

    I didn’t see the point of a Smart phone until I got one. Now, it’s hard to live without one because they’re so darn useful. The point is that sometimes it’s hard to see the benefit until you’ve actually adopted the new tech and used it. This has been true throughout history, and will continue to the case into the future.

    Personally, I look forward to disk technology on road bikes. At 190#s, riding in the foothills of Denver, I think that disks will be a significant advantage. But it won’t be just big guys that benefit. In talking with Padraig, who until recently was an unbeliever, it seems that anyone looking for more precise control of their bike will benefit.

    Final thought – I started riding in the days of down tube shifters and 5 speed freewheels. Did I need index shifting, integrated shifters/brake levers, or an ever increasing #s of rear cogs? Nope, but I sure do like ‘em. So, do I need disk brakes on my road bike. No. Do I look forward to them? You bet.

  18. Shawn

    1. You switch one caliper type for another, and one type of cable for another (replacing steel with liquid). Other than the mounts (frame and hub) and the actual disc, is there really that much weight gain with the discs? And remember, disc brakes make rims lighter because they don’t have to provide for a braking surface (which sucks on a carbon rim anyway). Rotational mass blah blah blah.

    2. Rim brakes in the rain? No thanks.

    3. Have the rim brakes on your road bike _ever_ felt as good as the stoppers on your Ibis Mojo?

  19. Bob

    I have discs on my road bike, a Seven that I designed to be ridden on mixed terrain. Most of my riding, however, is on the road and I’d have to say that I’m very happy with my choice of brakes. Yes, they weigh more but I also think they stop the bike a helluva lot better than rim brakes, at least the rim brakes I had on a previous bike. The weight does not bother me. If I want to shave grams, I can ride the bike more and take the weight of my carcass! The only downside I’ve experienced is that it makes swapping wheels expensive if you don’t have another set of disc wheels handy. Maybe the bike is less sexy looking compared to the same frame with traditional brakes. I read all the stuff about brake failure etc and made an informed decision that the risks were low at best of mechanical malfunction. I have discs on my mountain bike and motorcycle and they work just fine in those applications.

    Here in my part of NY most people fall into two groups. Those that think discs are a passing fad and unnecessary and therefore I wasted my money, and those that think it’s inevitable that all bikes will have them. It’s a fool’s game to spend too much time thinking about this. Buy what you want and like. Having said that, I don’t know if I’d equip another “pure road” machine with discs. I like to swap tires and it’s cheaper to have a back-up set of ‘traditional” wheels to work with than trying to have an inventory of disc wheels. And, of course, traditional rim brakes are easier to trouble shoot than discs if you ever encounter a problem on the road. Horses for courses.

  20. Ryan

    I do not want a disk brake road bike and have never felt the need for disk brakes on my road bike.

    I do like the gigantic disk brake that modern caliper brakes afford though.

  21. Mike C

    I don’t like the idea of a 1/32″ thin metal disk spinning with the wheel as it slices through spandex on it’s way to the skin. When the next crash happens in the peloton, that will be my biggest fear.
    Great for commuters, MTB’s and CX bikes, but I say keep the knives in the drawers.
    I don’t want to see them in the big tours

  22. Josh

    Road disc brakes are here and they’re here for good. They’re simply superior stopping technology. That’s why all sports cars and motorcycles have been using them for years.

    That said, I am a recreational cyclist, a bike commuter, an ultracyclist and a triathlete, and on most rides you do not need more braking power than offered by a normal pair of caliper brakes.

    But having had a front tire blow out that caused me to crash during a descent of Tuna Canyon, the same descent on which Padraig went down, I can say that in the rare instance when you are doing a steep, sustained descent that requires complete faith in your braking technology, I will take disc brakes that have no heating effect on the rim, tube and tire any day over a pair of rim brakes. Further, a slightly out of true wheel won’t make a difference to your braking when you use disc brakes.

    Are disc brakes slightly less aerodynamic? Yes. Are they a bit heavier? Yes. But be honest. Despite the constant focus on the lightness of every single bolt and component on bikes, how many of us are so svelte and so fast that a few grams or an extra iota of wind resistance makes a difference when we ride?

    Bottom line, I want disc brakes. Do I want them enough to scrap my current ride? No. But having used them mountain biking for years, I know how great disc brake technology is. And all the discussion of statistics about blowouts from overheating rims seem insignificant when you’re the person headed face first to the pavement at 30 mph because your front tire just blew on a long, harrowing descent.

    So, yes, my next road bike will have disc brakes.

