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Disc brakes on road bikes...

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Jul 30, 2010
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Really just another reason for companies to seperate idiots from disposable income. Dual pivot brakes provide more than enough stopping power for a road bike to begin with. Carbon specific pads have been around long enough and work well enough to negate the need for discs on road bikes. Make carbon rims a bit beefier at the braking surface so they account for pad wear of the rim and this becomes a non issue.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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chasbo said:
Really just another reason for companies to seperate idiots from disposable income. Dual pivot brakes provide more than enough stopping power for a road bike to begin with. Carbon specific pads have been around long enough and work well enough to negate the need for discs on road bikes. Make carbon rims a bit beefier at the braking surface so they account for pad wear of the rim and this becomes a non issue.
It's not about stopping power, never was. Rim brakes are strong enough for road and I'm in total agreement with that, but of all the other improvements you gain going to disk, where it really kills the rim brake is modulation feel, and the fact that you don't need a brake track anymore, less weight, zero wear. Been building, riding and racing with carbon wheels for 12 of the 25 years I've been at this, for the last 10 years I've been saying that carbon wheels would work better with disk brakes. Sorry, nobody is going to add more material to the brake track of carbon wheels, it's going to disappear because rim brakes on carbon rims was lousy back then, and it's still lousy now.

Thing is we've been down this road before on the forum here and in the CX section, fact of the matter is that D-brakes are coming to road, both carbon and alloy rimmed wheels whether we like it or not. As a road rider and wheel builder I will not get left behind.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
It's not about stopping power, never was. Rim brakes are strong enough for road and I'm in total agreement with that, but of all the other improvements you gain going to disk, where it really kills the rim brake is modulation feel, and the fact that you don't need a brake track anymore, less weight, zero wear. Been building, riding and racing with carbon wheels for 12 of the 25 years I've been at this, for the last 10 years I've been saying that carbon wheels would work better with disk brakes. Sorry, nobody is going to add more material to the brake track of carbon wheels, it's going to disappear because rim brakes on carbon rims was lousy back then, and it's still lousy now.

Thing is we've been down this road before on the forum here and in the CX section, fact of the matter is that D-brakes are coming to road, both carbon and alloy rimmed wheels whether we like it or not. As a road rider and wheel builder I will not get left behind.
While it's undeniable that discs will come to road bikes, I doubt that they will gave as much benefit as you think.

It will allow lighter rims, or enable carbon to be used without issues in the wet, but it isn't necessarily the best way to go in terms of weight/modulation at all.

I sell bikes for a living and have done for almost 20 years. On mountain bikes the befit of discs is not simply in the placement of the braking action, but in how that braking is actuated. The best systems are all hydraulic, which negates pretty much any weight benefit garnered at the rim. Cable discs, however good they are are inherently inefficient and are barely an upgrade on similar level V-brakes.

I cannot see discs catching on in professional cycling for the simple reason that in a wheel change situation they are too fiddly to change quickly compared to a regular calliper with a quick release. Also it only takes a slight knock of the lever while the wheel is out to cause the pistons to move too close to the rim. Once that happens no amount of fiddling will cure the rubbing pads.
 
RDV4ROUBAIX said:
It's not about stopping power, never was. Rim brakes are strong enough for road and I'm in total agreement with that, but of all the other improvements you gain going to disk, where it really kills the rim brake is modulation feel, and the fact that you don't need a brake track anymore, less weight, zero wear. Been building, riding and racing with carbon wheels for 12 of the 25 years I've been at this, for the last 10 years I've been saying that carbon wheels would work better with disk brakes. Sorry, nobody is going to add more material to the brake track of carbon wheels, it's going to disappear because rim brakes on carbon rims was lousy back then, and it's still lousy now.

Thing is we've been down this road before on the forum here and in the CX section, fact of the matter is that D-brakes are coming to road, both carbon and alloy rimmed wheels whether we like it or not. As a road rider and wheel builder I will not get left behind.
Left behind?

Do you use tubeless? Me neither but I build a lot of them. Most don't use tubulars, I do. I don't think I'm being 'left behind'.

