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Disc brakes in the World Tour

Old 11-28-15, 01:14 AM
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Disc brakes in the World Tour

World Tour teams are permitted to use disc brakes starting January 2016. They aren't required to.

UCI requires that discs be 160 mm and the wheels be through-axle.

What do you think will happen? How many teams and riders do you expect to use discs, and how often? Why do you think they will, or won't, use discs?

Last edited by jyl; 11-28-15 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 11-28-15, 11:19 AM
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Many of the teams were using discs during the experimentation period late this year.

Seems the consensus is the world tour teams will switch, the continental teams may be mixed.
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Old 11-30-15, 09:55 PM
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It will be interesting.

Wheel changes will be slower with discs, due to the through axles. I'm not sure if the problem of rubbing discs after a wheel change have been solved. Most likely riders will get bike changes instead of wheel changes. In races where team cars cannot closely follow the riders - like some cobble sections - this might be a problem. Neutral service motorcycles can only carry so many wheels. Front/rear, Shimano/Campagnolo, rim/disc. I guess we'll eventually see someone riding a disc wheel on a rim brake bike, looking silly.

Aero drag is higher with disc brakes, only a couple watts with wind from head on, but several watts with wind from the bike's left side. That's quite significant. I imagine time trial bikes won't be on discs, ever.

Weight is higher with discs, but i don't think that matters much, as the bikes are really below the UCI weight limit anyway.
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Old 12-01-15, 08:01 AM
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might even be used on a course/weather basis - where the day has lots of descending and/or is rainy might dictate discs
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Old 12-01-15, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Wheel changes will be slower with discs, due to the through axles. I'm not sure if the problem of rubbing discs after a wheel change have been solved. Most likely riders will get bike changes instead of wheel changes. In races where team cars cannot closely follow the riders - like some cobble sections - this might be a problem. Neutral service motorcycles can only carry so many wheels. Front/rear, Shimano/Campagnolo, rim/disc. I guess we'll eventually see someone riding a disc wheel on a rim brake bike, looking silly.
Bike changes were already the standard operating procedure for many teams, but it will greatly effect strategy. Having your back-up bike/teammate nearby at all times will become that much more critical for the multi-day tours.

I'm guessing the through-axle requirement is an effort to standardize the neutral support, since it means you really only need 15mm TA front discs, 9mm QR rim wheels and the same for 11-spd rear wheels (since Shimano and Campy are compatible).
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Old 12-01-15, 05:25 PM
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It will be interesting to see how the teams approach the grand tours. They currently bring three bikes per rider, 2 road bikes and 1 TT. Will they bring two disc bikes and two rim brakes? That's a lot of bikes for a 9 person team to carry.
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Old 12-01-15, 07:35 PM
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This will force Campagnolo's disc brake system into public view . . .

I don't have a bike with disc brakes. Since I ride in the rain a lot, it would be interesting to see rims last a lot longer, and tires stay cleaner.

It does seem too bad that the discs are mandated to be 160 mm. I thought the trend was to 140 mm for the road.

Last edited by jyl; 12-01-15 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 12-01-15, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
Bike changes were already the standard operating procedure for many teams, but it will greatly effect strategy. Having your back-up bike/teammate nearby at all times will become that much more critical for the multi-day tours.

I'm guessing the through-axle requirement is an effort to standardize the neutral support, since it means you really only need 15mm TA front discs, 9mm QR rim wheels and the same for 11-spd rear wheels (since Shimano and Campy are compatible).
Hmm, how will this work? Nine riders on your team start the race. You need to carry a spare bike for each, that is nine bikes on the team car. But it isn't impossible for a rider to have two flats. Or maybe the rider gets caught up in a big bunch crash, then 80 km later the rider gets a flat. So do you carry two spare bikes per rider?. The team car won't hold eighteen bikes. Two team cars will carry eighteen bikes between them, but will the right car be following that rider when the spare bike is needed? Maybe only the protected rider gets two spare bikes. So he loses his key domestique to a second flat. Seems like a mess. I bet mechanics will be changing wheels after all, sometimes. How fast can a mechanic undo and remove a through axle, swap the wheel, insert and screw down the through axle, and adjust the disc to eliminate rubbing?. Could we see 1 minute wheel changes?
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Old 12-02-15, 08:03 AM
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isn't the answer do a quick bike swap and then swap the wheel on the side of the road after the rider takes off? Is there some rule about the type of team cars allowed? Seems like something like a Sprinter van would allow the mechanic to swap wheels, change tires and do minor mechanical work in the back while under way. Just thinking out loud
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Old 12-02-15, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Hmm, how will this work? Nine riders on your team start the race. You need to carry a spare bike for each, that is nine bikes on the team car. But it isn't impossible for a rider to have two flats. Or maybe the rider gets caught up in a big bunch crash, then 80 km later the rider gets a flat. So do you carry two spare bikes per rider?. The team car won't hold eighteen bikes. Two team cars will carry eighteen bikes between them, but will the right car be following that rider when the spare bike is needed? Maybe only the protected rider gets two spare bikes. So he loses his key domestique to a second flat. Seems like a mess. I bet mechanics will be changing wheels after all, sometimes. How fast can a mechanic undo and remove a through axle, swap the wheel, insert and screw down the through axle, and adjust the disc to eliminate rubbing?. Could we see 1 minute wheel changes?
The rider will immediately swap bikes either from teammate or team car. The mechanic will replace the wheel sitting on the road-side before tossing the bike on top. With through axle designs, the wheel location is highly repeatable, I routinely remove the front wheel on my MTB and have never encountered any rubbing issues. The trick is having the discs properly shimmed so that the disc is consistent across multiple wheels, which is setup issue that can be addressed in the shop prior to a race start.