  23. Bikelink

    Racing in the rain. Slight wheel out of true giving thudding braking. Easier braking so can be done more effectively from hoods etc. Not having to change brake pads between wheelsets (carbon vs. alloy). Yeah they would make bikes more complicated, but that’s happening even with the mechanical groups now (though to a lesser extent). Biggest problem as someone else on this forum pointed out to me will be switching wheels without caliper rubbing so use by racers may be a problem (unless your a world tour pro with a replacement bike following you). Weight and aero penalties are reasonable questions but seem pretty small and will probably get smaller. I don’t like how they made the hood so tall…again everything will change over time.

  24. andrew

    no one, in any group ride, brakes the same as others around them. there are many variables: rider weight, rider skill/confidence, brake system (sram/shimano/campagnolo etc. ), rim material, pad material.

    riders don’t brake at the spot, with the same deceleration rate now, why do many people think disk brakes will change that?

    i’ve had disk brakes on my road/tourer for 5 years now, someone with more skill and confidence will out brake me everytime, regardless of the brake system they use.

    what disks will allow is more consistent modulation in all weathers.

    i can imagine a high tech disk wheel system can be built lighter than todays light wheelsets, and it won’t be long before that happens.

  25. Toad the 12 sprocket

    I think disc brakes are being driven primarily by the inadequacy of carbon rims for braking. Ironically, I think it would be easier and better to fix that problem than by braking at the hub.

    Next is the relentless push by marketing forces to sell us ever-new gear we don’t need. Most stuff is good enough to last a decade now, save for a few consumables. Maybe they’ll ease up on the cog wars and stop at 11?

    And yes I do know somebody who cooked a tire off the rim from braking. However, I’ve seen more tires blow off from improper installation, way more. And I’ve been there when a friend wore through the pads on a disc brake, in the wet, on a descent, on a tandem. That ain’t no picnic.

  26. Steve

    First I’ll say that the issue of discs on road bikes and discs on road bikes in the professional peloton are two somewhat different issues for me.

    I like disc brakes. I’ve got a salsa Vaya (with discs) that is a joy to ride – especially on long descents. My next road bike purchase will likely be a Volagi to replace my “aging” 2006 Tarmac. Are discs heavier – a bit – but I don’t ask anything of my bike that I have not done to myself first. So when I lose all the weight I can, I’ll worry about the extra grams. I climb and descend a lot (I live near a 6000′ climb) and descending is WAY more fun and safer (how often is that the case?) with discs.

    The argument of necessity is really a silly one in cycling nowadays, given the excesses of our current equipment. Who “needs” 22 speeds as opposed to 20 when the top end and bottom end haven’t changed? So from a practicality point discs are a no brainer for me.

    I will say that the point of crashes in the peloton is a worthy concern. I wouldn’t be surprised if rim brakes stayed in the peloton for a while – perhaps converting to hydraulic – while the rest of us enjoyed discs on the road for several years. Though Cookson has made some changes in the UCI’s equipment approval staff so perhaps change may come quicker than we think.

    One of the things that makes RKP such a pleasure to read is that the comments are usually thoughtful and often bring up views I hadn’t thought of. Thanks to all who commented!

  27. Ryan

    Personally, I feel that discs are only potentially beneficial for CX. They are an advantage for wet &, particularly, mud. The present weight penalty is also less of an issue in CX. The only riders I believe who would benefit from them on the tarmac are the Clydesdales. I’m like 155# soaking wet, so I’mnot about to change my frames & wheel sets for such little gain, adding weight in the process. I agree that a huge factor in the advent of discs is marketing by the manufacturers. Simply out, discs drive more revenue that rim brakes. I believe that the rise of discs is inevitable, but unnecessary on the road. For me, I’ll ride rim brakes until they aren’t made anymore. Most of the time I ride fixed & don’t even have brakes on that bike anyway. Take THAT marketing folk!!

  28. Cyril

    Yeah, the technology push to pry $ out of our pockets.
    Electronic shifting, disc brakes…
    What’s next?
    The bike that pedals itself?
    Enjoying my ride regardless….

  29. Jonathan

    I have had disc brakes on my tandem road bike for over 5 years. I have ridden it thousands of miles with my Dad. Bike weight + rider weight was over 400lbs. (Unfortunately Dad recently passed away at age 78 from cancer). With disc brakes, I am always confident I can stop when going fast downhill. From time to time my single road bike wheel has become wobbly during a ride and then I have to loosen up the brakes to get home or in worse cases ride home with the brake rubbing. Or occasionally I inadvertently mess up the caliper brake while changing a flat. From time to time , I also forget to re-engage the brake after taking the wheel on and off. These types of problems never happen with my disc brakes. For me disc brakes are more idiot proof.

