Giant is set to launch disc brake versions of its TCR Advanced SL and TCR Advanced Pro, and Merida will introduce a disc brake version of its lightweight Scultura soon.
With the UCI allowing disc brakes to be used in road racing throughout 2016, many brands are now getting disc versions of existing bikes approved by the sport’s governing body. We can tell you that several new disc-equipped road bikes are on the way, but we don’t have any pictures. Sorry!
Giant gave its Advanced road bikes a major update last summer, the new models being included in the 2016 lineup. Giant claims that the current TCR Advanced SL offers the best stiffness-to-weight performance of any bike in its class.
When we reviewed the £3,799 Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 at the start of this year, we praised its combination of light weight and stiffness.
Now Giant is going to add disc brake options of both the TCR Advanced SL and the TCR Advanced Pro although not, as far as we know, to the cheaper TCR Advanced.
Giant already has many disc brake models in its road lineup. The aluminium Defy 4 (£525) through to the Defy 0 (£999) have rim brakes but there are two aluminium Defy Discs (priced from £849) and all of the carbon Defy models (Defy Advanced, Defy Advanced Pro, Defy Advanced SL) are equipped with discs.
Team Giant-Alpecin’s John Degenkolb rode a rim brake Giant Defy to victory in last year’s Paris-Roubaix so it’s feasible that riders could race disc brake versions of the Defy over the cobbles this year.
Whereas the Defy is designed as an endurance road bike, the TCR Advanced bikes are focused on road racing. Adding discs is probably at least partly linked to the fact that the UCI is allowing professional racers to use these brakes on the road this year, and Team Giant-Alpecin doubtless wants the option, whether or not the riders end up using them.
We know that the new bikes are on the way because they have been added to the UCI’s List of Approved Models of Frames and Forks. The list also features three new Scultura models from Merida.
Merida launched a new Scultura range only last summer. The brand focused on both light weight and aerodynamic efficiency with that redesign.
According to the UCI’s list, Merida have had a Scultura CF2 approved along with a Scultura Disc CF2 and a Scultura Disc CF4 (CF stands for carbon fibre, and both CF2 and CF4 are existing designations given to Merida frames).
Merida already offers disc brakes on some of its Ride endurance bikes, roughly equivalent to Giant’s Defy range. The cheapest model is the £799.99 Ride Disc 200.
One other notable addition to the list is a Specialized Tarmac Disc. We assume this is the existing Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc that’s never had UCI approval before because discs weren’t road race legal. There’s just a chance, though, that there is a new model on the way.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.