The Debacle

The Debacle

Back in the 1990s the Union Cycliste Internationale decided it was time for riders to start wearing helmets. The riders reacted with a strike and the UCI backed down. They waited before taking another run at such a rule and then they acquiesced to riders’ wishes by allowing them to take the helmets off at the bottom of the climb on mountain stages that finished at the top of an ascent.

It wasn’t a particularly distinguished bit of rule making. That said, the UCI’s technical committee has been criticized many times for rules that aren’t logically consistent or do nothing to increase the quality of racing or rider safety.

So when the UCI decided to “experiment” (their word) with disc brakes in the peloton, anyone with an eye on history was ready to conclude that this would not end well.

The first problem was that not all teams immediately switched to discs. Why this didn’t happen is a mystery. Component sponsors have enough clout by virtue of what they pay as sponsors to dictate what the riders use. It’s one thing to allow riders to choose between different models of a manufacturer’s bike line, but mixing disc and rim brakes in the peloton is asking for trouble.

The second problem was that this was one technical advancement the pros didn’t particularly want. That’s not news. Pro cyclists are known to be slow to accept new ideas. Zipp went to great lengths to convince riders of the Garmin team that their wheels were strong enough for Paris-Roubaix, only to have Magnus Backstedt DNF because he destroyed his wheels on the cobbles. Getting riders back on their wheels required a bit of diplomacy and outside-of-race testing. The Zipp Firecrest 303 is arguably one of the most desirable wheels for the pavé these days.

Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo should have shown up to their sponsored teams’ training camps with disc-equipped bikes for the riders to begin trying on training rides. They’d have done well to do what Specialized did with journalists when they introduced the Tarmac disc: they took us to a descent with both the disc and rim brake Tarmacs and lets us do the descent repeatedly to experience both. Strava made it possible to analyze times on the descent and see firsthand how the later braking afforded by discs enable a rider to reach the bottom of a descent faster than if they were using rim calipers. Pros may be superstitious and change resistant, but they want to go fast. It’s rare that a rider can’t be led to seeing how better equipment will lead to a better performance.

The third big problem was that issues of neutral support hadn’t been adequately addressed. People weren’t convinced that you could swap wheels without the rotor rubbing a pad. With 10-speed drivetrains, neutral support had to carry both Shimano and Campy wheels. No one had done sufficient research to know whether there would be issues with swapping wheels.

The fourth problem—and this was their biggest issue—was not listening to rider concerns for safety. Some of the initial reaction was completely knee jerk (Why has no one’s arms been up exclaiming the danger of that buzz saw mounted to the bottom bracket?), but it wasn’t without merit. While it’s completely unreasonable for the pros to say they deserve to ride what they want and still be paid by equipment manufacturers, when someone raises a question about safety, they deserve to be heard, and answered. Riders and fans alike have wondered why the sharp edges of rotors haven’t been rounded off to eliminate the sharp edges. Considering how complicated the construction is of so much of what the riders use, adding another step or two to refine the disc rotors would not have increased their expense wildly.

But now the disc experiment has been boarded up. Fran Ventoso, a Spanish rider with the Movistar team was injured at Paris-Roubaix, and he says the cut he received came from a bike with disc brakes. That said, we don’t know for sure. He reports that he managed to avoid falling on other riders in a crash and stayed upright, but once he began pedaling again, he noticed something wasn’t right and looked down to see the cut.

IMG_5344

I can report from my own experience with picking up a cut on my leg from a bike that there aren’t a lot of nerve endings in that area, so it’s easier than you think to miss a cut of that nature. It’s also true that everyone around me immediately blamed the disc rotor, mostly because I had a horrific cut and there were discs on my bike. I was amazed how everyone insisted the discs were at fault without so much as looking at the shape of the cut. As it happens, the cut came from a pedal, not the rotor, something we could verify thanks to the blood on the pedal. Maybe it’s just natural to leap to conclusions when disc brakes are involved. My point here is that there are other sharp objects on a bike that can cut you. I’ve got questions about how a rotor would need to be positioned to cause such a shallow cut, a la a deli meat slicer. My point isn’t to say he’s wrong, but that without the benefit of seeing blood on a component, we don’t really know. It’s also true that this was convenient enough to the cause (if not Ventoso’s season), to allow the rush to judgment against discs. I don’t think there are many people outside of Osaka, Chicago or Veneto who really wanted the truth.