Frame/fork makers, lever makers, calipers, rotors, hubs, probably 135 spacing(frame makers, RH stay clearance, etc), all will have to evolve. probably will happen but when you look at the real reasons behind discs on MTBs, no advantage for road.

I just put together a Moots with Avid mechanicals. shimano 6 bolt hubs...the 'dance' to get the caliper in the right place so it worked and didn't have the bolts on the rotor rub the caliper was 'interesting' to say the least.

I see mis aligned calipers vs rotors all the time. Most are frame mounting point issues. Fork makers have it dialed pretty well. Start putting these mounting points on carbon frames and forks....gonna see more than a few 'bike tosses', when the neutral service car in the TdF tries to get a spare wheel into the 14.87 pound racer bike after a flat and the rotor rubs somewhere. See how many open their brake calipers NOW when they climb? Do ya supposed they will be happy with the rub, rub, rub found on most hydro brakes now? Plus in a crash, somehow a lever gets depressed w/o a rotor and there go the brake pads, squirting out of the caliper. PLUS the attempt to make hydros as light as DP calipers means really thin rotors, which bend when you look at them.

Gonna be an interesting 'transition' to another market driven bike 'thing'.
 
Apr 5, 2010
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DirtyWorks said:
Try spec'ing a mechanically sensible bike sometime and trying to resell it. You'll discover it's pretty low-cost, but not cheap, very durable/reliable and there are no buyers for it.
I don't sell bikes but I've gone to bike shops with a number of friends to help them select a bike. It's frustrating that people are attracted to the splashiest, showiest bikes without thought for their actual intended use. I'm paraphrasing here, but I think BikeSnobNYC nails it when he says that it's the personality (or what the person thinks of himself) that picks the bike, and the real qualities of the bike have very little to do with it. "Durable and reliable" are not the kind of self image that most people want to buy. Sleek, fast and superior sell much better, even if total b.s.

It'll just give people something else to laugh at. In addition to fatties on $6000 time trial bikes we will eventually have people "controling" their 40 km/hr descents with ultra light hydraulic disc brakes on 4 spoked carbon rims that weigh less than their bar tape and cost more than new car. And Frank Schleck will still complain when people take advantage of the downhill to take time on him, because pro cycling will still suck. Someday maybe their will be no buyers for suck. I wonder what that would look like?
 
The other issue is that disc brakes will probably increase the drag on the bike with the beefed up forks and increased frontal profile area caused by the disc and caliper assemblies. Road bikes are becoming more aero, it's hard to imagine them taking a step backwards now. You have guys like Ridley now making the brakes almost disappear behind the front forks giving another advantage over normal caliper brakes. I can see some advantages to disc brakes but I'm not sure they will catch on?


 
Jun 10, 2009
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Polyarmour said:
The other issue is that disc brakes will probably increase the drag on the bike with the beefed up forks and increased frontal profile area caused by the disc and caliper assemblies. Road bikes are becoming more aero, it's hard to imagine them taking a step backwards now. You have guys like Ridley now making the brakes almost disappear behind the front forks giving another advantage over normal caliper brakes. I can see some advantages to disc brakes but I'm not sure they will catch on?


Aero drag is a non-issue; the frontal area of a disc caliper plus disc can't be much more than twice the frontal area of two rim-brake pads, and two times nothing is still nothing. But if you really want to go down the aero-is-everything path, consider that with hydraulic discs you could easily internally route the hydro line all the way to the caliper (through the steerer and fork leg) as there is no need for a smoothly radiused cable run, probably giving discs a net 'aero advantage' over most cable-actuated rim brakes. Just look at all that cable hanging in the wind in your picture...

[Which is why some TT bikes are rumoured to be going to hydro actuated rim brakes, with the 'caliper' being formed into the fork crown, something I've been waiting to see for ages (how long have Magura HS33s been around, 10 years?)].
 
Mar 19, 2009
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What you both said makes sense, valid concerns, but you're thinking in terms of now, gotta look 5-7 years down the road when disk is going to be more prevalent for CX and road. Never said it's going to be like a total take over, just an option that is quickly on its way, don't get it twisted as most do here. If the last few years of Interbike and NAHBS has any impact of future designs, which it usually does, you would have noticed that D-brakes are coming whether we like it or not. They'll be more refined, lighter, more aero for those that care, work better than they do now, wheel changes will be easier.

