Bike brands unite to seek disc brakes approval in pro road racing

External body to coordinate industry and UCI on road disc ratification

Shimano have asked an external organisation to press the UCI to allow hydraulic disc brake use in professional road racing, as a definitive decision on their potential use by cycilng's governing body appears to have stalled.

At Eurobike last week, the Japanese company recruited the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) to carry forward the project to have disc brakes allowed in top races such as the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia.

Currently discs are banned by the UCI for road races, although the UCI has been discussing them during the latest technical commission meeting held over the past two days.  

Robbert De Kock, WFSGI’s secretary general, confirmed that Shimano had asked the federation to take the case for discs to the UCI. He said the WFSGI was setting up a working group of brands with an interest in disc brakes to agree an action plan and liaise with the UCI.

“We have decided to set up a small working group to discuss all the ins and outs of the consequences [of the arrival of disc brakes], possible timings and everything which is related to this which could help the UCI and the industry to go forward in this particular issue,” De Kock told BikeRadar.

When will we see disc brakes in the pro peloton? Shimano and other companies are pushing the UCI to allow their use ASAP

He said the WFSGI will work with the UCI to establish what safety and performance parameters would satisfy the governing body’s concerns over disc use and then collate the requisite data from brands.

“We all came to the conclusion that we are stuck at the moment and there’s a wish to have it going but the UCI seems to have some problems and we need to see how we can get an alignment," he added. "I think where the UCI may be struggling a bit is that they don’t know themselves what are the right criteria and I think that is [the reason] for some of the challenges we’ve had. We are trying to give this a fair launch that will be valid for the industry and not for one or the other brand,” he said.

Disc brakes systems could have major ramifications road cycling safety. Their superior braking performance – particularly in the wet – could reduce crashes. However they could also create havoc in a peloton using a mix of braking systems. Safety concerns have also been raised over the heat build up in the discs and subsequent injury risks.

The UCI will also wrestle with the issue more costly systems could pose to the sport’s accessibility. Ensuring the sport is accessible to potential athletes from lower socio-economic backgrounds around the world is a key specification of the sport’s continued inclusion at the Olympics. 

Matthieu Mottet, technical co-ordinator at the UCI, told BikeRadar in April that the governing body was ‘open-minded’ about discs’ future use on road bikes but said the manufacturers needed to submit detailed performance data before they would consider  giving them the green light.

Today, Mottet told BikeRadar the UCI was still happy to consider disc brakes in road racing and that they had been discussed heavily at an technical commission meeting. 

“Over the last couple of days we have had a big discussion about disc brakes at the latest equipment commission meeting and we see that more and more companies have their own system," Mottet said. "The UCI is always ready to talk with the manufacturers so we will be happy to receive them in the UCI headquarters to exchange ideas.”

A number of manufacturers, including Pinarello, Specialized, Colnago and Bianchi have disc-ready versions of pro level frames ready for use.

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