This thing is an orgy of blame. Blame for the component manufacturers for not doing more proactive PR with the riders and for not making sure that wheels could be swapped between brands, blame for the riders for being so close-minded, and blame for the UCI for not guiding this better.

The shame is that I know disc brakes are truly better in performance, if somewhat heavier. They’ll get better. And I know they’d allow pros greater control, which would allow them to descend faster and maybe avoid some crashes. But none of that matters. The pitchforks are out and we are unlikely to see pros on discs again for a couple of years.

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40 comments

  1. Lyford

    I have seen no reports of any tests of the injury potential from disks, from either the manufacturers or independent agencies. Why not? A few years ago when a table-saw manufacturer was promoting their new injury prevention system, they’d push a hot dog into the blade and show how the saw would stop. Simple, dramatic, made the point.

    It shouldn’t be hard to come up with a realistic demonstration — and a repeatable, standardized test — that show the slicing potential of spinning and stationary brake disks. A standard test could be used to eveluate the relative safety of new disk designs. The manufacturers already have temperature data that could be used to evaluate the potential for burns.

    I’m not anti-disk. They’re phenomenal on my mountain bike, and will probably be on my next road bike. But these are concerns the pro riders have, and they — and consumers at large — deserve better answers than vauge assurances thet there’s nothing to worry about

  2. Lyford

    And I’d be happy to have an integral guard for “that buzz saw on the bottom bracket”. If they were part of the design instead of being an afterthought, the weight and performance penalty would be trivial. I impaled my calf on a chainring once, and that was enough.

    1. jorgensen

      Way back when the CPSC’s venture into bikes was young, you saw Raleigh Pros with chain guards mounted to the large chainring, Shimano did the same for a short time with the Dura-Ace crank set. Then the bike companies got smart and tested the bikes with the chain on the large ring for the test. Bye Bye chain guards.

      In a race long ago a ride fell on top of my rear wheel, I stayed upright and kept going noticing a short time later the burning feeling on one calf, his still rotating wheel/tire had given me a burn. My rear tire burned his Bell V-1 Pro helmet, (he was an early adopter).
      So it goes.

      Nevertheless, the front wheel rotors can look quite menacing with the irregular shapes seen. A simple directive to move the caliper ahead of the front axle could well help provide a natural block and change the forces so when one applies the brake the forces push the axle into the dropouts, instead of wanting to lever the axle out. Less aero, but the handicap would be equal, better cooling too.

      Don’t get me started on “lawyer lips” on front dropouts… a problem created by accepting a mechanically less effective quick release presented when almost all are now “external” in design.

  3. MattC

    Based on the angle of the cut (across his leg, vice up and down), I can’t see how the rotor did this (not saying it isn’t possible cuz strange things happen in crashes, just that it seems improbable). He claimed he didn’t go down but came to a stop still standing (if I recall correctly what I read about this the other day)…if that were the case and he was still standing then if his leg came into a rotor of a rider in front of him, his cut would be vertical. Also I read that there were only 2 teams w/ discs in that race and the video analysis showed that none of their riders were near him in that crash.

    But all that aside, I do agree the industry could do more to make the rotors safer (round the edges would be good, but you can be cut/gashed by blunt objects too if enough pressure is applied). I’d think the simple logistics of team/neutral support mechanics trying to swap a tire would be the biggest reason NOT to go w/ discs…can you imagine trying to get every single bike on a team to have ALL their bikes wheels totally interchangeable w/ NO rotor drag after a quick-swap on the road? Let alone having ALL the teams bikes do the same (for Neutral support)? It’s likely they could at last agree on a standard rotor size…but getting exact alignments of all bikes to fit the same wheel/rotor would be a real pain (not that it can’t be done…but w/ all the diff brake mfrs I’d think it would be a huge challenge).

    Maybe, even tho there’s really no disputing that disc brakes are better, that they don’t belong in the pro peleton. But I think that once the pitchforks are put away in a few years they’ll be back. There are ways to mitigate the risks, it would just take effort and education. Progress is progress…sometimes it just takes longer to convince the naysayers.