Bustedknuckle said:
Left behind?

Do you use tubeless? Me neither but I build a lot of them. Most don't use tubulars, I do. I don't think I'm being 'left behind'.

Frame/fork makers, lever makers, calipers, rotors, hubs, probably 135 spacing(frame makers, RH stay clearance, etc), all will have to evolve. probably will happen but when you look at the real reasons behind discs on MTBs, no advantage for road.

I just put together a Moots with Avid mechanicals. shimano 6 bolt hubs...the 'dance' to get the caliper in the right place so it worked and didn't have the bolts on the rotor rub the caliper was 'interesting' to say the least.

I see mis aligned calipers vs rotors all the time. Most are frame mounting point issues. Fork makers have it dialed pretty well. Start putting these mounting points on carbon frames and forks....gonna see more than a few 'bike tosses', when the neutral service car in the TdF tries to get a spare wheel into the 14.87 pound racer bike after a flat and the rotor rubs somewhere. See how many open their brake calipers NOW when they climb? Do ya supposed they will be happy with the rub, rub, rub found on most hydro brakes now? Plus in a crash, somehow a lever gets depressed w/o a rotor and there go the brake pads, squirting out of the caliper. PLUS the attempt to make hydros as light as DP calipers means really thin rotors, which bend when you look at them.

Gonna be an interesting 'transition' to another market driven bike 'thing'.
ultimobici said:
While it's undeniable that discs will come to road bikes, I doubt that they will gave as much benefit as you think.

It will allow lighter rims, or enable carbon to be used without issues in the wet, but it isn't necessarily the best way to go in terms of weight/modulation at all.

I sell bikes for a living and have done for almost 20 years. On mountain bikes the befit of discs is not simply in the placement of the braking action, but in how that braking is actuated. The best systems are all hydraulic, which negates pretty much any weight benefit garnered at the rim. Cable discs, however good they are are inherently inefficient and are barely an upgrade on similar level V-brakes.

I cannot see discs catching on in professional cycling for the simple reason that in a wheel change situation they are too fiddly to change quickly compared to a regular calliper with a quick release. Also it only takes a slight knock of the lever while the wheel is out to cause the pistons to move too close to the rim. Once that happens no amount of fiddling will cure the rubbing pads.
 
dsut4392 said:
Aero drag is a non-issue; the frontal area of a disc caliper plus disc can't be much more than twice the frontal area of two rim-brake pads, and two times nothing is still nothing. But if you really want to go down the aero-is-everything path, consider that with hydraulic discs you could easily internally route the hydro line all the way to the caliper (through the steerer and fork leg) as there is no need for a smoothly radiused cable run, probably giving discs a net 'aero advantage' over most cable-actuated rim brakes. Just look at all that cable hanging in the wind in your picture...

[Which is why some TT bikes are rumoured to be going to hydro actuated rim brakes, with the 'caliper' being formed into the fork crown, something I've been waiting to see for ages (how long have Magura HS33s been around, 10 years?)].
I'm not sure, no doubt someone will test it. Caliper brakes are inline with the bike frame. The rear brakes are hidden behind the seat stays. Disc brakes are hanging out in the breeze. Not a problem on a mountain bike but in a 70km/h sprint????
 
RDV4ROUBAIX said:
What you both said makes sense, valid concerns, but you're thinking in terms of now, gotta look 5-7 years down the road when disk is going to be more prevalent for CX and road. Never said it's going to be like a total take over, just an option that is quickly on its way, don't get it twisted as most do here. If the last few years of Interbike and NAHBS has any impact of future designs, which it usually does, you would have noticed that D-brakes are coming whether we like it or not. They'll be more refined, lighter, more aero for those that care, work better than they do now, wheel changes will be easier.
I'm just surprised that with MTB hydro discs, they have gotten lighter, more expensive, smaller reservoirs and much more finicky. They work really well when finally set up but with the hub, frame, fork, rotor options, simple they are not. Twice this week, one Moots and one Maverik, set up was 'interesting' to say the least. Can't expect road discs, smaller, lighter, same dependency on fork/frame/hub caliper/rotor 'standardization' to be any easier. I've got a wall of disc pads/rotors/hydro lines/fittings now and I don't carry the stuff for all of them.

