Disc brakes appear in professional road cycling

The two-month trial period begins with a trickle of use

We’re now within the two-month testing window for disc brakes in professional road racing, yet so far, only a few teams have taken the opportunity. The first to be seen at a major race (Eneco Tour) is the young Pro-Continental team Roompot on SRAM-equipped Isaac bikes, followed closely by Team Sky.

Although Roompot were the first at a major race, a reader pointed out that Maarten Wynants of Team LottoNL-Jumbo was seen riding a disc-equipped Bianchi Infinito CV Disc at the post-Tour Profronde van Lommel exhibition race.

Earlier in the year, the UCI announced "all teams will have the opportunity to use bikes with disc brakes at two events of their choice during August and September."

Speaking with the UCI earlier in the week, the teams had until the 20th of July to inform the UCI if they wished to trial discs. While the UCI made no comment on who these teams are, CyclingTips has since reported that a total of eight, unknown, WorldTour teams made the application.

With the help of our sister site Cyclingnews, we reached out to the WorldTour squads to find out which have plans to trial disc brakes during the allowed two-month period. 

BMC, Orica-GreenEdge, Giant-Alpecin, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar and Astana all stated they have no plans on testing discs in 2015 races. BMC, Orica and Giant are sponsored by Shimano, which has disc brakes. The other three are sponsored by Campagnolo, which does not yet have discs in the marketplace.

Katusha will likely test discs at the Eurométropole Tour, team communications manager Philippe Maertens said. Trek Factory Racing will be testing discs at the Vuelta a España and IAM Cycling will take advantage of the opportunity during the GP Isbergues and Eurométropole races, team spokespeople said.

Trek Factory Racing's press officer, Tim Vanderjeugd has stated the team will be using adapted versions of the current Domane Disc platform. We're told that Markel Irizar is a confirmed test rider, apparently something he's very excited about.

"We’ll be testing different wheel depths, multiple rotor options (mostly 160mm, but some 140mm too) and multiple brake pads, everything top of the line Shimano of course. The bike will be about a pound heavier." Said Trek's Vanderjeugd before continuing. " The goal is to find out what disc brakes bring to racing. We don’t know if disc brakes are really an advantage in a race situation. It’s very possible and this is a great opportunity to study and understand that. We’ll cherry pick some stages and try to find answers."

Other teams did not immediately respond definitively, although it's now clear that both Team Sky and Team LottoNL-Jumbo are also using the two month testing period.

Looks like berhard eisel of team sky is riding discs at the eneco tour, too:
Looks like berhard eisel of team sky is riding discs at the eneco tour, too:

We haven't received official word from Team Sky, but it sure looks like Bernhard Eisel was riding discs at Stage 3 of the Eneco Tour

While it makes sense that Campy-sponsored teams would not test disc brakes, it isn't just a matter of component availability. Bike selection also plays into the equation. While most if not all of the WorldTour teams' bike sponsors have disc bikes, the vast majority of these are endurance bikes, with notably different geometry than the race machines most of the riders use everyday. Specialized's Tarmac Disc bike has identical geometry to its standard Tarmac race bike. However this machine uses a proprietary rear hub spacing, so riders could not take a neutral support wheel unless it was a Specialized Roval. 

Roompot at the eneco tour using disc brakes :
Roompot at the eneco tour using disc brakes :

Those on Team Roompot with disc brakes appear to be riding Isaac’s Boson Disc frame with FFWD F4D wheels. Sponsored by SRAM, the brakes are Red hydraulic using what appear to be 140mm sized brake rotors for the mountain-free racing of the Eneco Tour. This rotor size choice is an interesting one as SRAM typically recommends the use of 160mm rotors for road.

"The riders and team management from Roompot were eager to get on our hydraulic disc brakes," SRAM spokesman Michael Zellmann said. "Initial feedback was incredibly positive."

The UCI told us they will provide neutral wheel support during these selected events.

Updated 13/08/2015 and again 14/08/2015 as further news and information became available.

David Rome

Editor, Australia
Having worked full-time within the cycling industry since 2006, Dave is a former editor of BikeRadar Australia. Riding and racing mountain, road and 'cross for over a decade, Dave's passion lies in the sport's technical aspects, and his tool collection is a true sign of that.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road and cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Fast and flowing singletrack with the occasional air is the dream. Also happy chasing tarmac bends.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Fuel EX 27.5, SwiftCarbon Detritovore, Salsa Chilli Con Crosso
  • Dream Bike: Custom Independent Fabrications titanium, SRAM Etap and Enve wheels/cockpit
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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