  4. MattC

    Ahhh…I found the article (Velo News, here’s the full article: http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/04/news/injured-ventoso-blasts-use-of-road-discs_402394)…this is what he claimed happened:

    “I’ve got to break [brake] but I can’t avoid crashing against the rider in front of me, who was also trying not to hit the ones ahead. I didn’t actually fall down: it was only my leg touching the back of his bike. I keep riding. But shortly afterwards, I have a glance at that leg: it doesn’t hurt, there’s not a lot of blood covering it, but I can clearly see part of the periosteum, the membrane or surface that covers my tibia.”

    So…with that said, he admits both and the bike his leg ‘touched’ were vertical…so HOW is the cut across his leg horizontal if it came from a rotor? I’m just not seeing it.

    1. Ransom

      Are you referring to the pic above? I think maybe that’s Padraig’s pedal injury. Google for Fran Ventoso’s injury and you’ll see that it’s a V-shaped thing, and looks quite different from the above.

      I have no idea what happened. I think the dangers of discs are a bit overblown, but too much emphasis on the angle of the cut reminds me of a quote from an article on applying padding to roll cages in race cars, the gist of which was “During a crash, you’d be amazed at the parts of the interior you can reach while wearing a five point harness.” I think similar things apply to managing to apply bike to body during a crash in configurations that just wouldn’t occur to you standing on the pavement.

  5. Kimball

    As far as item 3, neutral support, I’d be fine with doing away with it. Having support vehicles (neutral and not) hovering within and just behind the riders is a significant detriment to rider safety (along with camera motorcycles). Put the cameras on the bikes and jettison the support vehicles and return to a more self supported format. Slightly more robust components, wheels, and tires might add maybe a pound? The racing might be better and definitely safer.

    1. Fr0hickey

      How about putting cameras on ebikes instead of motorcycles? Heck, how about having a fully EPO-doped Lance Armstrong ride the camera bike.

  6. Lyford

    Neutral support: If the brake/wheel manufacturers can’t agree on a single standard set of dimensions, then abolish it.

    If they can agree on a standard set of dimensions, neutral support would carry wheels that meet the spec. It’d be up to the teams to ensure that their bikes meet the spec if they want to use the service.

    This would require that all parties meet for several rounds of testing prior to implementation.

  7. Chris

    Couple of points to consider, neither for or against discs. (1) disc rotors spin very fast and continue to do so as long as wheels spin but cranks stop spinning and are slower and mostly covered by chain. (2) sharp edges are safer when a cut does happen, whereas a blunt edge causes more damage if and when it happens (basic knife fact 101).

  8. Waldo

    This morning, I opened the RKP page and the three lead stories: Friday Group Ride no. 307, On Innovation, and The Debacle all feature photos of disc brakes. Such a shame that there’s nothing else of interest to discuss about our sport…


    1. Author
      Padraig

      It’s just an issue of timing. I’d have spaced them out if the circumstances were different.

  9. Vince

    The chain-ring argument is not apples to apples. In a high speed pileup there are direct lines to rotors both front and back whereas the chain-ring is in the middle of the bike and the only direct line to it is from the bottom. It’s much harder for a body part to hit a chain-ring with the same kind of direct, on-axis, angle that one can strike a rotor.

    I was rear ended in a small pileup just this weekend at the race.

    People who don’t race mass-start road racing need to stop forcing your bike touring tech on the those of use who do. I’m not making you ride some super aero, aggressive, stiff bike.

    P.S. – RKP; wasn’t it just last week you were complaining about race tech and it’s influence on gearing choices for recreational riders?


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Agreed the chainring isn’t a natural equivalent to disc brake rotors, but the point is to show how bikes had sharp bits that could injure riders even before discs entered the scene. As to the positioning of the chainrings, I’ve seen plenty of crashes where a bike gets separated from a rider and goes spinning out of control, so it’s not really fair to suggest that you can only get to chainrings from the bottom of a bike, and chains are frequently dislodged, leaving the big chainring exposed. As to gearing choices, I’m willing to bet that most racers out there really don’t need a 50×11, much less a 53×11. I’m simply suggesting that gearing choices be made with an eye toward the real-world fitness of most people who buy bikes.

    2. Lok

      shouldn’t really take chainring as analogy… ‘cos there’s no alternative to chainring. so we take it as a minimum accepted risk.

      c-brake is a safer alternative (when crashing / pileup) to disc brake (at least most disc-hater thinks). traditional thinking is that c-brake is doing well enough (see Sagan is still doing crazy descending with c-brake), not worth the risk to get better brake.

      anyway, i’m pro disc brake for my personal use, and couldn’t care less about pro use. just gimme eTap hydraulic brake version!