But are they a comin'? yep, can't wait(tongue firmly in cheek).
 
May 3, 2009
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I have been riding a few disc brake road bikes to be able to form a real opinion. As we all know there is sometimes a big difference between real world and how you expect it's going to be. Reference older forum discussion about Di2 where many argued that electronic shifting was unnecessary and marginally beneficial. Turns out Di2 has prevailed and it's become popular because it's better and there is benefit to it.

Having ridden 4 different road bikes with disc brakes I call it well in favor of disc over rim and I expect that after we get used to someone having moved the cheese it's going to be the way to go.

Video review here: https://youtu.be/BM1swCaVC_c
 
Re:

Cliveds said:
I have been riding a few disc brake road bikes to be able to form a real opinion. As we all know there is sometimes a big difference between real world and how you expect it's going to be. Reference older forum discussion about Di2 where many argued that electronic shifting was unnecessary and marginally beneficial. Turns out Di2 has prevailed and it's become popular because it's better and there is benefit to it.

Having ridden 4 different road bikes with disc brakes I call it well in favor of disc over rim and I expect that after we get used to someone having moved the cheese it's going to be the way to go.

Video review here: https://youtu.be/BM1swCaVC_c
BOHICA...the marketeers are smilin!!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Recently we bought a used tandem. it came with a generic dual pivot front and an Avid BB7 mechanical disk on the rear. the bike stops reasonable well but could still improve modulation and ultimate stopping power. I changed to a TRP HyRd and wow. I can actually stop the bike with just the rear brake. now this would be way too much power for a single but then you would never put a 203mm rotor on a single.
I recently bled my MTB brakes and changed the pads too. on a 29er the rotors are 180 front and 160 rear but with the power of these XT callipers I would go 20mm smaller on both rotors to get the right modulation. My point is what is not to love about brakes that are always in adjustment and can be tuned to the exact characteristics you need? different pads, different brakes, same with rotors. And so predictable. Watch that Martyn ashen video of a nose wheelie on a C59. that is what disk brakes are about. modulation with tuneable power. Maybe too complex for some but once we solve all the detractions we will just accept they are the way all bikes stop. Or maybe just the nice ones. I have to change the brake pads on my winter bike... again.
 
Aug 4, 2011
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There are issues with heat on long descents and riders getting injury's with the hot discs. Also you have the ? of some riders using them and others not, what will happen when the weather is wet, I can see pile ups in the peloton.
I really don't see the need for discs in the majority of races. Maybe the classics if its raining etc.
Cycling is a sport for the people and it is already getting expensive to buy a top end bike with top kit.
I don't want to see it carry on this way. Admire the riders knowing that their talent has got victory not their tech advantage.
 
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ray j willings said:
There are issues with heat on long descents and riders getting injury's with the hot discs.
Those issues are solved, they are no worse than issues with rims, in fact they're less and the benefits are massive. Injuries? Nope, you're more likely to get cut up by a chainring.

Also you have the ? of some riders using them and others not, what will happen when the weather is wet, I can see pile ups in the peloton.
There are already huge differences between the braking performance of bikes in the peloton which has to be coped with, if there is a crash there would have been a crash anyway, all the discs will do is likely make it at a lower speed.

I really don't see the need for discs in the majority of races. Maybe the classics if its raining etc.
It's not just about rain, hydraulic discs cause significantly less hand fatigue, they are much more progressive and braking performance is consistent whatever the weather/dirt, grit on wheels etc. They are orders of magnitude better than rim brakes, even cheap ones now on MTBs.

Cycling is a sport for the people and it is already getting expensive to buy a top end bike with top kit.
I don't want to see it carry on this way.
Cycling is still cheap compared to many sports and there is no requirement to run top end kit. In fact, I'm pretty sure Shimano recommend that you do not use Dura-ace stuff for everyday riding. A decent aluminium bike running 11 speed 105 can be picked up for under £1000 (£700 for a Ribble winter trainer with 11 speed 105). You can get cheap carbon bike running full Ultegra for under a grand from places like Planet X and Ribble.

