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Fed up Froome denounces disc brake wheels on Instagram Reel

The four-time Tour de France champ insinuated that his recent Tour du Rwanda woes were down to slow disc brake wheel changes

We've had our first sticky bottle of 2023, now the pro cycling season has gone into yet another gear with Chris Froome's first dig at disc brakes... and it's only February! The Israel–Premier Tech rider and seven-time Grand Tour champion took to Instagram today to post a montage of mechanics struggling to change his wheels while a charging peloton breezed past him, accompanied by the simple caption: "Rim brakes > Disc brakes".

On Stage 5 of the Tour du Rwanda last week, 37-year-old Froome showed glimpses of his era-defining dominance of the 2010s and his famous solo Giro d'Italia win in 2018 when he launched an audacious attack 75km out from the finish; however, he needed two wheel changes and then crashed into a race vehicle in a day that was ultimately marred by misfortune, and ended up finishing over four minutes down on the stage winner. 

Chris Froome disc brake wheel change screenshiot 2 - via Instagram Reels

After the stage, Froome (fairly diplomatically) explained the wheel change issues: “I got a front wheel puncture and I didn’t have a team car behind me as they had already pulled the team car out. I managed to get another wheel from neutral service but it wasn’t really compatible with the bike so I had to stop again and change it with my team car. Then the peloton caught me and surged over the top of the climb and that’s where the lights went out for me.”

On social media today, however, Froome pulled no punches... 

While the post appears to suggest the disc brake wheels themselves are to blame for the slow wheel changes, some of his followers were quick to point the finger at the not-so-quick mechanics handling Froome's wheel changes, with one suggesting the caption should instead read: "Quick mechanic > Slow mechanic". 

As we've already alluded to, this is very much not the first time Froome has taken aim at disc brakes, and his problems extend far beyond allegedly slower wheel changes. Way back in 2016 he suggested “having different braking systems in the peloton would be more dangerous"; and when that ceased to be a problem as the whole peloton adopted disc brakes in the 2020s, Froome ramped up his disc brake doubts in 2021 when he said that the technology was not "quite where it needs to be yet" because the "...distance between the disc and rotors is still too narrow." 

> What’s wrong with Chris Froome’s disc brakes?

In March of last year, Froome said that he still regularly experienced issues with his disc brakes and had started wearing headphones so he couldn't hear them rubbing. In April his team mechanic concurred, saying: “Chris is not a huge fan. There’s the noise factor, it’s not super-reliable, wheel changes are way slower – so I think those are aspects that can improve."

So, what will it take to persuade Froome to get fully on board with the disc brake revolution? Well, the recent viral footage showing Tom Pidcock - of Froome's former team Ineos Grenadiers - expertly roaring down Tuna Canyon on his disc brake-equipped Pinarello Dogma might convince Froome that the extra confidence a rider may get from having more powerful brakes makes disc superior to rim brakes. Although Froome isn't half bad at going downhill himself, and was performing mind-blowing descents way before disc brakes were ubiquitous in the pro peloton... 

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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80 comments

Avatar
Veloism | 1 year ago
0 likes

Oh bore off, froome. Retire already and stop whinging about discs. Does anybody even care anymore?

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capedcrusader replied to Veloism | 1 year ago
2 likes

Great point, I mean who would ever want to listen to the views of a 7 times Grand Tour winner, who the hell does he think he is?

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Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
0 likes

Chris is right. We will go full circle. Rim brakes are the best all round solution for road bikes.
Disc brakes are a sad gimmick forced upon the masses for corporate revenue. Too fiddly, overbearing and they overheat.

We've gone from round wheels to oval wheels. Odious and pointless.

Rimming is winning.

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chrisonabike replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
0 likes
Fignon's ghost wrote:

...We've gone from round wheels to oval wheels. ....

Wait - I didn't get that memo?!

Are round wheels banned under The Rules now? Was it done for aero reasons by a novice engineer? Or is this for Biopace / oval chain ring compatibility?

If *slightly* oval wheels (or very small ones) are permitted I'm wondering if that might tame vibration on Edinburgh's cobbles though? Hmm... Will have to check the small print for city compatibility, wouldn't want to mistakenly get a pavé bike for Scottish city use!

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OldRidgeback replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
0 likes

You're welcome to carry on rimming if that's what floats your boat  1

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Fignon's ghost replied to OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
1 like

Yes. And I'm very glad that many others also share my love of rimming. There's no alternative 👍.

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ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
2 likes

Chris Froome is washed up and a has been, but he is still right about a lot of things. Disc brakes are a scam.

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ejocs replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
6 likes
ChuckSneed wrote:

Disc brakes are a scam.

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Off the back replied to ejocs | 1 year ago
0 likes

Of absoloutely zero use in a race. Which is Froomes point. 

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ejocs replied to Off the back | 1 year ago
1 like

Perhaps, but my point is that ChuckSneed is an annoying, attention-seeking brat who doesn't know his head from his arse.

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Off the back replied to ejocs | 1 year ago
2 likes

Oh I agree, not questioning that

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Laz | 1 year ago
1 like

I'm no racer- I am a rider and there's no way do I want to be stuck with a bike that has the issues with discs that I am hearing about. Disc brake tech is not going to last. Rim braking will remain because it is simpler- you disc guys just bought into the con; and you will be sold another one later on. Suckers.

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Secret_squirrel replied to Laz | 1 year ago
1 like

You're no racer but you'll make a buying decision based on what a racer sees as a problem. laugh

Disc aren't perfect but neither are rims. No one's making you buy a disc brakes bike but you're cutting yourself off from a vast range of new bikes doing so. 

