Campagnolo confirm they are working on hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes

…but don't expect them before 2016

by Tony Farrelly   October 14, 2013  

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Campagnolo hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes are on their way but they are at least two years away from hitting the market, Campagnolo chairman and CEO, Valentino Campagnolo told road.cc this weekend at the Gran Fondo Roma, an event sponsored by the company.

A spokesman for the Italian component manufacturer also confirmed that they are 'exploring the possibility' offered by road discs 'in response to demand from frame manufacturers'.

But don’t get excited just yet. Mr Campagnolo stressed to road.cc that a launch was not imminent; it will be 2016 at the earliest before we see disc brakes with the Campagnolo logo. He said that the emphasis for Campagnolo on any new product launch was to produce something that worked for the pros, but more importantly still that worked for the riders who are Campagnolo's customers. Anything they brought to the market would would have to deliver the highest standards of performance and reliability to the rider, he said.

Intriguingly some time in 2016 is also the timescale suggested by a number of industry sources for the UCI to ratify disc brakes for road bike use. Given the bike industry product timetable, the 2016 product year starts at about the same time as the 2015 Giro d’Italia.

Campagnolo will no doubt want to monitor how well Shimano and SRAM do with their hydraulic offerings in terms of sales and any technical problems. SRAM and Shimano have taken different approaches to road discs with SRAM opting for belt and braces 160mm front and rear rotors on the road while Shimano have mated 140s to the IceTech heat sink technology developed for their XTR mountain bike brakes.

Like Shimano, Campagnolo have the advantage of already having a set of levers - their EPS electronic shifters - that are essentially empty. That’s a good starting point if you need to accommodate a slave cylinder to operate a set of hydraulic brakes. Another possible advantage for Campagnolo is that northern Italy is also home to a number of companies that specialise in producing high performance disc brakes for motorcycles, cars, and F1 so there is a considerable pool of expertise to draw on when it comes to the question of materials, heat dissipation and rotor size.

Given all these factors it is no surprise that the Italian bike industry rumour mill suggests that when Campagnolo  produce that road disc brake, it's going to be something special. Roll on 2016.

11 user comments

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*Pedant alert* It's a master cylinder at the lever. The slave cylinder is in the caliper.

Makes sense for Campag to hold off. Wait until industry standards settle down (assuming it isn't a passing fad) and go to market with something relatively future proof.

The thought of Campag working with someone like Brembo is quite exciting.

Rob

posted by robert.brady [142 posts]
14th October 2013 - 10:24

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robert.brady wrote:

The thought of Campag working with someone like Brembo is quite exciting.

Rob

If you look at the Colnago that was doing the rounds, it was kitted out with Formula brakes. I believe that the current cross cantis are made by Tektro? Won't be surprised to see the parts outsourced.

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posted by mrmo [857 posts]
14th October 2013 - 10:53

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robert.brady wrote:

The thought of Campag working with someone like Brembo is quite exciting.

Rob

Last time Brembo did bicycle disc brakes, they were nothing special and like 700USD per wheel... back in the day when the Martas at 300USD were uberexpensive!

posted by warpo [8 posts]
14th October 2013 - 13:45

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Campagnolo have outsourced in the past but in many cases have later bought the design and manufacturing back in-house.

The Colnago example is a slight red herring in that Campagnolo had nothing to do with the design of any of the Formula parts - they only advised on which pins needed to have their connections closed by a switch in the EPS wiring loom to produce the desired shift.

There are several issues still to be resolved around how disc brakes will be executed on road bikes so that a degree of standardisation exists, which will be a significant factor in pro racing where new technologies are showcased and tested.

Speaking to riders and colleagues there is also a degree of cynicism and reluctance around disc brake adoption - the technical arguments about why it might be a good idea / bad idea are well rehearsed but there are commercial barriers as well as commercial advantages that also need to be considered ...

There is also a lot of conservatism in the pro peloton both amongst riders and team staff - and that will not be without it's effects on adoption, either.

So a softly, softly, see-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing approach may yet bring significant dividends.

When the UCI has Shimano as a technical partner though, and when Shimano have already sunk millions of Euro into R and D for road bike disc brake systems, one thing is for sure - it'll happen unless Brian Cookson and his rejuvenated staff see the nonsense of the UCI aligning itself that closely with any major supplier in the industry.

This week I have mostly been riding a Mondiale in Deda V107 with Campagnolo Super Record 11 ...

posted by velotech_cycling [72 posts]
14th October 2013 - 14:39

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Every one seems to mention the engineering difficulties of disk brake on road bike. Strange how many manufacturers are adopting discs without any major concerns.
On another note related. I have yet to read a mention of ceramic rotors, they're used on top performance cars so why not a bike version. It may solve a few issues, weight/heat!
However the pro roadies might not want to cope with burns to limbs as well as road rash.

posted by Guyz2010 [278 posts]
14th October 2013 - 14:43

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I understood that Campag were making disc brakes for motorbikes as long ago as 1972.

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [95 posts]
14th October 2013 - 14:48

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Don't get me wrong, I'm a campagnoloite, but no doubt this will involve the need to have a specialist tool that costs £300 for installing or adjusting.....just look at their bottom brackets and 11 speed chains.

Get ready for lost fingers in peleton crashes, disk brakes are coming.

posted by Simmo72 [210 posts]
14th October 2013 - 15:53

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Having electronic levers is a HUGE advantage. SRAM discs might work great but they are ugly Angry

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
14th October 2013 - 15:58

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jarredscycling wrote:
Having electronic levers is a HUGE advantage. SRAM discs might work great but they are ugly Angry

They're Avid brakes, if they behave anything like there MTB cousins, they won't work! Or being kinder, if your lucky you might get the one that works and doesn't break.

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posted by mrmo [857 posts]
14th October 2013 - 16:44

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another point to think about, a set of Ergo/STi/Double taps, depending on which which you get range from expensive to insane. producing a disc version is going to bump the price even further. All the talk is about the EPS/Di2 version, how many riders are going to going to go with the electronic groupsets in the foreseeable future, how many are going to stay on mechanical groupsets? So what choice is there with discs? Cable operated, more weight for how much gain???

Not being anti on this, I am just one of those people who doesn't really see the market being as big as some seem to think it is. Commuters/off road road bikes maybe, but sunday best summer road bikes?

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posted by mrmo [857 posts]
14th October 2013 - 16:52

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Good point. I'm also wondering if they'll bother with a mechanical version.

posted by nuclear coffee [93 posts]
15th October 2013 - 9:45

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