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Disc brakes in road racing

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Old 01-07-16, 01:30 AM
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spectastic
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Disc brakes in road racing

this year is supposed to be the beta test for disc brakes in the peloton. I think it will go well, and that disc brakes will be the future for road bikes.

advantages:
better stopping power
much less rim wear (leading to longer wheel lifespan and long term money savings)
less maintenance on hydraulic components
no more of that haunting squealing

disadvantages:
safety (we're about to find out; I doubt it's anymore dangerous than low spoke count wheels)
cost (greater upfront cost compared to calipers, but imo less long term cost due to long lasting rims)
weight/aero (weight not really an issue. aero needs more data)
rotors easily bend (pita, but manageable)
wheel compatibility (bring your own for the wheel pit)

i personally think the pros outweigh the cons. what do other people think?

anyone work in the industry? will the component manufacturers come out with disc brake options in the near future?
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Old 01-07-16, 02:05 AM
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ErichVonCartman
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It seems with Bicycles, all the greatest Technology advances occur with Mountain Bikes. When Discs first came to Mtn Bikes, everyone seemed to open to it. Also for Mountain Bikes, there is no question to use discs due to terrain and mud.

For Road Bicycles that ride on paved roads, there is not too much gunk that can get between rim and brake. For Road Bikes, I don't really see the need for them unless you are taking some long and steep descent where brake fade becomes an issue, or you regularly ride in bad weather on muddy road that destroys rims.

For Carbon rims, they are almost a must. We really don't want gunk to get between the pad and the carbon rim, some of that gunk can cut up the carbon rim pretty good. Carbon rims also can get extremely hot on long descents causing blowouts even in dry weather.

My next Road Bike will have disc brakes, but that will be awhile, probably in 3-5 years from now because I just bought a Carbon Fiber Dura-Ace equipped bike this past year, and I just want to get some good use out of this bike before I move on. Hopefully in 3 years they will have all the kinks worked and these road disc brakes will be stronger, lighter, more durable, and cheaper.

I think most Road Bikers will NOT embrace Disc Brakes. Mountain Bikers seems to be more open to try different things. Mtn Bikers have no problem trying new technology, and Mtn Bikers tend to experiment more with different tires, forks, shox, wheels, frames, etc. With Road Bikers, when they like something, they stick to it, be it tires, frame material, or whatever. Also, Road Bikers tend to be more frugal.

Road Bicyclists also tend to be Traditionalist, so expect a lot Hate and Push Back from these Traditionalists. I myself, can't wait to hear what the Traditionalist Haterz have to say!

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Old 01-07-16, 02:24 AM
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yea i don't like the snobbish roadie culture either. maybe i should take up mtbing.

3-5 years seems reasonable to me.. I just wish it could be faster.
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Old 01-07-16, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
yea i don't like the snobbish roadie culture either. maybe i should take up mtbing.

3-5 years seems reasonable to me.. I just wish it could be faster.

Mtn Bike Races tend to be filled with cool people that are chill and like to party.
Also, it may be less than 3-5 years where they become stronger, lighter, more durable, and cheaper.... I am just saying my next Road bike won't be till 3-5 years from now.

Last edited by cb400bill; 01-07-16 at 04:57 AM. Reason: Removed inflammatory comments
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Old 01-07-16, 02:22 PM
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I've been seeing them on the road around here more and more (road bikes w/ disc brakes that is).

In the peloton, haven't seen any.

Personally I don't see the need for it, my brakes work just fine dammit!
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Old 01-07-16, 03:00 PM
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I don't see any need for disc brakes in the racing that I do, although they would be nice to have (but not necessary) on a couple descents a year that I do on training rides in wet weather. I'm not looking forward to the added cost, weight and lack of wheel compatibility on my bikes. So, I probably won't buy a disc brake equipped race bike until I have to.
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Old 01-07-16, 04:06 PM
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I have a disc brake road bike. I commute on it, with wide tires, often in nasty weather, often with a lot of cargo, and often in heavy traffic where I might need a slam stop at any moment. For this kind of riding, I love my discs.

Personally I do not see how any of that applies to the pro racing riders.

