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Disc brakes in the pro peloton

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Disc brakes in the pro peloton

Old 04-13-16, 10:30 AM
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Disc brakes in the pro peloton

Road disc brakes are being trialed in the pro peloton this year.

They have claimed their first victim, a Spanish pro whose leg was sliced open to the tibia bone in a routine pile-up.

Ventoso blasts the use of disc brakes in the peloton | Cyclingnews.com

For anyone unfamiliar with road racing, basically big crashes are common and when they happen, dozens of riders and bikes are thrown at each other in tangled piles. This is something not seen in other types of cycling where discs are used, like MTB or cross.

Having sharp spinning discs at each end of the bikes that are flying at the fallen riders is, it seems, dangerous.

Chainrings would seem dangerous too, but they aren't. Pro racers are usually in the big ring, so the chainring teeth are covered by the chain, and serious chainring wounds are rare.

I'm not sure why discs aren't made with rounded edges.

Last edited by jyl; 04-13-16 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 04-13-16, 10:35 AM
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It was Predicted.

plastic covers were a part of the replica accessories inspired from Motocross Motorbikes for the MTB market.

but I did not fly in the Penny Pinching Marketplace of cyclists ..


I'm not sure why discs aren't made with rounded edges.
They're so thin It would not make any difference..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-13-16 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 04-13-16, 11:00 AM
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Sharpening them would be more aero
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Old 04-13-16, 11:36 AM
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Holy crap that cut down to where he could see his periosteum? I don't think I could handle that sight well.
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Old 04-13-16, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl

I'm not sure why discs aren't made with rounded edges.
You would think
Might also make installing a bit easier, by guiding between the pads.
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Old 04-13-16, 12:07 PM
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A lot of them are round, but at a certain speed it doesn't matter.

I think avid/SRAM actively sharpen their rotors, however.
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Old 04-13-16, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel
Sharpening them would be more aero
Finally! True progress.
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Old 04-13-16, 05:01 PM
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UCI has just put a hold on the disc brake pilot test.
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Old 04-13-16, 05:34 PM
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OK, I'll bite. I have 2 bicycles with disc (hydraulic) brakes and will not buy another bicycle without them. I'm a commuter, recreational rider not a racer so my thoughts are probably all wrong. But how does one get cut by a rotor in such away? My rotors are only about 1" out from my spokes and inside my front fork, so in order for this kind of cut his leg would have to be wedged between my spokes and rotor in such away it would have probably broken spokes on my wheel. I wonder how much damage a fork drop out and quick release lever would have done if there were no rotor? I mean its not like the rotors are hanging/ sticking off the bicycle, they are tucked under fork, seat and chain stays and positioned really close to the hubs and spokes.
Motorcycles usually have 2 disc rotors on the front both dirt and road versions and they race them all the time.
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Old 04-13-16, 06:12 PM
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Full leather kit needed.
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Old 04-13-16, 08:57 PM
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It is a situation unique to road racing. Not an issue in any other kind of cycling.

Basically, 100 riders are blasting down a road at 30+ mph, packed so closely each rider could reach out and touch the riders by him. One rider crashes, the rest all slam into him and into each other, the peloton goes from 30 mph to zero in a few seconds. Riders and bikes are piled on each other, tangled and intertwined, like some bloody man-machine orgy.

Here's some examples, far from the worst ones:

https://youtu.be/8vq8MKpsbww 2016 Tour de San Luis. I think the rider who goes down first was in a coma for weeks.

https://youtu.be/yByMQVDk3K4 2015 Tour de France. Race was neutralized until they sorted this one out.

https://youtu.be/6OggK0OgOTk Women's pro race

Legs, arms, fingers, even faces will slam into, or be slammed by, any conceivable part of a bike in these pileups. Being 1" from spokes is no protection, riders' limbs will even go through the spokes.

A deep cut to the calf is bad enough, but it could have been an Achilles tendon, a throat, a face.
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Old 04-13-16, 09:06 PM
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Is there some way to make guards for the discs that won't add weight, increase aero drag, or slow wheel changes?

Road discs are already about 500 g heavier for the whole system, add from 5 to 25 watts of aero drag depending on wind direction, and require through axles instead of quick releases, then the discs rub the pads after the hasty wheel change.
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Old 04-14-16, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl
Is there some way to make guards for the discs that won't add weight, increase aero drag, or slow wheel changes?

Road discs are already about 500 g heavier for the whole system, add from 5 to 25 watts of aero drag depending on wind direction, and require through axles instead of quick releases, then the discs rub the pads after the hasty wheel change.
Both my bicycles with disc brakes use quick release not through axles.
So, let me see if I understand this. Road racers are participating in a dangerous activity, some get hurt and are trying to ban disc brakes? Maybe they should ban aero spokes as well? I mean if you are close enough to get cut by a disc rotor you are surely close enough to get your knee cap cut off by aero spokes. And I could go as far as to say getting punctured in some vital area with a break lever could ruin someones day, ban those as well?

