UCI finally approves disc brakes for road racing

Do disc brakes belong in the peloton?

The UCI confirmed in a press release yesterday that disc brakes will be authorised for use in road (and BMX) racing as of July 1st, after years of fits and starts that saw them approved on a trial basis, temporarily re-banned, and then approved once again.

The release, which covers the UCI’s Agenda 2022 — a four year strategic road map for the organisation — reads: “Following nearly three years of tests, and in agreement with various stakeholders — teams, riders, mechanics, fans, commissaires, and the bicycle industry via the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFGSGI) — the decision has been taken to authorise disc brakes for road and BMX Racing, as of 1st July this year. Point 1.3.025 of the UCI Regulations will be amended to this effect, to allow the use of disc brakes during training and competitions for road and BMX Racing, as is already the case for cyclo-cross, mountain bike, trials and mass participation events.”

Despite hiccups along the way including a temporary ban on discs following a rider injury at Paris-Roubaix in 2016, this decision feels all but inevitable as discs’ gradual takeover continues.

Disc brake trials resumed in the pro peloton in January 2017 with the rules updated to include a requirement that disc rotors be manufactured with chamfered edges rather than a sharp 90-degree design.

The latest disc rotors for road bikes feature a chamfered edge that's less likely to slice through innocent roadie flesh
The latest disc rotors for road bikes feature a chamfered edge that's less likely to slice through innocent roadie flesh

The 2017 Tour de France saw history made as sprinter Marcel Kittel became the first rider to win a Grand Tour stage on a disc-equipped bike and a rider took on the TT with a fully-rotored Cannondale Super Slice.

Here at BikeRadar we’re big fans of disc brakes but we also recognise that rim brakes still have a place and probably aren’t going to disappear anytime soon.

Do you think discs are suitable for mass start racing? Vote in our poll and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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