BIKETART FEATURE: THE ROAD DISC REVOLUTION
Disc brakes have been common place in Mountain biking for over 10 years now. The precision, improved stopping distance and weight are all attractive qualities which make this type of braking system favourable over hydraulic brakes. Can the same be said for Road Bikes?
The UCI has recently announced it is going to begin trialling Disc Brakes in August and September. World Tour teams will be allowed to trial disc brakes on their bikes at 2 events between these months. It’s a big step in bike component history, and through countless battles and indecision, the UCI have finally given in (if all goes to plan) to fully implement the brakes in 2016. By 2017, the plan is to evolve this system to all levels of road racing. Exciting stuff.
What about the functionality on a road bike? There’s a lot of talk amongst road racers and the topic of Disk Brakes on road bikes can be somewhat taboo. Disc brakes are quite compatible on mountain bikes due to the lack of need for quick tyre and wheel replacements. What about races such as the Tour of Flanders? Where road bikes have constant punctures, quickly changing a disc brake wheel on a neutral service bike is going to be difficult. Apart from this, exposure to World Tour teams has struck up some problems, including a comment from BMC’s Phillipe Gilbert in an interview with Velonews, “If we do this, we need to have the entire peloton on the same material. With the WorldTour teams, the Continental and Pro Continental teams, you could see some on disc brakes, and some not on disc brakes. With disc brakes, you can stop in 10 meters, but without, it takes 20 meters. It could create problems”. We can see that there is potential hazards and issues – it’s like fitting some cars with spanking new brake pads and others with ancient relics. There’s going to be a crash at some point.
– Could we be seeing disc brakes in the Pro Peleton this summer?
You don’t have to be a Pro Rider to experience a disk brake system on a road bike. Infact, Genesis have had incredible success with their Equilibrium Disc. It’s a mid-level race bike with integrated Disc braking systems that’s in reach of those looking for a different ride. The bike comes in Titanium build as well, and truly it’s an innovation of British design. The bike starts at a complete build of £1099 with full Tiagra and responsive TRC spyre disc brakes. This range goes up to £2000 with a full 105 set and improved weight at 10.19kg. At the end of the day, if you wanted a lightweight bike you’d go for their Zero range. The Equilibrium is very much about a responsive and safe ride, perfect for longer road stages. It’s recently received a 10 out of 10 in Cycling Weekly’s test and a 9/10 for the frame – heat moulded with precision and loaded with the Ti range’s component package.
We spoke to Madison, Genesis’ UK Distributor and they were unable to comment on whether their 2016 and 2017 bikes would have disc brakes for the Madison-Genesis pro team. However, we speculate that if the UCI’s plan to integrate disc braking into every realm of racing does go forward, their will be a surge of builds and custom makes with disc brakes. It’s similar to the 27+ and 29+ fad on mountain bikes – but is it going to stick around for long? There’s full coverage from SRAM and Shimano for a hydraulic disk braking system, but Campagnolo are yet to bring theirs to the market. Expect a quick release of whatever they’re developing so they can be on top for the new builds. The Vuelta a Espana and other races will see some extremely interesting kit come see September and late August, and with all of these speculations comes even more excitement. We can’t wait.