There were two different legs with injuries shown in the article, one right leg (Ventoso) and another racer showing his left leg injury. Not saying it is impossible, but if all the racers are going in the same direction and all disc brakes are on the left side of bicycle how does one get his left leg cut on a rotor? I went and set on one of my bicycles and compared where my leg would contact the rotor, the contact area was a lot closer to the ankle than the knee area.
I would also question disc brakes weighing 500 grams (17oz) more than a brake caliper set up.
Anyway, I wish the racers a speedy recovery.
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Old 04-14-16, 07:02 AM
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OK, let's see.
What we have here is a rider who've fallen and landed on something that did more damage than the "average" spot of impact would do.
Whatever the "average" would be in a group ride.

Now, are brake rotors the ONLY dangerous items to land on?
Hardly.
It's not like the rest of the immediate world is safe like the interior of a bouncy castle.
Looking at bikes only, there are sprockets and chainrings, if you want a similar shape.
For impalement type injuries there are q/r levers, brake/shifter levers. Even bar ends.
It seems improbable to hit a pedal hard enough for it to penetrate the body, but it could certainly cause internal injuries, even fractures.

Admittedly, adding brake rotors means two MORE potentially dangerous items, which is principally undesirable.
But it is really important?
ONE accident can't tell.
We don't know how probable this outcome is.

Statistics and human impressions are tricky.
Events have no memory, and no sense of occasion.
There's nothing preventing something that's a one in a thousand, or one in a million chance/risk from happening at the first opportunity.
Like when throwing dice.
No matter what number came up before, and before, and before etc, the chance of any particular number to come up at the next throw is ALWAYS 1/6.
A nasty accident early on doesn't prove a thing - apart from showing that this particular type of injury CAN happen.
We might see another one next week, or five years from now. Or whatever.
We can't tell.
But humans, unless trained, tend to see trends and omens, and assign a special value in things that happens at certain times, like just at the beginning.
How well do you think the Titanic disaster had been remembered if she'd sunk on her 128th crossing?

And then there's the overall risk inventory.
How big are the probabilities - and the possible outcomes - of falling onto a curb, a spectator barrier, in the path of another rider etc?
Or in front of a support vehicle?
Ony b/c there is an added risk doesn't automatically mean that it's important.
For it to be important, it has to happen often enough, and with severe enough consequences.
And we don't know that yet.
Even if - when sufficient data is in - we judge it to be important, we still need to consider the pros and cons.
Now, in a group situation, brake performance isn't a limiting factor, but human reaction time is.
So there might be good reason to question the use of disc brakes in (pro) racing.
Maybe not so much from the amount of added risk, but from the scant amount of improvement they appear to offer in a race situation.
Added risk might be OK, if it's offset by an added improvement somewhere else.
And if human reaction time is the most frequent limiting factor, I can't see much racing benefit from them.
Possibly on rainy descents.
More consistent performance, easier to get good braking with hands going numb from cold.
Might save a couple of riders from wiping out each year.
Whether this is a good trade or not in the racing community, I can't tell.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the day when "all" my bikes are disc brake bikes.
More consistent all-weather performance.
Same amount of braking for a lesser amount of hand force is never a bad thing, and quite nice on cold days.
My ability for fine brake modulation definitely suffers the harder I have to squeeze.
Indefinite rim life won't be a big thing, but still something I'd be able to appreciate.
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Old 04-14-16, 07:24 AM
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Great reply dabac, But from what I read Ventoso stated that he never fell, only brushed up against something. That is why I sat on one of my bicycles to see where my leg would normally contact a disc, which for me was much, much lower on my leg than what Ventoso experienced.
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Old 04-14-16, 07:52 AM
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Pro road racers don't have the same needs as you and I do.

When descending, they don't use their brakes to hold their speed down. They are in an aero tuck, or pedaling their 53 x 11, trying to go faster.
When braking, they aren't usually trying to fully stop. They are reducing their speed just enough to make the next curve, or to swerve around the crash..
They don't care about rim life. Their wheels are replaced frequently during the season.
They don't care about ease of maintenance. Their bikes are overhauled by the mechanics every night.
Their skills, in brake modulation or anything else riding-related, are on a different planet from us.

For pro road racers, the brakes need to be very light, very low aero drag, no mechanical drag/rubbing, allow the mechanic to jump out of the car and change a wheel in 5 seconds.

And when they get into these mass peloton crashes and are buried in a tangle of bikes and bodies, they need to not have the brakes increase their risk of injury. Yes, it is a dangerous sport, but that doesn't mean that adding sharp cutting edges at both ends of the bike is a good thing.
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Old 04-14-16, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by 2 Piece
Both my bicycles with disc brakes use quick release not through axles.
So, let me see if I understand this. Road racers are participating in a dangerous activity, some get hurt and are trying to ban disc brakes? Maybe they should ban aero spokes as well? I mean if you are close enough to get cut by a disc rotor you are surely close enough to get your knee cap cut off by aero spokes. And I could go as far as to say getting punctured in some vital area with a break lever could ruin someones day, ban those as well?

