UCI allows disc brakes for cyclo-cross

It might seem odd to talk about cyclo-cross in the middle of the European summer but there’s a good rule change: disc brakes will be allowed.

Legalize my Cannondale

Disc brakes replaced cantilevers on mountain bikes many, many years ago. But it’s only now that the UCI has got round to allowing discs for cyclo-cross races. The UCI delayed because it didn’t want to make the bikes too expensive. Although this argument never really stood up when riders were racing on Colnagos, Cervélos and other expensive frames, a change to the braking system only implies a small part of the price.

And the road next?
One follow-up to this could be that discs are allowed for the road. The gain here would not be improved braking power, since you can lock up a wheel with standard brakes already. Instead it’s modulation, the ability to feel the brakes and determine the point just before the wheel locks gives you maximum braking.

But the gains are not without cost, there could be a weight penalty, frames and forks need redesigning for the mounts and hub bearings can suffer more strain.

The most interesting thing for me is that the rim is no longer part of the braking surface. You can make some rims a bit lighter since they do not have to survive wear. Ultimately we will have featherweight carbon wheels with rock solid braking in the rain.

3 thoughts on “UCI allows disc brakes for cyclo-cross”

  1. I see the thing about disc brakes on CX bikes but on road bikes…?? I know breaking with full carbon rims isn't the best thing out there, especially when they are wet but the idea alone of road bikes with disc breaks makes we wanna throw up. Damn, that is ugly.

  2. It's an ugly bike without the discs in my view. But I think that if discs became more widespread then there would be more work on the design and aesthetics too.

  3. The one thing that makes me cringe when talking about putting them on road bikes, is the potential damage the discs could do to a rider, in a large group crash which the pro's seem to like to do often. Other than that i would be all for them and it would bring back some even faster descending!

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