I suspect most ppl don't give a damn what brakes they use. 20% love discs 5% love rims. 

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Fignon's ghost replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

No. Manufacturers, retailers are losing out on sales to discerning cyclists that decline to purchase their disc drenched monstrosities.

Rimmers (yes, I said it. What?) are always in favour of buying quality second hand or accommodating, new rim alternatives. There are many of us.
Rimming is winning...

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wtjs replied to Laz | 1 year ago
3 likes

I'm no racer- I am a rider

No, you're a dimwit. 'Disc brake tech is not going to last'?! 

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mark1a replied to Laz | 1 year ago
8 likes
Laz wrote:

Rim braking will remain because it is simpler- you disc guys just bought into the con; and you will be sold another one later on. Suckers.

 

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Fignon's ghost replied to mark1a | 1 year ago
1 like

This is not relateable. Rim brakes are entirely effective. Minimum fuss.

Get over it.

I can't resist it.
Just take a look at a rotor trueing tool. WTAF!

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mark1a replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
2 likes
Fignon's ghost wrote:

This is not relateable. Rim brakes are entirely effective. Minimum fuss. Get over it. I can't resist it. Just take a look at a rotor trueing tool. WTAF!

I have nothing to get over. I don't give a fuck who uses what brakes. I have bikes with disc and rim brakes. My relatable point made above is that people get so bent out of shape about this, when nobody is removing any choice. Probably still point at aeroplanes.

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Fignon's ghost replied to mark1a | 1 year ago
2 likes

My point. The choice of ready built new road bikes is massively populated by disc brake setups. This is not, imo, encouraging for newbies or kids. As soon as the disc system starts playing up (aka, a grain of sand). The bike gets shelved as the disc system maintenance becomes overbearing (unless you are well versed).

Rim brakes are simple to maintain.
Achieve all the benefits. They need to be brought back into the mainstream of sales for all road bikes.

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JustTryingToGet... replied to mark1a | 1 year ago
3 likes
mark1a wrote:
Laz wrote:

Rim braking will remain because it is simpler- you disc guys just bought into the con; and you will be sold another one later on. Suckers.

 

There's still a place for foot braking... normally that place is when I've let the maintenance slip.

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The Accountant replied to Laz | 1 year ago
2 likes

Amen, disc brakes are for proper mugs.

Rim brakes FTW, never had a problem with slowing or stopping over tens of thousands of miles, and when worn out slide on a new pair for a fiver, even my 8 year old can do it.

No wonder the bike industry hate it, where's the profit in that?

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Awavey | 1 year ago
1 like

The key part is theyd pulled the team car out which meant the gap from him to the peloton was under 30secs anyway and likely shrinking anyway.

I suspect his second stop was more the bike rider wants the perfect setup rather than the wheel was incompatible as such. Weve seen that with riders forced to swap bikes or taking neutral service wheels before.

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lesterama | 1 year ago
4 likes

Bring back pre-2000s bikes, when a mechanic could change a front wheel in 5 secs and a rear in 10.

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joules1975 | 1 year ago
6 likes

With the greatest respect to Chris Froome, I don't think a poor wheel change is his main issue, and him raging about it is I suspect a proxy for venting about his seeming inability to get back to the top.

Also, perhaps rather than venting about changing a wheel, maybe look at reducing/removing the chance of puncturing in the first place? Sure, you can't avoid all punctures, but sealant deals with most without the rider even knowing. Chris Boardman made this point years ago - loose a watt or two/forgo a bit of extra weight by running sealant - whether tubed, tubesless or tubular - as the time loss and/or additional riding effort is basically non-existant, whereas getting a puncture costs a good chunck of time and/or effort.

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dubwise | 1 year ago
2 likes

Of course, it was disc brakes to blame for his serious crash, that he hasn't really recovered from.

Give it up Chris, retire and enjoy your achievements.

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kil0ran | 1 year ago
1 like

Puzzled as to how a front wheel change could possibly be made longer by discs, particularly with the rider holding the bike. Tolerances aren't tight and it's quick to spin the lever single handled whilst holding the wheel with the other. Wheel in left hand, axle in right, kneel in front of the bike, done.

On a rim brake bike you need to get the wheel centred, remember to flip the caliper unlocked, use two hands to tighten the QR, and relock the caliper.

Wonder if there's an engineering solution, some way to retain the axle in the dropout?

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Secret_squirrel replied to kil0ran | 1 year ago
2 likes

I posted a thread in the forum about this.  I cant see any way in the world how a disc wheel change can take longer given competent mechanics.

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Awavey replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes

Well there is your answer...how often do you see team mechanics or neutral service practice quick wheel changes ?

So that its second nature muscle memory when the real time pressure is on and they arent panicking.

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Jules59 replied to Awavey | 1 year ago
1 like

Perhaps they shoud talk to the F1 guys about how to change wheels fast. Guy Martin's programme indicated the lengths they go to in order to shave fractions of seconds off their wheel changes. But they do use bespoke systems not available to normal car users.

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Awavey replied to Jules59 | 1 year ago
0 likes

plus some freaky secret technology, he had to sign an NDA before they even let him on the wheel changing team. Im sure they could easily come up with something that would take care of it.

but for instance Adam Yates threw away a second place GC at the UAE tour because he spent the couple of seconds he had in hand over Plapp celebrating his stage victory. his DS should have been onto that, but I bet they were too busy celebrating the stage win too.

 

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