The two-time Tour de France champion says it should be 'all or nothing' when it comes to riders using disc brakes in races


Team Sky’s Chris Froome is concerned about safety and the use of disc brakes this 2016 season, which began on Tuesday with the Tour Down Under in Australia.

The world governing body, the UCI, in November allowed teams to use discs or calipers as they wish in the 2016 season. The rule applies to all teams, from WorldTour to continental, and all races.

“I tried them on mountain bikes but not on the road bike,” Froome told La Gazzetta dello Sport last week. “However, as a matter of safety, I say that they should be used by everyone or no one at all. Having a group different brake systems would increase the dangers.”

Sky tested disc brakes at two races late last summer with Ben Swift and Bernie Eisel, but have yet to roll them out for the 29-man roster. It is unclear if teams will begin to use them in the ongoing Tour Down Under or Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

Watch: Chris Froome talks 2016 plans

The hurdles to overcome include the unit’s weight, aerodynamics and safety. Another issue, which Froome was likely referring to, is the braking differences between disc and caliper systems. Some argue that discs could create big braking differences in the peloton, while others say those differences already exist between the braking power of Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo calipers.

Another issue is that while Shimano is leading the way, Campagnolo has yet to roll out disc brakes for teams’ race bikes. So at this point, Froome’s wish of all or nothing is only possible if the professional teams stick to calipers.

Other stars have also expressed their concern, as well. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) said that he does not want to change his ways in his final season and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) explained that riders will need time to learn how to brake with discs.

“You can’t have the bunch with disc brakes and the other half with normal ones, that would cause carnage because the braking points are different,” said Eisel, who is now helping Mark Cavendish in team Dimension Data.

“There will be a lot of work to do in the next one or two years. I’m guessing everyone will be on them by 2018, earliest 2017.”

Froome has yet to race. He begins his season at the Herald Sun Tour in Australia on February 3.

  • TurWAATchers Legacy

    Well that escalated quickly.

  • Andy Whurr

    There’s obviously a lot of opinions for and against Disc Brakes – I’ve experienced both and I still maintain that discs are notoriously Difficult to set up correctly with no ‘Binding’ after the pads are replaced. For me, this is the main reason I would not choose them – Discs have more control – especially in the wet – but I agree with Froome, it has to be all ar nothing. And… there is an increased risk of being hurt more on a Hot, let alone Sharp pice of Metal which anyone, nearby could land on in collisions. Not worth it.

  • Pete

    Excellent comment! I’ve experimented with hydraulic and mechanical discs on road bikes and they work quite well, though not without their penalties (persnickety adjustments, squeals, and some added weight). My (non-disc) race bike uses a 160mm IceTech Freeza rotor on Enve RD fork, and after the TRP Hy/Rd and Spyre I’m now using the Shimano double-actuated CX brake (forgot the #, but it’s relatively light) – this is with Reynolds carbon rims. On the back is a DA caliper with the Reynolds brake pads, and I rarely even need to use it (but I suspect the fact they don’t modulate so well helps keep the rear from locking up). The front disc setup is only slightly heavier than when I run it with two DA calipers with SwissStop pads on Pacenti SL23s, and the modulation and braking power is only slightly better – except when it’s raining I do prefer the discs. I thought there’d be a more noticeable difference, but the tire width seems to mitigate that (when dry).

    I can see there being enough of a difference between racers running calipers on glass brake tracks versus discs, especially on descents, to warrant investigation. I do agree there’s nothing radical here, though, and your points are spot on. For most riders I think calipers are easier maintenance and just fine, but I just don’t get the hardcore “discs don’t belong on road bikes” attitude – they have their pros and cons.

    BTW, when I first set up the front disc I was hitting downhill corners faster and braking later… until my 120psi 23c passed me on a switchback and I started on the path to wider rims/tires with lower pressure.

  • Jesper Nygaard

    Mr BS, may I ask how much you weigh and how many times you have riden down long decents???
    I’m one of the heavier dudes, and if I go down e.g. Alpe d´Huez a little aggressive, my brake pads (campy rec) begins to feel like jelly in turn 15-16. In fact, I overshot turn 20 a couple of times, due to this. Being a MTB’er too, I can’t wait for campy to get something out there…. Hopefully I won’t have to trash the whole EPS group…

  • Nick Senechal

    Oi protour teams No! We like disc brakes for off road situations where there may be some benefit in keeping the brakes away from muddy rims but on the road they deliver no benefit that is not outweighed by the extra complexity, weightaerodynamic fisadvantage, difficulty in changing wheels and sheer unnecessaryness. Tell the manufacturers to stop pushing this nonense on us just for a quick buck…

  • Tired of the BS

    My car and bike and Matt who works for me… Comparing Campagnolo brakes calipers and cast iron disc is daft at a minimum. I’ve ridden just about everything and disc do not make sense for a road bike… Campagnolo’s signal pivot rear caliper on the other hand is brilliant! You can grab a fist full of it to correct your line without locking up your rear wheel amazing. Did you see the injuries caused by a disc at TdSL? Ridiculous!

