British Cycling has said that it will permit the use of disc brakes at all levels of competition on the road and at closed circuits from 1 January 2018.
The governing body says that the move is in line with its goal to get more people cycling both for sport and leisure, and reflects the way the bicycle industry is moving with bikes increasingly coming with disc brakes, which are generally considered safer on descents or in the wet than rim brakes, as standard.
It means that for the first time, cyclists will be able to use disc brakes not only in sportives but also in competitive events such as races on the road or on closed circuits.
British Cycling’s director of cycling, Jonny Clay, said: “We believe we have made the decision with the best interests of domestic cycle sport in this country at heart.
“We know that buying a bike is a significant financial investment for people to make and with the cycling industry producing more and more bikes with disc brakes we felt it was only right that we amended our regulations to ensure that people can take part in any form of cycling, whether recreational or competitive, with one bike.
“We hope that this decision will encourage more and more people to get involved in competitive cycling.”
World cycling’s governing body, the UCI resumed its trial of the use of disc brakes in the peloton last year, and it will continue into 2018, when Professional Continental outfit Aqua Blue will be the first team to race exclusively on them.
Following claims of riders being injured in crashes by spinning disc rotors – though by no means all are convinced that cuts sustained are due to them – the professional cyclists’ organisation, the CPA, has asked for safety measures to be put in place, including guards.
At amateur level, in April 2016 after the UCI suspended its trial the organisers of the Etape du Tour said that disc brakes would not be allowed at that year’s edition of the event in line with French Cycling Federation rules.
Subsequently, however, the UCI clarified that disc brakes are allowed in mass participation events.
Great Britain joins USA Cycling, Cycling Canada and Cycling Australia in changing the rules to allow the use of disc brakes.
John Herety, team manager of the JLT-Condor cycling team, said: “The number of people riding disc brake road bikes is increasing all the time.
“British Cycling’s decision to allow the use of disc brakes in domestic road and closed circuit races in 2018 will help to remove a barrier that is currently preventing some people from getting into competitive racing and this decision will hopefully have a really positive impact on the future growth and sustainability of the sport.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.