The UCI has partially lifted its longstanding ban on disc brakes in competitive road racing, according to VeloNews. Professional cycling teams will be allowed to experiment with disc brakes in two events of their choice in August and September of this year. Testing will continue throughout 2016. If it goes well, disc brakes will be formally introduced to the 2017 pro peloton.
Recently developed hydraulic road disc brakes have a number of advantages over cable-actuated rim brakes, including improved stopping power and automatic pad-wear adjustment. Yet technical concerns, such as overheating rotors and increased pad rub after wheel swaps, may prevent full-scale implementation of disc brakes in professional road racing.
Even more disconcerting to some riders are the potential safety issues. “If you crash on a disc brake, it can open you up. And if you get it on a vein, well, I am worried about the security,” says former world champion Philippe Gilbert. Riders have also voiced concerns about the quicker stopping times increasing the frequency of pileups, especially if some riders are using discs while others are using rims.
Other riders, however, believe that the universal implementation of disc brakes would lead to safer riding at higher speeds. Last year, classics star Tom Boonen championed the change. “I don’t really get the point when they say you can’t really have any better brakes. … [Disc] brakes allow you to go faster. And much safer. And we can’t use those brakes.”