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Safety and standards still a concern for cycling's governing body

Disc brakes will appear in the professional road peloton in 2016, according to Jeroen Snijders Blok of the World Federation Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI).

Snijders Blok is also chief operating officer of Accell Group, owner of bike brands including Lapierre, Raleigh, Ghost, Koga Myata and Van Nicholas. He is the bike industry representative on the board of directors of WFSGI, which has been meeting with the UCI Equipment Commission to discuss the technical regulation of race bikes and the sometimes fractious relationship between the industry and the UCI.

Reacting to a claim on Benelux trade website www.tweewieler.nl that discs would be approved for 2015, Snijders Blok told that site's pan-European sister site Bike Europe: “The report on Tweewieler.nl surprised me. It is true that we are getting positive responses in our meetings with the UCI. But despite that it will take longer than 2015 for the UCI to approve the usage of disc brakes in professional road racing.

“That it will take longer is caused by an extensive examination the UCI wants on the consequences the usage of disc brakes will have.

“They want to know more on what for instance happens at 80km/h descents; what's the heat then at carbon rims? Could this cause severe skin burns in the event of a fall? The UCI wants to have such matters clarified before any approval.”

"So, first this examination must be completed and the results discussed. All this means that it will take up to 2016 before professionals will use disc brakes. I do not expect that all this will take up to 2017. The usage of UCI approved disc brakes at WorldTour races will happen in 2016. At least, that's what I expect now."

You might think you’d have bigger things to worry about than rotor burn if you deck it at 50mph. It seems likely that as well as safety concerns, the UCI is also worried about more mundane factors such as wheel interchangeability.

Widespread adoption of disc brakes could substantially increase the complexity of providing neutral technical support in big races. At the moment neutral support in, say, the Tour de France just has to deal with the difference between Shimano and Campagnolo sprocket clusters.

Add in all the combinations and permutations of 130mm and 135mm rear axles; through-axless conventional quick releases; and 140mm and 160mm rotors, and Mavic will have to replace its cars with big yellow lorries to carry enough spares.

At the moment, only Shimano actually has a working road bike disc brake on the market. Depending on how you look at it, it’s either a bit premature for the UCI to be thinking about allowing a technology that’s not yet available to all teams, or refreshingly foresightful to be trying to anticipate the issues.

Of the other two big component makers, SRAM’s recalled disc brakes were supposed to reappear in April, but are still in redesign hell and Campagnolo says its discs won’t be available until 2016. It could be that the UCI is deliberately giving all players plenty of time to get ready.

That goes for bike makers too. You’d expect companies the size of Trek and Specialized to be designing competition-level bikes with an eye on possible UCI rule developments, but Trek has recently plumped for bolt-through axles with the disc version of the Domane 6.9, while the recently-unveiled Specialized Tarmac uses conventional quick-release skewers.

It seems what we have here is another example of the adage that the bike industry adores standards, that's why it has so many of them. From the point of view of everyday riders, the UCI might impose some welcome order on the current free-for-all.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

65 comments

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Dr.Galactus [18 posts] 2 years ago
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About fucking time.

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lookmanohands [119 posts] 2 years ago
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 41

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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I can't see how the headline links to the actual content of the article.
Headline says '..disc brakes coming in 2016..'
Article quotes 'The report on Tweewieler.nl surprised me. It is true that we are getting positive responses in our meetings with the UCI. But despite that it will take longer than 2015 for the UCI to approve the usage of disc brakes in professional road racing'

So longer than 2015 by default assumes 2016....

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STATO [514 posts] 2 years ago
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Ive asked this before but yet to find out, how much is neutral service actually used? how many wheels swapped etc.

I honestly think neutral service is a red herring and will not continue in the same way it is now. Specialized, Trek, Giant etc. have laid their markers in terms of what they want in terms of axle/rotors etc. for the current disc models, and all are different. Ok so none of them have released a 'Pro' race model but you cant imagine they would deviate much from what they have already chosen.

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 2 years ago
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STATO wrote:

Ive asked this before but yet to find out, how much is neutral service actually used? how many wheels swapped etc.

I was lucky enough to spend a day on the Giro with Vittoria last year. The only time we stopped was to grab some ice-cream (Walls - please sell pistachio Magnums in the UK; thanks).