  10. Vince

    @Padraig // I agree, the chain-ring can do damage. I’ve been thrashed by a platform pedal on my freeride bike. But the uniqueness of the high speed road race pileup and the very direct angle at which a leg can hit a rotor terrifies me.

    I love disc brakes and on my many trips to Sonoma I wish I had them on some of those descents (Hauser, Skaggs), but I’ve never been in a sanctioned road race and needed better braking. They’re coming. They’re ugly but they’re coming. The inevitable safety covers won’t help much on that note.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      OMG, yes! Platforms can be wicked. I remember the oozing wound of a buddy, even after stitches. Ouchers.

      I totally agree that discs aren’t *necessary* and I’d really hate for anyone to think we’ve asserted that you can’t get down a descent without them. There are times when I honestly prefer rim brakes just because it’s what I’m more familiar with. But in ideal conditions, I know I can get to the bottom faster with discs. Imagine what a pro without prejudice could do.

      And cheers to you for embracing everything from road racing to freeride. We need more of that!

  11. patrick24

    Interesting story about the approach Specialized used.

    There was an article today by Lennard Zinn raising some doubt as to whether rounding the edge on disc brake rotor was feasible or would make much difference, given how thin the rotors are.

  12. miles archer

    You could darn well put rubber baby buggy bumpers on them, if they are fast yet unsafe. What you need is sensible testing and standards.

  13. Jim

    So let’s imagine someone did some crash testing, with dummies, simulated pelotons, etc. Do you think discs would be the most apparent safety problem? I would bet that the simple act of racing in close confines would be the biggest question that no one would want to answer.

  14. Winky

    “But chainrings are also sharp” is not really a valid argument for discs. Just because there are already risks doesn’t make adding extra risks OK. Pointing out the hypocrisy is perhaps useful, but doesn’t advance the argument for discs per se. I’m warming to the look of disc-braked bikes. The rear set-stays can look very elegant indeed, without brake bridges and brakes. I also don’t doubt they work very well, especially when compared to wet weather rim braking. Wary of the quest for lightness at any cost, though. But I still think that a set of direct mount, hydraulically actuated rim brakes would be a pretty sweet set-up. Effectively using the big, pre-existing disc that we already have rolling around.

    1. Ryan

      Yep, Winky. Chainrings and disc brake rotors are two different things and at different places on the bike. The chainring is also generally covered by a chain and not spinning at the speed a disc brake is.

    2. Fr0hickey

      Hydraulic actuated or not, what kind of braking would you get with a wet rim that’s constantly getting wet from the road bs a wet disc that gets wet from falling rain drops?

  15. Les.B.

    Back when I was a newbie I ended up in the ER from a face laceration resulting from goofing around on the bike.
    Turns out there was a MTBer there in the ER with a sliced finger. He was lifting his bike out of the car and accidentally grabbed the disc rotor.

    Just how sharp are those edges? Seems to me like a spinning butcher’s saw from this event.

  16. chuckster

    Agree with a lot of what’s posted. Just because there are other sharp parts of a bike doesn’t make discs a non-issue. A teammate years ago managed to received a partial slice to his patellar tendon from a chainring despite the strange “geometry” necessary in the pileup to make that possible.

    As far as discs and 190+ rider pro tour pelotons go, it’s simple statistics… from my napkin calculus, there’s ZERO chance current types of discs won’t be involved in some nasty injuries over the course of a season with all riders on discs… they’re both sharp and well placed to slice. I wonder if some sort of small integrated silicon/rubber ring with a hard plastic permanent mount (disc condom lol!) could be fitted to a road disc circumference to kill the sharp edge… really it wouldn’t take much in the way of width and it would not likely add more than a few grams or affect aero much, but it could essentially solve the issue to everyone’s satisfaction. Hey, just a thought.

  17. Jim

    Road discs? That system falls into the “want” vs “need” category. Provide me with an improved braking (surface) system that works consistently in wet vs dry weather situations that doesn’t REQUIRE me to replace (almost) EVERY freaking piece of equipment I own. I’m sure the manufacturers could improve the existing braking systems (rim brakes) but the cost vs (profit) benefit isn’t there.