  • Tired of the BS

    I have more fun watching local Crit races on YouTube anyway…

  • Jay

    If you haven’t tried disc on race bikes then guess we could stop wasting time talking about it. To put it into perspective, if that’s you in that Ferrari, rim brakes would be like replacing those ceramic discs rotors with layered steel or cast iron.

  • Tom Sykes

    I have been riding it for 30 years – know every pimple and where the crosswinds and adverse cambers hit. fastest part is about 1/3 of the way down on Holmfirth side. Final 2 bends have adverse camber . Enjoy

  • Ben Crossley

    holme moss is my back yard aswell i like your taste in descents but maybe i need to study the road as much as you have then give it the beans lol

  • Gary Jogela

    I thought you were just having a bit of fun when you posted the “I’ll stop watching” comment

  • Joe Quanne

    Different bike for different riders and races. You make it sound like you have to ride race geometry to be a pro. Being on a 10k dollar 15lb bike with race geometry doesn’t make it any more “pro-level” than someone riding a 10k dollar endurance disc setup. There’s a reason only endurance frames have caught on to discs as of yet, as I’m sure you are aware, weight and aerodynamics. Maybe they never will because of those reasons, at least on aero bikes, but in my experiences they are perfectly capable and rather openly accepted as options for those who choose to ride endurance frames.

    I’ve ridden Di2 bikes.. Sadly not wealthy enough to put money on one, but even if I was I don’t know if I would. Like you I prefer the mechanical. Maybe that would change if I spend more than a single ride of one but I pretty much agree with your points on it.

  • Tired of the BS

    Go on weight weenies and see for many disc bikes are discussed. Almost none… People who ride pro level bikes and above do not want disc brakes and that is pretty much the end of it.

  • Tired of the BS

    One of our weekly rides. The majority race and everyone is fast and on at least pro level bikes or above… Everyone one can afford what they want but you won’t see one bike with discs. no this is not my recording

  • Tired of the BS

    I have a mountain bike with disc but since I know how to brake I don’t need them on my road bike. More useless technology that won’t make you any faster. Oh is this humble enough?

  • Tired of the BS

    The first part of you said literally makes no sense so I won’t address it… And yes Endurance bikes for endurance riders. I ‘m a Cat 3/4 racer and ride fast group rides and I know absolutely no one that looking to put disc or their race bike. Litteraly no one! I don’t know what you’ve read about Di2 but it does not multi shift as quick as Campag mech and shift for shift I’m quicker than my friends on Di2… Di2 is smooth and precise but no more precise than a well setup mechanical group and I prefer the feed back of mech.

  • Joe Quanne

    I’m sorry but that is a really, really ignorant statement. That’s like saying why do you need brakes on four wheels of a car when two work perfectly fine as long as you know how to brake properly. Quite possibly the silliest and stupidest thing you have said in these comments yet.

    No one is suggesting caliper brakes aren’t sufficient. In most of all cases, sure, they are sufficient. But like Di2 is better at shifting, disc brakes are better at stopping. Period. They weigh more, and they look different than what most people are used to on a road bike, but no I don’t feel “most of the cycling fans agree” they are horrible because they make the bike look out of place, especially people willing to dish out big money for a “pro level bike”. Before my next statement, lets keep this one thing in mind: the only high value bikes that have adopted disc brakes commercially are the endurance geometry framed bikes. I spend a lot of time at my local bike shop (who sells Giant bikes), and have seen quite a few higher end bikes purchased and on group rides through the shop. Of those bikes, most of them have been the disc equipped Defy’s.

    Discs aren’t going anywhere, and the resistance to them is no where even in the ballpark of what you are trying to state it is. This is a classic case of you hating something that’s different and trying to convince the world your opinion is the only correct one.

  • Jay

    Have you ever tried a road bike with discs to compare the difference in modulation and braking performance? If you have and still thinks rim brakes are better than you are just lying to yourself.

    You certainly talk and brag a lot and the more you say the more it seems you are just trying to justify to yourself that discs are not needed. Im assuming because you think others will care that you won’t look as good on the F8 with outdated brakes.

    Take it easy man and be a little bit more humble.