If it's any kind of disadvantage, they will quit using them quickly. Not sure whether they care about extended rim life - my guess would be they replace everything long before it wears out.
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Old 01-07-16, 04:24 PM
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GCN did a test of rim brakes vs. disks on stopping distance.

Different riders, different bikes (I think), so the validity of their "tests" is suspect, however given the skill of both of the riders I'd assume they both know how to stop as quickly as possible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHFS...CyclingNetwork

Disks won out in all cases. (Stopped quicker.)

Before I saw that video I thought disks on a road bike were useless, now I'm not sure.
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Old 01-07-16, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by alathIN View Post
I have a disc brake road bike. I commute on it, with wide tires, often in nasty weather, often with a lot of cargo, and often in heavy traffic where I might need a slam stop at any moment. For this kind of riding, I love my discs.

Personally I do not see how any of that applies to the pro racing riders.

If it's any kind of disadvantage, they will quit using them quickly. Not sure whether they care about extended rim life - my guess would be they replace everything long before it wears out.
who said anything about pros?
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Old 01-07-16, 04:27 PM
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I can already lock up both wheels with my supposedly inferior rim brakes. The limiting factor in stopping is the tires against the road, not the pads against the rim. This is a solution for a problem I don't have.
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Old 01-07-16, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alathIN View Post
I have a disc brake road bike. I commute on it, with wide tires, often in nasty weather, often with a lot of cargo, and often in heavy traffic where I might need a slam stop at any moment. For this kind of riding, I love my discs.

Personally I do not see how any of that applies to the pro racing riders.

If it's any kind of disadvantage, they will quit using them quickly. Not sure whether they care about extended rim life - my guess would be they replace everything long before it wears out.

For Pros, I see it the same way. In addition to what you said....

Pros run tubulars, so they don't have to worry about blow outs of tubes on long descent that care caused by the rim over heating with caliper brakes.

Only time I see Pros using disc is when it is wet (because Carbon Rims suck at stopping). But then again, if they have long and steep descents, that means they will spend about 400% more time climbing, and if the disc set up can't be light as calipers (which it most likely never will never be), then the ascent will more than negates all their gains on the descent... because no one ever makes up time descending, you only make up time and catch people ascending.

I do NOT see any advantage for the Pros, I only see Disc as an advantage to me. I run clinchers, I like my rims to last, I want more stopping power on the long descents, I want to stop regardless of rain or road conditions. That is why my next bike will have discs.

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Old 01-07-16, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I can already lock up both wheels with my supposedly inferior rim brakes. The limiting factor in stopping is the tires against the road, not the pads against the rim. This is a solution for a problem I don't have.
I used to think the exact same thing you do. It's not an issue if you can lock the wheels up. The issue is with modulation. Disk brakes supposedly give you greater modulation, which means you can get closer to the "lock wheels up" line which means you stop quicker, see the video I posted above.

Don't get me wrong, I love the rim brakes on my road bikes. I doubt I'll ever willingly buy disk brakes from my road bikes, but if they do stop you quicker, it MAY save some people from getting hurt.
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Old 01-07-16, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I used to think the exact same thing you do. It's not an issue if you can lock the wheels up. The issue is with modulation. Disk brakes supposedly give you greater modulation, which means you can get closer to the "lock wheels up" line which means you stop quicker, see the video I posted above.

Don't get me wrong, I love the rim brakes on my road bikes. I doubt I'll ever willingly buy disk brakes from my road bikes, but if they do stop you quicker, it MAY save some people from getting hurt.
Yup yup... Calipers are like a light switch, the wheels lock up to easily. It's all about controlled stopping as quickly as possible. Car Brakes these days are much improved since 30 years ago, the pads are better and the disc are better... cars can stop much faster now and it's NOT because they can lock up their brakes easier. It is because they have CONTROLLED STOPPING.

In addition to that....
1) Rim Brakes have "brake fade", disc does not. Once a Rim and Brake heats up, the brakes will seem like it fails to stop.