    1. chuckster

      Jim,

      The thing is, disc IS an improved braking surface that works more consistently in wet and dry… part of the wet performance improvement is probably that the disc brake surface isn’t an inch from the ground at all times picking up more water… not really a fixable option with rim technology. In my brief experience using an older carbon rim in a downpour on a technical crit course, there was simply zero rim braking available for a bit as the rim cleared some water, and then just enough to keep my from killing myself – no question discs would have been far better in that specific set of circumstances. But there are already fairly decent rim brake options in the wet – they’re aluminum (and I guess a few of the newer top shelf carbon offerings). If you actually are doing a lot of wet riding though, you know that rims brake tracks wear is accelerated with the all the road grit that gets picked up – that’s an expensive part to replace when it’s someone’s $3k carbon rim setup – not that I own anything in that price range myself. Either way, if you prefer rim brakes (and I usually don’t mind them for road generally), it’s not like the options are going to disappear from the market immediately.

    2. Jim

      Chuckster,

      I’ve raced carbon rims in the rain and managed to deal with essentially zero braking, but that’s not my point. In order to switch to disc brakes, I would need to throw out the following wheelsets: Campy Bora carbons race wheels, Fulcrum Racing Zero race wheels, Campy Shamal training wheels. Further, I would need to replace two frames and forks, and my existing brakeset and shifters for a disc brake setup. All this equipment is serviceable so the cost to benefit isn’t there for me (and many others) to go to road disc brakes.

  18. Jason Lee

    I am really surprised you take the assumptions that discs are safe, over the riders valid concerns.
    Instead you throw doubt at riders injuries and motivations, and basically take defense of manufacturers (btw, they have their own motivations to push this into the pro ranks that aren’t altruistic).

    All the sudden, everyone is a CSI expert and the word of the racer there is meaningless.
    People can trump the benefits of discs, and I agree with the advantages. But safety in a 150-200 rider bunch is a legitimate concern.

    You forgot to mention the Spinergy Rev X debacle that made Bartoli’s leg a tuna fillet and he never attained the level he had again.
    They banned that wheel from UCI races, was that just hysteria too? I’ve seen those and the spokes are like machete blades.
    There is a difference between open, spinning blades on the ends of the bike and the chainrings. You know that, and that’s such a red herring argument.
    There is a difference in the pro peloton and amateur races. Look at the speeds and wattage. There is another level of danger that most will never experience. As any experienced racer will tell you, things dramatically change as speeds increase and to the level of a pro euro race, I will trust the opinion of the riders in that arena over marketing hyperbole or “what works for me” arguments that don’t factor in the concerns of the pro riders.

    I’m really surprised at this commentary.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      I don’t think I’ve made quite as many assumptions as you suggest. The biggest failing I see here is a lack of conclusive information. We need to know more. And yes, I agree that bike companies have reasons for wanting the pros on discs that aren’t entirely altruistic, but that’s a part of this whole enterprise that we accepted for better or worse years ago.

      I do remember the Spinergy Rev X wheels. They had a great many problems, not least of all due to the space between the spokes that mean it was easier to catch a hand, foot or knee between them.

      With you, I share the concern for rider safety, but I’m unwilling to immediately conclude that disc rotors are an automatic threat to rider safety. Similarly, I’ve seen too many chainring induced injuries not to point out that riders can sustain injuries from the bike as it is. As one friend recently joked, the only thing left for the UCI to do is ban crashes. I’m sure Andy Borowitz could have a field day with that were he a cyclist.

  19. Jason Lee

    WIthout being too argumentative, just to expand on what I said…
    There is a difference between assuming discs are not a safety concern, and discs are an automatic threat.
    Disc brakes are a great technology. Maybe this evolution is inappropriate for the pro peloton. Maybe manufacturers have to push for the next evolution rather than fillet more bodies in the name of progress.

    The onus is on the manufacturers to address road disc design in the pro peloton. Adapting mountain bike brakes just is not what I call solid development of road brake technology. I call it the least expensive way to get the hype wagon going.

    Have you felt the Shimano ICE rotor in the photo at the top of the page? That is knife bladed on the outside, and serrated bladed on the inside. It’s a cutting wheel that is exposed at almost 300º of rotation or more with the spokes directing anything right to it, and the very real possibility of wedging body parts between the stays and spokes-right into the rotor.
    On that side of the bike, if you run into someone and 25mm of rubber doesn’t stop you, pretty much you’re going to hit that rotor edge.