Also, once you take into account the lawyer lips, using a through axle adds hardly any time. Drop the wheel in place, insert axle, quickly thread closed, flip axle lever closed.
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Old 12-03-15, 12:31 PM
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Would those of you with road discs clarify something?

How hot do they get after brief but hard braking? And how sharp are the edges of the disc?

Many pro racers are worried about getting cut or burned by the discs in a mass crash. But mass crashes almost always happen when the peloton is closely packed on a flat section of road. Someone touches wheels or hits a road defect and goes down, then fifty other riders end up in a pile. They will have applied the brakes for a second or two at most.
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Old 12-03-15, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by hokie cycler View Post
It will be interesting to see how the teams approach the grand tours. They currently bring three bikes per rider, 2 road bikes and 1 TT. Will they bring two disc bikes and two rim brakes? That's a lot of bikes for a 9 person team to carry.
Do they bring the TT bikes along for the whole race? Take this year's Tour; 1 TT on day 1, a TTT on stage 9, would they bother bringing along all the TT bikes for the rest of the Tour, or just pack them up and ship them back to team HQ after 9? Similarly, even if there's 3 TTs over the course of the race, would they have the TT bikes along for all the stages in between, or just send some on ahead to the location of the next one? Or maybe ship ahead to the rest-day location so the GC leader could have a training spin on his, and maybe dial in his position. Or with the 2nd TT next year being a mountain test, where some riders will no doubt ride compromise road/TT setups, will they pack up the TT bikes after the first test?
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Old 12-03-15, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
Do they bring the TT bikes along for the whole race? Take this year's Tour; 1 TT on day 1, a TTT on stage 9, would they bother bringing along all the TT bikes for the rest of the Tour, or just pack them up and ship them back to team HQ after 9? Similarly, even if there's 3 TTs over the course of the race, would they have the TT bikes along for all the stages in between, or just send some on ahead to the location of the next one? Or maybe ship ahead to the rest-day location so the GC leader could have a training spin on his, and maybe dial in his position. Or with the 2nd TT next year being a mountain test, where some riders will no doubt ride compromise road/TT setups, will they pack up the TT bikes after the first test?
Here's our answer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x87vzazC1oM
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Old 12-03-15, 09:43 PM
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I distinctly remember when I thought that discs on MTB was just a fad..........................

The implications of going to disc has a lot of good points (I must grudgingly admit)such as rim material and diameter options that arise for example. Swapping wheels with a disc setup is super fast, and much easier in some regards.

Setting a single disc diameter is a great idea, and will standardize the setup.

Personally, I love the rim brake, but it isn't up to me.

ETA- Rim diameters that can be within the confines of the regs of course.

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Old 12-04-15, 02:30 AM
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Depending on the thru axle standard they end up and they use a smart system, wheel changes are going to be quicker and disc rub is going to be eliminated since the tightening is going to be standardized. And even if there is rub, it's a 2 second deal to fix it with a small screwdriver.
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Old 12-04-15, 06:50 PM
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Interesting especially since their main sponsor is also a manufacturer.Trek Factory Racing decline to use disc brakes at Tour Down Under | Cyclingnews.com
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Old 12-06-15, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Would those of you with road discs clarify something?

How hot do they get after brief but hard braking? And how sharp are the edges of the disc?

Many pro racers are worried about getting cut or burned by the discs in a mass crash. But mass crashes almost always happen when the peloton is closely packed on a flat section of road. Someone touches wheels or hits a road defect and goes down, then fifty other riders end up in a pile. They will have applied the brakes for a second or two at most.
The discs will only get noticeably hot after a sustained descent, and might take 1-3 min to come back down to ambient. With closed roads and light riders, even descents are unlikely to cause massive heating, since guys can descend with dramatically less braking than your average rider. The vast majority of the time, the brakes are going to be stone cold.

The edges of the discs are basically a water-cut edge (~2mm thick). It's not particularly sharp, but its not a smoothly polished edge either. You could certainly get a decent cut if you somehow managed to come into contact with a rapidly spinning disc. If the disc isn't spinning, it be unlikely to any significant damage. Then again, any scenario where a rider crashes into the edge of a spinning disc would typically involve crashing into bladed spokes and other things equally likely to cause damage.

The disc issues are mostly just fear mongering. Chain rings are far more likely to cut people than discs. Let's put it this way, mountain bikers crash all time, I've never heard of someone getting hurt by a disc in a crash. Concerns about wheel compatible is certainly legitimate, but the safety concerns are highly exaggerated. I'd wager the riders are in more danger of being impaled by a shattered carbon asplosion than a freak disc brake incident.
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Old 12-13-15, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post

The disc issues are mostly just fear mongering. Chain rings are far more likely to cut people than discs. Let's put it this way, mountain bikers crash all time, I've never heard of someone getting hurt by a disc in a crash. Concerns about wheel compatible is certainly legitimate, but the safety concerns are highly exaggerated. I'd wager the riders are in more danger of being impaled by a shattered carbon asplosion than a freak disc brake incident.
There are going to now be those who'll probably point out that MTB races don't have mass pileups like road races do. However I haven't heard of disc cuts in Megavalanche where mothers of all pileups happen in practically every heat, and there are a lot of those as there are hundreds upon hundreds of racers attending.
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