Disc brakes at the Taipei Cycle Show

The slow adoption of [hydraulic] disc brakes on road bikes is coming and the Colnago C59 disc version launch, was a clear and loud signal. I have my reservations to them being on road-racing-specific bikes. There are a number of issues that haven’t been fully addressed for me. I really see they’re place in cyclo-cross racing where the technical specifics lean nicely to disc brakes.

My main worry is that it’s a consumer demand gone too far – I will readily admit I like the looks of the disc brake bike, it cleans away some aesthetic clutter and replaces it somewhere less obtrusive – but, has little to do with real added performance value over the specific problems it brings, therefor negates the whole thing. Time will tell where this will go, if the known issues are addressed it will no doubt become a more standard option. BikeRumour has a nice piece on the issues and it can be read here.


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  • zach

    I personally don’t think there is any need on a road bike, even with my low level brakes I can lock up far too quickly in the wet as it is (you remember wet British roads?!)

    The only advantages I see are no rim wear (ooh-er) & less maintenance, I definitely agree with them for cyclo-cross. Didn’t the UCI recently make them legal to use in UCI sanctioned events? Until they do that on the road & a lot of pro’s start using them they won’t take off in the road world.

    • Steve

      UCI made them legal for cyclo-cross use only. Will be very interesting to see the UCI sanction them for road use and if teams adopt them. I don’t have the vision to see it happening. Personally I’m very happy with my callipers! Some of the known problems include; not being able to use radial spokes, wheel dishing (front), have to make a smaller width rear hub to fit all the mounts of the hub therefor making a weaker axle, and that is even before we get on to the inherent problem of heat dissipation with disc…

      All said and done I think there is enough movement to keep it going for a while but, I’m waiting for 5-10 years down the line to see if I’m right or wrong!

  • With hydraulic discs you get far better modulation. I have done some descents (Nantou Rte 49 for example) that were hard on the hands and the rims. Hydraulic discs provide a better way to handle tough descents and quicker, safer braking. Not necessary, but I think we are looking at the current technology and not the future of the technology.

    • Steve

      Thanks Andrew, I’m still not sure. I’ve always enjoyed the modulation of disc brakes when mountain biking and having ridden some cable actuated road discs (where I would say the modulation wasn’t anything special). I can’t say I’ve ridden hydraulic disc brakes on a road bike. I would be interested to know your set-up. Are you using the TRP parabox set-up from TRP? So until I do and feel convinced of the problems being overcome. I’m not a player. But I will actively watch to see what happens. As I’ve said, I think they look really nice, I just have other issues. I will also state I’m happy to be proven wrong!

  • chris

    I really don’t think this is a consumer demand.

    • Steve

      Maybe not, maybe more like creating a demand on consumers!

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