2) Disc Brakes does not care about rain or mud, they stop in the rain and mud just as well as when it is dry and clean. Rim Brakes at times will fail to work in the rain and mud.
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Old 01-07-16, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ErichVonCartman View Post
Yup yup... Calipers are like a light switch, the wheels lock up too easily.
I wouldn't go THAT far. But yes, your subsequent points are true.
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Old 01-07-16, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I wouldn't go THAT far. But yes, your subsequent points are true.

Please allow me to clarify our miscommunication....

Caliper brakes do take a lot more pull on the levers, so in that sense they are not "easy to lock up".

However, when I said "lock up to easy" in the above, I meant in one instance you do not have enough brakes, then the next instance you lock up. That basically what it means to have NO modulation.

Now if we want easy lever pull, we go v-brakes. But V-Brakes still has the no-modulation.
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Old 01-07-16, 06:55 PM
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Isn't the major barrier here the issue with neutral wheel support?
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Old 01-07-16, 07:24 PM
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That's one of the issues. Not the main issue in my opinion, and not even a major issue at that. Bring your own wheels. And if there are wheel support, the rotor positions should all be compatible
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Old 01-07-16, 07:56 PM
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For me the issue is standardization. Once all of the manufacturers settle on a standard for axles, spacing, and all of that other crap, then I'll think about it. Just because the UCI says they want something, doesn't mean the manufacturers are going to jump on board immediately. This is going to take years to sort out to the mid and lower tier bikes.

I've tried road cable discs (BB5/BB7) and cable-actuated hydro. They were alright, but nothing that made me jump up and down and immediately convert. I haven't had the opportunity to try full hydro on a road, so I'll reserve judgement. I ride a lot in the rain, and I do a fair amount of descending. I'm at least interested in the concept.

Another factor for me is the money I have tied up in 10 speed components. I like what I have and see no reason to change until it's unsupportable at the current level of components. That hasn't happened, and nothing I've seen or tried with 11 speed (including Di2 and hydro) has made me want to jump ship. Maybe later, but I'll let other people be the early adopters.
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Old 01-07-16, 09:39 PM
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Are discs a drag? Wind tunnel testing disc brake road bikes - VeloNews.com
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Old 01-07-16, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ErichVonCartman View Post
Pros run tubulars, so they don't have to worry about blow outs of tubes on long descent that care caused by the rim over heating with caliper brakes.
no one really does on modern carbon
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Old 01-07-16, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
no one really does on modern carbon

no one really does what with modern carbon? Get blow outs?
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Old 01-07-16, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ErichVonCartman View Post
Yup yup... Calipers are like a light switch, the wheels lock up to easily. It's all about controlled stopping as quickly as possible. Car Brakes these days are much improved since 30 years ago, the pads are better and the disc are better... cars can stop much faster now and it's NOT because they can lock up their brakes easier. It is because they have CONTROLLED STOPPING.

In addition to that....
1) Rim Brakes have "brake fade", disc does not. Once a Rim and Brake heats up, the brakes will seem like it fails to stop.

2) Disc Brakes does not care about rain or mud, they stop in the rain and mud just as well as when it is dry and clean. Rim Brakes at times will fail to work in the rain and mud.
Don't know much about disc brakes. Our rim brakes have no such issues. They don't fade, don't heat, don't lock and stop very well in the rain.
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Old 01-07-16, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ErichVonCartman View Post
no one really does what with modern carbon? Get blow outs?
modern carbon wheels and pads don't generate heat like they used to. I rode carbon clinchers at EC and I'm a coward so there was plenty of drag breaking.
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Old 01-07-16, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ErichVonCartman View Post
no one really does what with modern carbon? Get blow outs?
Correct. One reason is it is a poor heat conductor.
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Old 01-07-16, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
modern carbon wheels and pads don't generate heat like they used to. I rode carbon clinchers at EC and I'm a coward so there was plenty of drag breaking.
Well that is good to hear. I see you are in Redwood City!

I am not really worry about the blowouts myself, I have rode road bike around your way a couple of times, rode down Highway 9 from 35 to Saratoga. It is about 2000ft elevation drop in 7 miles, and I was with my Cheap Chinese Carbon Clinchers and I did not have issues.
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