How soon will disk brakes be used on road racing cycles?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by doiturself, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    I don't race, but light, small/compact cable disc brake setup that can work with STI levers ... :) ... sounds good to me :)

    ... and very novel :)
     


  2. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    It is quicker to change a wheel on a road bike with calipers than to try to line up the pads on the disc brake on a mountain bike, especially when the pads drop in or the brake lever has been bumped. Calliper brakes are simple effective and allow quick changes.

    But this is only the unanimous opinion of the 30 odd people in my club who race on the road and on mountain bikes who i rode with this morning.

    Maybe your have different hydraulic disc brakes to the rest of us.
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    You don't ride hard enough. You need to take the bike out to the track and you'll discover the joys of brake fade on a bike. On the street you'd be a fool to go that hard but on the track 10 laps of somewhere like Donnington will put you in a position where dry cleaning the leathers due to involuntary releases of bodily waste is a real prospect. You'd never see Kevin Schantz pulling his "see god then back off" late braking antics on street bike brakes ;)

    As for the issues of heat and braking on carbon rims - Zipp has that pretty much sorted.
     
  4. cloudhead

    cloudhead New Member

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    Volagi has released a series of racing bikes with disc brakes. http://volagi.com/

    I am not a racer so I can't give a professional opinion, but I did test-ride it during their "demo days" at the local bike shop and it definitely does stop! They are non-hydraulic brakes, and the fork has been designed specifically to handle them. The two arguments I heard as to why they are beneficial is for stopping power on a steep hill, and easier braking when a rider is fatigued during a long race.
     
  5. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    ...and much better modulation, etc., etc.

    These bikes are gorgeous. I had not seen this so apparently the thread is behind the times. Those brakes are quite a bit bigger than what would be on race bicycles but otherwise, you're looking at the future of all road bikes.

    When I watch the descents during the Tour de France or similar races, the very modest lean angles and lines taken clearly show the riders are being very cautious with braking and cornering speeds, especially corner entry. Might have something to do with the fact that (according to the announcer, anyway) the rims begin to overheat and melt the glue used for the tubular tires (those are gonna be gone soon, too) and the tires depart from the rim somewhat suddenly, spoiling the racer's day./img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
     
  6. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    This text from the Volagi website:

    Volagi is the first cycling company to create a high performance carbon road bike with disk brakes.

    High performance bikes capable of descending at 60 mph are currently inept at braking with any control. Imagine a sports car still using rubber pads on the rim for braking. Disk brakes perform consistently in wet, dry, hot and cold conditions; even with bent rims and broken spokes. Without rim calipers, you have the freedom to put on 28C tires and fenders for the rough conditions during those long winter months.

    "Inept" was their word choice, not mine. Anyway, the question was when disks would appear, not if. If a racer can save a full minute or more on a 30k descent the advantage is obvious. Tubeless tires, disk brakes, all these newfangled things are bound to show up someday./img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  7. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    i have Avid BB7's (like in that Volagi road bike) on my mountain bike, given the option, i would never use those kind of brakes riding on a racing road-peloton,
     
  8. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    ...how about a smaller, lighter version of these brakes on a 30 km, 80 kph descent?

    Now that Volagi has tossed the calipers, I think we will see a major marque, like Trek or Cannondale, offer high-performance (read: light, expensive, trick) disks on its line by the 2013 model year.

    Sure, they seem "too powerful" the first time out but a skilled rider will quickly adapt. If a skilled rider can haul a 250 lb racing motorcycle down from 300 kph to 50 kph in seconds with disks (an impossible feat a generation ago) and modulate the huge braking power available, a skilled cyclist will be able handle a little disk on a bicycle.
     
  9. LJS

    LJS New Member

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    In a sense rim brakes are disk brakes with the rim being a large diameter disc, giving more mechanical advantage than a small disc rotor mounted on the hub. The stopping power of the pads goes directly from the rim to the tires without stressing the spokes as much as disc brakes do. Road bikes have lighter and fewer spokes and lighter rims than a mountain bike. On mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes, mud and water on the rim give hub mounted discs a real advantage. No scraping mud off the rim and pads. I have never had a mud buildup problem or other type of contamination on a road bike that would lead me to wish I had disk brakes.
     
  10. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    That soems logical, but disk brakes have vastly more mechanical advantage. Hydraulics is the reason. Shimano XTR disks and calipers are quite light (MTB) but offer phenomenal stopping power and control, like all modern disk brakes. The master cylinder and lever are tiny but they can get much smaller.

    There was a motorcycle manufacturer a few years back that mounted the disk on the outer part of the wheel, thus, the disk was almost the same diameter as the wheel. I think it was RADD (James Parker). It looked interesting but was completely unworkable.

     
  11. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    This is from the "Death Ride" site:

    Use your brakes sparingly and evenly on descents, rims can heat up from brake pad friction. Watch for overheating brakes.
     
  12. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yep, disc brakes would be great for nervous riders that want to drag their brakes down long mountain descents and that's exactly who the warning you've quoted is directed at. There's no reason to brake for extended periods on any of the Death Ride's long mountain descents but a whole lot of very nervous and inexperienced riders do just that every year. After all it's a fun ride and day tour, not a race and the vast majority of the participants every year are not racers.

