Since the UCI ratified disc brakes for use in cyclo-cross world cup races back in 2011, there has been slow uptake amongst the top guys. That’s mainly because the choice of hydraulic disc brakes has been very much limited, with Shimano and SRAM only just bringing out new groupsets with hydro disc brakes this year.
That delay looks set to be over, this could be the season when the floodgates open. Lars van der Haar won the opening round of the UCI cyclo-cross world cup in Valkenburg on a carbon Giant TCX fitted with Shimano’s latest hydraulic disc brakes.
Now it looks like ‘cross legend Sven Nys, winner of six UCI cyclo-cross world cup series and twice world champion, will race a Colnago Prestige equipped with Shimano hydro disc brakes this weekend, judging by the photos Shimano have been posting on their Facebook page this week.
The photos show Sven's bike being prepped with the new brakes. Now, we don’t actually know if he will race this bike, Shimano would surely like him to, that much we can assume. Nys won’t want to take any chances when it comes to equipment, but maybe he’s requested the change after seeing Lars van der Haar using them a few weeks ago.
We're not sure what wheels these are, they clearly show a carbon rim lacking in a brake track, so they could be a prototype they've developed for the top athletes. Also take a closer look at the disc rotors, they don't have the cooling fins on the inside edge of the rotor that the regular disc brakes come with. The top 'cross guys use their brakes, but don't use them all that much, certainly not enough to generate any serious heat compared to descending a mountain. These are likely to be lighter then.
We’ll only know for certain when he rolls up to the start line in Hamme, Belgium for this weekend’s Bollekescross Superprestige. He may yet make a decision based on course conditions, and use this new bike as a potential backup. Certainly all eyes, including those of his main competitors, will be on his performance. If disc brakes were ever under scrutiny, it is this weekend. It could be a key turning point.
Dave was at the Shimano disc launch recently, riding up and down Mt Etna, you can read his thoughts on the brakes here.
Photos © Shimano.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.