Yes, hydraulic brakes will add to the cost at first and yes, the cost is likely to be fairly high for a while. But Shimanos latest Deore MTB brakes can be used for downhill racing, at £70 for a set. The costs will come down as the technology becomes more and more used.


Admire the riders knowing that their talent has got victory not their tech advantage.
Then lets get rid of carbon, aluminium alloys, limit everyone to a single steel alloy, fixies only and they choose the gear they want with no swapping bikes. No more aero frames, wheels etc. Lets ban all training supplements and force all riders to train together at specific times and locations. Every single one of these things differs from rider to rider and team to team and every single one can be argued to be an advantage for the teams with the most cash. Yet we still see riders winning on tech that is deemed inferior to that available to other riders. Disc brakes are not suddenly going to let Froome descend like Nibali or Sagan. They may, however, stop him having a silly crash and dropping out of a race so we end up with a single rider who is miles better than everyone else.
 
May 3, 2009
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ray j willings said:
There are issues with heat on long descents and riders getting injury's with the hot discs. Also you have the ? of some riders using them and others not, what will happen when the weather is wet, I can see pile ups in the peloton.
I really don't see the need for discs in the majority of races. Maybe the classics if its raining etc.
Cycling is a sport for the people and it is already getting expensive to buy a top end bike with top kit.
I don't want to see it carry on this way. Admire the riders knowing that their talent has got victory not their tech advantage.
Your approach to this is shortsighted, do you work for the UCI?

Discs are less likely to overheat than rim brakes and they don't impact tire pressure. This makes them safer.

If one technology works better than another should we outlaw it so we can stay with our old inferior stuff so as not to have a leap forward?

Cycling can be expensive but it does not have to be. Many people love to spend 10k on a bike cause it's only a fraction of what they have spent on houses and cars but delivers far more pleasure. You don't have to join in if you
don't want to spend that kind of money. There are disc brake bikes available for very low prices as well and some that all very expensive. You get to chose.

Professional cyclists risk their lives every time they ride. They deserve the safest bikes possible. It would be more enjoyable to watch races with less crashing and danger to them.

It's hard when someone moves your cheese but if they put it in the fridge it might be better for everyone.
 
Re: Re:

Cliveds said:
ray j willings said:
There are issues with heat on long descents and riders getting injury's with the hot discs. Also you have the ? of some riders using them and others not, what will happen when the weather is wet, I can see pile ups in the peloton.
I really don't see the need for discs in the majority of races. Maybe the classics if its raining etc.
Cycling is a sport for the people and it is already getting expensive to buy a top end bike with top kit.
I don't want to see it carry on this way. Admire the riders knowing that their talent has got victory not their tech advantage.
Your approach to this is shortsighted, do you work for the UCI?

Discs are less likely to overheat than rim brakes and they don't impact tire pressure. This makes them safer.

If one technology works better than another should we outlaw it so we can stay with our old inferior stuff so as not to have a leap forward?

Cycling can be expensive but it does not have to be. Many people love to spend 10k on a bike cause it's only a fraction of what they have spent on houses and cars but delivers far more pleasure. You don't have to join in if you
don't want to spend that kind of money. There are disc brake bikes available for very low prices as well and some that all very expensive. You get to chose.

Professional cyclists risk their lives every time they ride. They deserve the safest bikes possible. It would be more enjoyable to watch races with less crashing and danger to them.

It's hard when someone moves your cheese but if they put it in the fridge it might be better for everyone.

There are lots of videos of road guys on long descents with hydro discs where they fade to zero. Lots more braking, at higher speeds, with brakes with enclosed reservoirs, smaller systems(less fluid)...there will be complete brake loss on some of these alpine stages. No standards now as to rotor size, axle type, caliper placement, rotor type and width..gonna be a real comedy central with neutral wheels.

They are a-coming but an answer to a not asked question. Another 'technology', adopted from MTB(ya know, brakes for wet, sloppy, MUDDY races..places where chances of wacking a wheel are high??_MTB)..Win on sunday, sell on monday. Bike makers, with the heavier frames, forks, hubs..more $, more profit!!.
 