    You’re right, we do need to know more but not at the expense of the riders. If there is a lack of conclusive safety info, why favor the more dangerous choice rather than what the riders want? They should be given the highest priority and in light of how little regard there is lately with motos, poor traffic furniture protection, and lack of accountability. A move to pull back the marketing train and demand better from the manufacturers sounds like a refreshingly good move.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      There’s no doubt that manufacturers ought to do something to minimize the sharp edges of rotors. Even on mountain bikes. Yes, it will increase production time and cost to address that outer edge (a minimal step), but not significantly. As to knowing more, I simply refer to investigating the circumstances around Ventoso’s injury. He’s not much of a witness as he missed the event, so someone ought to have looked into what really happened. This is the same stupid situation as the alleged cheating at Milan-San Remo. Maybe the witnesses were right; maybe they were wrong. We’ll never know because no one bothered to investigate and that’s just unacceptably lazy for professional sports.

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  21. Jason Lee

    I see what you’re saying.

    One angle I haven’t heard until Tom Last quipped it on GCN.
    The argument that chainrings and spokes can be dangerous, yes. But we accept that because those are needed for the operation of the bicycle.

    Disc brakes are NOT needed. To many, that is simply adding an unnecessary risk.
    By definition, it is unnecessary.

    Valid point.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Glad we’re clearer. I’m less concerned with selling people on my argument than I am with making sure people understand just what the argument is. Can’t have much of a discussion until then. That said, agreed, disc brakes are not needed. STI wasn’t needed either. However, they are both technical advancements that people who have ridden with and without generally desire. I’m interested to see what the future holds. This is a complicated one. Maybe the rider revolt will benefit us all by causing the component makers to deal with the sharp edges of the rotors. Wouldn’t it be amazing if their resistance helped us all? I’d not have seen that coming.

  22. Jason Lee

    STI is a technical advancement that added safety, and shifting performance. There was no safety downside compared to what was before. STI did not add dangerous or sharp pieces to the bike. It was a revolution because it kept your hands on the bars, which added safety and speed.

    Adding safety and speed but with the caveat of attaching two spinning meat slicers on the bike might be a different story…
    Technical advances should be welcome, but you have to balance with the overall effect on the pro peloton.

    Again, this is why all the arguments I’ve heard sound so anti-rider and seem, to me, extreme and surprising.
    Surprising because I would expect manufacturers to put out such arguments, not rider friendly sites. Surprising because there is a lot of doubt cast on the pro riders, dismissal of the majority rider opinion and by proxy, their skill and knowledge of riding in the peloton.

    Instead of casting pros as luddites, we really should be demanding more from the technology to be better than it is now. I feel like the argument is reversed, and to me, doesn’t make sense.

    I’m not (and I dont see pros saying this either) saying “no disc brakes”. I’m saying, adapting mt bike brakes isn’t good enough. Get to the next evolution and create road disc brakes for the pro peloton if you want to use them…in the pro peloton.

    In fact, manufacturers of components like FSA seem to be more in the Ventoso camp than defending disc brakes as they currently are in the pro peloton. At the very least, all the brake manufacturers seem to be tepid and measured in their response. Much more so than some of the opinions i’m reading.

    Anyway, I appreciate your responses and allowing this dialouge of differing opinion on a hot topic.

  23. Fred

    I’ve seen one disc rotor injury in years of riding: When one rider lost their balance while trying to pass another rider on a narrow section of trail. They fell on the rear end of my friend’s (slowly moving) bike, and ended up with a nasty, but very clean, gash on the arm.

    I’ve both seen and heard of many more injuries resulting from people getting fingers caught in the spaces between the rotor “arm”. A young friend of my son’s lost the tip of a finger that way while truing a wheel. For whatever reason, that scenario scares me more…

  24. Ryan

    I was following a disc brake road rider this weekend and was looking down at the rear wheel just to see what all the fuss was about. For people to say that those rotors couldn’t cut people in a fall is being a little ridiculous. If you fall against another rider on the left side of their bike near the rear wheel, the spoke angle pretty much guarantees you will slide into that rotor…and they aren’t dull by any means. I could totally see getting a good cut by a rotor when all your weight is propelling you into it in a fall.

    I like disc brakes and use them on my mountain bikes, but in a peloton or paceline where pile ups can and do happen, the engineering isn’t there yet. Come up with a way to either cover up the rotor or produce one that has some rounding to it so it doesn’t act like a knife edge.

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