Disc brakes are immediately banned in the cycling peloton. The international cycling federation UCI decided to do so. Disc brakes were discredited after in the recent Paris Roubaix; the Spanish cyclist Fran Ventoso suffered a deep flesh wound. He published subsequently an open letter on his Movistar team website in which he stated that discs in their current form are too dangerous for the peloton. He called on the riders, teams and cycling federations to come into action. Ventoso’s appeal was successful because the UCI immediately decided to prohibit the disc brakes
COMMENT ON BAN DISC BRAKES
In December, the UCI still gave the green light to the cycling teams to use disc brakes in the future instead of the rim brakes. At this time, a few days after Paris-Roubaix, the UCI has banned the use of disc brakes because during Paris Roubaix it was clearly shown how dangerous they can be. Read the open letter by Fran Ventoso here above. The UCI could have foreseen this and most likely they were aware of the possible dangers, but other motives have finally ensured the admission of this new innovation.
The cycling material is rapidly developing. Helmets, clothing, carbon frames and wheels, flat spokes, clipless pedals, solid wheels, electronic switch and now the highly acclaimed disc. Behind all these innovations is the cycling industry that uses the pro peloton as the ideal showcase to familiarize the masses with their new products and to encourage them to purchase the latest gadget. That’s their target market, of Shimano and Campagnolo and other brands, that justifies their existence. So it comes to money, lots of money. It is somewhat understandable that the health of the riders is of minor importance, a fact that the pro riders have more or less become accustomed to. Technology evolution has been a sort of trial and error. And the professional cycling races are the best place to test all this new material and to make it better. This also entails a huge disadvantage in itself.
The new material often breaks and the rider who crashes for that reason and therefore loses his chance of a good classification should adhere to the iron cycling law. Never openly criticize the material since it increases the importance of the equipment sponsor in a detrimental manner. In Paris Roubaix not all the teams use the best tubes because it is inconsistent with the sponsor’s interests. As a rider that would be the way to completely discourage me.
It would have been better if the UCI had previously realized that not anything is about money. By their unfortunate way of acting the suppliers and the stores are now burdened with a stock of disc brakes for which a normal cycling fan does not spend any money.
I’m underdeveloped in technology and neither am I a specialist of the race bike. I want my bike to go well and safely, for which I always seek an experienced mechanic who knows the tricks of the trade. And this mechanic, who worked for many years at the highest level in professional cycling, was decidedly negative on the new disc brakes a few months back. He foresaw all the great dangers of the disc during crashes. As sharp as a knife and able to cause serious injury, was his explanation.
Another argument he used was that disc brakes are certainly not better than the old rim brakes. Whereas ads claim that the disc brakes brake better in wet weather conditions. That is not true, he said. If you brake more forcefully in wet weather than you go skidding and go to the ground, according to this expert. His reaction after the decision of the UCI to ban the disc brakes:”I welcome the decision. Hopefully they do not change their point of view again”.
Meanwhile, I read a lot of discussion and opinions on Google on disc- and rim brakes. It is a subject that has been much debated. There are advocates and outspoken opponents of the disc. Difficult to estimate all the arguments on their value. The disc was originally developed for the mountain bike. Mountain biking requires a better braking. In wet weather and dirt (mud) to the rim, rim brakes will lose a large part of the braking power. Mud sticks to the rim
In addition mud on the rim wear and tear of the rim increases strongly. Disc brakes, which have already a greater braking force than rim brakes, are not affected by wet and muddy conditions. The braking power remains intact under these conditions. Also, wear of the rim, which can lead to dangerous situations, does not occur in the disc brakes.
It would have been better if the UCI had previously realized that not everything is about money. By their unfortunate way of acting the suppliers and the stores –as I said before- are now stuck up with stock of disc brakes for which a normal cycling fan no longer wants to spend money on.
And how will relations between UCI and sponsor Shimano develop. Now that the UCI nullifies in one fell swoop, an investment of millions of Euros and the work of dozens of engineers. Fortunately, Movistar is not sponsored by Shimano. In that case Ventoso would never have written his letter. Campagnolo is the material sponsor of Movistar and Campagnolo has very recently launched their disc on the market.
Roompot a Dutch professional team that operates with disc brakes heard of the ban on disk brakes on Wednesday. That means they have to build up 20 new bikes in a few days because on Sunday the Amstel Gold Race starts, the only classic in The Netherlands.
Brake discs have been used for many years in mountain biking. There, the risk of accidents is much smaller because mountain bikers often fall alone and not in a group such as happens regularly in road races. The discs brakes themselves are in fact just as sharp as the iron of a skate. Disc brakes, according to team manager Erik Breukink, brake more directly because there is no contact with the wheels, as in the “old” rim brake system, the wheels do not wear out.
An additional problem is that not only the disc brakes and the wheels cannot be used but that the suspension systems in service course and in the trucks and the roof racks on the cars of the team leaders must be renewed in total.
What do pros really think about disc brakes? See VDO
All bikes and wheels need a new suspension system in service course and in the truck.
Later received information:
One pro rider let me know:
“Also we are finally rid of the disc brakes which produced constant problems and constantly bumped. Moreover, they also have an aerodynamic disadvantage, measured in a wind tunnel, and they weigh 700 grams extra. That means you lose 5 to 10 watts as compared to a regular bike. So I am glad the UCI has imposed that prohibition”.
I also heard that no rider with disc brakes was involved at the fall of Ventose. In addition, the suggestion was made that the wound of Ventose was likely to be caused by sharp spokes.