SRAM confirm work on hydraulic discs

Disc-equipped racers make clean sweep at US race, and SRAM confirm they're developing hydraulic discs

by David Arthur @davearthur   November 16, 2012  

We’re on the crest of a technological wave. A couple of years ago the UCI relaxed its ruling on disc brakes in cyclocross, but there wasn’t exactly a stampede to ditch the callipers and move over to disc brakes. Now pro riders using disc brakes have made a clean sweep of the podium at a major race for the first time, and SRAM have confirmed what we already knew... that they're developing hydraulic disc brakes for both road and cyclocross. 

Many bike industry insiders see disc brakes in cyclocross as a first step towards the widespread introduction of disc brakes on road bikes. There's no point in the big brands developing the brakes if they'll only ever make it onto cyclocross bikes; the market is too small to justify the costs. But cyclocross is a good proving ground for the technology - if the brakes can cut it off-road they should have no problems on Tarmac. One way Shimano got their Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting accepted, for example, was to stick it on cyclocross bikes first and have it prove its mettle in those testing conditions.

At the Trek US GrandPrix Derby City Cup in Lousiville last weekend the top three finishers were all racing disc-equipped cyclocross bikes, the first time this has happened in a pro race. Now this is a long way from a World Cup cross event but it’s a sign that disc brakes have arrived at the highest level of the sport.

Jeremy Powers, Ryan Trebon and Danny Summerhill topped out the podium and each was riding a bike fitted with Avid’s mechanical disc brakes. Both Powers and Trebon had Avid’s new and lighter BB7 Road SL’s while Summerhill used the standard BB7s.

We’re all still eagerly awaiting the first signs of hydraulic disc brakes from SRAM and Shimano, so it leaves Avid - a SRAM-owned brand - in the enviable position of being the first choice. Their long-running mechanical BB7 is the go-to choice and the RSL introduced this year lops a bit of weight off with titanium hardware.

It appears any concerns over weight or over issues are outweighed by the increased performance benefits. Powers said of using disc brakes: “I can brake later, they provide more power, and deliver more control.”

So, disc brakes have arrived and now can be stamped as race proven.

Sram said, "The rumours that SRAM is developing hydraulic disc brakes for road and cross are true. No details can be shared beyond that fact, but we are excited about these technologies and we will share more news when we can."

Jeremy Powers Focus Mares CX

Ryan Trebon's Cannondale

Tim Johnson is a convert too

Meredith Miller is running a Specialized CruX with BB7 discs

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

you ain't seen nuffin, right?


posted by VecchioJo [808 posts]
16th November 2012 - 12:35


Nothing to see here

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7855 posts]
16th November 2012 - 12:41


How flipping tall is Ryan Trebon?! Look at his seatpost as well...

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
16th November 2012 - 12:53


wikipedia says he's 1.98m

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7855 posts]
16th November 2012 - 12:57


93cm from centre of BB to top of saddle.

posted by Mat Brett [2196 posts]
16th November 2012 - 13:14


What a surprise, not...

posted by Kim [208 posts]
16th November 2012 - 13:55


Skip to 12:42, Ryan says himself he's 6'5"

All the gear and no idea!

posted by JonMack [173 posts]
16th November 2012 - 13:58


Mat Brett wrote:
93cm from centre of BB to top of saddle.

93cm? that's nuts. I'm 83cm and only 8cm shorter than him. Boy's all legs

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7855 posts]
16th November 2012 - 14:02


He rides a 46cm frame though... Big Grin

posted by mcj78 [21 posts]
16th November 2012 - 14:59


Trebon's nickname is "Tree Farm" after all. Plus, when he was on the Kona team a couple years ago with Barry Wicks, their joint nickname was "Twin Towers".

I figure that if you're really tall and need a good cross bike, whatever brand they race on is likely to have quality race-level huge bikes.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [306 posts]
16th November 2012 - 15:21


Meanwhile, over at the Superprestige, you won't see a disc brake anywhere in the top 10...

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [433 posts]
16th November 2012 - 20:19


Dave Atkinson wrote:
Mat Brett wrote:
93cm from centre of BB to top of saddle.

93cm? that's nuts. I'm 83cm and only 8cm shorter than him. Boy's all legs

That's right, Dave. Centre of BB to nuts.

posted by Matt_S [227 posts]
17th November 2012 - 15:31


Looks lovely and dry there doesn't it? I bet they don't even need to wash the bikes down afterwards.

I can see SRAM's double tap lever design giving them a bit of an advantage in mechanical simplicity when it comes to fitting a cylinder into the lever because they don't need to make the whole blade pivot sideways for the shift like Shimano.

Kinda funny lookin' hoods but you'd get used to them, probably give you quite a good place to grip and get stretched out as well.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1112 posts]
18th November 2012 - 13:35