From the write-up: "In fact, it's eye-opening how few technical interventions the Vittoria team has to make on a race as long and demanding as the Giro - between 13 and 15 wheel changes in a typical year, although the 'strade bianche' stage of 2011 to Orvieto saw them carry out 5 in just one day."

http://road.cc/content/feature/83410-inside-giro-ditalia-vittoria-serviz...

Of course, they'll make more in a race like Milan-San Remo, and Mavic have a full-on day's work at Paris-Roubaix, for example.

The presence or otherwise of neutral service, and how it performs, can influence results though - Cadel Evans had a pretty disastrous wheel change at the 2009 Vuelta which went some way towards Alejandro Valverde's overall victory (and still slightly mystified as to why he kept that while Alberto Contador was stripped of 2011 Giro).

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londonbrick [26 posts] 2 years ago
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I think they just introduced Pistachio Magnum as a special anniversary edition.

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Mr hoppy [5 posts] 2 years ago
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The neutral service thing seems like a red herring to me too, Uci specify the axle and rotor size and there you go, bearing in mind everything else they specify on a race bike it's not that big a step. Whilst there is a mix of rim and discs, neutral service run rims with brake tracks on hubs with discs fitted.

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Mr hoppy [5 posts] 2 years ago
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The neutral service thing seems like a red herring to me too, Uci specify the axle and rotor size and there you go, bearing in mind everything else they specify on a race bike it's not that big a step. Whilst there is a mix of rim and discs, neutral service run rims with brake tracks on hubs with discs fitted.

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Mr hoppy [5 posts] 2 years ago
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The neutral service thing seems like a red herring to me too, Uci specify the axle and rotor size and there you go, bearing in mind everything else they specify on a race bike it's not that big a step. Whilst there is a mix of rim and discs, neutral service run rims with brake tracks on hubs with discs fitted.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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2016 come on, I thought things were changing at the UCI, this is nonsense, they should make them available now, why wait 2 years.

Worried about safety, get rid of carbon wheels, I don't ever recall an alu wheel breaking into bits going over speed bumps.

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Nick T [970 posts] 2 years ago
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Man with several companies selling bikes says don't be afraid to buy new bikes.

Hopefully not too many people end up with the wrong standard frames if the UCI make things like 135mm and thru axles compulsory. When they do introduce discs, it'll be interesting to see if they outlaw rim brakes - if discs are as impressively powerful as claimed, I'd rather not have a carbon rim brakes bike behind me when I drop the anchors.

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Nick T [970 posts] 2 years ago
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mikeprytherch wrote:

Worried about safety, get rid of carbon wheels, I don't ever recall an alu wheel breaking into bits going over speed bumps.

I don't recall a carbon rim ever breaking to bits over a speed bump either.

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dodgy [203 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm possibly alone on this, but I've bought my last rim braked bike.

Just waiting for choice now.

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Al'76 [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Thinking that this could be the end of rim braked purchases for me also..

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mikroos [257 posts] 2 years ago
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Bike manufacturers LOVE standards! In fact, they love them so much that each has their own one.

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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mikeprytherch wrote:

2016 come on, I thought things were changing at the UCI, this is nonsense, they should make them available now, why wait 2 years.

Maybe it is because only Shimano have disc brakes that you can buy...

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VeloPeo [335 posts] 2 years ago
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If I'm coming off at 80km/h, the last thing I'm going to be worried about is a disc brake burn.....

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fukawitribe [1957 posts] 2 years ago
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mrmo wrote:
mikeprytherch wrote:

2016 come on, I thought things were changing at the UCI, this is nonsense, they should make them available now, why wait 2 years.

Maybe it is because only Shimano have disc brakes that you can buy...

That was mentioned in the article too... are TRP and Avid owned by Shimano then ? There's probably more manufacturers, those are just the ones that spring to mind..

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CXR94Di2 [1274 posts] 2 years ago
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I love hydraulic disc brakes either on my Kona mtb or my Boardman CXR9.4DI2 with shimano setup. The confidence I have with the brakes in any condition is very reassuring. When riding in groups when it is raining, I see other riders with rim brakes braking very early to ensure their brakes work, at this point I just feather brake to maintain my distance. They can easily over power the grip of the tyres, which is the way brakes should operate(the rider then modulates the braking affect to slow down). Much better than worrying how the hell do I slow down when rim brakes don't initially bite.