    I've ridden the Death Ride and those descents are pretty much wide open, very fast and very safe with only a bit of tactical braking on some of the tighter corners. No brake fade issues if you're actually riding fast and confidently. The question posed in the title to this thread is when we might see them on road racing bikes, presumably ridden by road racers not nervous beginners.

    Sure if you drag your brakes for long periods on steep descents disc brakes might make a lot of sense, that's why they've been available on loaded touring bikes and tandems for years. But that doesn't mean road racers will necessarily adopt them any time soon.

    Bottom line, when someone demonstrates a competitive advantage to running disc brakes on racing bikes that offset the real or perceived short comings including: weight, aerodynamics, complexity and reliability, time to change wheels, compatibility with spare wheels in the wheel cars, etc. then road racers will flock to them just like the way folks didn't blink an eye at moving to heavier and vastly more expensive shifters integrated into brake levers when they saw how they could shift while standing and upshift in mid sprint in ways that were very difficult if not impossible with downtube or even bar end shifters.

    Demonstrate the competitive advantage and it's a no brainer, until then it's a technology seeking a need.
     
    dhk2 and davereo like this.
  13. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    Disk brakes are currently illegal. The competitive advantage of disk brakes has been well-established for decades. Rule changes are political and come slowly.

    As far as nervous riders, I just watched 10 hours of the 2010 Tour de France recap and there sure seemed to be an awful lot of nervous riders dragging their brakes. Maybe they could benefit from a competitive advantage./img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif
     
  14. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    doitur, I'd agree with your claim that the "competitive advantage of disc brakes has been well established for decades" for motorcycles. But I've never seen any article or test that claimed they have a competitive advantage for bicycles. Can you offer anything to back up your bold claim as relates to road racing bicycles?

    But obviously, the main reason we'll never see discs on road bikes is weight. Even if a small advantage could be found for discs on long, technical descents, no racer would want to carry the significant extra weight of a disc system uphill.
     
  15. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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  16. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    1. Why do you say "never"?

    2. Why do you think they will be "too heavy"? Are the engineers at Shimano, et. al. incapable of making a road-racing specific disk brake system of appropriate weight? One of my riding buddies, who owns a LBS, has a carbon fiber road bike which weighs in at 15 pounds. It uses the Shimano electronic shifting system. If an electronic shifting system can be designed and used on a modern road bike which comes in at 15 pounds (inconceivable ten years ago), why not disks?

    3. Why do you think the advantages of disk brakes, which are so obvious on every other type of vehicle or industrial application (airplanes, cars, trucks, motorcycles, machinery), do not extend to bicycles? Do bicycles operate in an alternate universe inhabited by Luddites?

    There is one category of jersey not currently awarded in the Tour: that for fastest descender. The climbers get one, the sprinters get one, but not the fastest guys on descents. That's because the antique brakes are not up to aggressive corner entry. Put some great brakes on these bicycles and you will see an entirely new category of speed, and the climbers will not have an advantage. Many minutes can be made up on a long descent where relatively fade-free disks are used, which don't melt the glue on the tubular tires and allow consistent control over corner entry speed and brake modulation through the turns.

    Disks will be a huge game changer and that's why they are being resisted. But in the end racers are going to have to have the whole skill set: climbing, descending, sprinting, in order to be competitive.
     
  17. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    Hi doiturself, sounds good to me :)

    Another approach also is to have points rather than accumulative time so that the flat stages become a little more interesting, but the idea you have suggested does sound good to me :)
     
  18. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Great Idea lets make the most dangerous part of the Tour deadly./img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif Whether disc brakes are intoduced to road racing cycles or not they are not going to be a game changer.
     
  19. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    fast descender jersey ? non sense,
    from all your posts i can tell you have no racing experience whatsoever,
    if you do, go to europe and challenge the guys in a descent with your disc brakes, i guarantee that you will get drop in a minute against those guys,

    i would also elaborate why not to use them on a peloton, something that you also seem to misunderstand, racing get nervous and you have little room to maneuver, sometimes your reflexes act faster than the blink of the eye, with disc brakes you would cause twice the crashes than you see today, in fact a good cyclist will almost avoid using the brakes in the peloton by measuring pedal strokes and looking for tiny spaces where to go,

    that said, it may be the case that disc brakes could be one day introduced on the road but just remember that when a proven good new technology enters the market it is adopted almost immediately by every bike maker and every cyclist and disc brakes have been around for a while already,
     
  20. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    Hi vspa, re Tour de France, do you think that they could give more credit to the break away rider(s), re Yellow jersey time or points, simply to force the climbers and trialists, and as such their teams, to extend themselves a little more in the other stages? Perhaps, they could get points or time at 10km intervals when they more than 45secs ahead of the peleton. Just A thought :)

    Hi doiturself, you have certainly invoked discussion. Perhaps Vogel and a couple of others might like disc brakes to help them with their descents :)
     
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