  30. Scott G.

    Carbon clinchers are the real reason disc brakes are coming.
    Sell the the punters carbon clinchers, then they need disc brakes
    so the don’t kill themselves coming down Tuna Canyon, and oh yeah
    to make room for the hydraulics, you’ll need electric shifting.

    Just wait till they figure out building the hydro and electric
    cabling with proprietary connectors into the frame layup has
    “performance” advantages.

    Long Live Simplex and MAFAC!!

  31. Mark

    Hydraulic disc on my next road bike – you bet! Do I “need” it, no. Do I want it, absolutely. I’ve found hydraulic discs to be reliable, low maintenance, and provide outstanding braking, modulation, consistency.

    I don’t buy into the weight issue – the majority of us can stand to loose several pounds, so what’s a few additional grams on the bike? I can skip the donut at coffee break. Those riders at ideal weight are probably obligated to ride heavier bikes anyway.

    I’m not seeing the higher price argument either. Only a couple road gruppos with hydraulic disc, but not a big price disparity between the disc and caliper versions. Electronic shifting (something that’s failed to excite me) seems to bump the price up more than the brake system. Plus, we’re looking at the 1st generation of road disc, just one step beyond prototypes. Volume production will keep pricing in line.

    Aerodynamics need a bit of attention. Bolting on rebadged mtb calipers proves functionality, but I expect to see some frame/fork and caliper evolution to reduce wind resistance.

    The other issue that bothers me: any spare wheels must have exact rotor spacing to insure no brake drag after a wheel change. I see this as a headache for teams. A non-issue for recreational riders.

    So, I’m not going to jump on the 1st or 2nd generation road discs, but I will join the party after all the teething issues get sorted. Absolutely.

  32. TominAlbany

    Hell. I don’t even have disks on my MTB yet. For the road bike? Probably not. The reason in each case is the money. I don’t want to spend it. When my current set of MTB wheels wears out, I may consider the change. But, likely, I’ll be dropping enough on my rims that I won’t want to spare the cash for the brake change too.

    I believe it’s a marketing thing and that the technology will improve to make the weight irrelevant. Remember when a 10 speed was a 5-gear cluster? Now it’s a 10-gear cluster – and now, you can buy these at 11. As someone else said, I wouldn’t trade it back.

  33. Kurti_sc

    While the weight may not be an issue for some, an overwhelming focus has been put in by the industry and the majority if riders to keep weights low, particularly rotating mass. I can’t believe that now is the time to look past that and give back.
    Carbon frames, stems, sexy cranks. All in the name of weight savings ( sometimes at ridiculous cost or with little performance benefit ). I don’t have a dog in that fight but I’m sure that wont be given up (and shouldn’t be) so easily. If its more aero and weighs less with rim brakes so be it. Don’t give up donuts so you can run discs. That will lead to greater sadness. And BTW if it really matters on a stage, the pros will run lightweight tubulars that we can’t economically turn to with reckless abandon. So braking and heat etc wont be a problem for them.

  34. Mike Hancock

    I ride a lot in the rain. I climb (and descend) a fair amount on rough pavement. Some of those descents end abruptly at T intersections, and there have been times when caliper brakes (on aluminum wheels) have been inadequate. That said, I have no plans to upgrade my bikes to disc brakes (or a 22 speed drivetrain, for that matter).

    I do have a ‘cross bike with mechanical discs that will be pressed into foul-weather duty this season. It’s a couple pounds heavier than my usual training/commuting road bike, but the improved braking, wider tires, clearance for fenders, and less-aggressive position make it the better choice when it’s not a blue-bird day.

    Are they the end-all be-all? I’m not so sure. A teammate has a beautiful, sub-15lb BH ‘cross bike with hydraulic discs that is every-bit as road-race worthy as any Roubaix, Domane, or other “comfort” bike out there. It’s a lust-worthy bike for sure, but I see no need to upgrade until I can’t source parts for my existing bikes for a reasonable price. That’s at least 5 years down the line, and then I’ll see where the state of the industry is.

  35. Les Borean

    Regarding the aero disadvantage of disc brakes:

    According to a previous posting by Wsquared at RKP, the speed advantage of an aero frame is 0.2 to 0.3 mph, a 1% gain.
    http://redkiteprayer.com/2013/09/litespeed-c1r-part-ii/comment-page-1/#comment-781390

    So, if an entire aero frame gives that measly gain, I would think that the speed loss contributed by disc brakes over calipers would be in the 0.0x mph range. Is that even worth considering? I guess it is if you’re in the paradigm where shaving a few grams is worthwhile endeavor.