  • Tired of the BS

    Not some most and that goes double for people who are willing to fork over the dinero for pro level bikes. I ride mechanical Record but I don’t have a problem with Di2. I don’t think it’s needed in most situations but it doesn’t take away from the lines of a bike.
    It sounds like most here just don’t know how to brake properly if you did it would not make a different.

  • Joe Quanne

    Yeah I would be willing to bet you’re dead wrong.

    Disc brakes are a natural evolution of a bicycle component, much like Di2 is an evolution of shifting technology. I assume You dont seem to have a problem with Di2, so why do you have a problem with discs? because you find them aesthetically ugly?

    That’s fine man. Some people do find them ugly, but I’ll take my hydraulic disc Domane over a caliper Domane any day, because the difference in braking is really THAT good.

  • Tom Sykes

    The Alpine descents tend to be very long but not very steep so harder to hit 50mph +

  • Tom Sykes

    Holme Moss. On my doorstep and I know every wrinkle and bend so I can go for it on dry quiet windless days.

  • Tired of the BS

    I can careless what you prefer really. I’m a huge fan … I’m currently following the TDU and TDSL… But just like F1 the look and sound of the equipment has to be relatable to the fan base. I’m willing to bet the majority of cycling fans agree with me

  • J1

    There’s plenty of places where you can do that. You just hope you don’t have a bad blowout.

  • J1

    What difference does it make how many miles you do a week? Lots of people ride a lot of miles per week and have a high end bike. I prefer the more humble people who don’t feel the need to brag about it at every opportunity, people don’t want to hear it by the way.

    I was talking about your overreaction – “I’ll stop watching”. Surely you can’t be that much of a fan of bike racing if a change of brake components will make you turn off.

  • Ben Crossley

    100kph is there such a descent in the uk lol,I would say get to the tours you obviously descend quicker than sagan lol

  • Tired of the BS

    I ride 200 miles weekly… and I’m just one of many. I and the majority people who buy pro team or higher bikes won’t even consider disc bikes.

  • Tired of the BS

    Yeah that will look great… Not!

  • J1

    He could lose on a descent though. Imagine Nibbles, Valverde or Sagan going for it even more on the descents 😮

  • J1

    A burn from a disc would be the last thing you’d be worried about in a crash. People have bought this “problem” up countless times before. If they do start bothering about it, then they’ll just create an “aero” cover for them.

  • briantrousers

    Whilst the article deals with the pro-peleton, thought must be given to the practicalities of discs for the average consumer who runs clinchers.

    On long descents with caliper brakes the rim gets hot and can explode the tube. This can be extremely dangerous for obvious reasons.

    I have experienced this, and several others with whom I ride. On the steep descent from Heptonstall to Hebden Bridge, my mate’s tube exploded so violently that he lost the tyre and the rim. The rim was admittedly old and worn thin through caliper braking wearing away the surface. With disc brakes this just would not have happened and your rims will last much longer.

    Don’t get me wrong however, I run discs on my mtb and calipers on my road bikes. Not sure I’d be persuaded to change readily due to expense and also I’m a tart and think discs on road bikes look a bit gash.

  • J1

    He’d have to stop looking at his own bike then.

  • J1

    Nobody will care. You make it sound like they’re going to add a third wheel to the bikes. It won’t even change much, if anything at all.

  • J1

    TT bikes are quicker though….

  • John Paul Musumeci

    Oh no surely not ffs I agree with froome I have a pinarello f8 callipers and a boardman cyclocross disc the boardman brakes so much sharper so the difference in braking performance is substantial

  • Bill Morrison

    Yeah in California the combination of cracks in the road and constant braking had me wondering why I was getting mystery flats, I always liked caliper brakes especially hydraulic brakes but the Freeza rotors from shimano work amazing at first the disc brakes work like crap but ounce they brake in they are awesome. Believe me I admire your taste especially since you ride fast beautiful rig , I really think that in two more years the development will be awesome especially if they figure out carbon ceramic brakes. I live near specialized and I swear I saw an un marked bike with carbon disc brakes. I lived in Montreal for a year and the sudden cobbles are what finally made go disc. I do agree with Froomy that if all riders don’t at least use hydraulic brakes some riders will panic brake and riders with discs will cause others to lock up and cause big crashes. Then again I don’t think he ever wins decending.