Re changing wheels, taking the wheel off and putting it back on seems no worse than rim. Nothing technically difficult for the likes of Shimano, it's not like disc brakes have just been invented. Normally hydraulic brakes the pads self centre after one operation and the pads pull back when the lever is released, giving clearance.

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colinth [191 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm another who won't be buying another rim braked frame, I've been toying with upgrading but will just wait now. Interested to see how triathlon and tt bikes will handle them, are disc brakes more or less aerodynamic ?

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Dr.Galactus [18 posts] 2 years ago
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colinth wrote:

Interested to see how triathlon and tt bikes will handle them, are disc brakes more or less aerodynamic ?

They're slightly less aero but as you don't need to have a braking surface the rim needs less compromises, it can also be lighter which offsets the disc weight.
- http://road.cc/content/feature/83327-disc-brakes-v-rim-brakes-which-are-...

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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fukawitribe wrote:
mrmo wrote:
mikeprytherch wrote:

2016 come on, I thought things were changing at the UCI, this is nonsense, they should make them available now, why wait 2 years.

Maybe it is because only Shimano have disc brakes that you can buy...

That was mentioned in the article too... are TRP and Avid owned by Shimano then ? There's probably more manufacturers, those are just the ones that spring to mind..

Avid are Sram owned.
TRP are owned by Tektro I think.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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mikeprytherch wrote:

2016 come on, I thought things were changing at the UCI, this is nonsense, they should make them available now, why wait 2 years.

There's a lot more to it than someone just putting a signature on a piece of paper.

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Nick T [970 posts] 2 years ago
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How much weight can you drop from a 200g deep carbon rim by not having to worry about a brake track anyway?

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RobD [293 posts] 2 years ago
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I guess it makes some sense if they're going to abolish minimum frame weights in favour of something like having recognised safety requirement standards that equipment has to pass, the lowering of the minimum weight would offset pretty much any increase caused by disc brakes (at least for riders on smaller frames who have weight added already)
I too hope they do something sensible like stipulate standards re rear spacing, rotor size etc pretty quickly so manufacturers don't end up switching from one that they adopt early on to a new required standard (although I'm sure bike makers would love giving people another reason to buy a new bike)
If there's a target date to work towards then it will hopefully push development quite quickly and more refined designs will appear sooner rather than later

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fukawitribe [1957 posts] 2 years ago
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glynr36 wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:

are TRP and Avid owned by Shimano then ? There's probably more manufacturers, those are just the ones that spring to mind..

Avid are Sram owned.
TRP are owned by Tektro I think.

Cheers

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fukawitribe [1957 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

How much weight can you drop from a 200g deep carbon rim by not having to worry about a brake track anyway?

Sod all i'd imagine. Of course finding a deep carbon rim weighing 200g is another matter.....

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earth [312 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

How much weight can you drop from a 200g deep carbon rim by not having to worry about a brake track anyway?

Almost none.

Tubulars and clinchers both have a braking surface but tubulars are lighter because they do not have to withstand the force of the clincher tyre pressing outwards against the inside of the rim. That is where the weight comes from. Besides the miniscule weight advantage of having no braking surface is lost due to the necessity for double crossed spokes and therefore more of them along with nipples.

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Dr.Galactus [18 posts] 2 years ago
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However with disc rims you don't have to worry about the rim heating up to more than ~50ºc so can use different/less epoxy.

As you said "tubulars are lighter because they do not have to withstand the force of the clincher tyre pressing outwards against the inside of the rim."
Without brakes compressing the rim you only have to deal the tube(less tyre) pushing out, dealing with force in one less direction = less material for layup = lighter surely?

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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fukawitribe wrote:

That was mentioned in the article too... are TRP and Avid owned by Shimano then ? There's probably more manufacturers, those are just the ones that spring to mind..

Maybe I should be clearer, yes you can buy Hope, Avid, TRP, clarkes, you have the formulas that colnago use, etc etc. But the only brake that currently works as it should and that is for sale to the general public, is Shimano. Other systems are cable to hydro with a remote reservoir, or cable to the end, (IMO a pointless compromise).

Until all the groupset manufacturers have a system that their sponsored riders can use, discs won't happen on protour bikes.

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