    1. Padraig

      Les: Regarding aerodynamics, I’ve seen other numbers that don’t quite agree, but at least they all have in common the argument that an aero frame provides a greater than 1% benefit. My own anecdotal experience is that the gain is greater as well. I honestly don’t think I could tell a gain of only 1%, but on frames like the Litespeed CL1 and the Cervelo S5, I’ve experienced a noticeable gain. And based on max speed recorded on a descent, conservatively, the S5 gave me 5%. The aerodynamics of discs are worth considering when you look at the direction road frames are going with regard to aerodynamics; manufacturers are doing more to hide the brakes, not less.

  36. Randomactsofcycling

    I was up there with a few other commentators: when Can I be confident that my tyres are as good as my brakes? Then I thought: I can lock up the tyres on my car, what’s the difference? I won’t go without the ABS on my car. I look forward to discs on my road bike, in all conditions. Weight is not a factor, and hasn’t been for almost any bike with decent components for at least 15 years.

  37. Hoshie99

    Like any “advance” some pros and cons. I ride cross and would consider discs on my next frame as I think they are now close to prime time.

    For the road, I think I’ll wait and see how it develops, to wit:

    - Are carbon clinchers all maximized for it? Meaning, if you take full advantage of discs, perhaps we can lose 20-30 grams at the brake track for something truly designed for discs on the road.

    - Have the performance and weight issues been worked out? I don’t think quite yet. For example, a friend rode a very nice hydro road set-up and he had some annoying disc rub let alone they are a touch heavier. Thru axles on road bikes? Maybe….

    - Does the technology offer a stepwise increase in my riding enjoyment? Not here in dry SoCal. But, if I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I’d probably be really be excited about it.

    J

  38. becomingblue

    I don’t brake all that much when riding on the road and I ride in hilly areas. But I don’t push it either, I don’t wait until the last moment and brake hard when going into a turn, I don’t let the speed run up that fast on downhills. I’m not a slow poke but every ride is not a race and normal braking demands are pretty tame on the road nearly all the time. I can’t think of the last time I needed heavy or prolonged braking.

    I do like them on mtb and wouldn’t go back to rim brakes. But the braking demands, and conditions, are very different between on and off road.

    Robot – you aren’t crazy on this. I would tell you if you were, even if Padraig frowns on calling other people names and such.

  39. Derek

    I have blown several tubes/ tires off due to brake heat at the rim track. Picked up a nice set of second degree burns the one time I wasn’t riding like a jack ass and a car forced me to brake for an extended period. As soon as I flatted and crashed behind them after they stopped dead in the middle of a canyon descent to take a picture they took off like a rocket. fucking gapers.
    Not too many people have he terrain that requires discs but those of us that do would like them sooner rather than later.

  40. Souleur

    Can’t wait for disc to arrive’ for this reason

    disc + carbon clincher tubeless = ONE wheelset for the rest of my life

  41. Les Borean

    RPD:
    “…Campy Deltas (still the most beautiful brakeset ever built by man).”

    I see your point, that is beautiful retro hardware as only Italians can make. But as for me, being the geek I am, I like the techno look of these (hope the link works):

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=847&q=eebrakes&oq=eebr&gs_l=img.3.0.0j0i10i24l2j0i24l2j0i10i24l3j0i24j0i10i24.1405.4967.0.7781.4.4.0.0.0.0.177.502.1j3.4.0….0…1ac.1.32.img..0.4.499.fjxopOFr0JA#facrc=_&imgrc=fEQu3na7vVKYcM%253A%3Bb2Kd6hlWw3MprM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fbrimages.bikeboardmedia.netdna-cdn.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2010%252F03%252Feecycleworks-eebrake-road-bike-lightweight2.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.bikerumor.com%252F2010%252F03%252F12%252Fee-cycleworks-redesigned-sub-100g-road-bike-brakes%252F%3B1100%3B851

  42. np_lab

    Not sure I’d put my family on our triplet with disks only. The power necessary to stop/slow on long descent would probably toast all the various current disk offerings. This particular bike has v-brakes and meaty rims with lot’s of thermal mass and surface area. I’m actually looking into a drag brake to allow longer descents for that steed.

  43. Full Monte

    Having suffered a pretty bad crash due to the effects of cold weather and ice/snow on the pads of my traditional brake-set, I can see the benefits of discs on a road bike, and I wouldn’t be opposed to them on my next new bike.

    I did switch out the pads after the crash for a set that wouldn’t turn into hard, wet little rocks once the temps dipped below 20F. Helped considerably. Softer, grippier, but wear out much faster. As for the additional weight of disc brakes, not an issue for me. If I’m concerned about a few more grams on my bike, I could offset that by losing a few pounds off my middle-aged middle. Consider it incentive for this rider to shed some Chiberian winter flab.

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