  • Tired of the BS

    I guess you ride the brakes too much… I used to ride the passes in Colorado and never had a problem on a high speed decent upwards of 60 mph into hair pin turns. Carbon Clincher or Tubular…

  • Tired of the BS

    No thanks…

  • Bill Morrison

    I have the same bike , however having first ridden the standard F8 and then being fortunate enough to ride the disc version I can objectively say you are wrong. I don’t know where you ride most days but long decents on winding roads have cause tire failures on both my tubular and clincher carbon wheels. I used to ride mainly DH and it enabled me to learn braking with discs on loose terrain. Disc brakes can actually help you turn if you practice. It’s a new skill that may take you out of your comfort zone but they work. The rotors don’t get that hot try riding a DH bike at 90 kilometers then measure the rotor temperature they cool down very rapidly especially newer aluminum core rotors. They also never drag if you hit a pot hole and tweak the wheel slightly. I never understood why roadies are afraid of technological progress. Ohh and by the way since when does a person riding a 12k+ bike have the audacity to complain about things you don’t need? No one needs a Pinarello which is a rolling work of art , you get one cause you want it. So try the disc version of your bike then post another coment, I think you might be surprised.

  • Tired of the BS

    Same here…

  • Tom Sykes

    I am 63
    Still descending at 90kph to 100kph
    Don’t need discs – just eyes and sense.

  • Ben Crossley

    either you guys have never tried disc on road bikes or maybe you dont go fast enough! when your hitting 80kph you want to know you can stop rapidly, people mocked suspension on mtb`s when they first arrived as they did with many things added due to new technology, imagine a mtb without disc brakes lol if you can. i own a cannondale road bike with disc and wasnt sure at first until i hit a fast twisty descent then i knew not to go back to calipers, dont think its an attempt by consumers to make more money they offered the technology whether or not you choose to buy them is up to you i certainly dont feel misled in anyway the brakes are amazing = more confidence, i understand some people like to remain old school but certain advances in technology should not be ignored

  • Tired of the BS

    It has more than enough brakes. I have never entered a high speed corner and wished I had more brakes in the wet or the dry. Without proper modulation you could either lock up a wheel or go over the front of the bars as it is. Road bikes don’t need anymore brakes than they already have. Everything else they’re just trying to sell you something you don’t need. Plus disc look horrible on road bikes as well…

  • Chris Graham

    Lovely bike. Imagine how much better it would ride with proper brakes

  • MJ

    It’s getting a boring this, to be honest. Let’s clear some things up:
    1. the power of the brakes is limited by the limited traction provided by the tyre – in normal conditions I can lock both wheels and throw myself over the handlebar with caliper brakes. Disc breaks will not change braking distances substantially. They will improve feel, which will help, but it’s a matter of yards, not dozens of them;
    2. Yes, in the wet, disc brakes will stop better as they have more feel and will work instantly, rather than waiting for the water to clear from the rim. However, cycling is not like motorbike racing where there is 1 brake marker that everyone has to hit and outbraking is a means of overtaking. As per the article re. Giant Alpecin testing the fastest way downhill, even amongst pros, some are more confident than others and some brake substantially earlier than others. They are not all breaking at the same point now, so changing brake points with discs is not going to make a huge difference;
    3. Injuries are no more or less likely. There are big crashes regularly in the pro-peleton. How often do you see fingers amputated caught between spinning wheels with bladed spokes? Never. How often do you see a rider skewered by an exposed chainring? Not often. How often do you see riders impaled by handlebars? Never. Yes, there may be the odd injury, but I can’t the risk being much greater than the above. And mass crashes often happen at the end of the race, when the brakes will not be hot, or in the middle of the race, moving fast, when the brakes are not hot. It’s not common to see pileups on mountain descents when the brakes will be hot; and
    4. If you really hate commercial business trying to make money then you are following the wrong sport. In fact, you shouldn’t follow sport at all. No one is forcing you to buy disc brakes. If you hate them, don’t buy them, it’s not affecting your life. No one forces the football fan to buy a new shirt every year, or the golfer to buy new clubs. New sales are why the bike companies are involved, if they can’t sell new stuff then they won’t be involved and the sport will die. It’s that simple.

  • Tired of the BS

    I completely agree unfortunately it’s going to take an accident like this for the UCI to recall this horrible decision.

  • Tired of the BS

    No, but my Pinarello F8 doesn’t have disc’s same goes for any other road bike I’ll ever own…

  • Tired of the BS

    No but my Pinarello F8 will never have disc or another road bike I ever own

  • In crashes with disc brakes we could see a lot of deep cuts and some nasty burns. Those things get very hot, very quick. The mass pile ups we had in Le Tour last year, could be a lot worse now.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Is that the reason he keeps falling off.

  • Max Smith

    Has your Betamax tape machine finally broken ?

  • Tired of the BS

    If the Pro Peloton goes to fully disc I’ll stop watching.

  • James

    Another attempt by the cycling industry to get the wealthy consumer to spend money. Same as they did with TT bikes.