There were two different legs with injuries shown in the article, one right leg (Ventoso) and another racer showing his left leg injury. Not saying it is impossible, but if all the racers are going in the same direction and all disc brakes are on the left side of bicycle how does one get his left leg cut on a rotor? I went and set on one of my bicycles and compared where my leg would contact the rotor, the contact area was a lot closer to the ankle than the knee area.
I would also question disc brakes weighing 500 grams (17oz) more than a brake caliper set up.
Anyway, I wish the racers a speedy recovery.
The 500 g is real. The 160 mm discs and calipers weigh more than a rim brake caliper, the hubs are heavier, the fork and rear triangle need more material for strength, the wheels need more spokes and can't be radially spoked, the through axle weighs more than a QR. In theory disc rims could be a little lighter if the brake track is omitted.
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Old 04-14-16, 10:05 AM
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As I understand it such as Mavic Neutral support already has to have a clipboard with what rider needs what specific wheel ..

Add disc hubs & things get even more complicated , when you are stopped along the road with your Hand Up.
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Old 04-14-16, 12:56 PM
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From what I've read, it's still not confirmed that a disc rotor caused the Movistar rider's injury. My understanding was that there was no crash, so the question remains how he injured his left leg while passing either a Roompot or Lampre rider (the only teams using discs).

If the two bikes remained upright, how did he injure his LEFT leg with a brake disc on the left of the bike he was passing?

UCI was certainly swift in its decision, but it may be (pardon the pun) a case of a knee-jerk reaction.

For sure the bike industry will scramble to show that its technology is safe. Shimano and Campagnolo have already issued statements distancing themselves from the situation, citing that neither of them had any sponsored, read sanctioned teams using their disc tech in the Paris-Robaix race.

Rotor covers will be technically challenging and could interfere with wheel changes. IMHO, the primary issue here is the fact that bicycle disc rotors are stamped from sheet steel with no further finishing.

Since the rotor thickness is unlikely to change, I see at a minimum;

1) An additional machining step to apply a chamfer or a rounded profile on the edges of the disc, rendering it no more dangerous than a butter knife.

2) A move away from radical and serrated rotor designs to more conservative, round external profiles.
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Old 04-14-16, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by apn
My understanding was that there was no crash, so the question remains how he injured his left leg while passing either a Roompot or Lampre rider (the only teams using discs).
There was definitely a crash. The injured rider just didn't go down. I'm having a hard time imagining something other than a disc having caused the injury. It's hard to imagine how a disc rotor got to his knee, but it's even harder to imagine something else having caused this. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Giants knives! Run for your lives.

Seriously, for me as a recreational rider I think the case for having a bike with disc brakes is pretty compelling. I also think the case for not needing them on all of my bikes is pretty compelling. I don't need or want discs on the bikes that I use for nice weather road riding. The case for disc brakes in the pro peloton is almost entirely dependent on marketing/sponsorship arguments.
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Old 04-14-16, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
There was definitely a crash. The injured rider just didn't go down. I'm having a hard time imagining something other than a disc having caused the injury. It's hard to imagine how a disc rotor got to his knee, but it's even harder to imagine something else having caused this. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Giants knives! Run for your lives.

Seriously, for me as a recreational rider I think the case for having a bike with disc brakes is pretty compelling. I also think the case for not needing them on all of my bikes is pretty compelling. I don't need or want discs on the bikes that I use for nice weather road riding. The case for disc brakes in the pro peloton is almost entirely dependent on marketing/sponsorship arguments.
Which injured rider? There were two; Ventoso injured his right leg and said he did not go down. The other injured his left leg, which I really have a hard time trying to figure out how a disc rotor did that, unless some of the racers were racing in opposite direction.
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Old 04-14-16, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 2 Piece
Which injured rider? There were two; Ventoso injured his right leg and said he did not go down.
Ventoso is the one I'm claiming was almost certainly cut by a disc rotor.
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Old 04-14-16, 03:42 PM
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He crashed into a rider ahead of him. Just because he managed not to fall on the ground doesn't mean it was an orderly touching of leg to bike.
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Old 04-14-16, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl
He crashed into a rider ahead of him. Just because he managed not to fall on the ground doesn't mean it was an orderly touching of leg to bike.
I agree. Sagan showed at Paris-Roubaix that crashing and falling aren't always coupled.

Nearly any crash in a road race is going to involve bikes and riders whirling around in unusual orientations.
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Old 04-14-16, 05:38 PM
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It's also not like the pro riders have been screaming to allow disc brakes in the peloton. The interviews I've read said most of them didn't have a problem with them, and figured they would be standard pretty soon anyway so the UCI should allow them. I never heard of any pro rider saying they really needed or wanted them. Now though, the riders may be actively against the discs for safety reasons because they've seen what can happen (if indeed that is what happened - but even if it wasn't it's still valid to evaluate the safety of these things).

So it seems like it's kind of being forced on the teams by the equipment sponsors... that's not unusual either of course - riders weren't screaming for 11-speed cogs - but they didn't cause any leg gashes either.

The neutral service arguments and all that other stuff just doesn't matter, but safety does.

Also... Eddy doesn't like them:



"rotorgate"... ROFL

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