May 3, 2009
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I think we can all agree that there are more busted carbon rims than overheated discs and further development will produce a safer disc brake while carbon rims have limitations.

As far more profit's for the bike giants, seems like this would lead to more competition, lower prices and better product. I am all in for a better bike at a lower price.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Re: Re:

[/quote]


There are lots of videos of road guys on long descents with hydro discs where they fade to zero. Lots more braking, at higher speeds, with brakes with enclosed reservoirs, smaller systems(less fluid)...there will be complete brake loss on some of these alpine stages. No standards now as to rotor size, axle type, caliper placement, rotor type and width..gonna be a real comedy central with neutral wheels.

They are a-coming but an answer to a not asked question. Another 'technology', adopted from MTB(ya know, brakes for wet, sloppy, MUDDY races..places where chances of wacking a wheel are high??_MTB)..Win on sunday, sell on monday. Bike makers, with the heavier frames, forks, hubs..more $, more profit!!.[/quote]

What about the more common failure of clincher rims when they heat the carbon to the point of softening the resin? Have you watched TRP HyRd demo of a long switch back decent (simulated) They do about 20 cycles where thy get the rotors glowing red and the small reservoir never gets hot enough to fade. These are cable actuated Hydraulic brakes and do not have large fluid reservoir to absorb the heat.
Does anyone racing downhill use anything but disk brakes? the too hot brake is much easier to solve than the too hot rim.
Most of the heat issues are already solved but you do make a salient point and that is the standards for Pro racing. Hub widths, thru axel or QR, rotor size are much harder to solve but the message from the mechanics are this needs to be solved before disk brakes come to road racing. the change to 11 speed solved a lot of compatibility issues in that a wheel with any standard worked on the other guys gruppo.
 
Re:

Cliveds said:
I think we can all agree that there are more busted carbon rims than overheated discs and further development will produce a safer disc brake while carbon rims have limitations.

As far more profit's for the bike giants, seems like this would lead to more competition, lower prices and better product. I am all in for a better bike at a lower price.
There will be LIGHTER carbon rims with no brake track, more broken carbon wheels not less.

With 'competition' comes another area with complete lack of standards. Get a frame, 142mm thru axle...need a new hub..no more 142mm thru axles, now 146mm thru axles...new frame cuz product not supported..more $. Just like the BB fiasco..
 

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Aug 4, 2011
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There are issues with disc brakes. Its no good mentioning the faults of tubs or clinchers. That does not solve the problems.
You just can't up grade your bike to run discs. You will need to buy at least another frame/forks. Most pros do not want discs.
Contador says things are fine.
I don't see how a disc brake is going to work on along alpine descent in a full on race. They just get to hot and no one has yet come up with a solution. Then you have the added weight on the frame and forks. Alloy rims are still the best option for mountain descent's IMO.
Manufacturers love new ideas because they make a mint from all the fans who want the latest tech.
Note yesterday winner Paolini was riding mechanical not electric. Nibs rode mechanical throughout the tour. Innovation yes reliable yes.
So far we are still at mechanical group sets and standard brakes as the best and most reliable option.
 
Re:

ray j willings said:
There are issues with disc brakes. Its no good mentioning the faults of tubs or clinchers. That does not solve the problems.
You just can't up grade your bike to run discs. You will need to buy at least another frame/forks. Most pros do not want discs.
Contador says things are fine.
I don't see how a disc brake is going to work on along alpine descent in a full on race. They just get to hot and no one has yet come up with a solution. Then you have the added weight on the frame and forks. Alloy rims are still the best option for mountain descent's IMO.
Manufacturers love new ideas because they make a mint from all the fans who want the latest tech.
Note yesterday winner Paolini was riding mechanical not electric. Nibs rode mechanical throughout the tour. Innovation yes reliable yes.
So far we are still at mechanical group sets and standard brakes as the best and most reliable option.
I had a long conversation with somebody at Campagnolo NA. Asked about disc brakes, he 'said' don't expect from Campagnolo because 'pro's don't want them'...Campag has always been euro road race oriented. I suspect Campag is developing them, perhaps with Formula but not soon.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I am really happy with my exalith rims, braking is great and no rim wear after 30,000 km as a bonus.
 

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