TECH NEWS

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

…but don't expect them before 2016

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.

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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