disc brakes are taking over cyclocross


Disc brakes are taking over cyclocross!

Disc brakes. In cyclocross. OMG!

People seem to have forgotten that disc brakes have been available on cyclocross bikes since the early 2000s (and earlier on custom built cx bikes). The majority of disc brake equipped cx bikes on the market are still using the same mechanical caliper that was available back in 2002. So, they generally work about as well (and weigh about as much) as they did 10 years ago.

Every manufacturer swore up and down that their top PRO cx racers would be on disc brake bikes this year.

Pics or it never happened!

Oh wait, we do have 1 win on them!

And de Euros?

I thought Colnago promised us that Sven and Niels would exclusively riding disc brakes this season? I guess not.

And Timmy continues to preach the industry gospel.

Note: I’m not hating on disc brakes at all here. I love cycling technology and advancements. I think steel bikes are fantastic and carbon is a material you can do amazing things with. I keep an open mind regarding cycling tech and like to try new things out myself. These are not things to get emotional about.

I have a responsibility to my clients to know a lot about this technology, read between the lines in the marketing and not sell them crap.

I am waiting for the day that production-level technology catches up with the marketing hype. When there is zero weight penalty for using disc brakes on a cx bike and we don’t have to use adaptors and one-off prototype parts get fantastic braking performance.

Unfortunately (or not), cyclocross ends up being the testing ground for a lot of new gear and tech that the bicycle industry (and/or UCI) wants to eventually place in the road market.

While I am a critic, this stuff is exciting!

So what are the Euros waiting for? The mud?


10 comments for “Disc brakes are taking over cyclocross!”

  1. My counterpoint (and the “hater” comment came from my editor …)


    Posted by Brooke Hoyer | October 11, 2012, 2:31 pm

  2. Molly, have you ever ridden discs?

    In my limited experience they are a competitive advantage when it rains.

    Note how the only picture in your post that features mud is also the only pic that features a discs-equipped UCI winner?

    Friend of mine has a new 58cm disc SuperX that weighs 15.5 lbs.

    If I could ride that bike I would.

    They’re just brakes, but tubulars are just tires, right?

    Mark my words, in five years you won’t see a single canti brake getting UCI points when it rains.

    The technology may not be widespread, but I’ve ridden high-end disc bikes and they’re BETTER.

    If you remember how long it took Euros to start riding 29ers, then you should know that that the disc revolution will start here, not there.

    Posted by resultsboy | October 11, 2012, 3:34 pm

  3. Discs for Niels? I’m still waiting for him to learn how to get his helmet on straight!

    Posted by Mark W | October 11, 2012, 5:30 pm

  4. @Mark – TRUTH!

    @resultsboy – I’ve not disagreed with any of your points. Remember, in the early 2000s everyone was telling us we would “all be on disc brakes for cx in the next 5 years”.

    Point of my post is, I’m still waiting.

    Posted by Molly | October 12, 2012, 12:25 pm

  5. The limiter was always UCI legality. No incentive for manufacturers to make high-end discs when the only market that would use them, couldn’t use them.

    Now that the ban is lifted, I do honestly think we’re into the “next 5 years” zone.

    Discs have had a huge leap in adoption in New England this year, and I am JEALOUS of the setups I see out there. Nothing like 5 years ago, where 1 dude showed up with a janky 22-lb Poprad with discs.

    Because you guys don’t have UCI bizniz in PDX, you probably haven’t seen as drastic a change in disc bike density and quality.

    Posted by resultsboy | October 12, 2012, 12:33 pm

  6. Your point has no basis though. Discs were made illegal in 2003 for the UCI. No manufacture was going to pour any $$$ into frames and brakes with no return.

    Posted by Will | October 12, 2012, 2:38 pm

  7. Discs in cross is where discs in mtn biking was a few years ago: a few ‘early adopters’ singing the praises as everyone else waits for the bandwagon to go by.

    I foresee a BIG leap in road/cx hydraulic technology here in the next few years. I suspect we’ll see improvements in the levers themselves, as well as forks, hubs/wheels, and etc.

    In the meantime, ya gotta ask: are discs worth the tradeoff for great braking in the wet/nasties?

    Posted by Gummee! | October 13, 2012, 6:38 am

  8. Oh damn! Powers won on discs.

    Posted by Aaron | October 14, 2012, 12:09 pm

  9. Pics or it never happened!

    Posted by Molly | October 15, 2012, 10:17 am

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